Weekend brunch for 24 March 2019

News and views from around the web

Image credit: Salim Virji - flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

[WB1] The Houston Chronicle reported on Friday that Houston Police Department officer Gerald Goines, the narcotics cop at the center of the massacre of two civilians at 7815 Harding St as part of a dubious no-knock drug raid, has retired from the force. Neither HPD chief Art Acevedo (who spends much of his time in front of TV cameras or conversing on twitter) nor any representative from the Houston Police Officer’s Union (which had plenty to say about this raid initially) were “available for comment” according to the newspaper. The newspaper has reported that multiple veteran narcotics officers have quietly retired since the deadly raid, but scant additional details have emerged from HPD. The attorney for the family of one of the victims of the 7815 Harding St massacre is preparing to file a motion to investigate, an early step in potential civil litigation that may ultimately provide many more answers than HPD’s internal “investigation.”

[WB2] Chief Acevedo was available earlier in the week to brief City Council on his new no-knock raid policy. During the initial period of outrage over his department’s 7815 Harding St massacre, Acevedo had indicated that such raids would “go away like leaded gasoline in this city” – a direct quote that is fairly interpreted as “will be eliminated.” He apparently didn’t mean it, and thus squandered just a little more of a problematic department’s credibility this week.

[WB3] HPD’s credibility took another hit over the weekend when one of its officers, Sergeant Hilario R. Hernandez, was taken into custody in Kingsville and charged with the murder of his wife in Pearland.

[WB4] The organizers of Houston’s Drag Queen Story Time announced this week that they will no longer sponsor the Houston Public Library program. However, the Houston Public Library announced Friday (when else?) that it plans to continue the program this summer. The organizers and the Houston Public Library allowed a registered sex offender to perform for children in the last iteration of the program, “drawing criticism” (as some media outlets effectively characterized it).

[WB5] Houston firefighters held a massive rally outside City Hall on Monday and called out both Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Chronicle editorial board on Proposition B. And Councilmember Dwight Boykins continued to tag new items on the agenda, in protest of the mayor’s treatment of newly trained fire cadets.

[WB6] City Council did finally approve a massive ambulance fee hike and other EMS charges this week. Neal Meyer previously discussed this proposal on blogHOUSTON.

[WB7] In Chicago, we continue to learn more about corruption at City Hall and the figures driving it. Locally, as mayoral challengers pound the Turner administration over pay-to-play patronage, Wayne Dolcefino continues to dig into Mayor Turner’s favorite lobbyist (Cindy Clifford) and other associates.

[WB8] Mayoral candidate Bill King posts an example of bureaucratic snafus and poor leadership combining to slow down an important Kingwood flood project – just another data point to consider when some wonder why so little progress has been made on flood control since Harvey.

[WB9] The Houston Chronicle’s Austin-based business columnist (whose wife is an executive in Austin for a renewable energy firm, something that is not always disclosed in his columns) thinks YOU are to blame for the ITC environmental disaster in Deer Park. The right answer, of course, is that ITC is to blame and should certainly be held to account for both the incident and its dismal performance in sharing critical, timely information during the crisis. But it’s nice that Tomlinson checked in to give the Austin/renewables view on the matter.

[WB10] Houston was praised by a Boston expat as “a food lover’s paradise” – which those of us who live here already knew. But we’ll take the recognition!

[WB11] And finally, the Houston Cougars remain alive in the NCAA Tournament (with a Sunday game against Ohio State) and the Houston Astros have set their roster and will return from spring training in Florida for a Monday exhibition game.

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About Kevin Whited 4306 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX