February 16, 2005
SafeClear in the clear

Looks like Senator Whitmire got what he wanted and will drop his push to kill SafeClear.

Whitmire said the bill he filed to kill the program still will technically be pending before the Senate, but that he won't push it if the city makes progress on the changes.

"It's pending business, but it may be allowed to die," he said of the bill, which has passed committee and was scheduled for a full Senate vote Thursday.

Besides the new rule on requesting police to be present at tows, the points Whitmire said helped changed his mind about opposing the ordinance were:

·The city will participate in and expand the county's Motorist Assistant Program, which offers help and minor repairs to stranded motorists.

· Any revenue the city raises through the Safe Clear program will go to mobility projects. Tow truck companies pay the city for exclusive rights to tow on certain freeway stretches.

·The Texas Department of Transportation will review Safe Clear and any similar program to address Whitmire's concern that the city is "leasing" portions of state highways to wrecker companies as a revenue source.

Safe Clear, which White pushed as a way to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion, has drawn criticism from the public and elected officials since it went into effect Jan. 1.

I'm curious about that last bit. Has anyone asked the various Council members who have been supportive of SafeClear what they've been hearing from their constituents? I've said before that these guys all voted for it in an election year for themselves. Would they have done that if it were so truly unpopular? I haven't called my own Council member, who had some harsh things to say about SafeClear (in particular, about Mayor White's mobility point man, David Saperstein) after its initial rocky implementation, to see where things stand now, but I haven't seen this point addressed anywhere lately that I can recall. Like I said, just curious. Hotshot Casey has more on how Whitmire and White came to terms.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 16, 2005 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles | TrackBack

Dear Sir,

I don't know where to start. Something is going on, I am not sure why, except that HPD is waging a war to remove me as a hearing examiner for the Civil Service Commission and the Police Officers' Civil Service Commission. Actually, I have been summarily removed without notice from the Police Officers' Commission. I received word just around New Year's this year that Assistant Executive Chiefs Thaler and Montalvo wrote letters requesting my removal which Chief Thaler requested to be placed on the POCSC's administrative review agenda. It was reported to me that the POCSC, being relatively new (four years) and not being a constant stable group of individuals, had no guidlines or history as to how to handle these chiefs' complaints. So they decided that, since these two chiefs didn't like me, I should go. Without prior notice to me. Without a copy of the chiefs' letters. By the way, the complaints were about the tone of my voice taken during a November 15, 2004 hearing. In any event, as I understand it, the Thaler/Montalvo complaints were not run by the Labor Relations Committee which decides on examiners. Instead, their complaints were first presented to the POCSC and then to the CSC. It was after presntation to the CSC that I found out what was going on. The CSC asked me to reply to the chiefs' letters. I did and the CSC decided -- so far-- to keep me on the list of examiners. Now, I have heard through the grapevine that the HPD is or will be filing a second request with the CSC to remove me. The Civil Service System was set up as a protection against political actions in municipal employment. I fear that HPD has found a back door to circumvent the Civil SErvice System by taking out hearing examiner that it does not like. I am given to undersant the CSC will be meeting Febuary 22, 2005 and will be reviewing the latest HPD missive -- which again I have not been provided with a copy of such complaint. The HPD's actions todate will serve to suppress and stifle examiners who remain. If it happened to me, it can happen again to the point that no examiner will remain except one that HPD can ultimately control. In the end, what purpose of the Civil Service System will be served? Just thought you might want to know.
Yours truly,

Tina Snelling

Posted by: T.Snelling on February 16, 2005 6:53 PM

Whitmire was feeling heat inside the body. He accomplished part of his goal, which was to make the Mayor look bad, but the editorial in Saturday's Chronicle -- not any changes pledged -- is what has turned this ship.

Posted by: Joey Jo-Jo Shabadoo on February 16, 2005 8:21 PM