Archive for July 6th, 2017

After 85 games, we are 58-27. Our previous best after 85 games was in 1979 when we were 53-32. How did our 1979 season end?

Remember this from the Chron’s Mike Morris last week on the H-Town Mayor wanting to put more bonds on the ballot this November when repealing the revenue cap was in play:

Adding a general bond issue to the ballot alongside the pension bonds and what amounts to a tax hike is risky, said Jay Aiyer, a Texas Southern University political scientist professor.

“The more measures you put on the ballot, the more confusing it becomes for voters and I think the more attention is taken away from selling the one item that absolutely must pass, and that’s the pension obligation bonds,” Aiyer said. “It would make a whole lot more sense to make the pension obligation bonds a standalone and push some of these other items off.”

They certainly wised-up over at the H-Town City Hall. They are scrapping plans for now to repeal the revenue cap. They must have closely reviewed the polls and realized it was a very hard sell. I guess a whole lot of H-Town folks are not into paying more in property taxes when our schools are getting short-changed in funding by the state and when they don’t get much in return from paying into the county. Property taxes are not getting much love these days. The city had a massive selling job to undertake over the next three and half months before early voting in person got underway. Tough sell if you ask me so I guess scoreboard for now goes to the pro-rev cap forces.

Here is from Chron’s Rebecca Elliott:

Mayor Sylvester Turner abruptly reversed course Wednesday on his plan to ask voters to repeal Houston’s revenue cap this fall, saying it now is “unlikely” he will ask for its removal.

The politically cautious move would leave the city fiscally shackled in the hope that a lighter November ballot improves the chances voters sign off on hundreds of millions in general improvement bonds and $1 billion in pension obligation bonds, a crucial piece of the mayor’s landmark pension reform package.

“Do I believe that the needs are as much there to remove it as they were when I came into office? Absolutely,” Turner said. “Do I want to run the risk of losing the reforms that we’ve made to our pension system? No.”

Lifting Houston’s voter-imposed cap on property tax collections had been a pillar of the mayor’s agenda, and he regularly discusses how the restriction constrains Houston’s budget, preventing the city from hiring more police officers, replacing its aging fleet and maintaining other city services, such as street repair.

Turner’s about-face came during a City Council discussion of how the cap, which has cost the city an estimated $220 million in revenue since 2014, likely will force the city to scale back the street and drainage projects budgeted in its five-year Capital Improvement Plan, or CIP.

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/To-protect-pension-plan-Turner-now-unlikely-to-11268473.php.

They will probably look at the 2018 election so stay tuned, but for right now the sky isn’t falling.

Jasmine Jenkins had an Op-Ed in Sunday’s Chron that is a must read for those of us who are concerned about HISD. Here is how it starts out:

It’s true what they say about being unable to avert your eyes from trains that are close to colliding. I’ve been watching the spectacle of the Houston ISD school board now for two years. If it doesn’t change course, the district is quickly approaching a major crash.

Late last month, HISD’s Board of Education approved the budget for the 2017-2018 school year. While the budget includes much-needed raises for teachers and school support staff as well as funding for long-awaited special education positions, its 11th-hour passage and nearly $107 million deficit are stark indicators that something is wrong with governance in HISD.

The new budget, which will require the district to dig deep into its reserve funds to keep schools operating over the next year, is just the most recent symptom of a school board that has struggled to demonstrate strong, constructive leadership and effective advocacy.

Watching school board meetings over the past two years has often felt like standing in front of a burning house and seeing firefighters intermittently stop their work to argue about who gets to hold the hose. Though the board has managed to implement a few policies that will move the district forward, each positive step is followed by weeks – even months – of inactivity, public blame-throwing and unrealistic demands of a superintendent, who, it seems, is somehow expected to solve years of turmoil after nine months on the job.

It should be noted that much of the budgeting problem stems from a broken state funding system. Each year, our public schools are forced to do more with fewer and fewer dollars coming from the state. And several trustees have made repeated calls for the board to adequately prepare for the difficult road ahead. Sadly, those calls were drowned out by political grandstanding and the drumbeat of deep-seated ideological battles.

Those of us who attended the eight-hour public hearing June 22 (and into the wee hours of June 23), witnessed what seemed like an illustration of how governing can go very wrong. A lack of long-term, meaningful discussions and the apparent obsession of one trustee to pick political fights at nearly every turn left them with no other viable options than to approve the budget.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/What-ails-Houston-ISD-isn-t-just-about-money-11261386.php.

Jenkins is executive director of Houstonians for Great Public Schools, a local nonprofit whose mission is to increase public understanding of the roles and responsibilities of school board members and to hold members accountable for high performance

If you don’t follow HISD closely but still like H-Town politics, you are curiously wondering who in the heck is the “one trustee” Jenkins wrote about. For those of us who follow HISD, we know who she is writing about. It probably would have added gasoline to the fire if Jenkins had named the trustee if you know what I mean. Just saying.

In 1979, after 85 games, we were 53-32 with a 9 ½ game lead and ended up at 89-73 and 1 ½ games behind the Reds of course.

We had a two game stop in The ATL and scored 26 runs and still have our 16 game lead and now we are in Canada for 4.


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