Weekend brunch for 23 May 2021

News and views from around the web

Orange Alert!

[WB1] Last Monday, Bill King added his voice to many others that have decried County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s silly backwards gage permanent red alert thingie. With credibility completely squandered, the county judge finally relented, becoming the last county in Texas to drop from the highest threat level. Nobody has paid attention to the thing for weeks, if not months – and like the old Homeland Security threat level indicator that eventually proved worthless, the backwards gage thingie probably should have just been retired.

[WB2] The Texas General Land Office (GLO) this week announced on Friday that various counties will be receiving HUD flood mitigation funds related to Hurricane Harvey – but neither Houston nor Harris County were included. That prompted howls from local Democrats and Republicans alike, as well as a childish response from GLO Commissioner George P. Bush (who might actually need some Republicans in Harris County to vote for him if he challenges Ken Paxton in the GOP primary for Texas Attorney General). Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey will be hosting a Facebook Town Hall on Monday with Harris County Flood Control to try to understand the GLO’s methodology.

Recall that local officials are facing a massive flood control funding shortfall (see WB1), since the matching funds that Ed Emmett, Sylvester Turner, and others assured us would be available if we voted for their rushed flood bond package (see WB1 and WB5) have not yet materialized.

[WB3] Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to use some of his federal bailout windfall (see WB4) to give firefighters a pay increase (through the rest of his term, at least, making it more like a bonus). The firefighters seem likely to continue to pursue legal action.

[WB4] The civil lawsuit filed by the family of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nichols, who died during HPD’s Harding Street Massacre, continues to plod along.

[WB5] Mission Creep is already overtaking the Ion “tech incubator” it would seem – and it’s likely to get worse. Does anyone besides the usual “World Class Rah RAH” fantasists and those who stand to profit from being connected to this thing think it will have any long-term positive impact at all?

[WB6] One of the Chronicle’s far-left editorialists actually posted this to twitter

He can’t really believe he’s objective or nonpartisan, can he? Too funny.

[WB7] Another of the Chronicle’s editorial page staffers posted an interesting essay about walking the banks of I-45. We should all get out and about more in our lived environment (although the Houston area’s surging crime and declining clearance rates make that a dicey prospect in so many areas).

[WB8] When journos (with no relevant expertise) opine authoritatively on what should be done to ensure that Texas’s electricity system is resilient against any manner of unlikely/unpredictable events, it’s worth keeping in mind these reminders from UH Professor Craig Pirrong about the complexities of electricity market design. That’s not to say Texas can’t improve its system and approach, but it would be far better served by people like Pirrong weighing in than most any journo – perhaps as part of an independent investigation.

[WB9] The Museum of Fine Arts Houston opened to the public more quickly and safely during the pandemic than comparable institutions, so an activist-journo at the Texas Observer went rooting around for workforce complaints in an apparent effort to diminish their success.

[WB10] An activist-journo at Houston Public Media leaves no doubt where she stands with regard to unemployment compensation or Gov. Greg Abbott.

[WB11] Speaking of activist journos, note the changed headline of this online story about the resignation of Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs, when it became clear the Texas Senate would not confirm her after she greenlighted a number of “alternative voting measures” (that were never approved by the state legislature) put forward by Harris County Democratic officials in 2020 (after Diane Trautman showed no enthusiasm for said initiatives and, rumors say, was encouraged to step aside). Here’s a telling line from the story, which reads more like a Democratic Party press release than objective journalism: “Republicans have vilified [Harris] county’s efforts as part of their ongoing effort to discredit the election results…” (no bias there!)

[WB12] There is a “smart set” in Houston who REALLY dislike cars and the people who drive them – and this is some of what they present as deep thought about the matter.

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