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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Radack’

Harris County threatens to sue Harris County Appraisal District

That headline may sound dry, but this is a big deal. Worried about the erosion of the tax base, county officials said Wednesday that they may consider suing the Harris County Appraisal District over concerns it is undervaluing certain business properties at the expense of homeowners. Officials said HCAD’s Appraisal Review Board in recent years […]

Not in a rush about the Dome after all

We’ll get to deciding what to do with the Dome when we get to it. Harris County leaders are in no rush to decide what to do with the Astrodome, leaving the empty and decaying stadium to languish further following last week’s voter rejection of a $217 million plan to convert the iconic stadium to […]

So what happens now with the Dome?

It’s mostly dead, but I suppose it’s not all dead just yet. The board of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp., the county agency that runs Reliant Park, passed a resolution in April saying that if a vote were to fail, the agency would ask Harris County Commissioners Court to allow it to “prepare […]

The feral hogs of Kingwood

They’re everywhere. Kingwood communities that are battling feral hogs could be in it for the long haul, experts say. The huge, fearless cousins of domestic pigs have been roaming through the affluent northern suburb for at least a month, said Keith Crenshaw, urban biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He’s talked on the phone […]

City and county make a deal on airport toll road revenues

Good. After two years of negotiations, the Houston City Council approved an agreement Wednesday that provides toll revenue from the airport connector to the city for the first time – 24.5 percent, to be precise. Officials at Harris County, which has collected all revenue on the segment since it opened in January 2000, said it […]

Astrodome referendum officially on the ballot

It’s been a long, strange trip, but at last you will get to vote on the fate of the Astrodome. The Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously voted to place a bond election for up to $217 million to convert the iconic stadium into a massive, street-level convention hall and exhibit space, saying residents should take […]

If only it were that easy to get our act together

Outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has some blunt words for Houston about light rail. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood likes Houston’s light rail that’s up and running but warns that regional transit officials have squandered opportunities the past decade by not building greater consensus. “The region needs to get its act together,” LaHood said during […]

The emotional Dome decision

Nobody really wants to tear the Astrodome down. That in a nutshell is why the process to determine what to do with it has taken so long even though there aren’t any viable alternatives to demolition at this time. A failure to come up with a feasible plan with the financing to make it happen […]

Watch the county’s business

I wholeheartedly approve of this. Meetings of the Harris County Commissioners Court and the governing boards of the Port of Houston Authority, the Harris Health System and the Harris County Department of Education soon could be streamed live online. County Judge Ed Emmett on Tuesday [asked] the court for permission to find a vendor to […]

No Dome referendum yet

If you’ve been waiting for a chance to vote on the fate of the Astrodome, you’ll just have to keep waiting. Harris County officials unveiled options for the future of the long-vacant Astrodome last summer, with some members of Commissioners Court saying voters might be presented with a bond referendum last November, or perhaps this […]

The next step to closing the city jail

The sobering center was Step 1. Step 2 is a joint processing center with the county, and that is now closer to happening. With backing from the city of Houston, Harris County is reviving a long-discussed plan to build a facility to process inmates into the county jail, and to offer the mental health services […]

HCDE hires Eversole to lobby for them

From the Things That Make Me Do A Facepalm department: The HCDE has hired Jerry Eversole as a lobbyist. Yeah, that Jerry Eversole. Eversole was taciturn in discussing his work Thursday, saying department of education officials approached him. His contract will pay $45,000, plus expenses, between Dec. 1, 2012, and Aug. 31, and calls for […]

Report recommends against privatizing the Harris County jail

Very good news. Privatizing the Harris County jail would be risky and may not result in savings, according to an internal county memo recommending that Commissioners Court keep the state’s largest lockup in Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s hands. The confidential Feb. 11 memo, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, comes after more than a year of study […]

Inside baseball with the hospital district

I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to learn from this article about the political relationship between the Harris County Hospital District and Commissioners Court. You have to wonder if David Lopez ever feels like he’s in the circus. When Lopez, the CEO of Harris Health System, Harris County’s public hospital district, visits Commissioners Court […]

City-county cooperation

It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? At 9:27 p.m. on Election Day, when it was clear a Metro referendum crucial to both of their road-building budgets had passed, Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack’s phone buzzed with a text message from Houston Mayor Annise Parker: “Maybe we can tackle world peace next.” The note hinted at […]

Jail privatization update

Grits, from about two weeks ago: In a conference call last week with investors (see the transcript), Corrections Corporation of America said it expects to find out by next spring whether they will receive a contract to operate the Harris County Jail. Said President and CEO David Hininger: The final update I wanted to give […]

Precinct analysis: Metro

The first rule of precinct analysis, at least as I do it, is that you really can’t learn much by doing it on lopsided elections. The Metro referendum, which passed with 78% of the vote, is Exhibit A of this phenomenon. Here’s how the vote went in the State Rep districts for the Metro issue: […]

Precinct data: County Commissioner precincts

I wish they called County Commissioner precincts by some other name, because it’s confusing to refer to them as such when one is discussing canvass data, which is data from the thousand-plus voting precincts in Harris County. But that’s the name we’re stuck with, so make sure the clutch on your context-shifter is in good […]

All the interviews for 2012

As we begin early voting for the November election, here are all the interviews I conducted for candidates who are on the ballot as well as for the referenda. These include interviews that were done for the primary as well as the ones done after the primary. I hope you found them useful. Senate: Paul […]

Endorsement watch: Boring

The Chron expends more words on the history and function of Commissioners Court than it does endorsing the three incumbents running to stay on the Court. Precinct 1: Veteran incumbent El Franco Lee is our choice over an energetic Republican challenger, Chuck Maricle, whom we encourage to continue his interest in seeking public office. Precinct […]

What comes after the Metro referendum

I hope you found my series of interviews on the Metro referendum to be useful. I think there’s plenty in those four interviews to bolster your support of or opposition to the referendum. The referendum question is simple – do we or do we not want to continue the General Mobility Program? but the issue […]

Interview with County Commissioner Steve Radack

To wrap up my series of interviews relating to the Metro referendum, I spoke to the person with whom Metro Chair Gilbert Garcia brokered the deal on the GMP reauthorization: County Commissioner Steve Radack. Commissioner Radack is a strong advocate of the General Mobility Program and a critic of light rail. I suspect that if […]

Can’t we all just get along?

I have a question about this. Commissioner Steve Radack has already been heaped with praise from his colleagues for helping broker a deal with Metro chairman Gilbert Garcia and Houston Mayor Annise Parker that replaced an earlier proposal that would have drastically reduced the county‚Äôs share of that mobility money. As the court voted to […]

Deal struck on the GMP

Well, this is interesting. The Metro board on Aug. 3 approved a ballot proposal that would have shifted tens of millions of dollars more in mobility payments to Houston at the expense of the county and small cities by basing the payments on where sales taxes are collected. Monday’s tentative deal – reached in a […]

The Radack way

You have to admire the single-minded focus, I’ll say that much for the man. Allen Watson may have figured his role as a member of Metro’s board of directors occasionally would dent his political capital, but a vote he cast last Friday may cost his company cash. Watson was one of five city of Houston […]

No Dome vote this year?

There may not be an Astrodome-related bond referendum on the ballot this year. The last day Commissioners Court can place a referendum on the November ballot is Aug. 20, according to county attorneys. The court’s Tuesday meeting was its last scheduled before that date, and no mention of the Dome was on the agenda. “The […]

Up or down, more or less

Metro has chosen its referendum. A sharply divided Metro board approved a plan Friday that would give the city of Houston tens of millions of dollars more for road projects under a ballot referendum to be put before voters in November. The 5-4 vote followed a sometimes strained, four-hour meeting and sparked accusations that city […]

County wants to keep its share of the GMP

No surprise. Harris County Commissioners Court made it official Tuesday, passing a resolution calling on Metro to keep a quarter of its 1 percent sales tax flowing to road projects. The 5-0 vote leaves only Mayor Annise Parker backing Metro Chairman Gilbert Garcia’s proposal to cap the so-called “general mobility” payments so the transit agency […]

Metro meeting about the General Mobility Program

Put it on your calendar. You’re invited to attend a special board meeting to tell METRO what you think about the agency’s General Mobility Program (GMP) and the upcoming referendum. The board meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 18, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in METRO’s board room at 1900 Main St. If you […]

Meet the new “What To Do With The Astrodome” report

Not that much different than the old “What To Do With The Astrodome” report. The Astrodome, a now-empty showplace that has hosted everyone from Elvis Presley to Hurricane Katrina evacuees, should be turned into a multipurpose facility that could spark fresh interest in the city of Houston, a group of consultants recommended Wednesday. The $270 […]

County Attorney report on Constables

County Attorney Vince Ryan has completed a report his office began in December to examine some of the practices in the Constables’ offices. At that time, the FBI was investigating and was on the verge of arresting now-former Constable Jack Abercia, while Constables Victor Trevino and May Walker were being investigated by the District Attorney […]

Constables and eviction notices

This is just wrong. With the help of their taxpayer-funded offices, five Harris County constables have been using a little-known eviction fee to add thousands of dollars a year to their base $120,000 annual salaries. State law allows a constable to pocket fees – ranging from $10 to $20 – for serving a “notice to […]

More on disciplining deputies

Here’s another long Chron story about disciplinary statistics for Harris County Sheriff’s deputies. Reading through it, I felt like there was some context missing. A Houston Chronicle review of disciplinary records indicates that from 2008 through 2010, more than 200 jail employees were disciplined for various offenses, some serious and others minor. Last year, the […]

Murder by numbers

There were a lot fewer murders committed in Houston last year than in recent years. HPD recorded 195 murders for the year as of Friday, a 27.5 percent decrease from the previous year’s total of 269. The preliminary figure doesn’t yet include the death of a 27-year-old woman who police believe was killed in her […]