Archive for January 15th, 2015

Commentary attended last night’s H-Town City Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee meeting at City Hall and it was interesting. The meeting lasted just a bit over four hours – yikes! While I was there I sent out a couple of tweets. Here they are:

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 14h 14 hours ago
75 or so folks here at City Hall for Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee meeting. #FeedingTheHomeless supporters? pic.twitter.com/6Y5vMYo3bB.


Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 12h 12 hours ago
H-Town City Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee decides not to pursue Executive Sessions. #hounews #Transparency

First up was a presentation by the City Attorney on Executive Session. It turns out H-Town is one of the few municipalities in the Lone Star State without Executive Sessions. The City Attorney kind of made the case for H-Town getting into the Executive Session business.

Six folks testified against and nobody for. The most persuasive argument against came from well-respected neighborhood activist Jane Cahill West who said “we ought to be proud we are one of the few without Executive Session.” She was very effective.

There wasn’t any stomach on Council for moving forward on this so they voted not to pursue. And that’s the end of that!

Doing away with the feeding the homeless ordinance got a ton of play last night. The charge against was led by Council Member Michael Kubosh.

Around 30 or so folks spoke against including a few members of the Kubosh family. I don’t think anyone spoke for.

The City Attorney kind of signaled last night that the administration doesn’t think this issue is charter amendment worthy. This one is going to another Council committee so we all better stay tuned.

Name the MLBer with the nickname “El Oso Blanco?”

We all know the City of H-Town needs to improve its criminal justice facilities but it ain’t going to be cheap. The Mayor knows this and kind of laid out some options that were handed back to her at City Council yesterday. Here is from the Chron today:

Pushed by Mayor Annise Parker to decide whether Houston’s aging police and courts buildings should get patchwork repairs or be fully replaced, with both options carrying staggering price tags, City Council members instead opted for indecision.

By a 12-4 vote, the body sidestepped both options – one of which could cost more than $1 billion – and referred the item back to the Parker administration. The measure was a nonbinding resolution, meaning any choice would have seen no money spent and no plan formally committed to.

Parker, however, said she presented the item to gauge whether council was willing to move forward with building a new cops-and-courts complex, as several million dollars are needed to continue the planning process, money that could be wasted if the council has no plans to ultimately approve the project itself.

“It’s either put hundreds of millions of dollars into the existing buildings or put hundreds of millions of dollars into new construction,” Parker said. “Council members want to vote ‘none of the above,’ and my job is to tell them you can’t say ‘none of the above.’ The buildings are becoming hazardous. It’s clear council members don’t want to take a position. When there’s no good answers, if they can duck, they’re going to duck as long as they can.”

City Hall insiders saw hypocrisy on both sides, however.

Just as Parker complained that council members, many of whom often complain about being excluded from key decisions, punted when given the chance to make a hard call. However, those suspicious of the mayor griped that Parker sought council input only when it was convenient for her to share the heat over a potentially unpopular proposal.

Here is the entire Chron piece that is behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Council-sidesteps-decision-on-justice-center-6016115.php.

I don’t blame the Mayor. This is a big ticket item that she probably won’t get enough support for from Council this year so go on ahead and punt it over to the next administration. I don’t have a problem with justifiable punting on this.

New ‘Stro Evan Gattis of course is El Oso Blanco.

And here is from Tags on some news from The Yard:

The chance to add a power bat to their lineup to improve the club for 2015 was enticing enough for the Astros to trade three prospects — pitchers Mike Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman, and third baseman Rio Ruiz — to the Braves on Wednesday in exchange for slugger Evan Gattis and Minor League right-hander James Hoyt.

Gattis, 28, has hit 43 homers in 211 games in his first two seasons in the Major Leagues with the Braves. He’s battled injury problems during his career, but he passed a physical on Wednesday. Gattis gives the Astros another 30-homer threat at Minute Maid Park with Chris Carter and George Springer.

“Offense is hard to find, and for us to have an opportunity to acquire a young player with four years of control who has the offensive potential of Evan Gattis, that’s something that we found very attractive,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “When we look at our lineup for 2015, having Springer and Carter, and Gattis and [Jason] Castro, we’re talking about a lineup that can compete in our [American League West] division, and I think that’s really what we’re looking to accomplish.”

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