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)

 

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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.

SB4 Racial Profiling Law Temporarily Blocked

This is great news, even if it is temporary.

During a stressful time of natural disaster in which people have lost homes, cars, property and have had their livelihood threatened, the added stress of having a racist racial profiling law that targets brown people hanging over them is at the very least stopped while it goes through further review.

The judge found that certain provisions of SB 4 conflict with, and are pre-empted by, federal law because enforcing SB 4 will interfere with the federal government’s authority to control immigration. The judge also found that enforcing SB 4 will result in First Amendment violations.

The judge also determined that vague prohibitions in SB 4 violate due process and “create a real danger of arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.”

In addition, he found that enforcement of the mandatory detainer provisions “will inevitably lead to Fourth Amendment violations.”

SB4 was to go into effect on September 1, 2017. Now, Federal Judge Orlando Garcia will likely set a date for a hearing to determine its constitutionality. Obviously, we await a response from Abbott and his Republican cohorts who supported this bigoted bill.

Even before the remnants of Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, there was worry in the air as thousands were expected to end up in temporary shelters run by local, state, and federal authorities. Soon, there were rumors that people would be asked their immigration status to receive even the simplest disaster assistance–shelter, food, medical. Mayor Sylvester Turner offered some relief in stating that Houston’s doors were open to anybody in need. Still, a targeted community was stressed.

Thanks to ACLU, MALDEF, the lawyers, the witnesses, the activists, and the cities who joined the challenge. Obviously, this is not over and continued attention and activism must continue to ensure this bigoted law is finally defeated. This is definitely a welcome first step.

MALDEF provided the following FAQ on the decision (click image to enlarge).

maldefsb4

UPDATE:  Republican governor Greg Abbott will continue his defense of this bigoted law.

“U.S. Supreme Court precedent for laws similar to Texas’ law are firmly on our side,” Abbott said in a statement. “This decision will be appealed immediately and I am confident Texas’ law will be found constitutional and ultimately be upheld.”

 

#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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It’s Not Just About Joe Arpaio

There’s a lot of anger and shock at Trump’s pardon of the bigoted Joe Arpaio. All my liberal friends on Facebook sure are pissed. But they need to admit that none of this started with Trump or Arpaio.

Back in 1996, I was pissed, too. That’s when Bill Clinton signed his own immigration act, which included section 287(g), a license to hunt and racially profile brown people for immigration purposes. Back then, many of us in the immigrant rights movement knew what was to come. Everyone else was just playing politics and ignoring the inevitable. And the Joe Arpaios of the world got exactly what they wanted.

Much like Republicans tell us now that laws like Texas’ SB4 are for the purposes of “safety,” Bill Clinton did the same. That 287(g) was about going after “criminals.” And Obama’s expansion of Dubya Bush’s Secure Communities didn’t help, either. Millions of deportations, hundreds of thousands in profiteering private prisons, families separated, racial profiling gone rampant, economies destabilized, apologists for anti-immigrant Democratic candidates, etc, and the politics of this issue have become pretty screwy.

So, I read all this anger and ask, “Where have you been?”

If you’re not willing to stop the root causes, even though us brown people warned you about them 20 years ago, then what are you angry about? If you’re up in arms about Trump and Arpaio, but are apologists for those who gave them the power to hunt and profile, what is the intent of your anger?

Well, if it’s winning elections and going back to the same old Democratic way of addressing immigration, then, good luck with that. We see right through it. And for someone who has voted in every single Democratic Primary since turning of voting age, it’s pretty much killed my love of politics, not to mention my involvement in it.

No doubt, Joe Arpaio is evil. But Donald Trump is just the jet fuel that is being added to a dumpster fire that has existed since the first immigration laws were written–when the United States decided that there had to be an Us versus Them mentality in 1790. “Them” being the original inhabitants of the land, then, those kidnapped and brought over for profit, then, anyone else who wanted to come over that didn’t fit the profile of the original undocumented people.

There’s a lot of hate in the United States and all the “love” memes and frames on Facebook are not going to change it. And surely, liberal, sanctimonious whitesplaining to Latino voters that they need to vote isn’t going to create political victories. As if the 70% of white people who put Trump in office don’t deserve any blame. Since 1996, we’ve seen what Democrats can do with 287(g) and immigration enforcement, too. It wasn’t just Arpaio.

Taking a stand against racist policies, showing unapologetic support for those being attacked and targeted, and proposing policies that benefit people (rather than target them) are what excite people to go to the polls, among other progressive policies. And calling out members of your own political party when they take the politically expedient route to appease the worst among us is a good start, too.

And if your only response to this post is, “Do you want Trump to win?”, well, perhaps you’re not trying hard enough to beat him and the people who continually support bigoted immigration policies.

 

Sheriff Gonzalez Ends Use of Private Jails

Now, this is the kind of news I like to hear coming out of Sheriff Gonzalez’s office.

For years, Harris County has spent millions transporting and warehousing inmates in private jails and prisons because of overcrowding. Sure, the article states that this was done mostly for budget savings and to curb overcrowding, but these private jails are badly run with little oversight. Still, it’s good to see the Sheriff take action on the matter.

“I simply think we incarcerate way too many folks; and there is a cost associated with that. Whether it be the cost of daily housing or sometimes outsourcing inmates. So I think that we need to change those practices… And that’s why I’m a big advocate for reform, and really addressing our mass incarceration complex that we have in this country,” Gonzalez said.

He says there are also other benefits to bringing inmates back in-house.

“We have more control of what we’re doing. You know, the medical records, things like that,” Gonzalez said.

Another benefit? Loved ones can visit inmates, without having to travel to other municipalities or cities.

There are still some major systemic problems that need to be dealt with, but, I guess culture change takes a lot of time to achieve buy-in and implementation. At least that’s what I keep getting told by the local experts.

One thing’s for sure, we really need to do something about that bail system; however, for that, we’ll also need some good candidates to defeat the incumbent county judge and Precinct 2 commissioner.

Rest in Peace ~ Nick Villarreal

Tex-Mex Conjunto legend Nick Villarreal passed away on Sunday at the age of 66. Tejano Nation has more.

The accordionist, vocalist, songwriter, and composer of what some call novelty tunes left Tejano and Conjunto fans with plenty of musical memories, having earned recognition for such hits as La I Gotta Go, La Not To Worry, and my personal favorite, El Mayor.

The latter was written soon after the revelations of San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros’ affair. While the general public and media was in shock, Villarreal had a slightly different take. A bit of parody and a lot of realness went into that song. Lines (which I translate) such as, “It happens to presidents, why not a guy from San Antonio,” or semi-defenses, such as “he’s human.” Of course, he still called him the best Mayor SA had at the time.

Much like most of his funny, yet danceable, tunes, they were Puro West Side (of San Antonio). He gave real-life situations and anecdotes a dose of comedy for all to chuckle at, bringing them home with barrio dichos and jargon that only those with a bit of barrio in them could understand. Along with his creative songwriting, he was also an accomplished accordionist who influenced many young performers.

I had the pleasure of watching him in action at a Tejano Conjunto Festival in San Antonio years ago, revving up the crowd with every “A ni ni,” which was just a funny way of saying, “Andale.” Thankfully, we have plenty of albums and live youtube vids to remember him by.

“…Pa’delante, Chief.”

UPDATE:  Tejano Nation has an exclusive interview with Nick’s mother.

 

 

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.”

 

 

 

 

Still Seeking Statewide Democrats

As Greg Abbott announces his re-election campaign, Democrats are still left wondering who will carry the Donkey flag in 2018 for governor and the other statewide offices. News came out that a Dallasite has announced a run in the Dem primary to take on Abbott, Jeffery Payne.

What caught my eye:

he also opposes the new state law banning sanctuary cities.

While he supports increasing border security, he says those who are in the U.S. illegally should be placed on a path to citizenship.

He got two out of three there. As I’ve always said, never sound like a Republican and “increasing border security” sounds quite Republican. My question to Payne is, what the hell does “increasing border security” even mean?

In a state race like this one, does it mean he supports the DPS border surge which has been all waste, all fear-mongering, and all border militarization? State police border enforcement is OK, but not SB4-type local police enforcement?

Or is he talking about supporting federal efforts, like Trump’s border wall? Or added militarization on the border, except with the national guard?

Or is he just trying to gain a few conservative votes? Ask the last Dems who ran for governor how that went for them, then seek some clarity.

Now, if he is against the sanctuary cities ban, he’s not a bad guy. but seeking “balance” on an issue in which the Republicans have been completely hateful and divisive isn’t necessarily the correct response.

The better response may be to simply call out the hundreds of millions in waste and fear caused by Abbott and his DPS border surge. The increase in crimes not investigated by DPS. The increase of DPS traffic tickets in the Valley. The lack of crime reporting by immigrants and a Latino community that distrusts the police. The travesty of deaths on the border under a hot Texas sun caused by these militarized efforts. Or, the fact that all of this is a political ploy to keep Texans in fear, blaming others, for the problems caused by the Republicans.

We’ve got a lot of material to work with just on this one issue. “Increasing border security” will never be believable to those who vote based on fear and/or hate.

I recently wrote about recent calls for the move to “centrism” as a means of making some anti-immigrant policies acceptable to Democrats. I hope this isn’t the advice our statewides will pay for in 2018.

As West Wing’s Leo McGarry told Jed Bartlet, “Because I’m tired of it – year after year after year after year, having to choose between the lesser of ‘who cares?'”