Archive for November, 2010

Could Houston Lure the Ms. Universe Pageant?
November 30, 2010

Houston businessman and former political candidate Farouk Shami isn’t shy about being in the spotlight.  But on Tuesday afternoon, Farouk was  keeping quiet about the purpose of his visit to city hall.

Sources told 2 on The Beat that the founder of  one of the world’s most famous hair straightening irons, the CHI, is trying to bring the Ms. Universe pageant to our city.

A successful pageant like that would potentially bring revenue, along with thousands of visitors and millions of  international viewers to our city. 

Farouk would not comment on the pageant,however, he was kind enough to stop and pose for a picture  while standing in front of his beautiful chauffeur driven Bently.

Judge Emmett Injured In Tennis Match Will Reduce Schedule
November 29, 2010

Right Shoulder Separation Likely Will Require Surgery, Cancellation and Postponement of Some Appointments 

Update: I was told by Joe Stinebaker that Judge Emmett is a pretty good tennis player. He was on the Rice University tennis team and he use to be a tennis instructor. Get well soon Judge!

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was injured during an early-morning tennis match on Monday and has been advised by doctors that he will probably require surgery to repair his injured right shoulder. As a result, the judge and his staff are now reviewing his schedule and either canceling or postponing upcoming events that are able to be delayed.

Judge Emmett fell and landed on his shoulder during a tennis match with a friend, suffering a “Stage 3 Acromioclavicular (AC) Separation,” meaning that the two ligaments at the joint were both torn and the shoulder displaced. He was resting at home this afternoon and will visit with an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow, at which time a date is expected to be set for surgery.

Staff members are reviewing the judge’s schedule and contacting community groups and county officials with whom the judge was scheduled to meet in an attempt to reschedule many of his appointments. As a result, many of the events contained in the judge’s public schedule released early this morning are no longer accurate.

Judge Emmett said this morning he was eager to return to the office as soon as possible and that he was hopeful he could still attend some events later this week that could not be rescheduled.

A Fight On The Football Field: Johnson v. Finnegan
November 28, 2010

UPDATE: Andre Johnson is being fined but not suspended by the NFL.

In case you missed it:

It’s the fight on the football field that everyone is talking about: Houston Texans star receiver Andre Johnson brawling with Tennessee Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

Both players were ejected after the fight which came late in the 4th quarter. 

We’ll likely hear more about suspensions and additional punishment on Monday.

Former Congressman Nick Lampson Issues Statement on Delay Guilty Verdict
November 24, 2010

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay’s conviction on money-laundering charges brought swift reaction from  some of his political enemies.  

While Delay called the Jury’s verdict a “miscarriage of  justice” former democratic Congressman Nick Lampson issued a statement praising the outcome of the trial.


“Today, Lady Justice proved to be a harsher judge of Tom DeLay than Dancing With the Stars voters ever were with him. Today’s ruling shows that the culture of corruption Tom DeLay inhabited in Washington went a few too many dance steps beyond the pale of American politics. We should remember, though, that this trial is not just about $190,000 that Tom DeLay stands guilty of illegally laundering into Texas politics. At its root, Tom DeLay’s actions were designed to gerrymander Texas voters for his own personal power grab. At a time when we are bracing for what should be the once-per-decade ritual of elected officials selecting their voters, Texans deserve to have their voice heard – and respected – in the upcoming redistricting process.”

Nick Lampson has represented Southeast Texas in Congress from 1997 to 2005, and again from 2007 to 2009 after running against Tom DeLay in 2006 prior to DeLay’s removal of himself from the ballot before the election. His upcoming book release, “Hammered!” chronicles his political life in the age of slash and burn Texas politics.

Usher Brings OMG Tour To Houston
November 24, 2010

I’m not a music critic or a concert reviewer, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity Wednesday night to stand in the “media pit” at Toyota Center and snap a few pictures of  pop/r&b singer Usher Raymond IV.

Usher, as he’s better known to his fans, performed in front of  a near sellout crowd which seemed to be filled with more women than men.

However, it was  definitely a show for everyone and people of  all ages.  I saw lots of young ladies dancing and singing along with their friends, mothers and grandmothers!

Usher’s high energy show covered the full span of  his music – from love ballads to dance tunes.

Usher’s concert in Houston took place only two days after he won two categories at the American Music Awards show.

His protegé , teen heart-throb Justin Bieber, won four awards and credited Usher for much of  his success. 

In addition to being a big fan of his music, I also respect Usher for the philanthropic work he does through his New Look Foundation.

After the first three songs of the concert, reporters and photographers were escorted out of the pit.

Eventually I made it back to my seat and spent the rest of the night dancing and singing to all of  Usher’s greatest hits.

Thanks to June Deadrick for hosting a great evening.

HISD Students Pick Hot Toys For the Holidays
November 23, 2010

(HISD news release)

Longfellow Elementary’s Annual Toy Survey Uncovers What Kids Really Want

Silly Bandz, mini-skateboards, and gift cards top the list instead of expensive electronics

 November 23, 2010 – Concerned that the holidays can be a confusing, frustrating time for parents when it comes to buying gifts for kids, students at HISD’s Longfellow Elementary held a news conference on Tuesday, November 23 to announce this year’s most-wanted holiday gifts.

Every year, the fifth-graders at Longfellow divide into teams and hit the playground, hallways, and lunchroom to survey their classmates on the “hot toys” for the holiday season.  The students conduct the surveys themselves, record the data, and use data analysis and math skills to tally the results and release their top ten list to the media. 

This year, the students took into account the recent economy and made a point to not to include any expensive electronics, high-tech items, or video gaming systems that have made their list in past years. Instead their focus was on finding toys that are both interesting to kids and priced under $50. And the winners for 2010 are:


10        Hot Wheels items

9          (TIE) Lego sets and Loopz music memory game

8          Arts and crafts sets (like jewelry making kits and models)

7          Paper Jamz Guitar

6          Nerf-n-Strike dart launcher

5          Watches and jewelry

4          Spy Gear items

3          Gift cards

2          Tech Decks mini-skateboard sets

1          Silly Bandz


No adults were allowed to speak at today’s press conference. Instead, fifth graders Sh’mar Evans, Lily Gastineau, Elise Gutierrez, Cassandra Lutz, Helena Marlowe, and Bryon Moreno released their findings and addressed members of the local print and television media. Representatives from Target brought examples of all the top toys to display at the press conference and afterwards they generously donated them to the school.

Several of the top items made the hot toy list last year as well. Those include gift cards, watches and jewelry, and Lego sets. New to the list this year are the extremely popular Silly Bandz which are rubber band bracelets that come in different shapes and characters.

“If you are a parent and in doubt about what to get your child for the holidays, Silly Bandz are the way to go,” said Helena Marlowe. “Boys and girls like them and they are really inexpensive. If I was a parent, I’d fill my child’s stocking with Silly Bandz.”

“Get things on sale and take advantage of Black Friday,” advised Sh’mar Evans. “Get out there and get the hot items, because before you know it, they might be gone.”


The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States with 298 schools and more than 200,000 students. The 301-square-mile district is one of the largest employers in the Houston metropolitan area with nearly 30,000 employees.

For more information, visit the HISD Web site at

Joe Turner Appointed To National Parks Board
November 22, 2010

Congratulations to  Joe Turner, the City of Houston’s  Director of  Parks and Recreation Department.

Turner has been appointed to the National Recreation and Park Association’s Board of  Directors. 

Turner is a nice guy and very widely respected for the work he’s done transforming many Houston parks into crown jewels of the community.

William “Joe” Turner Appointed to NRPA Board of Directors
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently appointed William “Joe” Turner to the organization’s 2010-2011 Board of Directors.  The announcement was made during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Minneapolis, Minn.NRPA’s Board of Directors is composed of 21 individuals.  Board members are representative of NRPA’s membership, which includes leaders in the park, recreation and conservation movement, park and recreation professionals, and individuals from corporations, industry suppliers, commercial businesses, and volunteer and civic groups.

“Joe will be an asset to our Board,” said Janna Rankin, chair of NRPA’s Board of Directors.  “He has supported the park and recreation movement and NRPA’s mission on many levels throughout his career.  We are excited to have his expertise and leadership skills, which we know will contribute to achieving NRPA’s goals and moving the association forward.”

Joe Turner, a native Houstonian, has served as the Director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) since July 2004. HPARD is responsible for developing and maintaining the City of Houston’s over 38,992  acres of parkland and greenspaces and providing recreational opportunities and programming for citizens of all abilities.  Prior to serving the city, he was the Parks Administrator for Harris County Precinct 4. A Gulf Coast Master Naturalist, he holds an Executive Master of Business Administration Degree from Texas Women’s University and is a member of the National Recreation and Park Association, the Texas Recreation and Park Society, the Greater Gulf Coast Parks and Recreation Director’s Association, the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition, Trees For Houston, the Heritage Society, the Houston Garden Center Board, Hermann Park Conservancy, the Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, and Houston Wilderness.       

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of roughly 18,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.  For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department stewards and manages over 38,992 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit

Thanksgiving Arrives Early For Some Lucky Houstonians
November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving arrived early for hundreds of people living in southeast Houston.

In the spirit of the season, State Representative-Elect Borris Miles (D-146) handed out 1000 turkeys at five different locations on Saturday afternoon.

Miles and his group of  volunteers rode around in a white box truck making stops  that included Third Ward, Sunnyside, South Park and South Acres.  

News about the turkey giveaway spread quickly and people lined up at each location.  “It helps out a lot when you have a big family,” said Sonja Johnson.  Johnson said this was her first time to receive a free Thanksgiving turkey,however, this is Miles sixth year handing them out to people – no questions asked.

“I started this before I was an elected official,” said Miles. “I wanted to give back to the community and make sure that families could have a good Thanksgiving meal.”   Miles, who calls himself a product/son of Sunnyside,  also said he is concerned about the economy and didn’t want families in need to go hungry or without a traditional feast this year.

Miles, who was elected to a second term on November 2, said he conducts the turkey handouts in conjuction with his TX Stars Foundation.  The foundation also sponsors educational events and the Hip Hop for HIV awareness campaign.

Miles was joined at the turkey giveaway by is wife, mother, Theldon Branch, Jeri Brooks and many other volunteers.

A True Houston Power Couple
November 18, 2010

Congratulations to Elaine Jefferson.  On Wednesday Elaine was appointed associate municipal court judge by Mayor Annise Parker and city council. 

Jefferson, formerly of the Greater Houston Partnership, will oversee traffic and docket cases.

Jefferson is the wife of  METRO board member Dwight Jefferson, who is also a former state district judge.

Both Elaine and Dwight are graduates of the University of  Texas School of  Law.

During the appointment confirmation at city hall, Mayor Parker said she was happy to see another member of the Jefferson family actively involved in service to the city.

Port of Houston Politics – Not For the Faint Of Heart
November 17, 2010

After weeks of  behind the scenes political arm twisting, Mayor Annise Parker and city council members voted Wednesday on the appointment of a new port of  Houston commissioner.

The heated battle was between current commissioner Janiece Longoria and Dean Corgey, vice president of the Seafarers International Union’s Gulf Coast Region.

Mayor Parker nominated Corgey because she wanted a labor representative to have a seat at the Port’s influential table.   She also wanted to fulfill a campaign promise to union members who supported her campaign.

Longoria, the only Hispanic on the seven member board, was the favorite of many in the legal, business and Hispanic communities.

Council voted 9-6 to appoint Longoria for another two-year term.  In her brief remarks to the Mayor and council, Longoria vowed to continue working hard and she extended an olive branch to the labor community. 

While the appointment has been decided,  the ordeal  has left a bitter taste with some council members.

Wanda Adams, who represents District D, says she was sent threatening text messages and warned she would be defeated in the next election if she did not vote for Longoria.

In a statement issued after the appointment, AFL-CIO Leader Richard Shaw stated, “Labor never gives up and we will be looking for another chance to get someone on the Port Commission from Labor.  Labor has many friends and today it found out who they were.”