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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Bettencourt’

Precinct analysis: Bennett v Sullivan

Ann Harris Bennett was the only countywide Democratic candidate to be trailing on Election Day as the early voting totals were posted, but as the night went on she cut into the deficit and finally took the lead around 10 PM, going on to win by a modest margin. Here’s how that broke down: Dist […]

Council ratifies Turner’s pension plan

From the inbox: On a 16-1 vote, Houston City Council has endorsed Mayor Sylvester Turner’s historic package of pension reforms. The vote clears the way for the City to move forward in partnership with the pension systems to seek legislative approval of the reforms. “I am bubbling over on the inside,” said Mayor Turner. “I […]

Chron overview of Harris County Tax Assessor race

It’s deja vu all over again. Republican Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan once again faces a challenge from Democrat Ann Harris Bennett, a rematch from four years ago for an office that oversees billions of dollars in property tax collections, maintains voter rolls and registers more vehicles than any other county in the state. […]

Senate whinefest about ballot propositions

Spare me. Members of a state Senate committee called Monday for changes in Texas law to prevent cities from thwarting or blocking citizen petition drives, a key issue for conservative and tea party groups in Houston and other cities in recent years. At a meeting of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee, members made it clear […]

The state is starting to feel the squeeze

Things are tough all over. The state is facing big problems affecting vulnerable populations that will take significant money to fix at the same time that a slump in the energy industry is chipping into its revenues, House Speaker Joe Straus warned Tuesday. “Writing a balanced and disciplined budget that appropriately funds our top priorities […]

What kind of ruling might we expect in the school finance case?

KUHF explores the possibilities. Four major scenarios to watch for: The Texas Supreme Court could not rule at all. Instead, it could send the case back to the lower court to see if the latest $2.5 billion dollars to the education budget solves the problem. “And the court could say, you know, we need more […]

Council members complain about open records requests

Oh, please. Councilmen Michael Kubosh and Dave Martin on Tuesday blasted a records request from a D.C.-based nonprofit to those council members who voted against the Houston equal rights ordinance, known as HERO, last year. The Campaign for Accountability’s request seeks communication between prominent local anti-HERO activists as well as anti-LGBT groups, such as the […]

Senate committee whines about ballot language

Give me a break. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, cited the wording of recent Houston referendums to lengthen term limits and on a controversial equal-rights ordinance as two examples, both of which he said could have been more clear. The committee is studying whether state law needs to be changed to ensure that local and […]

Auditing HCDE

We’ll see about this. Later this summer, state auditors are expected to release their final report on the Harris County Department of Education. They’ve been examining the agency since last December. Superintendent James Colbert told lawmakers about it at a hearing in April. “We should have absolutely nothing to hide as far as I’m concerned […]

Senate belatedly addresses one voter ID concern

Better really late and at least mildly coerced than never, I guess. The Texas Senate, with scant attention during an early morning vote, gave its unanimous answer to a lingering question the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals posed about the state’s embattled voter ID law. Among the first votes taken by the chamber on […]

Senate passes Metro board expansion bill

From the inbox: The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) today applauded the unanimous approval of transit legislation by the Texas State Senate, that is designed to enhance Board stability, provide for an orderly transition of Board members and initiate continuity from year to year. Currently, the Texas Transportation Code provides for the appointment, […]

Three bad bills

Bad bill #1: State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has been trying for months to pass legislation that would make it tougher for local entities to bring in more tax revenue by taking advantage of rising property values. On Thursday, he managed to add language to a bill from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that could […]

Council’s pension meeting

It was about what you’d expect. Many City Council members who attended a special meeting Friday to discuss Mayor Annise Parker’s controversial deal with the city’s firefighters pension called the gathering a success, despite two members walking out and breaking a quorum before a vote could be held to support or oppose the agreement. The […]

The revenue cap has already hit

Lovely. Houstonians will see their first property tax rate cut in five years as the city runs up against a revenue cap imposed by voters a decade ago. The modest rollback works out to $12.27 a year for the owner of a $200,000 house with a standard homestead exemption. […] The city’s current property tax […]

Abbott’s voter registration persecution

Now this is what a partisan witch hunt looks like. On an overcast Monday afternoon, officers in bulletproof vests swept into a house on Houston’s north side. The armed deputies and agents served a search warrant. They carted away computers, hard drives and documents. The raid targeted a voter registration group called Houston Votes, which […]

Endorsement watch: Belatedly for Whitmire

The Chronicle makes its recommendations for the State Senate. Senate District 15 (D) In 1973, a 23-year-old college dropout named John Whitmire hopped aboard a wave of voter disgust with ethically challenged incumbents and won a seat in the Texas House. More than four decades later, that same Houston lawmaker is still in the Legislature, […]

January campaign finance reports for Harris County legislative candidates

This could take awhile, and that’s with me limiting myself to contested races. First, the Senate. SD04 Brandon Creighton Steven Toth SD07 Paul Bettencourt James Wilson Jim Davis SD15 John Whitmire Damian LaCroix Ron Hale SD17 Joan Huffman Derek Anthony Rita Lucido Here’s a summary chart. For the record, Davis, Whitmire, LaCroix, and Lucido are […]

Patrick is in for Lite Gov

And then there were three challengers to David Dewhurst. Citing the need for “authentic conservative leadership” in Texas, state Sen. Dan Patrick announced on Thursday that he would run for lieutenant governor against incumbent David Dewhurst. “Today begins roughly 18 months of hard work,” said Patrick, a Houston Republican who was joined by his wife […]

More on Hall’s announcement

Here’s the full Chron story from the weekend about Ben Hall’s announcement that yes, he really is running for Mayor this year. “Hall is a formidable challenger but is a long shot to unseat the mayor,” University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus said in an email. Rottinghaus noted Hall’s funding capability, his vision and […]

Endorsement watch: Martin and Sullivan

The Chron can’t quite believe that Steve Stockman is on the verge of being foisted on us again as a member of Congress, so they do what they can by endorsing his opponent, Max Martin. Max Martin is a credible, if long-shot, candidate. Martin, a retired pilot who now owns an education software business in […]

30 Day finance reports, Harris County candidates

Here’s a look at the 30 day campaign finance reports for Harris County candidates. All reports can be found by going to the Harris County Clerk campaign finance reports page. Candidate Office Raised Spent Loans Cash ========================================================== Garcia Sheriff 192,670 120,957 0 388,197 Guthrie Sheriff 158,700 48,633 171,000 98,152 Alessi Sheriff 1,019 2,007 700 1,719 […]

Bond concerns

Early reactions to the HISD bond proposal that was unveiled last week. “I think in the long run any anti-tax opposition will make it a close race,” said state Sen. Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, predicting that Hispanics could swing the vote. Gallegos said he was worried about HISD’s timeline. The Houston Chronicle reported this month that […]

I got those can’t get my car registration done on time blues

I have three things to say about this. The Harris County tax office is paying 32 clerks overtime on weekends to eliminate a large backlog of unprocessed auto registrations, a potentially serious problem that could force some motorists to drive with expired decals. Drivers can receive costly tickets and civil penalties for lapsed vehicle registration […]

Houston area transit preferences in 2012

The 2012 Houston Area Survey is in the can, and though the data has not been published to their website yet, there have been a few preview tidbits tossed out to whet everyone’s appetite. One of them has to do with attitudes about transit and neighborhoods. But perhaps the most dramatic change, [Rice professor Stephen] […]

Adjusting to the new Council

This is kind of a fluff story about the new Council – apparently, having two more seats at the table could cause some problems – but I couldn’t pass this up: “This infusion, effectively of new blood – of a whole bunch of people at one time – is going to change the dynamics,” said […]

Precinct analysis: The 2011 Mayor’s race

I finally have a draft canvass of the 2011 Harris County vote. You know what that means. Here’s the breakdown in the Council districts for the Mayor’s race: Dist Simms Ullman Wilson Herrera Parker O’Connor ===================================================== A 4.41% 1.28% 16.31% 18.03% 41.89% 18.09% B 22.41% 3.02% 11.92% 12.71% 43.80% 6.14% C 1.65% 0.83% 9.11% 11.21% […]

Drainage madness

I have three things to say about this. A year ago, Taxpayers for Financial Accountability campaigned against Houston’s Proposition 1, which called for a pay-as-you-go fund to shore up the city’s drainage infrastructure in part through a monthly fee on homes and businesses. They lost. The measure narrowly passed and the first bills went out […]

“Hire Houston First” passes

One of Mayor Parker’s signature policy items is now law. Houston City Council passed Mayor Annise Parker’s Hire Houston First initiative by a 13-1 vote Wednesday, allowing and sometimes requiring city departments to choose the second lowest bid for purchases and contracts if the runner-up company is from the eight-county greater Houston area and it’s […]

City wins again on Rebuild Houston lawsuit

As you know, shortly after the Renew Houston proposition passed last fall, the usual suspects led by Paul Bettencourt filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the result on the grounds that they believed the voters were too stupid to know what they had just voted for. That lawsuit was dismissed on summary judgment in May. […]

Lawsuit filed against Harris County redistricting

Hot off the presses, here’s a release from CM Ed Gonzalez: Today, Council Member Ed Gonzalez joined as a plaintiff in a lawsuit versus Harris County over the proposed Commissioners Court redistricting map. “The proposed map cracks communities of interests and dilutes the voting strength of Latinos in Precinct 2. Despite the fact that Latinos […]

Look at me! Look at meeeeee!

I have one thing to say about this. With three months until election day, attorney Benjamin Hall still hasn’t declared whether he’s running against Mayor Annise Parker. “I have not taken myself out of the contest,” Hall told me late last week. He also told me, “I’ve decided, but I’ve just not announced.” Hall is […]

Those darned propositions

I have three things to say about this. Houston voters can be forgiven if they feel a bit confused. They voted down red-light cameras, but the cameras are on. They may have heard the mayor say that voting for a drainage fee would result in a typical $5 monthly bill that everyone should pay, but […]

Eight, not five

Mayor Parker says that initial estimates of how much the average homeowner would pay for the new drainage fee were understated. Mayor Annise Parker acknowledged Tuesday that her administration erred in telling voters that the average homeowner’s monthly Proposition 1 drainage fee would be $5. It is actually closer to $8.25, she said. Parker said […]

More on that Rebuild Houston push poll

Remember that push poll on Rebuild Houston? The results are out and they’re pretty much what you’d expect. A state district judge could decide this week whether to hold a trial on the validity of November’s election in which voters approved a new pay-as-you-go program for improving Houston’s drainage. Opponents say voters were misled about […]