News and views roundup (10/17/10 edition)
It's the two-week-vacation catchup edition of the roundup:
- City officials seem dismissive in Heights Walmart e-mails (Mike Morris, Houston Chronicle)
What, folks expect professionalism and objectivity from their ostensibly technocratic city departments? As we've detailed on this blog for years, that ship sailed under Mayor Bill White, when such offices became increasingly politicized (to boost White's fellow elites and pet projects).
- Judge: City mistakenly booted Houston condo residents (Gabe Gutierrez, KHOU-11 News)
In 2008? Wasn't that during the Bill White "Running the City Like a Business" era? Whoops!
A judge has ruled the city of Houston violated the state’s due process code when it ordered a group of condo residents to vacate their homes in 2008.
- Houston City Council OKs stricter preservation law (Bradley Olson, Houston Chronicle)
Alternate headline (and just as accurate): Houston City Council OK's stricter restrictions on property rights. But hey, at least now we don't look like such hicks to all those "world-class" elites!
- Houston's income growth up 133% since 1989 (Christine Hall, Houston Business Journal)
What, Houston had been doing something right (with no zoning, low water rates, no drainage tax, and no "historic preservation" restrictions on property rights) over the last two decades? This is not the narrative I hear from advocates of A Place Called Perfect or even majorities on the current City Council.
- Rethinking Renew Houston (Bay Area Houston)
There are plenty of good reasons to oppose that gargantuan drainage tax (the self-interested nature of its main public-office proponent being one of them). Here's hoping "Republican" Councilmember Costello will draw some principled, well-funded opposition when he runs for re-election. Maybe it's a cause some of the Tea Party organizations could take up.
Renew Houston, a bunch of millionaire engineers, has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a campaign to convince us to self tax ourselves so they can continue to be millionaires. And they have the gall to tell our schools, the ones that have been strapped for cash, to cut waste so they can make millions off our tax dollars?
- Metro Execs Riding Buses Or Rail: Not Quite What It Seems (Hair Balls)
"New METRO" management, same old METRO "not quite what it seems" equivocation?
- Marketing Department Wins Award (Write on METRO)
Systemwide ridership has been plummeting for half a decade or so, but imagine how bad it might be if not for METRO's bloated PR and Marketing departments! Umm...
- More room for bikes, strollers on Metro rail (Chron Houston Politics)
With systemwide ridership plummeting, they have plenty of room for more bikes and strollers! Rah Rah!
- Another airport transportation option (Chron Houston Politics)
At a bare minimum, you'd think the newspaper's transit beat writer would look to the newspaper's archives himself as part of his research (Ken Hoffman has also written on the topic). But you'd probably be setting expectations too high.
- Corrections: 15 October 2010 (Houston Chronicle)
These are the same old-media dinosaurs who are indignant that Governor Perry won't sit down with them. In reality, newspaper editorial board endorsements are increasingly irrelevant. And in Houston's case, full of errors.
• An editorial endorsement of Loretta Johnson Muldrow for the 208th Criminal District Court (Monday, Page B9) incorrectly described her as a former regional manager for Southwestern Bell. She spent five years at Southwestern Bell managing business accounts and as a union steward.
• Thursday’s editorial endorsements for county criminal courts (Page B10) incorrectly identified the law schools of two candidates. Judith Snively, our choice for County Criminal Court No. 3, is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law. Denise Spencer, our pick for County Criminal Court No. 6, is a graduate of the University of Texas Law School.
- Another righteous takedown of the Chronicle editorial board (Unca Darrell)
It's kind of like shooting fish in a barrel at this point. Shutter the thing and redeploy the resources to the newsroom.
- Missed Opportunities.... (Harris County Almanac)
Also on the topic of an institution that could be shuttered.
- Brickbats for Lykos (Defending People)
- The Shamelessness of Pat Lykos (Life at the HC Criminal Justice Center)
- Revisiting an Old Favorite: Carrabba's (Eating Our Words)
Once upon a time, Village Voice Houston featured real journalism produced by professionals. Now, it's amateur hour, every hour. What a rapid, unfortunate decline.
Carrabba's recently invited me to come in and sample a meal.