Post-Harvey Review: HFD problems, with no effective plan for vulnerable neighborhoods

Coast Guard in Bonham Acres

Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) In the post Harvey world many Houstonians are interested in the details of what happened and who among our H-Town leaders performed at a high level, and which were a failure. It’s not enough to just pat the City Hall administration on the back and say, well, we could have never dreamed of such a disaster. As pointed out by the Houston Chronicle’s editorial team, we knew, so did our leaders,

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Turner Tragedy Tax Falls as Governor Questions Resources in Houston TIRZ Accounts

Turner Tragedy tax hearing

Photo: Houston Chronicle It’s been a busy few weeks as Mayor Turner worked to take advantage of the Hurricane Harvey tragedy by placing a tax hike on the agenda for City Council to consider next month. At the last possible date permitted under state law, Turner placed a proposed increase on the table for the city’s property tax rate,  a rate not normally permitted by the voter approved revenue cap.  The City Charter allows for such a change given a

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Civic Club Leaders, Govt. Officials Attempt to Block Restaurant, Redevelopment Efforts – PART TWO

Gene Wu Sharpstown Civic Meeting - Oct 20-2016

Rep. Gene Wu (HD-137) remarks about Prime Daiquiri at Sharpstown Civic Meeting, October 2016. PART TWO After Bill Henderson approved the TABC application for Sam Mene’s Prime Daiquiri, more information comes to light about how hard civic leaders and elected officials worked to block this new business. Local Govt. Officials Make Every Effort to Block TABC Permit and Business  Rep. Gene Wu filed HB 1436 in February at the urging of the Sharpstown Civic Association (SCA), an additional step to

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Civic Club Leaders, Govt. Officials Attempt to Block Restaurant, Redevelopment Efforts – PART ONE

Hearing Menville April 17

Protest Hearing, April 17th, 2017- Harris County Commissioners Court: Center to Right : Bill Henderson (Hearing Master), Sheila Lindsey-Sanders, (TABC Attorney), Pat Menville (SCA President) SHARPSTOWN, Houston, Texas — Many often wonder why Sharpstown continues to have, not withstanding the Chinatown corridor, a stagnant if not declining retail sector. Well, recent events make it clear that elected officials at the urging of civic club leaders can make it quite difficult to successfully invest in southwest Houston. The just published issue

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Community Alert: Important information relating to the City of Houston Capital Projects Meeting


The annual community meeting related to the City of Houston capital improvement plan (or CIP) is to be held this week on Tuesday, Feb 28th, at 6:30 pm at the Sharpstown Community Center, 6600 Harbor Town Dr. Mayor Turner and the At-Large Council Members are expected to attend, along with short presentations by the Public Works and Parks departments. There should be some opportunity for public input and Q &A, but it varies by district, with some council members allowing

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City Council Approves $152 Million in New Debt Without Voter Knowledge or Approval


With little fanfare and without voter approval, Houston City Council recently signed off on $150 million in new debt, divided up among the over two dozen Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones or TIRZ. The Uptown and Memorial City TIRZs budgets provide for a combined $118 million in new debt in 2017. The new debt will generally need no further council approval, with total TIRZ debt rising to $620 million during this fiscal year alone.  This seems to stand in contrast to

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Spike in Chinatown Robberies drives Citizens to Protest


A dozen leaders of an assortment of Chinese community organizations rallied in protest on Saturday near the Galleria to bring attention to a string of violent crimes that appear to target Asians. One of the most recent and high profile incidents was the robbery of attorney Jessica Chen as she was leaving her southwest Houston office, in the heart of Chinatown. With Chen on the ground, two male suspects succeeded in stealing her purse, phone, and BMW SUV. She was

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TIRZ Funds, Redirected to Balance City Budget, threatens Southwest Houston Projects


SHARPSTOWN ZONE AMONG HARDEST HIT With renewed attention on the structure of city finances, Mike Morris and Rebecca Elliot penned an enterprise story in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle about the challenges of city investment zones. (City development zones face scrutiny for trapping tax revenues) This is an excellent piece which simplifies a complicated subject. They reveal that in order to balance this years overall city budget, Mayor Turner (with likely no other option) redirected almost $20 million from TIRZ zones across

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