Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Houston needs a new 'museum', plus CO-UA foresight, rankings, budgets, parking, and more

I'm speaking at a symposium in Sacramento this week, so just time to pass along the rapidly growing list of smaller items:
"Reunited, the heady crew embodies Houston itself: oversized, earnest, subject to wild financial swings, and peculiar as all get-out."
(HAIF discussion)
"The first offshore production wind turbine in the U.S. will likely be erected this summer off the coast of Galveston, Texas, and operational by fall...
Texas has unique coastal sovereignty. Because of a stipulation made when the Texas republic joined the United States in 1845, its boundary extends 10.3 miles from the coast.

Federal land for all other coastal states begins 3 miles offshore, which means Cape Wind Associates had to seek the approval of the Minerals Management Service. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced last Wednesday that the government would grant a permit to build the 420-megawatt project, which since 2001 had been debated in dozens of public meetings and faced vehement opposition from residents, historic associations and politicians."

Hat tip to Jessie and HAIF.
"While rankings are ubiquitous, so are their flaws. Some suffer from bad or misinterpreted data, or lack of transparency, or arbitrary weightings. Rankings also purport to draw distinctions between top-ranked entities when, statistically speaking, there is very little light between them."
      Two final items.  

      First: Attention all budding, hands-on, non-tech entrepreneurs out there (or if you know anyone like that, forward this along): you could make a boatload of money here in Houston if you built a (for-profit) museum like The City Museum in St. Louis - recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal (A Quirky Museum Exposes Kids to Thrills, Spills and Trial Lawyers -  Kids absolutely love it, and if it can succeed in St. Louis, it can do at least 2-3x the business here.  700,000 annual visitors at $12 each - do the math.  Don't miss the photos and video.

      Second: while I am sad at the loss of Continental's HQ in the merger with United (although I am hopeful the reality will be a dual-HQ over time, or at least a lot of jobs just below the executive level kept here), I also need to brag a bit on the foresight of your local blogger with this Chronicle op-ed from December 2002:

      (click them to see larger images; for some reason it doesn't show up in the Chronicle's online archives)

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      At 9:40 PM, May 12, 2010, Anonymous kjb434 said...

      When you see all the positives, it just makes the cries from people saying Houston needs to do "this or that" like other cities even more pointless. They need to get over themselves. WE ARE WORLD CLASS and WORLD LEADING. And we are doing it our way.

      P.S. The 10+ mile extension of state jurisdiction in the Gulf of Mexico is just another sweet thing to add to how cool Texas.

      At 11:19 AM, May 13, 2010, Anonymous Dale Napier said...

      Are we certain that Texas has unique coastal sovereignty due to the 1845 agreement? My understanding was that the 1845 agreement went out the window when Texas seceded, and that our relationship to the Union is now governed by the 1875 (1876? 1877?) agreement to rejoin the union. Supposedly this is also the reason why Texas can no longer invoke the option to split into five states. So I am not certain about my point, but I'm not willing to accept this statement about coastal sovereignty at face value, either.

      At 9:46 PM, May 13, 2010, Blogger Alon Levy said...

      If you want to see what happens to cities that think they're number one and never have to listen to anyone else, go to New York and Los Angeles.

      At 9:15 PM, May 16, 2010, Blogger Alon Levy said...

      Less snarkily: your article about Continental is really interesting. Good call on Continental-United, and on Continental's branding itself as a full-service alternative (at least for a few years - it's planning to start charging for meals later this year).

      On the other hand, if I were a Houston civic leader, I would care very little about the loss of corporate headquarters. Houston isn't a small company town; it's a big city with lots of employers. I'd care more about preserving the city's status as a major airline hub, with direct flights to multiple non-US destinations.

      At 9:59 PM, May 16, 2010, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

      Yes, the hub is more important by far. Houston will be able to claim the largest hub of the largest airline in the world.

      At 10:54 PM, May 19, 2010, Blogger hcpark said...

      Great foresight on the United-Continental merger. It's good news for me, having moved to LA / Santa Barbara and still having all these Continental mile. Last trip to Houston was a mix of United and Continental flights thru LAX, one of the key airports that will be watched. "HOow's the merger going?", I asked several employees (both airlines). "They haven't done anything yet," is what I got.


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