Category Archives: Local politics

Firefighter back pay update

Just tell me what the bill’s gonna be. The city of Houston and its firefighters are nearing an agreement to resolve their bitter, yearslong pay dispute, with specifics expected to take additional weeks or months to finalize, according to city … Continue reading

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Mayor Whitmire working with the firefighters

We’ll see what we get. In another step toward settling its years-long conflict with the city, the firefighters union met with Mayor John Whitmire’s administration [last] Friday morning to discuss the city’s first proposal for raises and back pay, with … Continue reading

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Food Not Bombs sues the city again

We’ll see how it goes. Food Not Bombs, a group of volunteers who serve meals outside Houston Public Library’s downtown branch, filed suit Tuesday against the city, alleging that a food-sharing ordinance is unconstitutional. The suit claims that the city’s … Continue reading

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How are the city’s talks with H-GAC going?

Things seemed to be going reasonably well. The deadline had passed but no one seemed to fussed about it. Despite a deadline set by Houston voters for early January, the process to increase Houston’s role in regional planning will take … Continue reading

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On hiring more cops

Not as easy to do as you might think. Halfway through his inaugural speech, Houston Mayor John Whitmire said the city made it far too hard for people to join the Houston Police Department. As an example, Whitmire pointed out … Continue reading

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Mayor Whitmire wants to add Metro cops to HPD

On its face this makes sense. Mayor John Whitmire said he’s negotiating with Metro to combine its almost 400 public safety employees with Houston’s Police Department under Chief Troy Finner. The transit group’s police department, with a budget in 2024 … Continue reading

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Whitmire’s approach to HISD

It’s on brand, I’ll say that. Mayor John Whitmire met Monday with Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath to reaffirm his support for Houston ISD’s appointed leadership, signaling a new approach from City Hall toward the state’s stewardship of the district … Continue reading

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We return once again to the subject of a garbage fee

Maybe this is the time it happens. Maybe not. Who can say? For many residents, Houston’s unreliable garbage collection is a familiar issue — and it’s one that even the city’s newly elected mayor apparently must confront. In his inaugural … Continue reading

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Chris Hollins begins his term as Controller

Lots of potential for action here. Houston Controller Chris Hollins knows that following Tuesday’s inaugural celebration comes the hard work. But the 37-year-old former Harris County Clerk says he is up to the task. “The people of Houston put (me) … Continue reading

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Mayor Whitmire orders negotiations with the firefighters

New regime, new directions. In a major step toward reconciliation with the firefighters union, Mayor John Whitmire has asked the city attorney to drop an appeal that former Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration filed just days before the change in city … Continue reading

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Mayor Whitmire inaugurated

Congratulations and best wishes to the new Mayor. Former state Sen. John Whitmire was sworn in as Houston’s 63rd mayor just after midnight Monday in a private ceremony with family and friends at City Hall. Judge Victor Trevino III conducted … Continue reading

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City ordered to negotiate a contract with the firefighters

A day of reckoning is arriving. The city of Houston and the firefighters union are sparring over who bears responsibility for their years-long legal battle, following a judge’s request for them to start renegotiating the firefighters’ contracts within the next … Continue reading

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Where are we going to count the primary votes?

I’m a little puzzled by this. With the March primaries around the corner, Harris County still does not have a confirmed location to run its election operations. Two of the county’s regular sites – NRG Arena and George R. Brown … Continue reading

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The Ogg admonishment

This happened last night. District Attorney Kim Ogg was reprimanded on Tuesday night by the Harris County Democratic Party, which passed a resolution calling for her admonishment. By a vote of 129 to 61, precinct chairs approved the resolution accusing … Continue reading

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Mayor proposes his water bill fix ordinance

This sure got a lot of late momentum. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is adding water bill reform to his to-do list as he approaches the end of his eight years in office. Turner announced at a Monday news conference nine … Continue reading

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Prop A gets its first customers

First there was this: Council Members Carolyn Evans-Shabazz (District D) and Mary Nan Huffman (District G) joined Council Member Amy Peck (District A) to submit notice to the City’s Agenda Office to place an item on the City Council Agenda. … Continue reading

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Harris County elections update

No news is good news. By all accounts, Harris County pulled off a smooth local election last week under its newly reconfigured election administration. But officials didn’t have time to revel in it before a judge took them to task … Continue reading

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And now for the H-GAC negotiations

Prop 2, the Fair For Houston ballot item, passed easily last week. The item charges the city of Houston to negotiate with H-GAC for a revised system of “proportional voting”. Those negotiations are next on the docket. Legal questions remain, … Continue reading

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Harris County provider of mental health services victimized by ransomware

Too close for comfort. Harris County officials had few details to add Thursday morning about the investigation into a recent ransomware attack on the county’s provider for mental health services, saying cybersecurity experts had recommended they not share information. “As … Continue reading

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Harris County gets federal grant for its climate action plan

Nice. The U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday that it awarded Harris County one of 16 clean energy grants totaling $30 million, distributed to state and local governments nationwide. The Harris County grant of more than $1.6 million is the … Continue reading

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Judge Hidalgo talks about her mental health journey

Good stuff, and I’d bet there are a lot of people who need to hear it. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said she spent years fighting depression and suicidal thoughts but felt too ashamed to ask for help because of … Continue reading

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Eric Dick is an old hand at violating campaign laws

He’s the industry standard around here. Attorney and Harris County Department of Education Trustee Eric Dick faces $40,000 in fines for campaign finance violations after the Texas Ethics Commission recently tacked on another $10,000 penalty. The TEC ruled late last … Continue reading

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Judge Hidalgo returns

Welcome back. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo thanked Harris County residents for their support Monday in a statement announcing her return to work after an extended leave of absence to receive mental health treatment. Hidalgo said in the statement that … Continue reading

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New criminal courts coming online

Good. Three new felony courts with a $9.2 million budget are expected to open next week, in what officials say is the final stretch in tackling a backlog of criminal cases that have piled up over the past six years. … Continue reading

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City Council approves B-Cycle lifeline

I approve of this as a stopgap, but a real plan needs to be in place. Houston’s floundering bike sharing system has a little more life, after city officials approved $500,000 to keep the system operational, at least until a … Continue reading

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Harris County libraries are now “book sanctuaries”

It’s great that they’re doing this, and terrible that they have to. As book bans and challenges occur across the state and nation, Harris County libraries have joined a movement dedicated to preserving people’s right to decide for themselves what … Continue reading

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City to provide some funding to B-Cycle

Good. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to extend a half-million dollar lifeline to the city’s nonprofit bike share program, he said Wednesday. Turner said he will present City Council next week with a proposal to send funding to Houston Bike … Continue reading

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Judge Hidalgo to return to work October 2

Glad to hear her recovery is going well. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is extending her leave of absence for treatment of her clinical depression until Oct. 2, her office announced Thursday. Hidalgo will be discharged Saturday from the out-of-state, … Continue reading

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Houston to fund database to track gun violence

This is a good thing. A data project to track gun injuries will receive city funding as trauma centers across Houston saw a steady increase in firearm injury victims in recent years, but lacked a systematic way to report the … Continue reading

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Harris County election duties return to County Clerk and Tax Assessor

Welp. Elections Administrator Cliff Tatum will not be involved in Harris County elections operations after Friday, as he will not be hired by the county clerk’s or tax assessor-collector’s offices as part of a massive reorganization. Harris County’s elections operations … Continue reading

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Judge Hidalgo takes leave of absence for depression

I wish her well. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has taken a temporary leave of absence to receive in-patient medical treatment for clinical depression, according to a statement from her office Monday. The statement notes she has been at an … Continue reading

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How Harris County has spent COVID relief funds

A lot of good stuff here. Harris County has received around $1.8 billion in federal aid to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, a staggering sum that provided struggling residents with immediate emergency relief, has kept county services running and is fueling … Continue reading

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City to sue over mandatory arbitration law

Add it to what is likely to be a substantive list. Houston city attorneys said Monday they plan to challenge the constitutionality of a new Texas law that gives Houston firefighters mandatory arbitration in their long-running contract stalemate. Lowell Denton, … Continue reading

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City passes Mayor Turner’s final budget

Get ready, whoever is up next. Houston city staff will see pay raises, money will go toward sidewalk repairs and residents won’t have to maintain their own drainage ditches anymore. All are part of the $6.2 billion budget that passed through Houston … Continue reading

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