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Here is the headline from today’s lead Chron editorial:

Fighting inequity
Structural problems at City Hall help well-off neighborhoods and hurt everyone else.

In going over this campaign season’s questionnaires and attending meetings, forums, and candidate screenings, there appears to be a concern that H-Town is becoming more of a city of “haves” and “have-nots.” Some folks don’t like the Rebuild H-Town formula for prioritizing projects. Some think “Worst First” discriminates against low-income neighborhoods. Some feel the well-off neighborhoods get the love from H-Town City Hall and some feel the low-income neighborhoods get neglected by City Hall. I am hearing this from trade groups, civic clubs, and grass roots groups.

Here is how today’s editorial ends:

The upscale neighborhoods get nice things, the poor get moved out of the way, and everybody else gets bad streets. If we want to change this, City Council members will need to start fighting.

Bill King is the only H-Town mayoral candidate who is talking about this and has probably upset a bunch of folks. Some folks in H-Town don’t like things being shaken up.

Here is the entire editorial: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Fighting-inequity-6400511.php.

Craig Biggio was our leadoff batter for all four of our World Serious games back in 2005. Who batted second?

The Trump media mega-machine goes to Laredo today. Once again he’s sucking up all the GOP press coverage. Meanwhile, the other GOP candidates struggle to get attention. Expect to see and hear Trump punk Rick Perry in his own backyard. In a way Perry is getting his. Perry was one the first to stir up the border security issue and now he’s getting trumped by it.

Commentary is hearing that the U Visa Program is going to be a topic at H-Town City Hall in the near future. Now that is interesting and probably necessary.

Are you following @VoteHOU?

Willie Taveras of course batted second behind Biggio in the 2005 World Serious.

31,000 plus turned out last night and a bunch scarfed down Dollar Dogs. We have won four of five since the All Star break and are still two out. We are 53-43 and continue to lead MLB with 132 team dingers.

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In Complaint Mode

This election season Commentary has been to numerous forums, community and civic club meetings, meet and greets, and in conversations with voters and pretty much folks are in a complaint mode. They are not satisfied with City Hall. They feel they are not being served by the City.

I saw a flyer yesterday about a town hall meeting next week that mentions higher property taxes, crime, traffic, potholes, nuisance noises – you get the picture.

Remember when the latest poll last month said 61% of H-Town likely voters said H-Town was on the right track? Who are these folks?

Is there a disconnection here or can you believe the City is on the right rack and still be a complainer?

The MLB All Star Game will be held in Cincy next week. The last time the game was played in Cincy was in 1988 at Riverfront. We only sent one player to that game – name the player? Hint: pitcher.

Then there is the story of the candidates who attended a civic club meeting and all but one left early and the one who stayed got to address the meeting and had a twenty minute conversation with the group and scored some points. Nice job.

Pitcher Bob Knepper of course was our only All Star Game player in 1988.

Our bats went silent last night and now our lead is two and a half games.

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At City Hall

On the MLB Hall of Fame, did Craig Biggio have a higher career batting average against fellow inductee Pedro Martinez or against fellow inductee John Smoltz?

I guess you can say it is happening at City Hall these days. Yesterday the City found out a bench trial is out of the question for the HERO petition signatures court case. I guess you can call it a setback of sorts for City Legal. The jury trial is expected to begin next week so get ready for the posturing, dramatic antics, and all that other irrelevant stuff. Here are bits from today’s Chron:

A state district judge ruled Tuesday that the lawsuit surrounding the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance will go before a jury trial rather than a bench trial, a decision that conservative opponents of the law are hailing as a major victory.

Critics suing the city over its equal rights ordinance had been pushing for the case to go before a jury, a move Mayor Annise Parker’s administration said was not in compliance with state election law.

Judge Robert Schaffer issued a brief decision late Tuesday afternoon, one week before the trial is set to begin. Schaffer’s order denied the city’s request for a bench trial, a response to the plaintiffs’ earlier filing for a jury trial.

“It’s great news,” plaintiff Jared Woodfill said. “It’s great to see that this judge is not going to allow (the city) to keep the vote from the people.”

Meanwhile, Kuffer has a take on the former City of H-Town fundraising ordinance here:

It’s my understanding that there is a separate ordinance that regulates the transfer of funds from one account to another, and it is this ordinance, which was not addressed in the Gordon lawsuit, that is at issue here. That’s my understanding, and I’m not a lawyer, so if you know better please say so in the comments. Be that as it may, I do broadly agree that if the blackout period is illegal, then it makes no sense for Turner to be barred from transferring the money he raised in his State Rep account to a Mayoral account. He would have been raising Mayoral money last year if he could have been.

Here is the entire Kuffer take: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=64899.

And if you still can’t get enough of your City Hall fix, you can drop by the City Council’s Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee meeting this evening at City Hall and learn why the City wants to head into the Executive Session arena without you and me. Bad idea if you ask me!

I am thinking not a whole lot of folks will show up – the weather thing.

The campaign fundraising and expense reports are due tomorrow. Folks are going to be interested in Mayoral campaign activity like how much money is in the campaign bank accounts of Council Members Stephen Costello and Oliver Pennington, State Rep. Sylvester Turner, and the Harris County Sheriff.

Of course, we still don’t know if Rep. Turner can spend it and the Sheriff said yesterday “if the people want me to serve them at a different level then I am open to hearing from them.” I hate to say this but “people” don’t really communicate with potential candidates like that these days. They have other things on their minds.

And on Day 1 of the 84th Texas Legislature, I got to thinking why in the heck would we want to let the folks that were Open Carry lobbying to openly carry – got it!

Craig Biggio went 13-for-43 against Pedro Martinez for a .302 average and 27-for-104 against John Smoltz for a .260 average of course.

Nothing from The Yard today.

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Randy Johnson was the top vote getter in the MLB Hall of Fame voting earlier this week with a yes vote on 97.3% of ballots cast. Name the Hall of Famer with the highest vote percentage of ballots cast since 2006?

Have I been spending too much time heaping praise on new Hall of Famer Craig Biggio that I missed the soon to be Governor Greg Abbott resolving our highway funding mess. Did he already fix our public schools and made college more affordable. What the heck is he doing cracking on local officials on how they run their cities?

I thought Abbott ran for governor and not big brother.

Why does he give a rat’s arse on our going plastic, paper or none of the above?

City government is probably the closest form of government to the people you can have. It is where folks first turn to on issues of public safety, infrastructure, transportation, and quality of life issues. Mayors and council members interact on a near hourly basis with the folks they represent. City Hall doesn’t act in a vacuum. Does Abbott not respect this?

Here is from the Chron:

Gov.-elect Greg Abbott on Thursday took aim at local regulations affecting tree cutting, plastic bags and fracking, saying that they are contrary to his vision for the state.

“Texas is being California-ized and you may not even be noticing it,” Abbott told the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an organization in favor of limited government. “This is being done at the city level with bag bans, fracking bans, tree-cutting bans. We’re forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules nd regulations that is eroding the Texas model.”

Since when did local control become California-ized? California is the state that operates as the result of statewide voter initiatives. Our cities and towns make up the backbone, brains, and character of our state. The last thing we need is Big Brother from the State Capitol telling us how to run our local business and completely ignore local control. Here is more from the Chron:

Abbott took particular aim at tree-cutting measures, saying they amount to “collectivism.” Numerous Texas cities, including Houston and San Antonio, have tree ordinances.

“Now think about it — few things are more important in Texas than private property rights. Yet some cities are telling citizens that you don’t own some of the things on your own property that you have bought and purchased and owned for a long time. Things like trees. This is a form of collectivism,” Abbott said.

“Some cities claim that the trees on private property belong to the community, not to the private property owner. Large cities that represent about 75 percent of the population in this state are doing this to us,” Abbott said, and referring to the organizations’ name, added, “Unchecked overregulation by cities will turn the Texas miracle into the California nightmare faster than you can spell TPPF.”

Besides tree-cutting regulations in various cities, Denton voters approved a fracking ban that is being challenged by the oil and gas industry and the state.

Austin, Laredo and South Padre Island have plastic-bag bans, and Dallas has imposed a 5-cent environmental fee on paper and plastic sacks to be collected by retailers.

Legislative efforts in the past to infringe on cities’ rule-making authority have met with pushback from those citing the need for local control.

“My vision is one where individual liberties are not bound by city limit signs,” Abbott said. “I will insist on protecing unlimited liberty to ensure that Texas will continue to grow and prosper.”

Honestly, I think Abbott has been living in Austin for way too long. Remember, for decades he’s been a district judge, a Supreme Court Justice, the AG, and now he will be Governor. He has never served on City Council. He has never had to deal on a daily basis with neighborhood/civic clubs. He has no idea how local city governments operate in today’s world. He certainly doesn’t have an idea on what is going on in H-Town. Yeah, maybe here locally there have been some folks that didn’t get what they wanted the last year or so, but for the most part we are pretty much a collaborative bunch that work stuff out with input from the stakeholders.

Cities do Ok and for the most part operate free of partisanship. We have all heard the line before – there are no Republican or Democratic potholes. If after a lengthy debate and discussion a local City Hall decides plastic bags are a problem, what business is it of Big Brother?

In 2007, Cal Ripken, Jr. of course scored 98.5% of Hall of Fame Ballots cast.

Craig Biggio will be honored late this afternoon at The Yard!

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