Archive for April 14th, 2016

Commentary is pretty much ready to say that TIRZs are the most powerful special interests at H-Town City Hall. Do you care to challenge Commentary on this?

For the first time ever (I think), TIRZs were debated at length during last year’s H-Town City elections. They came up at forums. They were on a lot of candidate questionnaires. The sense was they were starting to wear out their welcome.

Today the Chron E-Board calls on “TIRZ transparency.” Good luck on that. Here is part of the E-Board’s take:

Less than half of TIRZ boards have websites listed with the city. While the city of Houston posts online the minutes of upcoming TIRZ meetings, many of those agendas are from months, or even years, ago.

People have grown impatient with these behind-the-scenes TIRZ board meetings. Galleria-area residents are waging a political war against the Uptown TIRZ, and people living in the Memorial City area have expressed frustration with the lack of direct representation on their local TIRZ board. Even Mayor Sylvester Turner’s transition team report specifically pinpointed a lack of TIRZ transparency as a problem that needs fixing.

Here is the entire E-Board TIRZ take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/article/TIRZ-cameras-7246930.php.

The Houston Press also has a take on TIRZs today. Check this:

“‘Require a higher level of transparency?!’ What is the difference between having this and actually studying their budgets before they approve them?,” says (TIRZ researcher Daphne) Scarbrough. “The Memorial City TIRZ, which is totally composed of Metro National Developers, has not even submitted a budget for over a year and is the only TIRZ in the City to not have one.”

As far as the recommendation to “adopt TIRZ board composition guidelines to encourage diversity in all respects such as ethnicity, gender, age, occupation and stakeholder interests,” Scarbrough, a Montrose business owner, says, “Pretty funny, the Mayor has the ability to do that now.”

“The Montrose District only has four out of 15 board members who own commercial property in the district and pay the tax. All of the others are political appointees [and] many never rotate off the board. There is no provision for conflict of interest or nepotism, no enforcement for competitive bids.”

Here is the entire Press take: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/is-another-houston-metro-bond-referendum-on-the-table-mayor-turner-isnt-saying-either-way-8321012.

How mighty are TIRZs? If TIRZs are going to be fixed, made more transparent or reformed, it is going to require expending a lot of political capital. You are taking on entrenched insiders, law firms, and other powerful players. Not an easy task if you are going to do it right.

The TIRZs are going to push back. They are not going to give up this nice perk they control.  They will probably offer a meaningless concession and try to convince us that they gave up a lot.  This is definitely going to be one to watch in the coming weeks or months or years or maybe never.

Name the ‘Stro hitter who leads the team in strikeouts?

Council Member Karla Cisneros mentioned www.haulingglasshouston.com at the H-Town City Council meeting yesterday.

Here is from the Hauling Glass home page:

The city of Houston just okayed a new contract  with Waste Management that doesn’t allow us to put glass in our big green curbside bins anymore. Pan thinks it’s a crying shame, so he decided to do something about it and pickup glass around his neighborhood. Right now we’re only pickup up in area codes 77007, 77008 and 77009. If you don’t live in that zip code and want us to grab your glass, you can send a request for us to expand to your neck of the woods and when we have enough requests, we will expand to you!

Good luck!

CM Cisneros also mentioned the North Main facility where you can drop off your recyclables. I mentioned yesterday that it needs to be more user friendly.

From Tags:

Astros backup catcher Erik Kratz was presented with a Royals 2015 World Series ring on Tuesday by Kansas City manager Ned Yost. Kratz played in four games for the Royals last year and had just one RBI, but the Royals gave rings to any player who spent time on their 25-man roster.

“It’s an honor of a lifetime,” Kratz said. “It’s something as a kid you dream for.”

The Royals also give Kratz one of the jerseys with gold stitching they wore during the first series of the season against the Mets.

“That just shows the class of the organization,” he said.

Not bad for four games.  Nice.

George Springer of course leads the team with 13 whiffs.

Our team needs to up their game. After nine games we are not getting anything out of Carlos Gomez and Luis Valbuena. A couple of triples is all we are getting out of Jason Castro. George Spinger needs to hit in the clutch. Ken Giles, our new reliever, is on a pace to give up 100 dingers. You get the picture.

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