Archive for October, 2010

Saving Lives and Raising Awareness About Sarcoidosis
October 31, 2010

It’s a disease you don’t often hear or read about in the media, but doctors believe there are countless Americans living with Sarcoidosis.

Sarcoidosis is a systemic disease that can affect multiple organs, create a variety of symptoms, occur chronically and cause blindness or even death. While some treatments exist, there is currently no cure.

Saturday, October 30 was declared “Sarcoidosis Day” in Houston by Mayor Annise Parker.  Several Houstonians with the disease, along with their family and friends, gathered to participate in the 6th annual Sarcoidosis Walk for a Cause.

I had the honor of serving as emcee during the pre-walk event.

It was sponsored by the Janine Sarcoidosis Outreach Foundation and it’s founder, Emma Carroll.  Ms. Emma started the foundation in memory of  her daughter who died from complications of  sarcoidosis, leaving behind two young children.  http://www.jsof.org/

 

How Many Miles Will Senator Ellis Bike on Election Day?
October 30, 2010

He’s an avid biker and he’s on the November 2nd ballot, however, Senator Rodney Ellis (D-13) plans to host “Tour de Polls” – a bicycle ride on election day.

Starting from the heart of his senate district at 9 Tuesday morning, Ellis is inviting people to jump on their bikes and pedal with him to various polling locations to look for any voter irregularities.

Senator Ellis is also encouraging people to exercise their right to vote. Get it, “exercise.”

This reporter is happy that she’ll be on assignment in Austin on election day. Otherwise, my boss would want me to follow along and I can’t bike very many miles. 

“This midterm election is extremely important and will be instrumental in determining the direction of Texas. I wanted to do something fun in an effort to encourage everyone to make their voices heard at the polls,” stated Senator Ellis.   

According to information provided from his office, Senator Ellis is a longtime supporter of cycling in Texas. He has co-hosted six National Conference of State Legislature Bipartisan Bike Rides which have helped to encourage elected officials to get on their bikes.

Here’s the schedule:

 WHEN:          Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:       9:00 AM          Texas Southern University

3100 Cleburne St.

Houston, TX 77004

Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church       

3826 Wheeler Ave.

Houston, TX 77004

New Thompson Elementary School  

6121 Tierwester St.

Houston, TX 77004

Mount Moriah Baptist Church           

4730 Pederson St.

Houston, TX 77033

The Crossing Community Church     

3225 W. Orem Dr.

Houston, TX 77045

Hobby Elementary School                 

4021 Woodmont Dr.

Houston, TX 77045

Red Elementary School                     

4520 Tonawanda Dr.

Houston, TX 77035

Lanier Middle School                        

2600 Woodhead St.

Houston, TX77098

                                               

                                                Texas Southern University

3100 Cleburne St.

Houston, TX 77004

 

Important Information for Nov. 2 – Election Day
October 30, 2010

Once again…credit goes to Hector DeLeon in the Harris County Clerk’s Office.  Here is information he provided to help you on  Nov. 2, election day.

ELECTRONIC VOTING TO BE THE PRINCIPAL METHOD OF VOTING ON ELECTION DAY IN HARRIS COUNTY

 Houston, TX– As usual, on General Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, the eSlate electronic voting system will be the principal method of voting in Harris County. According to the County Clerk’s office, the deployment of electronic voting equipment will be virtually the same for this election compared to the last gubernatorial election. 

”There will be enough electronic voting equipment at the polls to handle the expected Election Day turnout”, said Beverly Kaufman, the chief election official of the county. “Paper ballots will be available at every poll. But I strongly urge voters to cast their ballots using the eSlate electronic voting machines as it is the system which is most familiar to them.” The eSlate has been in use in Harris County since 2002. 

The Election Day infrastructure and procedures will also be the same as the previous similar election: There will be 736 polling locations, five more than four years ago; The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; And, a voter may bring someone of their choosing to the polling place to provide assistance, provided it is not their labor union representative, employer, an agent of their employer, or an officer or agent of a labor union to which the voter belongs. The person providing assistance must sign the Affidavit of Voter Assistance and print his/her name on the poll list, to attest to the fact that they will not unduly influence the voter. 

However, voters and the media will notice slight differences on Tuesday: Aside from the voters and the election clerks, there may be state and federal inspectors and poll watchers at some polls. [A Poll Watchers is a person appointed to observe the conduct of an election on behalf of a candidate, a political party, or the proponents or opponents of a measure (specific-purpose political action committees). The role of a poll watcher is to ensure the conduct of fair and honest elections]; and, the election night Central Counting Station will be at Reliant Arena.  

Aside from the federal, state and county races on the ballot, some voters may see other items at the end their ballot such as a proposition or non-partisan election. To vote, a person may present one of the following documents: a voter registration card, a driver’s license, a picture identification of any kind, a birth certificate, a U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization certificate, a U.S passport, a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. Voters who registered by mail and did not provide their driver’s license number or identification number will also need to provide another form of identification other than the voter registration certificate. 

On Election Day, Texas law requires voters to vote at the precinct where they are registered to vote. Voters may find their election day polling location by visiting www.harrisvotes.com or calling 713 755 6965.

New Ads In the Race For Governor
October 29, 2010

Bill White and Rick Perry have released new television ads that will run statewide in the  final days of the campaign.

The latest polls suggest Perry is holding a strong lead over White, but the ads could be considered the candidates closing arguments  or their last shot at swaying any undecided voters.

White’s ad is called “A New Governor” and it sums up the choices that voters have in this election: a career politician or a businessman, according to the White campaign. The ad mentions Perry several times.

 Meanwhile, Governor Perry has released a new ad called “A Clear Choice”

Perry, already the state’s longest-serving governor, is asking voters for an unprecedented third term.

 The ad is warm and to the point.

It never mentions White by name and Perry is clearly looking ahead to after election day.

Dirty Politics Increase As Election Day Nears
October 28, 2010

Voters in Harris County are being warned to stay alert for misleading flyers that are being distributed in local neighborhoods and early voting locations.  The flyer below was handed out in Sunnyside earlier this week.

Aimed at  Black democrats,  the flyer includes pictures of  former Houston Mayor Bill White, President Obama and his family and the late Texas Governor Ann Richards.

It  starts out stating that Republicans are trying to trick us” but then goes on to urge people to Not Vote Straight Ticket Democrat. 

So far,  no one has accepted responsibility for the flyer.

Local Groups Make Request For DOJ Election Monitors
October 28, 2010

Citing concerns about voter intimidation,  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-18) and the conservative King Street Patriots have made separate requests to the Department of   Justice for election day poll monitors.

In a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder early Thursday, Jackson Lee said she was seeking the monitors to ensure a safe and neutral voting environment during the November 2 election.

“Although there are usually a few isolated occurrences of  voter intimidation during the election season,  the incidents that took place at polling places earlier this week appeared  to be organized and systemic,” wrote Congresswoman Jackson-Lee.  “The group thought to be  behind these acts is known as the King Street Patriots, reportedly tied to some Tea Party activists.”

Not to be outdone, the King Street Patriots also sent a letter to the Department of  Justice asking for federal election monitors.

“We are so  concerned about these attacks against volunteer poll-watchers, most of  whom are stay-at-home moms or elderly, that we have asked the Justice Department to help and even attend True the Vote poll watcher trainings,” said Jonathon Saenz, an attorney with the Liberty Institute.

 The letters were sent on the same day that Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman and County Attorney Vince Ryan held a news conference to discuss allegations of  voter intimidation.

Both officials confirmed that their offices have received about sixty complaints of  election code violations, however, none has been substantiated.

I’ve left a message with the Department of  Justice seeking a comment about the requests for monitors.

Tonight’s Girls Night Out Raises Cancer Awareness
October 28, 2010

 HOUSTON (October 28, 2010) – Tonight St. Joseph Medical Center hosts Girls Night Out: Pink in the City, a free social event to build awareness for women’s health care issues.  Woman have been encouraged to dress up in pink while they enjoy wine, gourmet hors d’oeuvres and music, and pick up tips to be a healthy woman. 

 

Each woman at the event can tour St. Joseph’s new Women’s Center for Breast Care, as well as schedule a screening mammogram with radiological reading at a discount, and maybe win a free screening mammogram and radiological reading for a friend or family member.  A silent auction of health, beauty and spa-treatment products, as well as “Pink” wine, benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation. All women receive free door prizes.

 

The Houston Police Department Bike Patrol will be on hand for the evening.

 

What:              Free Reception with drinks, food, music & prizes  

                       

Where:            Luby’s etc at St. Joseph Medical Center

                        Ground Floor, George W. Strake Building

                        1919 LaBranch Street, Houston, TX 77002

 

When:            Thursday, October 28, 2010, 5-7:30 p.m.

 

Who:               St. Joseph Medical Center

DAN PATRICK ANNOUNCES FORMATION OF TEA PARTY CAUCUS New caucus will be very engaged during 82nd Session
October 28, 2010

This election season we’ve heard about the influence of the Tea Party on some national campaigns.  Today, Senator Dan Patrick (R-H0uston) has announced that he plans to create a Tea Party Caucus in Texas.   

 I’m posting the entire news release below:

HOUSTON, TEXAS- Senator Dan Patrick is joining with conservative legislators to create a Tea Party Caucus. “The Tea Party has played an important role this year and I want to be sure their voices are heard in Austin long after next Tuesday,” added Patrick. “The power of the Tea Party beyond election day is to hold those elected accountable for a conservative voting agenda,” said Patrick.

The Tea Party caucus will be active throughout the session, meeting with conservative leaders from the Tea Party movement, discussing issues, and building support for important conservative legislation. Continued membership in the caucus will be based on performance in three areas: supporting key Tea Party issues; signing the Texas Conservative Coalition Pledge with Texas; and keeping a conservative voting record that is in line with the TCC annual report card.

“Through the Legislative Tea Party Caucus, grassroots activists will maintain a connection with our elected representatives throughout their life cycle – before they are elected and as long as they are in office,” said Julie Turner of the Texas Tea Party Patriots. “We will support them when their votes reflect our core values and challenge them when they stray.”

Senator Patrick will invite legislators to join the new caucus over the next two months and ask Tea Party leaders from across the state to form a legislative committee that will meet with the caucus throughout the session. The formal announcement of the caucus will come at the beginning of the session with a planned rally at the Capitol of caucus members and Tea Party members.

The caucus will be guided by a board of 11 members of both the Texas House of Representatives and Senate. Representatives Wayne Christian, Brandon Creighton and Ken Paxton, as well as Senator Brian Birdwell, have already agreed to serve on this board. After this session, future board members will be voted upon by the full membership of the caucus.

“I stand with Senator Patrick and all my conservative colleagues to affirm that our state and our nation were designed to be ruled, not by the politicians, but by the people,” stated Representative Wayne Christian. “Former U.S. Senator Daniel Webster (1782-1852) said, ‘Make them (the people) intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy,” said Christian. “Through the alliance of our new Tea Party caucus and the Texas Conservative Coalition we pledge to again make Texas, ‘of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Political Dish Spices Up Election Season
October 27, 2010

Some of  Houston’s savviest political minds and top-notch community leaders joined together Wednesday to dish about  the 2010 statewide and Harris County elections. 

The 4th annual pre-election analysis luncheon, sponsored by Klotz Associaties and Fulbright and Jaworski, was held at the Four Seasons Hotel.  The political analysts shared their thoughts on the upcoming election season and the current political climate.

The bipartisian menu included discussion of  the governor’s race (the esteemed analysts predicted Perry defeats White by 5-8 points), predictions about the outcome of  propositions 1-3 (RENEW Houston is in trouble and Red Light Cameras survive the challenge) and insight on the early voter turnout (Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats this election)

The panelists included: Jessica Colon, Franklin Jones, Richard Murray, Mustafa Tameez and Bob Stein.

Some of the people in the crowd talking politics included:  Wayne Klotz, Neil Thomas, Cindy Clifford, Jason Fuller, Judge Zinetta Burney,  Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufmann, Constable Mae Walker, Adrian Patterson, Russ Frank, Sonia Soto,  Anthony Hall, Craig Washington, Mini Timmaraju, Argentina James and many more.

Mayor Parker Votes Early – Encourages Support for Prop. 1-3
October 27, 2010

Mayor Annise Parker cast her ballot at the early voting location on West Gray Street Wednesday morning.

The Mayor says she took her time going through the ballot and didn’t reveal how she voted on the contested races. (Although she is a democrat and said several weeks ago that she planned to vote for former Houston Mayor Bill White in the race for governor)

Parker did tell the media that she voted for all of the propositions (no surprise) and that passing each measure is important to the city’s future.

Proposition One is RENEW Houston. If  passed, the city would create a dedicated pay as you go fund to repair streets and drainage. it would impose a monthly fee on private property owners and that money could only be used for repairs to prevent flooding.

Proposition Two would change  the residency requirement for candidates in the 2011 municipal elections.  This is critical because the city will be redistricting for the first time in 30 years.  The process won’t be completed until June, but potential candidates will have started campaigning in February.  If  some candidates are drawn out of the district lines, they will have a chance to establish residency for six months instead of the usual one year.

Proposition Three ask voters if the city of  Houston should continue to use red light cameras to enforce state and or local laws relating to traffic safety.

Mayor Parker is actively campaigning for Proposition 1.  Some voters have told me about receiving robo calls from the Mayor urging them to vote for the drainage fee.