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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Costello’

Counting votes on the non-discrimination ordinance

From the Houston GLBT Political Caucus Facebook page: Members have asked for the responses on our questionnaires to the questions below. The President of the Caucus, Maverick Welsh, has asked me to post the information. As the chair of the Screening Committee, I have reviewed the questionnaires from 2013 and below is the result: Mayor–We […]

HFD’s budget problems

I’m sure you’ve heard of this by now. The safety of Houston’s citizens and its firefighters will be compromised over the next four months as the fire department limits the number of personnel on duty and removes trucks from service in an attempt to cut spending, Fire Chief Terry Garrison said Thursday. “People that are […]

January campaign finance reports for Houston officeholders

One more set of finance reports to document, from city of Houston officeholders and candidates. I’m not going to link to the individual reports this time, since the city’s system automatically downloads the PDFs and I don’t feel like uploading these all to my Google drive. Here are the basic summaries, with my comments afterwards […]

Council OKs ordinance to help bring grocery stores to food deserts

Good. Supermarkets now can sell beer and wine next to schools and churches, an exemption to city regulations Houston City Council granted unanimously Wednesday, hoping to encourage grocers to locate in neighborhoods that lack access to fresh, healthy food. These so-called “food deserts” are common in Houston, typically in poor areas such as Third Ward […]

Food deserts and booze bans

It’s complicated. A city ordinance intended to keep alcohol sales at a distance from schools and churches could be relaxed for grocery stores in an effort to alleviate some of the so-called “food deserts” that plague poorer neighborhoods across Houston. The City Council is expected to take up the proposed revisions this week in hopes […]

Working to solve the food desert problem

This is a success story on two levels. A number of area grocery stores like Jim’s Super might not be around if it were not for a little-known local Vietnamese immigrant family. John Vuong took over his first store in 1994, and his siblings, in-laws and he now operate 11 locations that are almost all […]

Precinct analysis: At Large 1, 4, and 5

Last week, we looked at the competitive At Large Council races. Now let’s look at the three At Large races that weren’t competitive. First up is At Large #1, where CM Stephen Costello won a third term. Dist Costello Griffin Costello% Griffin% ========================================= A 5,465 4,784 53.32% 46.68% B 5,535 4,291 56.33% 43.67% C 15,767 […]

Precinct analysis: Mayoral race

Precinct data arrived late on Friday, so you know what that means. I’ll be taking a look at all of the races this week. Let’s start with the main event, the Mayor’s race. Dist Drab Dick Cook Keryl Hall Parker Fitz Lane Perk =============================================================== A 59 2,439 231 64 2,911 7,072 100 148 78 B […]

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 […]

The 2013 lineup

So many candidates. More than 60 candidates have filed to run for city of Houston elective office this fall, many of them rushing in before the 5 p.m. Monday deadline. [...] Atop the ballot, [Mayor Annise] Parker is challenged by wealthy attorney Ben Hall, conservative Eric Dick, repeat Green Party candidate Don Cook, and six […]

Interview with CM Stephen Costello

At Large #1 incumbent CM Stephen Costello is running for his third term. While most new Council members spend their first term learning the ropes and staying more in the background, CM Costello made an immediate splash by spearheading the charge for Renew/Rebuild Houston, the charter amendment that created a fee to fund road and […]

What to do with that extra money?

Some unexpected good financial news for the city, but what to do about it is the tricky part. Just months after hiking health premiums, shifting costs to employees and plugging a projected multimillion-dollar deficit in its health benefits fund, the city of Houston has found itself with a sizable surplus in that account instead. The […]

July finance reports for At Large candidates

Still plowing my way through all the July finance reports. July and January are very busy months, since everybody has finance reports to do. After I’m done with the city candidates, I’ll be looking at HISD and HCC candidates, then Harris County officeholders and area legislators. Thank $deity the special sessions are finally over. I’m […]

Seniors get a tax cut from Council

Good for them. Houston City Council voted to provide property tax relief to seniors Wednesday, one of many votes at a marathon meeting at which council unanimously approved a $4.5 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The city’s exemption for homeowners 65 and older will rise from $70,862 to $80,000 thanks […]

Midyear 2013 election update

Back in January, I took an early look at the 2013 elections in Houston. At the request of the folks at the Burnt Orange Report, who also printed my initial overview, here’s an update on the races in the city of Houston in 2013. Mayor Back in January, Mayor Parker had no declared opponents, though […]

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 […]

Endorsement watch: Planned Parenthood gets an early start

From the inbox on Friday: Today the Board of Directors of the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast ACTION FUND Inc, (PPGCAF) voted to endorse the following candidates for the November City Election. Each of the endorsed candidates has demonstrated a strong commitment to the health and well being of Texas women and families. PPGCAF encourages all […]

Houston’s health care cost problem

This is a problem for which there’s no easy solution. Hoping to contain rising health care costs, Mayor Annise Parker recently hiked premiums and cut benefits for employees, a move union leaders said overburdens workers and some City Council members said does not adequately cut costs. Health benefits, long a budget-buster for governments, jumped from […]

City pension funds make their case

This deserves more visibility than it’s gotten. Representatives of Houston’s three employee pension boards told a Houston City Council committee Monday that the sky is not falling and pleaded with council members to be patient in examining the city’s pension obligations. The presentations from the firefighters’ pension, the municipal employees’ pension and the police pension […]

The discussion is closed

I don’t know about this. The mayor and city attorney are floating the idea of shutting the public out of some City Council discussions. Houston is unusual, perhaps even unique, among Texas cities in requiring that its council always meet in public. On Thursday, City Attorney David Feldman unveiled a proposal to authorize closed-session discussions […]

Laura Spanjian – From Industrial to Green Revolution: The New Houston

The following is from a series of guest posts that I will be presenting over the next few weeks. Bike Share kiosks in downtown. Electric vehicle charging stations at the grocery store. Over 15 miles of new rail lines being constructed. Wind turbines and solar on rooftops. Solar-powered mini-offices at schools and parks. E-cycling and […]

Budget amendment time

Now that Mayor Parker has formally submitted her proposed budget for fiscal year 2013, it’s time for Council members to submit their amendments for consideration. I’m going to start at the bottom of the story with the two proposals that intrigues me the most. Two members called for a November election to amend the city’s […]

City budget outlook

Last year was a lousy budget year for the city of Houston. This year will be better, if only because it really can’t be much worse, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. Kelly Dowe, the mayor’s finance director, has not yet estimated how big the problem is, but outside a City Council […]

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 […]

Precinct analysis: 2011 At Large races, part 1

Here’s a look at the election returns in each Council district for the three “normal” At Large races, in At Large #1, #3, and #4. First up is #1, where first term incumbent CM Stephen Costello won a narrow majority for a second term. Dist Costello Galvan Boates Cook ====================================== A 46.25% 7.44% 28.98% 17.34% […]

Eight day reports, part 1

The eight day finance reports started getting posted on the city’s campaign finance page yesterday. I’m still working through putting them on my 2011 Election page, but here are a few highlights so far: – Next to Mayor Parker, the big spender in October was CM Stephen Costello, who made full use of his deep […]

Endorsement watch: Costello and Thibaut

Another day, another twofer as the Chron makes recommendations in the first two At Large races. In At Large #1, they go with the incumbent: Houston City Council member Stephen Costello, an engineer, is best known as the force behind Rebuild Houston, the initiative to upgrade our city’s ailing streets and drainage system. Given the […]

Food deserts in Houston

If you listened to the interview I did with CM Stephen Costello, you would have heard him talk about “food deserts” in Houston, which is a problem to which he has turned his attention. This Chron story goes into some detail about that. [Costello] wants Houston’s city government to lure supermarkets to neighborhoods with few […]

Interview with CM Stephen Costello

We begin the 2011 election interview season with first term Council Member Stephen Costello, elected in 2009 in At Large #1. He had a mission in mind when he ran for office, and that was a plan to fund street and drainage improvements in Houston. That plan became Renew Houston, now known as Rebuild Houston, […]

Drainage fee passes with exemptions

Council has passed the drainage fee ordinance required by Renew Rebuild Houston, with exemptions for existing church and school properties. The fee will apply to all future “impervious cover” at church and school buildings, such as roofs and parking lots. Council members C.O. Bradford, Mike Sullivan and Jarvis Johnson voted against the measure. “As we […]

Costello opposes exempting the churches

From the inbox: Houston City Council Member Stephen Costello asks the Mayor and Council to exempt only state-mandated property from the drainage fee. Costello, the At Large Position 1 Council Member, offered an amendment Wednesday to the Municipal Drainage Utility ordinance that would limit exemptions to those under the state’s Local Government Code Section 552.053. […]

A very early look at 2011 fundraising

A couple of weeks ago I took an early look at the 2011 city elections, but there was a key ingredient missing in that analysis: Money. The fundraising season for city candidates, which has been closed since last January, will open again on February 1. Let’s take a look at where various cast members stand […]

The pothole patrol

Haven’t seen this yet, but I’m sure I will sooner or later. As the operators of the city’s Street Surface Assessment Vehicle — a van equipped with lasers that scan streets for rough patches, potholes and cracks — Bruno Rodriguez and Patrick Johnson take a lot of flak. An elderly man on a scooter once […]

Interview with Council Member Stephen Costello

In addition to all of the partisan and special elections on the ballot, there are three referenda for City of Houston residents. One is a fairly non-controversial one to change residency requirements for Houston Council districts for the 2011 election, which will be the first one post-redistricting. The second is the red light camera question, […]