Weekend brunch for 1 March 2020

News and views from around the web

Image credit: KRIV-26 News

[WB1]  Houston’s Aquageddon was finally resolved late Saturday morning, when a citywide boil order was lifted. The boil order came about after a 96-inch water main burst on Thursday, causing local flooding and water outages across roughly half the city. In a press conference, Mayor Sylvester Turner noted that “aging infrastructure” was the culprit, and that he had authorized the department that regularly fixes water leaks to fix the water leak.

[WB2] COVID-19 continues to take a toll on Houston (despite the fact that area health officials continue to remind everyone that there are no confirmed cases in Houston – yet). This week, Rice University asked a group of employees and students to self-quarantine following an overseas trip that might have exposed them to the virus. Even more dramatically, IHS Markit announced on Sunday that its CERAweek event, one of the world’s premier energy conferences that is held annually in Houston, would be cancelled this year, because of COVID-19 concerns.

Recall several weeks ago that various Houston nags and scolds were insisting that COVID-19 was less of a threat than the flu (and that everyone should go dine in Asiatown). CERAweek has never been cancelled in Houston due to the flu, so make of that what you will.

[WB3] Harris County DA Kim Ogg announced this week that 69 additional people may have been convicted on false evidence from disgraced former HPD officer Gerald Goines, one of the ringleaders of last year’s Harding Street Massacre. HPD announced a number of department reforms by tweet a few hours later, but had no comment for the Houston Chronicle for their story.

[WB4] Mayor Sylvester Turner and HPD Chief Art Acevedo announced new measures to fight increases in violent crime this week. Remember during the last mayoral election campaign, when both the mayor, chief, and even some journalists poo-pooed the notion of any increase in crime? We do (see WB2).

[WB5] On the topic of violent crime, Wayne Dolcefino takes firm aim at Harris County “bail reform” efforts that have resulted in violent accused criminals being released to commit more violent acts (see also WB1 from last week).

[WB6] Several weeks after Mario Diaz broke the story of African art work valued in the millions being stored at taxpayer expense in Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis’s district (see WB6), nobody can seem to figure out who the art belongs to (or if it might possibly be stolen). The laughable Chronicle editorial board, which enthusiastically endorsed Ellis AFTER Mario Diaz’s reporting first appeared, now says Ellis needs to “answer for mysterious artwork” (whatever that means). He won’t, of course, because he’s Rodney Ellis. But it’s one of many reasons that Houstonians should generally not outsource their decisions on voting or other matters to this editorial board.

[WB7] Harris County Commissioners Court voted (with little notice or transparency) this week to replace the county’s longtime budget director, and also to make Harris County the first in Texas to spend taxpayer money on legal services for immigrants.

[WB8] Democratic Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo (along with Democratic State Rep. Gene Wu) endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president this week. Warren has proposed a ban on fracking and new offshore drilling, proposals that are not popular here in the energy capital of the world.

[WB9] Interestingly, nobody really wants to talk about a pay increase that Mayor Turner touted for airport workers during the last campaign, but which some workers apparently haven’t received. Note the last paragraph in particular.

[WB10] TSU’s handling of admissions scandal documents is a mess, as is Katy ISD’s handling of former superintendent Lance Hindt’s departure bonus.

[WB11] SWATTING your perceived enemies is not nice – and it may lead to jail time for two Montgomery County men.

[WB12] Bob Rehak posts a helpful primer on Street Flooding: Causes and Cures.

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Kevin Whited
About Kevin Whited 4232 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX