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Archive for the ‘Harris County Commisioners Court’ Category

The Harris County Sports Corporation will show us the proposals today and I don’t expect to be blown away by any suggestion.  To date not a single idea has persuaded me to support keeping the Dome.  It is not going to be a casino.  It is not going to be a super hotel.  It is not going to be a museum.  It is not going to be a movie production studio.  It is not going to be stripped down and made to look like a skeleton.  It is not going to be a water park.  It is not going to be an indoor ski slope.  It is not going to be s shopping mall.  It is not going to be a super food court.

It will either be a parking lot or green space. Stay tuned!

Name the two pitchers in 1969 who shared the AL Cy Young Award?

The H-Town City Council will vote on the budget today.  The meeting is off to a late start and I’m thinking there might be some lobbying going on behind the scenes on the property tax relief amendments that the Mayor does not support.  Check this from the hard copy of the Chron that is only available online to subscribers:

Some Houston City Council members are urging constituents to lobby their colleagues in support of property tax relief for seniors, setting up a Wednesday showdown with Mayor Annise Parker, whose administration has asked that those amendments to her proposed budget be pulled without a vote.

Complicating the situation is the November election looming for the mayor and 16 council members, and the political clout of seniors, who vote at higher rates than other demographic groups.

"We’ve paid our dues and I don’t think we should be under stress over if and how we’re going to be able to keep our homes," southwest Houston senior Minnie Taylor said Tuesday, one of several who addressed council on the topic. "I’m pleading with you to vote yes on the amendments."

By state law, residential property owners are eligible for a standard exemption on 20 percent of their home’s appraised value. Seniors aged 65 and older receive additional exemptions, which taxing entities – including cities, counties and school districts – can increase. About 95,000 properties in Houston receive the senior exemption, according to the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office.

Harris County’s exemption is $160,000. Some council members want to increase the city’s $70,862 exemption to match that.

Councilwoman Helena Brown sent 17,000 robo-calls to District A seniors, urging them to voice support for her proposal by calling the office of the mayor and some members of council. Councilman Andrew Burks sent a similar email blast to constituents and Super Neighborhood leaders. Brown and Burks’ ideas differ, but both would raise the city’s exemption incrementally to match Harris County’s.

"Property values are increasing, water rates are increasing, the drainage fee and all that – these folks are on fixed incomes and their exemption is not increasing," Brown said. "They’re feeling the impact, and I think it’s unjust. I think that argument will be heard. It’s just common sense."

In his proposed budget amendments, Councilman C.O. Bradford presented three options: freeze home values for properties valued between the city and county exemption levels, hike the city senior exemption to match the county’s, or raise the city’s senior exemption to $80,000.

In a document sent to council members Tuesday night, Parker stated her positions on the council members’ 60 budget amendments. She asks Brown and Burks to withdraw their items and asks Bradford to withdraw his proposal to freeze values because City Attorney David Feldman believes they violate state law; one council cannot mandate the actions of a future council, Feldman said.

Parker also asks Bradford to withdraw his other two proposals; one would cost $26.7 million and the other $3.8 million, City Finance Director Kelly Dowe estimates. Dowe estimates Brown’s proposal would cost at least $5.7 million in the first year and more than $102 million over time.

Parker last week said she was open to raising senior exemptions if offsetting spending cuts could be found. In the Tuesday night memo, however, the mayor states her support for amendments from council members Oliver Pennington and Dave Martin that would put all revenues above projected levels into the city’s reserves. Those items are scheduled to be voted on first; if either passes, Parker states she will not support amendments that cut revenue or raise expenses.

Bradford’s most modest proposal would save the average over-65 homeowner about $39 a year, Dowe said. Former county Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners, who has pushed the council to raise the exemption for two years, estimated the savings at $56; every bit helps those on fixed incomes, he said.

Pennington and Councilman Stephen Costello, who chairs the council’s budget committee, called for caution on raising the exemption, noting projections that show a potential $81 million deficit in the next budget cycle.

"Without a thorough examination of the impact of the exemptions, I certainly could not vote for them," Pennington said.

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said raising exemptions is among the best ways local officials have to directly benefit voters, who can see precisely what they have gained.

"Not only is it a senior exemption, but it’s a senior homeowner exemption, and among seniors, homeowners vote more than non-homeowners," Jones said. "You’re taking the demographic that votes the most or has some of the highest participation rates, and you’re providing a direct benefit to them."

You have to wonder about the politics of this.  After all it is only four months or so from the election.  I’ll be watching City Council this morning.

In 1969 B’More’s Mike Cuellar and the Tigers’ Denny McLain won the AL Cy Young Award of course.

Last night was good baseball but too bad only 13,000 and change showed up.  Come on folks, err fans!  The team is playing better these days and you are missing out.  Get out to The Yard!

 

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If some local leaders have their way Harris County voters may have the opportunity to vote on an initiative this November to add a penny to their property taxes and put it into early childhood education programs.  This kind of sounds like what San Antonio voters approved last year.  The Chron has a front page story in the hard copy and only available to subscribers online.  Check out a piece:

Harris County voters could be asked to approve a tax increase later this year to improve and expand early childhood programs, if a coalition of business and civic leaders can get its initiative on the November ballot.

The recently formed Harris County School Readiness Corp., a group whose membership includes former Houston first lady Andrea White, is circulating a petition calling for the placement of an item on the next election ballot that would increase the county property tax rate by 1 cent, generating about $25 million a year to train teachers and buy school supplies for child-care centers serving children up to age 5.

"All the recent brain science development has indicated that early childhood education is absolutely pivotal," said Jonathan Day, a member of the corporation’s board and a former Houston city attorney. "The business community and academics, everybody’s of the single mind that, if there is a single point of investment for leverage to improve children’s education, it’s at early childhood."

The initiative stems from a recommendation made in an April report commissioned by the Greater Houston Partnership and the Collaborative for Children. It is similar to one launched by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, which ended in voters last year approving a modest sales tax hike to build new pre-kindergarten centers.

Of course the group has to get around 78,000 petition signatures.  That’s a lot of signatures.

County Commissioner Steve Radack has come out in opposition to the effort.  Check this from the Chron:

"I think people already pay too much money in school taxes and the fact of the matter is this is just a back door to try to get the county to get more money shipped over into education," Radack said.

This initiative has a long way to go.  They have to get the signatures.  They have to get the signatures approved.  Then they have to educate the voters.

I tried to follow the San Antonio effort last year.  The SA effort was their mayor’s initiative and baby.  He campaigned extensively for it.  Our mayor is in a battle for reelection so the local effort would have to find a well respected and well known local leader or leaders to sell the measure.  Good luck and stay tuned!

The Brewers are in town for three.  How many MVP Awards do the Brewers hold?

I guess what goes around comes around.  I’m talking about a proposed Astrodome initiative.  Tomorrow the County Sports Corporation will unveil the latest Dome proposals and will lay out one of their own.  It will be interesting if an initiative makes it to the November ballot.

Some folks may want us to support bonds to save the Dome.

Some folks may want us to support a penny property tax increase to save our kids.

Some folks will oppose both.

Rollie Fingers won the AL MVP Award in 1981, Robin Yount won the AL MVP Award in 1982 and 1989, and Ryan Broid won the NL MVP Award in 2011 of course.

Jason Castro is making a strong case to make the AL All Star team.   Let’s see how we do against Brewers.

 

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Commentary worked on the winning stadium referendum back in 1996 that led to the construction of Minute Maid Park and Reliant Stadium.  The campaign assembled a coalition of a number of interests that included the Rodeo.  At the time folks knew that Downtown was the proposed site of the baseball stadium. 

In 1995 the Oilers had already announced that they were packing their bags and heading for Tennessee.   Since the Rodeo was a major tenant of the Dome they had to be brought on board and ballot language had to stipulate that their interests would be included.  Here is the 1996 referendum ballot language:

PROPOSITION NO. 1:  AUTHORIZING HARRIS COUNTY TO ESTABLISH AND OPERATE NEW OR RENOVATED STADIUMS, ARENAS, AND OTHER FACILITIES FOR PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL TEAMS PROVIDED THAT NO COUNTY REAL OR PERSONAL PROPERTY TAXES ARE SPENT TO ACQUIRE, CONSTRUCT, OR EQUIP THESE FACILITIES.

Passage of the referendum would be a key factor in acquiring an NFL franchise.  The Rodeo uses the football stadium so they knew that if we were to get awarded a NFL franchise a new state-of-the-art football stadium would get built.   Politically it also helped that the Rodeo has an incredible reach with thousands of volunteers and supporters, and numerous partners and sponsors whose backing would be critical to passage of the 1996 referendum.

775,525 votes were cast in the Proposition 1 ballot measure and it prevailed by 16,421 – 51% to 49%.

In 1999 H-Town was awarded an NFL franchise after new owner Bob McNair put up a few hundred million to bring a franchise to the city.  The rest is history.

Commentary mentioned the ‘Stros’ number one pick of the 1976 draft Floyd Bannister.  Three players drafted in 1976 are now in the MLB Hall of Fame – name them?

Back to the Dome, in today’s hard copy of the Chron we are reminded of the influence, err veto power of the Texans and Rodeo on any major changes at Reliant Park.  Here are parts of the Chron reminder:

While the primary tenants of Reliant Park do not have veto power over development plans, they do have other extensive rights to the site under lease and legal agreements with the county. Even though Harris County Commissioners Court will make the ultimate decision about what to do with the iconic stadium, those rights "must be taken into consideration," said Edgardo Colón, chairman of the governing board of the Harris County Sports & Convention Corp., which oversees Reliant Park.

And:

Under a 2001 agreement, which officials say was designed in anticipation of Astrodome redevelopment, the Texans and the Rodeo are granted protection from any venture that would eat into their revenue streams, as well as exclusive access to all 25,000 parking spaces on game days, for the Texans, and to the entire complex for nearly three weeks during the rodeo.

Let’s not forget that a couple of months or so ago the Rodeo and Texans released a report on how much it would cost to put a wrecking ball to the Dome.  That kind of tells me where they stand.

The public proposals were due last night and the Texans and the Rodeo are on the informal review committee, the informal selection committee, and are sole members of the official veto committee.  That’s not a bad place to be.   They have both earned the power they yield on this matter. 

Hall of Fame greats Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, and Ozzie Smith of course were drafted in 1976.  (FYI:  Smith didn’t sign.  He was drafted again in 1977.) 

I don’t know what to say about winning six in a row and now losing five in a row.  It is not as if we are being blown out. 

 

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Today is the deadline for members of the public to turn in their Astrodome proposals.  In yesterday’s Chron, Kuffer and former County Judge Jon Lindsay penned Op-Eds and gave us their thoughts.  The Chron also published an Op-Ed on the Dome that appeared in the NY Times a week or so ago.  None of the three advocated Commentary’s well known position on the Dome’s future but Kuffer had what I thought were words that ring loud and true.  Check this:

The fact is that in this country, when a stadium stops functioning as a stadium, it gets torn down. Several of the teams that the Astros played against in 1965, the Dome’s opening year, are in their third stadium since then. Ebbetts Field, where Jackie Robinson made his groundbreaking debut in 1947, was demolished in 1960, two years after the Dodgers headed to California. Apartments were built in its place. The only historic venues that still stand are those that are still used as sports arenas, such as Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Lambeau Field and Madison Square Garden.

There is no precedent for turning an unused stadium into some other functional structure, which may be why we have struggled so much to come up with a new use for the Dome.

Hear, hear!

Here is all of Kuffer.

Here is Judge Lindsay.

Here is the NY Times.

Show me the courage!

How many times have the ‘Stros had the number one pick in the MLB Amateur Player Draft?

Speaking of Numbers Ones and dumbarse stuff falling out of your piehole, Chipper Jones tweeted the following:

Y’all think if they took all them gators they trap in Fla and La and put them in the Rio Grande, it wud stop the illegals from crossing? Jk

Then he tweeted this:

I realize that my tweet yest was offensive and distasteful. An attempt at humor was a terrible mistake. Please accept my heartfelt apology!

Here is from the Chron’s Jose de Jesus Ortiz:

Chipper Jones, who built a solid reputation during his long career with the Atlanta Braves, has atoned a bit for an ugly tweet about illegal immigrants.

“Y’all think if they took all them gators they trap in Fla and La and put them in the Rio Grande, it wud stop the illegals from crossing? Jk,” Jones tweeted from @RealCJ10 Saturday. Jones got a relative pass from the baseball media, but his tweet was beyond offensive.

Many people die each year trying to cross the border in a desperate attempt to improve their lots in life, and I simply don’t find it funny when athletes attempt to dehumanize immigrants by joking about them as though they’re some sort of prey.

Whether you agree or disagree with the U.S. immigration policies, I would assume we all agree that we must treat each other with respect and common decency. Chipper Jones is no John Rocker, and I’m glad Jones decided to apologize in another tweet tonight.

“I realize that my tweet yest was offensive and distasteful. An attempt at humor was a terrible mistake. Please accept my heartfelt apology!” he tweeted.

Chipper Jones has always been a class act when I’ve dealt with him, and I hope this was just one silly mistake. We all say stupid comments that we ultimately regret from time to time. Jones recognized his mistake, and hopefully he learned from it.

I’m putting Chipper Jones on my list of dumbarses and he’ll stay on it until I think he’s seen the light if you know what I mean.

This past Saturday With the 557th pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Player Draft the ‘Stros selected Jake Rodriguez.  Jake!

Of course I’m not talking about our Jake but rather Jake who catches for the Oregon State Beavers of the PAC 12.

Talk about letting folks down or misleading them or playing the hidden ball trick, I ‘m talking about the Harris County Department of Education Board of Trustees.   HCDE Trustee Jim Henley announced he was resigning.  The HCDE Board then invited folks to apply for the vacancy and send in their resumes.  The list was whittled down to six finalists that included public education activist Sue Deigaard, Latino activist Rey Guerra, and former State Board of Education candidate Traci Jensen (Commentary’s former client). The six finalists were then interviewed.

After a few special called HCDE Board meetings to deliberate on the vacancy the board went for none of the above.  This past Thursday the board met and selected former NAACP honcho Howard Jefferson.  I like Howard and consider him a pal but I don’t think he even applied.

If you ask me why ask folks to apply and have them interviewed then say no thanks. Some of the applicants would have been outstanding trustees.  What a bum deal if you ask me. I hope they have a good ‘splanation.

If the City of H-Town really wants to get serious about recycling then why don’t they have the Westpark Recycling Center open on Sundays.  It is open Monday thru Saturday.  A lot of folks can’t or won’t drive out there during the week.  Having it open on Saturday and Sunday would be a convenience.

The ‘Stros have had the number one draft pick four times of course:  Pitcher Floyd Bannister in 1976, infielder Phil Nevin in 1992, shortstop Carlos Correa in 2012, and pitcher Mark Appel last Thursday.

The ‘Stros have now lost four in a row as the bats have gone on silent mode.  We’re playing like a team that is 22-42.

 

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On the front page of today’s Chron is a story about the Dome and its future.  There is nothing really new and you can only read if you have the hard copy or are a subscriber.  Folks have until next month to turn in their Dome project proposals.  Hunker Down has said that it will be up to the voters to decide the future of the Dome.

Hunker Down has also said that he is not inclined to hold a Dome election this November because H-Town voters will turn out in greater number than non H-Town voters because we are having City elections.  I’m going to go out on a limb and disagree with Hunker Down on this point.

This wouldn’t be one of those bond elections to build a jail, a courthouse, schools, or parks.  This is the freaking Astrodome – the Eighth Wonder of the World.  A lot of voters across the region would be talking it up.  If a Dome demolition component is included, debates, discussions, and arguments involving nostalgia, history, and the future would be pretty common around the so called water cooler.  Most folks would have a take on what to do with the Dome.  

The local media (I’m talking about print, TV, radio, and online) which does a p___ poor job of covering our City and local elections would be all over this story. One of the lowest voting turn out Demographic – the sports talk radio audience – would probably come out and vote.  It would be a better informed electorate across Harris County and isn’t that what we want?  I guarantee there would be tons more coverage of the Dome proposition than the mayoral election.

In the last major contested mayoral election in H-Town in November we had a tad over 19% voter turnout.  I’m thinking we could get that countywide for a Dome referendum.

Don’t sell Dome voters short, Hunker Down!

The A’s visit The Yard this weekend.  How many World Serious titles do they own while in Oakland?

You know we’re not having a good season if the only story to go national from The Yard this season is a vendor going numero 2 with his snow cones nearby.  Check it out from KPRC:

Cell phone video shows a ball park snow cone vendor sitting on a toilet in a stall with an entire box full of the products he’s about to sell. They sit on the bathroom floor right next to him.
The person who recorded the video and gave it to Local 2 said: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This guy is taking a dump. There’s no doubt about it. What sane person could possibly think, yeah this is a good idea. I’ll just put the food that I’m about to sell on the floor.”

Here is the entire story.

PGAer Sergio Garcia just needs to shut his pie hole.  He is an embarrassment and a dumbarse.  He pulled the fried chicken line on Tiger and he is getting skewered deservedly.  He is not a victim and that is for sure.  Here is from Yahoo.Sports:

Sergio Garcia crossed a line Tuesday he never should have toed.

At the European Tour’s annual gala dinner ahead of its flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship in England, Garcia responded to a question asking if he would have dinner with Tiger Woods at next month’s U.S. Open at Merion.

His reply, according to The Guardian: "We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken."

And:

The 33 year old could have said any other kind of food. Snowballs would have been clean and funny as a reference to Woods’ girlfriend Lindsey Vonn. He could’ve gone with Swedish meatballs as a more edgy shot across the bow about Woods’ defunct marriage to Elin Nordegren. How about a Hank Haney reference and say "popsicles"?

Garcia chose to allude to fried chicken.

Here is all the Yahoo about the yahoo.

Here s from a bit of ESPN:

One of Garcia’s sponsors has also weighed in on the matter.

"Sergio Garcia’s recent comment was offensive and in no way aligns with TaylorMade-adidas Golf’s values and corporate culture," the statement read. "We have spoken with Sergio directly and he clearly has regret for his statement and we believe he is sincere. We discussed with Sergio that his comments are clearly out of bounds and we are continuing to review the matter."

Good for TaylorMade-adidas.  Stick it to Garcia.

Here is the entire ESPN piece.

The Oakland A’s won World Serious titles in 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1989 of course.

We won a game last night and 12,000 and change that attended stayed away from the yellow snow cones – yikes!

 

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FYI:  Commentary’s client is Graci Garces, candidate for H-Town City Council District I.

Graci will have her “Campaign Takeoff” at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport this evening at 6:30 pm.  The Museum is located in District I.   It is a neat and real cool place to have a political campaign “takeoff” announcement.  If you are a Houston history buff, the Air Museum is a place to visit.  They have a lot of interesting stuff on exhibit from the early days of commercial aviation in Houston.  You can spend a lot of time walking around checking out the display cases.  Here is from their website:

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is housed in the original art-deco Houston Municipal Airport building at present-day William P. Hobby Airport. The Museum showcases the rich heritage of civil aviation, including the airlines, general aviation and business aviation. Exhibits include Houston’s fascinating aviation history.

We gave it a 6:30 pm start to give folks time to head over after work.  They also have some gear for sale there.

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is located on the west side of William P. Hobby Airport, near Telephone Road.

Check out their website here.

This former MLBer was drafted out of West High School (West, Texas) in the third round of the 1994 MLB Amateur Player Draft and during his career smacked a dinger against the ‘Stros in the 2005 World Serious.  Name the player?

Yesterday CNN, AP, and Fox were reporting that an arrest had been made in Boston. It turns out the report wasn’t true.  Here is what the Chron E-Board said about this:

Speaking of journalists, CNN on Wednesday afternoon carelessly leaped before looking when it announced that a suspect had been identified. Fox News and the Associated Press followed.

CNN retracted its report soon afterward, but still took a credibility hit, as well as a spanking from the FBI: "Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting."

I wonder if the Chron posted the CNN or AP story yesterday.

Here is the entire E-Board take.

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to the Dome.  Here is from Chron.com:

The Harris County Sports & Convention Corp. will spend the next two months collecting and analyzing ideas for what to do with the vacant Reliant Astrodome in hopes of taking recommendations for repurposing the aging stadium to Commissioners Court in late June.

Under a resolution approved Wednesday by the Sports Corp. board, which oversees Reliant Park, private parties will have until June 10 to submit proposals on how to renovate the nearly half-century old stadium.

Agency staff will analyze any proposals received and deliver recommendations to Commissioners Court on June 25, the day the court is scheduled to consider the county’s capital projects plan.

GOP Cong. Goober from Tyler says that radical Muslims are being trained to act like Latinos so they can get into the U.S. of A. to create havoc or something like that.  Here is from the Chron:

“We know al Qaeda has camps over with the drug cartels on the other side of the Mexican border,” the Republican from Tyler said on C-SPAN Wednesday morning. “We know that people that are now being trained to come in and act like Hispanic when they are radical Islamists.

I don’t know about that.  You got to practice real hard to get the Latino thing down. 

You have to be able to sit through hours and hours of novellas.  

You have to learn the right way to climb on a burro.

You have to become knowledgeable of futbol or beisbol or both.

You are going to have to get by on rice, beans, and corn tortillas.

You are going to have to live with another dozen fellas in a one room apartment.

You don’t keep your dog on a leash and just let the pooch roam the ‘hood.

You also don’t fix your dog.

If you are a male, you better not control your temper.

If you are female, you need to strive to look like Sofia Vergara.

You have to drive in a car with sound systems no lower than a kazillion decibels.

You need to know how to handle a switchblade and steal tires while the car is still moving.

Get rid of the AK-47 and learn how to handle a leaf blower – our weapon of choice.

It is not that easy learning how to be Latino, Cong. Goober.

Check out the story here.

Former MLBer Scott Podsednik of course went to West High School in West, Texas and he smacked a dinger against the ‘Stros in Game 2 of the 2005 World Serious.

Our ace lasted 2/3 of an inning yesterday and we’re 4-11 and on pace to lose 118 games this season.

 

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In what inning do they play “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway?

You learn something every day.  I didn’t know bombs could be made using pressure cookers.

Lisa Falkenberg has a must read column today that you can only check out if you subscribe.  It is about marathoners.  Great job Lisa Falkenberg!

Meanwhile the immigration bill was unveiled yesterday and here are some reactions in the SA Express News:

Democrats and immigrant-rights groups have endorsed the Senate bipartisan bill, while voicing concern that border security goals not be used to block progress on citizenship plans for people in the country illegally.

“I’m hopeful that the trigger mechanisms are created in good faith and that they are not an attempt to further move the goal post,” said Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine.

Still, Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-San Antonio, and other Democrats said the bill “makes clear Congress is willing to deal with immigration reform with a reasonable plan.”

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin said: “Finally, there is hope that families can stay together and ‘Dreamers’ can succeed.”

Alicia Torres, however, could not bring herself to match his enthusiasm. The 27-year-old from San Antonio immigrated to the country illegally with her parents and nine siblings two decades ago. And while she is likely to qualify for the bill’s five-year fast-track to citizenship for immigrants whose families brought them into the country as minors, she worried its 13-year path for all others and emphasis on labor-based rather than family-based visas showed a shifting priority for the country.

“It just reinforces the same ‘good immigrant’—’bad immigrant’ stereotypes,” she said. “They’re OK with immigrants coming here to leave their sweat and hard work, but they’re not interested in families fully integrating together into the citizen community.”

Here is the entire piece.

I want to wait and see what Latino groups say.

The Chron E-Board has a take today on the Dome.  Here is the main part:

The University of Southern California knows something, but they’re not sharing. According to the Sports and Convention Corporation Executive Director Willie Loston, the corporation will vote whether to approve a non-disclosure agreement so that USC will share its super-secret plan for the Dome. A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a climate-controlled stadium.

Whatever happens today, Loston says the Sports and Convention Corporation will also vote on setting a timeline to have Dome proposals ready for the Harris County Commissioners Court’s capital improvement plans meeting in June.

We’ve seen too many Dome dreamers high on ideas but short on cash. With a recovering economy, Houston now has the opportunity to do something worthy of the Eighth Wonder of the World. County Judge Ed Emmett is talking optimistically about a bond vote in the November elections, and we may finally see a future for the Dome beyond a reminder of past grandeur.

This whole process feels a bit like diligent students ramping up before finals, with a slow and steady studying turning into cram sessions. But are voters being left out of the discussion? As county-created agencies consider secret dealings, a commissioners court that was all too willing to kick the can down the road now could be all too quick to make a decision without proper public input. While a bond election likely will be necessary to fund any Dome plan, an up or down vote on the county’s decision is hardly a choice at all. Given that each commissioner represents around a million people while lacking the public spotlight afforded a legislator or city council member, it is questionable how well the county can translate the will of the people into a ballot choice.

Here is all of it.

Here is from Chron.com:

A team of scientists, including Texas A&M researchers, believe 2-million-year-old skeletal remains may be a new type of species that played a role in human evolution.

I wonder if Guv Dude will now go to war with his alma mater.

Let’s be thankful that A&M doesn’t come under the jurisdiction of the Texas State Board of Education.  Whew!

Here is the entire story.

Commentary likes the Big Puma but sometimes I don’t agree with his takes.  He doesn’t like Wrigley Field and this is what he said yesterday:

If they’re looking for a guy to push the button when they blow the place up, I’ll do it,” Berkman said Monday to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Chicago’s one of the worst places in baseball … really for anything,” he said.

I don’t think anyone ought to be talking about blowing up anything these days. I’m glad he wasn’t asked about Fenway.

“Sweet Caroline” is played in the middle of the eighth inning of course at Fenway.

“Sweet Caroline” was played last night at Yankee Stadium.

It was also played in Oakland.

The ‘Stros lost again to the A’s last night and we’re 4-10.

 

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