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Pensions and ADA Compliant Voting: Tuesday’s Show (August 16, 2016)

Last week (August 9, 2016), Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research released a report highlighting the current financial state of Houston’s pensions. The report lays out why the city’s unfunded liabilities are growing, and offers options for reform (though it does not make any recommendations about those options). On this edition of Houston Matters, […]

City Hall Council Building PoliticsLast week (August 9, 2016), Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research released a report highlighting the current financial state of Houston’s pensions. The report lays out why the city’s unfunded liabilities are growing, and offers options for reform (though it does not make any recommendations about those options).

On this edition of Houston Matters, we discuss the report with Bill Fulton, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

Also this hour…

Harris County and Justice Department Battle Over Claims of ADA Non-Compliance at Polling Places

Earlier this month, the U.S. Justice Department sued Harris County, alleging the county hasn’t taken enough steps to make polling places more accessible to voters with disabilities, citing — among other things — architectural barriers at some locations. The suit seeks a court order to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by the November election. The lawsuit is just the latest move following a now three-years-long investigation by DOJ into Harris County’s alleged non-compliant polling places. Back in 2014, the Justice Department shared the findings of its initial investigations with the county, citing only 29 of 86 polling places were in full compliance with the ADA. Justice also noted at the time that most could be made compliant easily, using quick fixes like portable ramps and with a few polling places being relocated. The County disagreed, and, to date, has refused to cooperate with Justice, arguing the county is, in fact, in compliance with the ADA and has received no complaints about limits to access.

We discuss the lawsuit with Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, and longtime disability activist Lex Frieden, professor at the UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics and the director of the Independent Living Research Utilization program at TIRR Memorial Hermann.

Examining Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding

A campaign each August called Black Breastfeeding Week seeks to raise awareness about racial disparities between white and black moms who breastfeed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black infants consistently had the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration from 2000 to 2008. Why the discrepancy? Maggie Martin asks Leah Whitley, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with SOS Lactation, a private practice serving families in Greater Houston.

Houston Filmmaker Specializes in Paper Animation

Brandon Ray is a Houston-based filmmaker who makes a living telling stories through hand-crafted animation. In addition to short films, his production company has completed projects with nationally syndicated programs for Amazon Studios, the Disney Channel and Sesame Street. He talks about his work and how his world changed as he began bringing paper to life. (You can see and hear more from Ray on Houston Public Media TV 8’s Arts Insight).

Unearthing Houston’s First-Known Municipal Song

When Preservation Houston received a donation of the first Houston flag and started digging around for information on it, the organization learned of an early 20th century Houston municipal song, created at the same time. We hear from Preservation Houston’s David Bush about the song’s origin.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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