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Archive for August 6th, 2012

To all that are still fighting the good fight against Tea Bagger GOP Voter ID laws/voter suppression and for redistricting proposals that truly reflect our growing diversity, 47 years ago today President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.   Among Republican U.S. Senators, the vote to enact the VRA was 30 for, 2 against.  Among House Republicans, the Act  passed 112-24.

Before I get started, Commentary said the following two and a half weeks ago (July 20):

The talking heads will once again debate tighter gun laws but nothing will happen and then we will move on to other things.  It will then happen again and as they say, coming to a theater (temple) near you.

Coming soon to a Temple near you or ditto today! 

METRO, The Port, HISD, City, and County all get a mention today.

JFK once said:  We cannot negotiate with those who say, ‘What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.’”

I’m kind of thinking that JFK might have been also talking about the County and small cities in their dealing with the City and METRO on the future of the GMPs.  I’m also thinking that the H-Town Mayor and the City’s METRO appointees tried to cut a deal that satisfied all parties and the County folks just wanted it all.

Check out the Saturday story in the Chron about the GMPs and the November ballot language here.

Here is from the Chron story:

"It deprives the unincorporated area of Harris County the funds necessary to continue to build the infrastructure necessary for all the people who don’t want to live in the city of Houston," said Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack. "It’s disgusting. The growth is in the unincorporated area."

And:

The proposal passed Friday would treat Houston, Harris County and the other 11 small cities in similar fashion, giving each 25 percent of the sales taxes collected within their boundaries. Humble, Katy and Missouri City would continue to receive a disproportionately larger share, Metro Chairman Gilbert Garcia said, in part, because they sit on the distant edges of Metro’s service area.

The proposal also would require another referendum by 2021.

Should voters reject the proposal, Metro would be entitled to keep all of the sales tax revenues. Garcia, however, said the mobility projects are important and said Metro would work with its member governments to continue funding them.

Afterward, representatives of the county and smaller cities were incensed, saying the move would shift millions to Houston, where the bulk of local sales taxes are collected.  Harris County Judge Ed Emmett estimated that, if the change took effect now, $84 million the county and small cities would have collected over the next three years would go to Houston instead.

Going into this deal the County and small cities maybe forgot to count votes.  The County folks and small cities should have worked something out since they didn’t have the votes to bully and run over H-Town and METRO.

You have to wonder why anyone would now oppose the ballot proposal.  If it passes, the County and small cities get some money.  If it fails, they get some money but probably not as much if the proposal passes – got it!

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission came out with its Port review Friday and made some recommendations regarding governance, audits, and procurement policies.  Here is from their report:

Modernize the Commission’s appointment structure by providing for a Governor-appointed member with required business experience, having members elect the Chair instead of a joint appointment by the City of Houston and Harris County, and putting clear parameters around Commissioner terms, including limiting tenure to no more than 12 years.

I have a big problem with having a Governor making an appointment to our board.  I just don’t want the Governor’s Office meddling in our Port business.

I also have a problem with the Texas Legislature telling us that the Port will be better off with Commissioner term limits when the Legislature itself doesn’t have term limits.

I also prefer that the Chair continue to be jointly appointed by Commissioners’ Court and City Council rather than the Sunset recommendation of having Port Commissioners themselves elect their own Chair.  The current method encourages the County and City to work together on Port matters.

I don’t have a problem with most of the other recommendations though.

Here is the Chron story on the report.

And here is the actual report.

It is August 6 and the ‘Stros DO have a pitcher in a top 10 MLB pitching category – total games pitched.  Name the ‘Stro pitcher?

State Rep. Sylvester Turner doesn’t like the HISD bond proposal.  Here is what he put out this past Friday:

“As the bond is presented today and based on my review,  I am neither impressed or persuaded.”

And:

“If schools are designed and built for the academic needs of students today and tomorrow, I am prepared to support the bond and will gladly do so.  If the construction of a school is being proposed to make this bond politically attractive to a community that has been starved of academic programs and adequate facilities, I am neither impressed or persuaded.”

Here is the Chron piece on Rep. Turner’s concerns.

HISD Trustees will meet this Thursday to vote to put the bonds on the ballot.  Let’s see if they will cut a deal with Rep. Turner before then.  Stay tuned!

The City has the following on the City Council Agenda tomorrow/Wednesday.  It looks like the $410 mil bond program will be put on the ballot and some obsolete charter language clean-up will also be submitted.  It looks like the closed session City Council meetings proposal didn’t make it on the agenda.   I’m glad they read Commentary over at City Hall and listened to CMs Rodriguez and Costello.  Here are the agenda items:

11.ORDINANCE ordering an election to be held on November 6, 2012, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Houston, Texas, certain propositions for the issuance of Public Improvement Bonds for various purposes; designating the location of each polling place and the hours that the polls shall be open.

12. ORDINANCE ordering a Special Election to be held on November 6, 2012, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Houston, Texas, a proposition to update the City Charter by amending Articles I, II, and IX of the Charter to repeal various sections that are obsolete or have been superseded by State and/or Federal Law.

13. ORDINANCE ordering a Special Election to be held on November 6, 2012, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Houston, Texas, a proposition to update the City Charter by amending Articles V, VIIa, and VIIb of the Charter to remove obsolete references to party primaries and partisan elections, to address the impact of current election laws and procedures, and to recognize the existence of council districts in initiative, referendum, and recall processes.

This past Saturday the Chron E-Board smacked the County folks in charge of running the local elections.   Here is how they ended up their take:

One doesn’t have to look to illegal immigrants or Breitbart exposés to find people undermining the integrity of our voting system. Just look to our own elected county officials.

Here is the entire E-Board take.

The spanking was well deserved. 

Leave it to Beaver’s to come back with a witty menu item alternative to Chicken-s___t-fil-A here.

Some folks decided to have some fun about Ann Romney’s Olympian horse and a subject I know nothing about – fancy horse riding.  In reading about this I learned the fancy horse riding sport was called “dressage” that I thought rhymed with “message.”  I’m glad I didn’t say it out loud because I learned now that “dressage” rhymes with “massage.”  Of course, the Romney campaign could have scored points with the charro leaning Latinos if they had named the horse “Reflaco” instead of “Rafalca.”  They could have made inroads with baby boomers with just a simple “Mr. Ed.”

‘Stros pitcher Wesley Wright of course is in the top 10 in games pitched this season with 53 appearances. 

The NL East first place Nationals are in town for four.  Head out to The Yard to check out some of their exciting ball players like phenom Bryce Harper, Ryan and Jordan Zimmerman, and Adam LaRoche.  Stephen Strasburg pitched yesterday so we won’t get to see him this week but I’m sure he’ll be around to hand out a few autographs.   Maybe I’ll see you there!

 

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