Governor Abbott Hands Houston $50 Million for Harvey Relief: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: Two high school football players are kicked off their team for protesting, it’s the one hundred eighty-second anniversary of the Texas Revolution, and a Houston neighborhood goes to battle over a World War II tank.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We need to know if you’re really ‘like a good neighbor.’ We need to know if you’re ‘in good hands.’ They need to quit telling their clients, ‘Wait ’til you get the FEMA money.’ They need to write a damn check.”
—Texas A&M University chancellor and Harvey recovery czar John Sharp, in an interview with the Texas Tribune on Friday. Sharp criticized insurance companies for coming up short in their response to Harvey.
After sparring over whether the state should tap into its Rainy Day Fund for the city’s effort to recover from Hurricane Harvey’s devastating flooding, Governor Greg Abbott handed Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner a $50 million check on Friday. Abbott still hasn’t reached into the Rainy Day Fund—the $50 million comes from a $100 million disaster relief fund appropriated to Abbott’s office during the last legislative session—but Abbott did concede to using the source for long-term recovery costs, though that likely means he won’t dip into it until 2019 at the earliest. “The time to use the thrust of the Rainy Day Fund is when the expenses are known,” Abbott said at a press conference Friday. “So the members of the Legislature know how best to use the Rainy Day Fund.” In light of Abbott’s previous refusal to fork over more state aid, Turner had announced that he’d have to implement a one-year, 8.9 percent tax rate hike to raise $110 million next year, though he sliced that proposal in half after federal officials agreed to increase their contribution to the recovery. Abbott was critical of Turner’s plan, telling reporters he felt the mayor was using the recovery effort “as hostage to raise taxes,” according to the New York Times. But both men were all smiles Friday when Abbott presented Turner with the check. “Now that the hurricane winds are calm… it’s time that we begin the process of rebuilding Texas, and that’s a tall task,” Abbott said at the press conference. “This is what the state of Texas is for … We’re proud to be here wearing the same jersey working for the same team.”
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Two high school football players in Crosby have been kicked off the team for protesting racial injustice and police brutality during the national anthem before a game on Friday, according to the Houston Chronicle. After Victory & Praise Christian Academy’s Cedric Ingram-Lewis raised his fist and his cousin Larry McCullough knelt during the anthem, head coach Ronnie Mitchem told the students to take off their uniforms and dismissed them from the team. Lewis and McCullough had been vocal about their intent to protest before the game, while Mitchem, a former Marine, told the Chronicle that he talked to his team about not wanting them to kneel during the anthem. Mitchem told the Chronicle he was fine with them protesting other ways, like kneeling in the end zone after a touchdown. Just not during the anthem. “That was my point of view,” Mitchem told the Chronicle. “Like I said, I’m a former Marine. That just doesn’t fly and they knew that. I don’t have any problem with those young men. We’ve had a good relationship. They chose to do that and they had to pay for the consequences.” Lewis’s mother, Rhonda Brady, questioned the coach’s decision. “A man with integrity and morals and ethics and who truly lives by that wouldn’t have done anything like that,” she told the Chronicle. “Actions speak louder than words. So, for him to do what he did, that really spoke volumes and I don’t want my kids or my nephew to be around a man with no integrity.”
Long Live Texas
On this day in Texas in 1835, the first shots of the Texas Revolution were fired in the Battle of Gonzales. There have been celebrations at the Alamo over the weekend during its three-day Cannon Fest, including a display of replicas of the cannons believed to have been used in 1836 by men defending the besieged fort, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Meanwhile, the birthplace of the revolution will celebrate this upcoming weekend with Gonzales’s sixty-first annual Come and Take It Celebration, a three-day festival in honor of the earliest Texans. Festivities include a softball tournament, a canoe race, a gold tournament, a 5K race, and something called “chicken flying.”
Some folks in Houston’s affluent River Oaks neighborhood are concerned after resident Tony Buzbee bought a World War II tank and parked it on the street outside his multi-million dollar mansion, according to KHOU. Buzbee said he received a letter from the homeowner’s association, River Oaks Property Owners, informing him that the tank “impedes traffic,” causes a “safety issue” and is causing “serious concerns for neighbors.” But Buzbee defended his $600,000 purchase, basically saying that it’s just your friendly neighborhood tank. “If you’re offended just lighten up, my goodness it isn’t hurting anyone,” Buzbee told KHOU. Buzbee, a well-known attorney who once represented Governor Rick Perry in a felony court case, said he bought the tank overseas last year before its recent arrival in River Oaks. “This particular tank landed at Normandy,” Buzbee said. “It liberated Paris and ultimately went all the way to Berlin. There’s a lot of history here.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
How a Port Arthur nursing home evacuation during Harvey began with a gun drawn Los Angeles Times
The Houston Fire Department didn’t have the resources or training to respond to Harvey Houston Chronicle
The ashes of a well-known Port Aransas oceanographer were put out to sea on the back of a turtle Corpus Christi Caller-Times
An Orange County man’s “shy but lovable” wolf went missing during Harvey Beaumont Enterprise
Far West Texas now has Lyft Big Bend Sentinel