07/30/12 1:23pm

That new helpful “what to do if a crazed gunman starts shooting up your workplace” video posted last week by Houston’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security features the city’s new Washington Ave Permitting Center in a starring role, along with a cast of cleaned-up would-be plan checkers and health officials — and a bald, cold-blooded shooter wearing dark glasses and toting a menacing backpack. The gunman starts by offing a security guard and a bystander at the lobby elevators behind the receptionist’s desk, then works his way into various city departments. The video was completed 2 weeks before the recent well-publicized attack on theatergoers in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people were killed and 58 injured. DHS’s advice for permit officers or anyone stuck in an office that finds itself suddenly transformed into a scene out of an action movie: Run. If you can’t run, hide. And if you can’t hide, fight. Here’s the scene:


10/14/10 11:23am

TOP CITY DEVELOPMENT OFFICER: WHAT MAKES THE HEIGHTS SO SPECIAL? Where does Andy Icken get this kind of attitude, anyway? From . . . uh, reading some of the reader comments on Swamplot? The Chronicle‘s Mike Morris rummages through that stash of city emails about the West End Walmart and discovers “dismissive, and sometimes derisive, references to citizens opposed to the development” from Mayor Parker’s top development honcho: “For example, in response to a subordinate’s e-mail regarding potential fallout from a July 2 Chronicle report about Wal-Mart’s interest in the site, the city’s chief development officer, Andy Icken, wrote, ‘In that neighborhood I assume there are some who feel they have access to unique info that makes those folks uniquely qualified to decide what is good for everyone else. … Walmart deals with folks like this everywhere.’ Three weeks later, as neighborhood opposition intensified, Icken responded to a colleague’s comment about Wal-Mart’s growth in the Houston market by writing, ‘We have had 4 new ones built in the last 2 years without a community comment until they touched the effete in the heights!’” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot]