Weekend brunch for 16 June 2019

News and view from around the web

Image credit: Cristian Dina/Pexels

[WB1] On Thursday, the 14th Court of Appeals ordered the Houston firefighters union and Mayor Sylvester Turner to begin another round of mediation over their pay dispute. A lower court recently held the voter-approved pay parity referendum unconstitutional, so it’s interesting that the appeals court abated the appeal for 60 days and ordered more mediation rather than simply upholding the earlier ruling. Neither party seems enthused about the prospects, but both agreed to comply.

[WB2] Earlier in the week, City Council rescinded the layoffs and demotions that Mayor Turner had declared necessary to comply with the requirements of Proposition B. Turner indicated during and after the meeting that the City would be considering how to reclaim the funds granted as back pay before the referendum was declared unconstitutional, as “the city cannot give a gift.”

[WB3] HPD Chief Art Acevedo continues to tweet about Democratic Harris County judges (including one Socialist) who are requiring what he considers unreasonably low bonds for repeat violent offenders. It’s worth noting that mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee’s financial support of the Harris County Democratic party’s slate of judges that swept the county in November 2018 has relevance to the current mayoral campaign.

[WB4] Mayoral candidate Bill King rolled out his ethics reform plan on Monday, one day after the End Pay to Play PAC launched their petition drive to reform the city’s campaign finance laws.

[WB5] After a review of public records, Keri Blakinger reports that Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg appeared to overstate caseload figures in her unsuccessful attempt to boost her budget by $21 million earlier this year.

[WB6] An inmate in the Harris County jail contends he gave Houston police investigators information about the location where Maleah Davis’s remains were dumped on 26 May, five days before her remains were finally found when Quanell the Tenth supplied the same information from suspect Derion Vence.

[WB7] METRO remains determined to ask voters for a whole lot of money in November to spend on projects that remain unclear even now, drawing criticism this week from Councilmember Robert Gallegos, who is displeased with various scenarios involving rail in the East End.  Interestingly, a key component of the plan, signature bus service intended to augment METRO’s most heavily used bus route (the 82 Westheimer) has ridership estimates that blow away all of the rail components being considered, and ought to drive a conversation about more bus (rather than rail) expansion. It won’t, because (as the article notes) the rail fans tend to be the ones who show up at METRO’s meetings.

[WB8] Astros rookie Yordan Alvarez is off to a great start, while the Texans continue their bungling ways.

Last but not least: Happy Father’s Day to all our dads out there!

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