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Posts Tagged ‘Waller County’

We will never stop widening our highways

Eventually, everything will be used for extra highway capacity. For people in western Harris and Fort Bend counties, now is the time to sit down with your toddler and ask what kind of Interstate 10 they’d like to have. Texas Department of Transportation officials, as required by federal policies, are seeking environmental clearance on the […]

Sandra Bland Act passes

Good. The Texas House initially approved the Sandra Bland Act on Friday with a unanimous vote. The body now has to vote on the mental health bill one more time before it reaches Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. (Update, May 20: The House voted 137-0 to give the bill final approval) Senate Bill 1849 would mandate […]

The Sandra Bland Act

Good. State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, on Thursday filed House Bill 2702, dubbed the Sandra Bland Act. The exhaustive piece of legislation would expand what qualifies as racial and ethnic profiling; mandate people experiencing a mental health crisis and substance abuse be diverted to treatment over jail; and create more training and reporting requirements for […]

Texas Central withdraws its land access lawsuits

Interesting. The private developer of a planned bullet train between Dallas and Houston has withdrawn more than a dozen lawsuits against Texas landowners that sought court orders allowing the company access to private property to survey land for the 240-mile project. Texas Central Partners officials said they are instead going to try and have an […]

Hempstead landfill application denied again

Good. A state commission has denied a new application to build a landfill in Waller County, saying ordinances adopted by the county and the city of Hempstead now prohibit a garbage dump in the area. A highly charged debate over proposals to build a landfill rising as high as 151 feet above ground has been […]

Races I’ll be watching today, non-Legislative edition

This is my companion to yesterday’s piece. 1. SBOE district 5 I’ve discussed the SBOE races before. This particular race, between incumbent Ken Mercer and repeat challenger Rebecca Bell-Metereau, is the one that has the closest spread based on past performance, and thus is the most likely to flip. If it does flip, it would […]

Texas Central releases ridership study

From their website: A comprehensive ridership study conducted by L.E.K Consulting has confirmed that Texas is ready for a privately developed Bullet Train line serving North Texas, the greater Brazos Valley and The Greater Houston Metro areas. According to this landmark study, 90% of the 16 million people living in the Texas Bullet Train service […]

More on the Sandra Bland settlement

State Rep. Garnet Coleman is working to implement the reforms mandated by the Sandra Bland lawsuit settlement. House Democrats sparred with state law enforcement officials over questions of racial profiling Tuesday at a sometimes contentious hearing. It was the latest in a series of House County Affairs Committee hearings on policing in advance of the […]

Family of Sandra Bland settles its lawsuit

I hope this brings them some peace, but more importantly I hope it leads to fewer inmate deaths, in Waller County and elsewhere. The family of Sandra Bland — who died last year in a Waller County Jail cell — has reached a settlement with Texas officials in a wrongful death lawsuit, a lawyer for […]

Have we reached a tipping point on flood mitigation?

That’s a question that is alluded to but not directly addressed in this story. “This is how the land is supposed to act,” said Mary Anne Piacentini, executive director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust. “It’s supposed to absorb water and filter out pollutants. It’s not supposed to send it roaring into […]

Sandra Bland, one year later

The timing of this is tragically appropriate. With confident, and sometimes vulnerable, lyrics, a group of poets and singers Sunday afternoon commemorated the life of [Sandra] Bland, who had been found dead in her Waller County Jail cell three days after her arrest. Authorities ruled the 28-year-old’s death a suicide. More than 75 people assembled […]

Hempstead landfill application resubmitted

Here we go again. A Georgia-based company on Wednesday announced it had initiated a new application to build a controversial landfill in Waller County, bringing renewed attention to a project that a citizens group and several county commissioners have actively opposed. Earlier this year, Commissioner John Amsler had described the landfill as “dead” though at […]

Hempstead landfill fight still not over

As with all things, it ain’t over till it’s over. Green Group Holdings recently purchased the 723-acre parcel where the company had planned to build the landfill before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality turned down the project. The move means the Georgia-based Green Group hasn’t given up on the project, known as the Pintail […]

Early voting ends for HD139 special election

Here are the final early voting totals from the HD139 special election. The disparity between absentee ballots and in-person votes is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I’m going to guess that the Saturday in-person total will be less than the 200 early votes, making the overall total in the 1500 to 1600 range. As I noted […]

Early voting for May 7 elections begins today

Hey, remember that special election to fill out Mayor Turner’s unexpired term in HD139? Early voting for it – and for the other elections on the May 7 ballot – begins today. Who knew, right? Here’s the press release from the County Clerk’s office: The Early Voting Period for the May 7, 2016, Special Election […]

Bland committee makes its recommendations for Waller County jail

Good to see. Waller County needs a new jail, local officers need body cameras to record their activities and the sheriff’s office needs to promote civility, a study committee formed after the death of Sandra Bland said Tuesday. The county came under national scrutiny in July when Bland was found hanged in her jail cell […]

Former Trooper Encinia pleads not guilty in Sandra Bland perjury case

As expected. A former Texas trooper pleaded not guilty to charges he lied about his actions last July while arresting Sandra Bland, whose death in Waller County’s jail three days later sparked a national outcry from civil rights activists. Dressed in a gray suit and tie and flanked by his attorneys, former Department of Public […]

Waller County landfill plan appears to be dead

Maybe. A Waller County commissioner on Wednesday declared victory in a years-long battle against an outside company’s proposal to develop a landfill there. “I am proud to say the landfill is dead,” Commissioner John Amsler said as the regular commissioners court meeting got underway. However, a company representative said Wednesday that Green Group Holdings, LLC, […]

Trooper Encinia turns himself in

As expected. Six months after arresting Sandra Bland during a now-infamous traffic stop, state trooper Brian Encinia on Thursday returned to the Waller County jail where Bland died – this time to surrender to authorities on perjury charges. Encinia, 30, surrendered to Texas Rangers after a Waller County judge signed his arrest warrant, Sheriff R. […]

Grand jury indicts trooper in Sandra Bland case

Wow. Waller County grand jurors indicted Department of Public Safety trooper Brian Encinia on a single charge of perjury Wednesday because they did not believe he was telling the truth about his actions during the arrest of Sandra Bland, special prosecutor Darrell Jordan confirmed. The charge against Encinia stems from the trooper’s statement at the […]

Initial day-after-election thoughts

– We now have two cycles’ worth of data to suggest that having more good candidates in a Council race does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. Following in the footsteps of At Large #3 in 2013, a handful of Democratic candidates in At Large #1 split the vote with sufficient closeness to keep them […]

TCEQ rejects application for Hempstead landfill

Back to the drawing board. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality this week returned a company’s application to construct a landfill in Waller County, calling the application “deficient.” It was the latest blow to plans for the highly controversial project about 50 miles northwest of downtown Houston. Green Group Holdings, LLC, a Georgia-based company that […]

DPS seeks dismissal of Sandra Bland lawsuit

The expected response by the defendants. The Texas Department of Public Safety and Trooper Brian Encinia filed motions Tuesday to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit in the death of Sandra Bland, five days after Waller County filed court papers rebutting claims that it was responsible for her death in the county jail. DPS claimed immunity […]

Who needs wetlands?

Development is all that matters, right? More than 38,000 acres of wetlands vanished in greater Houston over the past two decades despite a federal policy that “no net loss” can be caused by encroaching development. That’s an area about the size of The Woodlands and Sugar Land combined turned into neighborhoods, office buildings, strip malls, […]

More good news for Hempstead landfill opponents

This could be the end of the line for the proposed landfill. Opponents of a proposed landfill in Waller County won another victory in a years-long legal fight to prevent the project. The executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a decision supporting the Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead’s request for […]

Will Sandra Bland’s death help lead to bail reform?

That would be a fitting and just outcome if it does. Harris County and the state should reform an unfair bond system that punishes the poor more harshly, according to civil rights leaders, legislative officials and criminal experts who gathered Wednesday in front of the county’s criminal justice center. Reform, they argued, could prevent another […]

Hempstead landfill clarification

I recently blogged about an update to the Hempstead landfill story, in which Green Group Holdings asked to amend its original filings regarding groundwater levels. I received an email on Monday from a Green Group representative, who sent me the following additional information: On August 12, 2015, the Administrative Law Judges presiding over the hearing […]

Hempstead landfill would indeed hurt the environment

Raise your hand if this surprises you. Pintail Landfill developers backpedaled from arguments that their proposed dump site outside Hempstead would not harm the environment, agreeing for the first time this summer that their review of groundwater under the property was flawed. Environmental testing by opponents in preparation for a November hearing found that groundwater […]

Sandra Bland’s mother sues DPS and Waller County

Can’t say this is a surprise. The mother of Sandra Bland filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Texas Department of Public Safety trooper and several others she deems responsible for the death of her 28-year-old daughter at the Waller County Jail in mid-July. Geneva Reed-Veal is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages […]

Three panels investigating Sandra Bland’s death

One was appointed by the Sheriff: In the wake of the controversial arrest of Sandra Bland and her jailhouse suicide, Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith has asked for an independent panel of civilians to evaluate all aspects of the way he runs his department, from the cell blocks to the streets, and make public […]

Sandra Bland’s death ruled a suicide

That’s only part of this tragic story. Waller County prosecutors said Thursday that a preliminary autopsy found that Sandra Bland committed suicide, but they pledged to continue investigating the circumstances surrounding her controversial arrest by a state trooper as well as her death in a county jail cell. “The pathological findings … conclude that the […]

Dashcam video from Sandra Bland arrest released

The Press has a good writeup. I’m just going to quote the two bits of transcript they provided: “What’s wrong?” the trooper asked as he delivered Bland her ticket. “You seem very irritated.” “I really am, because I feel like it’s crap for what I’m getting a ticket for,” Bland said. “I was getting out […]

Sandra Bland’s death being investigated as a homicide

Doesn’t mean that’s how it will be ruled, but it’s at least a sign that it’s being taken with appropriate seriousness. The probe into Sandra Bland’s hanging death inside a Texas jail — which a medical examiner ruled a suicide last week — now includes the possibility of murder. “This is being treated like a […]

What happened to Sandra Bland?

This is horrible. There are big questions about the final hours of Sandra Bland’s life. The official story is that the 28-year old committed suicide by hanging herself in a Waller County jail cell. Her family doesn’t buy it. Bland, a black woman who graduated from Texas Prairie View A&M and had recently accepted a […]