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Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Harvey’

More Harveys

Thanks, climate change. The extreme rains that inundated the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey were made more likely by climate change, a new study suggests, adding that such extreme flooding events will only become more frequent as the globe continues to warm. “I guess what I was hoping to achieve was a little bit of […]

School districts affected by Harvey ask for a break on testing

One way or another we’re going to have to reckon with this. Leaders of school districts heavily affected by Hurricane Harvey told a legislative panel on Monday that they would like to see Texas’ accountability and testing requirements relaxed in the wake of the disaster. They also said the storms have dealt a financial blow […]

Election Day 2017

It’s time to vote if you haven’t already. Not many people have, as we know. Harris County turnout is expected to remain feeble through Election Day, with no marquee race to draw voters to the polls and thousands still displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Fewer than 59,000 of the county’s more than 2.2 million registered voters […]

Improving how animals are rescued

One of the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina was the need to rescue pets along with their owners, and to do everything possible to keep them together afterwards. This Texas Monthly story describes how that went with Harvey. There are a few best practices that became understood in the wake of Katrina: holding animals in […]

Houston Press ceases print operations

End of an era. Voice Media Group announced today that the Houston Press ceased print publication with its November 2 edition, capping a 28-year run as one of the nation’s leading alternative weekly newspapers and concluding a wild ride as an irascible and irreverent part of Houston’s cultural fabric. Although the Press successfully steered its […]

Is this development really necessary?

Boy, the optics of this sure are lousy. The Houston City Council has indefinitely postponed a proposal to build hundreds of homes in a west Houston floodplain amid questions about whether city leaders’ actions would match their rhetoric about mitigating the risk of flooding after Hurricane Harvey. Mayor Sylvester Turner supported the move to refer […]

A big ask for hurricane recovery

Good luck with that. I mean that mostly sincerely. Texas needs an additional $61 billion in federal disaster recovery money for infrastructure alone after Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, according to a report from the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas that was delivered to members of Congress Tuesday. Compiled at Gov. Greg Abbott’s request, the report was […]

October campaign finance reports: Congress

Here are the Q2 fundraising reports for Texas Democratic Congressional candidates. I’ll sum up the data below, but here’s the Trib with some highlights. After Democratic challengers outraised four Texas Republicans in Congress earlier this year, some Republicans recaptured fundraising momentum in the third quarter – but not all of them. Campaign finance reports for […]

School districts don’t need gift registries

They need to have their needs met by the state. Texas school districts ravaged by Hurricane Harvey still need thousands of textbooks, dictionaries and other instructional resources, so the state’s education agency is borrowing a page from the wedding industry to help cover the costs. The Texas Education Agency has modified its textbook ordering system […]

JJ Watt announces his plan for Harvey relief funds

This had been much anticipated. Hurricane Harvey victims, nonprofits and Texans fans alike have been on the edge of their seats to hear what J.J. Watt planned to do with the $37 million he raised for storm relief. As of Thursday, he has a plan. In a Twitter video posted Thursday afternoon, Watt explained that […]

Should we remove the concrete from White Oak Bayou?

That’s an interesting question, one worth considering, if there’s a way to pay for it. A feasibility study conducted for the Harris County Flood Control District and released Friday offers three options to do just that. What it does not offer is a way to pay for the three alternatives, which range from $30 million […]

City buys out some flooded homes

Expect to see more of this. Houston City Council on Wednesday approved funding nearly 60 home buyouts across three flood-prone neighborhoods, the first such step from City Hall in recent memory. The city typically leaves buyouts to the Harris County Flood Control District and, in fact, the measure approved by the council would send $10.7 […]

Curbside recycling will resume November 13

Hooray! Houstonians stockpiling cardboard and aluminum cans, rejoice: the city will resume curbside recycling service next month. Recycling service has been suspended since Aug. 30, when city waste crews dropped all efforts other than weekly trash pickup to focus on removing the thousands of piles of debris resulting from Hurricane Harvey. Residents wondering whether their […]

Early voting for November 2017 begins today

From the inbox: “The best option to vote in the upcoming Nov. 7 election is during the early voting period,” advised Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart. Early Voting for the November 7, 2017 General and Special Elections begins Monday, October 23 and will run through Friday, November 3. There will be 45 Early Voting locations […]

How about those price gouging complaints?

You can’t rush these things. Within weeks of Hurricane Harvey making landfall, Texans lodged more than 3,000 complaints against hundreds of gas stations, hotels and grocery stores, accusing them of selling such essentials as gasoline or water at exorbitant prices. Despite promises from Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott to hold price gougers […]

Endorsement watch: State propositions and Katy bonds

Hey, did you know that there are constitutional amendments on the ballot? It’s true! (Spoiler alert: There are constitutional amendments on the ballot every odd-numbered year.) The Chron has some recommendations for how to vote on them. State of Texas, Proposition 1: For This amendment would allow the Legislature to exempt partially disabled veterans and […]

No big drop in enrollment in area school districts

Mostly good news. During the height of Hurricane Harvey, school district officials worried enrollments would plummet as thousands of families fled Houston for Dallas, Austin and other drier regions. While many families lost their homes, it seems most relocated within the region and often within the boundaries of their existing school district. Houston ISD, the […]

Council passes dumb forced tax cut

This is where we are. City Council rejected Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposal to leave Houston’s tax rate unchanged from last year Wednesday, instead approving a tiny rate cut to comply with the voter-imposed cap on property tax revenues. Turner had proposed using Hurricane Harvey to invoke a disaster exception clause in the 13-year-old revenue cap […]

Another property tax rate dustup

I have four things to say about this: Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask city council on Wednesday to sidestep the voter-imposed revenue cap by approving the same property tax rate as last year. According to City Controller Chris Brown, the city would need to cut the property tax rate by about one fifth of […]

Still some fretting about the bonds

Generalized anxiety, nothing specific. Fire engines bursting into flames at a scene. Roof leaks damaging walls at city health clinics. Bike trails eroding into the bayou. Those are among the reasons Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking voters to approve $495 million in public improvement bonds this fall. Early voting starts Oct. 23. As with the […]

The Acre

Meet downtown’s newest park. As park spaces go, Houston’s newest urban oasis is a mere postage stamp, occupying just over an acre of privately held land, developed with private money. But in post-Harvey Houston, the value of every inch of permeable green space suddenly seems more evident. Known as the Acre, the signature piece of […]

Curbside recycling is coming back

Because most of the Harvey debris has been picked up. Win all around. Houstonians who have been dragging their overflowing recycling bins to the curb every other week only to roll them back again untouched finally should have their cartons and cans hauled off early next month, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday. City crews and […]

The fire department’s needs

This is a conversation we need to have, but it’s one we need to dig into and work all the way through. Fire Chief Sam Pena gave City Council a bleak assessment Tuesday of his department’s readiness to respond to significant rainstorms, or even daily fire and medical calls, saying a ramshackle fleet and inadequate […]

The lost Harvey tax break

I have mixed feelings about this. Owners of nearly 300,000 homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey in Texas won’t see any break in their property taxes because of political wrangling this year in the state Legislature over completely unrelated issues – including, one Houston Republican says, the bathroom bill. A property tax reform bill that would […]

Lift Up Houston

Hey, you know there are bonds on the ballot, right? And Mayor Turner would like you to vote for them. Mayor Sylvester Turner spent much of his first year and a half keeping the civic conversation focused on winning legislative approval of his plan to end Houston’s spiraling pension crisis, and then, last May, achieved […]

More on the courthouse shuffle

The Trib takes a look at how things are going at the flooded-out Harris County Criminal Justice Center. Since Harvey hit Harris County in late August, one of the busiest criminal court systems in the country has suspended all jury trials. It’s just one of a slate of challenges facing the county’s justice system in […]

Don’t hold your breath waiting for federal Harvey recovery money

Settle in for the long haul. It could be months, if not years, before southeast Texans and scores of counties and cities receive federal funds to pay for the long-term rebuilding and recovery of homes and communities battered by Hurricane Harvey’s epic rains. Federal Emergency Management Agency money for short-term relief like debris removal and […]

Harvey and the oysters

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Oyster lovers will shell out more for the marine delicacy this fall, as freshwater runoff from Hurricane Harvey’s historic floods killed virtually all of the bivalves in the prolific seabeds of Galveston Bay. The storm was the latest setback to a multimillion-dollar commercial fishing and seafood-processing industry that […]

Now is not a good time for HHSC to be dysfunctional

And yet here we are. Under Charles Smith, the longtime ally of Gov. Greg Abbott picked to lead the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, Texas’ government health care infrastructure is hemorrhaging veteran employees and facing criticism for its response to the humanitarian crisis caused by Hurricane Harvey. Dozens of experienced senior staff members have […]

MUDs and Harvey

City governments have their pros and cons, and their challenges getting things done. But at least their existence means residents of said cities have places to go when they need various services. Not everyone has that, and in times of crisis like what Harvey has wrought, that’s a big deal. Cinco Ranch, a master-planned community […]

Some voting locations were damaged by Harvey

Not a surprise, but we’re not doing much about it. More than three dozen polling sites were damaged in Hurricane Harvey and might not be available for the upcoming November elections, Harris County election officials announced Wednesday. Voters in Harris County are urged to cast an early ballot. Those displaced by Harvey or voters who […]

Paxton trial delayed again

This will happen some day. I hope. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial has been put off for a third time. The judge in the securities fraud case against Paxton sided Wednesday with prosecutors who had been pushing for another trial delay because of a long-running dispute over their fees. The decision by Harris County District […]

HFD and disaster preparedness

There’s a lot here to think about, and to do something about. The Houston Fire Department’s limitations quickly became clear as Harvey’s floodwaters rose. Just one high-water rescue vehicle. Decades-old evacuation boats. Sparse training for swift-water rescues. And limited staffing after an 11th-hour decision not to call in major reinforcements to face the catastrophic storm. […]

You don’t have to attend those tax rate hearings now

They’re not a thing any more. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said he would withdraw a proposed property tax rate hike after Gov. Greg Abbott handed him a check for $50 million to help fund the city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey. That also likely means few public hearings on the proposed rate hike, which would have been the first from […]