Weekend brunch for 31 March 2019

News and views from around the web

Image credit: Kaleb Fulgham - flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

[WB1] More drug cases involving disgraced (now retired) police office Gerald Goines have been dismissed, according to the Houston Chronicle and KPRC-2 News. Goines figured prominently in the 7815 Harding St. Massacre, which we’ve been covering in this space since 3 February 2019 (about two months with more questions than answers at this point). Earlier this week, a Houston Chronicle analysis indicated that there may be many more cases handled by Goines than the 1,400 that have been flagged for review so far. HPD Chief Art Acevedo apparently did not provide any comment for these stories.

[WB2] The Houston Chronicle did discover that one of the HPD investigators involved in the internal probe of the Harding St. Massacre “was quietly relieved of duty earlier this month.” As the reporting clearly reveals, neither Acevedo nor department officials wanted to elaborate on the move.

[WB3] KTRK-13 news reports that the HPD sergeant charged with killing his wife in Pearland has been relieved of duty with pay. And we have a Joe Gamaldi sighting! (he, along with Acevedo, has largely been in hiding since details of the Harding St. raid began to suggest some very dirty cops orchestrated the deaths of two civilians and their pet at 7815 Harding St.).

[WB4] HPD Chief Acevedo, who is not always available for comment about a potentially dirty division within his department, is frequently available for lofty pronouncements on twitter, such as the following:

I will contribute to this American Values conversation with this observation: Americans who are minding their own business in their homes should not be gunned down by dirty Houston Police Department cops who fabricate evidence and find a friendly, appointed municipal judge to play along.

[WB5] The mayor’s chief communications officer also seems to waste a lot of time on twitter nonsense:

[WB6] Mayor Sylvester Turner kicked off his re-election campaign over the weekend, emphasizing “unity.” Houston firefighters (and anybody who’s been the target of the mayor’s communications staff on twitter) surely had a good laugh over the choice of campaign theme, given Turner’s efforts to pit Houston police officers against Houston firefighters. Earlier in the week, the firefighters responded in court to the City of Houston court action against them (and debunked said communications staff spin on the move). The mayor’s communications staff also regularly uses the official City of Houston twitter account to promote the mayor’s side in his ongoing war against Houston firefighters – this propagandistic lecturing more properly belongs on a campaign account, and is surely not an example of promoting “unity.”

[WB7] The Houston Chronicle ran a long profile this week on Marty Lancton, the president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association and Mayor Turner’s chief antagonist on firefighter pay parity. Lancton had a lengthy, informative interview with Michael Berry several weeks ago (interview begins about 10 minutes into the archive).

[WB8] The Houston Chronicle discovered that late Houston/Harris County politico El Franco Lee still has a massive campaign war chest that is under the control of his widow. Between the late El Franco Lee and the very much living Sylvester Turner, have there ever been two better local examples of the need to reform local machine politics and the related pay-to-play culture?

[WB9] A state conservator ordered HISD to suspend its search for a permanent superintendent until state investigators complete their probe of the bickering, dysfunctional HISD board of trustees.

[WB10] Little Jolly Politics has an interesting look at new Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s calendar during her first 30 days in office, a reasonably good indicator of her priorities.

[WB11] Frank C. Smith urges Memorial Park planners to scale back their ambitious plans to remake Memorial Park, suggesting monied interests have gained too much sway over the iconic park’s development.

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