[WB1] The biggest news of the weekend: An arrest has been made in the murder case of 7-year old Jazmine Barnes. It was not a 40-something white man with blue eyes supposedly seen driving a red truck (as described by one of the eyewitnesses and promulgated by certain media celebrities and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez), but a 20-something black man. A number of people knowledgeable about area criminal justice suggest there is much, much more behind this story, and that it’s going to get even uglier than it already has.
[WB2] The second-biggest news of the week: All the silly local media tributes to Ed Emmett finally came to an end, and newly elected Harris County officials took office. County Judge Lina Hidalgo immediately announced she would not be taking political donations from county contractors, a welcome departure from the area’s (increasingly corrupt) pay-to-play culture. However, she’s also looking for “champions of equity” to employ — a sign that she doesn’t fully reject the Houston Way patronage culture. Flooding and drainage? Apparently not so urgent.
[WB3] Speaking of patronage, new commissioner Adrian Garcia wasted no time calling for Harris County employees to get a minimum wage of $15 an hour (for which SEIU will surely be pleased). Flooding and drainage? Apparently not a first- or second-week priority for Garcia. The new Commissioners Court will take up the proposal Tuesday, according to KRTK.
[WB4] Bill King released a note praising County Judge Hidalgo for her rejection of pay-to-play and promising to take action to rein in pay-to-play in the City of Houston. Shortly afterwards, Tony Buzbee decided to take time away from sightseeing during his India trip to… say largely the same thing. Just for fun, here’s your semi-regular reminder that Buzbee has supported Sylvester Turner, Adrian Garcia, and the slate of Harris County Democratic judges.
[WB5] Greg Degeyter posts his analysis of the Harris County Republican party’s dismal 2018 election performance, and what is to be done.
[WB6] Governor Greg Abbott blasted HISD and a silly editorial board’s comments on fixing the increasingly dysfunctional school system, while State Sen. Paul Bettencourt indicated he will introduce legislation to rearrange HISD’s governance deck chairs. Will any of this posturing translate into improvements? As Kuffer says, we’ll see what happens. Additional: Texas Tribune.
[WB7] Rachel Hooper reminds us that the killer of 11-year-old Josue Flores is still at large (so we remind, in case any celebrities are looking for a new cause). He was stabbed to death walking home from school on 17 May 2016.
[WB9] The University of Tilman, err Houston, pulled off a big football hire, nabbing Dana Holgorsen from West Virginia University. Holgorsen will apparently have a significant budget to hire staff.
[WB10] Dem state rep. Ron Reynolds was released early from the Montgomery County jail, just in time to “serve” his constituents in the upcoming Texas legislative session. The leaders we deserve, and all that…
Happy 2019 everyone!