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Archive for May 1st, 2014

Folks packed the H-Town City Council chamber yesterday to give their two cents on the proposed anti-discrimination ordinance. Commentary watched it on the flat screen. It was pretty much what I expected. Some members of the clergy opposed and some supported. The Greater Houston Partnership came out in support and so did the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority. The votes are there to get the ordinance approved in the next week or so. It is just a matter on what the final version of the ordinance will look like.

Albert Pujols had a pretty good April with 9 dingers and 23 RBIs. We had 13 playoff games with San Luis in 2004 and 2005. How many playoff dingers did Pujols have against us?

H-Town Council Member Stephen Costello came out in support of giving access to Uber and Lyft. That make two public votes for more access. I am also counting The Mayor since her administration has put out the proposed ordinance. Costello announced his support at yesterday’s council meeting. He then tweeted it. Then he sent out an email. Here is Costello’s statement that he put out yesterday:

Over the past few months, City Council has been discussing proposed changes to Chapter 46, the city ordinance dealing with vehicles for hire. I’ve listened during committee meetings and public sessions. I’ve studied the presentations and analyzed the data.

Most importantly, I’ve spoken to and read emails from my constituents from across the city – countless Houstonians from all walks of life who want and need more ways to get around our growing city.

I write today to speak out in favor of revising Chapter 46 so that new entrants to Houston’s transportation market may operate. Citizens overwhelmingly want more options, and I think it’s our duty to not stand in the way of competition and better technology and service. In the process, we can bring new jobs to our great city.

While I believe that government is not in place to create jobs, I do believe it should help foster an environment where the private sector can flourish and grow. By modernizing Chapter 46 we will be doing just that. Expanded free market competition will force current companies in existence to improve their product, while requiring new companies to find their own place in the market.

As a business owner myself, I know that we cannot underestimate the value of competition. In fact, on April 21st, the Federal Trade Commission released a relevant statement: “Competition is at the heart of America’s economy. Vigorous competition among sellers in an open marketplace can provide consumers the benefits of lower prices, higher quality products and services, and greater innovation. This is just as true for app-based transportation and other kinds of P2P services as well.”

I’ve heard a lot of talk about a level playing field. The status quo is not synonymous with a level playing field. The city will continue to ensure businesses that operate in our jurisdiction operate within our regulatory framework. While we must always protect the public good, it is not the role of the government to protect companies from competition, quite the opposite. We opened Hobby Airport to international flights to compete with Bush Intercontinental, and I will continue to advocate for business-friendly ordinances that will increase competition citywide.

Giving more options to the senior who needs a ride to the doctor’s office, the student who has to get to class, the person who’s had too much to drink and doesn’t want to get behind the wheel, the businessperson needing a quick ride to catch a flight is a good thing.

City government should not be picking winners and losers. I don’t want to dictate who gets the fare. That is up to the consumer, but that can’t happen unless we first update the outdated way we think and operate as a city. Houston shouldn’t lag behind. We should be ahead of the curve; we are a global leader.

I’m ready to move forward. I’m ready to work with my colleagues and the administration to update Chapter 46 to allow Houstonians, not city government, decide which private company they choose to rely on for their personal transportation needs.

I wonder why he thought it was important to go public yesterday. Maybe it has something to do with his running for Mayor. I wonder if any members will soon follow in either direction.

Well some teachers filed suit against HISD on the evaluation system. Here is a bit from the Chron:

Seven HISD teachers and their union are suing the school district to try to end job evaluations tied to students’ test scores, arguing the method is arbitrary, unfair and in violation of their due-process rights.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court late Wednesday, could have far-reaching implications as more districts and states use student test data to grade teachers.

The Houston case focuses on the district’s use of a specific, privately developed statistical model that analzes test data to try to gauge a teacher’s effectiveness.

In some cases, according to the lawsuit, teachers see their scores fluctuate from year to year, while other results are based on tests not aligned to the state curriculum. The lawsuit also argues that all teachers aren’t treated equally, and they can’t adequately challenge their ratings because the formula is too opaque.

For example, the lawsuit says, Andy Dewey, a social studies teacher at Carnegie Vanguard High School, received such high scores in 2012 that he qualified for the district’s top performance bonus; his results the next year dropped significantly.

“Mr. Dewey went from being deemed one of the highest performing teachers in HISD to one making ‘no detectable difference’ for his students,” the lawsuit said.

I’d like to hear HISD’s response on this.

Albert Pujols has hit 6 playoff dingers off of the ‘Stros of course – 4 in the 2004 NLCS and 2 in the 2005 NLCS.

We had great weather at The Yard last night. It was a beautiful evening. Too bad the team didn’t show up. Here is what pitcher Brett Oberholtzer told the media after the game:

“I just think we got to do a better job coming out ready to play. (You) get the vibe from other teams that they’re just ready to come in and beat us and that’s frustrating. We’re not going to beat anyone on a day-to-day basis with our talent. But we definitely got to do a better job of willing ourselves to compete on a day-to-day basis. And matching the intensity the other teams bring to the game. A lot of these teams, especially in our division, they’re strong and they’re ready to compete and make it a long stretch down the road and hopefully go to the playoffs, unlike us. We’re a little different.”

I really don’t want to hear that they don’t believe in themselves. I don’t want to go to The Yard thinking that some players expect to lose. The owner, GM, and Skipper have some ‘splaining to do if you ask me.

They said 25,000 – and change showed up last night. I would like to know where they are sitting.

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