Community Honors Legendary Radio Host Wash Allen
October 23, 2011

For more than four decades, radio personality Wash Allen has given his heart and soul to the community.  He’s been a smooth and consistent voice behind the microphone on KCOH Radio.  It’s common to see him at galas and other important events interviewing people for his television show.

On Saturday night, the community turned out to honor Wash and celebrate his 45 years of broadcasting excellence.  Wash Allen was the recipient of the 2011 Legacy Award given by Rice University’s HERE Project.

The guest hosts for the evening were actor and producer Leon Issac Kennedy and personality Darian Ward.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston attorney Waverly Nolley, public relations expert Judy Foston and Forward Times Publisher Karen Carter Richards were just some of the faces in the crowd.

In 1971, Wash Allen became Houston’s first African American TV host with a weekly TV show called Talent Unlimited. For that reason and many others, the Houston Association of Black Journalists also joined in honoring Wash.

Basketball Legend Brings Business Magic to Houston
October 19, 2011

At 6’9 Earvin “Magic” Johnson is use  to being the center of attention.  However, during a recent visit to Houston Johnson focused on business development and not basketball strategy.

Johnson attended the reopening of the newly revitalized Marq-E Center in West Houston.   The former NBA legend, and his business partner have heavily invested in the future of the mix-use entertainment property, which includes a cinema, several restaurants , a Houston police department storefront and nightclubs.

 

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Councilmember Brenda Stardig and business leaders welcomed Magic to town on Tuesday.  He greeted everyone with his signature radiant smile and warm personality.  He was kind enough to pose for pictures and sign autographs.

The Marq-E isn’t the only project getting an upgrade thanks to a financial committment from the partnership, Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds.  The group also purchased the Hotel Icon, which was in foreclosure. Investors plan to overhaul the lobby and guest rooms to make the hotel more enticing for both tourists and Houstonians.

New Stamp Unveiled Honoring Congresswoman Barbara Jordan
September 16, 2011

I had a few minutes this morning to stop by the “Women for Barbara” breakfast.

It was a celebration honoring the life and legacy of the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan held inconjunction with the unveiling of a new Black Heritage U.S. postage being released in her  honor.

Jordan was first elected to the Texas Legislature in 1966 and in 1972, she became the first African-American woman from the South to be elected to the United States Congress.

Jordan’s congressional career included her landmark speech during the Richard Nixon Impeachment hearings in 1974.

Special guests at the breakfast included Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Mrs. Luci Baines Johnson, the daughter of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson; Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams , Jordan’s family members, State Rep. Ellen Cohen, Former County Commissioner Syliva Garcia, Dallas Jones, Anthony Hailey, Erica Fowler and many more.

What Texans Are Saying About President Obama’s Visit to Texas
May 10, 2011

President Obama will make a quick swing through the Lone Star state today. His first stop is in El Paso where he will make a speech on immigration.  His second stop will be in Austin, where he will attend two political fundraisers.

A spokeswoman for Governor Perry told me Monday that the Governor requested a meet and greet with Mr. Obama in El Paso, but was turned down by the White House.  No surprise really. 

A longtime critic of  President Obama, Governor Perry has been turning up the heat ever since FEMA denied his request for a disaster declaration to help the victims of the Texas wildfires. Republicans released this video on Monday: 

http://youtu.be/ET6rOBSGCms

Meanwhile,  Congressman John Culberson (R-Houston) released a statement ahead of  President Obama’s visit:  “The President doesn’t often visit our state, so it is understandable that he would’ve missed the successful bipartisan work my colleagues and I have done to implement and fund Operation Streamline. Under this strict enforcement policy, everyone caught crossing the border illegally is arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for up to six months. We have had great success in the Del Rio and Laredo Sectors and are working to expand it from Brownsville to San Diego,” said Congressman Culberson.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) has been invited to attend President Obama’s speech on immigration reform in El Paso.  She issued the following statement:

“The President will make a very important announcement…in my home state of Texas, and I am pleased to be invited.  Further, I am delighted to join Congressman Silvestre Reyes, the former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, an expert on national security and border security, and who served for many years at the Customs and Border Protection agency, in his district.  I have worked for years on immigration reform, and I have continuously introduced the Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act, including in the 111th Congress.  That bill has a clear road map for access to citizenship, which includes penalties and fines, in addition to a waiting period along with the responsibility to not jump in front of other applicants for citizenship.”

I’m travelling to Austin today. Look for my live reports this afternoon on KPRC Local 2.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ “Hero” Intern Honored In Houston
April 18, 2011

Congressional intern Daniel Hernandez was honored in Houston Sunday for his role in saving the life of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head during a political event in January.

Hernandez was honored at a champagne brunch hosted by the Victory Fund, a group dedicated to raising money and training members of the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender community to run for political office.

Hernandez, who is openly gay, is credited with applying pressure to Giffords’ wound to help stop the blood loss and staying by her side until she was rushed to the emergency room.

Giffords is recovering in a Houston hospital, TIRR Memorial Hermann, and has talked with Hernandez by phone several times. 

Houston Mayor Annise Parker,  Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, some of the country’s most prominent  openly gay elected officials, were also recognized during the brunch.

Meanwhile, the champagne brunch attracted a huge crowd of people from all segments of  Houston’s diverse community. 

 

Others in the crowd included:  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Houston City Council member Brenda Stardig, HISD Trustee Juliet Stipeche, Cindy Clifford of The Clifford Group, Lea Gibson from Republic Services, Shell Oil Company’s Karen Labat, Roland and Karen Garcia, Frances Page of Style Magazine, Brooks Ballard, Trevor Eade,  Alton LaDay, LaRence Snowden,, Emily Suchomel and many, many more.

How To Help The Victims of the Japan Earthquake & Tsunami
March 19, 2011

The public is invited to attend the Japan Festival at Hermann Park during the weekend of  April 9th and 10th.  http://www.jashouston.org/japanfestival.htm

The annual event is a celebration of the Japanese culture, but this year it will also double as a fundraiser for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Several local Japanese organizations are uniting in  this effort to raise money and supplies to send to their country, which is also dealing with radiation leaking from several nuclear plants.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the Counsel General of  Japan invited dignitaries and members of the general public to sign a book of condolence for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Houston Mayor Annise Parker both stopped by the office located in downtown Houston.

“This is a very personal human tragedy,” said Mayor Parker.  “They are resilient and strong and will come back and rebuild, but they are going to go through a painful time to do that.”

Congresswoman Jackson Lee said she was touched by the amount of compassion for the victims that has been expressed by people in Houston.  The Congresswoman presented the deputy counsel general with a proclamation and vowed to use the power and influence of her office to help Japanese Americans living in Houston.

  “With passports, many of their families are still missing and we’ve collected medical supplies,” said the Congresswoman.

Actor Charles S. Dutton Performs In Houston
February 27, 2011

I remember him best as the lead actor in the comedy/drama series Roc, but Charles S. Dutton is a seasoned award-winning actor and producer/director who has a career spanning theater, television and film.

On Saturday night, Houston was honored with Dutton’s presence and the outstanding performance of his critically acclaimed play, From Jail to Yale, Serving Time on Stage.

The play chronicles Dutton’s life story from the streets of Baltimore to the Yale School of Drama.

The performance took place at the University of  Houston Cullen Performance Hall and was held in partnership with the U.S. Dream Academy and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Founded by renowned gospel singer Wintley Phipps, the U.S. Dream Academy focus on impacting the lives of children with incarcerated parents and their children falling behind in school.

At the conclusion of the play, Dutton answered questions from the audience and later signed autographs and talked with fans at a private reception.

Some of  Dutton’s many other credits include episodic appearances in House, The Sopranos and the HBO series Oz.  He won Emmy’s for his guest-starring roles in Without a Trace and The Practice.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee Celebrates Christmas Early With Hundreds of Children
December 18, 2010

Christmas arrived a little early for hundreds of  Houston children who live in public housing.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee sponsored her  Annual “Toys for Kids” on Saturday, December 18, at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Along with providing pictures with Santa, hot dogs and popcorn, the Congresswoman also made sure that all of the good little boys and girls received Christmas presents.

Bicycles donated by Bishop I.V. and Lady Bridget Hilliard were raffled at  the end of the celebration.

 

The children also had an opportunity to meet real live heroes such as astronauts Stephanie Wilson and George Zamika, former Houston Rockets star Calvin Murphy and rapper Trae the Truth.

 

 This is the 16th year that the Congresswoman sponsored the toys for kids celebration. 

She has enlisted an army of volunteers to help, people like Goodwille Pierre and his daughter Joi and the men from “Sharing the Light” from New Light Church.

Each year the event seems to get bigger and better.

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.

Campaign Turns Ugly and Personal In 18th Congressional District
September 27, 2010

If   you have listened recently to local radio you have probably heard a political ad paid for by John Faulk, the republican candidate for the 18th Congressional District.

Faulk is trying to link incumbent  democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee to a scandal plaguing the Congressional Black Congress.   

U.S. Rep. Bernice Johnson of  Dallas has admitted that she awarded college scholarships worth thousands of  dollars to family members and family members of  friends.

There is no evidence that Congresswoman Jackson Lee has done anything wrong. 

However, in the radio spot you hear  a woman’s voice raising doubt about SJL’s  record and questioning if  she has any connection to the controversy.

The Congresswoman’s campaign released this statement: 

LOW DOWN DIRTY POLITICS @ PLAY BY REPUBLICAN OPPONENT 

(Houston, TX)…..As the upcoming November 2nd General Election approaches, it appears to be business as usual for Republican candidate John Faulk who is attempting to smear the incumbent representative of the 18th Congressional District, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, with his latest advertising tactic.  Faulk, a candidate with no record, is using “lies and misrepresentation” to smear his opponent who continues to run on her record of service and ability to bring millions of dollars back to the constituents within her district.

Faulk’s latest radio ad, which has a racist undertone and is attempting to confuse and mislead the voters with a commercial with an African American female voice, refers to the alleged actions of another congressional representative and attempts to smear Jackson Lee and question her credibility. This unfortunately is the usual “low down, dirty political tactics” of many Republicans.  The voters are astute enough to see beyond this type of negative campaigning.

Jackson Lee has continually represented and brought resources back to Texas and the 18th Congressional District for 15 years including: she has brought $6 billion in stimulus money and 269,000 jobs to Houston and Texas as a part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act; she has brought $1.7 billion for improvement of school and schools and colleges; she has brought $374.5 million for transit improvements; she has brought $120.4 million for public housing projects; she has brought $147.2 million to enhance public safety within our communities; she has brought 1 million dollars to Riverside General Hospital for its TRICARE Participant designation to treat military personnel for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders; $15 million to the Houston Ship Channel; $300,000 to the Texas Southern University’s Mickey Leland Center for archival preservation; $1 million for Harris County Flood Control District; $500,000 for a minority cancer control program at the University of Texas; $200,000 for both the City of Houston and FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation along with funding for many other worthwhile projects. 

Jackson Lee, a lifelong Democrat, has a committed and demonstrated track record of service to her district, community and nation.  Republican John Faulk has no record within the district and as a result is attempting to use smear tactics instead of focusing on the issues that affect the constituents of the district.  What is Faulk planning to do for the constituents in addressing the issues of the 18th Congressional District is the real question?