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Their Terms

How can one argue about this? This tweet:

Bill King ‏@BillKingForHou 5h5 hours ago
Mid-West SN mtg. We need to decentralize the City and give discretion to neighborhoods to manage their affairs. BK

Last season’s base hit leader Jose Altuve has 130 base hits this season and is tied for 13th in MLB. Name the player who leads in base hits this season?

Everybody knows Commentary’s position on City of H-Town term limits. I oppose term limits. If we are going to change them, we need to put together a serious grass roots, business community supported campaign. We have not done that.

Yesterday, City Council put forward a term limit ballot measure for this November. Here is from the Chron’s Katherine Driessen:

Under a measure approved Wednesday by the City Council, Houston elected officials could serve a maximum of two four-year terms instead of the current limit of three two-year terms, starting in 2016.

The council voted 12-5 in favor of sending the switch to voters, with Councilmen Richard Nguyen, Mike Laster, Steve Costello, Michael Kubosh and C.O. Bradford voting no, several saying it was the wrong time to seek the change.

The change, if passed, would take effect for officials elected this fall. Current freshman council members could pick up two four-year terms and those serving their second terms would be permitted one four-year term. Elected officials already in their third terms, such as Mayor Annise Parker, would not be eligible for any more time in office.

And:

The council generally has supported lengthening terms, but there has been disagreement about whether such a change should go into effect immediately or in 2020, when no current office holder could benefit.

Mayor Annise Parker said the 2020 proposal would be more favorable to voters, but supports the general principle of lengthening terms regardless of the start date. At the council meeting, Parker paused several beats and exhaled deeply before casting the first “yes” vote to send the 2016 proposal to voters.

And:

Parker warned that without a robust campaign, the issue was unlikely to gain traction with voters. She has committed her time to supporting the equal rights ordinance, which, by court order, also will be on the ballot under a repeal measure.

University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray said that without a popular city leader pushing the change without standing to benefit personally, it is likely to fail at the ballot.

“It’s difficult enough to get something like that passed,” Murray said. “Unless you get an outside group that would not have a direct stake, it’s just an overwhelming task.”

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones called it the wrong time to take the issue to voters. The presence of the city’s equal rights ordinance on the ballot, along with an open mayoral race already are taking up much of voters’ attention, Jones said.

The decision to support the 2016 proposal over the 2020 one inevitably will invite criticism, he said. A recent KHOU/News 88.7 poll found that just 25 percent of likely voters surveyed supported the change to two four-year terms.

“The hole was already deep, and they dug it a little bit deeper,” Jones said. “If your goal is at some point to modify term limits, you are doing that cause a great disservice by placing it on the ballot now. If it loses by a landslide, you run the risk that for the next decade opponents can say they rejected it. You can’t keep going back to the well.”
Around the dais Wednesday, council members supporting the 2016 proposal attempted to head off criticism that the switch is self-serving.

Councilman Jerry Davis, who authored the 2016 amendment, said voters can always oust a council member. For those council members already serving their districts well, he said, the lengthened terms will allow for more time spent on policy rather than campaigns.

Here is the entire Driessen article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/City-Council-adds-term-limits-to-busy-November-6441001.php.

Make no mistake. This is a City Council driven initiative. We should fully expect those that voted for the measure and who stand to benefit to go out and raise money for this campaign and spend their own campaign funds.

And we had this tweet yesterday:

Rebecca Elliott ‏@rfelliott 10h10 hours ago
.@BenHall2015 gets applause here at Heights-Area Chamber event for line warning against #HERO because of transgender bathroom provision

Nelson Cruz of the Mariners leads MLB with 140 base hits of course.

We won yesterday and now have a two game lead with 47 games left to play. Tomorrow we start a 10 game homie. We host the Tigers for 3, the Rays for 4, then the Dodgers for 3. The Sunday Dodger game on August 23 will be carried nationally on TBS.

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I guess the Mayor has the votes on City Council to move forward. I am talking about the votes needed to put on the November ballot a measure to alter the city’s revenue cap. Here is from the front page of today’s Chron:

A (City Council) charter review committee in February took a unanimous, nonbinding vote not to send any cap modifications to voters, with most council members saying the city still needed to prove it was spending taxpayer money wisely.

And:

“I’m going to make them vote up or down,” (Mayor Annise) Parker said of the revenue cap. “If they want to give a pay raise to firefighters without having to cut huge numbers of programs across the city they’re going to have to figure out that, you know, that’s one way to bring some relief in.”

And:

Repealing or tweaking the revenue cap, however, is a difficult pitch to make to voters, who approved the limit in 2004. Parker would likely face a strong conservative campaign casting the city’s financial troubles as a spending problem rather than a revenue issue. Even city officials acknowledge that the revenue cap is no cure-all and would have to be coupled with reining in some expenses.

If this measure does make it to the ballot, who is going to run the campaign. The usual suspects are tied up with the local races. For now it looks like the Mayor will be the face of this campaign. They are going to need a lot more faces to make the case and not just on the spending side but on the cutting side.

Sooner or later the other candidates are going to have to take a position and address this issue.

Here is the entire Chron article:
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Amid-mounting-budget-concerns-Parker-plans-to-6380728.php.

Tonight is the MLB Dinger Derby. Who was the last ‘Stro to participate in the Derby?

No that wasn’t Bill King on Channel 2 Friday morning – close, though. Check this:
http://www.click2houston.com/community/editorials/editorial-bond-issue-and-this-years-mayoral-race/34092522.

The City informed campaigns this past Thursday evening that the online software used to file the campaign reports would likely not be available by this Wednesday’s deadline. It has to do with changes made by the Texas Ethics Commission. Campaigns were directed to go to the Texas Ethics Commission website to generate their reports. From what I can gather in-kind contributions will have their own page and not be included with the cash donors. That is probably a good thing. See below what is on the City’s website:

In April 2015, the Texas Ethics Commission released a new Electronic Filing Application. The changes made have to do with the separation of the types of contributions and political expenditures. Though these changes are minor, they require substantial modification to the databases that facilitate the electronic filings that campaigns will be making.

The Mayor’s Office, City Secretary, Legal Department, and the Houston Information Technology Services Department are working diligently to modify the database in a way that will allow electronic filings that comply with the amended TEC requirements. We do not currently have that database available, and will be providing daily updates to enumerate the status of the database reconstruction. In the meantime, if you intend to file before the deadline of July 15th at 5 p.m., the only current option available will be to file by paper in the City Secretary’s office. To produce a report that will satisfy the requirements enumerated by the TEC, you can go here to file as a local candidate and print the PDF, which you can then submit to the City Secretary’s Office in person, or via email at citysecretary@houstontx.gov. The instructions on how to file are enumerated by the photo set below. The Texas Ethics Commission has also issued detailed instructions and troubleshooting information available here.

Until further notice, the City of Houston will not be enforcing Chapter 18 Sections 18-103 and 18-104.

If you have any questions, you may email Steven David in the Mayor’s Office at steven.david@houstontx.gov, or Danielle Folsom in the Legal Department at danielle.folsom@houstontx.gov.

Otherwise, we will update this site once daily to show the current status of the database and its ability to receive electronic filings.

Some GOPer are not happy with Trump because he’s hogging all the press these days. Hey, the GOP created this border security issue and Trump is just kicking it up a few notches so live with it. You did it to yourselves.

The Big Puma of course in 2008 was the last ‘Stro to participate in the Dinger Derby.

I know, I know. Losing six in a row stinks and having the tenth best record in MLB is so so but we are just a half game out at the All Star break. We have to do something about first base and third base. Both of our starters there are hitting under the Mendoza Line. They are not cutting it. We will see how they come out of the gate this Friday.

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Some members of the H-Town City Council want to make some changes to the H-Town City Charter. Hey, that is why they are on Council – I guess. I just hope they have a well thought out and lengthy discussion with ALL the stakeholders before they put City Charter proposals on the Council Agenda or on a ballot.

This Thursday, December 4 the City Council’s Ad Hoc Charter Review committee will meet and several members of Council want the following in BOLD discussed. I have added a few devil’s advocate observations. BTW: All members of City Council are on the committee. Here are proposed changes:

1. Authorize any item(s) acknowledged and advanced by at least six (6) Council Members to be placed on the Council Agenda for full Council consideration. I would like to be given an example of what items some Council members would want on the agenda. Why can’t they just ask the Mayor to put something on?

2. Authorize Executive Session meetings for City Council. This to me right off the bat doesn’t sound good. This doesn’t speak well of transparency in government. We have been doing OK without Executive Sessions. I don’t like the idea of trying to guess if deals were cut in closed session – if you know what I mean.

3. Change term limits to two four-year terms beginning with the 2015 City Election. I think if you want to change term limits, go get petitions and do it from the grass roots up. This is just pi__ing off some voters again and haven’t we done enough of that lately. Just go for broke and get signatures to do away with term limits – period.

4. Authorize the City to keep and invest excess revenue above the Rev Cap Spending Limits to be used exclusively to pay down the General Fund Debt. Now this one is going to need a lot of ‘splaining.

It is going to be interesting to see what the Mayoral candidates have to say about the proposals. Stay tuned!

A-Roid will be back in the pin stripes next season and with 2,939 career base hits appears to be the next player to join the 3,000 base hit club. Name the active player next in line with 2,844 base hits?

Some St. Louis Rams players did a “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” protest yesterday before their game with the Raiders. The St. Louis Police Officers Association didn’t take kindly to the protest and issued a statement blasting the players. Too bad!

Commentary is a fan of “The Newsroom.” It is entertainment. Last night’s “Ave Maria” scene at the end of the episode was pretty good TV.

Ichiro Suzuki of course has 2,844 base hits and waiting to sign with a team.

Nothing to report from The Yard today.

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