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News from February 2020

Truth in Accounting Releases Financial State of Cities
By Urban Reform Staff

Truth in Accounting released their annual Financial State of the Cities report which breaks down the annual financial reports from the nation’s 75 most populous cities. Notably, the report found that 63 of the cities did not have enough funding to pay all of their bills, meaning they deferred much of these costs onto future taxpayers. They also found that the collective debt for all 75 cities totaled more than $320 billion.

2020 Renter Migration Report
By Urban Reform

Apartment List just released their 2020 Renter Migration Report detailing where renters in major American metros are moving to and from. The report found that 22.7 percent of apartment hunters currently living in Houston are looking to move somewhere else, while 35.6 percent of those looking for a place to live in Houston are searching from outside of the metro area.

Affordability

Houston Tops Lists for Housing Affordability
By Urban Reform Staff

This week, Demographia released its 16thannual International Housing Affordability Survey which analyzed 309 housing markets across the globe.

Free Fare Proposal Getting Attention
By Urban Reform Staff

In an effort to reduce traffic congestion, increase air quality, and speed up travel times, Houston blogger and Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, Tory Gattis, is proposing that Harris County’s transportation agency implement a free-fair policy going forward. Last year, Gattis encouraged Metro Chairman Carrin Patman and the rest of the board to halt approval of $100 million in new fare-collection equipment because they’d only be collecting $70 million in revenue.

Houston City Council Runoffs Come to an End
By Urban Reform Staff

Houston’s 2019 municipal election was finally settled last night as runoffs for eleven city council races and the mayor’s race came to a close.

Unofficial Election Results
By Urban Reform Staff

Significantly delayed Election Day results left Harris County and Houston voters still very unsure of the outcome of a number of races early Wednesday morning.

Housing & Development

King Rolls Out Flood Control Plan
By Urban Reform Staff

Just ahead of Election Day, mayoral candidate Bill King held a press conference in Kingwood rolling out his plan to address chronic flooding in the area. He focused on the need to dredge the mouthbar – a sandbar at the mouth of the San Jacinto River – and the city’s failure to do so, so far.

Affordability

Turner Signs Executive Order for ‘Livable Wage’
By Urban Reform Staff

Mayor Sylvester Turner issued an executive order for a livable wage of, at minimum $12 per hr, by 2021 for Houston Airport System contractors and concessionaires.

Mattress Mack Endorses Mayor Turner
By Urban Reform Staff

In a speech on Wednesday, Houston’s Mattress Mack endorsed Mayor Sylvester Turner’s campaign for reelection: “The mayor of Houston must be concerned – indeed obsessed – with helping the people of Houston. That’s why I’m here today to support Mayor Sylvester Turner..."

Buzbee Calls for Investigation into Hiring of $95k Intern
By Urban Reform Staff

Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee held a press conference calling for an independent investigation into Mayor Sylvester Turner and the hiring of Airport System intern, Marvin Agumagu.

Turner Takes Lead In First Official Poll
By Urban Staff Reform

The first poll in Houston’s mayoral election was released showing incumbent Mayor Sylvester Turner in the lead with his nearest challenger, Tony Buzbee, 17 points behind.

Fire Department Chiefs Call for ‘No Confidence’ Vote
By Urban Reform Staff

Further escalating the fight between Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration and employees of the Houston Fire Department, more than 90 district chiefs signed a letter calling for a vote of “no confidence” in Fire Chief Sam Peña.

Housing & Development

Candidates Talk Flood Control
By Urban Reform Staff

On Monday, both Bill King and Tony Buzbee released their versions of a flood control plan while Mayor Sylvester Turner released his plan to encourage the spread of “green” stormwater development to mitigate flooding. King held a press conference Monday morning where he laid out his 7-point plan to reduce flooding in the city.

Mission Creep in Houston Historical Commission
By Urban Reform Staff

When Houston passed its Historic Preservation Ordinance, supporters promised leery property owners that its passage wouldn’t mean government intrusion in every aspect of redeveloping private property in “historic” areas. Eight years later, it seems as though that has changed.

Mayor Turner Endorses Michael Bloomberg for President
By Urban Reform Staff

Ahead of a Thursday stop in Houston to launch his “Mike for Black America” initiative, presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg received the endorsement of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. The endorsement comes after a tough week for Bloomberg who has been criticized after an audio recording surfaced of making racially charged comments about his stop and frisk policy while serving as Mayor of New York.

Council Member Edward Pollard rolls out District J office days
By Urban Reform Staff

Council Member Edward Pollard rolls out District J office days

Council Member Sallie Alcorn announces "No Car Friday"
By Urban Reform Staff

Council Member Sallie Alcorn announces "No Car Friday"

Urban Community

Opportunity Zones projected to invest $100 billion into underserved communities
By Vimbai Chikomo

President Trump is creating a new channel to funnel additional resources into underserved communities through the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s Opportunity Zones provision, which ushers in a range of tax cuts to catalyze job growth in poor communities.

Poverty

Report: 25 percent of renters across the nation spend more than half their income on rent in 2018
By Vimbai Chikomo

One in four tenants spent more than half of their income on rent in 2018, according to a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. This works out to be 10.9 million renters, with 6 million considered cost-burdened in 2018 than they were in 2001.

Poverty

Report: More than 18 percent of San Antonio residents lived in poverty in 2018
By Vimbai Chikomo

A recent report released by San Antonio shows that more than 18 percent of city residents lived in poverty in 2018.