Archive for July, 2009

Farouk Systems Grand Opening and Job Fair
July 30, 2009

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Most people, especially women, recognize the name Chi.  It’s a popular ceramic hairstyling flat iron that  promises to give you “silky smooth hair.”

But did you know that the company was started here in Houston?

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On Thursday, Farouk Systems Incorporated held a grand opening to announce it is expanding manufacturing operations for its CHI USA brand in Houston.

The ribbon cutting ceremony at the site in Northeast Harris County attracted hundreds of people, including  job seekers who were bused in from another location, dignitaries, beauty queens and members of the media.

The company also held a job fair at Greenspoint Mall that attracted  more than 1000 applicants.

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Founder Farouk Shami says the company will continue to manufacture and export hair care and spa products to 90 countries around the world.

In addition to the CHI line, the company makes Biosilk and other environmentally friendly beauty products.

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 To learn more about the company, or  the employment opportunities you can go to www.farouk.com.

Commissioner Sylvia Garcia Honored
July 29, 2009

Congratulations to Harris County Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia

 She was recently elected president of the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO),  making her  the first Texan and only the second woman to lead the organization.

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On Wednesday night The Greater Houston Partnership hosted a  reception to celebrate Garcia’s rise to the important position representing more than 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials.   “It is a tremendous honor to have one of the Houston’s own guiding an organization which represents the leadership of the nation’s fastest growing demographic,”  said Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of  the Partnership. 

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Community leaders, elected officials ,  members of   Garcia’s staff and several of   her constituents attended the event at the Museum of Fine Arts.

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2 on the Beat spotted several familiar faces in the crowd:  State Senators Mario Gallegos and John Whitmire, City Council Member Ron Green,  State District Judge Al Bennett,  former Kemah Mayor Bill King and his wife Melissa, Sonny Messiah-Jiles and her husband Jodie Jiles, FrumencioReyes, Argentina James, Harris County Tax-Assesor Collector Leo Vasquez, Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufmann, Kathryn McNeil and many others.

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Garcia has represented Harris County Precinct Two since 2003.  Before that she was a controller for the City of  Houston.

Locke Adds New Members To The Campaign Team
July 29, 2009

2 on The Beat told you last week that Mayoral Candidate Gene Locke and veteran fundraiser Sue Walden severed their working relationship.

This week Locke is moving quickly to build his team with the key players he will need leading up to November’s election.

Herb Butrum has signed on as Finance Director; Priscilla Villarreal as Social Media Director; Grace Rodriguez as Social Media Strategist and Asian American Outreach; and Kristin Clarke as Volunteer Coordinator.

Butrum was Houston Mayor Bill White’s finance  director for the past six years, and according to the Locke campaign, Butrum  made history in 2003 by raising the most money – $8.4 million – ever raised in a campaign for mayor of Houston.

In a campaign statement sent to local media, Locke says, “I am pleased to add these talented and experienced professionals to our team. Along with our enthusiastic volunteers and supporters, we are building a diverse, nonpartisan coalition.”

When A Noose Is Just a Knot
July 27, 2009

Houston Fire Department Sr. Captain Keith Smith apologized today for keeping a knot in his station locker that many thought resembled the racist symbol of a noose.

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Captain Smith said the rope,  – which he described to be 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter and 4 feet long,  was a  training souvenir from his days at the HFD academy.

Smith attended a news conference at the fire department’s headquarters near downtown, along with Pastor D.Z. Cofield  of the NAACP.

Cofield told the media that the civil rights organization investigated the complaints about the hangman’s style noose, but concluded that the charge of racism was unwarranted.

“For us this is not an issue of black or white, wrong or right, ” said Pastor Cofield. “We believe he (Smith) was unfairly treated.”

Cofield went on to say that he does believe HFD has a serious issues of racism and sexism that deserve to be investigated.

Capt. Smith said that he kept the rope after he left the HFD academy so that he could continue to practice tying knots.

“Everybody was issued one, we were required to wear them around our waist at the academy,” said Smith. “and if an officer stopped us to tie a know we were responsible for that.”

Meanwhile, not everyone is happy with the latest turn of events. 

Otis Jordan, the president of the Black Fighters Association told 2 on the Beat that Smith’s story has changed several times, and that the Sr. Captain should have been aware of how offensive the knot was to African American firefighters at station 41.

From Former Police Chief to Houston City Council?
July 27, 2009

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Former Houston Police Chief  C.O. “Brad” Bradford will soon make his bid for city council official.

Next month  Bradford is scheduled to hold his campaign kickoff  for the Houston city council At-Large Position 4 seat.

In November,  Bradford lost a tough election battle  for Harris County District Attorney to republican Pat Lykos.

The former chief looks like he is serious about running for city council.

He has a facebook page (of course, who doesn’t these days?)  a website (http://cobradford.com/) and he is busy raising money. 

If you are interested in attending the campaign rally, here is the information:

It’s going to be held on Wednesday,  August 12, 2009 from 5:30pm – 7:30 pm

Location: Lounge Next Door at Ibiza

Street:  2450 Louisiana Street in downtown.

A Double Endorsement From The Sheriff’s Deputy League
July 23, 2009

I can only blame myself, and then apologize to you for not making a phone call  to clarify and verify information that I received  from one of the candidates for Mayor of  Houston.

As I reported  earlier, Houston Mayoral Candidate Annise Parker’s campaign announced today that it has won the endorsement of  the Afro-American Sheriff’s Deputy League.

A short time later, I heard from supporters of  Gene Locke,  who claimed their candidate was endorsed by the same group.

The Locke campaign emailed a copy of a letter  as proof of the endorsement from the Afro-American Sheriff’s Deputy League.

It looks like the group has issued a DOUBLE Endorsement.

2 on the Beat is trying to contact  deputy league President J.M. “Smokie” Phillips Jr. for comment.

In the meantime,  I hope that  I don’t get a phone call from supporters of   mayoral candidates Peter Brown and Roy Morales.

Changes In Locke’s Campaign
July 22, 2009

2 on the Beat has learned that Houston Mayoral candidate Gene Locke and political  consultant/fundraiser Sue Walden have ended  their working relationship.

This is a significant and suprising development in the  wacky world of politics, because it’s happening only days after Locke released a very successful campaign finance report.

I haven’t been able to reach Sue Walden for a comment, and Locke’s campaign spokesperson Kim Devlin would only confirm tonight that Walden  no longer works for the team.

Devlin would not  elaborate when asked to provide specific information about the campaign shakeup. 

She says Locke plans to hire a new fundraiser, but didn’t say  who would fill the position.

To be fair,  I  think  the majority of voters in Houston are more concerned about their own jobs, and don’t care who is making the fundraising  phone calls for the candidates. 

On the other hand, Walden is considered one of  Houston’ s  most prominent and well connected fundraisers.

 She is currently  raising money for  U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who by all indications plans to challenge Governor Rick Perry in the G-O-P  gubernatorial primary.

Lobbying For More Police Officers
July 22, 2009

Newly elected city council member Ed Gonzalez, along with fellow council member Melissa Noriega  left Houston Wednesday afternoon to fly to the Nation’s Capitol.

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The two city leaders traveled there to  lobby the Texas Congressional Delegation for money to fund additional cadet classes in the Houston Police Department.

I spoke with council member Noriega at city hall before she left town. 

She  had a busy day, from discussion of problems facing the fire department to attending a rally on the front steps of  city hall

She told 2 on the Beat that the city is pushing for “legislation that will allocate money for at least four cadet classes in the police department.” 

At the time, Noriega could not tell me exactly how much money the city would need to fund the four cadet classes, but clearly the investment is worth the price of protecting residents in the city of Houston.

The Houston Police Officers Union recently sent a letter to Mayor Bill White demanding that he add four new cadet classes  and reinstate the police overtime budget.

If memory serves me correctly, the mayor said that  the cadet classes alone would cost the city an estimated $20 million, and the city didn’t have that kind of money available in the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget.

Gonzalez and Noriega should return to Houston in a few days.

I will keep you posted on their progress.

Washington Walks, But Will There Be a Civil Lawsuit?
July 21, 2009

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Houston attorney and former U.S. Congressman Craig Washington avoided going on trial Monday after accepting a deal for pre-trial diversion.

But could the teenagers who were in the car that Washington is accused of shooting at, decide to  seek justice in a  civil rather than criminal courtroom?

Washington was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weopon. 

He was accused of shooting at a car carrying two teenagers who were parked illegally at his downtown law firm.

If   Washington stays  out of trouble and performs 60 hours of community service, the charge will be dismissed in two years.

Meanwhile, the teenagers who were in the car that Washington shot at told  the media that they are disappointed with the outcome.

“It’s a slap in the  face,” said one of the teens.

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Taylor Brooks and Evan McAnaulty, who are both attending college now, say they don’t think that Washington’s punishment fits the alleged crime.

The teens and their mothers spoke to reporters at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center a few hours after Washington’s deal was announced.

When asked if they plan to file a civil lawsuit, the teens and their parents said they didn’t know. 

They said they would possibly have more to say on that issue later.

2 on the Beat will keep you posted.

Respect and The Houston Fire Department
July 20, 2009

You’ve heard about some of the allegations of racism and sexism in the Houston Fire Department,.

Organizers of  a  “Respect Rally”  say that on Wednesday,  you will have a chance to voice your concerns and support  all the honest hardworking firefighters.

Council Member Wanda Adams is sponsoring the rally on the steps of  City Hall.

WHO: Fellow Houstonians, Religious Leaders and Community Leaders            
WHAT: Respect Rally
WHEN: 12:05 PM, July 22nd 2009       
WHERE: Steps of City Hall, facing the reflection pool   
 
Houston, Texas – July 16th – This assembly brings special acknowledgment to the recent struggles of City of Houston Fire Fighters Paula Keys and Jane Draycott, who have suffered from incidents of racial discrimination andharassment. Wear the color of courage – RED! Ordained ministers will lead the prayer service. Off for the summer? Bring your daughters with you for this day of unity and solidarity. Let us take it to the water as we renew our courage as women of purpose. This event will last only 30 minutes and in the event of rain the event will be moved indoors. Feel free to bring small umbrellas for shade from the sun for this brief event
 
Please join us in this extremely important event. The District D Office continues on a quest to serve its    constituent and be involved in circumstances that greatly affect those within the district and residents of the greater Houston community.  We are all responsible for a discriminatory free Houston. Each of us has a role to play in an equal and bias free community thus continuing to solidify Houston as a diverse place for flourishing opportunities.   
 
For any questions, comments, or concerns please contact:
 
The Office of Council Member Wanda Adams
  832.393.3001