Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Annise Parker’

The H-Town City Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee is meeting this morning at City Hall to discuss term limits. You can check out the meeting online. I wonder how many folks will show up and offer their two cents.

Right now Council Member C.O. Bradford is making a good point about who is going to put together a public campaign to push for the city charter proposals that will be on the ballot this November. CM Bradford also wants to know who will fund the campaign. I wholeheartedly agree with him. Where’s the beef? Most folks will probably give their money to mayoral or council candidates this year and not to term limits campaigns. Stay tuned!

When Baggy won the 1994 NL MVP Award, how many first place votes did he receive out of the 28 votes cast?

The City of H-Town’s proposed justice center is in the news again today. The Mayor is now looking at the old Exxon building Downtown as the new site. Now this is a new wrinkle. Here is from today’s Chron:

City Council members are questioning Mayor Annise Parker’s surprise announcement late Wednesday that the city may move its police and courts operations into the Exxon tower downtown.

A deal is far from done, officials cautioned, but the city may lease the 45-story building at 800 Bell from Shorenstein Properties, which has launched a joint venture with Griffin Partners for the “possible redevelopment” of the tower, a Griffin press release said, to house courtrooms and other city needs.

The announcement comes two weeks after Parker pushed the council to vote on the future of the city’s police-and-courts buildings, offering a choice between constructing a new “justice complex” or repairing the city’s crumbling facilities. With both options ranging from hundreds of millions of dollars to more than $1 billion, and with both requiring voter approval and perhaps even a tax increase to fund, the council balked, punting the item back to Parker.

The mayor had said she was seeking input on how to proceed, and griped that the council had “ducked” a hard decision. However, Parker did not list leasing space as an option, so the topic was not discussed.

Parker did mention the idea offhand, however, then saying she would “continue to explore all options, including lease space.”

Security, tech concerns

Councilman and former police chief C.O. Bradford said leasing such a space concerns him because the building’s age may prevent it from accommodating technology and security upgrades, and said the tower’s height and underground parking are security risks.

Bradford added, “It’s hard to believe” the idea was not under discussion when the council considered justice complex options.

Andy Icken, the city’s chief development officer, said the Exxon option was first formally proposed Tuesday. Though Icken said neither the nature of the lease nor any costs associated with it have been discussed, he said Shorenstein hopes to complete the deal in six weeks.

“Although their proposal is interesting and potentially a lower cost alternative, there are many unanswered questions as to whether this facility can meet the needs for our ‘Justice Center’ and whether the property is affordable to the City,” Parker wrote in a Wednesday memo. “We now intend to begin an intense effort to make that assessment.”

Informed of the six-week timeline, Bradford said, “Oh, come on.”

Here is the entire Chron piece behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/In-surprise-move-Parker-now-looks-to-lease-6047196.php#/0.

As a reminder here is what I said a week or so ago on this:

We all know the City of H-Town needs to improve its criminal justice facilities but it ain’t going to be cheap. The Mayor knows this and kind of laid out some options that were handed back to her at City Council yesterday. Here is from the Chron today:

Pushed by Mayor Annise Parker to decide whether Houston’s aging police and courts buildings should get patchwork repairs or be fully replaced, with both options carrying staggering price tags, City Council members instead opted for indecision.

By a 12-4 vote, the body sidestepped both options – one of which could cost more than $1 billion – and referred the item back to the Parker administration. The measure was a nonbinding resolution, meaning any choice would have seen no money spent and no plan formally committed to.

Parker, however, said she presented the item to gauge whether council was willing to move forward with building a new cops-and-courts complex, as several million dollars are needed to continue the planning process, money that could be wasted if the council has no plans to ultimately approve the project itself.

“It’s either put hundreds of millions of dollars into the existing buildings or put hundreds of millions of dollars into new construction,” Parker said. “Council members want to vote ‘none of the above,’ and my job is to tell them you can’t say ‘none of the above.’ The buildings are becoming hazardous. It’s clear council members don’t want to take a position. When there’s no good answers, if they can duck, they’re going to duck as long as they can.”

City Hall insiders saw hypocrisy on both sides, however.

Just as Parker complained that council members, many of whom often complain about being excluded from key decisions, punted when given the chance to make a hard call. However, those suspicious of the mayor griped that Parker sought council input only when it was convenient for her to share the heat over a potentially unpopular proposal.

Here is the entire Chron piece that is behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Council-sidesteps-decision-on-justice-center-6016115.php.

I don’t blame the Mayor. This is a big ticket item that she probably won’t get enough support for from Council this year so go on ahead and punt it over to the next administration. I don’t have a problem with justifiable punting on this.

This is important and needs a good and healthy discussion. I will say this. Have you ever been to the Municipal Courts Building close to Downtown? You know what I am talking about. Make sure the next Municipal Courts Building is convenient and with no hassle parking – please!

Jeb Bush is in town tonight to raise money for his campaign. My pal Jacob Monty is raising funds for Bush. Here is from the Chron:

Jacob Monty, an immigration attorney who pledged to raise $100,000 for Bush, said he sensed some “Bush magic” among Houston’s business community.

“There are people who haven’t given money to any of my endeavors in five or six years, that said, ‘Yes, I’m in,'” Monty said. “Raising money for Bushes is different, especially in Houston.”

I wonder if Jeb is going to tell Jacob to ask some his clients to “politely” leave the country.

Baggy of course received all 28 first place votes for the 1994 NL MVP Award.

In case you wanted to know, top ‘Stros pitching prospect Mark Appel is currently reading the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas – HUH!

Read Full Post »

In Teddy Schleifer’s piece about the H-Town Mayor considering running for a higher office he mentioned that the Mayor might endorse a candidate in the upcoming Mayoral contest. Don’t expect an endorsement anytime soon though. Here are a couple of lines from Teddy’s piece:

Mayor Annise Parker left open the idea on Sunday that she would endorse one of the dozen candidates positioning to possibly succeed her, though she said she hoped to avoid doing that early in the race.

“I don’t know that I will endorse. I will stay out of it as long as I can possibly do that,” Parker said in an interview on KPRC’s “Newsmakers” on Sunday morning. “I cannot get involved in the campaigns.

For City Hall observers, it is going to be interesting to see if the Mayor can exercise patience during the race to succeed her. Over the next few months a few of her accomplishments, policies, and positions will surely be discussed, praised, scrutinized, criticized, and even lambasted. Will she just ignore the campaign rhetoric and babble or regularly weigh in?

Council Members Stephen Costello and Oliver Pennington are expected to make the race so I don’t see the Mayor endorsing either of them before a runoff because an endorsement would p-__-off some in the Mayor’s base – hard core Dems.

I would not expect her to endorse any of the non-Council Members anytime soon. She couldn’t afford to stick a knife into the back of her Budget Committee Chair – Costello – as the budget process approaches. An endorsement of a non-Council Member would also create a bit of unneeded friction and opposition from CMs Costello and Pennington on remaining projects that the Mayor might want to get though Council in her last year in office.

A Mayoral endorsement doesn’t come without a price for the so-called lucky endorsee. All the folks that don’t like the Mayor could get fired up and come out and oppose the Mayor’s endorsed candidate. Remember, the best the Mayor has ever scored in her three Mayoral runs is 57.22% of the vote.

There is also a downside to the Mayor coming out and endorsing a candidate. If the Mayor’s candidate loses, the Mayor’s legacy is somewhat tarnished on her way out office and you never want to leave office with your last political act being rejected by the voters.

So all in all, I don’t expect a Mayoral endorsement being a part of the Mayoral campaign landscape until maybe after November 3.

When B-G-O gets a call from the Hall this afternoon, he will be the first to make the MLB Hall of Fame from the MLB Draft Class of what year?

This is going to be a great day in H-Town history. At 1 pm today I will be watching the MLB network. I have got nothing but great karma in place right now as I am wearing my Baseball Hall of Fame pullover.

B-G-O will be the first MLB Hall of Fame member from the 1987 MLB Draft Class of course.

I am sure all the local media will be parked in front of the B-G-O statue at The Yard today.

Read Full Post »

Commentary tweeted this last night:

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 11h 11 hours ago
Just heard a H-Town mayoral candidate is conducting a survey tonight. #HouNews #Election2015

Commentary learned last night that in the week before Christmas a Mayoral candidate was conducting a survey of H-Town voters.

In the horse race they included the Harris County Sheriff, Ben Hall, Bill King, Council Members Oliver Pennington and Stephen Costello, State Rep. Sylvester Turner, and Chris Bell.

Some of the stuff they asked about are what qualities do you want in your next Mayor: Lifelong Houstonian, knows about pensions, worked on a gang task force, and experience in growing the economy.

Apparently, the interviewer revealed that pensions and roads/transportation were getting the most love from the voters that were participating in the survey.

I sure hope the following from H-Town City Hall is just a failure in communications. It is about the Valero deal and Council Member Robert Gallegos claiming the Mayor threw him under the bus. This isn’t characteristic of the Mayor. Here is a bit from the Chron:

(THIS IS FROM CHRON.COM) Asked about community concerns, Mayor Annise Parker quickly noted that Valero informed Gallegos of the deal months ago.

(THIS IS FROM TODAY’S HARD COPY) Asked about community concerns, Mayor Annise Parker promptly – as Gallegos put it – threw the councilman under the bus.

“Valero contacted the district council member in August, they met with the district council member in September, they met with the district council member in October. I do not know why the district council member chose not to hold public meetings,” she said. “The idea that it was completely under the radar is not accurate.”

Gallegos said after the meeting that he was “disappointed” in the mayor’s comments, noting Icken’s staff had been negotiating the deal for a year and a half, long before he joined the council last January. Gallegos said he did not organize community meetings because Valero officials assured him they had cleared their plans with neighbors.

“I asked had they gone out to the community and notified the community, and they said yes,” Gallegos said. “That’s what brought my concern, is that according to the individuals that came to public session yesterday, they said they were not aware of this.”

I would actually say she threw him under the bus and then ran over him – OUCH!

Name the first Black Cuban to play in MLB?

Just when I mentioned things were slowing down the week before Christmas Eve the President went out and announced he was moving to normalize relations with Cuba. It is about time!

Here is how the Chron E-Board led off today’s take:

President Barack Obama’s dramatic, potentially historic move to end America’s half-century-old stalemate with Cuba is both wise and welcome, and we hope it ends with a lifting of the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against the island and full normalization of relations between the old Cold War foes.

Here is the entire Chron take: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/A-historic-shift-5964187.php.

You have to figure the issue will get some major run in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries. Here is from Reuters:

Former Florida Governor – and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate – Jeb Bush was cited by USA Today as saying, “I don’t think we should be negotiating with a repressive regime to make changes in our relationship.”

Although a growing number of U.S. lawmakers favor more normal ties, those lawmakers are still mostly Democrats, and after big midterm election gains in November, Republicans will control both houses of Congress in the new year.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban American Republican, said he would use his role as incoming chairman of a key Senate Foreign Relations Committee to try to block the plan and was committed to doing all he could to “unravel” it.


Americans are largely open to establishing diplomatic relations with the Cuban government, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of more than 31,000 adults conducted between July and October.

Around one-fifth said they opposed such a move, while 43 percent said the United States should restore relations with Cuba and around 37 percent said they were unsure.

This will certainly be part of the President’s legacy. What a gutsy move! Nice job!

On a related note, Commentary is interested in how this might impact MLB.

I don’t know what to say about North Korea getting into the movie critic business. I am just absolutely stunned that a Seth Rogen flick nearly shut down our nation’s movie theaters.

I tweeted this last night:

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 13h 13 hours ago
How about a #WhiteHouse screeing of #TheInterview?

Of course, that is not going to happen.

In 1949, Minnie Minoso of course became the first Black Cuban in MLB when he took the field with Cleveland.

The ‘Stros said they will continue to be on 790 AM.

Read Full Post »

It looks like City Controller Ron Green is throwing a little temper tantrum because The Mayor won’t show him the bond numbers.  Here is from Chron.com:

 Green, the city’s second-highest elected official, said he has repeatedly asked for and been denied information on the measures.

“If it’s that secretive, it can’t possibly be good for the city,” Green said. ”Until such time as I get more information, I’m not supporting any bond referendum that the city puts forward.”

Oh, brother!  Settle down and wait to see the numbers like everybody else this morning then you can pronounce them good or evil.  Don’t worry – the world won’t come to an end.  And also from Chron.com:

 Green said he has heard that the package of bond measures will total approximately $400 million.

“I still believe we need to go out for more bond authorization. I think $400 million is not adequate to meet the needs of the city,” Green said.  “If you’re going to ask somebody to vote for bond referendums, you need to be realistic about what it’s going to take to meet a major CIP (capital improvement project) initiative.”

The city should take advantage of low interest rates and ask for $600 million to $800 million, even if that requires a tax increase, Green said.

In 2006, then-Mayor Bill White also did not consult with then-Controller Parker before rolling out a series of bond measures, according to Parker’s office.

If you ask me and thanks for asking, the City Controller is looking and sounding a little silly.  BTW:  The Mayor will unveil the bond program this morning at City Council.

 Here is the rest of the story.

 Last night the NL All Stars had 10 base hits and the AL All Stars had 6 base hits.  Name the league division that had the most base hits?

 One of the best lines of the 2012 Campaign comes from Vice-President Joe Biden yesterday before the National Council of La Raza:

 “Mitt Romney wants you to show your papers, but he won’t show us his,” Biden said. “So many questions…”

Keep hammering! 

 FLASH!!!!!  Chris Moran of the Chron just put this out:

 Mayor Annise Parker is unveiling a $410 million package of proposed bond measures for the November ballot that will not require a tax increase.

She proposes five bond measures. The purposes and amounts:

1. Public safety: $144 million

2. Health, sanitation and general government: $63 million

3. Affordable housing: $15 million

4. Library: $28 million

5. Parks: $160 million

“I realize many Houstonians are still recovering from the economic downturn,” Parker said in a press release. “That is why it was important to me to present a plan that does not require a tax increase. It is also the smallest bond proposal in more than 30 years. It is a fiscally responsible approach that will create jobs and improve public safety, infrastructure and quality of life.”

Let the games begin!

 A couple of days ago I got an Alan Rosen for Precinct 1 Constable mail piece and his campaign went door-to-door in my ‘hood last week.

 In my book, if you shell out a couple of hundred bucks to attend the dinger derby, you are entitled to boo players.  The other night KC fans booed Yankee Robinson Cano because he’s a Yankee and he didn’t let KC All Star Billy Butler participate in the dinger derby.  Cano was the AL derby dinger captain that picked his fellow dinger derby participants.  When Cano came up to bat during the dinger derby he was booed mercilessly and he ended up not getting a single dinger.   A few prominent baseball columnists called out the KC fans for booing Cano.  SHUT UP!!  KC fans have every right to boo.  I’m glad they did because it made the dinger derby slightly less boring.

 Well it looks the NL Pennant Champ will have World Serious home field advantage in October.   I know.  Some so called “purists” don’t like that the league that wins the All Star Game gets home field Serious advantage.  It makes the game a lot more interesting. 

 What is a baseball “purist” anyway?  They don’t like the DH?  They want to go back to day games?  They don’t like the Wild Card?  They don’t like the Kiss Kam?  Oh, well.

 The NL Central of course led all other divisions last night with five base hits (Braun 2, Furcal, Holliday, and McCutchcen.

 My favorite moment of last night was watching Chipper Jones get a base hit in his final All Star at-bat. 

 A few more days off then the roadie begins in San Fran on Friday.

Read Full Post »