News and views roundup (09/22/10 edition)
THE DAILY DOSE of local news and views (99.95% guaranteed to offend some Sensitive, somewhere, for some reason):
- Cities and Democracy vs. Freedom (Houston Strategies)
Some communities - like Portland or Austin - want to set and enforce a majority vision (or at least a majority vision among the politically active), and the minority can love it or leave it as far as they're concerned. Other cities - like Houston - don't impose a vision, and let the city develop bottom up from individual decisions. It's chaotic, but there's also a beauty in the chaos. I'm not saying one is right and other is wrong, but they are distinctly different approaches, and I think Houston should be proud of its (relatively rare) freedom-centered approach (like being the largest city in the country without zoning).
- How Houston Became A Global City (Next American City)
- Houston city council approves controversial Wal-Mart project in Heights (KTRK-13 News)
In a tough economy with tight credit, Mayor Parker's Council wasn't about to kill a big new development so that urbanists from A Place Called Perfect could pontificate on what might be done instead. I am sympathetic to folks in the immediately surrounding neighborhood (like my boss) worried about traffic and drainage, and hope the city does work hard to to deliver needed infrastructure improvements.
- Council Vote Means Improvements To Walmart Site (Pat Hernandez, KUHF-88.7 News)
- Texas reaped $4.6 billion from federal stimulus (Stewart Powell and Yang Wang, Houston Chronicle)
That's roughly $865,000 per job!
[O]utside the Texas capital, Houston far outpaces Texas cities, with $1.69 billion of money covering an estimated 1,953 jobs.
- High costs, low production, substandard workmanship dog state's stimulus weatherization program (Mark Lisheron, Texas Watchdog)
These guys just keep on cranking out the details of your tax dollars being wasted in the name of the stimulus boondoggle.
- This time, a wall helped unite people (Lisa Falkenberg, Houston Chronicle)
We hope that everything is okay with Ms. Falkenberg. That said, if the Chron's local editorialists (metro/state columnists and editorial board) all took an extended leave, would the opinion space in Houston take that much of a hit? And if not, shouldn't the newspaper consider redeploying at least some of those resources to local news coverage?
Note to readers: Today's piece will be my last for a while, as I'll be out on leave for several weeks. I look forward to returning to the column as soon as possible.
- Corrections, Sept. 22 (Houston Chronicle)
Matt Bramanti strikes again
Tuesday's editorial "No Job left unfilled" on Page B9 discussed a mismatch between available jobs and workers with appropriate skills to fill those jobs. The editorial stated that fixing the mismatch could be: "Big enough to drop the national unemployment rate by 2.5 percent." The editorial should have stated: "Big enough to drop the national unemployment rate by 2.5 percentage points."
- Interview with County Judge Ed Emmett (Off the Kuff)
- If you had your HCA political decoder ring.... (Harris County Almanac)
- Sometimes this job is just too easy (Unca Darrell)
- And while we're at it . . . (Unca Darrell)