Weekend brunch for 26 January 2020

News and views from around the web

Image credit: KTRK-13 (Houston)

[WB1] A chemical-plant explosion caused by a leak from a 2,000 gallon propylene gas tank literally rocked northwest Houston early Friday morning, claiming several lives, damaging many more homes and businesses, and leaving a blast impact similar to a bomb’s. By the start of the business day, several attorneys had already filed various lawsuits on behalf of victims. Not to be left out of a potential windfall, failed mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee had filed lawsuits against Watson Grinding and Manufacturing (the owner of the property where the explosion occurred), Centerpoint Energy, and “several other entities” by Friday afternoon, according to the Houston Chronicle. Along with others, I was the recipient of an email from Buzbee (almost certainly culled, unethically, from his mayoral campaign email list) soliciting business related to the tragedy.

[WB2] Both Connor Harris and Tory Gattis published longer rebuttals of that silly Texas Monthly article claiming that Houston now trails New York in affordability (first mocked/linked here last weekend).

[WB3] Back in October, following heavy community criticism and even some mayoral campaign publicity, Perry Homes promised the City of Houston that within 30 days it would complete a detention pond that residents/critics believe critical to avoiding a repeat of the flooding that hit parts of Kingwood (particularly the Elm Grove neighborhood) during Imelda. 90 days later, Perry Homes still has not delivered.

As Bob Rehak notes, “[Elm Grove] has already been destroyed by Perry Homes’ broken promises.” Is there nothing City of Houston leaders can/will do about this situation (now that elections and election-year publicity have died down)?

[WB4] Some residents of the Champion Forest community aren’t happy with the fact that the Harris County Flood Control District wants to buy the country club/golf course anchoring the community and use it for flood detention. Harvey feels like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

[WB5] Similarly, flooding (that affects others) seems not as important to some residents around Lake Conroe as the use of their lake for recreation without any adjustments on their part.

[WB6] The journo who used to write/edit transportation columns for the area newspaper of record, now retired, is openly rooting for car-free zones in Houston. Of course, we’re sure that, pre-retirement, he was always objective and fair in his work on the beat.

[WB7] The area newspaper of record’s current Future-Poop Writer seems genuinely surprised here that someone might respond to said writer’s politicizing the act of dining with… a political tweet. To build on her conclusion, you could make this stuff up – or, just read journo tweets and enjoy. (Building further – it’s interesting that the first sympathetic reply tweet comes from the miserable journo/writer responsible for this holiday drudgery). When it comes to journos (active and/or retired), twitter can be so revealing.

[WB8] John Arnold, who made his fortune running a hedge fund (and in helping Enron churn profits in natural gas trading, before going bankrupt), tweets that “we’ll” have to take on “powerful…vested interests” in order to lower healthcare costs. Wonder if HE would have felt the same way about society/politicians (“WE”) reining in hedge-fund profiteers back in the day (before his profits allowed him to retire and remake himself as a self-fashioned public intellectual/crusader)?

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Kevin Whited
About Kevin Whited 4241 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX