Weekend brunch for 4 October 2020

News and views from around the web

Image credit: Needpix.com

[WB1] Harris County’s backwards gage COVID threat-level thingie remains at Red Alert (Stay Home), despite clearly improved metrics that indicate there is no longer anything close to uncontrolled COVID-19 spread in our community, increasing media queries about the indicator, and ongoing criticism from serious data scientists.

While many (if not most) citizens have tuned out the threat-level indicator, some offices continue to defer to local guidance when it comes to whether or not they are open for business – meaning the county judge’s capricious gage masquerading as “science” continues to hurt the area economy, for no legitimate reason related to health at this point.

For comparison to other major Texas metro areas: Fort Bend County and Dallas County have dialed back one notch from their most dangerous level. Travis County has dialed back to the middle of its scale. And Bexar County is all the way to lowest threat level on its scale.

[WB2] If you steal less than $750 in Houston or commit property damage (graffiti) of less than $2500 (however such a thing is assessed), congratulations – in Sylvester Turner’s City of Houston, you are now eligible for a citation rather than jail time.

[WB3] The Chronicle reports that Harris County is the largest country in America that is still voting on machines that lack a paper trail. None of the extra tens of millions being spent on this particular election are aimed at the problem, however. Priorities.

[WB4] This week in local governance by capricious executive fiat/edict, County Judge Lina Hidalgo has been effectively postponing foreclosures in Harris County through executive orders. Does anybody remember voting to give her (or Rodney Ellis, or Greg Abbott, or any other elected official?) the power to interfere so blatantly in economic and judicial affairs in any recent elections?

[WB5] KPRC-2 reports on the decision by Rodney Ellis, Lina Hidalgo, and Adrian Garcia to redirect Harris County toll road funds to their pet projects. Of course, nobody in Harris County voted for any such thing, but now that Rodney Ellis has a majority, there’s really no check on his ability to push through his priorities.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to consider amending the Texas constitution and expanding representation in large Texas counties?

[WB6] The Chronicle concluded its series on COVID-19 decisionmaking in fairly predictable fashion this week, with Part Three focusing on Things Chron Journalists Dislike (Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick) and Things Chron Journalists Like (Lina Hidalgo, Peter Hotez). The series did not delve into any decisionmaking or debate among political leaders over how to handle the George Floyd protests and services (potential spreading events all), which was an unfortunate omission.

[WB7] Bitterly progressive is as bitterly progressive tweets (yes, that’s entirely juvenile mockery of a juvenile, though revealing, tweet from a local journalist).

[WB8] A local bayou preservation/conservation group blasts Harris County Flood Control for what is likely to be a really bad decision to remake the banks of Buffalo Bayou.

[WB9] The Astros swept the Minnesota Twins in the first round of the (strange) 2020 MLB playoffs, and will move on to the second round against the Oakland As. 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