Tag Archives: HFD

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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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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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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Travis Scott and the Apple contract

Gotta say, this doesn’t look great. Houston police investigating the 2021 Astroworld concert disaster determined that a contract between Travis Scott and Apple required him to finish his set in order to receive a $4.5 million payment, according to a … Continue reading

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HPD releases its official report on the AstroWorld tragedy

Read it and see for yourself. They looked like rag dolls, Reece Wheeler thought. One by one, the Astroworld Festival coordinator watched from the command center as unconscious Travis Scott fans’ were crowd-surfed out of the mosh pit and dumped … Continue reading

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Watson Grinding explosion “could have been prevented”

I don’t know about you, but I favor there being fewer unplanned massive explosions. A deadly explosion that rocked northwest Houston in January 2020 could have been prevented with better planning and safety training, the federal agency responsible for investigating chemical … 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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Mayor Turner’s final budget

This is what he’s handing off. Mayor Sylvester Turner will unveil a $6.2 billion budget proposal this week, the final spending plan of his tenure and one he predicts will have enough savings to cover his successor’s first budget gap. … Continue reading

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SCOTx rules for city on pay parity, for firefighters on collective bargaining

I’m going to approach this one at first via dueling press releases. First, from the HPFFA: The Supreme Court of Texas has ruled that the City of Houston violated the state constitution in refusing to honor voter-approved fair pay and … Continue reading

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Pension reform had the desired effect

It’s a good thing Houston got this done when it did. We couldn’t get it done earlier, and I don’t think we could get it done now. Now, nearly six years after Mayor Sylvester Turner shepherded a package of reforms through the … Continue reading

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Mayor Turner’s final year

The big local political story, besides whatever violence the Legislature commits to Houston and/or Harris County, will be the 2023 Mayor’s race. The incumbent still has a full year to go, though, and he has his plans for what he … Continue reading

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City approves new regulations on outdoor music festivals

Hope they help. Houston City Council on Monday approved stricter permitting requirements for outdoor music events on private property with more than 500 attendees. There has been an increasing number of instances in which organizers only informed the city of … Continue reading

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SCOTx hears firefighter pay parity arguments

Lots at stake here. More than four years after Houston voters approved a measure that would grant firefighters equal pay with police officers, the legal battle to decide the referendum’s fate landed Tuesday in the hands of the Supreme Court of Texas. The … Continue reading

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New regulations for outdoor music events proposed

Good idea, but it feels to me like there ought to be more. Houston is considering tightening up permitting requirements for some large outdoor music events to avoid wasting city resources accommodating last-minute notices. On Thursday, officials from the Houston … Continue reading

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We could maybe vote on a piece of the stupid revenue cap next year

Yippie. Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday he will ask voters in 2023 to amend the city’s cap on property tax revenue to allow for more public safety spending, as the council cut the city’s tax rate for the eighth time … Continue reading

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The active shooter hoax at our neighborhood school

This made for a super eventful Tuesday afternoon. Police and panicked parents scrambled to Heights High School Tuesday afternoon, in frantic response to a false report that a gunman had shot 10 people in a room on the 2,400-student Houston … Continue reading

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Pension reform law reinstated by appeals court

A win for the city. A state appeals court on Tuesday tossed out a ruling that jeopardized part of Houston’s pension reform plan, reversing a victory the firefighters’ pension board had scored in late 2020. The Houston Firefighters’ Relief and … Continue reading

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Houston will have a bond on the ballot

First I’d heard of this, but it should be pretty routine. Houston will ask voters in November to approve a $478 million bond program to buy fire and police vehicles, renovate or replace city facilities and give the city’s animal … Continue reading

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William-Paul Thomas

This is bad. The question is how much worse might it be. William-Paul Thomas, the mayor’s council liaison, was offered more than $13,000 by a local bar owner to help him pass a building inspection and fast-track a new permit … Continue reading

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Bitcoin and the firefighters’ pension fund

Okay. When the Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund bought $25 million in cryptocurrencies, with the fund’s chief investment officer touting their potential, retired fire Capt. Russell Harris was concerned. Harris, 62, has attended the funerals of 34 firefighters killed … Continue reading

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City passes its budget

Not too much drama. Houston’s $5.7 billion budget for the next fiscal year includes a big jump in revenue from water bills, raises for all city employees and the largest unspent reserves in years. City Council voted 15-2 to adopt … Continue reading

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It’s city of Houston budget time again

That federal COVID relief money continues to be very nice. Once again relying on federal money, Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposed $5.7 billion budget for next year would pay for raises for all city employees, offer tax relief to seniors and … Continue reading

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How’s that city push to get its employees vaccinated going?

Not bad, actually. Nearly three months after Mayor Sylvester Turner signed an executive order requiring Houston’s 21,000 city employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, receive a medical or religious exemption, or submit COVID-19 test results every two weeks, compliance with … Continue reading

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Some more AstroWorld stuff

Firefighter logs from the event tell the story of early chaos and continued problems. Houston firefighters arrived at a small command post parked on the far-flung Orange Lot, about a mile from the festival grounds. They spent the day listening … Continue reading

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Mayor Turner orders unvaxxed city employees to get tested twice a week

So maybe get vaccinated, and avoid all the hassle. Unvaccinated city workers must get tested for COVID-19 twice a month and report their results to the human resources department, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Wednesday. Turner signed an executive order implementing … Continue reading

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The charter referendum will be in 2023

So be it. The organizations and residents who petitioned the city to give City Council members more power will have to wait until 2023 to vote on the measure, after the council declined to put it on this year’s ballot. … Continue reading

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Appeals court overturns verdict in firefighter pay parity lawsuit

Wow. An appeals court on Thursday reversed a ruling that declared Houston firefighters’ pay-parity measure unconstitutional, a major win for the fire union and one that could have far-reaching effects on city finances. The fire union won approval of a … Continue reading

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Council will decide when charter amendment votes will be

Fine, but they should be this year. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday promised to bring a charter amendment petition to City Council before a key August deadline to order an election for this year. A diverse coalition of groups, including … Continue reading

Posted in Election 2021 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Charter amendment referendum likely #2 on its way

Pending signature verification. The Houston firefighters’ union says it has collected enough signatures on a petition to make it easier to bring contract talks with the city to binding arbitration. The city secretary now must verify at least 20,000 signatures, … Continue reading

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City appeals firefighter collective bargaining case to Supreme Court

Here we go. The city of Houston on Monday asked the Texas Supreme Court to weigh in on a recent appellate court ruling that rejected Mayor Sylvester Turner’s attempt to strike down a key provision of state law governing how … Continue reading

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City’s budget passes

There was a little bit of drama, but nothing too big. Houston’s City Council voted Wednesday to approve a $5.1 billion budget for the next fiscal year that relies heavily on a massive infusion of federal aid to close a … Continue reading

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Here comes our boring budget

Save the drama for the budget amendments. A few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Sylvester Turner painted a dire picture of the city’s finances as he laid out his plan to balance last year’s $5 billion city budget. Like … Continue reading

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