31 January 2012

A tale of two porn-craving Houston public "servants"

Tale of two porn-viewing Houston public servants

An attentive reader called our attention to the page above from Friday's Houston Chronicle (sometimes, there really is no substitute for the print edition).

On the right side of the page, we have a story about a disgraced HFD captain who was investigated after engaging in online chatting with an underage girl and was found to be in possession of child porn:

Houston police confiscated Fiszer's laptop and media storage devices that held pornographic images and a video of children, investigators said. Officials said they found at least 450 images of child pornography.

On the left side of the page, we have a photo of disgraced METRO CEO George Greanias posing for some METRO promotion or another. Unlike the HFD captain, Greanias has friends at the highest levels of city government, the most important being Mayor Annise Parker. Unlike the HFD captain, Greanias didn't have to deal with HPD searching his computer after he was caught visiting apparent gay child porn sites using METRO resources. Rather, the disgraced CEO's insistence that no laws were broken interestingly resulted in... no police investigation at all!

It helps to have friends in high places.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/31/12 09:30 PM |

30 January 2012

Not that he's covered this topic objectively for years...

Are Houston’s TV forecasters climate change skeptics? - Eric Berger, SciGuy/Chron.com

This weekend the Chronicle ran a story I wrote on the Forecast the Facts campaign, a controversial initiative which essentially seeks to out TV meteorologists who hold contrarian views on climate change science.

Contrarian, eh?

Well, at least the Chronicle's in-house global warmist is no longer pretending to be merely an objective reporter without an opinion on the matter.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/30/12 09:03 PM |

24 January 2012

Bitter former mayor offers "advice" to Rick Perry

Last week Bill White pictured Rick Perry . . . - Unca Darrell

[Former Mayor Bill] White ... proposes "three simple actions" by which [Gov. Rick] Perry could restore his credibility with Texans. You can read them for yourself, but the three simple actions boil down to one simple principle: Be more like me, the good brother, and less like your perfectly awful self.

Think Bill White is still just a little bitter over those stupid voters re-electing that stupid Aggie when they could have chosen a smart, successful Democratic mayor instead?

Again, click over to read the whole righteous takedown.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/24/12 09:57 PM |

Chron's Holley gets the BattleSwarm treatment

An Example Of What’s Wrong With Journalism These Days - Lawrence Person's Battleswarm Blog

This Houston Chronicle piece by Joe Holley is an example of why so many people are dissatisfied with the job the legacy media is doing of reporting events.

No argument from us. Be sure to click over and read the whole thing, and check out the BattleSwarm Blog regularly. It's one of the good ones.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/24/12 09:33 PM |

Harris County assistant attorney pleads for leniency for Eversole

Harris County asst. attorney - 'ethics watchdog for the county' - urged judge to exercise leniency in Jerry Eversole case - Steve Miller, Texas Watchdog

A letter to a federal judge from Harris County’s legal counsel supporting ousted Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole was “inappropriate” and demands a revisiting of the county’s ethics policy, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said in an interview.

The letter from First Assistant Harris County Attorney Terry O’Rourke to U.S. District Judge David Hittner asked for leniency – a sentence of probation in a case where the penalty allows up to five years in prison - for Eversole, who was indicted in 2010 for accepting bribes to steer millions of dollars in contracts to a developer, Michael Surface.


“In my professional review of the Murworth properties … I found that the county procedures had been followed and that there was no evidence of undue or improper outside influence on the decision makers," O'Rourke wrote, contradicting the federal indictment.

“As a civil litigator with only the burden of preponderance of the evidence, I would not, and did not, recommend the filing charges of either bribery or unlawful gift to a public servant to the appropriate officials. Based on this, I recommend that you grant probation in the case.”

In other words, one of the branches of Harris County government we count on to keep an eye on OTHER public officials isn't really all that interested in doing so. That would be handy to keep in mind around election time.

This was a nice catch by Texas Watchdog yesterday morning. The Chronicle ran a similar story in today's edition.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/24/12 07:42 AM |

23 January 2012

Hiking and biking past one of METRO's greatest hits

Swamplot notes that construction of a bikeway north of downtown continues, and there'll be a "highlight" for hikers and bikers once it opens:

One highlight of the journey: a close-up view of the 17.3 acres of swampland Hakeem Olajuwon flipped to Metro back in 2005 for a cool $15 million.

He made a $13 million profit. Quite a fine example of Frank "Procurement Disaster" Wilson's outstanding leadership, wouldn't you agree?

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 01/23/12 06:50 PM |

22 January 2012

City negotiates red-light-camera settlement; Bill White's opt-out removal costs city millions

City of Houston Negotiates End to Red Light Camera Vendor Lawsuit - Office of Mayor Annise Parker

The City of Houston has reached a $4.78 million settlement of the lawsuit filed by American Traffic Solutions (ATS). The agreement brings to an end the legal fight that began when Houston City Council approved ending Houston’s red light camera program. The funds to pay the settlement will come from previously collected fines that are in escrow and the approximately $25 million the City is still owed in outstanding red light camera fines issued when the program was still operational.


Under the terms of the agreement, ATS will be paid $2.3 million up front. This represents the amount ATS would have received had the red light cameras remained on from the date they were initially turned off following the voter initiative in November 2010 to December of 2011. ATS will also receive another $2.4 million over the next three years. This additional amount is meant to address the amounts ATS could have received under its contract with the City, based on collection of delinquent red light camera fines.

In exchange for the payments, ATS has agreed to end its legal fight with the City and remove all of its cameras from Houston intersections within 60 days of approval of the settlement by Houston City Council.

Red-light camera settlement going to City Council - Chris Moran, Houston Chronicle

It will cost the city of Houston at least $4.8 million to get out of its contract for red-light cameras, according to a lawsuit settlement headed to the City Council on Wednesday.

American Traffic Solutions has agreed to take down the cameras within 60 days in exchange for $2.3 million upfront and a cut of future collections of delinquent fines from red-light runners.


If collections don't cover the obligation, the city will pay $2.4 million in installments over the next three years.


Beyond that, a future ATS payday depends on the city's success in collecting from the 240,000 delinquent red-light runners. If the city were to collect all $25 million in outstanding fines — highly unlikely since some of them are already 5 years old — ATS's payout could reach $12.3 million.

What's missing from this story?

Any reference to the fact that Bill White's gambit to remove an opt-out provision from the contract with ATS and "outsmart" the state legislature is now going to cost the City of Houston millions.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/22/12 09:54 PM |

20 January 2012

BH meetup: Saturday, Jan. 21, West Alabama Ice House

To celebrate this lovely 70+ degree January weather, we've decided to have an impromptu BH meetup.

We'll be getting together at the West Alabama Ice House tomorrow (Saturday, January 21, 2pm-??) to hoist a few brews, maybe have a gyro or taco, and chat about stuff. Please feel free to drop by if you're out and about.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/20/12 08:06 AM |

14 January 2012

Danger Train draws blood on Friday the 13th

Woman gets pinned under METRORail in downtown Houston, hospitalized - Jessica Willey, KTRK-13 News

According to METRO, the woman was walking on the tracks near Polk toward the train. The driver sounded the horn, but she never moved. She was struck and pulled under. The train came to an abrupt stop.

"Everybody was just shocked, they were taken aback. Everybody was on their phones, everybody was trying to see what had happened. We couldn't get a good angle but all the police and the ambulance showed up and it was chaos," Dupre said.

The woman ended up under the cab and not the wheels. And on this scene Houston firefighters didn't use hoses, but rather airbags for the rescue.

"To help lift the train just a couple of inches, she wasn't that far under there. It required a couple of inches of life to get her up from under the train," METRO Spokesman Jerome Gray said.

Quote of the year so far from METRO's very expensive TV mouthpiece: "She wasn't that far under there."

That's reassuring.

Meanwhile, METRO continues to build additional, expensive at-grade tram lines down busy streets. Because we wouldn't want this sort of Friday the 13th fun restricted to just one short stretch in Houston!

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/14/12 08:45 AM |

03 January 2012

From the gang that can't shoot straight...

Houston Mayor: 'Occupy' protestors need 'end game' - Gabe Gutierrez, KHOU-11 News

The “Occupy” movement has cost Houston considerably less than other major cities. As of late November, the city had racked up more than $11,000 in police overtime. No updated numbers were immediately available.

Did the mayor's office supply those numbers to KHOU? Hard to know, since the reporter doesn't say.

However, the newspaper of record in Houston (such as it is) reported back in December that HPD had "racked up $366,734 in additional costs" related to the Occupy Houston squatters. The newspaper story did not report how much Mayor Parker's "free electricity for the Occupy Houston Squatters" policy had cost the city (read: taxpayers).

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/03/12 09:57 AM |


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