10/11/18 10:15am

COMMISSIONERS COURT: NO ROBO-BROTHELS IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS EITHER, PLEASE Now that the city’s banned sex doll businesses that let customers get it on with the merchandise right there in the store, what about the rest of the county? “That activity is already not allowed,” Judge Ed Emmett says at the Commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday. County attorney Vince Ryan added that there are currently laws on the books that “would prohibit those kinds of acts.” But as to what the laws are: Emmett says Ryan “will seek clarification before the next Commissioners meeting on Oct. 23,” reports Community Impact‘s Vanessa Holt. In both the city and the county, there’s nothing illegal about selling human-like sex devices for take-home use, officials tell Holt. [Community Impact; previously on Swamplot] Photo of 5615 Richmond, planned location of thwarted sex doll brothel: LoopNet

05/01/18 4:00pm

HARRIS COUNTY OPTS TO SCHEDULE FLOOD BOND VOTE FOR HARVEY’S ANNIVERSARY The Harris County Commissioners Court voted this morning to move forward with scheduling a multi-billion-dollar flood control bond referendum — to fund property buyouts, bayou widening, and other mitigation efforts — for August 25. “Why August 25?” Judge Ed Emmett asked the room — which included the Chronicle’s Mihir Zaveri — “It’s the 1-year anniversary of Harvey. It’s got a certain sex appeal to it.” Commissioner Rodney Ellis at first opposed the commemorative date, fearing voter turnout could be weak during the summer. “If it is one shot that we have, I just want to make sure we get it right,” he said. (If the referendum fails, the earliest the court could hold another one would be in May 2019.) He argued instead for a date during November’s mid-term elections but changed his mind “for the sake of unity” after an appeal from fellow Commissioner Steve Radack — putting a unanimous finishing touch on the back-and-forth. What’s now needed in order to get it on the calendar? Governor Greg Abbott’s sign-off, followed by a vote from Harris County making the date official. [Houston Chronicle; more] Photo of Buffalo Bayou flooded by Hurricane Harvey: Adam Brackman

02/06/18 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: UNINCORPORATED HARRIS COUNTY OUGHT TO START INCORPORATING “Since the population is booming in unincorporated Harris County, it may approach a tipping point where the representation may need to be increased on the Commissioners Court. As it stands now, there are 4 Commissioners plus the County Judge, a total of 5 elected officials for this burgeoning population. Conceivably, we could have 8 Commissioners plus the judge so that each ‘slice’ of the county could be fewer people and theoretically, there would be more responsiveness from the county office to a given resident. That being said, I don’t mind more townships or small cities being created to mop up the unincorporated areas so that each burg could work to benefit its taxpayers. Basically, a divide and conquer approach (or ‘zone defense’ if you want another metaphor), but to provide responsive, efficient service to its own residents. There is only so much that the county can do when it has to cover the whole of Harris County.” [Wolf Brand Chili, commenting on The Astonishing Rise of Unincorporated Harris County] Illustration: Lulu  

06/30/16 2:45pm

WHAT MONTGOMERY COUNTY’S ROAD BOND REFERENDUM SCANDAL COULD COST Alan Sadler County Commissioners Court Building, 501 North Thompson, Fourth Floor, Conroe, Texas 77301In the wake of last week’s indictment of 2 Montgomery County commissioners, a county judge, and a political consultant married to the county treasurer, Judge Craig Doyal has been suspended without pay this week, though the involved commissioners are allowed to keep serving for now. If the group is convicted of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act (having allegedly held closed-door sessions about a $280 million county road bond referendum that voters approved last year), the commissioners may be removed as well, writes Andrew Schneider this morning. University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus tells Schneider that the case, convictions or no, could also have broader implications for the county: “If the perception is that the government can’t handle it, then the voters may lose faith in the individuals involved, and [in the future] decide to simply not vote in favor of [these kinds of] bonds.” Schneider reports that upcoming funding needs for Montgomery county road projects are estimated at around $6 billion. [Houston Public Media] Photo of Alan B. Sadler Commissioners’ Court Building at 501 N. Thompson St. in Conroe: Montgomery County Attorney’s Office