HOUSTON (AP) — City officials say Mayor Sylvester Turner in the coming weeks intends to lay off up to 400 firefighters so that he can then implement a pay-parity measure.
Houston asking to have firefighter pay measure invalidated
HOUSTON (AP) — A legal battle over pay raises for Houston firefighters shows no signs of being resolved anytime soon.
Lawyers for the city of Houston on Friday asked a judge to declare invalid a ballot measure approved in November that would give firefighters pay parity with city police officers.
This comes as Mayor Sylvester Turner and the firefighters' union had met to discuss ways to implement the measure.
Federal workers in Houston can seek vouchers during shutdown
HOUSTON (AP) — Federal workers in Houston who are without pay during the partial government shutdown can now seek financial assistance through a city partnership with local nonprofits.
Thousands attend Houston’s dueling MLK parades
HOUSTON (AP) — Thousands of people lined the streets in Houston as two competing parades were held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Houston home to rival Martin Luther King Day parades
HOUSTON (AP) — For more than two decades, Houston has had competing parades on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with organizers lobbing allegations of favoritism and conspiracy at each other and at city officials as the groups battled over permits and preferred starting times.
Mayor, union meet over Houston firefighter pay measure
HOUSTON (AP) — A contentious battle between Houston and its firefighters over pay raises remains unresolved.
But the two sides say they're open to figuring out how to implement a measure that would give firefighters pay parity with city police officers.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the firefighters' union met Wednesday to discuss the measure, approved in November by voters.
Harvey Relief Fund provides final grants, nearly $114M total
HOUSTON (AP) — A relief fund established after heavy rain from Hurricane Harvey swamped parts of Houston has provided its final grants in an overall nearly $114 million charitable effort.
Leaders of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund on Wednesday announced $3 million will be shared by 17 nonprofit groups in the fifth and last round of grants.
Harvey stormed ashore in South Texas in August 2017. Ensuing rain flooded thousands of homes in the Houston area.
Veterans Day marked across Texas with parades, ceremonies
HOUSTON (AP) — Communities across Texas are hosting parades and appreciation ceremonies for Veterans Day.
Houston held a celebration Sunday outside City Hall that included a health fair. A patriotic-theme parade was also part of Veterans Day activities in Houston.
Mayor Sylvester Turner used a Facebook posting to urge people to thank veterans. Turner says Houston is home to more than 200,000 veterans and their families.
Ex-Houston mayor aide settles case over misuse of resources
HOUSTON (AP) — An ex-press aide to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has reached a plea deal to settle a charge alleging she misused city resources to promote personal projects including a proposed reality TV show.
Darian Ward on Tuesday agreed to pretrial diversion, a form of probation, to resolve a misdemeanor charge of abuse of official capacity. The charge could be removed from her record if she successfully completes one year of probation.
Houston firefighters take battle over pay to voters
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston firefighters who have been in a bitter battle with the city for higher wages are taking their case to voters.
Firefighters in the nation's fourth-largest city are asking for pay parity with local police in a proposal that Houston's mayor insists would be "a financial disaster for the city."
Houston residents will vote on the plan for the city's 4,000 firefighters on Nov. 6.
Mayor, others push back on proposed robot brothel in Houston
HOUSTON (AP) — A so-called robot brothel a Canadian company said it wants to open in Houston is getting pushback from local officials and community groups, with the mayor saying the city is reviewing its ordinances to determine if they address public safety and health issues raised by the business.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said he's not trying to be the "moral police" but this is not the type of business he wants opening in the city.
Lawsuit claims Houston blocking facility for migrant kids
HOUSTON (AP) — A nonprofit sued the city of Houston on Friday, alleging officials are obstructing its efforts to open a facility in the city to house unaccompanied immigrant children as part of an "improper political exercise" that's "motivated by hostility" toward federal immigration law.
Austin-based Southwest Key Programs claimed the city improperly invalidated previously issued permits that would have allowed it to open the facility, which was set to house more than 200 unaccompanied minors.
Authorities arrest MS-13 gang members in Texas slayings
HOUSTON (AP) — Law enforcement officials have arrested about a dozen alleged members of MS-13 in multiple Houston-area slayings of people associated with the notoriously violent gang.
Local, state and federal agencies gathered with prosecutors Tuesday to announce the arrests. The gang has been involved in five Houston deaths since June, including the killing of a confidential informant with a machete, according to officials. Only one victim had no connection to the gang, authorities said.
Houston gets $1.8M to become more resilient post-Harvey
HOUSTON (AP) — Amid its ongoing recovery from Hurricane Harvey, the city of Houston announced Wednesday it's been accepted to become a member of a global initiative designed to help cities become more resilient to events like natural disasters, as well as to socio-economic challenges faced by urban areas.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said Houston has been accepted into the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities program.
HOUSTON (AP) — An appeals court has temporarily blocked an order that forced the city of Houston to remove a video from its website, legal action that's tied to a lawsuit by the Houston firefighters union.
The lawsuit is part of a public spat between firefighters and the city over efforts to place a "pay parity" ballot initiative before voters in November.
Judge dismisses lawsuit over rape kit backlog
HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit filed by thousands of women and minors against current and former Houston officials over delays in testing of rape kits.
The lawsuit alleged the officials allowed the delays, meaning suspects remained free and justice was denied to the victims.
- Houston ChronicleBoykins delays measure to lay off 220 firefightersApril 17, 2019
- Houston ChronicleKing, Buzbee take aim at Turner over billboards, spendingApril 17, 2019
- Houston ChronicleTurner agrees to give firefighters financial data in Prop B talksApril 16, 2019
- Houston ChronicleAT&T donates $1 million to Houston nonprofitsApril 10, 2019
- Houston ChronicleNew mobile food pantry serves Houston’s Harvey-affected residentsApril 9, 2019
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston officials on Wednesday pushed back on claims that a detention facility being proposed in the city to house unaccompanied immigrant children is close to opening.
The facility would house about 200 unaccompanied minors at a building that had previously been used as a homeless shelter and a temporary shelter for Hurricane Harvey evacuees.
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston firefighters union is suing city officials, accusing them of misusing public resources to oppose a ballot measure that would give firefighters pay similar to what Houston police officers receive.
HOUSTON (AP) — A former press aide for Houston's mayor has been indicted for allegedly refusing to provide records that had been requested by a reporter.
The Harris County District Attorney's Office said Thursday that a grand jury had indicted Darian Ward on one count of failure of a public information officer to provide access to public information.
If convicted of the misdemeanor, she faces up to six months in jail. Court records didn't list her attorney.
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is leading a South American trade and investment mission with stops in Peru, Chile and Argentina.
Turner's office announced the mayor and members of the Greater Houston Partnership would participate in the trip that began Saturday and runs through July 20.
Houston mayor asks city to unite behind 1 MLK parade
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston's mayor is hoping the city's ongoing feud between dueling parades honoring Martin Luther King Jr. will soon be over.
The Houston Chronicle reports Mayor Sylvester Turner has backed a 40-year-old parade by the Black Heritage Society as the city's official event honoring the slain civil rights leader.
Houston Cancels July Fourth Fest After Flooding
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says Houston, Milwaukee and the Miami area are the finalists to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
The mayor says Denver also made the party's short list but has withdrawn its bid.
A Denver city spokeswoman, Amber Miller, tells the Houston Chronicle that scheduling conflicts forced Denver to bow out.
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston has joined at least seven other cities seeking the 2020 Democratic National Convention with the City Council overwhelmingly backing a resolution that offers logistic services like office space and parking to the Democrats if the city is selected for the event.
Toyota Center, home to pro basketball's Houston Rockets, would be the main convention site.
BOSTON (AP) — American mayors are heading to Boston to address the most pressing issues facing their communities.
More than 250 city executives are taking part in the U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual meeting that runs Friday through Monday. The gathering is focused on infrastructure, cybersecurity, school safety, immigration, automation and other issues affecting cities.
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston on Wednesday approved new rules outlining additional community benefits companies seeking tax breaks for development projects will need to provide in order to get financial incentives from the city.
The new benefits — including improved training and affordable housing for the local workforce — are geared in part toward helping development in economically challenged communities.
HOUSTON (AP) — Tensions between many Texas cities and counties and Gov. Greg Abbott over the use of the state's $11 billion rainy day fund to pay for costs associated with Hurricane Harvey resurfaced Wednesday after a group of local officials sent a letter to the governor asking for money.
Houston approves plan to build 900 homes in flood plain
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston officials have approved a plan to build about 900 homes in a flood plain despite concerns about developing in flood-prone areas after Hurricane Harvey.
Houston-area public health officials Wednesday launched a Hurricane Harvey registry, modeled on one created in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, to track the health impact of last year’s devastating storm.
Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council, unanimously and without discussion, approved a developer’s plan to build hundreds of homes in a west Houston flood plain Wednesday.
The vote will let the developers create a municipal utility district to issue bonds to pay for roads, water, sewer and drainage infrastructure on the former Pine Crest Golf Course, where homebuilder Meritage Homes and land developer MetroNational plan to build some 800 homes.
Houston residents asked to adopt-a-drain, keep clear
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston has launched an adopt-a-drain program to help residents keep water flowing and avoid backups especially as flood recovery continues following Hurricane Harvey.
HOUSTON (AP) — The memorials to former first lady Barbara Bush have begun with a celebration of her life in front of Houston's City Hall.
Mayor Sylvester Turner and several of Houston's leading clergy members from different faiths offered tributes to Bush. She died at her Houston home Tuesday at age 92.
Houston and Harris County each would receive more than $1 billion under Texas’ first major Hurricane Harvey recovery spending plan, but relief remains far off for residents in need of housing help.
The state intends to send roughly half of its initial $5 billion in Harvey aid to Houston and Harris County, according to the draft document released Tuesday, and spend the rest on housing and infrastructure programs elsewhere in Texas.
Turner urges lawmakers to back third reservoir, volunteer hours as disaster match
Mayor Sylvester Turner urged members of Congress on Monday to support the construction of a third reservoir to protect the region from flooding and back Houston’s request that federal government accept volunteer hours in lieu of payment for disaster grants.
Turner joined local and federal officials in Cypress to testify before members of the House Homeland Security Committee, who were in town for a field hearing on Hurricane Harvey.
Proud that an estimated 15,000 people attended the March 24 March for Our Lives in Houston, a Mayde Creek High School junior who helped organize the event now is moving on.
What's next for Steven Adriano Garza, 17, includes an April 7 town hall, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Mayor's Commission to End Gun Violence and a concentrated effort to encourage young people to register to vote and then run for elective office themselves.
Discovery Green transformed into a melting pot of cultral diversity Saturday as thousands of residents flocked to the SpringWorld International Festival.
Attendees watched cultural dance performances, sampled food from different nationalities and learned about heritages different from their own at the event.
“This is indeed now an international city,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner to the cheering crowd. “Let’s work to build this city and make it stronger than what it has ever been.”
HOUSTON (AP) — Autopsy results show that a Houston city councilman who was found dead at his home earlier this month died from an accidental drug overdose.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences reported Friday that Larry Green died from an overdose of methamphetamine and chloroethane, a solvent used as an inhalant.
The 52-year-old Green took office in January 2012 and represented a district in southwest Houston.
Mayor’s comments suggest city could play role in turning around struggling HISD campuses
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he has been asked to get "very, very, very involved" in Houston ISD as it faces potentially severe state sanctions, but he stopped short Wednesday of suggesting the city could take control of the district's chronically under-performing campuses.
City Council on Wednesday put off a vote on Mayor Sylvester Turner's proposed elevation requirements for structures built in floodplains, offering several amendments and providing a glimpse of their ongoing concerns about the measure.
The move buys council another week to consider Turner’s plan to require that new homes built in the floodplains be elevated two feet above the base flood level during a 500-year storm, up from one foot above flood level in a 100-year storm.
Sister of man shot by deputy says he was never diagnosed with mental illness
Kita Thomas-Smith stood in front of Houston City Council on Tuesday, calling for its members to speak out against police brutality and to encourage law enforcement departments across the region to invest in more officer training.
It was the first time the 34-year-old mother of two has spoken publicly since videos showing a Harris County deputy last Thursday fatally shooting her unarmed brother, Danny Ray Thomas, at a busy intersection were released to the public.
Officials take ‘proactive’ step to lower Lake Houston pooling level ahead of rainstorms
As Wednesday's anticipated rains drew nearer, area officials decided on March 26 to open all gates at Lake Houston, initiating the process of lowering the lake's pooling level from 42.5 to 40 feet by Wednesday evening.
The plan was deemed urgent after last month, on February 26, about an inch-and-a-half of water pushed the San Jacinto River out of its banks.
HOUSTON (AP) — Large-scale projects long considered essential to easing Houston's flooding woes went to the top of the area's to-do list after Hurricane Harvey inundated large swaths of the nation's fourth-largest city.
Seven months later, local officials are still looking for funding to undertake plans that include a new reservoir, deeper and wider bayous and a coastal barrier system — all of which have fallen victim to a lack of money or political will in the past.
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told several thousand people demonstrating for stricter gun control that adults have a responsibility to stand up and protect all children.
Turner spoke Saturday morning at a rally at Tranquillity Park as part of the nationwide "March for Our Lives" following deadly gunfire last month at a school in Parkland, Florida.
City officials moved forward Wednesday with plans to relocate Sunnyside’s multi-service center, agreeing to spend $1.2 million to acquire property for a new community building and park.
The appropriation covers the purchase of 6.5 acres at 4410 Reed Road and a nearby 1.5 acre parcel that the city intends to develop into a 60,000-square-foot building and adjacent green space.
The Houston City Council on Wednesday overhauled the city’s regulations of boarding homes and other multi-resident facilities, implementing stricter permitting and inspection requirements and requiring certain facilities to be located farther away from schools and parks.
Harris County to invest $30m in Third Ward street upgrades near University of Houston and Texas Southern University
Harris County officials said Tuesday that they would invest $30 million in street and drainage improvements around the University of Houston and Texas Southern University campuses in Houston’s Third Ward to enhance pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular access to the area while also reducing street flooding.
Harvey victims leave shelters but face dire housing needs
HOUSTON (AP) — While the number of evacuees seeking refuge in Houston's emergency shelters dwindled 10 days after Harvey struck, many people who had left by Monday still faced dire housing needs.
Some returned to public housing complexes inundated with sewage and mud. More than 50,000 went to government-paid hotels, some far away from homes and schools. Others moved in with family and friends.