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News from 2018

Why Are Tax Dollars Used to Enforce Houston Deed Restrictions?
By Urban Reform Staff

Most Houstonians don’t realize that the city is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to enforce private deed restrictions for communities across the city. In the past three years alone, Houston spent over $950,000 on city attorneys’ payroll strictly allocated to deed restrictions. Houston is an outlier among Texas’ large cities because though deed restrictions don’t apply to the whole city, the whole city is expected to pay for their enforcement.

Houston Fire Department Wants to Increase Fees
By Urban Reform Staff

If you live within the city of Houston and call 911 for a minor medical emergency, the fire department will show up and handle the situation. So long as the patient is in no immediate danger and alert enough to make medical decisions, they’ll leave. As taxpayers, many expect this service and don’t expect to be charged for it, but if some city officials have their way that may change. At the city council’s recent budget and fiscal affairs meeting, Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Pena laid out a proposed new fee schedule that would increase current charges and assess three new fees for fire department services.

Memorial Park Meters Are About Fines and Fees
By Urban Reform Staff

Houston’s announcement of paid parking meters at Memorial Park was met with differing reactions: some were supportive of the effort, while others were frustrated, chalking it up to another attempt by the City of Houston to collect more taxpayer dollars. According to a blog post, the city claims the revenue from the 572 meters — a quarter of the park’s parking spaces — will go to maintenance for the park. “The charge will be one dollar for three hours. Let’s assume all of the spaces were used 12 hours a day, 365 days per year. That would bring in about $800,000.”

Houston’s W Hotel Shouldn’t Come at Taxpayer Expense
By Urban Reform Staff

When one of Houston’s tourists or a traveling conventioneer checks into a fancy downtown hotel, it shouldn’t be the taxpayer who helps foot the bill. But all too often, those glittering lodgings are subsidized by the public. With proposals for a W Hotel on the drawing board, it is time for Houstonians to finally draw a line in the sand. Yes, Houston’s hotel stock is a critical factor for meetings and conventions in search of a host city. While there’s a justifiable argument for a W, it shouldn’t be confused with a public necessity.

Urban Areas Are Not Lost Cause
By Urban Reform Staff

There are hundreds, soon to be thousands, of takes on why down-ballot Republicans in urban areas around the country performed so poorly during Tuesday’s midterm elections. People will blame: President Trump, the partisan divide of D.C., the long coattails of popular top-of-ticket Democrat candidates, and demographics — using the oft-repeated but lazy phrase: “our voters don’t live in cities.” What they won’t do is a serious self-analysis and understand that the problem lies with Republicans, not urban voters.