I found this on a friend's (Kevin, from BlogHouston) Pinboard feed and wanted to make sure that it received the widest distribution possible.
This is a case study in how local, elected officials conspire with local "civic leaders" to thwart economic development in a specific area to the benefit of certain political cronies.
Civic Club leaders, Government officials attempt to block restaurant shopping center redevelopment efforts. Jim Bigham.com
Civic Club leaders, Government officials attempt to block restaurant shopping center redevelopment efforts. (Part II) JimBigham.com
The author, the former president of the Sharpstown Civic Association, details the behind-the-curtain alleged dealings between Democratic State Rep. Gene W (HD-137) and various donors to his campaign who are attempting to use all levels of Texas state and local government to thwart the business plans of one, non-donor, small business owner.
It's a cautionary tale about the dangers of crony-capitalism, and evidence that the system itself needs a gigantic overhaul.
It also sheds some light on the alleged bad-governing of a local State official who gets a pass, and is generally treated as the smartest guy in the room, by local media due to his marriage to Miya Shay, City Hall beat reporter for KTRK (Channel 13).
Rep. Wu was allegedly so intent on killing this business that he was willing to pass a bill relating to open containers that could have been potentially damaging to both craft-breweries and certain stores in Texas that fill beer growlers and how close you came to breaking a new law should the bill have passed.
If you wonder why certain areas are blighted, this is a good read. It also illustrates the danger of not knowing the real politics and goings-on of your local elected officials, and the danger of the local news not following local politics at all (which is the case in Houston).
It should be noted that, while the politician in this case is a Democrat, shenanigans of this type occur at all levels of Texas government regardless of party affiliation. It also is further evidence of the continuing existence of the Houston Area Leadership Vacuum.
I'm sure Mr. Wu and the other primary actors in the case have their own side of the story, and should I see it published elsewhere I'll be sure to link to it here.
Until then. Please read.