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  • Article

    Best Use of Taxpayer Dollars - Buffalo Bayou revitalization

    Buffalo Bayou, the stream that spawned Houston in 1836, is well on its way back from city cesspool to civic asset thanks to a combined public-private $25 million effort. Landscaped hike-and-bike trails now run on both the north and south banks of the...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Fusion Street - Washington Avenue

    You can tell a lot about Houston, past and present, by driving along the in-transition thoroughfare. As in many parts of the city, new upscale condos and town homes are springing forth, even across the street from historic Glenwood Cemetery, where Ho...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Sign - Texas state jails

    What exactly is meant by "No hostages beyond this point" is hard to discern. That message, posted on the inside of several doors in such fine establishments as Keagans State Jail in downtown Houston, greets anyone about to exit the jail and enter the...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Gadfly - Dr. Alkebu Motapa

    Performance artist Dr. Alkebu Motapa, legal name Carl Austin, is a dreadlocked dervish who paints, chants and talks up a storm at City Council and anywhere else people will listen. His rhetoric, a mixture of Rastafarian theology and civil rights-era ...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Public Information Officer - Fred King, Harris County district clerk's office

    Tropical Storm Allison annihilated the county's justice system, crippling the criminal courts building for months and mauling the Family Courts Center as well. In the ensuing mayhem, even judges sometimes didn't know where their temporary courts, sal...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Bureaucrat - Jordy Tollett, Mayor's chief of staff

    Mayor Lee Brown chief of staff Jordy Tollett got his start under mayor Jim McConn and has been accumulating titles and turf ever since. He's head of the city convention center and entertainment facility complex, the president of the convention and vi...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Democrat - Eric Andell, Visiting judge

    This former First Court appellate justice and TV court-show host narrowly lost his post last November, but the defeat did nothing to dim Andell's luster as one of the most promising figures in the local party. He carried Harris County, did well in tr...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Lobbyists - Dave and Sue Walden

    This preeminent Houston political power couple is in the middle of a slow-motion divorce proceeding, possibly because their business affairs are impossible to untangle. Between them they represent just about anything that could be considered establis...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Republican - Paul Bettencourt, Harris County tax assessor-collector

    This hyper-congenial county tax assessor-collector has burnished his image with consumer-oriented reforms, while at the same time utilizing the office as an attack arm of the local GOP. Bettencourt has churned out studies criticizing Mayor Lee Brown'...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best View - The rearview mirror

    'Twas the endlessly quotable Townes Van Zandt who sang the line "No prettier sight than looking back on a town you left behind," and even if that judgment did arrive in a song called, paradoxically, "I'll Be Here in the Morning," the sentiment stands...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Activist - Benito Jurez

    When tempers flared last summer over an ad hoc day-labor site near Kingwood, one man stepped in to help broker talks between the immigrant workers, aggrieved business owners upset about the massing of men on their property, and Montgomery County sher...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Sighting of a Retired Public Figure - Johnny Holmes, Former Harris County district attorney

    Recently one morning while on our way to work, we were driving along Feagan Street in the West End when we saw what we first thought was a man with a metal detector in the ditch in front of what used to be Zocolo Theater, the alternative outdoor film...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners - Fred Hartmann Bridge

    The view from the Fred Hartmann Bridge is hauntingly beautiful, particularly at sunset. From this graceful perch unfolds a landscape straight out of science fiction, an expanse of petrochemical plants fanning out along the snaking Ship Channel as far...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Citizen - Officer Phillip Rhule, Crime scene investigator, Pasadena Police Department

    Eight days before Christmas, Officer Rhule was driving down the Beltway when he saw two women on the side of the road trying to change their tire. Their jack didn't work, so he took his and changed it for them, but their spare was almost flat. He too...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Quote - Anna Nicole Smith

    During the marathon trial to settle the estate of late Houston millionaire J. Howard Marshall II, Marshall's widow, former topless dancer Anna Nicole Smith, testified, "it's expensive to be me." While that may well be true, the judge in the case even...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Weathercaster - Wayne Dolcefino

    Yes, we know. Wayne's not really a weathercaster. This investigative reporter would rather be chasing down unethical pothole fillers than tracking weather patterns. But when Tropical Storm Allison hit Houston hard, Wayne Dolcefino was there. Before i...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Hole in the Roof - Skyspace by James Turrell

    It looks like a painting, a 12-foot square field of blue, oddly placed on the ceiling of the simple Quaker meeting room. But this painting is alive, deepening in color and drawing you in as the sun sets outside. It's the sky, you realize. Light arti...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Bathroom - Boulevard Bistrot

    Judging by the interiors of most restaurants, restaurateurs usually don't care deeply about art. Monica Pope is the exception. Her Boulevard Bistrot has art on the plates, on the walls and even in the bathrooms. In fact, the atmosphere of the lavator...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best Pocket Park - JP Morgan Chase Park

    Settle into the wrought-iron chairs. They are spread on the grounds at the base of the seven-story, girder-crossed mural painted by Suzanne Sellers on the adjacent Houston Club Building. And savor this new oasis of what used to be nothing more than a...

    on September 20, 2001
  • Article

    Best New Downtown Bar - Grasshopper/Red Lights

    When it comes to drinking, we prefer to imbibe free of industrial dance beats and blinding strobes. Of course, we don't mind the beautiful people who tend to gather at those high-tech nightclubs. That's the great thing about Grasshopper/Red Lights: D...

    on September 20, 2001
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