Mattress Firm’s Big Move; When Houston’s Population Will Surpass Chicago’s; Parking Garage Crime Spree

Mattress One in Former Radio Shack Location, 8502 S. Main St., Houston

Photo of 8502 S. Main St.: Swamplot inbox


18 Comment

  • So who’s name is attached to the class action lawsuit about the ReBuild drainage fee and what lawyer buddies is he trying to enrich? I’d really like to know who exactly is potentially wasting millions of the cities money on frivolous suits.

  • If that photo ain’t one kind of Houston, what is?

  • Re: ReBuild Houston lawsuit
    If you click on the article’s link, you can find that the plaintiff’s attorney is Andy Taylor. And, the class representative is Ms. Elizabeth Perez. Both names are in the third paragraph.
    I have mixed feelings about this development. I voted against the “rain tax” in 2010 but it barely passed. I think the pace of repairs and projects seem a bit slow but, since it is a pay-as-you-go process, it does take time to amass $100 million at $8 per month per homeowner. If the rain tax is voided, what happens to our city’s finances for the projects that we’ve already begun? That’s where I get a bit queasy about undoing what has been done.

  • Velvet Taco strategy meeting: “Hey, let’s expand our brand to Houston! OK, but where should we locate? Sir, this 2011 demographic survey says all the 20 somethings there party on Washington Avenue. Well then, find some space for lease and let’s do this! What could go wrong? “

  • Oh, and after posting that I had re-read the article and saw the names in the third paragraph. Guess I was thrown off at first by the maddening wastefulness of this whole dog and pony show. No way am I going to bother trying to find out which Elizabeth Perez it is out of the tons of people we probably have with the same name.

  • Houston is outpacing Chicago yet look at the huge difference in land size, part of the reason their is a completely different urban experience.

  • without the class action suit, the city would never give us back the money they charged us illegally.
    it sucks that I’ll only get back a small portion of what I paid in, while this lawyer will end up with his ‘fee’ extracted from it.
    to be clear, I’m okay with paying for it, but not as a fee. make it a part of my property tax, because it is a tax, it is not a fee.

  • Toasty, why do you think the City ought to refund the money? It’s been spent. Where do you think the refund will come from? Keep in mind that the City can’t raise taxes due to the completely stupid revenue cap that moron voters thought was a good idea.

    I guess we can look forward to the Shepherd project being shut down.

    Of course, the Andy Taylors of this world don’t provide any alternatives to fund the improvements we need.

  • Andy Taylor is an attorney who represents Republicans in filing suits for conservative causes. He was assistant to John Cornyn when he was Texas AG. He’s worked defending Tom DeLay’s PAC. He is also lead counsel in the suit against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

  • Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, there was a lot wrong with the drainage fee.

    It was touted as an end-all solution for flooding in Houston, which will never realistically happen. The TV commercials at the time were cheesy and emotional, lacking substance and appealed to the fear of the masses to initiate a new tax, improperly labeled as a fee.

    There was no scope or project plan. No rationality provided for the fee rate schedules. No accountability expectations, or timelines. No clarity about the funding of the pro-fee campaign funding (I have a hunch large chunks of it came from engineering firms that stood to benefit from fat, open-ended government contracts). Too many exemptions for sites with huge concrete parking lots (ahem – churches and schools).

    The system of fees is calculated on a very complicated and time-consuming method of logging impervious surface area on every single property in Houston – of which there are hundreds of thousands, constantly changing (I’ve already upsized my garden shed and added a semi-permeable back patio since the law passed).

    Naturally, because of the failures mentioned above, to date we have seen no progress report showing where this money has gone or how we are benefiting from it. I am not always anti-new-tax, but I am anti-stupid-new-tax…and this was one of them. That’s why I voted against it, and somewhat sympathize with those who filed the suit.

  • In regards to the rebuild Houston lawsuit why should the City not be held to the table on this ? For what people in Houston pay in City/ School taxes what are you getting ? Horrible roads, broken water lines, aging infrastructure, crappy schools. When was the last time Houston got a new library ? You’re paying for city pensions is what you are paying for and living on aging infrastructure that was build years ago by the as you call them the….

  • I don’t have a problem with the existence of a drainage fee, but merely how they calculate it. They use aerial photos and draw rough outlines around everything that looks impermeable. A pier-and-beam foundation counts as just as impermeable as a concrete slab, despite the fact that water can soak into the ground under a p&b but not under a slab.

  • @Googlemaster

    I’m not a fan of the way this has been implemented either but they’re basing the impervious cover off of IR reflection from aerial photography, so it’s based on pavement and building footprints estimated by roofed area. It’s a relatively simple calculation that you could do yourself with an open source gis, an aerial from TNRIS and a few lines of code. It doesn’t take a lot of time and also happens to be a reasonably accurate way to estimate impervious cover.

  • @Googlemaster: If you think they calculated your impervious area incorrectly, you can correct it. When this all started they provided a simple means of challenging the calculation. I went over mine with a fine toothed pixel counter and their estimate was accurate.
    To the rest of you: Hush, ya big babies. Drainage fees make sense. If you can show they’ve been mishandled, sue over that. Otherwise, stop whining.

  • Didn’t 100% of the drainage fees get redistributed to the local areas to do whatever they wanted with them? I think I remember Montrose saying they were going to fix the lights on the bridges over 59. Not exactly what I consider fixing flooding issues.

  • Superdave, were churches and schools exempted? Just wondering because I thought baby Huey said they wouldn’t.

  • @J. Yes a bunch of ministers whined before Council saying they couldn’t possibly do their missions, community outreach, waaah, waah, waah if the churches weren’t exempt. Meanwhile the pastor that was the most histrionic would have had a $400 a year fee. Parker said she wasn’t advocating exemptions for anyone then back tracked like she has frequently done then foisted it off on the Council (even though she alone controls the agenda). I have no problem with the $5.50 monthly fee/tax whatever. Everyone was told it would take several years to accrue funds to do the improvements so no surprise there. Blame every Mayor, including Parker, for the past 30 years for not properly funding maintenance.
    @Hey hey. You are thinking of the worthless Montrose Mgmt District wanting to spend their money on the bridge lights.

  • Basically everything that Superdave said was spot-on. Mayor Parker made a lot of promises about how the drainage fee would be administered that were not codified on the ballot or in subsequent ordinances. Even if you trust her personally, those promises are just as term-limited as she is. Even if I accept the premise that the fee was necessary in order to stave off fiscal problems related to pensions and that it was desirable that infrastructure spending should have been earmarked, and also that she could not have explained these circumstances to voters in terms that they would understand and go along with, the way that this fee was promoted and passed was not an example of good democratic governance. It was misleading.