H-Town Drained

Early voting in person for the Harris Central Appraisal District (HCAD) Board of Directors runoff election begins today. The last day to vote early is Tuesday, June 11. The election is being held on Saturday, June 15. Go vote, please.


I sure hope H-Town Mayor John Whitmire can put some folks in place over at the water department who will prevent rip-offs from happening. KPRC TV Channel 2 news consumer/investigative reporter Amy Davis had to uncover criminal activity over at H-Town City Hall.  See the featured photo. It is good to have local media outlets who have the capability to investigate corruption, but still, it looks like the City of H-Town lacked the safeguards and protections to prevent outright stealing of public funds. See this from Channel 2 News:

In an exclusive interview, Houston Mayor John Whitmire thanked KPRC 2 Investigates reporter Amy Davis for her work to expose a former City of Houston water department manager now accused of taking bribes and stealing millions of taxpayer dollars.

Patrece Lee was taken into custody Thursday night after KPRC 2 broke the news that she and six others at the center of the water line repair contract scandal were charged with bribery, abuse of official capacity, and tampering with government documents. A Harris County Grand Jury handed down the indictments Thursday afternoon.

As part of our ongoing ‘DRAINED’ investigation into botched city water bills, Davis spent months looking into questionable contracts within the Houston Public Works department. That work sparked a criminal investigation that led to the indictments.

During the time Davis was checking on the water line repair contracts last November, Davis repeatedly tried to get then-mayor Sylvester Turner to answer questions about them. When her phone call and email requests for information went unanswered, she went to a public event and, after it was over, approached Turner and asked, “Will you stop payment to the contractors under investigation?”

Turner responded, “Let me stop you. Amy, you are very rude. You came in now, you are interrupting this event – I don’t appreciate that. I will not be talking to you. I told you years ago when you were rude and disrespectful that I was done with you.”

“Because you keep running from questions that are important to taxpayers,” Davis responded.

“I don’t think she was being rude to Mayor Turner. I think she was doing her job,” Mayor Whitmire said Friday during an interview on KPRC 2 News at 4. “We want city government to work for the public. Whether it’s the airport, METRO, the housing authority, we’re not going to allow conflicts of interest and when we suspect criminal activity, we will immediately refer it to the Texas Rangers and the district attorney’s office.”

And this from the Chron:

From January 2023 through November 2023, Lee allegedly pocketed $322,000 from four different vendors through this scheme, the charging document said.

Investigators also accused Lee of funneling over $400,000 of city dollars directly to LCI, a company owned by her brother Andrew Thomas, while never disclosing her relationship with Thomas. She then immediately transferred at least $380,000 of the payments to her own company, according to the charging document.

Here is the Chron piece: Ex-Houston Public Works official Patrece Lee arrested (houstonchronicle.com).

Channel 2 is reporting this morning that the city is trying to figure out how many or if any repairs to water lines were handled with these contracts. Channel 2 also says that Ms. Lee is asking for a court-appointed attorney because she doesn’t have money to pay for a lawyer. Sheesh!  What a mess.

Nice job, Amy Davis!


The Chron E-Board today put it on State Rep. Shawn Theirry. Here is the online headline of the E-Board take:

Houston Democrat Shawn Thierry leaned into divisiveness. It cost her the runoff election.

Here is how the take ends:

Politicians can get away with a lot in this day and age but divide-and-conquer strategies are risky. Many voters would welcome a thoughtful and deliberate discussion of when, or if, hormone therapy and puberty blockers are medically appropriate for minors. That’s not what Thierry delivered. For every new voter she attracted by railing against transgender medical treatment, she likely alienated many more. Thierry’s defeat proves that, in an election year fueled by animosity and division, at least a few thousand Houstonians still want the Texas Legislature to be a forum for respectful debate. 

Here is the entire take: Transgender treatment ban wasn’t what cost Shawn Thierry her runoff (houstonchronicle.com).

She did what she did and got her arse kicked big time. It wasn’t even close.


Hurricane season got underway on Saturday. The hurricane experts are predicting an active season. They always predict an active season. I can’t remember the last time they said it would be a below average active season.


My Beatles wall calendar for the month of June has a group shot of the four circa 1960s.


Caitlin Clark signed multi-million-dollar endorsement deals before she played her first WNBA game. I think that caused a bit of resentment. Cheap shots at Caitlin on the hardwood are now a regular thing. That’s sad.


Speaking of sadness, the Astros lost the weekend series at The Yard against the Twins. San Luis is in town for three starting this evening.

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