Archive for April 12th, 2017

#SpringerDinger has five dingers and four are of the lead-off variety. How many base hits does he have thus far?

The H-Town Mayor’s office put out a press release yesterday that said pension reform has to happen or else. Check out the statement here:

Credit Rating Agency Puts City on Notice About Downgrade in Absence of Pension Reform

April 11, 2017 — Moody’s Investors Service has sent Houston a dire warning about the need for the Texas Legislature to approve the Houston Pension Solution. In its latest update on Houston’s $3 billion taxpayer supported General Obligation debt, the agency cites the “lack of a sustainable pension plan to address growing pension liability” as a factor that could lead to a downgrade in the city’s credit rating.

“This is a clear indication of what will happen if pension reform is not approved in Austin,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “The city and Houston taxpayers cannot afford the increased borrowing costs that will accompany a rating downgrade.  We have presented state lawmakers with a Houston solution to a Houston issue.  Now, it is imperative that they approve it without upsetting the delicate balances we have struck.  The stability of our finances is at stake.”

Houston’s current credit rating from Moody’s is Aa3 with a negative outlook.  In summarizing its rationale for the rating, Moody’s writes, “The City of Houston’s Aa3 rating reflects a large and regional economy whose recent performance has been tempered by decreases in oil prices, and underperforming revenues, contributing to a weakened but still adequate financial performance.  Additional considerations reflect high fixed costs, large unfunded pension liabilities (among the highest in the nation), as well as property tax caps.  Also considered is the city’s current reform plan, which if approved, could positively impact the city’s long term fiscal position and stabilize the credit profile.”  Moody’s is reserving any reconsideration of the existing rating until the conclusion of the legislative session in May.

If the legislature fails to pass reform, the General fund will incur over $130M in additional charges next fiscal year.

“Our current credit outlook remains intact, but that outlook relies heavily on the outcome of the Houston Pension Solution in the Texas Legislature,” said City Controller Chris Brown.  “Moody’s most recent credit analysis reaffirms that the time for Houston’s pension reform is now.”

After receiving earlier endorsements from the Texas House Committee on Pensions and the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs, the Houston Pension Solution is now awaiting floor votes in both chambers. The reform plan eliminates $8.1 billion in unfunded liability, caps future costs, does not require a tax increase and is budget neutral. The measure has strong support from City Council and two of the three employee pension systems as well as numerous other stakeholders.

Scare tactic statement? Not really because everyone already knows this. Was the statement intended to be a scare tactic? I can’t say for sure but they obviously are ramping up their efforts on the pension reform bill.

As the Mayor starts today’s city council meeting with pension reform talk.  The Mayor said that if pension reform fails this session, Austin (the legislature) owns it.  I don’t know about that.  Is that how it works?  Stay tuned!

Commentary said before that Sean Spicer lost all credibility on day 2 – period, so I really don’t have much to say about yesterday other than to point out what CNN put out yesterday:

(CNN) White House press secretary Sean Spicer forgot the first rule of politics during a press briefing on Tuesday: Never, ever compare anyone or anything to Adolf Hitler.

Ain’t it the truth! Ain’t it the truth!

You also need to have a lot better knowledge of key events in world history if you want to be press secretary.

I have to give Spicer equal time with this from AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House press secretary Sean Spicer is apologizing for making an “insensitive” reference to the Holocaust in earlier comments about Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

Spicer says in an interview with CNN that he mistakenly used “an inappropriate, insensitive reference to the Holocaust.” He says there was no comparison and “it was a mistake to do that.” He adds, “It was my blunder.”

Spicer said during a White House briefing Tuesday that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” That drew instant rebuke from Jewish groups and critics who noted it ignored Hitler’s use of gas chambers to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.

Spicer was attempting to discuss the horror of the chemical weapons attack last week in Syria.

He probably got the word that his arse is on the line so he better apologize.   Of course, the next press secretary would have to lie just as much.

Is it common for elected officials to have twitter accounts with the padlock symbol? Why be a public official with a closed off twitter account? Just saying.

From the all I want for my birthday is a bowl of toasted grasshoppers department here is from MLB.com:

The season may be young, but one thing that’s making a lot of noise already is the new concession stand fare at Safeco Field — specifically the toasted grasshoppers

Throughout the telecast during Houston’s 7-5 win over the Mariners on Tuesday, announcers Todd Kalas and Geoff Blum spent many minutes discussing the new in-stadium treat with the team’s field reporter, Julia Morales. 

Morales had promised to try some grasshopper and made good on her word in the sixth inning. She took the plunge and ordered herself a cup of crunchy cooked bugs … but she just didn’t seem to enjoy it very much.

Yummy! Happy Birthday today Julia Morales!

#SpringerDinger has nine base hits this season and five are dingers of course.

We got 14 hits last night and won and are now 5-4.


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