Weekend brunch for 16 December 2018

News and views from around the web

Image credit: Eric S. - Flickr.com (CC)

[WB1] Bill King, who narrowly lost the mayoral race in 2015, looks set to try again, criticizing the growing culture of corruption around Mayor Sylvester Turner and the city’s pay-to-play culture more broadly.

[WB2] Houston attorney Tony Buzbee is threatening a mayoral run as well, echoing King’s criticism of Boss Turner’s culture of corruption and staging a press conference with the firefighters’ union to announce his willingness to help mediate their dispute with the city. Governing program? TBD.

[WB3] Boss Turner was quick to turn down Buzbee’s offer. Turner communications director Alan Bernstein, a former Chronster who regularly finds time during his workday to chide print journalists on twitter, apparently did not find time to edit the official mayoral statement: “Any salary negotiations, which the firefighters union is requesting is nothing more than a distraction and an attempt to confuse the issue.”

[WB4] Meanwhile, the cesspool of nontransparent stewardship of public money known as the Houston Airport System drew criticism from City Controller Chris Brown this week for spending $85 million thus far (of roughly a billion allocated dollars) to redevelop a terminal, with few signs of actual redevelopment of said terminal. Andy Icken is once again found to be in the middle of the mess. Brown also scuttled an earlier terminal redevelopment plan. Additional: KPRC-2, KPRC-2 again.

[WB5] On the Houston Way of corruption more broadly, Cory Crow has some additional thoughts.

[WB6] Councilmember Dwight Boykins proposed a new garbage tax this week, ostensibly to fund parity pay for firefighters. Boss Turner rejected the idea. Additional: YDOP.

[WB7] Following the decision to spend $3 million to hire musicians to play in Houston’s airports, Boss Turner asked council this week to spend $24 million on art. Yet Boss Turner says he can’t find a way to pay the city’s firefighters and would love to scrap the property tax revenue cap.

[WB8] Houston Public Media ran a wholly uncritical story about yet another non-transparent, quasi-governmental entity, Houston First, and their “belt-tightening” (always a warning signal for Houston-area taxpayers). KTRK-13’s Ted Oberg and the late Trent Seibert reported on the non-transparent operations of Houston First earlier this year.

[WB9] The Houston Chronicle continued its (advocacy?) series on the dangers of Houston roads. More on this to come, but it strikes me that bad Houston drivers and the area’s utter lack of traffic enforcement are more to blame than the roads (although there surely is room for design improvements). Additional: YDOP.

[WB10] Houstonia’s newly arrived food writer describes Pinkerton’s “irresistible” brisket as “falling off the bone.” Twitter mockery ensues, followed by a deceptive/stealthy edit. How is Houstonia still in business?

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX