Full Show

Full Show: Lessons For Houston From Superstorm Sandy (Sept. 22, 2017)

Posted on · On Friday's Houston Matters: We find out what the city controller is learning from his counterpart in New York City about recovering from Hurricane Sandy. We compare FEMA's response to Sandy with what's happened so far following Harvey. And we learn the forgotten backstory of the Astros' iconic rainbow uniforms.

Houston Matters

Audit Finds Fire Department Building Safety Inspections and Record Keeping Inadequate

Posted on · (Above: Houston’s Fire Station No. 7. Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public Media)Houston buildings aren’t being inspected for fire safety regularly, and the agency within the Houston Fire Department that’s tasked with the job has inflated its inspection numbers and keeps inadequate records. That’s all according to an audit of the Houston Fire Department Life Safety […]

Full Show

Inadequate Fire Safety Inspections, and Astronaut Candidates: Tuesday’s Show (June 20, 2017)

Posted on · (Above: Houston’s Fire Station No. 7. Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public Media)Houston buildings aren’t being inspected for fire safety regularly, and the agency within the Houston Fire Department that’s tasked with the job has inflated its inspection numbers and keeps inadequate records. That’s according to an audit of the Houston Fire Department Life Safety Bureau […]

Houston Matters

What Happens If a Pension Bill Doesn’t Pass This Legislative Session?

Posted on · There was a lot of hand-wringing last year when the major investment services downgraded the City of Houston’s credit rating, citing growing unfunded pension liabilities as a major reason for the move. Well, a year later, Mayor Sylvester Turner has secured an agreement with two of the city’s three classifications of city workers – municipal […]

Full Show

Houston’s Pension Bill, and Pulitzer Prize-Winner David Fahrenthold: Tuesday’s Show (April 18, 2017)

Posted on · There was a lot of hand-wringing last year when the major investment services downgraded the City of Houston’s credit rating, citing growing unfunded pension liabilities as a major reason for the move. Well, a year later, Mayor Sylvester Turner has secured an agreement with two of the city’s three classifications of city workers – municipal […]

Houston Matters

Houston Matters Highlights Conversations About Solving the City’s Pension Problems

Posted on · During this fundraising week, Houston Matters is highlighting coverage of a number of important issues and developments that we’ve felt compelled to revisit a number of times over the course of the last year, like campus carry, the state of the oil and gas industry and efforts to mitigate traffic. Today, though, we turn our […]

Full Show

Pension Conversations & the Evolution of the Passing Game in Football: Friday’s Show (October 14, 2016)

Posted on · During this fundraising week, Houston Matters is highlighting coverage of a number of important issues and developments that we’ve felt compelled to revisit a number of times over the course of the last year, like campus carry, the state of the oil and gas industry and efforts to mitigate traffic. Today, though, we turn our […]

Houston Matters

A Closer Look at Mayor Turner’s Plan for Pension Reform

Posted on · On Tuesday (Sept. 20, 2016), the Kinder Institute for Urban Research held a panel discussion on the future of Houston’s pension system. The discussion came just a few days after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced an “historic” pension reform plan. We discuss the mayor’s plan and what hurdles remain to address the city’s unfunded pension […]

Houston Matters

Dueling Visions On How to Solve Houston’s Pension Problems

Posted on · Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has thus far insisted that however the city’s pension woes are resolved won’t include changing from a defined benefits to a defined compensation system. We explore the differences between the two structures. We also consider what each means for city employees and why the mayor and the city’s three pension boards […]

Houston Matters

How Realistic is Solving Houston’s Pension Problem with Oil Prices So Low?

Posted on · The problem is well-documented by now. The City of Houston has growing and unfunded pension obligations to meet but is limited by state control and a revenue cap. Back in September, the Houston-based nonprofit Laura and John Arnold Foundation laid out this challenge facing the city in a report entitled “Swamped: How Pension Debt is […]

Houston Matters

Inauguration Ceremonies Held for Mayor Turner, Council Members

Posted on · At inauguration ceremonies this morning (Jan. 4, 2016) at Jones Hall, Mayor Sylvester Turner took the oath of office, along with new city council members and City Controller Chris Brown. In his inaugural address, Mayor Turner shared some of his personal journey in politics and a positive message regarding the challenges facing the City of Houston. And […]

Houston Matters

Breaking Down the 2015 Houston City Council and Controller Races

Posted on · In just a few weeks, Houstonians will cast their ballot not only for the next mayor, but also for city council members and controller. To better understand the races and what’s at stake, we talk with Charles Kuffner, who writes the “Off the Kuff” political blog, about the various races and the issues of most […]

Houston Matters

Could Houston Become Another Detroit?

Posted on · Moody’s Investors Service recently affirmed the City of Houston’s Aa2 credit rating. It’s a good grade, based on a generally robust economy. But Moody’s also changed its outlook for Houston from “stable” to “negative.” Why? The city’s growing pension costs — $3 billion and counting. Houston is hardly the only city in America facing looming pension obligations, […]