The last week or so sort of got away from us, so here’s a quick link post to catch up:
- Housing authority paid thousands to employees' friends, relatives, records show – Mike Morris and Susan Carroll, Houston Chronicle
Harris County Housing Authority executives have doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal taxpayer money to the friends and relatives of employees without formal contracts or board approval, the agency’s financial records show.
Some of the authority’s handshake deals extended to convicted criminals with dubious qualifications for the jobs they were paid to perform – including working on complex, multimillion-dollar federal housing programs, according to an examination of the agency’s records and background checks on people paid during the past five years.
The authority cut checks to the spouses, siblings, children and other family members of several employees in recent years, paying some of them through subcontractors, public records and interviews with their relatives show.
That certainly sounds like The Houston Way!
- International flights out of Hobby? – Miya Shay, KTRK-13 News
Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune says he and past Houston mayors developed IAH specifically as the city’s international gateway, and it’s a key reason for Houston’s economic success to date.
“It’s going to pop an economic balloon, which has been Houston’s economic growth,” he said. “It’s going to split a big city — six million people — into two small cities. So we’re going to have transportation like Austin.”
So far as we can tell, Miya Shay beat everyone on this story last Friday.
Perhaps a commenter can convince me otherwise, but it strikes me that the decades-long designation of IAH as Houston’s international gateway and HOU as a domestic airport has served the area well. Southwest chose not to compete out of IAH years back (and Continental decided the same out of Hobby). If Southwest really wants to fly international, then they ought to head back to Houston’s international airport, shouldn’t they?
- War between United, Southwest looms over Houston – Kiah Collier and Chris Moran, Houston Chronicle
- United vs Southwest in Letters – Houston Politics/Chron.com
- Emmett staffer fired after misusing funds – Mike Morris, Houston Politics/Chron.com
A staff member for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has been fired, accused of using money from a private nonprofit corporation for his personal use.
Kirk A. Boudreaux, 49, has taken money from the corporation, formed by the judge, since 2008, Emmett said. Boudreaux has repaid some of the money but currently owes more than $40,000, Emmett said.
Emmett hired Boudreaux in late 2007 to serve as budget and finance adviser at an annual salary of about $90,000. He also served as volunteer treasurer of HC Events Inc., a nonprofit registered to Emmett’s office that collects donations, sponsorships and registration fees for Emmett’s annual Trade & Transportation Conference. The event this year was held Jan. 31.
Emmett called the news “sickening” and “completely shocking,” and stressed that only the nonprofit’s revenues, not county tax dollars, were misused.
That, and another associate’s (alleged) boorish behavior, almost certainly will detract from the county judge’s efforts to push his ethics agenda.
- More on permits for feeding the poor – Tom Bazan, Boondoggles
- Let's work together to solve HCC's problems – Caroll Robinson, Houston Chronicle
- Did HCC lose sight of its mission with Qatar contract? – Patricia Kilday Hart, Houston Chronicle
- Homeless Hotspots: Worst, or best idea ever? – SciGuy/Chron.com
[This] rubs me the wrong way. Jon Mitchell, at ReadWriteWeb, articulates some of the reasons. It has to do with digital divides, haves and have nots, and the idea that a fellow human being is of no more use to you than as an Internet jack.
Hmm, closer to home — we wonder how Berger feels about the Chronicle‘s longtime treatment of similarly situated fellow human beings as newspaper vending machines (placed on the road, among dangerous moving traffic)?
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