[WB1] The media hype over COVID-19 (Omicron variant) continues to spin up. So far, the Omicron variant appears more transmissible and less virulent than earlier versions of the virus (and much less virulent still yet for those who have been vaccinated).
Whatever the case, testing demand is UP UP UP, and Houstonians have been flocking to sit in line for hours to get tests (symptomatic or not). Unfortunately, because there is government money to be made on testing, fraudulent test sites have predictably sprung up. But fear not – Sheila Jackson Lee is on the case!
In case anyone was wondering, the Harris County backwards gage thingie is still stuck on Orange Alert, although we fully expect the county judge to swing it leftward to red in short order.
BH PSA: Please do not put children in the trunk of your car if you decide to go wait in a testing line. Thank you.
[WB2] Mint Press News digs into County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s background, which is more elitist (and less outsider/grassroots) than popular media narratives have so far let on.
[WB3] Southern Living has apparently discovered that there is STILL no plan to deal with the derelict Astrodome, since the Democratic leaders of Harris County have not (yet) embraced repurposing it as the Ed Emmett Memorial Astrodome Parking Structure.
[WB4] Houston City Council voted 16-1 last week in favor of expanding the ShotSpotter program (which aims to pinpoint gunfire highly accurately). Critics contend the expensive technology has a host of problems, according to the Chronicle. A problem the newspaper doesn’t cover is that the technology represents an extension of HPD’s reactive method of policing. With so few officers on the street at any given moment and surging crime, that model is proving wholly unsatisfactory.
The politicians need to look like they are doing something, though.
[WB5] After months of Senate inaction rendered the initial nomination moot, President Biden has once again nominated Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to head ICE. As Rice professor Mark Jones notes, it’s not clear that the second nomination will prove any more successful.
[WB6] The Texas Supreme Court has denied immediate relief in the Harris County redistricting lawsuit filed by Andy Taylor, citing the timing of the approaching election (but not entirely dismissing the merits of the case). Meanwhile, former commissioner Steve Radack has filed a separate redistricting lawsuit.
[WB7] As many media outlets continue to describe the events of January 6, 2021 as an “insurrection,” KPRC-2 asked local law professor Josh Blackman why nobody has actually been charged with that crime.
[WB8] Harris County’s incompetent Democratic elections administrator has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to block a provision of Texas election law so she can send out unsolicited ballots for the 2022 primary election.
[WB9] An assistant to Democratic Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee tweets that he’s open to increasing transparency at the county level. That’s good to hear, given the staffer’s previous brush with… nontransparency.
[WB10] Bob Rehak posts a link to Harris County Flood Control District’s active projects page, which IS a nice example of government transparency.
[WB11] Texas media observer Mike McGuff noted on Friday that Jon Wiener will be joining KTRK-13 as a digital anchor. Apparently, he’ll be broadcasting under a new name, according to the announcement later posted by KTRK-13.
[WB12] This probably says more about the quality of the ratings than about Hobby Airport.
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