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ReBuild’s Future, TIRZes, and Veterans’ Stories: Wednesday’s Show (November 11, 2015)

A recent court ruling has placed in doubt the future of some of the funding related to Houston’s multi-billion dollar ReBuild Houston initiative, designed to address the city’s drainage and street repair needs. Judge Buddie Hahn last month ruled a ballot measure approved five years ago didn’t properly explain the nature and cost of ReBuild’s […]

A recent court ruling has placed in doubt the future of some of the funding related to Houston’s multi-billion dollar ReBuild Houston initiative, designed to address the city’s drainage and street repair needs. Judge Buddie Hahn last month ruled a ballot measure approved five years ago didn’t properly explain the nature and cost of ReBuild’s drainage fee. The trial court judge ordered the city to hold a new election, but that ruling came too late for any action to be taken this election cycle. We discuss the impact of the ruling, and the drainage fee itself, on the future of ReBuild Houston, on today’s Houston Matters. We welcome your questions for Houston Chronicle City Hall reporter Katherine Driessen.

Also this hour: We talk with Space Center Houston’s longtime President and CEO Richard Allen. He’s overseen the center for 20 years and will retire next spring. We discuss the history of the non-profit museum and its impact on Houston as a major tourist destination.

Then: Houston Matters’ Edel Howlin walks us through the complex funding models known as tax increment reinvestment zones or “TIRZes.” We learn how they’re used to fund neighborhood improvements, why new TIRZes are springing up and why some think that’s ultimately a bad idea.

On this Veterans Day, we learn about the Harris County Veterans Treatment Court, which has helped rehabilitate more than 170 military veterans who committed felonies in the last six years. And we hear stories from three Vietnam veterans who are also well-known authors. They visited Houston recently to share stories inspired — in part — by their war experience.

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