Central Houston sponsored a mayoral forum yesterday in the late afternoon. Lisa Gray of the Chron E-Board was the moderator. I thought about a few years ago when the Chron abandoned their Downtown offices and moved to their digs on the Southwest Freeway. To be fair, there aren’t any media outlets located in Downtown H-Town. Oh, well.
Another local ISD just following the GOP imposed state law. See this from the Chron:
Clear Creek ISD voters will see two school district items on the ballot in November — a tax rate election that, if approved, would counterbalance a 2023-24 budget shortfall and a $302 million bond package for facility and technology improvements.
During a Monday night meeting, the board of trustees unanimously voted to hold the election.
Trustees adopted a 2023 tax rate of $.9746 per $100 in property value, which surpasses the voter-approval tax rate of $.9446.
A voter approval tax rate election, or VATRE, must be held if a district adopts a tax rate exceeding the voter-approval tax rate, which takes into account any increases in property value in the district, plus a few other calculations mandated by the State of Texas.
Before the vote, Board President Arturo Sanchez said the tax rate election highlights the district’s efforts to offset the state Legislature’s inaction on increasing school funding over the summer.
Here is the entire read: Clear Creek ISD to hold a tax election and $302M bond election (houstonchronicle.com).
Anyone with a smidgen of a brain could have predicted the following. See this from the Chron:
The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday denied Harris County’s request for an emergency order that would have allowed the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office to run the upcoming November election by temporarily delaying the implementation of a new state law that abolishes the office. The decision puts to rest months of uncertainty over who will oversee an election that’s now just weeks away.
A ruling last week from a Travis County district judge prevented Senate Bill 1750, a measure the Texas Legislature passed in May, from going into effect on Sept. 1. However, an appeal filed by the state hours later stayed that ruling, triggering the county’s request for an emergency order from the Texas Supreme Court to keep the judge’s injunction in place while the appeal was pending.
The Supreme Court has denied that request from the county, clearing the way for SB 1750 to go into effect on Sept. 1 and putting Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth and the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Ann Harris Bennett in charge of the upcoming election.
Both have prior experience with the responsibilities, as Hudspeth is a former election official and Bennett oversaw voter registration before the Elections Administrator’s office was created.
Here is the entire read: Texas Supreme Court denies Harris County request to run November elect (houstonchronicle.com).
Commentary is certainly not going to criticize the Harris County move to take it to court. We just don’t do good in court in Texas these days.
Here is a part of what County Clerk Hudspeth put out after the Supreme Court put the hammer on Harris County:
“As an individual, I have mixed feelings about enacted laws that present unwarranted complications to election administrators and voters alike. Still, whether I agree with a law or not, I have taken an Oath to abide by the law as an elected official.
My duty as Chief Election Official is to conduct elections with a non-partisan spirit, provide ALL voters with the information, materials, and assistance needed to vote, and work to strengthen voters’ confidence in our election process. My priority is to strategically assess the current election administrative practices, evaluate the performance of the new election equipment, get a clear understanding of what ails the voting and election infrastructure, address it, and move us forward to a better place.
As an experienced former election official familiar with the demanding work of running elections, I am confident Harris County can administer well-organized, transparent, fair elections. There is no magic formula to remedy what has gone awry in the last three years since the conduct of elections was removed from the County Clerk’s Office. There is only plenty of work ahead for all of us, and a great commitment on my part to enable all eligible voters the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.”
Jen Rice of the Chron tweeted this too yesterday:
oh one last thing about this: the county clerk will now be in charge of running elections but at the same time the harris county GOP is still actively trying to get that race thrown out in court, arguing former clerk stan stanart shouldve won instead of democrat teneshia hudspeth
Commentary had Houston Life on the flat screen yesterday and a piece came out about the following that I found in the Chron:
Guests at Minute Maid Park might have noticed a new bar right outside Union Station and the left field corner. They should have definitely noticed the large cutout posters of Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. nearby.
McCullers has launched a new hospitality brand with his friend Juan Carlos Martinez de Aldecoa, who has been in the local automotive industry for the past 18 years. If the last name sounds familiar, it’s because de Aldecoa’s family owns Eximus Coffee, one of the larger coffee distributors in North America. Maven Coffee + Cocktails at Minute Maid is part of the Astros star and Houston businessman’s first phase for their new company.
“Today is really our first crack at it inside Minute Maid Park,” McCullers said. “You can get gourmet coffees like any high-end coffee bar in the city and made-to-order cocktails.”
The pair have hired bartenders and other staff from some of the city’s best restaurants and bars around the city to achieve this vision. The first drink on the menu is an “LMJ Ranch Water” featuring Lalo Blanco, lime, orange, agua mineral and a Tajin rim. Prices of drinks range from $23 to $38, but McCullers insists customers will get exactly what they paid for.
“We’re also doing cool things in upper management. If you work for 7 years, we’ll pay for your oldest child’s in-state schooling or college,” McCullers said. “We’re trying to take an employee-forward, consumer-forward approach. I’ve been blessed to work with the Astros for many years. Juan is in the same situation, running successful businesses.”
Maven represents an all-in approach for McCullers and de Aldecoa. The owners have avoided advertising and marketing, instead funneling their cash into building and expanding their coffee and cocktail business. The Minute Maid location is their first physical location with brick-and-mortar establishments coming to the Thompson Hotel off Allen Parkway and Silver Street at Sawyer Yards. A Toyota Center presence has also been planned.
“Our goal is to have as many brick-and-mortar locations around the country, so people can try our coffee and cocktail combinations,” de Aldecoa said.
“We want people to know what we’re about and taste our product and see the level of service we bring,” McCullers said. “This is really our marketing dollars at work: stadium brick-and-mortars to market.”
The featured photo is Houston Life’s Lauren Kelly having a brew while interviewing Lance McCullers Jr. during their show yesterday.
We won last night and are now a half game behind the Rangers for first in the AL West.