Archive for July, 2008

$1.5 Million Raised at Private Obama Fundraiser – #1
July 31, 2008

Several people leaving the Senator Barack Obama fundraiser at Richard Mithoff’s home informed 2 on the Beat that it was a successful event.
Organizers announced that the fundraiser raked in $1.5 Million dollars for Senator Obama’s campaign.
Based on the snapshots below you could believe that only attorneys and politicians attended the fundraiser.
In reality the crowd appeared to be more diverse, different races and ages of people. (a few even took their children to the fundraiser)  Many thanks to the familiar faces who agreed to stop and pose for the camera!
Senator Obama leaving event #1 - He's in the Ford with the blacked out windows!

Senator Obama leaving event #1 - He's in the Ford with the blacked out windows!

Houston Attorney Rusty Hardin
Houston Attorney Rusty Hardin

 

Former Congressman Chris Bell - Candidate for State Senate

Former Congressman Chris Bell - Candidate for State Senate

Rick Noriega - Candidate for U.S Senate

Rick Noriega - Candidate for U.S Senate

Houston Attorney Michael Harris

Houston Attorney Michael Harris
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Turning Down Campaign Cash
July 31, 2008

 

As close as 2 on the Beat could get to the front door.

As close as 2 on the Beat could get to the front door.

Attorney and Super Fundraiser Richard Mithoff

Attorney and Super Fundraiser Richard Mithoff

UPDATE: Senator Obama arrived just before 6pm. He was driven in, followed by the press and a few SUVs carrying some of the “jump out boys.”  (that’s what I call them anyway)  You know the highly skilled U.S. Secret Service agents who ride with the windows down and weapons at the ready?

From my vantage point I have seen some familiar faces. U.S. Senator candidate Rick Noriega. I also saw socialite Lynn Wyatt getting the once over with a metal detector.

POSTED EARLIER:

Houston attorney Richard Mithoff has been in the business of hosting political fundraisers for years.

This is the first time that  he can remember that he is actually having to tell potential donors “Thanks, but no Thanks.”

Tonight he will host one of two private events for Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama.

Mithoff tells 2 on the Beat that they planned for one hundred people, but because of overwhelming response, more than 200 people will attend.  BUT…because of space and time, Mithoff had to turn other people away!

Keep in mind that it costs a minimum of  $2300  JUST TO GET IN THE DOOR.  You can shake hands with Senator Obama for that amount, but not have your picture taken.  That’s for the contributors with deeper pockets.

What About the Channel 2 Bird?
July 31, 2008

File this one under random blogging, but really I am working hard on assignment today!

For the record –  Sky 2 – the station’s news helicopter is flying just fine! It’s in great hands with Carl, the Pilot at the controls.

Sky 2 on the Helipad

Sky 2 on the Helipad

 I am more concerned about the bird that built a nest on the Helicopter pad, and appears to be waiting patiently for its eggs to hatch.

The Channel 2 Bird Protecting its Babies!

 I wonder if the wind and vibration from the chopper’s lift off and landing are rattling the eggs in the nest?

Will that knock the nest loose? Will the bird’s eggs splatter on the concrete below?

Carl - Sky 2 Pilot

Carl - Sky 2 Pilot

I don’t suppose it is possible to remove the nest and rescue the bird and its still developing babies?

2 on the Beat will keep you posted……

Support Jazz Education
July 30, 2008

Jazz Education Founder Bubbha Thomas, Brianna and Her Parents

Jazz Education Founder Bubbha Thomas, Brianna and Her Parents

A Violinist and Aspiring Doctor! 15 year old Brianna DillonA Violinist and Aspiring Doctor! 15 year old Briana Dillon

 

 

Councilman Jarvis Johnson

Councilman Jarvis Johnson

 Mark your calendars for the Houston International Jazz Festival this weekend.  The event is the major fundraiser for Houston Jazz Education, INC. 

The “Velvet Teddy Bear” Ruben Studdard, Hiroshima and other artists will perform on stage at Discovery Green.

Over the years Jazz Education  has introduced thousands of kids to music.  The non profit group also holds an intensive five week Summer jazz Workshop.

2 on the Beat is working on an education story that will air Thursday on KPRC Local 2.

Watch for interviews with founder Bubbha Thomas,  and 15 year old Briana Dillon and her parents Yvette and Eric.

City Councilman Jarvis Johnson is the chairman of the event this year, which also includes the Mayor’s Scholarship Jazz Brunch featuring the Summer Jazz Workshop students like Briana.

Shhh – Senator Barack Obama Is Coming to Houston
July 30, 2008

 

2 private fundraisers are planned for Senator Obama July 31st.

2 private fundraisers are planned for Senator Obama July 31st.

If its not on the public schedule, it’s almost impossible to confirm any information. 

That has been 2 on the Beat’s experience for the past 2 weeks while dealing with the Senator Barack Obama campaign press office.

Officially, his schedule lists a public  event in Iowa for July 31st – that’s it!

But as 2 on the Beat has reported,  Senator Obama will arrive in Houston late Thursday afternoon for two private fundraisers.  My sources are talking, but no one really wants to go on the record. They’ve been asked to refer all calls to the campaign office.   

2 on the Beat did speak with a friendly Obama press aide.

 Shannon Gilson  said that the senator is not only focused on raising money here, but his campaign will also have a strong presence in Houston beginning in August.

Senator Barack Obama speaking at a journalism conference on Sunday

Senator Barack Obama speaking at a journalism conference on Sunday

“It’s not just about winning the White House,” said Gilson, “we also want to help register voters, …conduct door to door messaging to help Texas Democrats up and down the ballot.”

Just don’t ask about those private fundraisers!

Next Stop – China and the Olympic Games
July 30, 2008

Going for the Gold in Olympic Coverage

Going for the Gold in Olympic Coverage

Congratulations to KPRC Channel 2 Maintenance Technician David Tung who is preparing for his first Olympic experience.

No, he isn’t competing in any of the games, but his role will be just as important to NBC’s coverage of the Olympics.

David is travelling to China this weekend to work as a video engineer for the network.

His “sport” is to make sure that all of the cameras are set right and the pictures look great during the  opening and closing ceremonies and during the swimming and diving competition. 

While you are watching the games at home, think about David who will be working hard behind the scenes. 

David was born in China, but left in 1949. This trip will mark his third return to the country.

Best wishes David.

I know you will make Channel 2 proud.

Jail Inspections – Part II
July 29, 2008

 

Is the Sheriff Worried about the Next Inspection?

Is the Sheriff Worried about the Next Inspection?

2 on the Beat has learned that Jail Inspectors from the United State’s Department of Justice will return to Harris County next week.

From August 5 – 8, the inspectors will conduct a follow-up visit of the county jail facilities. 

The visit will include interviews with jail inmates.  The inspectors will also take another look at conditions behind bars.

A couple of weeks ago,  2 on the Beat told you about the first inspection which was prompted by  concerns about overcrowding, lack of adequate medical care and a number of inmate deaths.

A spokesman for the Sheriff’s office says that the department is still waiting for a final report from the DOJ, but he also noted that during the first visit a few weeks ago, no major errors were pointed out by the inspectors.

Around the time of the first visit, Sheriff Tommy Thomas  terminated two jail employees who allegedly did not follow department policy on the night that inmate Clarence Freeman died following a struggle with a  jailer.

Sheriff Thomas also appointed Major Don McWilliams to the newly created position of inspector general. His job is to investigate complaints about the jail.

2 on the Beat will keep you posted on the jail inspections – part II.

Lawsuit Filed in Murder of Restaurant Manager
July 29, 2008

Widow Jasmin Monroy

Widow Jasmin Monroy

The Monroy Family and Their Attorney Johnny Garza
The Monroy Family and Their Attorney Johnny Garza

 

Luis Monroy and one of his three childen

Luis Monroy and one of his three childen

UPDATE:  2 on the Beat dropped off a copy of the wrongful death lawsuit at the office of criminal defense attorney Dick DeGeurin.  He said he wanted to read it before commenting. His assistant told me he was busy in meetings. I never got a response.

The family of a Chili’s Restaurant Manager, who was shot and killed while trying to protect a co-worker,  has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the suspect.

The victim, 32 year old Luis Monroy is being remembered as an “upstanding husband, father and son.”

Monroy  is survived by a wife and three children.  The Monroy family says it has filed the lawsuit to honor the life of their loved one, and to hold the suspect, Michael Ryan Hare accountable.

Earlier in the day, speaking by phone:  DeGeurin told me that he would comment after seeing the lawsuit.  He described Hare as “remorseful.”  “He is a good person, but sometimes good people do bad things,” says DeGeurin, who added that “we still don’t know all of the facts yet.”

Keeping Cool in Hot Weather
July 28, 2008

Discovery Green can Help You Beat the Heat

Discovery Green can Help You Beat the Heat

Staying Cool and Wet in the Hot Sun.
Staying Cool and Wet in the Hot Sun.

Oh, the dog days of summer have arrived! 

I snapped these pictures of kids playing in the water at Discovery Green in downtown Houston.

That’s certainly a good way to keep cool in the hot Houston weather.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO BEAT THE HEAT?

For most of us, changing into our swimsuits and standing under a shower in the middle of downtown Houston is probably not a good idea.

City of Houston EMS Director Dr. David Persee says people should live by the rules of the letter “L”.

That means drinking plenty of Liquids and wearing Light colored clothing.  I would also throw in that you should remember to Lather up the sun block and stay away from Liquor, because that can dehydrate you. (or so I’ve heard)

Dr. Persee says people should not be lured into a false sense of security, just because we haven’t experienced any type of heat emergency this summer.

See you Next Week!
July 23, 2008

2 on the Beat is one step ahead of Hurricane Dolly.

She’s headin’ south…I’m headin’ to the Midwest. 

I’m attending a big annual journalism conference.  Thousands of  reporters from across the country and both presidential candidates are expected to speak. 

I’ll resume reporting and blogging next week.

In the meantime, I’ve posted details below about a trip that Senator Obama will be making to Houston.

Thanks for reading, stay dry and be careful!