Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Renew Houston’

Circling back to city finances

I have three things to say about this. This time, [City Finance Director Kelly] Dowe insists, the $126 million deficit he projects for the budget year that starts next summer is not going to disappear, as past projected shortfalls have. There are no more payments to defer, he says, no more valuable city-owned land to […]

What now for road projects?

What do we do with road projects that were going to use ReBuild Houston funds now that the Supreme Court has ruled the 2010 referendum to have been illegal? A necklace of neighborhood streets encircling Hudnell’s home is among the ReBuild projects, deemed beyond “economical repair” and originally scheduled for work late next fiscal year, […]

Bell wants Meyerland flooding investigated

It’s a story about flooding and the Mayor’s race, but not the story about flooding and the Mayor’s race you might have been expecting. Mayoral candidate Chris Bell on Sunday called for an independent investigation into why so many Meyerland homes flooded during the heavy Memorial Day weekend rains. Surrounded by about two dozen residents […]

ReBuild Houston and the Mayor’s race

It’s all about the conservative voters, because no one cares what anyone else thinks. When the most conservative candidate in the Houston mayor’s race dropped out two months ago, the battle to win over right-leaning voters became a two-man show: former Kemah Mayor Bill King versus City Councilman Stephen Costello. Both candidates bill themselves as […]

ReVote Houston?

Mayoral candidate Bill King calls for a do-over on Renew/ReBuild Houston. Houston mayoral candidate Bill King wants to put ReBuild Houston, the city’s controversial streetand drainage program, back up for a vote. […] King, the most vocal opponent of ReBuild Houston in the race, has seized the moment to attack ReBuild. “I only see one […]

New litigation against ReBuild Houston

To be expected at this point. A class action lawsuit has been filed against the city, seeking to reimburse residents who pay the drainage fee that helps fund ReBuild Houston, the multibillion-dollar streets and drainage improvement program that voters narrowly approved in 2010. The lawsuit comes on the heels of a Texas Supreme Court ruling […]

Supreme Court deals a blow to ReBuild Houston

Ugh. Houston’s divisive, multibillion-dollar effort to fund two decades of street and drainage improvements faces an uncertain future after the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the ballot measure voters narrowly approved in 2010 obscured the nature and cost of the drainage fee at the heart of the ReBuild Houston program. The case now returns […]

Flooding as election issue

I suppose this was inevitable. As thousands of Houstonians recover from the recent storms, the flooding is emerging as a political issue. Mayoral candidates are criticizing the city’s drainage infrastructure, attacking an unfinished project along Brays Bayou – around which much of the flooding occurred – as well as ReBuild Houston, the controversial street and […]

Costello makes his official entry

That makes him number five of some as yet unknown number to make that announcement. Houston City Councilman Stephen Costello pitched himself Monday as a no-frills, no-nonsense politician who would address the city’s problems like the engineer he is if voters elect him mayor this fall. Costello, a wonky at-large councilman who chairs the body’s […]

King makes his official entry

Add Bill King to the “made his official announcement” list. In the middle of a noisy, torn-up west Houston street that he said epitomized Houston’s crumbling roads, Bill King launched his campaign for mayor Monday morning, pledging to return the city “back to basics.” King, a former Houston Chronicle columnist and a mayor of Kemah, […]

Supreme Court hears Renew Houston appeal

Last stop of the litigation train for the plaintiffs that have sued to overturn the Renew Houston referendum, on the grounds that the voters were misinformed about what they were voting for. Two lower courts have sided with the city, and the case has now landed in the state’s highest court, where attorneys for both […]

Supreme Court to hear Renew Houston lawsuit

Jeez, I’d forgotten this was still a thing. In a lawsuit filed after the election, three Houston property owners allege the ballot language was misleading. “You would have thought if you voted for this thing that it was a one-time, one-year tax,” said Andy Taylor, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, “when in fact […]

Diverting ReBuild Houston funds

I don’t know about this. Expressing impatience with the pace of street repairs under the Rebuild Houston program, City Council on Wednesday voted to siphon off some of the drainage-fee supported funds to speed up projects and help resolve smaller neighborhood problems sought by their constituents. In an amendment to the city’s five-year $7.8 billion […]

One point of perspective on the repeal petitions

Here’s the Chron story about the HERO-haters turning in their repeal petitions. Opponents of Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance Thursday turned in well more than the minimum number of signatures needed to trigger a November vote on whether to repeal the measure. Staff in the City Secretary’s office will have 30 days to verify that the […]

District A runoff overview

It’s the same old story, just a little louder this time. Three years ago, when city voters narrowly approved what would become a controversial monthly drainage fee to fund $8 billion of street and flood projects in the next two decades, City Council District A stood out as an exception. While the charter amendment that […]

Complete Streets coming

This is good to see. Houston, long ruled by the automobile, will give more consideration to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in designing its streets and neighborhoods. Mayor Annise Parker on Thursday said she is drafting, with public works and planning officials, an executive order stating that the city will adhere to “complete streets” […]

Endorsement watch: Our first twofer

The Chron has two endorsements today, one that was easy and one that was likely more challenging. First, the easy one. In four years as an at-large city councilman, Stephen Costello has gradually become a “go to” guy on two major issues facing the city of Houston: drainage; and finance and pensions. Costello, a civil […]

Mayor Parker kicks off her campaign

It’s the time of the season for Mayor Parker, who has a serious challenger this time, but also a stronger hand to play. In her tenure, Parker has given teeth to the city’s historic preservation rules, broken a deadlock with Harris County to help build the Dynamo stadium, gave scandal-ridden Metro new leaders and revised […]

Revamped Chapter 42 ordinance finally passes

Strangely enough, in the end it was not very contentious. Houston City Council on Wednesday voted 14-3 to allow greater single-family home density outside Loop 610, while also strengthening the proposal’s already robust protections for neighborhoods concerned about unwelcome development. Council voted to drop the threshold of support needed to impose a minimum lot size […]

Developer impact fee approved by Council

I did not know that this hadn’t been done yet. Developers will join property owners in paying drainage fees following City Council’s approval Wednesday. The developer impact fee was included in the voter-approved 2010 city charter amendment now known as Rebuild Houston, but city officials said the unwieldy process of setting the fee under state […]

The city’s bond package

And here’s Mayor Parker’s bond proposal for November. Mayor Annise Parker is unveiling a $410 million package of proposed bond measures for the November ballot that will not require a tax increase. She proposes five bond measures. The purposes and amounts: Public safety: $144 million Health, sanitation and general government: $63 million Affordable housing: $15 […]

City wins Renew/Rebuild Houston lawsuit appeal

Our story so far: After the Renew Houston proposition was passed in 2010, 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 […]

State of the City 2012

It’s getting better. Saying Houston has “rounded the corner” on the recession, Mayor Annise Parker on Thursday credited City Hall with providing incentives that businesses used to create or retain 13,000 jobs and invest $1 billion locally during the tough economic times of her first term. Parker also told the sold-out crowd for her third […]

Reliant drainage deal?

Will wonders never cease? There may be a resolution to the spat over whether the county has to pay the city drainage fee imposed on Reliant Park – an annual bill of $353,000. Tuesday’s Commissioners Court agenda includes an item that authorizes the Public Infrastructure Department to negotiate with the city on the Reliant Park […]

CM Costello on fixing water leaks

CM Stephen Costello writes a letter in response to the Chron story about leaks in the city’s water pipes. The article “City lost millions to water leaks” (Page A1, Dec. 30) was a timely discussion of our aging water/sewer system. One question in the article jumped out: “We have to ask why we have so […]

Inauguration Day 2012

Tuesday was Inauguration Day for Mayor Annise Parker, City Controller Ronald Green, and all 16 members of Houston City Council. Annise D. Parker began her second term as mayor of Houston on Monday with a commitment to bring more jobs to the city and to tackle an ambitious to-do list that includes progress on public […]

Don’t draw broad conclusions from muddled evidence

I have a number of issues with the analysis presented in this Chron story about what happened in the runoffs and What It All Means. The results illustrate a continuation of a national trend of anger and frustration toward government during the worst economic stretch since the Great Depression, political observers said. In short: Voters […]

Runoff overview: District A

I don’t remember there being a Chron overview story for the District A regular election, but now that it’s in overtime we get an overview story about the race between CM Brenda Stardig and challenger Helen Brown. Better late than never, right? Just a few thoughts about the article. First, it’s a little silly to […]

County will seek legislation to evade drainage fee payment for Reliant

As expected. Harris County Commissioners Court today voted unanimously to instruct the County Attorney and the Legislative Relations office to work with the Texas Legislature to adjust current law to compel the City of Houston to collect and immediately remit to Harris County all city sales tax revenues collected at county venues like Reliant Park […]

More on the county going after city sales tax revenue

And on we go. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday will decide whether to seek legislation to capture city of Houston sales taxes generated at county facilities, including Reliant Park. Commissioner Steve Radack floated the idea at the court’s last meeting, spurred by the $353,000 annual bill the county will pay for Reliant under the […]

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 […]

On cities and counties

I’m really getting tired of all this BS. Smarting from a $353,000 bill for the Reliant complex under the city of Houston’s new drainage fee, Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday discussed seeking legislation to let it keep city sales taxes generated at county facilities. […] The idea of capturing city sales tax was floated […]

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. […]

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 […]