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Archive for August 8th, 2016

As expected, the Chair of Houston Housing Authority has announced his intention to resign in a couple of weeks. I wonder if he will get the “thanks for your service” farewell remarks at an upcoming council meeting. FYI: According to the H-Town City’s website, the fella gave the Mayor’s campaign over $7,000 last November. Oh, well.

Meanwhile, yesterday the Chron E-Board had a take on Houston’s affordable housing efforts. Here is how it starts:

What happens to a dream deferred?

That’s the question affordable housing advocates need to ask themselves as Mayor Sylvester Turner opposes plans by the Houston Housing Authority to build a controversial mixed-income apartment in the Galleria area – a so-called high-opportunity neighborhood that has well-rated schools and access to transit.

The project was the first in our city to model the groundbreaking Moving to Opportunity study. That multi-generational social science experiment discovered that young kids who move from high-poverty neighborhoods into wealthier ones end up adopting the middle-class lifestyles of their peers. Those kids go on to earn more money and build more stable households, passing the socioeconomic gains down to their own children. If the results bear out, this policy may prove to be the silver bullet that can take down systemic poverty. And the mayor just put it back in the holster.

Turner said the price tag on the project, located on Fountain View Drive, is simply too high. We don’t buy it. As the Houston Housing Authority has pointed out, land in nicer neighborhoods is going to cost more. And the sad truth is that City Hall will need to start building projects in pricier areas if it wants to avoid a discrimination lawsuit. We can’t help but wonder what other pressure the mayor faces behind the political curtain as he confronts the difficult task of uniting everyone on a pension fix.

To his credit, the mayor’s office immediately followed up by announcing that the housing authority would restart the process from scratch. The dream of building apartments for the poor and working-class in one of Houston’s best neighborhoods hasn’t died – it has just been delayed.

Still, we’re surprised to see Turner attack an affordable housing project after running for office on a platform of bridging the gap between wealthy and poor. It is a struggle he knows firsthand as a lifelong resident of Acres Homes.

Then again, he’s done this before.

As a state representative, Turner helped block plans to build an apartment for low-income families on a former Metro Park-and-Ride location in his district.

“If you can’t convince the homeowner associations and the civic clubs and the management district that this is right for the community, then I will not support it, ” Turner told the Leader News in April 2015.

Here is the entire take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Housing-dreams-9125935.php.

I am thinking the Mayor didn’t like the E-Board take.

Wouldn’t it be easier if H-Town City Hall were to just ask neighborhood and civic groups and management districts to step forward if they want affordable housing in their ‘hoods and then go from there? Is that the criteria these days? You have a better idea?

Ichiro got career base hit number 3,000 yesterday. Who else has 3,000 career base hits?

Remember when the E-Board said this last week:

The contest to replace state Rep. Borris Miles isn’t exactly a fair fight. Erica Lee Carter, daughter of U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, just has to win a majority of 27 precinct chairs in Saturday’s contest to become the uncontested Democratic candidate for state House District 146.

We’d be surprised if she didn’t get them.

I was surprised. I admit, I knew absolutely nothing about the race other than to read the Chron piece and see some twitter traffic.

And this from Rebecca Elliott’s article last week:

The daughter of U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, she comes to the race with deep Democratic roots and endorsements from Annie’s List, a Texas political action committee, the Harris County Gulf Coast AFL-CIO, former Mayor Annise Parker and a handful of Democratic state legislators, among others.

(Shawn) Thierry, who did not return a request for comment about her endorsements, has the advantage of already having participated in a similar precinct chair nominating process this summer, for the newly created 507th Family District Court.

So I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise.

From the Who Is Your New Daddy Department, here is from the Tribune:

Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who has not endorsed Donald Trump, is now asking Texas Republicans to support the party’s presidential nominee. 

I wonder what his old daddy thinks?

Commentary has a couple of takes on this retweet from Evan Mintz:

Dog Days of Evan Retweeted

John Leavitt ‏@LeavittAlone Aug 5

It’s 2016 if Ben-Hur is being remade it needs to be 800% gayer

First of all, Commentary is not a big fan of doing remakes for flicks that win 11 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. Leave it alone.

Second of all, the movie came out in 1959 and I remember seeing it. Of course I remember the racing chariots and the leper colony. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that Charlton Heston was set off after one of the contributing writers to the script, the late Gore Vidal, brought up the Ben-Hur and Messala relationship.   Here is from a Chron story on the new Ben-Hur flick:

And, can (Actor Jack) Huston match Heston’s charisma? Likewise for Toby Kebbell, the new Messala, relating to Stephen Boyd’s gorgeous, silken malice.

Then there’s the chemistry that came between those two classic actors, which has a story of its own.

In Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s adaptation of Vito Russo’s “The Celluloid Closet,” Gore Vidal, one of the screenwriters on the 1959 “Ben-Hur,” relates how he emphasized the homoerotic relationship between Ben-Hur and Messala. Wyler allowed it, and Boyd was in on it, playing the role accordingly, but not Heston.

The story may or may not be true. Vidal could’ve spun a yarn for his own amusement. He and Heston traded poisoned darts about it. But true or not, it points to another reason why the 1959 “Ben-Hur” still reigns supreme – it is the stuff of legend.

Here is the Chron story on the new Ben-Hur: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/entertainment/movies/article/Ben-Hur-competes-with-Ben-Hur-9125392.php.

The late Hall of Fame great Roberto Clemente of course had 3,000 career base hits.

We had a very disappointing homie. Saturday evening was a real bummer. We left 10 runners on base. We can’t expect to be contenders with our 5 to 9 hitters tanking. Now we have 14 of the next 16 on the road and the 2 we have at home are against San Luis!

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