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Former WWE Champion ‘Booker T.’ Plans to Run for Houston Mayor

Booker T. Huffman running for Houston Mayor

Houston native Booker T. Huffman, the former star and champion of the WWE wrestler surprisingly announced last Tuesday that he plans to enter the political scene to run for mayor of Houston in 2019.

Booker reported in his twitter account “I am pleased to announce that I am running for Mayor of Houston.

 “I believe in my heart that all Houstonians, regardless of their economic circumstances, deserve the same opportunities to build a better life for themselves,” the Hall of Famer wrote in a letter posted to Twitter.

“I look forward to having a dialogue with the voters of Houston and if I am so privileged to serve, I will fight for them as hard as I fought for myself and my family over the last 30 years,” Huffman continued.

Huffman is 51 years old, born and raised in Houston, better known by his rig name Booker T. signed with WWE as part of the pre-show team on oth Raw and SmackDown. He is also the owner and founder of the independent promotion Reality of wrestling (ROW) in Texas City, Texas.

Huffman will be challenging Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner, who took office earlier this year. The former pro wrestler did not articulate if he will be running under a major party, or as an independent.

Jon Ouazdi
Admin

 

 

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City Council revised regulations to keep Uber in Houston through Super Bowl

City of Houston Regulations

 

On Dec 14, 2016 The City of Houston announced it reached an agreement with the TNC provider Uber about some of the rules that were preventing UBER from staying in Houston following months of negotiations.

The point of controversy between the City of Houston and TNC provider including Uber & Lyft was the fingerprint background checks. Lyft pulled out of the Houston market due to the background check regulations passed by the city of Houston in 2014. And Uber threatened in May to leave the city of Houston if changes to the approval process weren’t made.

Since then UBER launched a campaign in the State Capitol to urge state lawmakers to supersede the city with a Texas-wide set of rules, and Uber managed to push the state legislators to propose a bill to eliminate fingerprint background checks in Texas and prohibit cities from taxing transportation network companies, such as Uber, or their drivers, but the outcome is not there yet.

The agreement between the City of Houston and UBER is more a cease-fire mainly because of the Super Bowl, and it looks like they win the first round, which allow them to stay in Houston through the Super Bowl.

The revised rules are:

 

  • Mandatory drug test and physical examinations were eliminated.
  • A fire extinguisher has been removed, although state law mandates it.
  • No third party vehicle inspection
  • 100,000 miles limit has been removed
  • All licensed vehicles are extended to 10 years from the manufacturer date.
  • Fingerprint background checks for drivers remains in place

 

Since UBER has left Galveston over fingerprint requirements, and kicked out of Austin after a failed campaign to convince people to vote against background check, the city officials and the Mayor Turner sought alternatives to UBER, and it was decided to be Arro, another app-based company that works to dispatch taxis, Limousine and other ground transportation under the same platform, UBER is not expected to join.

According to the city officials the revised regulations will reduce the cost of permitting for TNC from around $200 to $70, and will cut the time to receive a permit to about 20 minutes which is a great outcome to UBER in opposition to the limousine companies who are paying an arm and leg for the limo permit, HAS, Valorem Tax, and now an extra tax of the WAV requirement. 

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) Requirement:

 

In April 2014 The City Council passed a regulation to mandate all vehicles for hire companies to provide Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle in their fleet.

The proposal started with a plan for all companies to have 20% of their fleet as a WAV to be started in January 2015. Immediately after the proposal a large protest and lobbying efforts were waived by the Limousines Association along with the major taxi companies in Houston which resulted in the creation of the WAV committee to discuss the issue with more depth and to include all the parties concerned.

The WAV committee included the Handicapped community of Houston, The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), the Limousine Association (HALCA), the Taxi Industry, the Jetney representative. After months of negotiations, studies and counter proposal, the requirements were reduced to 3% of the fleet, and the option to contract was added last mainly of concern for the one vehicle operators who cannot afford to buy a WAV vehicle. The Limousine Association also required more time to be allowed to implement the changes, and this is how we end up with 2 extra years to get ready.

In January 12, 2017 all licensed ground transportation operators must contract with a licensed WAV provider company that is licensed by the City of Houston under Article 10 Chap 46.

Please be advised that a copy of the contract between you and the WAV provider must be submitted to the city no later than January 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm. Companies who fail to provide the contract to the city, will be revoked for 1 year.

In a city as large and diverse as Houston, taxis and limousines will always play a critical role in the city transportation industry, and limousine companies will always survive, because there is a niche of clients who will always require the professional chauffeured car service, and they won’t compromise the quality and the safety of their service, and we will not go down without a fight, and we will adjust our business model to rejuvenate our business, just wait and see.

If you have any additional information, or any corrections, please let me know so I can update the article.

 

Jon Ouazdi
TransGates Limousine.
Admin