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Archive for June, 2015

Royals Flush

Last night’s Meyerland Dems candidate forum was held. That’s about all I can say. Candidates got to speak and take a couple or so questions. That’s it. No headlines. More candidates and operatives than Meyerland Dems in attendance.

So in local politics, today is an OFFICIAL RAINOUT!

Only one pitcher in MLB has tossed 100 plus innings this season – name him?

This season, the MLB know-it-alls decided to go with online voting only for the 2015 MLB All Star Game starting lineups. They did away with the hanging chads and they are probably regretting their decision this morning. Seven members of the KC Royals are leading in the vote count. I am ready to call five of those states, err positions – catcher, third base, shortstop, and two in the outfield. A .210 hitting Omar Infante has a lead over Jose Altuve for second base and Eric Hosmer has a lead over Miguel Cabrera for first base who is hitting .344 and arguably the best hitter in MLB.

I am not going to get worked up over this because KC knows how to turn out its vote. I did like the old way of voting because I always scored a t-shirt for bringing 750 voters or so to the polls.

Infante over Altuve is getting a lot of national run so I suspect Altuve will get a bounce over the next two weeks of voting and can maybe make a comeback. Meanwhile, the know-it-alls at MLB are probably scratching their heads and trying to figure out how to devise a voting system that makes sense to folks outside of Missouri.

Dallas Keuchel of course with an 8-2 record and 2.04 ERA has tossed 101 1/3 innings to lead MLB.

Two SpringerDingers help get us a win last night. We still have a two and a half game lead over the Rangers and wrap up the homie this afternoon.

Did you know that we still have 13 games left to play against the Rangers?

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Ballot Language

Everybody knows that Bill King is one of the country’s leading experts on hurricane preparedness and evacuations. He has been recognized for his work in the past. That’s not why they are calling the next tropical storm Bill though.

The Meyerland Dems will host a mayoral candidate forum this evening.

Here is the 2010 ballot language on Rebuild Houston:

City of Houston, PROPOSITION NO.1
CHARTER AMENDMENT PROPOSITION

Relating to the Creation of a Dedicated Funding Source to Enhance,
Improve and Renew Drainage Systems and Streets.
Shall the City Charter of the City of Houston be amended to provide
for the enhancement, improvement and ongoing renewal of Houston’s
drainage and streets by creating a Dedicated Pay-As-You-Go Fund for
Drainage and Streets?
FOR
AGAINST

From the Chron:

Houston’s divisive, multibillion-dollar effort to fund two decades of street and drainage improvements faces an uncertain future after the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the ballot measure voters narrowly approved in 2010 obscured the nature and cost of the drainage fee at the heart of the ReBuild Houston program.

And:

(Mayor Annise) Parker downplayed Friday’s ruling.

“This is but one step in the ongoing legal process,” she said. “It does not change the city’s ability to continue with the program that has resulted in millions of dollars of drainage and street improvements throughout Houston since its implementation. Of course, we, respectfully, disagree with the court’s decision and are reviewing our options.”

And:

Houston appellate lawyer Richard Hogan, who is not involved in the litigation, said a separate legal action would have to be launched to make the drainage fee disappear from residents’ water bills. However, after reading the Supreme Court opinion and related filings, Hogan said he would put his money on an eventual victory for the plaintiffs.

“It’s hard for me to imagine that they’re not going to win the case when it goes back,” Hogan said. “I can’t imagine that, after the Supreme Court said all this, that a trial judge in Texas would thumb his or her nose at the Supreme Court and tell them, ‘No, it wasn’t misleading.’ ”

Here is the entire Chron piece: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Texas-Supreme-Court-sends-ReBuild-lawsuit-back-to-6324772.php.

Here is from Kuffer:

1. I freely admit this may just be sour grapes on my part, but I have a hard time seeing this ruling as anything but ridiculous. I don’t know how any actual voter who didn’t spend the last six months of 2010 in a coma could have failed to understand that voting for the Renew Houston proposition meant imposing a fee on themselves. I’m struggling to not see politics at the root of this decision.

2. So far the only Mayoral campaign reactions I have seen to this have been press releases from Bill King and Ben Hall, both of which hit my mailbox on Friday, and both of which were happy about the ruling. (Mayor Parker also put out a press release, which was quoted in full in the Chron story.) I’ve looked at the Facebook pages of the other five candidates, and so far nothing. Chris Bell, Sylvester Turner, Steve Costello, Adrian Garcia, and Marty McVey – what are you waiting for?

3. There’s still a lot of legal wrangling to come, but it’s fair to say that ReBuild Houston is on life support and may not survive. If it goes down, then what if anything replaces it? I feel like I spent a lot of time back in 2010 asking Renew Houston opponents what they would do to provide more funds for flooding and drainage improvements, and I never got anything resembling a coherent answer. So I’ll ask again, with an eye especially at the Mayoral candidates. If not ReBuild Houston, then what? How do you provide more funds to do more street repairs and flood abatement? Remember, we live in a revenue cap world, so simply proposing a property tax increase (not that anyone would, I suppose) is insufficient. If you don’t propose some kind of supplemental revenue stream, then as far as I’m concerned you’re not serious about wanting to do street improvements and flood mitigation. If you do have a proposal, then I want specifics, and I want to see evidence that you’re going to fight for it. Say what you want about Steve Costello, and I’m sure he’s going to take his fair share of abuse and criticism now, but he put his money where his mouth was in 2010, and he got something passed. If the Supreme Court has taken that away, what will you do instead?

The Mayor then tweeted this yesterday:

Annise Parker ‏@AnniseParker 24s24 seconds ago
Rebuild Houston added $600 mil of completed, in construction & planned street/drainage work. Ask mayoral candidates how they’d replace.-A

I guess she stopped reviewing her options.

Well this is a mess for sure.

Everybody knows that Commentary worked on the Renew Houston campaign back in 2010. It won and became Rebuild Houston after City Hall took ownership. During the 2010 campaign, it was kind of hard to get elected officials to support the campaign. They stayed away from the campaign. We did a lot better with organizations and groups.

It will be interesting to see what elected officials do with this now.

Name the MLB club with the highest run differential this morning?

When it comes to H-Town politics and campaigns I can speak with authority. When it comes to San Antonio politics and campaigns I don’t know squat.

I followed the recent SA mayoral campaign by reading articles on the Express News website or the Trib. I also had a few brief discussions about the race with a couple of H-Town folks who do business in SA. That’s it.

I have not had a chance to politic or campaign in SA since 2000, so I didn’t see any of the ads, read the mail, or talk to voters about the campaigns. So I could not even give you a half-arse take on what happened Saturday other than to report the final score.

The Trib has a thorough account of what happened and here is a part:

“At the end of the day, we needed 3,000 Democrats to get off their asses and go vote, and they didn’t,” said Colin Strother, a Democratic consultant who had worked for the fourth-place finisher in the first round of the race, former Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson. “And that’s the story of our life in Texas politics, is that Democrats could elect anyone they wanted to any position — statewide, local, you name it — if they would get off the couch and go vote, and they don’t do it.”

Here is the entire piece: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/06/14/taylors-triumph-new-day-or-another-fluke/.

The Jays of course are on top in the run differential category and have outscored their opponents by 71 runs.

Well, we still have a two and a half game lead. We scored 24 runs this past weekend and tossed two shutouts. The Rockies are now in for two and the crowds are getting bigger.

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Commentary is talking about the mayoral candidate forums. Last night the Asian Chamber of Commerce held theirs and five of the seven candidates showed up. Someone asked me afterwards how it would have gone if the other two had showed up. My response: longer. There were not really any fireworks last night.

Next up is the Meyerland Dems on Monday night.

Name the runner-up in last season’s AL Cy Young Award race?

It is interesting in that the trade bill is a big press story in national politics and with the national media. Here in H-Town it doesn’t even get a whimper, nada, zilch. (Well, there is a story on page A4 of today’s hard copy of the Chron.) We are a major global port city. We are an international city. We are a huge trade city. We have two internationals airport and we are not part of the trade bill conversation. Heck, this is the first mention Commentary has put out on the trade bill – I think.

The trade bill issue was not brought up last night and maybe it should have since international commerce was a big topic. It has not been brought up at any of the previous forums. They didn’t ask Bill King about it yesterday at the HCDP Brown Bag Lunch. I haven’t had a fellow Dem talk to me about it. I have not seen it on a questionnaire. Where is the trade question?

Can you even be for or against the trade deal if you are a mayoral candidate and will it help or hurt your chances? I am thinking that someone will pop the question at the Meyerland Dems get together.

Heck, the only times I have heard trade mentioned locally are deals that might be made by the ‘Stros as the July 31 MLB trade deadline approaches.

King Felix Hernandez of course of the Mariners was last season’s AL Cy Young Award runner-up.

I am thinking a few more folks will be at The Yard this weekend. We hold a two and a half game lead in the AL West. We now have Carlos Correa playing short. Oh yeah, and King Felix starts tonight for the Mariners. They are handing out 10,000 gym bags this evening and 10,000 grilling aprons on Sunday.

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This is a headline from an online Houston Press story today:

NEW HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF AXES LGBT LIAISON PROGRAM.

Here is the story: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/new-harris-county-sheriff-axes-lgbt-liaison-program-7502172.

Here are a couple of tweets from yesterday:

Houston GLBT Caucus ‏@HGLBTCaucus
NEW HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF AXES LGBT LIAISON PROGRAM http://fb.me/3MDkvqIGU

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 13h13 hours ago
Rough fortune for @AdrianGarciaHTX: The worse @SheriffHickman is for Dems, the more likely Garcia is to be blamed.

I get it. The GLBT community came out and supported the former sheriff big time in 2008 and 2012.

Of course, I don’t understand why the new Sheriff would make this move. All it does it gets some folks mad at him. That’s not a smart move.

See if you can remember this. Who was the last team we beat?

A Happy Birthday goes out to my sister Sylvia Lafuente today!

Today Bill King will speak at the HCDP Brown Bag Lunch.

This evening there is the Asian Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Business Forum at the Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore.

If you enjoys musicals then maybe you saw the “Oliver” which also won the Best Picture Oscar in 1968. Actor Ron Moody played Fagin and his “Pick a Pocket or Two” number is one for the ages. It is one of my favorites. This came out this morning:

Houston Chronicle retweeted
Karen Zurawski ‏@catwrite 52m52 minutes ago
UK actor Ron Moody, best known as Fagin, dies aged 91 – Houston Chronicle http://www.chron.com/entertainment/article/UK-actor-Ron-Moody-best-known-as-Fagin-dies-6320737.php … via @HoustonChron

“You’ve got to pick-a-pocket or two.”

The last team we beat was B’More, 3-1, on Wednesday, June 3 of course.

The latest is the Curse of Tal’s Hill. Hey, they say superstitions are part of baseball.

Check this from the Chron: http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2015/06/10/has-the-curse-of-tals-hill-hit-the-astros/#33559101=0.

We have lost all seven games since the team announced Tal’s Hill was a goner.

There is a #CurseofTalsHill you can check out on twitter.

Maybe they ought to bring Tal to The Yard to reverse the curse.

Last night SpringerDinger went five for five. Correa went one for four and the rest of the team went one for twenty-six. Our lead is down to two. Good thing we have the day off.

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Rookie pitcher Chris Heston of the Giants tossed a no-no against the Mets last night. The Giants now have no-nos in four consecutive seasons – 2012-2015. Name the Giants pitchers who tossed the three other no-nos?

Does it really have to be this way?

This what Duane Brown’s lawyer had to say about the police union VP who still thinks Duane Brown is guilty even though they don’t have the proof:

“I guess they are cops and they don’t want to say they got the wrong person. It’s been my experience that when police officers think they got their man, they don’t like changing their minds.”

She has the experience and I don’t.

The Police Chief also thinks Brown is guilty and this doesn’t sit too well with the Chron E-Board today. Here is part of the E-Board’s take from today:

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland has reiterated in public statements that he still believes Brown is guilty, as has Officer Joseph Gamaldi, the police union’s 2nd vice president. The police union Twitter feed also continues to refer to Brown as a “murderer.”

Officers like McClelland and Gamaldi continue to swallow a story built upon forced testimony and hidden truth. Mayor Annise Parker should remind these armed government agents that it is their self-proclaimed mission to uphold this country’s democratic values as embodied in the Constitution and to dedicate themselves to the preservation of liberty and justice for all.

But it is easy to understand why McClelland and other officers would be confused by this turn of events. From 2008 through 2012, HPD officers fatally shot 10 unarmed people, including a Navy veteran diagnosed with schizophrenia and a mentally ill double amputee in a wheelchair. No officers were indicted.

The police rarely face consequences in a court of law for a rush to judgment. More often it is men like Brown who suffer. But rather than use this opportunity to reflect on what went wrong, McClelland is instead charging forward with a vow to use “every available resource and any and all lawful means to try to come up with evidence to support what I believe.”

More than 20,000 cases with promising leads went uninvestigated by HPD in 2013. McClelland should let Houstonians know how many more cases HPD officers will miss because of these redirected resources.

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/An-innocent-man-goes-free-6317274.php.

I don’t think the Chron E-Board think much of the Chief’s priorities.

I am starting to think H-Town folks may be fed up with this. Instead of following up on your burglary the police are telling folks to be more vigilant. Don’t leave anything of value in your car overnight. Get to know your neighbors. Report suspicious activity. If you see criminal activity try to remember what the perp looked like in detail – hair color, wardrobe, etc. Heck, they are even telling you to trim your hedges.

It is kind of starting to sound like the 20,000 cases per year that won’t get investigated is sort of the unofficial policy. That is not sitting well with folks. A civic club leader told me he was fed up with this. He said it wasn’t a resource problem, it was a leadership issue. He wondered if other major U.S. cities have the same problem. I hope we are not being told to get used to it!

I went to a meeting at Stanton’s last night. I had not been there in a while. They sure did fix the joint up.

Matt Cain went perfection against us in 2012, and Tim Lincecum tossed no-nos against the Padres in 2013 and 2014 of course.

I am glad the GM still checks on my Commentary. He sent Jonathan Villar down to Triple A Fresno yesterday.

Vincent Velasquez will make his MLB debut tonight as our starting pitcher.

Carlos Correa got his first career dinger last night but it wasn’t enough. We have now lost six straight but still hold a three game lead. Go figure!

Hey, guys. Let’s start scoring some runs!

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TIRZ Talk

Most local political and City Hall players have an opinion on the creature called the TIRZ. One thing is for sure. Some folks make a ton of money off of them. Hey, this is a free country! More power to them! But don’t hide from the press when you are scarfing up public funds. The Houston Press today has a very thorough piece on the local TIRZ creature. Here is a small part on the firm that won’t talk:

In Sharpstown, an eight-year fight between the neighborhood association and Hawes Hill Calderon LLP continues over what Bigham says were shoddy $4 million enhancements to the intersection of Bellaire Boulevard and Fondren Road. A majority of business owners interviewed by the Houston Press are angry with the Houston-based consulting firm that’s in charge of the daily operations of many TIRZs and management districts.

Scarborough of Montrose says the company charges a pretty penny for services that “don’t amount to anything.” According to documents in a Texas Supreme Court lawsuit between property owners and the Montrose Management District, Hawes Hill Calderon once billed the Montrose district a monthly consulting and administration fee of close to $20,000.

Repeated requests for interviews with David Hawes, Susan Hill and Bill Calderon were flat-out ignored. Additional inquiries made via Alice Lee, the director of business development and marketing at Hawes Hill Calderon, were also shunned. During the two months that the Press spent on this story, the company’s website was “under construction.” Calls to the main line never made it past the person answering the phone.

Now that is chicken s__t! One of the H-Town City Council committees ought to call a meeting and get these folks to start talking. Here is the entire Houston Press read on the TIRZ creature: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/how-houston-uses-the-tirz-system-to-benefit-high-dollar-areas-and-ignore-poorer-neighborhoods-7497253.

You may be a fan of the TIRZ or you may hate the TIRZ, but at least we can agree if you take a ton of money from the TIRZ, you ought to talk to the press.

Jose Altuve’s lead has shrunk considerably in the balloting for the 2015 AL All Star starting second baseman. His lead is now 159,315 votes. Who is in second?

This tweet came out this morning.

Vernon Loeb ‏@LoebVernon 1h1 hour ago
Lisa Falkenberg’s quest to free an innocent man is complete. Police are in denial @chronfalkenberg http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/In-Brown-case-police-should-trust-evidence-not-6315021.php?t=cb93fdd895b2e7d3f0&cmpid=twitter-premium … via @HoustonChron

Show me the proof?

I really don’t know why the Skipper started Villar in left field last night. He couldn’t catch a fly ball!

Omar Infante of the Royals who is batting .216 is second to Jose Altuve of course who is batting .300.

Carlos Correa certainly did his part last night but the team didn’t and now we have a five game losing streak but still up by three.

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Maybe it takes a four game losing streak to get this to happen! It is about time. That’s why he was picked first overall three years ago. And he is only a 20-year old! Here is the official tweet from last night:

#VoteAstros ‏@astros 6m6 minutes ago
#Astros officially select SS Carlos Correa to the Major League roster. He will join the club tomorrow in Chicago
.

And:

Brian McTaggart ⚾️ ‏@brianmctaggart 18m18 minutes ago
Correa said he’s going to wear No. 1. Fitting.

From the Chron’s Jose de Jesus Ortiz

Correa, who is ranked as the top prospect in baseball by ESPN.com, will join the club in Chicago for the start of a three-game series against the White Sox on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field. At 20, he’ll be one of the youngest players in the majors.

“We really feel like he can help our club right now win ballgames,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said of Correa. “We’ve scuffled a little bit in these last few days, and we feel like Carlos gives us the best chance to win.

“We want to keep our division lead and we want to win this division. We think he’s a big part of what we can do.”

Luhnow, who calls Correa a once-a-generation player, had Class AAA Fresno manager Tony DeFrancesco inform Correa of the promotion just four hours after shortstop Jonathan Villar fumbled a routine pop up in the ninth inning to help the Blue Jays complete a come-from-behind 7-6 walk-off victory over the Astros.

I don’t know about you, but I am excited!

Who wore the number 1 for the ‘Stros from 2004-2006?

There was a Mayoral Candidate Forum this past Saturday morning at Talento Bilingue in Second Ward. About 120 or so folks attended. Pensions got some run and will continue to get run and here is what the Chron’s Mike Morris says happened:

First, some background on Houston’s pension problem. Prior to benefit increases in the early 2000s, the city’s annual contribution required to keep its three pensions fully funded had not topped 19 percent of payroll for police, 16 percent for firefighters or 10 percent for municipal workers for at least a decade. Those contribution levels now top 30 percent of payroll for police and fire and 25 percent for the municipal plan.

The city has met the recommended payment to the police or municipal pensions only once since 2002, and keeping up will only get harder: Payments are projected to increase roughly 50 percent by 2019, to $440 million. This year, that payment tops $350 million, almost twice what the city spends on trash pickup, parks and libraries combined.

Reforms to the police pension in 2004 and the municipal plan in 2007 mean retirement packages for new firefighters are by far the city’s most generous, so the fire plan is most often discussed.
Former Kemah mayor Bill King and former city attorney Ben Hall are the most hawkish on the subject.

King said he opposes all defined benefit plans (as opposed to defined contribution, similar to many workers’ 401(k)s).

“We know in the public sector defined benefit plans create the temptation for elected officials to promise a benefit for workers on one hand and not ask the taxpayers to fund them on the other hand,” he said. “These plans will never be funded.”

Hall said he would honor all past promises to workers but would reform pensions for new hires, tying them to market risk rather than guaranteed specified benefits.

City Councilman Steve Costello and former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia struck a more moderate tone, with both saying defined benefit plans can be sustainable but calling for “local control,” or the ability for the city make pension decisions without going to the Legislature, which is the current situation.

Former Congressman Chris Bell said he, too, supports defined benefit plans but acknowledged reform is needed.

“Is it sustainable as it presently is with the firefighters? No, and we’re going to have to address it,” he said. “But it’s also disingenuous to sit up here and try to lead people to believe that as mayor you’re going to be able to cram a solution down the throats of the firefighters. You can’t. You’re going to have to negotiate, and I will.”

Businessman Marty McVey and State Rep. Sylvester Turner positioned themselves as most cautious on pension reform. McVey said the city should issue debt to cover its multibillion-dollar pension underfunding and move on; “We need to own up to our promise,” he said.

Here is the entire Morris piece: http://www.chron.com/politics/election/local/article/Pensions-provide-rare-fireworks-at-third-mayoral-6312573.php.

It is pretty obvious that Bill kind of owns that issue at the forums. Bill is on point and all the other guys are all over the map and they are kind of hard to pin down.

Here is what Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg thinks about Rick Perry:

Perry is back with a new song and a new dance, even a new pair of glasses. But behind that new tune, it’s the same old buffoon.

Willie Taveras of course wore the number 1 for the ‘Stros from 2004-2006.

Our lead is down to three and a half and some folks are already predicting that Correa’s debut at The Yard this Friday may very well be a sellout. We will see!

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Tal’s Hill

At last night’s SPARC Growth Houston – Mayoral Candidate Economic Development Forum at UH, this was probably the most interesting line I heard last night and it wasn’t from any of the candidates. It was from one of the North Side Management District leaders: “Near North Side is underserved by the City.” Now that is certainly interesting. How does this happen? At least the leader is being honest.

The second most interesting line came from State Rep. Sylvester Turner when he joined Bill King in calling for “zero based budgeting.” Of course, Sylvester was for “zero based budgeting” when he ran for Mayor in 2003.

Here are some tweets from last night:

Bill King ‏@BillKingForHou 3h3 hours ago
We spent $120 million on transit in one of the richest areas in Houston. How could that money have been spent in your neighborhood? #houvote

Bill King ‏@BillKingForHou 3h3 hours ago
Foundation of any economic development is core services and we have not been doing a very good job. @TelemundoHou #houvote

Katherine Driessen ‏@KatDriessen 3h3 hours ago
.@BillKingForHou is taking shot at TIRZ spending, specifically Uptown bus project. Draws scattered applause. #houvote

Bill King ‏@BillKingForHou 3h3 hours ago
I DO NOT support making changes to the pension benefits already earned by current employees. @TelemundoHou #houvote

You know how during forums and debates candidates dance around questions and avoid answering them. It is annoying. An Eastwood leader told me after the forum last night that folks certainly know where Bill King stands on the issues. What else is news?

A shout out goes to CEWDEM for getting to visit with Hillary yesterday. Nice!

Name the MLB team with the best record on the road?

A shout out goes to the ‘Stros Skipper for getting named to the 2015 AL All Star Team coaching staff.

The ‘Stros announced yesterday that Tal’s Hill is a goner. I am not going to get all hot and bothered about this like I didn’t get hot and bothered about moving to the AL. I will say that no player has ever gotten hurt on Tal’s Hill. Some have gotten embarrassed and some have made spectacular plays. Oh, well! Here are some Tal’s Hill tweets:

Darrin Hall retweeted
Evan Drellich ‏@EvanDrellich 4h4 hours ago
If you think running up Tal’s Hill rarely is more dangerous than running at full speed into a wall, you’re overlooking how much walls hurt.

Darrin Hall ‏@UHCougarDHall 1h1 hour ago
Note to American League Astros. Leave Tal’s Hill alone and spend the $15 on signing all of your draft picks! @billkellytexas

Bill Kelly ‏@billkellytexas 42m42 minutes ago
@UHCougarDHall agree on the picks, but I’m not a fan of Tal’s Hill. That said I don’t like the new design either. Just put in bleachers!

ChronAstros ‏@ChronAstros 1h1 hour ago
Reid Ryan and Jeff Luhnow on demise of Tal’s Hill: It’s for the fans and safety http://bit.ly/1JpSEOW

Of course we have never won a World Serious with Tal’s Hill either.

The ‘Stros of course have the best roadie record in MLB with a 15-8 clip as we play three in Canada this weekend.

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I think it was pretty clear last night that Bill King got the most buzz at the Mayoral Forum on Arts and Culture at the Asia Society Texas Center. Our team on the scene got positive feedback from folks during and afterwards on Bill’s handling of the issues. A lot of the folks that provided feedback have not committed in the race. Well done!

Here is what Rebecca Elliott tweeted during the forum:

First applause of the evening after @BillKingForHou says he’d ask city council to repeal the cap on city arts funding right away #houvote

Applause is good. Of course, applause and buzz are different. Bill got both.

The candidates were asked to name their favorite artist. Some responded by promoting local artists.

Bill said Van Gogh. Ben Hall said Dali and Escher. Good choices. BTW: The forum was SRO.

Tonight we have the SPARC Growth Houston – Mayoral Candidate Economic Development Forum at UH at 6 pm.

‘Stros pitchers have tossed three complete games this season – second best in MLB. Name the team with five complete games?

The Uptown folks got chewed out today by the Chron E-Board on how they are going about their planned BRT system on Post Oak Blvd. Here is a line from the chewing out:

Now that evidence has come to light concerning conflicts of interest, it is time to bring this runaway bus to a screeching halt.

They probably deserve the chewing out.

Here is the entire chew out: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Important-questions-remain-unanswered-for-Metro-s-6305358.php.

The Karla Cisneros Campaign put this out yesterday:

Former Houston City Council Member and former State Representative Melissa Noriega endorsed Karla Cisneros for Houston City Council, District H. “Karla is a competent, compassionate public servant and a remarkable community leader, mother, and friend. It is my privilege to support her campaign for City Council District H,” announced Noriega.

“It is an honor to have the support of Council Member Melissa Noriega. Melissa is one of the most trusted, respected, and admired public servants in our great city. Her knowledge of city government and the issues and challenges facing Houston will be a valuable resource to me and our campaign. Melissa’s support will go a long way toward a campaign victory in November,” said Karla Cisneros.

Jays pitchers of course have tossed five complete games.

After the forum last night I went to The Yard. I got there at about the fourth inning and had a couple of Dollar Dogs and saw a Chris Carter dinger and a Springer Dinger. It can’t get much better than that and our lead is up to six games.

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Starts Tonight

It is on! I am talking about tonight’s Mayoral Forum on Arts and Culture at the Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore. I hear it may be a packed crowd. I don’t think the following will be brought up though. From the Chron:

Harris County officials settled a legal claim Tuesday morning with a mentally ill inmate who was left for weeks in a jail cell in squalid, unsanitary conditions. The five members of Commissioners Court unanimously voted to pay a sum of $400,000 to Terry Goodwin for physical and emotional suffering he endured in the 2013 incident, which in April prompted terminations, suspensions and demotions for a number of jail staff and led to criminal charges against two other jailers.

And from Channel 13 News:

Adrian Garcia, who was Harris County sheriff at the time of the incident, has long said he knew nothing about how Goodwin was kept. He said he found out only when ABC-13 began asking questions about the inmate in August 2014, a year after Goodwin was found in the squalid conditions by an inspection team. Garcia recently resigned to run for mayor.

“I have always said that no inmate should have to experience a single day in the conditions that Goodwin endured,” Garcia said in a statement to ABC-13. “I hope this settlement will ease some of the anguish both Mr. Goodwin and his mother Ms. Lambert have felt.”

This doesn’t fall under the arts category so it won’t get a mention tonight. It also probably doesn’t fall under tomorrow evening’s forum on economic development.

Of course you can’t stop others from having something to say including the new Sheriff who tweeted the following after the settlement:

My admin is dedicated to rectifying wrongs done to Mr. Goodwin, & changing culture of @HCSOTexas to ensure these instances don’t occur again

Breakdowns in leadership in previous administration led to an atmosphere of non-confrontational deference. #hounews

From the top down, failures to accept a leadership responsibility resulted in the appalling & unacceptable treatment of Mr. Goodwin #hounews

Grateful that our County’s leadership recognized this failure. I’m especially appreciative @HarrisCountyAO for their work on this agreement

I do find it curious that this is probably one of the quickest settlements in the history of local government here in the H-Town area. Usually it takes a decade or so to get a settlement. I am sure it has nothing to do with Mayoral politics.

Name the MLB pitcher who has pitched the most innings this season.

Where does the buck stop? I am talking about the folks who forgot to close the floodgates and as a result H-Town City vehicles and equipment were damaged or destroyed. Here is from the Chron:

“That was a big ‘F’ on the part of the person who made that decision for our parking garage,” Mayor Annise Parker said. “They actually came out and inspected and made a judgment call, and they made the wrong judgment call.”

Parker pointed the finger at Houston First Corp., the quasi-city agency that manages Houston’s convention facilities and the downtown parking garages that serve them.

And:

Councilmember Michael Kubosh, who said he is awaiting more information, said it’s nonetheless hard to see how someone could not be fired over the incident.

“It’s ridiculous. I mean, we have a gate. You always err on the side of caution,” he said. “Somebody is responsible for all this, a person. Look at the loss. It’s just not acceptable.”

Parker last week said, “I’m not going to create a firing squad today. We’re still getting all the information.” Parker spokeswoman Janice Evans reiterated that tone Tuesday, saying placing blame is “premature.”

Here is the entire Chron piece that is behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Failure-to-close-garage-door-an-expensive-mistake-6303016.php.

Not my yob!

Our own Dallas Keuchel of course leads MLB baseball with 81 2/3 innings pitched.

I prefer that the ‘Stros not fall behind 4 zip in the second inning. But you know what? I don’t get all bummed out like I used to the last few seasons. They came back last night from a four run deficit and won 6-4 on a double dinger evening. Our lead is now 5 games. Not bad at all!

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