Archive for March 10th, 2015

The issue has moved from still on the table to helping set the table as four members of the H-Town City Council are now calling for a Special Council Meeting this Friday. Even if they don’t get a quorum of their colleagues to attend, they are keeping the issue at the forefront. The Council Members are C.O. Bradford, Michael Kubosh, Dave Martin, and Brenda Stardig.

Here is from a City Council memo that was sent out yesterday:

A special called Houston City Council meeting has been scheduled for Friday, March 13 at 10:00 a.m. in Council Chambers located at 901 Bagby, Second Floor. The meeting has been called in response to the announcement Mayor Annise Parker made last week concerning the “Agreement Regarding Litigation and to Mutually Support Legislation” conferred between the Administration and the Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF).

The proposed agreement, which would require a vote of the State Legislature, only provides temporary relief to the City’s General Fund and does nothing to address the long term financial crisis facing the City. Houston Firefighters would be required to increase their contributions to their pension plan from 9% of their salary to 12% in years 2016, 2017, and 2018; however, the contribution rate will revert back to 9% after 2018. This agreement also binds the City from placing a new pension plan proposal through December 31, 2015 further limiting input from City Council Members.

Mike Morris from the Chron writes about the called meeting today and here is a bit:

(Mayor Annise) Parker’s liaison to council, William-Paul Thomas, said he will work against a quorum.

And this:

Parker, through a spokeswoman, said she would brief council on the deal Wednesday during the group’s regularly scheduled weekly meeting. Of the Friday meeting, spokeswoman Darian Ward said simply, “City Council members have the right to call a special meeting.”

Well, if they have the right to call the special meeting, let them go on ahead and meet and don’t lobby or twist arms against. If you like the deal and stand behind it why worry about council members getting together and having an open discussion in front of the public. If you are going to brief them in public on Wednesday, what is going to hurt to have them meet a couple of days later. In this day and age, you are not going to be able to suppress their opinions.

I would hope they are not afraid of this from Morris’ article:

“This issue is too broad and has too great of an impact on the city of Houston and the citizens and taxpayers and firefighters for City Council members not to be briefed, not to be involved,” Bradford said. “The deal may be a good deal; it may be a bad deal. What I’m trying to do is have a public discussion so we can make an informed decision. We represent the citizens of this city, too.”

Here is the entire Mike Morris piece that is behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Members-use-rare-provision-to-force-council-6124358.php?cmpid=btfpm.

And once again Teddy Schleifer’s tweet from this past Thursday evening, the day before the pension deal was announced:

Teddy Schleifer @teddyschleifer • Mar 5
Mayoral race fall-out could be fascinating: Does it take wind out of sails of those running on pensions? Or, elevate their signature issue?

Well we all know the answer.

Council Member Stephen Costello announced for Mayor yesterday but he didn’t say if he is attending Friday’s meeting.

This tweet from State Rep. Carol Alvarado just came out. Way to go!

Carol Alvarado ‏@RepAlvarado145 8m8 minutes ago
Laying out #HB 170 in the Public Health Committee that will ban the sale of e-cigs to minors.

I know what I will be watching this afternoon. Check this tweet that also just came out:

CNN Breaking News ‏@cnnbrk 21m21 minutes ago
Hillary Clinton to hold news conference this afternoon, aide says; she’s expected to address email controversy. http://www.cnn.com/politics

It looks like new ‘Stro Evan Gattis will be our starting left fielder on Opening Day. Who was our Opening Day starting leftfielder from 1971-1974?

For those that think the NY Times on purpose cropped out President Bush 43 from the front page Selma bridge crossing photo, go to the White House website here and check out this cool pic: https://medium.com/@WhiteHouse/behind-the-lens-selma-50-years-later-68bf9a3a70.

Come to think of it, it is probably a good thing Assessor Collector Mike Sullivan didn’t put his mug on the billboards promoting the single-sticker vehicle registration and inspection program. Here is a bit from the Chron:

The official who oversees more vehicle registrations than anyone else in the state gave the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles a failing grade Monday after another error surfaced in its new inspection and registration system.

“It is having an adverse effect on my ability to do the work of the taxpayers,” Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan said of the state’s administration of the new single-sticker system, which took effect March 1.

The latest error, discovered Friday, involved incorrect bills sent to 321,927 motorists with April registrations coming due. Of those, 83,541 were in the eight-county Houston area, including 56,965 in Harris County.

The confusion led to long lines at local tax offices, frustrated motorists and haggard county staffers.

“I’ve got people demanding to see me and calling my office,” Sullivan said. “This is a state issue, but the county tax assessors are the face of this… (Motorists) are angry and frustrated, saying they’ll never vote for Mike Sullivan again. I’m a big boy, I can take it, but I feel bad for the people coming in.”

As of March 1, the familiar state vehicle inspection on Texas windshields was eliminated, though the requirement to the give the vehicle a once-over was unchanged. Inspections are now a condition of renewing state registrations of all motor vehicles, including trailers, in the state. Inspections will need to occur within 90 days prior to renewal.

Now this is a time when State Dems up in Austin ought to be slapping around the GOP controlled state government. There ain’t nothing that pi__es off a voter more than standing in long lines on account of government bureaucratic ineptitude.

As expected, KHOU-TV co-anchor Lisa Hernandez announced last night that she is having a baby. Congrats!

Bob Watson of course was our Opening Day left fielder from 1971-1974.

Evan Gattis told the Chron yesterday that he is “still not all that comfortable” in left field. Well get comfortable!

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