Not Finest Hour

This is a mess. This should not be happening. This is not the City of H-Town’s finest hour.

Here is from the Chron:

A boil water notice was issued for Houston Sunday after a power outage knocked down water pressure in the city’s primary water system. As a result, Houston ISD decided to cancel classes at all campuses and close offices Monday, the district announced in a social media post late Sunday.

Three other school districts — Spring Branch, Aldine and Pasadena — followed suit. Fort Bend schools will be open.

The boil order is a precaution for the city’s 2.2 million water customers, the city said — there is no evidence the city’s water has been contaminated  —  and will be in place until late Monday or early Tuesday, when the city expects to begin receiving results from water samples it plans to submit for testing Monday morning.

The cities of Bellaire and West University Place also announced water boil notices in response to the Houston water pressure issue, though West University Place noted in its announcement that only residents on Law Street would be affected.

The situation developed much earlier in the day when water pressure dipped below state safety requirements Sunday morning during an outage at the city’s East Water Purification Plant, the city’s Department of Public Works said in a statement.

The city did not issue a news release ordering residents to boil water until several hours had elapsed.

The power outage occurred yesterday morning. The boil water notice went out in the evening.

Some ISDs cancelled classes for today.

Then the H-Town Mayor tweeted this:

“We believe the water is safe but based on regulatory requirements when pressure drops below 20 psi we are obligated to issue a boil water notice. The City is submitting its plan to TCEQ for approval tonight…


This is a classic mixed message for sure. 

Commentary is pretty sure a few hundred thousand of folks under the notice didn’t hear about it and drank water or took a shower.

How can you also issue a notice and let ISDs cancel classes and then say, “we believe the water is safe.”

This is not reassuring. This is confusion.

I am sure some folks jumped into the shower after they saw the Mayor’s tweet.

Not our finest hour.


On an unrelated note, former top city hall staffer William Paul Thomas gets his prison sentence today.


More on the Judge Lina Hidalgo and Mattress Mack thing.  This is also from this past weekend’s letters to the Chron editor:

Regarding “Opinion: Jim McIngvale’s gone to the mattresses,” (Nov. 22): Though Lina Hidalgo and Mattress Mack both deserve awards for the pettiness of their post-election discourse, I was especially disappointed at Hidalgo’s divisive and condescending victory speech — even though I supported her bid for re-election. Mattress Mack, however disappointing his rebuttal, is not an elected politician. Hidalgo is, and her job is to represent all of her constituents. She missed an opportunity to send that message clearly and gracefully. Even though her comment was aimed at Mattress Mack specifically, to use the words “furniture salesman,” in a tone that implied it is somehow a “lesser” occupation, reeks of the elitism that Democrats are so often accused of — sometimes unfairly, but not in this case.

Political campaigns are a nasty business and yes, people running for office are often on the receiving end of lies, distortions and vicious attacks. Sadly, it goes with the territory and Hidalgo needs to get used to it. Her immaturity was clearly showing and she missed an opportunity to get her second term started off on a positive and inclusive note.

They both would benefit from remembering Michelle Obama’s catchphrase, “When they go low, we go high.”

Jane Crowder Schmitt, Houston

Cindy Siegel, Harris County Republican Party Chair, referencing Hidalgo’s victory speech, said she is concerned Democrats will be punitive towards those that challenged them. Hidalgo actually called out “unscrupulous politicians of both parties.” If Siegel and her fellow Republicans really want credibility, they need to call out their own party as well. For starters, how about addressing Mealer’s ads about Hidalgo defunding the police when it was her fellow Republicans Ramsey and Cagle who restricted the budget so that Mealer could never even achieve her police funding goals.

Randy Suhl, Houston

Regarding “ What to expect from Lina Hidalgo and Harris County’s expanded Democratic majority,” (Nov. 21): Maybe finally the judge and the commissioners could find the direction to finish the Hardy downtown connector. The connector’s two lanes both ways into downtown and U.S. Route 59 would probably move as much traffic as the over $9 billion I-45 expansion at a teensy fraction of the cost and time and displacement.

It is a puzzle why the project, already permitted and begun, was suspended. Maybe politics — whatever — let’s get past that and get us all moving.

Tom Schmal, Houston

Regarding “ Editorial: Were Harris County election problems ‘criminal?’ Or are Republicans sore losers? ” (Nov. 16): In your editorial, you asserted that District Attorney Kim Ogg cannot be trusted to investigate election complaints due to her “high-profile clashes with Democratic county leadership.” You have repeatedly characterized Ogg’s attempts to secure adequate funding for local law enforcement and her office as a personal grievance or grudge match between her and Hidalgo, rather than a policy difference. You have now hit a new low by claiming her judgment is unreliable because she disagrees with the Commissioners Court’s spending priorities.

What would you have the district attorney do? Should she only investigate and prosecute Republicans? Should she ignore those laws unpopular with the Democratic Party, face removal from office, and be replaced by an Abbott appointee? Or should she step aside and permit Ken Paxton to prosecute whatever crimes he decides have been committed?

It would be refreshing to see the Chronicle focus on empirical facts, rather than engaging in these relentless personal attacks. Although presently I am an assistant district attorney, I also have done time as a defense lawyer and a judge, so I’ve viewed life’s parade from all sides. Never until recently have I observed the Chronicle to be so misogynistic and hyperpartisan.

Shawna L. Reagin, Houston


In case you are interested, the Phillies visit The Yard for three on the final weekend in April next season.

Now you know.

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