Weekend brunch for 1 December 2019

News and views from around the web

Uptown holiday lighting (Image Credit: Uptown Houston)

We’re clearing out a backlog of links from the past few weeks in this edition.

[WB1] Since last week’s edition (devoted to HPD’s Harding Street Massacre), HPD’s misconduct has drawn more national attention (from Jacob Sullum in the New York Post). In a followup for the Chronicle, St. John Barned-Smith and Keri Blakinger’s deep dive into the casework of accused former officers Goines and Bryant indicates that they spent years keeping themselves busy with “low-level drug busts punctuated by months with no arrests or seizures at all….”

It doesn’t feel like taxpayers got much from these two officers, but at least Elyse Lanier is comfortable with them babysitting her grandchildren.

[WB2] The state’s takeover of Houston’s dysfunctional school board also drew national attention since the last update, from another newspaper in New York City.

[WB3] In a column for Texas Monthly, Evan Mintz pronounces that “shark” Tony Buzbee’s mayoral campaign is dead in the water.

[WB4] This, despite the fact that even the area’s newspaper of record concedes that “Houston has made little progress building new flood-control infrastructure since the 2017 storm ravaged the region, and, as of Oct. 31, had helped just 71 homeowners through the main home-repair program meant to ensure a full recovery for storm survivors.”

[WB5] The area newspaper of record also points out that Buzbee will have trouble paying for his many promises through “zero-based budgeting” alone.

[WB6] Meanwhile, with Sylvester “Pay to Play” Turner’s re-election increasingly likely, it will take many more federal cases than the Dannenbaum Engineering one to make a dent in The Houston Way.

[WB7] The District B runoff will not be settled with the other races on 14 December, as convicted felon, council candidate, and Turner campaign worker Cynthia Bailey is engaged in ongoing litigation over her eligibility to run for municipal office. State Senator Paul Bettencourt contends that Bailey should never have been allowed to register to VOTE, and that it’s a sign of greater problems in Harris County Tax Assessor Ann Bennett’s voter registration operation. Here’s a blogHOUSTON flashback to Bailey’s glory days of stealing a couple hundred thousand dollars from a school district (read: children).

[WB8] A state district court has put two affordable housing projects on hold due to a lawsuit against the Houston Housing Authority alleging improprieties.

[WB9] I recently visited Sydney, where contactless payment systems have been implemented across New South Wales public transit and worked flawlessly. Meanwhile, here in Houston, a proposal that might have created such a payment system by the year 2022 (at a starting cost of a whopping $37 million) was put on the backburner after a local blogger convinced the METRO chief instead to consider implementing free fares. This Weekend Brunch item is not from The Onion; METRO’s decision-making process is embarrassing.

[WB10] Federal district judge Lee Rosenthal signed off on a massive bail reform agreement for Harris County, the ultimate result of a class-action lawsuit brought against the county on behalf of indigent defendants.

[WB11] At my ideal newspaper, quality editors would return copy like this and ask for a real column instead of lazy filler (holiday or not).

[WB12] Instead of lazy filler, the Chronicle’s affluent Austin-based business columnist apparently thought Thanksgiving would be a great time to scold Americans for being “fat dumb and dying” and announce the punishments he would have government (through its monopoly on the use of force) impose on us for our own good. It’s a variant of billionaire Democrat presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s desire to tax the poor as punishment/deterrent for their allegedly bad life decisions. In both cases it’s arrogant, condescending, elitist, and offensive.

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About Kevin Whited 4215 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX