Archive for April 26th, 2013

Commentary was watching the H-Town City Council meeting this past Wednesday and citizens came forward to address the proposal to turn Memorial Park over to a TIRZ and the Memorial Park Conservancy so they can replant the trees the park lost because of the drought.  Here is how Lisa Falkenberg explains it in her column today that is only available to subscribers:

The city is considering a proposal to let a group called the Uptown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 16 annex a beloved green space twice the size of New York’s Central Park so it can pay for tree planting, water lines and other improvements the city can’t afford.
The overall project would take 20 years to complete and cost around $150 million, paid for by private funds, any state and federal grants obtained, and by the TIRZ No. 16, which has authority to plow a portion of property taxes back into its specific area.

Reforestation is sorely needed in a park devastated by hurricane damage and drought. This is a great deal, city leaders and supporters say, a great way to restore our crown jewel to its former beauty. And we should all trust the Memorial Park Conservancy – a private body whose members aren’t elected and which acts as both fundraiser and watchdog for the park – to make it happen.

There are some in H-Town that don’t like the deal and feel that the public will be left out in the dark when it comes to input.  The Mayor and some members of Council tried to reassure them that everything would be OK.  Here is more from Falkenberg:

When they were assured by Mayor Annise Parker and some City Council members that the city would have to sign off on any decisions, the environmentalists continued to argue that the public should be involved from the get-go. Not after the fact. Not left holding a rubber stamp.

After all, it’s a public park, a very special one with a rare wildness that offers a unique escape in a city as large as Houston. It belongs to all of us, they say. It is not for sale.

This from Lisa is what caught my eye:

There are details in a "Letter of Intent" on the project that didn’t make it into the press release. The letter outlining details of the plan states that the Conservancy would be responsible for major decisions including design, bidding, and managing construction projects in the master plan. The city would later have to approve those decisions, but it’s unclear if that leaves enough time for a thorough public vetting.

A troubling section of the letter called "Coordination of Public Relations" points out that the conservancy isn’t subject to public information requests. And the agreement would require all parties – even the public ones that are subject to information requests – to coordinate through private parties before disclosing any information to the public.

I would hope that the City doesn’t get in the arse kicking mode and just run over those that have expressed concern.  I would hope that they just don’t pat them on the head and say “trust us.” Is it that difficult to incorporate their concerns into the proposal?  Stay tuned!

If you want to read the rest of Lisa’s column, go fetch you a hard copy of today’s Chron. 

Yesterday the Texas House took up a bill on mail ballots and “harvesting.”  I’m glad they didn’t ask for my opinion.

There are 50 MLBers past and present that have 400 plus career dingers.  Who is numero 50 on the list?

From the Shut Up Dept!:

MLB commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday that the Astros’ move to the American League will “work out fine.”

But he added that if Astros’ fans “want a villain, it’s me because I made the decision.”

Commentary didn’t have anything better to do last night so I watched the NFL Draft and watched Mountaineer QB Geno Smith squirm and squirm and squirm and then he finally got disgusted and walked out of the waiting room after not being selected in the First Round.  Did I feel bad for him?  Nope.  He’ll do fine and heck he may get a commercial or two out of waiting for a phone call that never came like the Maytag repair fella.

Big Papi of course sits at numero 50 on the all time career dinger list with 401, err 402 after the one he got against the ‘Stros last night at Fenway.

We’re 0 for 4 all time at Fenway!


Read Full Post »