Weekend brunch for 27 September 2020

News and views from around the web

Image credit: MLB.com

[WB1] The Houston Chronicle reported at the start of this past weekend that the area doesn’t seem to be experiencing any sort of spike in COVID-19 numbers related to Labor Day. Interestingly, there’s been no real protest activity in weeks. Surely that’s just a coincidence.

Nevertheless, Harris County’s backwards gage threat alert indicator thingie remains, inexplicably, stuck at “Red Alert – Stay Home.”

Data analysts like Joe Wohleber continue to explain, patiently and logically, why the metrics Harris County claims to rely upon to set their “Red Alert” are flawed, but nobody with Harris County seems to be listening. Because science. Or something.

[WB2] The newspaper did run the first in its series of how COVID-19 arrived in Houston, eventually shutting down the rodeo. Installment One also effectively serves as yet another glowing profile of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. We do learn things we already knew (such as early efforts at contact tracing being overwhelmed) and things we did not (such as Medical Center sponsors of the rodeo jokingly, or maybe not so jokingly, being reluctant to shut down the cash cow one of them sponsored). There’s no reference to so many local leaders also urging people to go dine out in Asiatown during the pandemic, and only a brief reference to a private firm (IHS Markit) shutting down CERA Week (a major energy conference) in Houston, just before local leaders came to the conclusion they ought to do the same with the rodeo.

[WB3] KPRC-2 news reports that only a small fraction of applicants have received money from Harris County’s $30 million COVID-19 relief fund, breaking down where the money has gone (as best they could – Harris County government did not appear to be overly helpful).

It’s a helpful reminder that shutdowns forevermore are not sustainable, and have disproportionately affected the poor. We have to figure out a better approach (also see Bill King).

[WB4] We learned a little more this week why the FBI raided the office and home of Brian Busby, then HISD’s chief operating officer, in February. Allegedly Busby had put together quite a little kickback scheme involving a lawn and landscaping business that did business with HISD. Busby received full pay on leave from HISD until August, when the district declined to renew his contract.

[WB5] Local homeowners are not happy that a flood risk mitigation project is creeping along, literally taking decades to complete. But hey, we did get some good work done on the Astrodome as parking garage concept a few years back, so there’s that!

[WB6] KTRK-13’s Ted Oberg takes a closer look at the madness of rebuilding so many homes that are at risk of repeated flooding.

[WB7] Thankfully, Space City Weather forecasts that hurricane season is effectively over in Texas.

[WB8] The Astros limp into the expanded MLB playoffs, closing their disappointing season with three straight losses to the dreadful Texas Rangers, a record under .500, and the potential loss of fan favorite George Springer to free agency after their playoff appearance. Still, it’s better to be in the playoffs than not (or to be fans of the dreadful Texas Rangers), so Go ‘Stros!

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About Kevin Whited 4306 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX