Weekend brunch for 3 February 2019

News and views from around the web

Image Credit: etee, flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

[WB1] This week’s biggest story was (initially) that several HPD officers were shot during a raid on an alleged drug house, and there was (rightfully) an outpouring of support and wishes for their speedy recovery. Later, we learned (or, in Chronicle terms, “new details emerged” — which means that HPD began to share some key information that was not shared initially) that it was a no-knock raid on a home based on a somewhat controversial warrant that relied upon a confidential informant report of black tar heroin and sightings of a 9mm weapon and was signed by a municipal judge — and that the couple’s dog was killed almost immediately as the events unfolded.

As Cory Crow observes, the whole tragic mess demands that some questions be answered, for it cannot be ruled out at this point that HPD may have gotten the wrong house/couple based on flimsy evidence that a judge ought not have signed off on.

[WB2] HPOU president Joe Gamaldi managed to break away from his campaign against pay parity for HFD to find himself in hot water for his over-the-top statements made in response to the raid described above. Civil rights leaders came back at him hard over his comments, as did HPD Chief Art Acevedo.

[WB3] The Texas Monitor notes a Truth in Accounting study (pdf) that gives Texas’s three largest cities bad marks on fiscal health. As Jim Noteware noted some years back, the City of Houston is basically broke.

[WB4] The Chronicle editorial board urged Mayor Sylvester Turner to embrace ethics reform. Seriously! File that one under “things that probably are not going to happen.” At least they note that mayoral candidate Bill King has been pushing this idea seriously, just as he pushed pension reform in his last campaign.

[WB5] Zach Despart shines needed light on the pay-to-play culture in Harris County government.

[WB6] Getting new Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo up to speed is turning into somewhat of an expensive proposition.

[WB7] The Houston Chronicle gave itself credit for the formation of a regional task force to improve traffic patrols and enforcement. A Chronicle series previously detailed the alarming number of Houston-area traffic fatalities in recent years.

[WB8] The Harris County Republican Party leadership apparently decided to politicize the Holocaust, then to double down when called on it, then to back off. Because that’s the way that organization rolls! Vlad Davidiuk is still listed on the organization’s website as its communications director, although an email forwarded to blogHOUSTON suggests that his final day was 31 January.

[WB9] Two Houston Chronicle stenographers are VERY excited after a media relations blitz announcing fun new renderings of the old Midtown Sears building (in which a decayed part of town is magically transformed!) and a $2.5 million redirection of TIRZ funds to support the city’s latest “world classy” gambit: Silicon Bayou! Rah RAH! (Psst… the name may need some rethinking)

[WB11] Mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee spoke with David Jennings about his campaign. There doesn’t seem to be one item in his agenda that Bill King hasn’t already proposed (and elaborated on in detail), but he seems willing to set his money on fire to be a “disruptive” candidate and has Kathaleen Wall’s political consultants engaged to help him do so. Pass the popcorn!

[WB12] The Chronicle‘s self-identified conservative columnist notes that she “was proud to vote for” Lupe Valdez.

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