Weekend brunch for 11 October 2020

News and views from around the web

Image Credit: BenJones88/wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

[WB1] Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s backwards gage COVID-19 threat thingie inexplicably remains stuck on Red Alert, even though readily available data (TMC, SETRAC) continue to indicate it should have been dialed back weeks ago.

The governor did pass the buck on reopening some businesses this week, saying that bars and nightclubs could partially reopen if county judges agree. Needless to say, Hidalgo did not (although many Harris County bars have re-opened as restaurants, and unregulated after-hours clubs continue to spring up all across town, because the demand for bars/social clubs will eventually be filled by the market, one way or another).

Many other businesses besides bars continue to base their reopening decisions on guidance from local authorities, so the county judge’s unscientific stubbornness is needlessly costing the Houston-area jobs and economic activity at this point.

This ability of the governor and county judges to rule by executive fiat, endlessly – empowered by past state legislative action with the intent of improving hurricane disaster management – really should be revisited and limited during the next legislative session.

[WB2] The State of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott, Harris County, and some private parties continue to wrangle in federal court over Harris County efforts to expand mail-in ballot drop-off locations.

[WB3] In the last edition, we neglected to mention that Harris County DA Kim Ogg’s grandstanding against Arkema (and Acts of God) resulted in a lot of wasted time and tax dollars and acquittals all the way around.

[WB4] The Texas General Land Office will be taking control of Hurricane Harvey housing relief from the City of Houston. Harvey, of course, hit Houston just over three years ago.

[WB5] A state district judge has ruled part of the City of Houston’s pension reform plan unconstitutional. Bill King notes that if the ruling is upheld, it could have dire consequences for the city.

[WB6] Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tells local press he supports “almost all” of his task force’s police reform recommendations. But will he implement them?

[WB7] The Houston Texans, which fired embattled coach Bill O’Brien on Monday, finally won a game this weekend, but are not without ongoing problems thanks to O’Brien’s poor management of so many aspects of the organization.

[WB8] The shorthanded Houston Astros are in the American League Championship Series for the fourth year in a row after taking out the A’s (and never being able to face Mike “Rat” Fiers in the series). 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