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News from 2019

Mayor Hosts Tax-Funded Media Party
By Urban Reform Staff

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner spent more than $10,000 on a holiday party for members of the media, according to documents from the mayor’s office. In December, Turner hosted his annual “Mayor’s Media Party” for city officials and select members of local and state media.

Houston Land-Use Proposal May Have Major Impact With Little Input
By Urban Reform Staff

Zoning and planning discussions often cite Houston as an example of a city without limits. While it is correct that the city doesn’t have a citywide zoning plan, it is not entirely without zoning. Ordinances found within the city code regulate development in Houston, and a proposed code change, set to be voted on later this week, has the ability to devastate a number of areas still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Bands in the Airport | Urban Reform
By Urban Reform Staff

Bands in the Airport | Urban Reform

Argument over budget | Urban Reform
By Urban Reform Staff

Argument over budget | Urban Reform

Houston Historical Commission | Urban Reform
By Urban Reform Staff

Houston Historical Commission | Urban Reform

Houston Housing Authority Loses Employment Suit
By Urban Reform

Karen R. Miniex, former vice president and general counsel of the Houston Housing Authority, was awarded $1.87 million by jurors following a whistleblower suit against the agency. The jury found that she was retaliated against for reporting what she found to be voucher fraud by an employee of the agency.

Buzbee Files Suit Against Turner and Clear Channel
By Urban Reform Staff

Mayoral Candidate Tony Buzbee officially filed suit against Mayor Sylvester Turner, in his unofficial capacity, and Clear Channel Outdoors, claiming “illegal campaign contributions” from Clear Channel to Turner’s campaign. As we wrote about earlier in the week, Buzbee argues that billboards being donated by Clear Channel to the city to advertise its AlertHouston program amount to illegal corporate campaign contributions. The campaign was rolled out last week and is the city’s attempt to get more Houstonians to register for the city’s emergency alert system.

Council to Vote on Employee Layoffs
By Urban Reform Staff

As Mayor Sylvester Turner met with council members laying out his plans to implement the voter-approved Proposition B “pay parity” measure, the 67 fire fighter cadets held in limbo were being delivered “layoff notices” saying that their last day would be June 7, 2019. "Citing the budget shortfall which the interoffice memos say is due to Prop B, the letter notifies the cadets that their positions are being “eliminated by virtue of force reduction.”

Houston Fire March on City Hall | Urban Reform
By Urban Reform Staff

Houston Fire March on City Hall | Urban Reform

Council Member Stardig Budget Requests | Urban Reform
By Urban Reform Staff

Council Member Stardig Budget Requests | Urban Reform

Mayor and Fire Union May Soon Reach Compromise
By Urban Reform Staff

In the midst of a heated fight over Mayor Sylvester Turner’s implementation of fire fighter pay parity, a compromise might be in sight. Turner and Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Marty Lancton sat down to discuss implementation ahead of an upcoming vote by council on whether or not to lay off fire fighters.

Harris County Lobbyist Admits to Working Against Taxpayers | Urban Reform
By Urban Reform Staff

Harris County Lobbyist Admits to Working Against Taxpayers | Urban Reform

Dallas County Member protests use of civil asset forfeiture | Urban Reform
By Urban Reform Staff

Dallas County Member protests use of civil asset forfeiture | Urban Reform

Buzbee to Sue Turner Campaign
By Urban Reform Staff

Mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee announced that he intends on filing suit against Mayor Sylvester Turner’s reelection campaign claiming a violation of campaign finance laws. The suit stems from Turner’s recent announcement about a new “AlertHouston” ad campaign. The service informs the public about severe weather and other major public safety issues in the city.

King: City Wants $2.8 Million for Public to Access Records
By Urban Staff Reform

In response to a public records request made by mayoral candidate Bill King, the city is asking for $2.8 million to access records on how Mayor Sylvester Turner unilaterally approved roughly $400 million in contracts. The issue sparked a few months ago when it came to light that Turner approved $400 million in contracts under the city’s provision allowing him to bypass council approval for contracts less than $50,000.

Court Orders Mediation in City v. Fire Fighters
By Urban Reform Staff

The latest development in the fight over implementation of the voter-approved fire fighter pay parity measure has Mayor Sylvester Turner and fire fighters heading to the mediation table despite reluctance from the administration.

Houston’s Affordable Housing Operations Center
By Urban Reform Staff

The City of Houston’s new affordable housing operations center, Emancipation Center, was first reported on back in 2016 in local real estate blog swamplot.com. The renderings, which can be found on the LAI Design Group website, showed a glassy sphere to be built in the historic Third Ward. At the time, it was called the Coleman Global Center or CGC, named after 30-year State Rep. Garnet Coleman who spearheaded the project.

Misuse Hot Funds | Urban Reform
By Urban Reform Staff

Misuse Hot Funds | Urban Reform

Annual Budgetary Gap | Urban Reform
By Urban Reform Staff

Annual Budgetary Gap | Urban Reform