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Progress On Police-Fire Pay Parity Negotiation, Pasadena Stands Out In Upcoming Joint Election, Deadly Plane Crash In Central Texas, And More

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

Monday, April 22, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (left) and Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Patrick ‘Marty’ Lancton (right).

Progress On Police-Fire Pay Parity Negotiation

The City of Houston and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association will meet with a mediator Monday to start negotiating how to implement pay parity between the local police and fire departments.

According to Mayor Sylvester Turner's office, the meeting between city and union representatives with mediator David Matthiesen is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Matthiesen has his own law firm in Houston and has worked as a mediator since 1996.

Last week, District Judge Tanya Garrison had ordered the parties to use a mediator. In a ruling Monday, Garrison said that the city and the union will negotiate with Matthiesen as mediator until they reach an agreement or until Matthiesen determines they have reached an impasse.

Proposition B, which voters approved last November, requires the city to compensate police officers and firefighters equally on a rank-by-rank basis.

Pasadena Stands Out In Upcoming Texas Joint Election

Early voting is now underway across Texas for the May 4 Joint Election. One of the most significant contests in the Houston area is in Pasadena.

It's been just two years since the City of Pasadena lost a lawsuit for deliberately discriminating against Latino voters. This year, virtually every incumbent on the Pasadena City Council faces a contest, and many of the challengers are Hispanic.

"Usually, there's a dearth of Latinos that are running for public office, both locally and statewide, so we are encouraged to see that in almost all of the races there is a Latino that is running," said Andy Canales, co-chair of the Latino Texas PAC.

Hispanic voters now make up a much larger proportion of Pasadena's electorate than two years ago.

The Texas Department of Public Safety was one of the first responders at the site where the airplane crashed.

Deadly Plane Crash In Central Texas

All six people aboard a small plane died Monday when it crashed while preparing to land in central Texas, authorities said.

The twin-engine aircraft went down just before 9 a.m. as it was approaching an airport in Kerrville, about 70 miles northwest of San Antonio, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

The pilot and other five people aboard the plane were all killed. State law enforcement officials are securing the crash site for FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigators, said Sgt. Orlando Moreno, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.texas

The Beechcraft BE58 took off from an airport outside Houston earlier on Monday and crashed about 6 miles northwest of Kerrville Municipal Airport, the FAA spokesman said.

The new bike lanes on Lyons Avenue were funded through Commission Rodney Ellis’ initiative.

New Bike Lanes Taking Shape In Houston

In April 2018, Commissioner Rodney Ellis announced he was committing $10 million in Precinct One funds for new on-street bike lanes that could be developed in Houston over a 12-month time frame.

A year later, we sat down with Ellis at his office near NRG Park to follow up on what's been accomplished.

"It breaks my heart to hear stories about pedestrian and bicycling fatalities in Houston," said Ellis, who's a cyclist himself. "The number of pedestrians and cyclists killed every year in Harris County is simply unacceptable."

Ellis said he offered the money to help jump start projects that were consistent with the Houston Bike Plan and the city's complete streets initiative. Because of that funding, he said Houston will have about 19 miles of new on-street lanes, including Hardy and Elysian Streets in Near Northside. There's also new lanes on Lyons Street north of downtown. Other projects are in Midtown and the Third Ward.


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