Weekend brunch for 10 February 2019

News and views from around the web

Image credit: theimpulsivebuy/flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

[WB1] HPD’s botched raid that resulted in the deaths of two homeowners and their dog and wounds to several officers continued to generate news this week. One officer connected to the raid has been suspended pending further investigation. Local media obtained results from the no-knock warrant that facilitated the deadly fiasco: none of the items described by the alleged confidential informant were found at the scene (indeed, only trivial drug amounts were found). Civil rights leaders called on police union president Joe Gamaldi to resign over his threats against police watchdogs. And criminal justice blogger Grits for Breakfast raised 11 key questions about the botched raid that really need to be answered.

[WB2] Meanwhile, Houston’s police chief headed out of town again, to argue in favor of greater gun control.

[WB3] Boss Turner’s bad behavior at City Council this week drew attention. As mayoral candidate Bill King noted, this is not how an effective CEO manages a team.

[WB4] That bad behavior does not compare to the utter dysfunction of the HISD Board, however. Kudos to the Houston Chronicle for obtaining the video of last year’s meeting (which was intended as a training session).

[WB5] KTRK-13 reporter Ted Oberg ran a story on Houston firefighters who have finished their training but have not been deployed (related to Mayor Turner’s handling of the firefighter pay-parity issue). While Oberg’s video clearly shows the firefighters doing basic maintenance rather than what they’ve been trained to do (in other words, busy work), Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena insists “they’re not doing busy work” and blames the mayor for their current don’t-call-it-busywork assignments. Oberg notes that the city has hired 182 non-HFD full-time employees since the Proposition B vote.

[WB6] Neal Meyer calls attention to Ted Oberg’s earlier reporting on City of Houston shenanigans with regard to water safety. As usual when faced with negative news, Mayor Turner’s communications staff didn’t do the administration any favors with their (unintentionally humorous) twitter responses. As noted by Oberg, mayoral staff was also quick to cancel the interview that Oberg had arranged with Public Works; that’s the degree of transparency we’ve come to expect from the Turner administration.

[WB7] Governing.com ran a story that predicts that it’s about to get much more difficult for property owners in Harris County to evict tenants who are behind on their rent, thanks to the Democratic sweep of judicial elections in the county last November. It’s worth noting (again) that mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee provided significant financial support for that Democratic sweep.

[WB8] HEB broke ground on a taxpayer-subsidized grocery store in District D this weekend. Mayor Turner noted that “first class grocery stores must be provided for the community.”

[WB9] City Council is, inexplicably, continuing to spend time on the all-important matter of the use of smokeless tobacco by professional baseball players in Minute Maid Park.

[WB10] The Houston Residents Against Flooding group criticizes a $22 million Memorial Drive beautification project that does not address any drainage issues (in their view). Unsurprisingly, a TIRZ is involved, and coordination is poor.

[WB11] Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg’s request for 100 more prosecutors is not being received well so far.

[WB12] Houston may have put people on the moon, but apparently it’s beyond our ability to coordinate the coexistence of sidewalks and infrastructure. This happens ALL OVER THE CITY.

[WB13] The Houston Health Department has confirmed seven mumps cases at a Houston ICE facility, all involving adult detainees. Officials say not to worry (because that’s what officials love to say). Oh, and officials learned of the first case in early January. Nice of them to let the public know, hmm?

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Kevin Whited
About Kevin Whited 4244 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX