Weekend brunch for 23 December 2018

News and views from around the web

Image Credit: Francis Storr, Flickr (CC 2.0)

[WB1] Some Houston “leaders” are critical of the recent decision by the HISD school board to reject any partnership with outside entities (including Boss Turner’s), which could eventually lead to increased state oversight of the struggling school system. Interestingly, they seem more concerned with partisanship than with a school system that is failing Houston and Houston’s children:

 Some local officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, have expressed dismay at the idea of the state’s Republican-leaning government taking control of HISD, where all nine elected school board members are Democrats.

[WB2] METRO wants to spend even more taxpayer money to try to improve a transit system that relatively few people use by focusing even more heavily on Houston’s inner core, and is planning a $3 billion bond vote in November 2019. The plan includes 20 more miles of expensive (and dangerous) light rail, and 75 miles of the shiny new toy known as bus rapid transit. Additional: Houston Strategies.

[WB3] Some years back, the New York Times published a story on Intercontinental airport’s “innovation” of addressing the perception of long baggage waits by making people walk much further, thereby reducing the amount of time standing in front of the baggage carousel. Of course, in recent years, the bigger problem was that the dumb airport created a really long walk and merger-afflicted United couldn’t seem to get bags to the carousel within an hour, let alone within the 8 minutes suggested in the story. In any case, the Chronicle reports (with no reference to the earlier “fix” that wasn’t) that United is about to spend over $300 million on upgrades to the current baggage system.

[WB4] Cory Crow comments on the growing smallness of Boss Turner, which is frequently reflected in the twitter behavior of some of Boss Turner’s closest aides towards both the public and local media.

[WB5] Not to be outdone, erratic mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee fired back at an online twitter user who criticized his fundraising for the Trump presidential campaign by noting that he also raised money for Democrats Adrian Garcia, the Harris County Democratic judge candidates, and even Sylvester Turner (whom he would now like to unseat). Okay, then.

[WB6] KTRK-13’s Ted Oberg reports on shoddy cybersecurity practices at the City of Houston and resulting hacks that have previously gone unreported and apparently undisclosed. City documents suggest a city employee was “fired at least partially” for general incompetence related to the fiasco (whatever being partially fired means). What are the odds this was a less-than-qualified patronage hire?

[WB7] The tributes (not really reporting) on the end of Judge Ed Emmett’s tenure continue. Strangely, the Houston Public Media tribute does not tout the Astrodome parking structure as one of his proudest achievements.

[WB8] Don Hooper has posted a look back at the development of Houston’s slates, and how the Harris County GOP stumbled their way into building a pretty good turnout machine well before data analytics became a thing. The Harris County GOP effort has slipped in more recent times.

[WB9] Finally, NPR ran a story recently on Chronicle criminal justice reporter Keri Blakinger, who spent nearly two years incarcerated on drug charges before joining the newspaper. It’s an interesting story.

Kevin Whited
About Kevin Whited 4237 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX