Archive for August, 2011

Governor Perry is Late to The Campaign But On Time for Contributions
August 31, 2011

Fresh off a weekend campaign swing through Iowa. Governor Rick Perry is making a stop in Houston today to raise cash for his presidential bid.

The evening begins with a private reception for sponsors and hosts followed by a private dinner just for sponsors.

The minimum cost to attend is $2,500, which is the legal limit per person.

How much money does his campaign team hope to rake in?

Sources tell me Perry’s campaign will raise about $3 Million during his Houston visit. (A source attending the Wednesday night reception says the figure has been revised up to $4 Million)

That’s not bad for a candidate who joined the GOP presidential primary late.

Perry’s campaign has put together what one national report called, “an impressive roster of bundlers who have each signed up to bring in sums ranging from $50,000 to $500,000.”

One source said the number was “multiples of President Obama’s bundlers.”

This is all positive news for Governor Perry who, according to several major political polls, is leading the pack of GOP hopefuls and closing in on President Barack Obama.

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Gov. Perry And Others Comment On Injunction of Sonogram Law
August 30, 2011

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks today issued an injunction against the state’s recently passed sonogram law. That means women will not have to undergo a sonogram before having an abortion.

The sonogram bill, co-authored by Senator Dan Patrick of Houston, was declared an emergency item by Governor Perry during the legislative session.

Below is the governor’s statement issued late Tuesday, followed by a statement from Senator Dan Patrick and Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas.

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Governor Rick Perry: “Every life lost to abortion is a tragedy and today’s ruling is a great disappointment to all Texans who stand in defense of life. This important sonogram legislation ensures that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-changing decision. I have full confidence in Attorney General Abbott’s efforts to appeal this decision as he defends the laws enacted by the Texas Legislature.”

Senator Dan Patrick: “I’m not surprised by this decision,” said Senator Dan Patrick. “It is clear to me, from the inflammatory language in the order, that Judge Sparks was predisposed to this position.” It is disappointing that a group from out-of-state that does not value life can successfully interfere with Texas’ public policy. The most tragic result of Sparks’ decision is that hundreds of innocent lives will be lost every day because women continue to be denied medical information they have a right to know. I am confident this legislation will ultimately be held constitutional by the courts.”

Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas: Judge Sparks’ ruling is a positive step for women’s rights in Texas. We are pleased that the ruling finds that the intrusive ultrasound bill violates the First Amendment, and that legislators overreached in their attempt to play politics with women’s medical care. There is still a long way to go in this lawsuit but we are confident that the Center for Reproductive Rights is the right organization to lead this fight for women’s health. Governor Perry and his cohorts have said repeatedly that this law is supposedly about ‘protecting women’ yet the state has done nothing to protect Texas women and teens from unintended pregnancies. The only way to reduce the need for abortion is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. If the state was looking for real solutions instead of political ones they would support proven family planning programs. Yet, family planning programs were annihilated during the legislative session and now nearly 300,000 Texas women are being threatened with the loss of preventive health care.

Greater Houston Partnership Celebrates Area’s Global Influence
August 30, 2011

It was billed as the Greatest Show in Houston. Once again, the annual World Trade Soiree, hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership, did not disappoint.

This year’s theme –  Cirque du Houston – showcased a variety of cultures and countries that are key to the area’s economic success.  It featured a dazzling display of  entertainment, including dancers swaying to Brazilian and African music along with an appetizing menu of ethnic foods and wines.

Faces in the crowd included: GHP President and CEO Jeff Moseley; Geert C. Visser, Consulate of the Netherlands; Micah Hirschfield, GHP VP of Communications; Houston City Council Member Brenda Stardig; Bellaire Councilman Corbett Parker; HISD Board President Paula Harris and HISD board member Harvin Moore, HCC President Dr. Mary Sprangler, Don IIoff from Lakewood Church and Political Consultant Chris Begala, along with many others.

According to the GHP, the soiree is an amazing night ight that showcases the Houston region as an epicenter of international business and influence. Drawing more than 600 of the area’s global commerce, government and economic development leaders, this salute to international trade also hosts our Consular Corps.

Houstonians Celebrate City’s 175th Birthday
August 28, 2011

It was hotter than a firecracker on Sunday, but that didn’t stop dozens of people from attending the City of Houston’s Birthday bash.

After all, what would Houston be without the heat and humidity?
KPRC Photographer Mike Rank

Houston is 175 years old this year. Instead of hosting the traditional Mayor’s Gala, the city decided to try something different.

You can learn more about the other festivities planned to mark the city’s birthday:

http://www.houston175.org/about.html

The celebration was held at the historic Market Square Park in the heart of downtown. The event included a jazz performance by students from the High School for Performing Arts, clowns, caricatures and cupcakes.

Mayor Annise Parker, city councilman James Rodriguez and The Downtown Management District’s Bob Eury gave the crowd a brief history lesson about the Allen Brothers and their desire to build their dream town.

Mayor Annise Parker and Councilman James Rodriguez

You can read more about the founding of Houston here http://www.houstonhistory.com/legacy/history6c.htm

Peter Brown

Did Houston’s City Attorney Cross The Line?
August 26, 2011

It looks like the bad blood is getting worse between Houston city attorney Dave Feldman and Council Member Jolanda Jones.

Sources told me today that Feldman openly mocked Jones during a recent meeting inside his legal offices inside city hall.

According to my sources, Feldman dressed up and started talking like Jones.

He allegedly made fun or her style of dress and her notoriously long winded speeches.

While some people laughed, according to my sources. the incident made others feel uncomfortable

Some felt it was inappropriate for the city’s top legal officer to openly make fun of an elected official.

City Hall spokesperson Janice Evans is downplaying the incident and disputing key elements of the story.

Evans told me that Feldman received a gag gift described as a pair of ladies “long feather earrings”.

He was dared to put them on and he did.

Evans says Feldman never mentioned Jones by name.

According to Evans, this was Feldman’s attempt to inject some levity into what has been some challenging times.

In case you don’t know, Jones often sports a pair of feather earrings during council meetings.

She and Feldman are also known to be snippy with each other.

Feldman conducted the recent investigation into allegations that Jones used her council office and staff to conduct business for her legal practice.

Jones recently filed a complaint against Feldman with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Meanwhile,’Jones spokesperson, Kelly Cripe, issued this statement: “If this is true, we are disappointed by the actions of the city attorney. In his office, he should exude the highest standards of impartiality, justice and fairness. The people of Houston deserve better.”

I have not received a statement from Feldman at the time of this blog post.

I’m also told there is a photo being passed around of Feldman wearing the earrings, but I haven’t seen one.

Texas Prisons Will Prepare Inmates To Become Ministers
August 26, 2011

It’s not unusual to hear about a convicted criminal “getting religion” once they are locked up in tough state prison environment.

But a new program is taking that to a whole new level.  State Senators  Dan Patrick and John Whitmire are collaborating  on a Prison Seminary Project.  

On Monday, the senators, along with TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston, will announce the opening of Texas’ first seminary operating in a prison.  A convocation ceremony for the inaugural 40 inmates who have been accepted into the program will  be held at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Darrington Unit in Rosharon, according to a news release.

The details are below:

 

The seminary is nondenominational program, sponsored by the TDCJ, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and the Heart of Texas Foundation. The school will train inmates who are serving lengthy sentences to become ministers. After completing the 125 credit-hour program over four years, the inmates will receive a Bachelors of Science degree in Biblical Studies and go to other Texas prison facilities where they will minister to their fellow offenders.

 

“The seminary program has the potential to help these men change their thought patterns, which in turn can change their lives, and the lives of everyone around them,” said TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston. “We are proud to be a part of this innovative program, and we expect great results.”

 

“This is an exciting project that will inspire incarcerated offenders to accomplish a goal that will give them hope for the future,” said Senator Patrick. “I am very pleased to have worked with Senator Whitmire in enhancing our prison system while rehabilitating our inmates.”

 

“The opportunity to provide education and growth for those in a prison unit…s the opportunity to enable these inmates to discover a significant new way that through study will change life, perspective and hope for hundreds,” said Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

 

The program comes at no cost to taxpayers – it is being funded through grants and donations, including a donation from the Heart of Texas Foundation for the establishment of a theological library at Darrington. It is patterned after a similar program at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, which has been credited with a 70 percent reduction in inmate violence since its inception in 1995.

League of Women Voters Houston Celebrates 91 Years of Equality
August 26, 2011

Historic Day in History: On August 26, 1920, the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution went into effect giving women the right to vote.

Earlier this week, The League of Women Voters Houston gathered to celebrate the “courage, perseverance and achievements of women who fulfill the promise of the 19th Amendment.”

The Houston League is led by President Linda Cohn and Executive Director Christina Gorcynski.

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Dozens of elected officials along with political candidates, civic and business leaders attended the Women’s Equality Day event at John Palmer Fine Art Gallery in the Heights.

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The League Houston also recognized several rising stars. Recipients included: METRO’s Russ Frank,
environmental queen Catarina Gonzalez Cron, Shelly White Millwee of the American Heart Association and Cameron Waldner, Chief Service Officer for the City of Houston.

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During the last decade, the Houston League distributed 1.5 million printed copies of its signature publication, The Voters Guide. Local League volunteers have also registered over 50,000 new voters.

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You can sign up to volunteer or learn more at http://www.LWVHouston.org.

Mandatory Stage Two Water Conservation Yard Signs Available
August 23, 2011

 (from the City of Houston)

Due to persistent drought conditions and declining combined reservoir storage, mandatory Stage Two Water Conservation Measures went into effect for the City ofHoustonearlier this month. 

Starting Monday afternoon, August 22, 2011, Super Neighborhood Councils and Civic Associations can pick up small yard signs displaying water restriction information at the City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods, 7125 Ardmore, Houston 77054, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. To obtain a sign, please contact Maria Rodriguez at 832.394.0600.  Super Neighborhood Councils and Civic Associations are limited to 3 signs each. 

 

 The mandatory Stage Two Water Conservation Measures restrict irrigation to the hours between 12:01 a.m. and 10 a.m. or between 8 p.m. and midnight on no more than two days per week in conformity with the following schedule:

 

 Sundays and Thursdays for customers with evennumbered addresses; and

  1. Saturdays and Wednesdays for customers with oddnumbered addresses

 

 Also, residents must repair all detectable leaks within 72 hours of discovery.

 

 To report a violation of the restrictions or get answers to questions, email 311@houstontx.gov, or call 3-1-1 or 713.837.0311.  

 

Also, do your part to save water, our precious natural resource, in and around your home. Visit http://documents.publicworks.houstontx.gov/documents/divisions/utilities/water_conservation_tips.pdf for water wise tips to start saving water and money today.

 

 

 

Rate Gov. Perry As A Presidential Candidate
August 22, 2011

Governor Rick Perry returned from the presidential primary campaign trail and received a warm homecoming in Austin Saturday.

His campaign office scheduled a “meet and greet” at Abel’s Restaurant on Lake Austin.

The enthusiastic crowd consisted of long time supporters and staff members of the Governor’s state office.

I asked a couple of people in the crowd to rate the governor’s performance during his first week.

“He’a telling it like it is,” said one supporter.
“He’s always been outspoken and that’s what sets him apart from the other candidates,” said another.

Perry dominated most of the political headlines after he launched his campaign in South Carolina on the same day that other GOP candidates were participating in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll. Following his national political debut, the governor drew mixed reaction for his controversial comments about the federal reserve chair and global warming.

After some down time in Austin. Perry is scheduled to return to the campaigning in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire.

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Mayor Parker Endorsed By Some of Houston’s Prominent Leaders
August 18, 2011


Barbara Bush Endorses Annise Parker

Former First Lady is joined by prominent

Houston business and community leaders

A group of prominent Houstonians led by Former First Lady Barbara Bush today announced their endorsement of Mayor Annise Parker for re-election.

“Annise Parker is a strong non-partisan leader,” said Mrs. Bush. “Annise is willing to make the tough choices necessary to lead Houston through these challenging economic times. She is laying the foundation for a strong financial future for Houston. And Annise has been particularly supportive of family literacy, which is close to my heart. Annise Parker has my vote on November 8.”

“I am very grateful for Mrs. Bush’s endorsement,” Mayor Parker said. “We are blessed to have Former First Lady Barbara Bush and Former President George Bush call Houston home.”

Mrs. Bush is one of many community and business leaders announcing their endorsement of Mayor Parker today. Among other supporters are: Bob Borochoff; Penny and John Butler; Franci and Jim Crane; Mindy Hildebrand; Bert Keller; Larry Kellner; Nancy and Rich Kinder; Sara and Bill Morgan; Bobbie and John Nau; Katie and Patrick Oxford; Phoebe and Bobby Tudor; Donna and Tony Vallone; Diane Webb; Ronald Woliver; and Fred Zeidman.