The holidays are upon us, and we’ve overwhelmed.
So, here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festive Kwanzaa, or whatever holiday you do or do not celebrate. We’ll be taking a little break, but here’s a news dump in the meantime to clear out the backlog. May Pancho Claus be good to you this year!
- Rash of improper influence over high-dollar contracts at Houston ISD — while teachers are cut and schools are closed – Mike Cronin and Jennifer Peebles, Texas Watchdog
The needs of elites and their crony friends outweigh the needs of “the children.” You’d think liberals and conservatives alike would be outraged over this, but chances are pretty good you won’t see many links to this on local blogs.
- DA's office stalling on BAT van issue – Lisa Falkenberg, Houston Chronicle
- Harris County ADA testifies "fix is in" in grand jury case over BAT vans – Ted Oberg, KTRK-13 News
Eyewitness News asked the Lykos’ office for comment about a DA refusing to testify and for two days in a row now, we haven’t received an answer.
Where is DA Pat Lykos? At the risk of scaring children, should we put her mug on a milk carton under “Missing!?”
Seriously, all of this looks terrible for the DA’s office, whatever motivations you may think are at play (and anyone who tells you with 100% confidence they know and understand the motivations should be disregarded). Of course, it won’t shock anyone that we find it entirely unsurprising that when voters choose someone whose experience and temperament for the office are suspect, you sometimes get the leadership that might have been expected.
If you’re not already, be sure to follow posts AND comments on the blogs of Murray Newman, Mark Bennett, and David Jennings. You can get all sorts of theories about what’s at play from players and non-players alike!
- After seasons of scandal, TSU blooms under new leadership – Monica Rohr, Houston Chronicle
The official tagline for the campaign to reinvent Texas Southern University is lofty, ambitious and, some might say, hyperbolic. The phrase – “A Renaissance of Excellence” – evokes the notion of rebirth, of a battered institution rising from the ashes.
It’s also undeniably apt.
Matt Bramanti rightly described this as gushing on twitter, which drew objections from the Chron editor for the story, who nitpicked that “Renaissance” was TSU’s word, not the Chron’s. Except the Chron described the term as “undeniably apt.” Their words. You can’t make this stuff up (and because it’s the Chron, don’t really need to).
No doubt, there has been progress from the dark days in which there was a real possibility the state might consider stepping in and shutting down the institution or removing its independence, but Renaissance of Excellence? Just a bit over the top.
Still, we’re not sure why the Chron would be so defensive when called a cheerleader. Honestly, as I’ve noted before, they do the genre better than anyone else I read. They should embrace this one small bit of excellence.
- Officials consider plan for convention center hotel – Nancy Sarnoff, Houston Chronicle
Despite the officials’ enthusiasm to boost downtown meeting business, hotel consultant Bruce Walker is not convinced another large convention center hotel can be built in downtown Houston.
In downtown’s 77002 ZIP code, he said, occupancy and room revenues are too low to justify such the development of such a large property.
And the cost to build a full-service hotel, which he estimates to be around $400,000 a room, is too high for the proposed project to be profitable.
“Those numbers don’t even come close to working,” he said.
File this sort of sensible and sober economic analysis under “Things That Don’t Matter in Houston When Public Officials Are In Hot Pursuit of the Latest World Class Boondoggle.”
- Houston airport's customized trucks raise questions – Stephen Dean, KPRC-2 News
Vacar may be gone, but a bizarre, unaccountable culture seems to endure at HAS.
- An app for Metro's bus system – Houston Chronicle
- (Still) Waiting For Something We Already Have – Greg's Opinion
This! +1 Ditto x2 or however else we can express complete agreement.
- Brenda Stardig pulling a Clinton in transition to Helena Brown? – David Jennings, Big Jolly Politics
- More rape kits than thought remain untested at HPD – Zain Shauk, Houston Chronicle
The Houston Police Department’s backlog of untested rape kits totals between 6,000 and 7,000 – 50 percent more than what officials previously acknowledged, according to a memo from Chief Charles McClelland.
HPD for years has insisted that the backlog of untested rape kits was around 4,000. The details from the chief’s memo confirm a Houston Chronicle report that the backlog likely was far greater.
The backlog also is likely to continue to grow. According to McClelland’s memo, HPD receives some 930 new rape kits each year. HPD officials previously have said the department is able to test only 30 to 40 a month.
Of course. And we’re getting further behind. Think that unanticipated $366k police bill for the Occupy Houston squatters might have been put to some better use?
- Houston VA cemetery director transfers after fallout from alleged attempt to ban use of 'God' and 'Jesus Christ' from ceremonies – Erik Barajas, KTRK-13 News
A firing would have been better, but of course bureaucrats can never be fired.
- Climategate (Part II) – Steven F. Hayward, The Weekly Standard
Reading that you’ll never find on the blog of the Chron in-house global warmist, SciGuy Eric Berger.
- Another scalp for Dolcefino's wall – Harris County Almanac
Yep, even though those caught in questionable behavior are trying to spin it otherwise. Meanwhile, Undercover Man is after a few more scalps elsewhere. See below.