Tag Archives: astrodome

Voters Will Decide on Tax Increases in November

Credit: KUHF

At least that’s what might happen, now that the County Commissioner’s of Harris County have voted to place a $217 million bond to fix the Dome funded by a half-cent increase to the County property tax rate on the November ballot.

Meanwhile, Pre-K activists who successfully collected over 150,000 signatures to place a one-penny Harris County Department of Education tax increase on the ballot to fund a pre-K training program await their fate as the signatures get approved and the County finds out from Greg Abbott whether the people are allowed to ask for a referendum. Sheriff Adrian Garcia has made the strongest case yet to support Early to Rise.

“We have to decide as a society, do we want to spend money helping little kids start on the right path, or do we want to pay for putting them in these orange jumpsuits and in these shackles?”

Will county voters be in the mood for tax hikes this November? Obviously, we have some major choices to make. The fate of a local icon and the fate of thousands of kids are up to the voters (at least if Emmett does the right thing and just lets the vote happen).

Of course, we cannot forget that we will also vote (again) on a $70 million bond to go toward a city-county joint inmate processing center. Obviously, the local Sheriff is for it since it might make life easier for his staff and programs. FYI:  This project doesn’t come with a tax increase.

The voices against the Early to Rise initiative usually don’t support public education, so, it seems easy to gravitate toward supporting it. I still have questions about political accountability, but the voices against this bill are usually calling for more money to be thrown at unaccountable items like corporate charter schools, private school vouchers, and the like, yet use the accountability argument against Early to Rise. Hypocrisy never gets my support.

Meanwhile, the Dome initiative is all about saving an icon. It’s a huge icon. And one County Commissioner stated the choice voters supposedly have.

“If it does not pass in November, then that should be the death knell for the Dome,” Jack Morman said.

Others think they’ll just bring it up again later if it loses.

And just FYI.

County engineers and consultants, who estimated it would cost $217 million to repurpose the Dome, also determined it would cost $20 million to demolish it, not including the $8 million (for upkeep).

There will be plenty more discussion in the near future, but this is how things seem to be shaping up.

Thoughts on Viernes…03222013

Dan Patrick Reaches Latinos in a Bad Way

Well, with all of this talk of GOP Latino outreach, it seems State Senator Dan Patrick has been the most effective at reaching Latinos–in a very bad way. My post has been getting some constant traffic, but now, national sites like HuffPost, are now featuring stories on Patrick’s anti-ethnic studies bill. But that’s just one method Patrick has reached out. Let’s not forget his rant on his own Facebook site where he offers this bit of paternalistic advice:

I wish these same groups would spend their time and energy supporting my education policy for more choice for the hundreds of thousands of minority students who are dropping out of our schools, or graduating with minimum skills.

The Republicans succeeded in getting Latinos’ attention.

The Astrodome – What Do You Think?

There’s been a lot of talk about what to do with the Astrodome– Fix it? Gett rid of it? What? Many of my friends have a nostalgic view of the facility, but 13 years after its last use and it’s just more and more an eyesore. Those who want to keep it may not realize the cost (or many they do?) of a fixing the place, which some say could be just under a billion dollars. Then there’s the parking/plaza folks who tell us anywhere from $30 million to $128 million. The bottom line is that it currently costs taxpayers $2 million per year just to keep it, and we still owe $30 million on it.

I’ve got some pretty strong opinions that would probably make me lose some friends, but then again, I tend to look at the big picture where I’d rather spend a billion dollars on health care or education. One thing is for sure, whatever the decision, there better be a whole lotta transparency in the contracting process. People will be watching.

MUSIC BREAK:  Los Palominos – Unplugged – Me Cai De La Nube on the Radio