Archive for September, 2008

Will Sheriff Thomas Meet the Debate Deadline?
September 30, 2008

UPDATE: Sheriff Thomas DID debate Council member Garcia.

Sources tell 2 on the Beat that Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas has until the close of business this Tuesday to decide whether he will participate in a televised debate.

The League of Women voters has tried to organize the debate between the Republican incumbent sheriff 

and his Democratic opponent Houston City council member Adrian Garcia.

Garcia has accepted,  but citing his busy schedule in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, Sheriff Thomas hasn’t committed to the debate.

Mary Easterly, the sheriff’s campaign manager, told 2 on the Beat that the Sheriff never committed to the debate.

“Sheriff Thomas is willing to debate Mr. Garcia, that’s not the issue,” said Easterly, “The issue is the Sheriff’s schedule. He and deputies are working twelve hour days as a result of the storm.”

She says they have proposed October 30 as an alternate date for the debate.

Meanwhile, the debate is scheduled to be taped on Wednesday, and broadcast this Thursday night, October 2, on Channel 8/PBS.

A source tells 2 on the Beat that if the Sheriff doesn’t show, Garcia will answer questions alone.

An empty chair will be left on stage to note the sheriff’s absence.

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From the Bailout Battle to the Campaign Trail
September 30, 2008

Fresh off  Capitol Hill and the bitterly divisive, and still UNSUCCESSFUL  battle to pass the staggering $700 Billion bailout plan, Republican Minority Leader John Boehner  will travel to the Houston area this weekend to campaign for 22nd Congressional District Candidate Pete Olson.

The House Republican leader will appear at the opening for the Galveston County GOP Headquarters in League City on Saturday, October 4, 2008.

That office is located at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 104 in League City, Texas.

Olson is campaigning to defeat incumbent Democratic U.S. Congressman Nick Lampson.

According to an announcement from the Olson campaign, Mr. Boehner will discuss the importance of the race in the Texas 22nd Congressional district race for the national party.

2 on the Beat imagines that the minority leader will also have a few choice words to say about the bailout plan (assuming a plan has been passed by Saturday) which is very unpopular with taxpayers.

Meet the Candidates for District Attorney
September 30, 2008

Between news of a failed Wall Street Bailout, Hurricane Ike recovery and the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, political candidates running for local office are having a tough time getting any attention.

On Tuesday night you can meet the two people running for Harris County District attorney. 

Republican and former judge Pat Lykos

 

and Democrat and former police chief C.O. Brad Bradford.

 

It’s one of the hotly contested races on the November ballot, and the election is less than 40 days from today!

The debate is scheduled for TODAY – Tuesday, September 30, 2008 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. 3015 MacGregor Way.

Church Paster Dr. Z. Cofield will moderate the debate.

Property Tax Relief Thanks to Hurricane Ike?
September 29, 2008

  He  wouldn’t be the first candidate to make Hurricane Ike a political issue, but Texas Senate District 17 candidate Austen Furse (Republican) is promoting a plan that could provide a financial break for thousands of Hurricane victims.

    Furse is calling on local officials to authorize the reappraisal of all property damaged by Hurricane Ike.

  “There are thousands of people who suffered significant damage or lost their entire homes.  It is only fair that they should have their properties reappraised so that we don’t ask people to pay taxes on a home that was washed away by Hurricane Ike”, Furse said.

 “Existing law authorizes local officials in a disaster area to proceed with a reappraisal process so folks who lose their homes or suffer significant damage pay a fair property tax for the portion of the year after their homes were damaged or destroyed.  It is simple and fair, and is not too much to ask for our homeowners,” said Furse.

 According to Furse’s campaign statement, reappraised homes will be taxed at the new appraised value only for the period after the disaster occurred. 

     The previously appraised value would continue to remain in effect for the part of the year before Hurricane Ike.  So if a property were appraised at $200,000 before the storm and $100,000 after the storm, the $200,000 value would apply for the 256 days before Ike hit, and the $100,000 value would apply for the 110 days after Ike hit.

 

-more-

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll Wash Your Clothes
September 29, 2008

 It’s one of the neatest and nicest services that 2 on the Beat saw on Galveston Island Monday.

Tide Detergent has set up a FREE drop off and pick up service for residents who want their clothes washed.

It’s called “Loads of Hope”  and it is set up across from the seawall.

Sure, its good publicity for the company, but it also seems like a nice gesture toward those who have endured so much as a result of Hurricane Ike.

 

Employees accept the bags of jeans, t-shirts (and probably some unmentionables) and then sort, wash and fold them for the residents.

Obviously, most people don’t have electricity or water pressure at home, but everyone needs clean clothes to put on everyday.

Bolivar Residents Return Home
September 26, 2008

For the first time since Hurricane Ike decimated their community, Bolivar residents were able to return home for a few hours on Friday.

The “look and leave policy” allows them to survey their property between the hours of six in the morning until four in the afternoon.

2 on the Beat was there on Friday, and was shocked by the amount of damage to homes and businesses. 

It was an emotional journey home for the residents, but instead of being discouraged, so many of them are determined to rebuild  their lives and reclaim the land they love.

There is no water, sewer or phone service on the peninsula, so residents cannot live there until repairs are completed.

The Long Road Home to Galveston
September 24, 2008

a boat and debris

a boat and debris

Tiki Island - north of the Causeway
Tiki Island – north of the Causeway
Residents Returning Home

Residents Returning Home

 
 
 
Galveston residents have been waiting 11 days to return home.
 
This is an emotional time for many of them, who are seeing their property for the very first time since Hurricane Ike forced them to evacuate the island.

2 on the Beat is reporting from just north of the Galveston Island causeway this morning, watching as residents rush home.

They are anxious and determined to see their homes and businesses.  Many say they want to assess the damage and try to salvage personal possessions.

The DPS shutdown the last roadblock just before six a.m., allowing residents and visitors to drive through without much delay.

Meanwhile, closer to Tiki Island where I am standing, the damage is still visable.

A boat and other debris that washed up during  Hurricane are still sitting by the side of the freeway.

Welcoming Galveston Residents Home
September 23, 2008

2 on The Beat plans to report Thursday morning from the Galveston causeway as residents are allowed back home to check on their property.

No doubt it will be an emotional time for many who are not sure what, if anything, they will be able to salvage.

Several groups are trying to ease the shock of those who will be seeing their homes and businesses for the first time.

There is Massive Meal Distribution planned on The Island to Welcome Home Galveston Residents.

On Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 35 disaster response mobile units stocked with hot meals, cold water, coffee and compassion will welcome home Galveston Islanders.

The Salvation Army, the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and The American Red Cross have joined forces to operate a mass kitchen at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston.

From that location, the mobile feeding units will be stocked and dispatched to canvas the island offering meals and support.

The Salvation Army has already provided 1.3 million meals throughout Southeast Texas to those affected by Hurricane Ike.

 

Mr. White goes to Washington
September 23, 2008

Houston Mayor Bill White and Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas are in Washington, D.C., this Tuesday, asking lawmakers for money to help with the cost of cleaning up after Hurricane Ike.

Mayor Thomas plans to ask Congress for $2.3 Billion. That money is needed she says to help repair the sewer and water system, the Port of Galveston and parts of the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Mayor White says he is optimistic that federal leaders will provide financial assistance to help the city of Houston rebuild.

Hurricane Ike Baytown Damage
September 22, 2008

After the Storm Surge

After the Storm Surge

You can see the bay in the background
You can see the bay in the background
Trees, Trash, and Personal Momentos
Trees, Trash, and Personal Momentos
Fallen Trees and Personal Possessions
Fallen Trees and Personal Possessions
Congressman Gene Green and Baytown's Mayor survey damage
Congressman Gene Green and Baytown’s Mayor

With so much focus on Galveston, Boliver and Houston, it’s easy to forget that other communities suffered the destructive wrath of Hurricane Ike.

2 on the Beat was blown away by the damage in Baytown, Harris County during a tour of the Lakewood Community.

Sitting on the bay, the homes were great places to live until the storm surge sent a wall of water at least twelve feet high through the neighborhood.

The powerful wind and waves tore away brick facades, sheet rock, furniture and other personal possessions.

Congressman Gene Green (D-Texas) and Baytown Mayor Stephan Don Carlos surveyed the damage on Monday.

They say they want residents to rebuild, but it is very like the homeowners will have to comply with some very strict FEMA standards.

Meanwhile, Congressman Green announced that FEMA will open an office inside Baytown’s San Jacinto Mall.

This will help get the information and disaster response much closer to the residents.