Weekend brunch for 19 May 2019

News and views from around the web

Image credit: Patrick Feller - flickr (CC BY 2.0)

[WB1] The Houston Police Department turned over the report on its internal investigation into the 7815 Harding St. Massacre to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday. As usual, Chief Art Acevedo refused to comment on the fiasco, or the disturbing report from the Houston Chronicle earlier in the week on the evidence left behind by said investigators AFTER they completed their crime scene investigation. The latest developments were noted by Reason and the Washington Post.

[WB2] Mayor Sylvester Turner “won” a round in his ongoing battle with the Houston Fire Department, as Harris County District Judge Tanya Garrison (a Democrat) ruled in favor of the City of Houston and HPOU in their efforts to nullify Proposition B on state constitutional grounds. The firefighters’ union immediately announced plans to appeal, noting that an earlier judge had allowed implementation of Proposition B to proceed. While various posts on social media noted seemingly close ties between the judge and Sylvester Turner, KPRC-2’s Joel Eisenbaum found that law firms representing both HPOU and the firefighters’ union donated to the judge. It is worth noting (again) that Mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee (an ostensible supporter of the firefighters) donated $90,000 to the Harris County Democratic Party in 2018, helping Garrison and a slate of democratic judicial candidates sweep every judge position in Harris County.

[WB3] Daniel Albert, chief of staff to District F Councilman Steve Le and council’s highest paid staffer, was in the news again this week for what looks a lot like white collar crime against Houston taxpayers. Albert was away for weeks earlier this year learning military skills and training, then military law, technically on active duty status. The problem: the absentee city worker continued to claim full-time work for city pay (until recently trying to update the system after learning of the latest inquiries). This council staffer’s work habits have drawn scrutiny before, which suggests that Councilmember Le apparently has no problem with taxpayers subsidizing the lifestyle of one Daniel Albert for very little in return.

[WB4] The Chronicle reports that multiple bills related to Hurricane Harvey remain stalled as the legislative session in Austin winds down. In another setback, legislation that would force the City of Houston to sell water rights to a proposed new reservoir is headed to the governor’s desk for signature. Nevertheless, the mayoral staffer charged with shepherding the city’s legislative agenda in Austin seems to continue to have time for campaign tweeting during the workday, so perhaps it will all work out.

[WB5] Mayoral candidate Bill King paid a visit to Kingwood to tour the latest flood damage with local expert Bob Rehak, and notes that recent development is almost surely to blame for the severity of damage to one area.  Several days later, mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee also paid a visit to Rehak, to observe a sand mine operator’s bad behavior and pose for photos. Rehak’s site, ReduceFlooding.com, has become an important resource for Kingwood-area residents.

[WB6] For its part, the Harris County Flood Control District plans to explore how it might accelerate projects aimed at flood control in Kingwood, according to the Chronicle, although various bureaucrats offered a number of reasons why that might be difficult.

[WB7] Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg fired top lieutenant Tom Berg, further contributing to the high turnover in her office. Local attorney Murray Newman, who is quoted in the story, shares more thoughts on the firing on his blog.

[WB8] Wayne Dolcefino blasts the gag order that the presiding Harris County family court judge has issued in the case of Maleah Davis, and argues the public “has a fundamental right to know what happened” with regard to behavior by the Department of Family and Protective Services and the judge who ordered her returned to her home after reports of abuse. Agreed!

[WB9] Steve Miller checks in on the shady practice of developers using “rent-a-voters” to create new municipal utility districts and approve millions of dollars of bonds for future residents. Miller further contrasts this perfectly legal (but definitely shady) behavior with the 2010 prosecution of Woodlands-area activist-voters trying to use a similar process to effect change in their area.

[WB10] Consider this nonsense just another exhibit in the case that the Houston Chronicle should shutter its editorial board and redeploy the resources to the newsroom (and investigative). Think how much more good work the newspaper’s news and investigative teams could do with the salaries represented by two staffers who are apparently employed to watch and argue with each other about a TV show.

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About Kevin Whited 4182 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX