News and views roundup (09/16/10 edition)
THE "fall is coming, really" news and views edition:
- Metro tied bonds to fare hikes in early ’10 (Michael Reed, Examiner News)
More detailed, adult reporting on METRO finances. Reed and the Examiner have become the go-to print sources for grown-up, balanced news coverage of METRO. Chron enablers should read and learn.
- Houston Metro: We're a Train Wreck (Harris County Almanac)
Cory Crow's thoughts on the above.
- METRO to start fining drivers illegally using diamond lanes (KTRK-13 News)
Side benefit. Real goal: METRO is hoping to raise revenues because the organization is BROKE. See above.
METRO is hoping to reduce the number of bus accidents.
- Metro Cops Will Be Getting Ticket-Happy Downtown (Hair Balls)
Some years ago, the Chronicle's METRO PR desk at the time told readers it was safe to ignore the "diamond lane" guidelines (a later METRO PR desk writer hedged somewhat last year, leading to our prediction that a new revenue scheme might not be far off -- ADVANTAGE: blogHOUSTON). Will the Chron, as the area newspaper of record, wind up being used by defense attorneys to thwart METRO's new revenue scheme?
- Houston is role model on public pensions (Mitchell Schnurman, FWST)
Alternate headline: How a lazy MSM columnist takes the Bill White campaign talking points and uncritically spreads them.
As BH readers know well, the real story of Bill White and the pension mess is quite a bit different: In reality, White inherited a $1.7 billion (give or take) unfunded liability in the municipal employees pension fund, appeared ready to tackle the problem, apparently realized the political pain involved in truly fixing the problem, and wound up nibbling around the edges with incremental reforms that have hardly fixed the problem, but instead punted it to future Houston political leaders.
Don't believe me? Go pull up page 67 of the most recent HMEPS annual report, which projects a $1.194 billion unfunded liability out to the year 2018. That's better, but still not my idea of "fixed." You'd think a columnist at a big newspaper could at least pull off that minimal amount of research and fact-checking.
- American Express and Continental to part ways (The Wandering Aramean)
- Fall? I’m Still Sweating (The Loop Scoop)
- Re: Koehler St. Development (NeoHouston)
The view from twentysomething Houtopian Planner Fantasyland, where millions of dollars to develop property the "right" way magically appear as if one had a cheat code for SimCity!
- Attaboy (and -girl) to the Chronicle (Unca Darrell)
- Why "Mr. Jones" quit the Chronicle (Unca Darrell)
- Hurricane Ike lawyer, Democratic mega-donor Steve Mostyn makes false accusations against Texas Watchdog (Trent Seibert, Texas Watchdog)
LibDem activist Mostyn looks foolish lashing out at alleged "partisan" news outlet for a story that... really made a Republican look bad.
- 5th Ward charter school defies order to close, welcomes students (Ericka Mellon, Houston Chronicle)
Kudos to Ericka Mellon for standing her ground.
The school’s founder refused comment this morning, kicking a reporter off her campus.