[WB1] COVID-19 continues to dominate the news in Houston, as confirmed cases (as of publication, all tied back to a Nile river cruise in Egypt) continue slowly to tick up. Rice University has cancelled classes next week. However, Mayor Sylvester Turner says there’s no reason to shut down the rodeo, and continues to nag and scold people to dine in Asiatown (even as one restaurant says it will boot you if you are sick).
There are a lot of mixed messages, which is unsurprising given the fact that the City of Houston Health Department’s inaccurate and irresponsible tweet from several weeks ago that the flu shot prevents COVID-19 is still up.
People should take in official news and make their best judgments about risk. Personally speaking, practicing good hygiene and social distancing seem like good ideas (and buying cartloads of toilet paper seems a little ridiculous).
[WB2] Of importance to the Houston/Texas economy, reduced oil demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak sent oil prices to new lows this week, and instead of reaching a deal to trim production, Saudi Arabia and Russia sent crude prices even lower as they vowed a price war.
[WB3] Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman presided over another disastrous election on Tuesday, later issuing an apology for her office’s latest poor performance (after initially trying to blame the Harris County GOP for refusing her proposed joint primary scheme). Democratic consultant Marc Campos called the performance unacceptable.
On top of that, one of the figures featured in local media for waiting hours after the stated poll closing time (7pm) to vote apparently voted illegally.
[WB4] Interestingly, a “fake” candidate apparently forced state rep. Harold Dutton into a runoff. The candidate finished in third place with 20% of the vote despite not campaigning or appearing at any events. While it seems like a bizarre dirty trick, it also raises questions about the voters who voted for this phantom candidate.
[WB5] Wayne Dolcefino reports that something looks fishy with the Houston Housing Authority (and its dealmaking that involves a prominent politician’s wife).
[WB6] The City of Houston has decided not to participate in the Elm Grove/Kingwood buyout, according to Bob Rehak, and would prefer that Harris County pay 100% of the cost.
[WB7] Rehak also elaborates on the hidden costs of flooding.
[WB8] Lisa Gray checks in on Monica Pope, Houston’s original celebrity chef.
[WB9] Congratulations to the Houston Cougars, who claimed a share of the men’s basketball American Athletic Conference regular season championship today. That makes back-to-back conference titles for the Cougars.
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