Category Archives: District J

A Closer Look at Houston’s District J

My Council Member, Mike Laster, gave a State of the District report the other day and provided a snapshot of District J. Here’s his report as written in his Journal.

Demographics and Destiny…

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to present a “State of the District” message to those gathered at the Southwest 2000 Bi-Monthly Breakfast hosted by Houston Baptist University. In preparation for my presentation I consulted the “Council District J Profile” produced by the City’s Planning and Development Department. The “Profile” can be found for review as an icon attachment at the District J website.

The Profile information is compiled from the 2010 U.S. Census data. It gives us a snapshot of the communities in District J when it was created along with District K.

The Profile confirms much of what we know intuitively about our neighborhoods – simply because we live here. Just over 181,000 persons call this part of Houston home. The District is three times as densely populated than the rest of Houston, hosting 9,000 persons per square mile to the City’s 3,100 persons per square mile. We are profoundly ethnically diverse – both from a residential and commercial stand point. Sixty-Eight percent (68%) of our households speak a language other than English at home. I firmly believe that it is the international connections of our people that will help District J lead Houston in international economic development in the coming years.

We are not without our challenges though. While 66% of our population is between the ages of 18 and 64, 41% of the population does not have a high school diploma. The District is home to 75,240 total housing units (both apartments and single family residences), yet 79% of those are renter occupied. Most concerning is that the median household income for District J has fallen nearly $7,000.00 in the past decade to $30,269.

While these numbers help us accurately understand who we are as a community, they do not determine our destiny. They serve as a starting point. I profoundly believe that the decent, hard-working people of District J will come together to build a community filled with pride and optimism. With effort and good will, we will build a better southwest Houston.

Now that I’ve resided in District J for ten months and will more than likely remain for the long haul, I need to start getting more involved, particularly in the area in which I live, which is surrounded by Harwin, Fondren, Hillcroft, and Bellaire, which isn’t a part of the civic association, according to the SCA maps. This little area is described quite well by the demographic information–we have $300K townhomes, $60K condos, and lots of affordable apartments. Just like any other neighborhood, we want good streets and great services, so I’m looking forward to hearing about the various construction projects and improvements being made to the area.

Endorsement: Vote FOR the City of Houston Bonds

There are five proposals on the ballot in which the City of Houston asks voters to approve $410 million in bonds. According to Mayor Parker, this is one of the smallest bond packages and items that will benefit from the bond approval are very much needed.

The proposals are as follows:

  • Proposition A — Public safety: $144 million
  • Proposition B — Parks: $166 million
  • Proposition C — Health, Sanitation, Recycling, Gen. Government: $57 million
  • Proposition D — Library: $28 million
  • Proposition E — Housing: $15 million

Proposition B is particularly important as $100 million of it will be earmarked, along with private matching funds, to connect bayous with green spaces, with the idea that parks be more accessible and closer to all Houstonians.

All of the City’s council districts stand to gain gain from the bonds, whether it be fire stations, libraries, green spaces, or general improvements. The Affordable Housing proposal would invest in clearing blighted properties for the purpose of building affordable housing.

Ultimately, these are good investments in the future. No, it’s not everything Houston needs, but it is a start. The biggest selling point is that a tax increase will not be needed; but for me, it’s all about simply creating a more livable and sustainable Houston.

I recommend a FOR vote for all of the City of Houston propositions.

District J: Securing Our Families Conference – Aug 29