Category Archives: 2017

Save The Date: 10/16/17 – Rev. Barry Lynn in Houston

 
Join the Houston Chapter
of
 
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
 
As We Honor the 25 Years of Leadership
of
  The Reverend Barry W. Lynn
 Ordained Minister, Lawyer, Author
 
And Celebrate the 
70th anniversary of Americans United
 
 
“Americans United–
Past, Present and Future”
 
Monday, October 16, 2017
7:30 p.m. 
Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church
 
Free and open to the public       Plenty of free parking

Reception following program
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Houston Food Bank Food and Resource Fairs – Various Locations

Beginning September 5, 2017, Houston Food Bank and South Texas Dental will be hosting Food and Resource Fairs across the Houston area to assist those affected by Harvey.

Click on image to enlarge:

9/2/17: City of Houston’s Latest Announcements

The City of Houston has sent out a few announcements regarding Harvey recovery and assistance efforts.

Houston Health Department Opens WIC Sites at GRB Shelter, Walmart Stores in Response to Harvey (link)

Houston Water Needs Public’s Help:  Zip Codes Affecte d by Impacted Water Treatment Plants in West Houston. (link)

HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY OPENS 19 LOCATIONS TO HELP HOUSTONIANS REBUILD (link)

Debris Collection Notice–Move Your Cars When Solid Waste Mgt is in Your Neighborhood. (link)

 

City of Houston: Trash and Debris Collection Info

From the inbox:

HOUSTON – To address the collection of disaster debris created by Hurricane Harvey, the Solid Waste Management Department will be temporarily changing the City’s normal collection schedule. Neighborhood depositories will be open 7-days a week from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. until further notice.

STORM DEBRIS COLLECTION

Storm debris will be collected on an ongoing basis until further notice. Please place debris at the curb separated into the following piles:

  • Vegetation – leaves, logs, plants, tree branches (do not bag).
  • Construction & Demolition Material – carpet, drywall, furniture, lumber, mattresses
  • Appliances – dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators, stoves, washers, water heaters
  • Electronics – computers, radios, stereos, televisions, other devices with a cord.
  • Household Hazardous Waste – cleaning supplies, batteries, lawn chemical, oils, oil-based paints, stains and pesticide

NEIGHBORHOOD DEPOSITORY LOCATIONS

  • North – 9003 N Main 77022
  • Northwest – 14400 Sommermeyer 77041
  • Northeast – 5565 Kirkpatrick 77028
  • Southeast – 2240 Central Street 77017
  • South – 5100 Sunbeam 77033
  • Southwest – 10785 SW Freeway 77074

No household garbage, electronics or household hazardous waste is accepted at the neighborhood depository locations. No pets are allowed on the premises.

Customers must provide the following at the Neighborhood Depository Locations*:

  • A current Texas Driver’s license or State Issued I.D.
  • A current utility bill or city property tax receipt

*  Addresses and names on all presented documents must match and electronic records are NOT accepted. No proof of residency is required for recycling only.

Normal collection services will resume on the schedule as follows:

GARBAGE COLLECTION SCHEDULE

  • Thurs., Aug. 31, 2017 – normal collection schedule
  • Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 – normal collection schedule  
  • Mon., Sept. 4, 2017 – no collection for Labor Day
  • Tues., Sept. 5, 2017 – Monday’s garbage will be collected
  • Wed., Sept. 6, 2017 – Tuesday’s garbage will be collected   
  • Thurs., Sept. 7, 2017 – normal garbage schedule resumes

RECYCLING COLLECTION

Curbside single stream recycling collection will be suspended until further notice. Customers may bring recyclables to neighborhood depository locations or the Westpark Recycling Center located at 5900 Westpark, Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Sept. 4for Labor Day.

YARD, JUNK, AND TREE WASTE COLLECTION

Yard, junk, and tree waste collections will be suspended until further notice due to the need of extra personnel for debris collection related to disaster recovery.

For more information, visit www.HoustonSolidWaste.org or call 3-1-1

Facebook: www.facebook.com/houstonsolidwasteTwitter: @houstontrash

The Solid Waste Management Department provides solid waste service to the citizens of Houston through the collection, disposal and recycling of discarded material in a manner that is safe, efficient, environmentally sound and cost-effective.

#HarveyRelief: Southwest Houston Area

Click on the map below for Southwest Houston shelter locations.

Also:

If you can give in Alief:

Salvation Army facility, 7920 Cook Road, is going to be used as a distribution center. If you have donations, you can drop them off at that location. The City will be sending supplies before 7 this evening according to Van Huynh from the District F office.

Update:  Call for supplies and volunteers in Alief at Salvation Army (7920 Cook Rd). We will be here until 730 today (Monday) accepting donations. We need volunteers tomorrow (Tuesday) from 9am-6pm. Please PM Barbara Quattro or Ana Shah if you can volunteer or for more information. We will announce tomorrow if we need volunteers for Wednesday.

NOTE:  Going off of pretty good information. If there are any corrections, please e-mail doscentavos@gmail.com. 

Post-Harvey Disaster Relief

There are are a lot organizations to which to donate for disaster relief. Kuff’s got a great list.

I’ll mention two:

Houston Food Bank will be helping people through the relief efforts and helping people get back on their feet once they are beyond the shelter experience. So, donate here to give to the Houston Food Bank. They know how to stretch a dollar and make sure people in need are fed.

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Harris County Attorney Files Brief Against SB4

As was reported last week, the Republicans on the Harris County Commissioner’s Court may have chickened out of joining the SB4 lawsuit, in what may have been a pre-emptive move to avoid getting on Greg Abbott’s “list,” but it didn’t stop County Attorney Vince Ryan from submitting a brief to the federal court asking for a stop to any implementation of the racial profiling, anti-immigrant law.

Ryan makes the case that SB4 affects children his office represents.

The Harris County Attorney’s office, objects to the law for the following reasons:

The office represents the state Department of Family Protective Services in child protection cases, advocating for children’s best interests and the preservation of families — irreconcilable with the thrust of SB4, which is to “to cooperate in efforts which will lead tothe deportation of parents or kinship caregivers, the separation of families, and further trauma to children,” according to the brief.

Federal mandates require that assistance and benefits should be available to children and families “irrespective of their immigration status,” according to the brief. State law also directs that “the provision of the services necessary to give effect to children’s best interests are not conditioned on their, or their parents’, immigration status,” according to the brief.

Ryan states: “Any county attorney who declines to engage with assisting in the enforcement of immigration laws or discourages colleagues from doing so in order to advocate for the best interest of the child and promote family unification — as child welfare laws mandate — would not be “providing enforcement assistance” and would be “adopt[ing], enforce[ing], or endors[ing] a policy” or engaging in a “pattern or practice” that “materially limits the enforcement of immigration laws.””

Children of parents or family members who have been deported will be placed in an overburdened and potentially harmful foster care system.

Immigrant communities will fear cooperation and will not report abuse or neglect or provide information to authorities seeking to protect children.

SB4 will leave a huge swath of the community affected in one way or another. Whether one sees it as a legalized racial profiling law that targets anyone of color to be asked their immigration status, or a license for local cops to shirk their crime-fighting duties in favor doing some immigrant hunting, or in the case of the County Attorney, a law that will affect children caught up in their own brand of hell, it’s just a bad law.

“S.B. 4 will do irreparable damage to this State’s child welfare process, place county attorneys charged with representing DFPS in an irreconcilable conflict, and do further trauma to children who have been placed in the State’s care. Further, there is no legitimate state purpose in treating children who have an unauthorized immigrant parent or other potential care giver differently in child welfare cases,” states Ryan’s brief, which was filed this month in federal court.

In other news, the City of Laredo has joined the SB4 lawsuit. In fact, their City Council voted unanimously to join it. Now, that’s what I call a “welcoming city.”

 

 

 

 

Houston Area Senators Urge Harris County on SB4 Lawsuit; To Be Considered on July 11

From the inbox:

(Houston, Texas) The Harris County Commissioners Court is set to consider joining the lawsuit against Senate Bill 4 at their meeting tomorrow, July 11th at 10am. Senators John Whitmire, Sylvia R. Garcia and Borris Miles issued a joint letter urging commissioners to vote in favor of joining with counties and municipalities across Texas in suing the State of Texas over the controversial legislation.

The 85th Legislature passed Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), the “show-me-your-papers” law, scheduled to take effect on September 1, 2017. We were extremely disappointed to see the state’s leadership endorse legislation that strips local control from Harris County, incentivizes racial profiling, and makes our communities less safe.

SB 4 contains numerous provisions that simply cannot be allowed to take effect. SB 4 would prevent local law enforcement leaders from setting their own policies to work with the communities under their jurisdiction. It would further allow individual law enforcement officers to decide on their own whether and how to question individuals about their immigration status, creating a troubling path to unchecked racial profiling. This will have a chilling effect on crime reporting in vulnerable neighborhoods, and make our community less safe.”

Senator Garcia will personally attend the meeting to testify in support of litigation. The agenda item has been brought up by County Commissioner of Precinct 1, Rodney Ellis. The full letter can be read here.

Houston-area State Reps have also sent a letter urging the County to join the SB4 lawsuit. A federal court hearing was already held in late June; however, there was no immediate ruling. So, let’s stay tuned.

 

Is “Move to Center” Talk by Dems Code For Anti-Immigrant Talk?

An op-ed appeared in the NYT written by a Bill and Hillary Clinton pollster (Mark Penn and some other guy) calling for Democrats to move to the center because that’s when they were most successful, i.e., the Clinton years. Of course, they get really specific on the definition of “center”: Go to the right on immigration.

Specifically, it states the following:

Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.

The suggested immigration policy?

Washington should restore the sanctity of America’s borders, create a path to work permits and possibly citizenship, and give up on both building walls and defending sanctuary cities.

They blame so-called “identity politics” and then call on the Democrats to save  others who are hooked on opioids while calling for the ceasing of  pardons and early prison releases of black kids caught up in the US war on drugs.  And that Dems must also stop protecting brown people from deportation, thus, becoming “anti-sanctuary city” like the other guys.

Let’s be honest,  “working class,” is also code for  “white people in Wisconsin, Pennsylviania, and Michigan,” which are the states Clinton lost. So, kicking a group of people around is OK as long as Dems win? While they may consider it a path to victory, some Latinos will consider it a clear path out of the Party, or worse, away from their polling location.

Now, this may be one op-ed in a major newspaper by some high-paid consultant, but no doubt I’ve heard (and read on social media) the conversations by and about Dems needing to become more centrist ever since the big loss last November. “Change, or else!”, is the mantra. This op-ed, though, is the first time I’ve read something so specific. Otherwise, it’s been elected officials and activists on social media (still) whining about railing on Bernie, or on the “fringe,” which could be anything from Black Lives Matter, Immigration activists, and even “bathroom” policy protesters. (I miss the old days when Dems only hated the LaRouchies.)

This isn’t anything new, and I’ve certainly blogged about it many times over the last twelve years. For some reason, immigrants, and by default, Latinos in general, are usually the first groups with a boot placed on their necks in the name of “working class outreach.” I still recall an East Texas Dem Chair telling my client to “go against the illegals” to win the white vote (and probably his own vote). Is this making a comeback? Please, tell us now, instead of a few weeks before the 2018 election.

Obviously, conversations must be had about the Democratic message, perhaps also about candidate quality, and the stances Dems take on issues. There are smart ways to communicate with voters without being openly divisive. Thus far, these members of the consultant-class who wrote the op-ed aren’t very much into party unity, and much less into the defense of those who come under attack for political purposes by the other side. Dems need to be smarter than what these guys offer.

Something on which to keep an eye and ear open, for sure.

#SB4: 14 Houston-area TX House Members Send Letter to Houston Council

Fourteen members of the Houston delegation of the Texas House have penned a letter in which they ask members of the Houston City Council to support the City of Houston’s participation in a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the “show me your papers” law signed by Greg Abbott, Senate Bill 4. The law would allow untrained local cops to question a person’s citizenship based on little else than the look of a person.

cohltrsb4-1

Pointing to the intent of SB4 as a racial profiling law, the members of the legislature state that over 44 percent of Texas’ population is Latino, Asian-American, or Arab-American. Add to that the 11.5% that is African-American and nearly two-thirds of the population of Texas could be affected by racial profiling.

The legislators also remind members of Council that such a law will send us down the road of past failures in anti-immigrant laws, such as California Prop 187 and Arizona’s SB1070.

Recent headcounts of City Council have shown a divided City Council. For a city that thrives on marketing its diversity, a divided City Council on an issue such as the constitutionality of legalized racial profiling will not make for a palatable, if not, “welcoming” city.

Thanks to these Texas legislators for taking a stand:  Alma Allen, Carol Alvarado, Garnet Coleman, Harold Dutton, Jessica Farrar, Ana Hernandez, Jarvis Johnson, Mary Ann Perez, Ron Reynolds, Shawn Thierry, Senfronia Thompson, Hubert Vo, Armando Walle, Gene Wu.