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Archive for November 28th, 2017

Ducking

Another Justin Verlander question. Where does he rank in career strikeouts among active MLB pitchers?

Commentary doesn’t follow the Royals, but I know about them because “Today” and CNN always let me know what they are up to. I know who Meghan Markle is because the flat screen let me know she is going out with Prince Harry. Now they are engaged.   I now know she is biracial and so what. The toxic times we live in have folks on social media making a fuss over it.

This is in part brought about because the toxic times say it is Ok to drop racial slurs at The White House and get away with it. The guy who lives there dropped them yesterday.

Then the Veritas folks got caught lying again trying to set up the Washington Post and now some folks are saying they were doing God’s work. The toxic times we live in.

A toxic times twitter chatter kept the Tennessee Volunteers from hiring a thoroughly vetted coaching prospect.

Early Voting in Person in the HISD and HCC runoffs start tomorrow and end next Tuesday and not yesterday and end next Monday like a few tweets said yesterday. Get your facts straight, please!

This came as a surprise. This fella is one of the leaders in the immigration reform fight in DC. I wonder if there is a story behind this or did he just decide to fight from another platform. Here is this:

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) a leading national voice on immigration reform, will not seek reelection, three Democratic sources with knowledge of the decision told POLITICO.

Gutierrez, who has held his seat since 1993, is expected to announce Tuesday afternoon he’s withdrawing the nominating petitions he just filed on Monday and will formally endorse Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Garcia, a Cook County commissioner, had forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff election in 2015. His bid for Gutierrez’s seat means Garcia will not challenge Emanuel again in 2019 as he had previously planned, sources tell POLITICO. With petition filing open on Monday, candidates for Gutierrez’s open seat will have to turn in nearly 7,000 signatures in less than a week.

Sources say discussions between Garcia and Gutierrez began Friday. Two Democratic sources said that polling already had been done in the district and showed Garcia with a strong lead among possible opponents. In his 24 years in Congress, Gutierrez, 63, was an immigration reform activist who easily won reelection by some of the largest margins of the Illinois congressional delegation. Of late he’s risen as vocal critic of the Trump administration’s response in the wake of a devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico.

Gutiérrez’s spokesman, Douglas Rivlin said he couldn’t comment.

“I don’t know anything. I don’t know anything,” he said late Monday.

Garcia will begin circulating petitions for Gutierrez’s post on Tuesday.

What a surprise, for sure.

When folks in these parts don’t want to weigh in on stuff when they should, you have to wonder. Just like a lot of folks ducked the issue of all that out-of-state PAC money in the HISD races – $225,000. Gutless if you ask me. And don’t even try to argue with me. Hey, maybe their preferred candidates are benefitting from this out-of-town dough. These folks are officially out of the too much big money in campaigns debate. And I will remind them. Stay tuned.

Just like a lot of folks duck arguing with Bill King. Here is Bill’s latest:

In the 2015 mayoral election, all of the candidates except Steve Costello agreed that the drainage fee adopted by voters in 2010 had serious problems. Each of the candidates had various prescriptions. Turner agreed, expressing his concerns about how the money was being spent and promised a complete review of the program. Two years later we are still waiting.

In response to some questions from Council, Controller Chris Brown has been promising an “audit” of the Dedicated Drainage and Street Renewal Fund (DDSRF), which was finally released last week. It is a farce.

The audit examined three projects which totaled about $44 million. Through the end of this fiscal year, about $1.4 billion will have been deposited into the DDSRF. So, this audit covers a whopping 3% of the total.  [Click here to read the audit.]

The report includes an appendix which lists 35 projects that it indicates are completed “using the drainage utility fee component” from 2014-2016 at a cost of $246 million. There is no explanation of that phrase nor are there any supporting schedules. Presumably, the report is suggesting that these are the projects that were paid for by the drainage fee. Beyond that, there is no detail other than a general description of the location of these projects and no indication that the audits did any review of them.

Even if we accept that $246 million was spent from the dedicated fund on these projects, that would only be about 76% of the drainage fee collected for those years and only 39% of the total amount deposited into the dedicated fund. Where was the rest spent? That was the question we were all hoping an audit would answer.

 We used to have a better idea of how the money was spent. During the Parker Administration, the budget document available to the public had 13 pages of information that included a reasonably detailed description of the expenditures and a list of personnel paid from the fund by position type.  [Click here to read 2015 budget.] It was from that detail that we were able to determine that most of the positions paid by the fund were office personnel. But since Turner took office, the budget document has only seven pages and omits most of that detailed information.  [Click here to see 2018 budget.]  

The drainage tax was sold to taxpayers on the promise it would be dedicated to alleviate flooding. Remember this guy telling that us, “The best part is that the politicians cannot divert a single cent.”

Since the drainage fund was set up in 2011, Houston taxpayers have paid over $750 million in drainage fees and an additional $650 million has gone into the fund from other taxpayer sources. Does anyone think we have gotten $1.4 billion worth of value in flood control or street improvement projects?

I suspect folks are just going to hope that Bill moves on to another subject before they try to explain their position. They don’t know that Bill isn’t going away. There is no ducking Bill – sorry.

Justin Verlander is number three on the list of MLB career strikeouts among active MLBers of course with 2,416.

$438,901.57 is what each ‘Stro pocketed for their World Series run. Paid for by folks who attended the games.

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