The Texas House is considering a bill that would severely limit the ability of local governments to impose historic designations on private property. Under current law, local authorities have broad discretion in designation historic landmarks and subjecting such properties to government control.
As might be expected, preservationists are up in arms. Steve Sadowsky, the historic […]
For decades, Regressives have been waging a war on Houstonians. The individual battles of that war have been fought primarily in the political area, but the target of the war is not political. The target is the independent thinker.
The political battles—outlawing billboards, zoning, historic preservation are a few examples—have all been based on the […]
To many people, the absence of zoning in Houston explains every ill—whether real or imagined—that plagues the city. A comment to a recent Chronicle article illustrates this attitude:
It was too late to build the city of our dreams in 1836. They built a no zoning sprawl in a swamp and never corrected either mistake.
Last week, students from Yates High School presented an original play, “Gun Violence: The New Normal.” The play was written, performed, and directed by the students. The Chronicle noted:
Although a good-sized crowd filled the auditorium, those who most needed to see this play were absent. Some elected officials, whose obeisance to the Second Amendment […]
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A History Lesson: What We Can Learn From the 1990s Zoning Debate Typically, when we study history, we learn about the consequences of something that happened. Seldom is there a meaningful reason (or even […]
Hypocrisy and Preservation Advocates of historic preservation like to talk about preserving Houston’s heritage. And they would like us to believe that this requires buildings that look as they did in the late 1800s and early 1900s. If Houston’s heritage is really defined by the architecture of that era, then why stop with the exterior […]
An old adage holds that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, he will sense the danger and jump out. But if you put him in a pot of cold water and slowly heat it, he will boil to death before he senses the threat. The same principle often applies to […]
The very nature of the Houston preservation ordinance stifles innovation, progress, and a better future. In essence, the preservation ordinance states that the architectural styles and land uses established a hundred years ago are good enough, and nobody should be legally allowed to improve upon them.
Imagine where Houston might be today if that attitude […]
We are all familiar with individuals who are physically attractive but possess the character of Bernie Madoff. Rational people realize that we cannot judge an individual’s character by his appearance. Houston’s preservation movement disagrees. It holds that character is determined solely by appearance.
For more than two decades, preservationists have been leading an attack on […]
In 1995, I testified to Houston City Council in opposition to the historic preservation ordinance that was being considered at the time. One member of Council asked me if I opposed a particular provision in the ordinance. I stated that I did, because of the principle that underlied that provision. Once that principle was accepted, […]