Tag Archives: Samuel Pena

Firefighter settlement officially approved

The legalities are mostly over, but there are still a bunch of items to handle. A state district court judge has signed off on a settlement between the city of Houston and the firefighter union, clearing one obstacle for a … 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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Rep. Jackson Lee makes her Mayoral candidacy official

Here she comes. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee kicked off her campaign for mayor Friday night with a rally on the rooftop of Post Houston, promising to “unlock City Hall” for all residents and embrace their diversity while outlining a municipal agenda to tackle … 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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Local AstroWorld task force gives its report

Sounds mostly okay to me, but one person who knows a lot more about this stuff than I do is not impressed. A task force formed after the deadly Astroworld concert unveiled a clearer agreement Monday between Houston, Harris County, … 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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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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State task force recommendations on AstroWorld

Interesting. To avoid a repeat of the mayhem at last year’s deadly Astroworld Festival, Texas needs to standardize its event permitting process, establish “clearly outlined triggers” for stopping shows and ensure local public safety agencies are organized in a clear … Continue reading

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Here comes that AstroWorld task force

Got to admit, I had thought this had already happened. Three months after 10 people were killed at the Astroworld Festival at NRG Park, Houston and Harris County have named a 10-person task force to review procedures, permitting and guidelines … 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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How it’s going at the hospitals

In a word, it’s bad. At Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital on Sunday, the medical staff ran out of both space for new coronavirus patients and a key drug needed to treat them. With no open beds at the public hospital, … Continue reading

Posted in Elsewhere in Houston | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

What can Houston do about hazardous buildings?

It’s a good question, but there’s another question that has to be considered alongside it. For the first time, Houston City Council members publicly floated proposals Wednesday for how the city can better protect its residents from explosions like the … Continue reading

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“No confidence”

The latest from the firefighters. Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña will face a “no confidence” vote by members of the city’s fire union over what nearly 100 district chiefs say has been a lack of leadership and a failure to … Continue reading

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Layoffs and demotions

I’m so ready for this to be resolved. Houston firefighters have started to receive layoff notices amid the implementation of Proposition B, Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Marty Lancton said in a statement Wednesday. Houston City Council voted last … Continue reading

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What will Council do about Prop B layoffs?

We’re gonna find out. Mayor Sylvester Turner told the Houston fire union Monday he would provide it with financial data leaders requested, a sign of progress at a critical point in negotiations between the mayor and union to phase in … Continue reading

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The further effects of Prop B

I mean, what did you expect? The Houston Fire Department would idle six to nine fire trucks and employ fewer firefighters per shift, risking a modest increase in response times, if City Council approves a $25 million reduction in HFD’s … Continue reading

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Can we negotiate our way to a Prop B agreement?

It’s complicated. Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration is moving forward with plans for hundreds of layoffs following last week’s voter approval of Prop B despite questions about whether jobs could be saved through renewed negotiations with the city’s firefighters union. […] … Continue reading

Posted in Election 2018, Local politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

We’ll have to wait a little longer for the inevitable Prop B lawsuit

It’s still coming, just not, like, today. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday said he would delay a City Council vote to hire a law firm to represent the city in possible litigation over Proposition B, the ballot item passed by … Continue reading

Posted in Election 2018 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

HFD Chief warns of layoffs

To be fair, this isn’t the first time we have heard this. Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña on Tuesday warned of dire consequences — including possible layoffs of more than 800 firefighters and deferred maintenance or upgrades on aging equipment, … Continue reading

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Council discusses firefighter pay parity proposal

It will cost some money if it passes. Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña said Thursday that his firefighters deserve raises, but he would be hard-pressed to maintain his department budget without reducing his ranks if voters approve a measure granting … Continue reading

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More on the HFD sex discrimination lawsuit

Is anyone surprised that a lot more female firefighters have come forward to describe incidents of harassment at HFD since the initial story was published? Because if you are, I don’t think you’ve been paying much attention to the news … Continue reading

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The fire department’s needs

This is a conversation we need to have, but it’s one we need to dig into and work all the way through. Fire Chief Sam Pena gave City Council a bleak assessment Tuesday of his department’s readiness to respond to … Continue reading

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HFD and disaster preparedness

There’s a lot here to think about, and to do something about. The Houston Fire Department’s limitations quickly became clear as Harvey’s floodwaters rose. Just one high-water rescue vehicle. Decades-old evacuation boats. Sparse training for swift-water rescues. And limited staffing … Continue reading

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We need better fire inspections

Not good. The Houston Fire Department division responsible for ensuring building safety keeps inadequate records, does not examine buildings on a regular schedule and inflated its inspection numbers, all while exceeding its overtime budget, according to an audit released by … Continue reading

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Acevedo and Pena confirmed by Council

They’re officially official now. City Council unanimously confirmed Art Acevedo and Samuel Peña as Houston’s new police and fire chiefs Wednesday, clearing the way for the mayoral appointees to take office. Acevedo, Austin’s former police chief, is poised to take … Continue reading

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Time once again to discuss Latino political participation

Let’s jump right in. The long wait continues for Houston and Harris County residents eager for a steep uptick in elected Latino representation. Hispanic residents last year were 42 percent of the county population, up from 23 percent in 1990, … Continue reading

Posted in Election 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mayor Turner picks Austin PD Chief for HPD

From the inbox: In a sweeping announcement, Mayor Sylvester Turner named four new department directors and a reappointment Thursday. Pending City Council confirmation, Art Acevedo of Austin will assume the position of police chief and El Paso’s Samuel Pena will … Continue reading

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