12 July 2010
THE BLOG will be on hiatus for a short time due to a personal matter.
Please feel free to discuss any newsworthy items in the forum!
08 July 2010
A couple of asides, in case you missed 'em...
THE CHRONICLE reports* that former Mayor Bill White's prized SAFEclear program just cost the city about $4.2 million. To quote Cory Crow, that would be the same "program that was touted as being revenue neutral by Houston's former 'business savvy' Mayor who's now promising to take that same level of fiscal prowess to Austin." Don't expect the mainstream Texas political press or PolitiFarce to delve too deeply into such matters, though.
Also, Ubu Roi elaborates on the city's water-rate increases.
* Is that the proper way to describe a tiny blurb tucked away in a sidebar? We're not sure.
07 July 2010
News roundup, 07/07/2010 edition
HERE'S A QUICK ROUNDUP of news tidbits that caught my eye after the too-short vacation.
- Councilmember Jarvis Johnson told police he didn't pull over immediately a few nights ago when he was arrested because he was doing something more important, prosecutors contend. Johnson's attorney denied that he said any such thing, according to the Chronicle report.
- Hans' Bier Haus keeps its alcohol license despite the best efforts of neighboring condo residents (who knowingly moved in beside the bar). The rotting meat apparently will stay as well. Adults acting like five-year-olds are entertaining!
- Cory Crow rightly assesses the huge humor potential in Wal-Mart's preliminary efforts to build a store in The Heights.
- One guy who wants to tell Houstonians how to live got together with some other folks who want to tell Houstonians how to live. It was once easy to giggle at such "smart-growth" busybodies in pro-development, get-it-done, business-friendly Houston, but sometimes coordinated busybodies manage to move their agenda during the giggling. Anybody heard from Houstonians for Responsible Growth lately? Bill King? Anybody?
- Houston's Bicyclist Bob Stein, expert in everything, offers his expertise to San Antonio's KENS-5. We can't help but wonder if he was able get through that long quote without a breath!
- When your newspaper lays off so many veteran reporters and editors, the remaining staffers (interns?) sometimes produce truly dreadful writing (even as one of the least useful senior journalists at the Chronicle prattles on about good writing).
- Unca Darrell dissects Chron editorialist/columnist Lisa Gray's discovery of the Ixtoc spill. We gave it a brief treatment here.
- The Chronicle's resident Chron Eye for the Death Row Killer Guy lead author blazes new territory with this dreck. Is there any conceivable constituency that would read this and then pay the newspaper money for a subscription? Seriously, does this sort of story appeal to anyone who might buy the newspaper? Does it appeal to anyone besides the editor's activist wife, even? You'd think as circulation continues to plummet that somebody at 801 Texas Avenue might give questions like that some thought, and redeploy resources (like the Chron Eye writer, the Urban Affairs/METRO PR mouthpiece, and the entire editorial board) to useful beats. Instead, the geniuses think banning links to this blog is somehow the answer!
- Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack continues to defend his $2 million soap-box-derby-hill boondoggle.
- We've sometimes given Tim Heller grief for getting a little hyper in the past, but there's no better source for weather info in Houston right now. He blogs, he tweets, he writes well, and unlike some faith-based global-warming enthusiasts who talk weather/climate, he has that nice little AMS seal backing his commentary. Be sure to check Heller as weather approaches -- he's everywhere!
- The University of Houston has a new baseball coach, and it looks like a smart hire. Years ago, when the baseball Coogs were good and I had season tickets, Whitting was an assistant. The program has steadily declined from regularly ranked to mediocre since his departure. Here's hoping he can get it turned around, just like he helped TCU turn it around.
What did we miss?
02 July 2010
THE BLOG is going on a long-weekend vacation to celebrate Independence Day.
But, if any local news worthy of discussion pops up (CM Johnson's arrest, CM Clutterbuck calling out CM Bradford on crime lab issues, etc), feel free to start a discussion in the open-comments forum, or in this thread.
And Happy Fourth everyone!
01 July 2010
Culture Map: Chron quietly lays off staff
CULTURE MAP'S CLIFFORD PUGH wonders why nobody had much to say about recent Chronicle layoffs, especially given the Village Voice corporate weekly's posts about the last big bloodletting on 801 Texas Avenue.
Several reasons come to mind. First, there weren't as many people involved in these layoffs, and the Chron seems to have kept a tighter lid on things this time. Second, as local media criticism goes, the local Village Voice corporate weekly seems much more focused on amateurish Chron-blogging (pot/kettle?) and KTRH beats. So who's left to say much? Culture Map, we guess.
Hat tip to local media news watcher Mike McGuff for the Culture Map link!
Harris County Almanac: A great sucking increase...
CORY CROW takes a closer look at recent growth numbers for Harris County, and finds things not as rosy as they seem on the surface.
Councilmember Johnson breaks through storm coverage
Councilmember Jarvis Johnson has done his part to rescue us from the extensive news coverage of the hurricane that is not very close to Houston.
According to TV news reports (KTRK-13, KHOU-11, KPRC-2), Councilmember Johnson was arrested overnight on felony charges of evading arrest after allegedly refusing to stop for a traffic stop. KHOU-11's report says that when he eventually stopped a few blocks later, he tried to run away (UPDATE: KHOU has now removed that from their report, without explanation, Chron-style). KTRK-13 reports that police officials say the councilmember did not appear to be intoxicated.
We look forward to hearing the councilmember's side of the story (much more so than seeing another poor reporter standing in the rain saying "it's raining").