When a fundamentalist religious leader comes on board the station, Keiko inherits more than the wind. But when one of her husband’s wrenches goes missing, his work wife starts to keep him on his toes too. Who ate all the M&Ms out of the trail mix at the Craft Services table? What happened to the popsicle continuity in this episode? Does Neela want the jumja? It’s the episode where we teach the controversy.
On Monday, Donald Trump released the second budget proposal of his presidency. There’s lots in it — more money for defense, veterans and border security and some tax changes too. But what really jumps out is the proposal to cut funding for federal assistance programs including a 20 percent cut to Section 8 housing, a 22 percent cut to Medicaid and a brutal 27 percent cut to SNAP (the benefit formerly known as food stamps). Bobby Kogan, who on Twitter identifies himself as “chief number cruncher for the Senate budget committee”, points out that SNAP benefits are already small at just $1.40 per meal, and that “cutting the program by a quarter is extremely cruel.”
The proposed cuts evinced outrage from advocates for the poor, who have also noted that the social safety net has big holes and vulnerable people have been falling through them for years.
In the fall of 2016, Brooke reported a series we called “Busted: America’s Poverty Myths.” Over five episodes she explored the central myths of poverty as we see them: that the poor deserve to be poor, that you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and (the one we are re-airing now), that the safety net can catch you.
With the help of Linda Tirado, author of Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, and Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, we consider how anti-poverty programs can actually keep people poor and offer little hope for a way out.
Also, Brooke meets Margaret Smith, a Columbus woman made homeless after a violent crime derailed the life she'd carefully built with her six children. And we visit an Athens County food pantry that provides not just meals to the community, but also school supplies, clothing, furniture, job training, home repairs, disaster relief... even burial plots.
How does a 24-unit apartment building — one of those 1,000-plus Houston complexes the University of Texas School of Law’s recent study identifies as missing a Certificate of Occupancy — go nearly a decade without having the document? In 2012, public works inspected the Bellfort Townhomes on Bellfort St. between Cullen and Scott and called it a “material risk to the physical safety or health of the building’s tenants.” The building’s owner told an inspector that he’d apply for a Certificate — granted after landlords bring their buildings into compliance with city code — when the city contacted him the next year. But then, public works simply lost track of things. For 3 years starting in 2014, the department had no contact with 4410 Bellfort until it came time for the building’s next inspection last January — which resulted in the same findings as the previous one. Why the lapse? “According to the head of Houston’s Multi-Family Habitability Division, after the Division identified properties without a Certificate in the first round of inspections, the Division’s practice was to close the property’s inspection file as long as the owner submitted an application for a Certificate of Occupancy,” write researchers Heather K. Way and Carol Fraser, “even if the owner never successfully obtained the Certificate.” At least one group made sure to stay in touch with the city, though: “During this three-year period, tenants and nearby residents called 311 at least eight times to report sewage overflow issues at the property.” [UT School of Law Entrepreneurship and Community Clinic; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Bellfort Townhomes: Swamplot inbox … Read More
Landlord Kensinger Donnelly has replaced previous flyers claiming that the Mattress 1 One location on the corner of W. Alabama and Shepherd was shut down for “renovations” with the new one pictured above declaring it has locked the retailer out of its spot at the far north of the strip that includes Mega DJ and Jenni’s Noodle House, across from CVS. Just south at the corner of Shepherd and Richmond, Mattress Overstock is another casualty of the continuing mattress shrinkage trend — it shuttered toward the end of last year. Now your best bet for bedding is to head north on Shepherd to Westheimer where a Mattress 1 One and competing Mattress Firm have been holding a standoff just south of the intersection since the former showed up on the west side of the street in 2014. It’s one of the 12 Mattress 1 One locations that exist within a 5 mile radius of the shuttered store off W. Alabama — down from 15 last October. Previously on Swamplot: A Mattress Store Has Closed in Montrose Photos: Swamplot inbox … Read More
Coming soon to the long-vacant lot next to the Cemex cement plant on Navigation east of Lockwood: El Segundo Swim Club, a swimming pool bar shown still under construction but already watered in the photos above. Work on the 1,350-sq.-ft. pool and its surroundings began last July, 2 months after an entity connected to developer Matthew Healey bought the property on the corner of Avenue L and N. Edgewood St. The photos above look over the barbed wire up on the corner of Avenue L to show the 15,000-sq.-ft. yard planted with umbrellas, chairs, a hammock, and a converted shipping container. A view from N. Edgewood St. shows the freight container fronting the pool: TABC signage posted earlier this month on the fence reveals beverage permits are in the works for the coming dive bar. Healey tells CultureMap he hopes El Segundo will be ready by the time beach season rolls around, after some additional landscaping and furnishings — including cabanas — round out the space at 5180 Avenue L. Cemex’s plant is on Navigation just east across N. Edgewood St. from the planned pool site. The photo below looks northwest from Navigation to show the western end of the plant and the east side of El Segundo just beyond the telephone wires on the left: Southern Crushed Concrete operates its own smaller industrial yard as well just north of the pool and adjacent to Cemex’s site, which hugs an oxbow in Buffalo Bayou. Exciting new pool bar set to make a splash in Houston’s Second Ward [CultureMap] Photos: Swamplot inbox … Read More
25815 Timber Lakes Dr. [HAR] … Read More
When Georgiou assembles a rag-tag team of main characters to visit Qo’noS it’s time to throw on some leather jackets and eat some space-whale popsicles. But when Tilly smokes some dank volcano nugs she learns that the team’s mission is more dangerous than they originally thought. Has Burnham learned that it’s ok to love? What adventures will the Emperor get into next? Klingons have two dongs.
It’s the season finale that brings fringe to a phaser fight!
This new map put out by civic-minded data miner Jeff Reichman shows only one thing: which Houston properties are owner-occupied according to HCAD data — they’re indicated in green. But Reichman is pitching it as a tool residents can use to figure out something more: how likely their neighborhoods would be to qualify for a minimum lot size restriction. Minimum lot size refers to the smallest square footage developers can chop lots into in order to cram more structures onto them — like, say, townhomes — than they could have previously. The Planning Commission requires neighborhood consensus in order to consider applications for size restrictions — in the form of a vote, but first in signatures from the owners of the lots in question. And to gather that ink, it’s helpful to know who’s home. The map at top (taken from a set of bigger ones showing entire neighborhoods) takes a look at several Third Ward blocks south of Blodgett St. that appear well-suited to the Planning Commission’s requirements because they have high rates of home ownership, and because their lots are already of similar size (70 percent of lots in a given area must be the same size for the Planning Commission to consider restrictions, which wouldn’t do much good if the properties’ dimensions were already inconsistent.) And look — the purple rectangle shows 2 block faces where restrictions are already in place, on Southmore Blvd. and on Palm between Sauer and Burkett. [January Advisors; more info] Map: January Advisors … Read More