Archive for April, 2010

Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on Immigration and Border Security
April 30, 2010

Governor Rick Perry is distancing himself from other Texas republicans who want to pass a new immigration measure  that is similar to Arizona’s  new controversial law.

 State Representative Debbie Riddle (R-Houston) announced this week that she plans to introduce a similar immigration bill when the Texas Legislature meets in January.  

In a statement released Thursday, Governor Perry said the Arizona plan isn’t right for Texas:

“Texas has a rich history with Mexico, our largest trading partner, and we share more than 1,200 miles of border, more than any other state. As the debate on immigration reform intensifies, the focus must remain on border security and the federal government’s failure to adequately protect our borders. Securing our border is a federal responsibility, but it is a Texas problem, and it must be addressed before comprehensive immigration reform is discussed.

“Recently, there has been much debate over immigration policy in Washington and what has been implemented in Arizona. I fully recognize and support a state’s right and obligation to protect its citizens, but I have concerns with portions of the law passed in Arizona and believe it would not be the right direction for Texas.

“For example, some aspects of the law turn law enforcement officers into immigration officials by requiring them to determine immigration status during any lawful contact with a suspected alien, taking them away from their existing law enforcement duties, which are critical to keeping citizens safe. Our focus must continue to be on the criminal elements involved with conducting criminal acts against Texans and their property.  I will continue to work with the legislative leadership to develop strategies that are appropriate for Texas.

“Securing the border has to be a top priority, which is why I have a standing request with the federal government for 1,000 Title 32 National Guardsmen who can support civilian law enforcement efforts to enhance border security in Texas. I have also requested predator drones be based in and operate over the Texas-Mexico border to provide essential information about criminal activity to law enforcement on the ground.

“Until the federal government brings the necessary resources to bear, we will continue to commit state funding and resources for additional border security efforts in order to protect our communities and legitimate cross border trade and travel, while enforcing the laws already on the books.”

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Senator Ellis Mixes Politics With Wildlife
April 30, 2010

It wasn’t your typical political fundraiser. 

The setting was the Houston Zoo at Herman Park Tuesday night. State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) celebrated his 56th birthday and raised money for his next campaign for reelection.

The  creative event attracted  big donors and elected officials, but they were outnumbered by  parents and their young children, who seemed more interested in the Zoo attractions than talking about politics.

For a minimum  $100 dollar contribution (children were free) guests were treated to bags of  popcorn, cotton candy and access to the Zoo’s attractions .

2 On The Beat stopped by for a few minutes to see how this mix of politics and wildlife would work.

I arrived near the end of the evening, just in  time to see Senator Ellis performing with one of  the Zoo’s playful Sea Lions. (dancing, jumping) The sea-lion clearly won, but at the end of the competition, he swam across the pool and kissed Senator Ellis on the cheek.

Senator Ellis, who was first elected to the state senate in 1990, will face republican Michael Mauldin in the November general election.

Join Actor Gary Sinise and Support The USO
April 27, 2010

On Monday, I had the opportunity to meet television and film actor Gary Sinise.  He’s shorter in person, but alot more handsome and nicer than I ever imagined.

He was atttending an event celebrating the USO, the United States Oganization that supports America’s military men and women.

http://www.uso.org/

It was hosted by former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush on the campus of  Texas A&M University in College Station.

Like Bob Hope many years ago, Sinise is a  Hollywood celebrity who pitches in to support and entertain the men and women in uniform.

His band, the Lt. Dan Band, has  travelled to some of  the military hospitals across the country  to perform for troops wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  

Stay tuned to KPRC Channel 2.  In May the station will host a Memorial Day telethon to help raise money for the USO.

KPRC Anchor Honored
April 25, 2010

Congratulations to KPRC Local 2 News Anchorman Bill Balleza, pictured here with Channel 2 News Director Rick McFarland and General Manager Larry Blackerby.

On Friday night Bill was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals.

Bill’s media colleagues from across Houston, along with many of his fans and community friends attended the celebration dinner on Friday night.  The event raised money to award college scholarships to future journalists.

Bill, pictured below with his wife Missy and KPRC 10 p.m. executive producer April Arias, has been covering the news in Houston for more than thirty years.

He  is a true professional, always calm and credible on the air, while behind the scenes he is a warm  and friendly person.

He is not only the “face” of  Channel 2, Bill is also a true reporter.  He never hesitates, especially during breaking news, to roll up his sleeves and do whatever is necessary to bring the latest information to viewers.

Bill  co- anchors the 5 p.m and 10 p.m newscasts Monday through  Friday with Dominique Sachse.

When he’s not busy on the anchor desk, Bill stays involved in causes close to his heart, including helping at-risk children and giving back to his fellow retired Marines.

Congrats Bill.  You deserve the award!

Vote For Injured Houston Police Officer
April 20, 2010

It is NOW time to make Rick Salter the NATIONAL WINNER!! RICK NEEDS YOUR VOTE!!

 www.amw.com/allstar/2010 By your votes, you made Rick the 4th FINALIST a short time ago. Now he needs your vote beginning April 15 and EVERY DAY THROUGH MAY 3 to make him the National Winner for 2009. As you know, Houston Police Officer Rick Salter was seriously injured when shot during the execution of a narcotics search warrant on March 5, 2009. Rick has been engaged in a courageous battle to regain his independence after he was left paralyzed on his left side and having partial blindness.

Accomplishing part of his goal, Rick is now able to walk and is continuing a daily regimen of aggressive physical therapy. In honor of his great sacrifice in defending the Houston community for over 27 years, Rick was selected as the Week 4 Finalist for the America’s Most Wanted – 2009 AMW All-Star Award. Please show your support for Rick’s nomination by voting for him on the America’s Most Wanted website. Just go to http://www.amw.com/allstar/2010and find Rick Salter’s nomination. Click on his photo and then click VOTE. You will be prompted to input your email address and enter an encrypted word/words to finalize your vote. A message will indicate your vote has been counted. You can vote for Rick ONCE A DAY EVERY DAY… a small effort for the sacrifice he has made. We know the outpouring of support that Rick will receive, but he can’t get there without your help!! Please do not stop your daily votes until he is shown to be the NATIONAL WINNER. The AMW All-Star Award winner receives a $10,000 cash prize and a weekend at the NASCARSPRINT Cup SeriesAll-Star Challenge in Charlotte, NC in May of 2010. Be sure to watch America’s Most Wantedand the website for updates.

Remember to mark the website as a FAVORITE and VOTE ONCE PER DAY EVERY DAY in support of Rick. PLEASE forward this information to everyone you believe may be interested in voting. It is NOW time to make Rick Salter the NATIONAL WINNER!! RICK NEEDS YOUR VOTE!! http://www.amw.com/allstar/2010 By your votes, you made Rick the 4th FINALIST a short time ago. Now he needs your vote beginning April 15 and EVERY DAY THROUGH MAY 3 to make him the National Winner for 2009. As you know, Houston Police Officer Rick Salter was seriously injured when shot during the execution of a narcotics search warrant on March 5, 2009. Rick has been engaged in a courageous battle to regain his independence after he was left paralyzed on his left side and having partial blindness. Accomplishing part of his goal, Rick is now able to walk and is continuing a daily regimen of aggressive physical therapy. In honor of his great sacrifice in defending the Houston community for over 27 years, Rick was selected as the Week 4 Finalist for the America’s Most Wanted – 2009 AMW All-Star Award.

Please show your support for Rick’s nomination by voting for him on the America’s Most Wanted website. Just go to http://www.amw.com/allstar/2010and find Rick Salter’s nomination. Click on his photo and then click VOTE. You will be prompted to input your email address and enter an encrypted word/words to finalize your vote. A message will indicate your vote has been counted. You can vote for Rick ONCE A DAY EVERY DAY… a small effort for the sacrifice he has made. We know the outpouring of support that Rick will receive, but he can’t get there without your help!! Please do not stop your daily votes until he is shown to be the NATIONAL WINNER. The AMW All-Star Award winner receives a $10,000 cash prize and a weekend at the NASCARSPRINT Cup SeriesAll-Star Challenge in Charlotte, NC in May of 2010. Be sure to watch America’s Most Wantedand the website for updates. Remember to mark the website as a FAVORITE and VOTE ONCE PER DAY EVERY DAY in support of Rick.

PLEASE forward this information to everyone you believe may be interested in voting.

BARC Shelter Population at Unsustainable Level
April 16, 2010

 The Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) has experienced a drastic increase in the number of animals turned into the shelter in the previous two weeks.  The average daily intake over this period is approximately 100 animals, and the average number of animals in residence per day is 720. 

 On April 15, BARC experienced a total animal intake of 184 animals.  The number of animals in residence as of this morning is 878.  This population level is unsustainable.  The BARC facility was designed to shelter 550 animals, and existing foster and rescue networks are at capacity as well.

 If you have been considering adding a dog or cat to your family, now is a great time to come to BARC to find your future pet.  If you aren’t quite sure that you are able to make the long-term commitment of pet companionship, please explore fostering an animal.  BARC also relies on the selfless service of volunteers , which can often makes all the difference in an animal finding a loving home.  

 BARC is open for adoptions from 11:30am to 5:30pm today, and 12am to 4pm this Saturday and Sunday.  BARC animals are also available for adoption at the weekly Galleria Remote Adoption event at the (in front of Gap Kids) from 11am to 2 pm. 

 If you are unable to make it to the BARC facility at 3200 Carr or the Galleria Remote Adoption event, one of our fantastic non-profit rescue partners, the Homeless Animal Partnership Initiative (HAPI), is hosting a Family Pet Festival.  The location and times are listed below. 

HAPI (Homeless Animal Partnership Initiative) Family Pet Festival:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

11:00 am – 4:00 pm

St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, 1656 Blalock Rd

We encourage our residents to lend a hand to our voiceless friends in a time of need.  For further information regarding how to volunteer or foster BARC animals, and for operating information, please visit our website at www.houstonbarc.com.

Retired Houston Police Officer Indicted for 1st Degree Theft
April 16, 2010

 Houston Tx – A Harris County grand jury indicted retired HPD Officer Matthew Calley Thursday for the first degree felony offenses of Theft over $200,000 and Misapplication of Fiduciary Property over $200,000.  This concludes a months-long investigation conducted by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Division and the Houston Police Department’s Major Fraud Division. Calley faces up to 99 years or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine if convicted of the offenses.

Calley was a long-serving member of the Houston Police Officers’ Union (HPOU) and a member of the HPOU Board of Directors. While a member of the HPOU Board of Directors, Calley was the chairman of the HPOU Ways and Means Committee and the chairman of the HPOU Political Action Committee. As the chairman of these respective committees, Calley had signatory authority over the bank accounts for both the Ways and Means Committee and the Political Action Committee. Calley had been entrusted with the sole responsibility for managing the assets of these accounts and of making expenditures in the best interest of the HPOU and its members.

In January, the Public Integrity Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Houston Police Department’s Financial Crimes Division began conducting an investigation into Calley’s management of these accounts. This investigation was initiated in response to a report made by HPOU President Gary Blankinship. On January 22, Blankinship had been contacted by a fraud investigator with Capital One, who advised that they had identified several suspicious and possibly fraudulent payments to a personal credit card account with HPOU funds.

The indictments allege that Calley exploited his position as chairman of the HPOU Ways and Means Committee and chairman of the HPOU Political Action Committee to unlawfully appropriate funds and contributions from each of their accounts. The indictments allege that the timing of the theft and fraud committed by Calley began as early as June 2003 and the scheme proceeded as a continuing course of criminal conduct through January 2010.

President Obama Urged To Appoint First African American Woman to U.S. Supreme Court
April 14, 2010

NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF ANN CLAIRE WILLIAMS AS FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

 

 NBA President Mavis T. Thompson noted that “Justice Stevens’ retirement creates the opportunity for the country to have its first African American female Supreme Court Justice.  As was the case with Justice Stevens, his replacement must have the highest integrity, be undoubtedly very well qualified, have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to equal justice under the law and possess appropriate judicial temperament.”  Consistent with the NBA’s historic mission and its leadership role on behalf of over 44,000 of the nation’s African American lawyers, judges and academics, the NBA is committed to playing an active role in the process to fill the vacancy created by Justice Stevens’ retirement. The NBA strongly urges President Obama to use this upcoming vacancy as an opportunity to further diversify the high court and to make it more reflective of the nation it serves.  Without question, at this critical juncture in the nation’s history and with so many important legal issues to come before the United States Supreme Court, Judge Ann Claire Williams is the right person to succeed Justice Stevens. 

  

WASHINGTON, DC (April 14, 2010) – The National Bar Association (NBA) has called for the nomination of the first African American female Supreme Court Justice, after last week’s  announcement of Justice John Paul Stevens’ retirement from the United States Supreme Court. In adhering to its mission of advancing diversity within the legal profession, the NBA has put forth the nomination of a notable candidate, the Honorable Ann Claire Williams.  Williams is the first African American ever appointed to the Seventh Circuit and the third African American woman ever to serve on any United States Court of Appeals. 

Ann Claire WilliamsIn a letter written to President Barack Obama, the NBA noted that as “a moderate and faithful adherent to constitutional principles of government, Judge Williams is extremely well qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and has all the necessary experience and the professional expertise to succeed Justice Stevens.” Williams, an active NBA member, has been a leader and long-standing public servant. She was a recipient of the NBA’s William H. Hastie Award and recipient of its Gertrude E. Rush Award, named in honor of the sole female founder of the NBA.

 Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominately African American attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 44,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. The organization seeks to advance the science of jurisprudence, preserve the independence of the judiciary and to uphold the honor and integrity of the legal profession. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit www.nationalbar.org. 

Houston’s New Police Chief Is Sworn-In
April 14, 2010

Charles A. McClelland was sworn in as the new Chief of the Houston Police Department today. 

The swearing-in ceremony took place at Houston City Hall, where Mayor Annise Parker pinned the Chief’s new badge on his uniform. 

After all the pomp and circumstance, Chief McClelland returned to work where he was greeted by a round of applause from his staff. 

He will officially now oversee a department with about 5,300 officers and 1,500 civilian employees.

Congratulations Chief McClelland. It’s time to get to work reducing crime in my neighborhood and across the city of  Houston.  

         

       

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Cornyn: We Need A Clear Vision For Human Space Flight
April 14, 2010

 Senator Discusses NASA, Johnson Space Center & Obama’s Kennedy Space Center Visit

 WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, today went to the Senate floor to discuss the future of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Johnson Space Center in Texas, and President Obama’s scheduled visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Excerpts and a link to a video clip of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below. The President’s Visit to the Kennedy Space Center: “Mr. President, this week President Obama is scheduled to visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Many Americans expect the President to explain his vision for America’s space program in the decades ahead. Such a vision is long overdue from this Administration.

One year after celebrating its 50th year – as well as the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing – the White House has proposed a budget that will force NASA to abandon its historic role in space exploration.” “The Administration wants to terminate NASA’s Constellation program, our nation’s flagship endeavor to return Americans to the moon and beyond. After $9 billion invested over seven years, the President would leave NASA adrift and without a mission. I hope the President will announce that he’s thought better of his decision – and this morning I’d like to take a few minutes to explain why he should do so.” The Johnson Space Center in Texas: “Texas is proud of our close connection with NASA’s human space flight program – and we recognize how it has helped transform the Greater Houston Area into a high-tech leader. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden was quoted recently as saying, ‘with all due respect to everybody who opposes the budget,’ a very serious and real concern is the jobs. General Bolden is correct in one way: the cancellation of Constellation – combined with the retirement of the Space Shuttle – could cost the region as many as 7,000 direct jobs, according to the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.” Strategic Impact for America: “Texans understand that the local economic impact in Greater Houston would be nothing compared to the strategic opportunity cost for the United States. For one thing, the end of the Constellation Program will increase our dependence on Russia to transport Americans to the International Space Station – a Space Station built with billions of American taxpayer dollars. Soon Russia will not be the only nation to surpass the United States in human space flight. All these nations are investing in human space flight not only because they want their flags to be the first to fly on Mars, but also because they know their investments will get a good return.” Role of Private Sector: “The White House believes that the private sector can play a larger role in space exploration – and they are right.

We certainly want to encourage private investment and public-private partnerships in the development of space technologies. We want to help NASA become an even better partner with aerospace entrepreneurs. But NASA cannot pass the baton of human space flight to a runner that is still trying on its shoes.” What President Obama Should Say: “So what should President Obama say when he visits the Kennedy Space Center this week. First, President Obama should recognize the tremendous uncertainty he has created by proposing to end the Constellation program without identifying a viable alternative to it. Second, he should make clear that Congress has the last word on the Constellation program. Third, he should articulate a clear vision for the future of human space flight in our country. And fourth, he should ensure that his budget request will fund his vision – and that it will be carefully aligned with this exploration plan.” Conclusion: “Mr. President, just yesterday a number of American heroes made clear what a vision for American space flight should look like. More than two dozen former astronauts and flight directors – as well as a former NASA Administrator – wrote an open letter to the President. They wrote, America’s greatness lies in her people: she will always have men and women willing to ride rockets into the heavens. I hope President Obama listens to those words.” # # #