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Archive for February, 2015

Here is one for Teddy Schleifer. Where are the Latina and Latino candidates!

Commentary was having lunch with a well versed politico earlier this week and he asked me why more Latinas and Latinos are not running for City offices this cycle. The question kind of caught me unprepared. We had been discussing the number of African American candidates running – two Mayoral candidates, two or three for City Controller, two strong African American women in one At-Large race, and an African American HCC Trustee in another At-Large race. Where are the Latino and Latina candidates he asked?

I don’t know. It is kind of a troubling question. I kind of stumbled through a response.

I certainly don’t want to compare the local politics of the Latino community with the local politics of the African American but I guess I have to.

Does the African American leadership do a better job of candidate recruitment and training? Do African American elected officials do a better job of grooming potential candidates? What about the roles played by professional and civic organizations?

I am kind of going to go out on a limb and say it is a matter of priorities. We put our efforts into electing folks to the positions we currently hold rather than taking the next step up. It also could be a question of focus, setting goals, and being on the same page. Of course this may change if the Harris County Sheriff runs for Mayor. Or will it?

There are certainly other opportunities out there for Latino political gains. It will just take a little planning, meeting, and talking to each other.

Everyone knows that Jose Altuve led MLB with a .341 batting average this past season. What was the team batting average for the ‘Stros this past season?

I have to admit this was a funny tweet yesterday:

Bill King retweeted
Chris Berhost ‏@CNote713 9h9 hours ago
@BillKingForHou You need rock climbing skills to get out of the potholes on Eldridge between Memorial and Westheimer.

And how about this tweet yesterday from Miya Shay:

Miya Shays @miyashay t • e r1h 11 hours ago
Will former Mayor @BillWhiteTX endorse a #HouMayor candidate? Maybe he told @GeneforTexas tonight? #KnowAutism

I guess folks can speculate on who Mayor White will endorse or not endorse. Any guesses? How much does it matter?

The Chron E-Board kind of slapped the current Mayor today when they wrote about the proposed contract with the police officers. Here is the slap:

Meanwhile, all Houstonians should be wondering whether we’re getting the best bang for our buck. The FBI’s recently released Uniform Crime Report, which relies on data from 2013, lists the Houston region as the only large city in Texas with a high crime rate. Our murder rate was 5.9 per 100,000, above the 4.5 national average. Overall violent crime was more than 50 percent above the national average. Property crime was more than 20 percent above the national average.

These statistics are from the same year that 20,000 crimes with solid leads went univestigated by HPD. Officers deserve fair pay, but Houstonians deserve a balanced budget and a police department that does its job.

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Police-contract-6078444.php.

Ouch!

Speaking of, Commentary watched NBC’s “The Slap” last night. Well they set it up by portraying the kid that gets slapped by an adult the most annoying and spoiled kid around. They portray the adult that slaps the kid as a complete arsehole. So when the kid gets slapped, predictably, many on the twitterverse tweeted it was well deserved. Folks fell into NBC’s trap if you know what I mean – if you are going to slap someone else’s kid in the name of discipline, this one is OK. “The Slap” is a mini-series with only seven episodes remaining so I guess I will continue to watch.

Speaking of NBC, Commentary will spend this Sunday evening checking out the “SNL 40” special. Will you?

The ‘Stros as a team batted .242 last season or 99 points behind Altuve’s .341 and that’s all I have from The Yard today!

Happy Valentine’s Day and let me know how many of the fifty shades you get through this weekend!

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Commentary starts off every Sunday evening with “60 Minutes.” I take them for granted. That’s why I was stunned last night to hear that correspondent Bob Simon had died. Then I was reminded on twitter throughout the evening of the stories that he brought us over the years including last Sunday’s on “Selma.” He was one of the best.

‘Stros pitcher Don Wilson who left us way too soon would be 70 years old today. His jersey was retired in 1975. What number did he wear?

Commentary watched Uma Thurman on “Today” this morning and she looked like Uma Thurman who will be on NBC’s “The Slap” this evening and the Uma Thurman from “Pulp Fiction” of 21 years ago and the Uma Thurman of the “Kill Bill Volume 2” from 10 years ago and not the Uma Thurman from the internet of a couple of days ago. “Uma Thurman” is up to #8 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs.

These tweets were put out yesterday on Harris County DA Devon Anderson:

Lisa FalkenbergVerified account ‏@ChronFalkenberg 24h24 hours ago
Column: Applause for DA, police union support of #grandjury reform. Now let’s get it right. #txlege http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Let-s-get-grand-jury-reform-right-6073841.php?t=996f59b7e9ad6264fa&cmpid=twitter-premium

And:

Teddy SchleiferVerified account ‏@teddyschleifer 10h10 hours ago
The more @DADevonAnderson does of this, the harder she’ll be for Dems to beat in 2016. Follows call for GJ reform. | http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/DA-county-officials-meet-on-drug-policy-6076022.php

Teddy’s tweet got some responses on the politics. Politics or policy?

I would prefer to look at it from the folks that end up in the criminal justice system. I really don’t think they are thinking about how many Early Voters are showing up at West Gray or how the DA candidates scored in the Bar Poll. They just want a fair shake.

Commentary has to give the DA credit for moving forward on some reforms to the system. It is way better than her doing nothing. The politics will be the politics when it counts. For now, I’ll let the policy do the talking if it is progress or a step in the right direction.

You also have to love that GOP Texas House Speaker Joe Straus called the open carry leader a “wild man.”

Don Wilson who left us in 1975 wore the number 40 of course.

And of course Abraham Lincoln was born 206 years ago today.

Nothing to report from The Yard.

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Way to go Falkenberg! Check her tweet and read her column today:

Lisa Falkenberg ‏@ChronFalkenberg 3m3 minutes ago
Column: Applause for DA, police union support of #grandjury reform. Now let’s get it right. #txlege http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Let-s-get-grand-jury-reform-right-6073841.php?t=996f59b7e9ad6264fa&cmpid=twitter-premium

The H-Town City Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee met last night at City Hall and decided to move forward with a City Charter amendment proposal that would allow six members of City Council to place items on the Council Agenda.

At their last meeting they moved forward on a Charter amendment to go to two four-year term limits for City Council members.

At their first meeting the Committee decided not to pursue City Council Executive Sessions.

The Committee hasn’t acted on the feeding the homeless ordinance.

At their next meeting they will take up the revenue cap.

Less than a handful of players and a lot of folks that want to do away with the feeding the homeless ordinance have been attending the Committee meetings.

After the Committee completes its work, City Council will then decide which City Charter Amendment proposals to put on the November ballot.

I know it is still February but you have to wonder who will be out in the community later on this year trying to sell the City Charter changes. I wonder if members of City Council who supported the charter changes will be out there campaigning for the proposals and in the process expending their political resources.

The proposal to allow six members of City Council to place an item on the Council agenda kind of goes against our strong Mayor form of government.

Does the current Mayor really give a rat’s arse if six Council members can place items on the agenda if she is not going to be around next year? Why should she use her political capital to help out the next Mayor?

With the exception of the feeding the homeless ordinance opponents, right now there doesn’t appear to be any community interest in the proposed City Charter changes discussion going on over at City Hall. If there is no community interest, where then is the community support. I hope City Council takes this into consideration before they move forward on ballot initiatives so stay tuned!

Jose Altuve had 56 stolen bases last season. How many stolen bases did the rest of the team have last season?

The following tweet came out yesterday:

Evantines Day ‏@evan7257 1h1 hour ago
“Sylvester Turner is the Hillary Clinton of the mayoral race”

I will say once again that I am not ready to call any Mayoral candidate a frontrunner.

At this point in February of 1997, 2003, and 2009 when we had an open race for H-Town Mayor, did we have a frontrunner? I don’t think so! What makes this year different?

Speaking of so-called frontrunners, Hillary Clinton is having some infighting among her top players over fundraising and Jeb Bush had to fire a top staffer the day after the staffer was hired, so don’t show me the frontrunners!

Commentary said this yesterday:

Commentary is trying to figure out where women can make political gains, err win, in electoral politics this season – 2015. Teddy Schleifer wrote this past weekend about no women running for Mayor. Well what about the other city races and the HISD and HCC trustee positions?

Then this was tweeted:

Amanda Edwards ‏@amanda4houston 14m14 minutes ago
Excited to announce my candidacy for Houston City Council AL-4! #HouCouncil #HouNews http://www.edwardsforhouston.com/news.html

That makes two African American women running in At-Large 4.

NBC News gave Brian Williams a six month unpaid leave of absence just because the straw that broke the camel’s back was when Williams told us that his daughter Allison was really flying during the Peter Pan show. I don’t know about that.

Jose Altuve had 56 stolen bases last season and the rest of the team had 66 of course.

There is a kind of sad story in the Chron Sports Section today about those big banners that celebrate titles our pro sports teams rack up. The banners are missing! Here is a bit of the sad news:

There are other missing or misplaced banners in Houston sports lore, from all accounts.

The Astros, for example, relinquished their collection of Astrodome banners to Harris County when the team left for Enron Field (now Minute Maid Park) after the 1999 season, said Mike Acosta, the team’s authentication manager.

“The (Minute Maid) roof opens and closes, so if we were to suspend banners, they would be blowing all over the place when the roof was open,” Acosta said. “So we decided to replicate the banners.”

The team also changed logos and color schemes when it moved downtown, so the blue-and-gold “shooting star” logo that was incorporated into the 1990s banners was out of sync with the team’s rebranding.

Acosta said the Astros still have one of the large American flags displayed in center field at the Astrodome from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. The team also has an orange Astros flag that formerly flew outside the Dome, and Acosta said it might be flown as the team celebrates the 50th anniversary of its renaming from Colt .45s to Astros.

The other flags, along with the banners, Acosta said, “were folded up and stored on the floor of the Astrodome with some of the other things that were taken down.”

But where are they?

NRG Park spokeswoman Nina Jackson, asked this week about the location of the Astros memorabilia, said, “Nobody knows anything about any banners.”

There was no indication whether the banners were sold during the Astrodome “garage sale” in 2013 and, if not, whether they still are stored somewhere within the building.

Photos taken in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina evacuees were housed at the Dome, show Astros and Oilers banners still on display. The banners had been removed by 2010, when county officials staged a media tour of the stadium.

Similar questions surround the Oilers’ championship banners and retired number banners. The Oilers left Houston after the 1996 season for Nashville, Tenn., and a spokesman for the Tennessee Titans said the Oilers banners have not been seen in storage in Nashville.

Come on Hunker Down, could you please ask someone to go find the banners, PLEASE!

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Commentary is trying to figure out where women can make political gains, err win, in electoral politics this season – 2015. Teddy Schleifer wrote this past weekend about no women running for Mayor. Well what about the other city races and the HISD and HCC trustee positions?

I don’t see or hear of any women running for the open City Controller position, just a bunch of fellas.

In the City Council District races, G looks like a possibility if current HCC trustee Sandie Mullins makes the race. Then that opens up Mullins’ HCC trustee position. In the open District H seat, I don’t know if former HISD Trustee Diana Davila is still in the race.

There may be opportunities for women in the open City Council At-Large 1 and 4 positions.

There is nothing really open over at HCC.

At HISD, it doesn’t look like District 3 Trustee Manuel Rodriguez is running but I haven’t heard of any women stepping up. The HISD District 4 Trustee positon currently held by a female may open up and I understand a very strong female candidate is ready to run.

So that’s it for 2015. And I mean that’s it!

This past season, ‘Stros rookie George Springer had 20 dingers. Name the rookie with the most dingers this past season in MLB?

Yesterday, Teddy Schleifer was on FM 88.7’s Houston Matters and said that Potholes/Roads and Pensions would be important issues in the Mayoral race this year. Stay tuned!

In case I forget, Happy Valentine’s Day Alabama!

Jose Abreu of the White Sox had 36 dinger this past season to lead all MLB rookies of course.

I don’t have anything from The Yard.

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Our Chron

I am thinking that Lisa Falkenberg is the best writer ever at the Chron. She is not afraid to take on the tough issues. Last year she started a huge discussion on the Harris County grand jury system and guess what? Yesterday the Harris County DA put out a Chron Op-Ed and said this:

The public is losing confidence in the grand jury system. I can no longer take a neutral position on this issue. The use of jury commissioners to select grand jurors unnecessarily gives critics of the grand jury system ammunition to challenge the jurors’ independence and integrity. The jurors deserve better. The public deserves better.

And this:

I support the efforts in the Texas Legislature to abolish the jury commissioner system. Whatever concerns the remaining district court judges have about using jury pools should have been assuaged long ago – other district courts have been using the jury pool system successfully for long enough that its viability cannot be questioned.

You have to give Fallkenberg her credit for moving the issue this far. Nice job, Falkenberg!

Last year, when he first arrived on the local scene, the Chron’s Teddy Schleifer wrote a front page piece about why Congressional District 29 isn’t represented by a Latina or Latino. This past Saturday, Teddy wrote a piece on there being no women running for H-Town Mayor this year. Stay tuned!

If you are not doing anything during lunch today, check out Teddy on the radio:

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 9m9 minutes ago
Tune in to @HoustonMatters at noon CT / 1pm ET to hear little ol’ me on the characters vying to be mayor of Houston: http://www.houstonmatters.org

This is kind of unnecessary roughness if you ask me. I don’t think The Dean and Robert Miller were deserving of the shot they took from the Chron E-Board this past weekend. Robert is the lobbyist the E-Board mentions in the following:

(Thumbs down) State Sen. John Whitmire is the first to growl when there’s questionable spending of taxpayer bucks. But when the University of Houston dropped close to $100K on a lobbyist – a very unusual expense for a university – the senator and “Of Counsel” to Houston law firm of Locke Lord LLP appeared muzzled. Why would that be? Maybe it’s because the hired gun works for Locke Lord, too.

Now that is what you call a Chron E-Board cheap shot?

Jon Singleton will now be wearing the numero 21 after he handed Colby Rasmus his numero 28. Name the ‘Stro who wore the 21 from 1977-1990.

When presenting last night’s Grammys Album of the Year, Prince said “like books and black lives, albums still matter.” Yeah, I know you are Prince but I don’t think books and albums rise to the level of Black lives. Sorry, but that is my two cents.

I kind of thought that was Kristen Wiig in the white wig last night doing the cool dance moves.

Terry Puhl of course wore the numero 21 for the ‘Stros from 1977-1990.

That is all I have from The Yard today.

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Not the Issues

Over a quarter of a million jobs were added to the rolls in January and the do-nothing GOP still refuses to give the President an ounce of credit! Talk about a lame shame!

He was arguably the greatest to ever play the game and a member of the inaugural class of the MLB Hall of Fame. He was also born 120 years ago today. Who am I talking about?

Kuffer put out some more of what he wants to see the Mayoral candidates talking about this year. Today Kuffer touches on quality of life. Here is how he ends his take today:

I could go on, but I think that will do for now. I realize this is a long campaign, and I realize the average voter is assumed to have the attention span of a gnat. I also realize that some of these candidates don’t have fully fleshed-out positions on everything yet, though let’s be honest here – most of the declared candidates – three of whom so far are repeat customers – have been running for Mayor for many years now. They’ve just made it official now that they can raise money. They’ve all got advisers and consultants and political directors and what have you out the wazoo. Let’s put some of that brainpower to the test. Anyone can be against potholes. I want to know what these guys are for, and it’s neither unfair nor too early to start asking where they stand, at least in general, on these issues. I hope you’ll join me on that, and will do the same for the issues that are important to you.

Here is all of today’s Kuffer: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=65299.

Look, folks know where Commentary stands. I can also say that Bill King has certainly written extensively on a number of H-Town issues. All you have to do is look them up or go purchase his book. So you really can’t stick Bill in with the rest of the bunch who have not staked out positions. Kind of the same for Council Member Stephen Costello who has put out a number of issue newsletters.

Meanwhile, Chris Bell and State Rep. Sylvester Turner are sniping at each other on fundraising – certainly not an issue that is of concern to most H-Town voters. Check these tweets from yesterday:

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 2h2 hours ago
NEW: @ChrisBell2015 files complaint to Houston ethics board to not allow @SylvesterTurner to transfer his $$$. | http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2015/02/mayoral-fight-continues-as-bell-files-complaint-to-ethics-board/

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 2h2 hours ago
Last month: “We do serve our citizens, whether they happen to be state representatives or not.” #hounews | http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2015/02/mayoral-fight-continues-as-bell-files-complaint-to-ethics-board/

And:

Kris Banks retweeted
Sue Davis ‏@suedavis1974 15m15 minutes ago
Already @ChrisBell2015 breaks promise to spend time campaigning instead of trying to win w/lawsuits & complaints. #frivolous legal action

While Bill King tweeted this yesterday:

Bill King @BillKingForHou • 21h 21 hours ago
City of Houston has 3,667 open work orders for #potholes and asphalt repair; another 952 calls through the city’s 311 line.

Bill King @BillKingForHou • 22h 22 hours ago
“…we have not put the $ into maintenance that we…would have liked…because of budget cuts…” #HoustonPotholes http://bit.ly/1Cy9qrK

Oh, well! Who is talking to who on the issues?

It looks like former Council Member Jew Don boney will run for City Controller. That makes two prominent African American candidates in this race. I am sure this doesn’t sit well with HCC Trustee Carroll Robinson.

The great Babe Ruth of course was born 120 years ago today in B’More.

Here is from today’s Chron Sports Section:

It has been 10 years since the city of Houston saw postseason baseball at Minute Maid Park. Heck, the Astros haven’t even finished above .500 since 2008. Yet owner Jim Crane is shooting for a playoff berth this year.

Crane didn’t backtrack Thursday night after declaring he expects the Astros to reach the playoffs this year for the first time since they played in the 2005 World Series.

“Well, we eventually want to win championships,” Crane said. “I think this team has an opportunity to get to the playoffs. That’s our goal, and that’s what we’re working for, and we’re expecting them to get there.”

Today is February 6. Opening Day is April 6 – in 2 months!

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Yesterday, State Rep. Carol Alvarado was named Chair of the Urban Affairs Committee of the Texas House of Representatives. Congrats! I have not had the time to do the research but in the history of the Texas House, there have not been too many Latinas that have served as Chair of a committee – a couple or so maybe? I am also trying to remember the last time a Latina/Latino from the H-Town area served as a Chair of a committee in the Texas Legislature – maybe somebody can help me out. Way to go, Carol!

Carol will certainly do a great a job. BTW: GOP Rep. Molly White, yeah, that Rep. White of Belton, is also a member of the Urban Affairs Committee.

Name the two MLB clubs with the lousiest home records last season?

On the #HoustonPotholes stuff, Commentary said this yesterday:

Well let me just say that potholes don’t vote. That being said, I am kind of flabbergasted and perplexed a bit that the City hasn’t been more aggressive in defending their processes. In the Channel 11 story that follows, Public Works continues to let their spokesperson take the hit. Heck, he’s earned a pay raise over the last couple or three stories. Maybe the City has a secret pothole repair plan they are fixing to unveil.

Well the Mayor responded yesterday and here is what she said in today’s Chron front page lead story: “We have a full, all-hands-on-deck emergency plan in place. This is my issue. We’re going to deal with it.”

It is not a secret plan but a response to those that raised the issue the past week or so. You have to give credit to those that got out front on our potholes. I am talking about Bill King, KHOU-TV Channel 11, and KTRK-TV Channel 13. They got folks to talking and complaining and City Hall just had to act – or else.

I am sure some local politicos kind of dismissed Bill when he first brought up the #HoustonPotholes a while back but they are certainly not dismissing him this morning. Like I said, give Bill his credit.

Here is how today’s Chron story starts:

Confronted with the age-old political headache of fixing pesky potholes amid surging resident complaints, Mayor Annise Parker acknowledged Wednesday that the city has not acted quickly enough to make repairs and called Houston’s roads a “crisis situation.”

Parker was responding to media reports detailing lingering requests for pothole fixes on city streets.

Here is the entire story from behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Parker-says-city-has-fallen-behind-on-pothole-6063307.php.

Commentary still thinks spokesperson Eric Dargan, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Works, should be given a raise for being put out there in a position that was impossible to defend.

Are #HoustonPotholes now off of the table so to speak? Nope! Stay tuned for sure!

At 33-48 the D-Backs and Rangers of course had last season’s lousiest home record.

The Rangers will make their first visit to The Yard on May 4 and the D-Backs visit for three on July 31 – August 2.

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#HoustonPotholes Rule!

First from Robert Miller:

Robert D. Miller ‏@Robert_Miller 34m34 minutes ago
Texas House committees will be released today at the end of the session and the House will then adjourn for the week. #txlege

Name the MLB club with the best road record last season?

I am not going to say much about national security issues other than to say it didn’t take Jordan long to respond.

Let me send congrats to Dante as his high school baseball adventure gets underway. Way to go, Dante! Let’s play ball!

It looks like the pothole issue has some legs so to speak as KTRK is now taking part – or taking it apart – and the City of H-Town continues to roll over, but first the latest tweets:

Ted Oberg retweeted
Bill King @BillKingForHou • 3h 3 hours ago
@tedoberg City cannot fix potholes because it does not have $$$. To fix potholes must fix finances. Must end diversions from Rebuild Houston

And:

Ted Oberg @tedoberg • 8h 8 hours ago
Dear @Oliver4Houston @ChrisBell2015 @SylvesterTurner @s_costello @BillKingForHou et al: What can you do as mayor to speed up pothole fixes?

And:

Ted Oberg @tedoberg • 8h 8 hours ago
Road repair cash is there, so why months-long delay? via @ABC13Houston http://abc13.com/traffic/cash-is-there-so-why-no-houston-road-repair/503132/

And:

Ted Oberg @tedoberg • 16h 16 hours ago
Houston’s Bumpy Broken Pothole Process takes too long to fix your street. Join Us at 10 @abc13houston to find out why pic.twitter.com/FjuARYD0QU

And:

Ted Oberg retweeted
Trent Seibert @trentseibert • Feb 2
.@tedoberg This pothole is next to Cage Elementary. Kids walk thru it daily. Should we feature @ 10 Tuesday? http://ow.ly/i/8tSSM #hounews

Here is part of the Ted Oberg Channel 13 story from yesterday:

Indeed, eight months later, 80 percent of that money dedicated to road fixes has yet to be spent, creeping through the pipeline of city bureaucracy, records show.

“They are paying dollars for the drainage fee and they’re not seeing the results of their investment,” said Councilman Larry Green, who fought last year to get the additional money dedicated to road repair. “We have to be able deliver products faster than it’s happening.”

Green’s Council District K stretches from the edge of the Texas Medical Center to Fort Bend County and includes the Astrodome. He says he’s hearing from constituents about potholes every day — and so are his colleagues.

“Every council member in the city is hearing from their constituents and I’m sure in the upcoming election it’s going to be a big deal,” Green said.
Here is the entire Channel 13 story: http://abc13.com/traffic/cash-is-there-so-why-no-houston-road-repair/503132/.

Well let me just say that potholes don’t vote. That being said, I am kind of flabbergasted and perplexed a bit that the City hasn’t been more aggressive in defending their processes. In the Channel 11 story that follows, Public Works continues to let their spokesperson take the hit. Heck, he’s earned a pay raise over the last couple or three stories. Maybe the City has a secret pothole repair plan they are fixing to unveil. Here is part of last night’s Channel 11 story and it ain’t pretty:

More than seven months after Houston City Council added an extra $10 million to the pothole repair budget, next to nothing has been done with that tax money according to an I-Team review of city records.

City Council approved its budget in June 2014, but it took until November, to get the first contract signed. And since it’s been signed, the Houston Department of Public Works said the contractor has hardly filled any holes.

The total number? Early Tuesday, the city said three potholes. Later in the day, they changed the number to eight. Either way, some City Council members said they were stunned.

“Unconscionable, something is wrong with the system,” said City Council Member C.O. “Brad” Bradford.

“Yeah that’s sad, sad, that has to be dealt with,” added Council Member Dwight Boykins.

And:

The I-Team spoke with Eric Dargan, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Works about the contractor’s productivity.

I-Team: “Is that where you want to be?”

Dargan:”No sir, not at all.”

Initially, the Department of Public Works blamed the weather, sending out a statement that read in part:

“The contractor cannot perform work when there is rain or temperatures below 50 degrees. Both December and January have been challenging due to these weather conditions.”

But we asked KHOU 11 News Meteorologist David Paul to research those months. Conservatively, he counted 15 work days with near-ideal conditions.

“Temperatures on average were above 50 degrees, there was no rain, so there was two weeks where stuff could have gotten done,” Paul said.

On several other days, there was only a trace amount of rain recorded. According to the signed city contract, the temperature threshold is 40 degrees to do asphalt work. That would add to the number of potential work days.

I-Team: “What was this contractor doing all this time?”

Dargan: “I don’t have the answer to that.”

I-Team: “Are you going to find out?”

Dargan: “Most definitely.”

Here is the entire story: http://www.khou.com/story/news/investigations/2015/02/03/pothole-patrol-10-million-7-months-3-potholes-filled/22819739/.

Let’s see now. Two local TV stations go after the city on their pothole repair process. The City doesn’t put up much of a defense. No contest! Potholes rule!

The Dodgers of course were 49-32 on the road last season to lead all MLB clubs.

The Dodgers visit The Yard for a weekend series this August 21-23.

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I am thinking that the City of H-Town might be surrendering to #HoustonPotholes.

KHOU-TV Channel 11 has pretty much exposed the City of H-Town on how it handles – or doesn’t handle – pothole repairs. Last week Channel 11 reported to us that the City was “misleading” us on their percentage of pothole repair completion rate. Last night KHOU reported on the City spokesperson admitting that the City’s repair efforts are not up to standard and they are “not allowed to do it right based on budgetary restraints” – HUH! Well why even attempt to repair them? Tsk, tsk, tsk!

Here is how KHOU started their story last night:

Thousands of potholes the City of Houston patched had to be re-patched over the past two years according to 11 News I-Team analysis of Department of Public Works records.

Critics call it sloppy and irresponsible, while City officials argue that given budgetary constraints, a temporary fix is better than no fix at all.

And:

So we had some questions for Eric Dargan, Deputy Director of the Houston Department of Public Works.

I-Team: “Are you doing it right the first time always.”

Dargan: “Not always.”

Dargan said it all comes down to the numbers, and the math only goes so far.

Public Works certainly didn’t make the City look good last night if you ask me. Maybe they just didn’t give this Dargan fella anything to work with. That’s too bad. Of course, maybe the City figures they can’t spin this one so they are just going to take the hit. It will be interesting to see how much longer KHOU will ride #HoustonPotholes and see how many times the City is forced to wave the white flag.

Here is the entire story from last night: http://www.khou.com/story/news/2015/02/03/public-works-fills-but-then-refills-thousands-of-potholes/22782895/.

Name the team with the best home record in MLB last season?

Not to be outdone, Kuffer has set some criteria for what he wants to hear from the Mayoral candidates. Check it out here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=64680. Anybody else?

I wonder when groups will start rolling out their endorsements.

The Angels of course had the best home record in MLB last season – going a nice 52-29.

The Angels visit The Yard for three the weekend of April 17-19.

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City Politics

Commentary can’t add anything to say about the stunning end of last night’s game and the call. Postgame I will say that Gisele wears Patriots red and blue plaid the best.

Best halftime entertainment tweet goes to the Chron’s Nick Mathews when Katy Perry made her entrance:

Nick Mathews @Nick_Mathews • 13h 13 hours ago
The closest the Lions will ever get to the Super Bowl.

I wasn’t really impressed with the ads last night. Always did right with run and throw like a girl and Ted 2 with Gisele’s hubby was cute. After four hours of excessive horsepower, should the Fiat call a mechanic? That’s all!

Hall of Fame great Joe Morgan wore four different numbers playing in Colt Stadium and in the Astrodome. What were the numbers?

Commentary has said it before. If folks really want to make major changes to the City’s term limits, get organized and take it to the grass roots. Half arse efforts aren’t going to cut it. You need to get out there and engage the voters and lay out the arguments. The Chron has another piece behind the paywall on the latest effort on tinkering with term limits. Here it is: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Like-clockwork-City-Council-debates-term-limits-6055671.php.

Here is what Kuffer said about the current effort:

Given the abolition of the fundraising blackout period, it’s even harder for me to see the justification for four year terms. Any incumbent that doesn’t go into their re-election year with a six figure-plus campaign treasury will have committed political malpractice. How exactly is this going to make things better? We’ll see how it goes when it comes up for a final vote.

Bill King continues to engage #HoustonPotholes. Here is what the HISD Superintendent tweeted:

Terry Grier @tgrierhisd • 15h 15 hours ago
@BillKingForHou Saw another pothole flat this morning at corner of Sage and Woodway!

And:

Bill King retweeted
Terry Grier @tgrierhisd • 15h 15 hours ago
@charbq @BillKingForHou Why doesn’t Houston police officers report them–or city employees; bus drivers, etc.?

I am thinking Bill King owns the pothole issue.

Yesterday the Chron E-Board yesterday drew up a job description of sorts for mayoral candidates. If you want the E-Board endorsement, pay attention to the following:

Nine candidates have signaled they will likely enter the field to replace term-limited Mayor Annise Parker. The public benefits when voters have a choice of candidates who hold diverse experiences and views, so we regret the fact that the field holds no women candidates.

There is much at stake in this election. Houston has a strong-mayor form of government, and our mayor can set a tone that affects the region as a whole. Citizens should listen carefully to the candidates as they decide whom to vote for. Everyone is entitled to his or her own criteria, but the following factors – in no particular order – may be a helpful starting point:

Uniter, not a Divider Houston is the most diverse city in the United States. The new mayor’s biggest challenge will be bringing people together. People from diverse backgrounds and different partisan views need to unite to get things done for the city as a whole. In state and national politics, there are more than enough politicians who relish gridlock and condemn those who do not share their views. That kind of sound-bite politics, which ignores the fact that we are all neighbors, destroys our sense of community.

Managerial and Financial Experience As Houston lacks a city manager, its mayor should have strong managerial skills. It takes more than glib speeches to be a good manager, and management skills are not intuitive. A mayor must know how to motivate a vast work force, attract and retain talented employees and know how to earn the respect of employees while holding them accountable. Our city will not be served well by a mayor-elect who has to learn management skills on the job. With a city of Houston budget of more than $4 billion, the mayor must be able to understand a complex budget and explain city finances clearly to the public.

Attention to the city’s neighborhoods and basic services The mayor’s race is a nonpartisan race, and a large part of the job concerns basic services rather than ideology. A mayor should be more interested in fixing potholes, efficient garbage collection and reducing crime than in addressing national issues or traveling abroad. A mayor’s willingness to listen and to respond at civic club meetings is more important than his views on hot-button issues such as ISIS and presidential politics. Voters should look for a strong connection between the candidate and the community and a familiarity with local issues.

Public Servant. Some men and women seek office as a public service. If so, they will be givers, not takers in their personal lives. Voters should look for candidates who have played important roles in faith organizations, schools and non-profits. People who contribute to the community quietly – before or after holding public office – are more likely to have a servant’s heart.

Pride in task We place high demands on those who run for office. Candidates will likely need to raise $2 million before November to be competitive. The time-consuming tasks of fundraising and campaigning can discourage candidates who have excelled outside of the public arena from seeking office. But it’s fair to ask: Has the candidate excelled in his prior career? Someone who has excelled in prior jobs is more likely to hold himself and others to a high standard after the election.

Integrity Last but not least, look to the reputation of the candidate. Have his actions always demonstrated integrity? Houston needs a mayor who will bring high ethical standards to the office and who will make employment and contractual decisions based on the public interest rather than rewarding “friends” or supporters. In this connection, it’s worthwhile asking: Who are the candidate’s top contributors? On the flip side, citizens who contribute or work for campaigns should expect fair but not preferential treatment after their candidate is elected.

As with any interview process, we are most likely to choose the best person for the job if we judge them against well-defined criteria, rather than based on their slogans, political ads or popularity. The campaign season is a long job interview, and voters need to pay attention. May the best candidate win.

The E-Board also put out a couple of thumbs downs this past weekend. Here they are:

(Thumbs down) Speaking of hate, we’re embarrassed by those protesters – and state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton – who insulted a peaceful group trying to celebrate Texas Muslim Capitol Day in Austin. Many new Texans are Muslims who have fled brutal governments. Now they’re getting to see, as one supporter framed it, “Democracy is messy.”

(Thumbs down) Gov. Abbott’s reaction to the Muslin Day spectacle was perplexing. “We must have civil open debate of hotly contested issues in the state,” he said. The Muslims were pilloried because of their religion. A leader should have said, “This is wrong.”

I too was disappointed in the Governor’s reaction.

Joe Morgan wore the 8, 12, 18, and 35 of course playing for the Colt .45s and ‘Stros.

Now are you ready for ‘Stros baseball?

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