Weekend brunch for 7 February 2021

News and views from around the web

No barrel racing (or any other activities) at this year's (canceled) rodeo. Image credit: Hilton Lieberum/flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

[WB1] The city experienced a rash of gun violence this weekend. Moreover, KTRK-13 reports there have been 10 homicides involving teens so far this year. Mayor Turner, who has been working on some interesting issues with other big-city mayors, observes that “we are facing some serious challenges as it relates to crime.”

[WB2] None of the violence this weekend (or most weekends) seemed to involve right-wing extremists, yet HPD chief Art Acevedo recently highlighted this apparent great threat to Houston.

[WB3] State Sen. Paul Bettencourt has identified Harris County’s lenient bail policies as a significant contributor to the increase in violent crime in the area, introducing legislation that would reform bail policies. Crime Stoppers Houston CEO Rania Mankarious urges leaders to address the problem.

[WB4] HPD Chief Art Acevedo tweeted over the weekend that HPD has made progress in its fight against the street mob takeovers that have effectively mocked HPD’s inability to control the streets in recent years, but neglected to share any details (no doubt he was preoccupied with the shootings all over town, and perhaps even that right-wing extremist threat).

[WB5] KTRK-13 reports that the City of Houston, which budgeted through the first year of the pandemic almost as if there was no pandemic, is facing a potential budget shortfall of $200 million for fiscal year 2022, according to City Controller Chris Brown. Also, Truth in Accounting has published its annual analysis of the financial state of big U.S. cities.

[WB6] We learned from the City of Houston’s annual financial report that the city’s population declined last year (see WB10). The Chronicle reports that smartphone data shows that Harris County’s has experienced a net population outflow as well.

[WB7] The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which had hoped to hold its annual event in May instead of March, announced this week that it would be cancelling.

[WB8] The park closures will continue until morale improves?

[WB9] While park activities aren’t likely to spread the virus, big gatherings such as Tony Buzbee’s engagement party certainly have the potential. And 17 minutes or so into this interview, KTRK-13 anchor Art Rascon, who’s been very sick with the virus for weeks, admitted that his big family Christmas gathering probably wasn’t such a good idea. Remarkable.

[WB10] TxDOT announced it’s moving forward on its $7.5 billion rebuild of I-45.

[WB11] The owners of this property really are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If they weren’t shutting down to make needed improvements, couldn’t critics just as easily characterize  them as evil slumlords and not think twice about it?

[WB12] For some reason, the Chronicle published this weepy opinion piece lamenting that an area Academy store fired an employee with anger-management issues who harassed a customer and engaged in insubordination. Our Outrage Meter is stuck on zero on this one.

[WB13] This Chronicle story asserts that women now outnumber men in medical school, and that it’s good for patients. The story fails to provide any evidence or link to any studies to support the latter judgment. Presumably, the author and editors of the story hold degrees in journalism that took them some years to obtain.

[WB14] How much did Jim Crane’s untidy firing of former GM Jeff Luhnow ultimately winding up costing the Astros? We’ll probably never know.

[WB15] In the middle of the ever-evolving turmoil that is the Houston Texans organization, president Jamey Rootes released a book on leadership (seriously). The book has, to date, received stellar reviews on Amazon, raising eyebrows. Now we have an apparent explanation: the organization incentivized season ticket holders to leave five-star reviews (a likely violation of Amazon’s terms of service). That seems about right. Stephanie Stradley continues to comment on the broken organization’s ongoing dysfunction.

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