Archive for February 16th, 2017

Who hold the record for most pitching career starts all time as a ‘Stro?


Well it looks like we won’t have a spousal abuser as labor secretary. Thanks, Oprah.


Commentary has said it before.  The following is not my fight.


Bill King and his pension takes are getting under some collars for sure.


If some folks think H-Town pension reform is going to happen if only the Mayor, city council, and the employee groups make a deal and that is all – go for it.  If some folks think Bill King and Sen. Paul Bettencourt are going to just sit on the sidelines during this debate – also go for it.


Check these tweets:


Miya Shay ‏@miyashay 22h22 hours ago


Mayor @SylvesterTurner: If #txlege Senators & Reps force changes on pension plan, they kill the deal. If they kill it, they own it. #abc13




Gene Wu ‏@GeneforTexas 20h20 hours ago


I’m impressed that @BillKingForHou has so much influence, even from his yacht in the Mediterranean. #YachtLife #txlege


Then this story from Channel 11 yesterday: 


HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner gave an extensive update on Houston’s pension plan Wednesday.


Turner said that the city’s pension bill is being finalized by Houston’s legislative council and he expects it to go to Rep. Flynn on the House side and Sen. Huffman on the Senate side “very, very soon”.


The pension reform plan has already been approved by City Council and all three pension boards but the bill must pass through the Texas Legislature in Austin to become law.


Turner also added the Governor Abbott is getting an update on both Houston and Dallas’ pension plans on Wednesday.


If lawmakers don’t pass the plan, Mayor Turner ball-parked the job loss figure at around 1,500 jobs across all departments in 2018.




“If this bill does not go through in this legislative session, then in the next few months as we tackle the city’s budget, add another $130 some million dollars to your budgetary shortfall, which means there will be massive layoffs here at the city of Houston,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday morning, during the weekly City Council meeting. “There are no sacred cows. No one is spared.”


“He’s absolutely correct,” said Senior Police Officer Ray Hunt, who serves as President of the Houston Police Officers Union. “There’s only one way to (fix the shortfall), and that’s through layoffs, which we’re already 1,500 officers short in the Houston Police Department.”




So what roadblocks could the plan potentially hit in Austin?


“Look, I’m a lifelong Republican, but it’s coming from Bill King and (State Senator) Paul Bettencourt who want to put persons in a defined contribution plan, sort of like a 401k,” said Hunt. “The mayor has said that’s off the table. It’s something we believe will kill our recruiting if we ever did that.”


King, who narrowly lost to Turner in the mayoral runoff in December 2015, is a longtime pension reform advocate critical of defined benefit plans, which base an employee’s pension payments on how long they’ve been employed and their salary when they retire.


Sen. Bettencourt (R-Houston) introduced Senate Bill 151, which would require voters to approve pension obligation bonds, which are included in Houston’s plan.


Mayor Turner says he’s “very optimistic” his plan will pass, and Hunt agrees, telling KHOU 11 that Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are both in support.  


Here is the whole story: http://www.khou.com/news/local/an-update-on-houstons-pension-plan/408643824.


I guess it is too much to ask if all the parties got into a room and tried to work something out on this very important piece of public policy.  We don’t need a stand-off so to speak.  As far as “if they kill it, they own it”, I really don’t think that is how it works.


I got news for folks.  Like I said before and earlier, Bill King is not going to sit on the sidelines on this.   He knows too much. 


And now to public safety at The Yard.  I am just down the line on this so I am not covered so to speak.  No more kids getting tossed the ball after the third out.  Here is from Tags: 


By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com | @brianmctaggart  


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Astros president Reid Ryan said Wednesday the club will expand protective netting at Minute Maid Park to run the length of both dugouts, beginning with the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, March 3-5.


The net above the dugouts will be about 12 feet high, Ryan said, but it will be lowered during batting practice so fans can still have access to players for autographs. The netting behind home plate, which is 32 feet high, and above the dugouts will be replaced this season with a smaller mesh to allow better visibility, Ryan said.


“One of the things we were working on was that we’re going to have it be retractable, so it will actually be down during batting practice because we wanted to make sure fans would continue to have access to getting autographs from players and interacting with players,” Ryan said. “The net will be down for batting practice, and right before the game it will go up the length of the dugout and look a lot like what the Rangers have in Arlington.”


Ryan said the additional netting comes as the result of fans being more engaged with the game of baseball on social media via their mobile devices, thanks to improved high-speed internet at ballparks. The netting provides protection from foul balls and bats that might fly into the stands.


“I think people are interacting with the game at a new level, whether it’s commenting on the game during the game with their friends, taking pictures, things like that,” Ryan said. “We’ve just seen the demand for more fan choice really has gone up, and it’s really the market saying, ‘Hey, we want more options to sit behind protective netting.’


“By being able to go to the end of the dugouts, it’s going to service giving more fans that option and also it does bring a higher level of protection from flying bats and balls and stuff like that. The bottom line is today people experience the game differently, and there’s some folks that want to come and they want to watch the game and interact with their friends on social media, and we want them to have that ability to do that in an environment where they feel like they’re safe.”


Sooner or later this was going to happen.  It is probably a good thing.  That means foul balls will ricochet off of the screen and come my way.


Larry Dierker of course leads all ‘Stros all time with 320 career pitching starts.


Oso Blanco has a sore shoulder.


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