We’re catching up on a couple of weeks of news after taking a break from last weekend’s “brunch.”
[WB1] COVID-19 is still a news focus, but Gov. Abbott’s latest orders this week take us a little further in the direction of normal as bars were allowed to open under certain protocols on Friday. Locally, the newspaper reporters and editorialists alike continue to worship Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo (who re-issued a largely ineffectual “Stay Home-Work Safe” order for Harris County on 21 May) and carry on deceptively about a massive “spike” in new COVID-19 cases in Texas (without adding the context of the “spike” in testing, and a relatively stable, even slightly declining positive test rate).
Texas Medical Center leaders did offer support for Gov. Abbott’s latest reopening orders.
[WB2] Two newspaper reporters were apparently assigned to report on a “study” that suggests COVID-19 cases may spike in Houston over the next four weeks if Houstonians behave badly as Texas further reopens. We hope those reporters will revisit this topic in four weeks and update readers on the results, as so many of these alarmist reports/predictions have (thankfully) not panned out but have dramatically affected policy.
[WB3] The Los Angeles Times published their version of the story of Dr. Joseph Varon’s success in treating some of Houston’s most vulnerable patients for COVID-19. We previously noted the Chronicle’s version (see WB1).
[WB4] Houston City Controller Chris Brown warns that the City of Houston revenue shortfall is going to be much more dire than is projected in Mayor Turner’s proposed 2020-21 budget. Harris County will be enjoying higher tax property revenues, however!
[WB5] Harris County DA Kim Ogg will seek to dismiss 91 more cases tied to former HPD officer Gerald Goines, who was at the center of the Harding Street Massacre.
[WB6] Flash “car” mobs continue to take over Houston streets, despite vows from local law enforcement to crack down on the practice. Last weekend, the car mob returned again to a Galleria-area intersection it had visited before: Cars spun out of control and fireworks were set off.
[WB7] On a party line vote, Democrats on Harris County Commissioners Court named Christopher Hollins, a lawyer and Texas Democratic Party official, to serve as interim Harris County Clerk when Diane Trautman’s (odd) resignation becomes effective on 31 May.
[WB8] UH Professor Craig Pirrong reported that West Texas Intermediate oil markets did not repeat their May madness as the June 2020 contract expired this past week. It was such a non-event that the Chronicle’s energy reporter didn’t appear even to take notice.
[WB10] As many people wait in food pantry lines and wonder how they will make rent this month, one of Houston’s top academics had to modify his grocery pickup order timing by 30 minutes in order to get his beer. We hope he that he will soon recover from the inconvenience.
On this Memorial Day Weekend, of course take time to remember our fallen, but maybe also take a little time to appreciate the living. This pandemic has created a rough go of it for many people (and taken many as well).