Archive for February 21st, 2017

No More 10 Best or Worst?

First, congrats to Ryan and Beth Arnold Trostad on the birth of Hayes early this morning!

Mike Snyder of the Chron had a one word tweet that pretty much described the article from the Columbia Journalism Review on where Texas Monthly is headed under new ownership – “disturbing.”  Here are parts of the article:

The new editor in chief of Texas Monthly plans to pull back from the kind of longform and political coverage that gave the title a national profile to focus instead on lifestyle coverage, website enhancements, and a live-events business.

Tim Taliaferro, who took over after the sale of the magazine to Genesis Park LP, tells CJR it would be foolish to walk away from the history of the magazine, but he hopes to focus on growing the lifestyle vertical because “lifestyle sells Texas Monthly better.” He added, “Literary circles have a bias against lifestyle, but lifestyle is an important part of the magazine, including travel and food.”

The change has alums and current staffers worried about the potential for layoffs and the future of the magazine as a home for ambitious journalism and celebrated writing. Several top journalists have left, and others are updating resumes.

Texas Monthly bears the tagline “The National Magazine of Texas”–and it has lived up to the billing. Since its founding in 1973, the magazine has won 13 national magazine awards for public interest, politics, feature writing, and general excellence.


Taliaferro spoke with CJR about his plans for Texas Monthly, which are a departure from the magazine’s long history of in-depth political coverage and longform journalism. Of his plans to scale back local political coverage, he says, “Texans don’t care about politics.” As an example of the coverage he plans to cut back on, Taliaferro cited stories on transgender bathrooms.

Taliaferro replaced former editor in chief Brian Sweany, who told D Magazine that he was going to hole up in his office, grow a beard, and work on a book. Since the sale, senior editor Erica Grieder quit with no new immediate employment plans, and web editor Andrea Valdez left to work as a site editor for Wired. Stacy Hollister, director of editorial operations, also left after the sale.


That is kind of a putdown on Texans that we don’t care about politics. I guess he thinks we care more about who has the best breakfast tacos – H-Town or Dallas. This fella is a little out of touch. Wow! I hope they at least have a proper burial for Burkablog. And I am guessing that we won’t see another Ten Best and Ten Worst Legislators List after this session. That’s too bad.

I am sure you saw in the Chron sport section yesterday that since the Big Puma left the ‘Stros in July of 2010, 18 different ‘Stros have started at first base – wow!  Name the former ‘Stro who has started the most games at first base since July of 2010?

The Chron E-Board today tried slapping The Dean around on the Astrodome bill. Here is from their take today:

Fix Child Protective Services. Overhaul public school funding. Reform Texas mental health services. Fight with Harris County about the Astrodome.

One of these things is not like the others.

At the beginning of this legislative session we expected state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, to be a contentious voice in the Austin wilderness, calling for his peers and coworkers to keep their focus on the big challenges facing our state.

Instead, he’s using his 44 years of experience in Austin to stoke a battle with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, a Republican, on the future of the Astrodome. This is the sort of scheme you’d expect from some a legislator desperate for free publicity. But when it comes to Whitmire, expect the unexpected. The Democratic senator has a track record of directing his state authority at all manner of local issues. He even picked a fight with the University of Houston over a change to on-campus housing rules back in 2014.

Now the Dean of the Senate is pushing Senate Bill 884, which would require a referendum on a $105 million plan to maintain the Dome by creating underground parking spaces and a ground-level event space. Voters rejected a $217 million bond to fund a more cohesive project in 2013. The new plan, spearheaded by Emmett, can be paid for without requiring an independent bond initiative.

“It’s a little unusual for a legislator to file a piece of legislation that affects a specific piece of property that’s totally paid for,” Emmett, a Republican, said about Whitmire’s Dome bill. “I have never heard of that before. It’s also unusual to have legislation filed directly that tells a county how to operate without talking to the county.”

Furthermore, the Astrodome isn’t even in Whitmire’s district.

Here is the entire take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Astrodome-bill-10946107.php.

The last line is kind of silly. The Dome belongs to all of us.  The E-Board also suggests that The Dean should run against Hunker Down next year.  I don’t know about that.  Then he wouldn’t be The Dean.

Some folks think only the five members of the Commissioners Court ought to decide. Some folks think the legislature should have a say. Hey, it’s the Dome. Let the debate begin.

Now www.aframnews.com wants in on the Dome debate. Here is from their website:

AUSTIN– Houston is a diverse city, but nothing is more divisive than the priorities of wants and needs of leaders versus the community.

Decisions, Decisions

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and county commissioners are hell-bent on saving the Astrodome starting with at $105 million-plus redevelopment project, while Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has made it clear that Houstonians and Harris County needs to spend millions to solve its flooding problems, deal with homelessness issue and ensure all communities are provided equitable and affordable housing, modern schools, access to services, shopping and grocery stores and solid job and employment bases in surrounding disadvantaged neighborhoods.

It’s about setting proper priorities.

Who should have the greatest say in how tax dollars are spent in the city and Harris County?

Democratic State Sen. John Whitmire, a group of state senators from the Bayou City, and supported by Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick say the people should.

The group is united that the people’s voice is important and needs comes first and have filed Senate Bill 884 to pump the brakes on spending millions of tax dollars to foot the bill to fix, repair or preserve sports venues like the Astrodome.

Senate Bill 884 

SB 884, known as the “Harris County Taxpayer Protection Act,” applies to a county with a populations of 3.3 million or more.

“I have to represent my constituents and as a Harris County taxpayer, I say go back and get voter approval and honor previous selections before you engage in such an endeavor,” Whitmire said at a press conference.

Here is the entire article: http://www.aframnews.com/the-dean-puts-his-foot-down-for-harris-county-taxpayers/.

Like I said. A lot of folks are going to have their say on this and that is the way it should be.

Since the Big Puma’s exit back in 2010, former ‘Stro Brett Wallace leads in first base starts with 241 of course.

Roy O is in camp today.

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