Top Stories

Turner Discusses Passage Of Prop B, Sessions Pushed Out As Attorney General, METRO Hopes Fletcher Will Help Agency, And More

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Top afternoon stories:

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wants to develop new strategies for how housing should be built in the post-Harvey era and he thinks new guidelines to protect houses from flooding are important.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Mayor Turner Discusses Passage Of Prop B

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says the pay parity between the Police and Fire departments, which voters approved Tuesday, could lead to delays when residents call 911.

Turner noted Wednesday that the measure slaps Houston with a $100 million per year bill and that the city will have to make cuts to pay for it. That includes firefighters, Turner says, which could lead to delays in emergencies.

The Houston firefighters’ union, which backed the measure, has claimed the mayor is inflating the costs. The union’s president Patrick ‘Marty’ Lancton told News 88.7 his side is now ready to hammer out the details of implementing Prop B. “We stand ready to work with anybody, anytime, anywhere, as we move forward,” Lancton said.

Mayor Turner is leaving open the possibility of a legal fight.

Jeff Sessions.

Jeff Sessions Pushed Out As AG

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushed out Wednesday as the country’s chief law enforcement officer after enduring more than a year of blistering and personal attacks from President Donald Trump over his recusal from the Russia investigation.

Trump announced in a tweet that he was naming Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney from Iowa, as acting attorney general. Whitaker has criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between the president’s Republican campaign and Russia.

Sessions, in a one-page letter to Trump, said he was resigning “at your request.” The resignation was the culmination of a toxic relationship that frayed just weeks into Sessions’ tumultuous tenure, when he stepped aside from the Mueller investigation.

U.S. Representative elect Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.

METRO Hopes Fletcher Will Help Agency

METRO Chairman Carrin Patman said she thinks Lizzie Fletcher will be a huge help as the agency moves ahead with a new regional transit plan.

On Tuesday’s midterm election, Democrat Fletcher defeated longtime Republican Congressman John Culberson, who for years fought METRO’s efforts to put a light rail line on Richmond Avenue.

Patman said for cost reasons they’re now considering bus rapid transit for the Richmond corridor, to help provide better connections between downtown and The Galleria. But she added that project would also require help from Washington, D.C.

During her campaign, Fletcher said she wanted to partner with METRO and other agencies to bring additional transportation resources to Houston.

HISD has expanded a pilot program to track when students get on and off their school bus.
HISD has expanded a pilot program to track when students get on and off their school bus.

HISD Expands Effort To Improve Bus System

A badge system for students of the Houston Independent School District started as a pilot in October with about two dozen schools.

Now, it’s expanded district-wide, in an effort to improve safety, efficiency and communication with parents.

The bus system is still dealing with some delays and a shortage of drivers since HISD launched a new “hub” system at the start of the school year. It requires students attending specialty or magnet schools to catch their route at hub locations outside their immediate neighborhood. John Wilcots, new interim director of transportation at HISD, said the new badge system will continue to improve the system.

Wilcots added the badge system will provide more data on who’s riding the bus, which administrators can use to tweak routes as needed.