Weekend brunch for 9 June 2019

News and views from around the web

Image credit: Marcho Verch/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

[WB1] Family and friends of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, the couple gunned down by HPD officers in a seemingly dirty raid on their residence at 7815 Harding Street in January, held a memorial service for the couple this week. No charges have been filed against any HPD officers. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office told KTRK-13 that that it could take several more months before any charges are filed.

Why does it feel like local authorities would rather everyone just forget about potentially dirty cops in a potentially dirty narcotics division killing those two people (and their pets) for no good reason?

[WB2] As expected (see WB1), authorities this week confirmed that remains found alongside a road in Arkansas were those of 4-year-old Maleah Davis. KTRK-13 reports that Houston police investigators have finally managed to obtain a warrant for suspect Derion Vence’s cellphone records (which seems a little late in the game given how long she was “missing” but perhaps judges are more wary about HPD warrant requests these days following the Harding Street fiasco).

[WB3] Councilmember Dwight Boykins announced he is running for mayor. The one-time Turner ally has become a fierce critic of the mayor, particularly over Turner’s approach to firefighter pay parity, and received the firefighter union’s endorsement even before his formal announcement. Of the four major contenders, Boykins would seem to be the most fiscally liberal of the group, although one local progressive blockquoter thinks Boykins’s stance on social issues (particularly HERO) is “a deal breaker.”

[WB4] In other mayoral campaign news this week, Wayne Dolcefino blasted the Turner administration’s beleaguered communications shop for race-baiting, as did Charles Blain. Tony Buzbee took credit for forcing Clear Channel to take down their billboards promoting Alert Houston (and, in the view of some, Turner’s campaign – see WB2 for background). And Bill King kicked off a petition drive to curtail pay-to-play corruption in the City of Houston.

[WB5] Speaking of pay-to-play corruption, Karun Sreerama has wrangled his way back into area contracting, with his firm “winning” a project in Harris County Precinct 4 (and Sreerama conveniently donating $5,000 to Commissioner Jack Cagle’s campaign fund). The ethically dubious insider was forced out as Sylvester Turner’s public works director two years ago amidst a bribery scandal. University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus seemed surprised by this development (but he shouldn’t be – it’s The Houston Way at work!):

“The ongoing relationship between Sreerama and local government is stunning,” Rottinghaus said. “These relationships show that even the disinfectant of sunlight cannot slow the cozy, powerful relationships between political insiders and government contracts.”

[WB6] The City of Houston’s difficulties with waste collection continue. KHOU-11’s Jeremy Rogalski updated his earlier story on workers mixing trash and recyclables with news of at least 100 more violations; Turner’s noxious communications director had nastily downplayed Rogalski’s original reporting as one incident that happened one time on twitter. On the northeast side, KTRK-13’s Ted Oberg helped a local homeowner get her heavy trash hauled off after public works and 311 managed to shirk doing so for four months.

[WB7] Houston’s “flood czar” Steve Costello told Houston Public Media this week that stopping development in the city’s 100-year floodplain is “not going to happen.” And the mayor who continues to divert drainage fees from drainage projects nonetheless posted a campaign piece to Medium celebrating his work on resilience (seriously).

[WB8] District F Councilmember Steve Le finally fired suspended staffer Daniel Albert, whose work history and deceptive timesheet practices drew heavy criticism from the City of Houston’s Office of Inspector General.

[WB9] The gang wars in southeast Houston have resulted in over 50 deaths in the last eight years, according to a Houston Chronicle investigation.

[WB10] The Woodlands Township has expanded its effective and affordable Woodlands Express bus service that serves commuters to/from Houston. In contrast, METRO continues to promise to spend a lot of money to do an unclear something that will probably be nowhere near as effective.

[WB11] Conservative blogger Don Hooper is not impressed with Wesley Hunt, a highly inexperienced candidate who is running for Congressional District 7 (the seat John Culberson lost in 2018).

[WB12] Astros rookie Yordan Alvarez homered today in his Major League debut today. Welcome to the show!

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Kevin Whited
About Kevin Whited 4265 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX