Weekend brunch for 3 January 2021

News and views from around the web

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, New Year's Eve 2020. Image credit: Mayor's Office/Twitter

[WB1] The City of Houston unofficially surged past 400 murders in 2020 – making 2020 the deadliest year in the city in quite a while.

[WB2] Courts are backlogged thanks to the pandemic, and both the local newspaper and the Wall Street Journal have noted the falling clearance rate.

[WB3] The local newspaper is apparently so heavily invested in Rodney Ellis’s bail reform gambit (also a likely contributor to surging homicides) that it has again declined to run a critical op-ed from Andy Kahan, according to the well-known victims’ advocate.

[WB4] Democratic activist Matt Angle lets slip what locals all know but rarely say (and much of the lockstep state political media miss because they are too busy fawning over Lina Hidalgo): Rodney Ellis is the effective boss of Harris County.

[WB5] The City of Houston tried to organize COVID vaccinations over the weekend. The call center fell down almost immediately, as the rollout failed to take off as planned, but nevertheless the Tremendous Trio of Sylvester Turner, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Al Green were all available to preen for the press over their (good?) work. Harris County is also having some difficulties. Maybe Chris Hollins should be called back to apply lessons learned from his (legally dubious) drive-through voting project to public health vaccinations?

[WB6] All the Vaccination Voyeurism is starting to get a little creepy, but here’s just one request of elites who think they are exhibiting “leadership” by cutting the line and getting stuck: Wear your facemask correctly!

[WB7] The Chronicle has chosen a strange headline, “Houston bars must close next week if COVID-19 hospitalizations do not fall,” since Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has not actually allowed Harris County (and therefore Houston) bars to reopen. Bars that have reclassified as restaurants will presumably face capacity reductions, although nobody’s really enforcing them (despite claims otherwise). The muddling along will continue until morale improves!

[WB8] David Pheidt slams the newspaper’s poor usage of “spike” in its recent reporting on COVID-19.

[WB9] The Chronicle reports that the Astrodome renovation plan, or what we prefer to call the plan to build the Ed Emmett Memorial Astrodome Parking Garage, doesn’t have County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s support and won’t be moving forward any time soon. Of course, Emmett and his allies all but ensured that the derelict eyesore could not be demolished by getting a historic designation for the building even though the public made clear it didn’t support public funding of a renovation, so the dumb thing just continues to sit there. Dumb dumb dumb. As Tom Kirkendall observes, the whole sorry saga is “a symbol of why much of the public has lost faith in govt and mainstream media such as the Chron.”

[WB10] Per the recently released Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), the City of Houston’s population decreased last year.

[WB11] If you haven’t fled the city, your water bill is likely headed up up up!

[WB12] Councilmember Greg Travis, who touts his Mensa membership, this week doubled down on some divisive Facebook comments, drawing deserved fire from Black elected officials. His moves did not seem very… Mensa-like, to say the least.

[WB13 ] Cory Crow shares all you need to know about the coming year in Houston!

Happy 2021 y’all – hope it treats you well.

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