Archive for the ‘Reliant Park’ Category

It is all about State Senator Wendy Davis in Texas politics these days.  She is undoubtedly the most popular Democrat in the universe today.  She deserves all the accolades.

In the Chron today Lisa Falkenberg, Patti Kilday Hart, and Kyrie O’Connor all give Sen. Davis some good run.  The articles are only available right now to those that subscribe or have a hard copy.

The SA Express News has a piece on who is Wendy Davis here.

Burkablog has a take.

So does State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte.

Sen. Davis is now going to be the most sought after Democrat in the country.  She is a star and a headliner.  I hope she has an agent.

How many NL Cy Young Award winners has San Luis produced?

Commentary is not an expert on GOP politics but I think I can pretty much say that the Lite Guv’s days are numbered.  He deserves all that is coming to him.  It would not surprise me if he decided to forego another defeat and just announce that he won’t be running again.

Hunker Down and my friend Edgar Colon read Commentary for sure as they headed over to meet with the Chron E-Board yesterday to let them know that the fix is not in on the Dome proposal.

Check out the details here.

Hall of Fame great Bob Gibson won the NL Cy Young Award with San Luis in 1968 and 1970 and Chris Carpenter won it in 2005 of course.

Only 17,000 and change saw the ‘Stros erase a three run deficit to win 4-3. 


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Happy Birthday tomorrow to MariGirl!  Marisol Valero is celebrating another one!

The Chron E-Board and the Houston Press have takes today on the Astrodome proposal and they aren’t very good takes.  I’m thinking my friend Edgar Colon and the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation might be heading over to the Chron to present their case on the proposal.

The E-Board thinks the fix is in and the Corporation is proposing an initiative that will fail.  Here is how the E-Board take begins:

Friends, Houstonians, Harris County voters, lend us your ears. The Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation comes to bury the Astrodome, not to praise it.

Ouch!  Here is how it ends:

County commissioners need to come out and say now whether they will support this plan or not come election day. The voters of Harris County deserve transparency from them as well as from the Rodeo and the Texans, two other very interested parties that play in a tax-subsidized facility. We’re afraid opponents will bide their time until election season and suddenly let loose a parade of horribles about every aspect of this Dome decision process, and it’ll be too late to do anything different.

Enough with the shell games, side corporations and every other trick to pass off responsibility on the Dome’s future. For once, county government faces an issue where it can’t merely fly below the radar. It is time to be honest with voters about the real goal.

Et tu, Harris County?

Here is the entire E-Board take.

The Houston Press was a bit more vicious.  Here is how they start:

The Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation has spoken, and like much everything else that it has done during its existence, its great plan to save the Astrodome is a massive fail. A massive fail that, if actually put on the ballot and supported by voters, will end up costing $194 million.

The Corporation unveiled its grand plan on Wednesday, and in doing so, stated that no qualified private plans had been submitted, so it had to cobble together its own plan. A plan that essentially repeated warmed over plans that the Corporation had tried to pass off on suckers in the past. The difference being that this time the cost was an outrageous $194 million that, somehow, the public will be forced to fund.

Amazingly, there are sheep out there who think that not only is this a good plan, but that the costs are reasonable and doable. Those costs will be doable of course because taxpayers would be paying for it.

But being a doable plan doesn’t make it a good plan. Creating more convention and exhibition space that will only be used during the Rodeo, the Offshore Technology Conference, and the occasional Super Bowl at a cost of $194 million isn’t reasonable or doable. It’s idiotic. It’s moronic. It’s the work of imbeciles who, over past years, have also offered up proposals for turning the place into an aquarium, a movie studio, a hotel, and a theme park, to name just a few ideas.

Here is the entire Houston Press piece.

The credibility of the Corporation is being challenged big time.  The whole problem is that over the past decade every single Dome proposal put forward has been underwhelming.  Nothing has caught our fancy.  The only thing that makes sense is tearing it down but that takes courage.

I’m not going to question the credibility of the Corporation but they and the County are going to have to sell this to the public.  Hunker Down is going to have to take the lead.   They are also going to have to draft a few prominent H-Town folks to be part of the selling effort.  They have a long way to go.  If this thing moves forward then a campaign will have to be put together and we all know that campaigns cost money.   Stay tuned!

We’re at Wrigley this weekend.  How many Cubbies have won the NL Cy Young Award?

James Gandolfini’s unexpected death got me to thinking about the final scene from the “Sopranos” six years ago.  Here is what I said a couple of days later:

All Commentary wanted was for Phil Leotardo to bite the dust. Mission accomplished! It was pretty gruesome but fitting. I actually thought my TV set went south at the end but then I realized that “The Sopranos” will someday reappear – that’s a good thing. All in all, I give the finale 5 out of 4 stars.

A lot of folks afterwards were trying to come up with an explanation or interpretation of the final seconds that went dark.  Some said Tony got whacked by the guy in the jacket and Meadow was the last person he saw.  Some wondered why Tony kept looking at the door every time the bell rang.  Some even mentioned the juke box playlist that Tony was checking out.  Some have even gone as far to say that the creator of the show was just messing with our minds.

I just don’t know of an ending that would have satisfied the millions of fans that were watching that evening.  We would not have wanted to see Tony get a bullet to his head in front of his family.  We would not have wanted to see his arse get hauled off by the Feds.  We would not have wanted to see something bad happen to Tony and be told by the show that this is what happens to bad guys after a lot of us spent 86 Sunday evenings rooting for this bad guy if you know what I mean. 

I just kind of took the final dark seconds as this is the end so turn off the lights.  One thing is for sure now is we won’t have to wonder if they ever make a “Sopranos:  The Movie.”  There is only one Tony Soprano so that’s it.

Ferguson Jenkins (1971), Bruce Sutter (1979), Rick Sutcliffe (1984), and Greg Maddux (1992) of course are NL Cy Young Award winners for the Cubbies.

17,000 and change showed up yesterday to see Carlos Pena put one into the upper deck for a 7-4 walk off win.  We took 5 out of 7 in the homie and we look and play like a different team.


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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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More and more newspaper organizations are asking folks to pay-up or subscribe if you want to get some of their local stories online.  The Chron, the SA Express news, the Statesman, and the Star Telegram to name a few are now charging to get a lot of their local news online.

If you want to get the news from CNN, MSNBC, or Fox from the flat screen, you have to pay cable, U-Verse, or satellite subscriptions and that goes for the internet.

In the old days before the internet if you wanted to get the local news you had to go buy the local fish wrap or pick up a discarded one. 

I guess you can still go solo and get today’s equivalent of the rabbit ears and get the local news from the local TV stations or you can listen to the radio on NPR or stations like 92 FM but for the most part you are still going to have fork over some dough for the local news.

Since the MLB Amateur Player Draft started in 1965, how many MLB franchises have never had the first pick?

According the local news reports, the jury that is deliberating the fate of the former HPD officer in the Chad Holley case is at an impasse.  I’m thinking that if we have a hung jury or outright acquittal there won’t be much of an outcry if you know what I mean.

There were 19 Dome ideas submitted.  That’s probably 19 too many. 

I am not going to say that this fella knows how to play hardball but I will say he loves to play hardball.  I’m talking about Guv Dude.  He certainly doesn’t have a problem wielding his veto threat or calling a special or adding red meat to the special call.  That’s who he is.

Since the opening of The Yard, season ticket holders have been charged for a couple of exhibition games at The Yard right before the regular season starts.  The two games have always been against teams from the other league.  We get charged for the two games but fewer and fewer fans have been attending.  The new President of the ‘Stros is exploring the idea of playing those two games next year at the Alamodome against the Rangers.  I’m OK with that as long as we’re not charged for the two and have to make the trip out I-10.

Check out Tag’s Lines on the 2014 SA games here.

The Dodgers, Giants, Jays, Reds, Red Sox, Rockies, San Luis, and Tribe of course have never had the number one pick in the MLB Draft.

Now we have lost six in a row.  It was pretty painful to watch last night.  Maybe it is time to bring up some of the prospects.


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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:


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.


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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