Weekend brunch for 20 January 2020 (long MLK Jr. weekend edition)

News and views from around the web

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[WB1] Mediocre Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien had to be the happiest sports personality in Houston on Monday. Hours after Peter King named him a “GOAT of the Week” for his botched playoff game management, the MLB Commissioner’s office hammered the Houston Astros for a player-organized electronic sign-stealing scandal that ultimately cost GM Jeff Luhnow and field manager AJ Hinch their jobs.

Meanwhile, O’Brien continues as GM and Head Coach of an utterly mediocre football organization. Houston is a tough sports town.

[WB2] Another week, another set of challenges to convictions tied to Gerald Goines, the disgraced former HPD officer who was the ringleader of HPD’s Harding Street Massacre. The wheels of justice in Harris County continue to turn, ever so slowly.

[WB3] The City of Houston will offer major subsidies for the latest world-classy addition to downtown: a high-end convention center hotel that even most proponents concede isn’t really needed to attract conventions but instead is intended to boost the area’s “sizzle”. It sure didn’t take long to finalize this Houston Way boondoggle shortly after an election that revolved around pay-to-play allegations, did it?

[WB4] The opening of METRO’s Uptown BRT Boondoggle will be pushed back yet again (to July), according to the Houston Chronicle’s lead transportation stenographer (but, Rah RAH!). Recall that the agencies responsible for this unmitigated disaster originally indicated they’d be ready for the 2017 Super Bowl! RELATED: METRO/Uptown Post Oak BRT boondoggle suffers yet another setback (blogHOUSTON).

[WB5] In other news of the unbelievable, METRO nixed the idea of instituting free fares across its system even though it found that such a move would likely boost ridership. We don’t trust METRO ridership figures (nor should anyone who has followed the organization for any period of time, as we have), and the other benefits being touted by proponents of this plan were also pie-in-the-sky unrealistic. Beyond that, Neal Meyer pointed out some additional problems with the scheme.

[WB6] The former head of Harris County’s Housing Authority, whose re-employment by Harris County drew strong criticism last week (see WB3), was terminated from his new role. Except he’ll apparently be working until the end of the month. Or providing “some solid assistance” of one sort or another. Okay then.

[WB7] HISD’s new board made the decision this week to postpone an assessment sought by HISD’s administration that typically serves as the key step in putting a bond package together. Stopping the march towards asking taxpayers for more money in order for the new board to acclimate itself and make an informed decision seems MUCH TOO SENSIBLE for a Houston political body. More of this elsewhere, please!

[WB8] While there was unanimous progressive outcry against Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to opt out of a longtime refugee resettlement program, Jim Bigham offered a closer glimpse at the Big Business of Refugee Resettlement, along with the impact on the Sharpstown area over time (including problematic trends in poverty rates that effectively looks like segregation by income — or lack thereof).

[WB9] Councilmember Greg Travis stepped down from his City Council committees this week, arguing they have not functioned properly during the Turner administration and represent a poor use of his time and effort.

[WB10] Texas Monthly published a silly article on Houston being “less affordable” than New York City this week. It took Tory Gattis a medium-length tweet to eviscerate the nonsense.

[WB11] The Houston Cougars (inexperienced) men’s basketball team landed in the polls today after a strong road upset at #16 Wichita State over the weekend. Kelvin Sampson is the last elite coach left in Houston sports after a tumultuous sports week. Go Coogs!

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