Note: Our “little” fall break was extended by an unanticipated family event, but now we’re back at it. Did anything happen while we were away? (just kidding – here are some thoughts on the big stuff)
[WB1] Houston is still reeling from the deaths and injuries that took place at the debacle known as AstroWorld Fest, sponsored by one Jacques Bermon Webster II (known professionally as Travis Scott).
The AP published an excellent timeline of the deadly fiasco, which is likely to spur lawsuits seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and a whole new level of blame-shifting from local electeds, public safety officials, and promoters.
The area newspaper has been playing catchup with the Washington Post (note the “H/T:” at the end of this story that appeared a day later), the New York Times, KTRK-13 News (a day later for the newspaper), and others. Of course, the newspaper was all-in on the wonders of Travis Scott before the deadly fiasco, including a poorly timed Rah RAH editorial mention in the Sunday newspaper after the tragedy unfolded (replete with the misuse of the term “cache” – the dumb writer apparently meant “cachet”), so it’s understandably taken the newspaper a bit of time to put away the pompoms and do journalism.
[WB2] In our last update, we noted Rodney Ellis’s redistricting power grab, the next step in his radical remake of Harris County governance (which was presented that way to exactly… zero voters during Ed Emmett’s non-campaign that resulted in Dem control). Sure enough, Ellis’s band of acolytes on Commissioners Court passed his vindictive, partisan power grab on a party line vote on 28 October.
The area newspaper’s resident progressive activist-journo, Zach Despart, “explained” why it all made sense, nothing to see, on twitter. Because that’s how Chronicle journalism is practiced. Commissioner Jack Cagle, on the other hand, points out that (taxpayer) life in Harris County is about to get more expensive.
[WB3] Multiple (!) reporters provide some additional insight into Chronicle priorities courtesy of this story celebrating the wonders of the fact that inmates can now vote from the county jail.
[WB4] Harris County’s new, expensive elections administrator, however, drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for incompetence in running and reporting the most recent low-turnout, off-year election.
[WB5] Remember when Lina Hidalgo was exposed for purely corrupt patronage when Harris County awarded a contract for vaccine outreach to an unqualified political hack (despite a more competitive bid from UT Health – see WB1)? That was embarrassing momentarily, but Rodney Ellis’s radical remake of Harris County continues in that Democrats on Commissioners Court have approved a new “equity” framework for hiring, contracting, and county services. What that means in plain English is, patronage in the service of neo-racism will now be the norm when it comes to Harris County hiring and spending. We are pretty sure that earlier effort to funnel millions of dollars to a political hack would have been just fine under the “guidelines” that will be developed. All that’s missing is a Chron explainer that there’s nothing to see here.
[WB7] As with so many services provided by local government, the City of Houston financial transparency site still isn’t functional, has been undermined by administrative incompetence and blame-shifting, and will take longer to set up and cost more than originally planned. Solid work, Turner administration!
[WB8] The Chronicle ran a quaint op-ed that contends as the area grows, “we” must do more to make homeownership more affordable. Perhaps, but it seems that “we” may have a bigger problem in that costs (and violent crime) continue to rise in the Houston area, taxes will be shooting up under Rodney Ellis’s ongoing radical remake of Harris County, and core services continue to get worse. Rather than assuming rapid growth will continue forever, maybe it’s time to consider some of the factors that could very well start to push population “growth” in the other direction (including the Biden administration’s war on Houston’s top industry).
[WB9] Some local journos seem to be having a really rough time coping as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves into its endemic stage (in which we’re all going to have to learn how to cope and get on with things). Imagine still obsessing over the mask wearing of others, as a fully vaccinated person. This sort of nagging has become so tedious.
[WB10] Some people are apparently missing the good old days of the Political Travel Junket Vacation, on the other hand: Mayor Turner supplied this hot air about why he needed to travel to the COP 26 summit to talk about hot air (among other things).
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