Tag Archives: mike laster

Wage Theft Ordinance Vote Today at City Council

UPDATE:  ITEM consideration has been postponed until next week, according to Mayor Parker. Today’s public comments have had mostly supporters of the wage theft ordinance, as written. There was one business group who stated they were fine with the ordinance affecting only city contractors, but they appear to want to protect non-city contractors who screw workers. What’s up with that?

Anyway, Mike Morris at the Chron has a write-up of the latest on the issue.

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Where Are We On Wage Theft?

My friend Texpate gave us an update from what appeared in the Chron on the latest regarding the proposed wage theft ordinance. Texpate seems to think that the ordinance is on life-support, even in its watered down state. Still, the Chron didn’t provide much information about others on Council who are against it, as Texpate reminded us.

I tried to get some more quotes out of Morris vis-a-vis specific stands by other Councilmembers, but was unsuccessful. That being said, I suspect that other right-wing Councilmembers assisted in piling onto this measure. These would include people like Jack Christie, Helena Brown and Oliver Pennington.

Unfortunately, my own Council Member Mike Laster seems to also be looking out for “business interests” while his own council district more than likely has the most workers in the city who would benefit from the ordinance. There’s no doubt the district has workers who are exploited.

As a constituent, I e-mailed my thoughts that he should support the ordinance back on July 22.

Councilmember Laster,

I write to request that you support the proposed wage-theft ordinance which will be considered by the Public Safety Commission on Tuesday. 

Wage-theft is nothing new, particularly when targeted at immigrant communities–the very type which reside in our District J. Whether it is small businesses, corporations, or even government contractors, there is a rampant scourge of wage-theft in our community. Organizations, such as Fe y Justicia Worker Center, work tirelessly every day to collect back pay on behalf of workers. A strong ordinance, such as that which is proposed, will go a long way at stopping businesses from taking advantage of workers. 

All workers and all families deserve a shot at prosperity in our wonderful city. I would appreciate it if you would join your colleagues who support the proposed Wage-Theft Ordinance. It is time to stand up to unscrupulous businesses for the good of our community.

Simple and to the point, right? Well, I’ll overlook the fact that I didn’t find a response in my inbox, but I will still hold out some hope that he will do the right thing and support the wage theft ordinance. Or, at least give a public, quotable answer as to why he does not support it.

District J ~ Mike Laster is Up for Re-Election

I ran into my District J Houston City Councilman, Mike Laster, today and I must say that he’s really representing us well on the horseshoe. Mike Laster is running for a second term, and by the looks of it, he has earned it. According to a recent campaign e-mail:

Together we are making great progress in building better neighborhoods  in District J and making southwest Houston a better place to live, work and raise our families. Here’s just a few of the things we’ve accomplished:

• We completed an agreement with Houston Baptist University for $160M in economic development which will create jobs and revitalize the Fondren corridor;

• We worked with HPD to close adult nightclubs and demolish the abandoned Winfield I Condominiums;

• We worked to establish Friends of Parks organizations and are helping to create a skate park for Burnett-Bayland Park;

• We finally secured the return of the long requested left turn lanes at Gessner & Beechnut;

• We handled over 1,000 service calls from community members.

I want to continue making progress in bringing economic development and neighborhood revitalization to District J. I hope I can count on your support for my re-election as your City Council Member.

Since the Fondren corridor runs along my neighborhood, I must say that I like what is going on at HBU, especially the development of their Southland Conference football team and a new stadium which is being built. They open their development season at Sam Houston State. It might cause some added Saturday traffic, but if it helps our neighborhood economy–great!

The skate park at Burnett-Bayland caught my eye, as well, and reminded me of a story I did on the Tacos and Votes event held in 2012 in which I met a group of skateboarding kids who helped out a little. They brought up the fact there was no skate park in the area, so, I wrote a blurb in that post. Well, I don’t know if it caught anyone’s eyes, but hopefully, these kids were involved in bringing this up because it seems to be happening, now. Good deal!

And let me tell you, one might think that a left-turn lane at Gessner and Beechnut is no big deal, but let me tell you, it really is. It will make a huge difference when it comes to drive-time and traffic flow. Taking Beechnut back to Gessner (and taking a left on Gessner to hit Bellaire to head to my neighborhood) from the big HEB on the Beltway is definitely going to make things easier for me.

And I’ll add that the construction project outside my door on Harwin is coming along nicely–new pipes, new concrete, and two lanes, again. Something about watching progress happen that just puts me in a good mood.

Mike Laster has been a very responsive council member, and I’m looking forward to his second term.

Kuff Looks at COH Races

Thanks to Kuff for taking a look at City of Houston races that will be upon us before we know it. The Summer campaign season will hopefully arrive soon and we’ll all get to talk more on the back-and-forth between campaigns.  That said, I think Kuff’s take deserves some commentary on a per-race basis from my end, since he did all that work.


Other than seeing signs and signs of Facebook activity from Ben Hall and Eric Dick, not much else has caught my eye. There’s no doubt that Mayor Annise Parker has an edge provided by incumbency, so, the recent positive news items in the form of “Top” whatever lists and “best city” articles continually point to her mayoral tenure. Finally, there’s no doubt that we also look to our leaders for a sense of comfort and hope during tragedies, and Mayor Parker and her administration have provided this since the Southwest Inn tragedy, in my opinion.

At this point, any well-funded opponent should have already been on the airwaves (regular and virtual) introducing themselves to Houston. Simply relying on, as Kuff mentions, the pincer strategy, will not be enough to generate excitement for kicking out an incumbent. Finally, while Kuff mentions the parody Hall twitter, there’s also a parody Hall for Latinos twitter, whose tagline is:  “No se porque estoy corriendo para alcalde. Tambien, porque mis empleados no registraban esta cuenta?” or “I don’t know why I’m running for Mayor. Also, why my employees didn’t register this account.”

So, at least us Twitterers (Twitteritos in Spanish) will have fun with that one.


The only one I’ve given some attention is District I, and only because it has a few good candidates. Sure, there’s been controversy along the way, but for the most part, it’s all about the campaigns working away at fundraising and pressing the flesh. The biggest obstacle to winning, other than a possible run-off, will be lack of voter excitement.

I’m hoping District J is unopposed so I can keep Mike Laster without worries. As diverse as District J is, so are the issues that affect the various areas of the district. I’m glad that Harwin is finally getting the concrete and pipes it deserves, but I do hope more of my own neighborhood’s streets get some paving/flooding/ponding issues taken care of in the future (cough-Marinette-cough- Clarewood-cough-Bellerive).


More than likely, this will be the most interesting of the at-large races. There are at least three candidates  who have caught my eye:  Jenifer Rene Pool, Roland Chavez, and Rogene Gee Calvert. Others who have signed up are mostly bad, but these mentioned have some sort of base from which to begin; not to mention real campaigns. I supported Pool in her 2011 run for At-Large 2, and she showed up to the 2013 Kingwood Area Democrats’ brunch which I emceed, so, that’s points for her, thus far, in 2013.

HCC District I

This will be an interesting one, too, given that there are two progressive candidates trying to unseat a long-time incumbent, Yolanda Navarro Flores. Community activist Kevin J. Hoffman returns for another try after coming close in 2007, as well as Teacher’s Union leader Zeph Capo. The difference this time around is that what was once a Latino opportunity district has become a lot more iffy for a Latino to win. During the recent redistricting of 2011, a good bunch of Latino-voter heavy precincts which had gone heavily for Navarro Flores in the past were switched out with a swath of precincts in Gulfton, which, although Latino-heavy, do not necessarily have much of a voter participation rate. While some of us were arguing over Commissioner’s seats and a lack of a Congressional seat, Latino voting strength in this district got a bit diluted. Oops.

Houston ISD District VII

And speaking of messed-up districts, I keep hearing of an opponent for incumbent Harvin Moore in my district, but nothing official. My district almost seems to be part of some “cracking” expedition because somehow it has a nice swath of minority-heavy SW Houston (my part of Sharpstown and Gulfton) stuck in a district which includes Memorial and River Oaks. Meanwhile, other minority-heavy parts of SW Houston (Bellaire and the southern part of Sharpstown) are placed in a couple other districts. Another, “oops,” I guess. Anyway, I hope there’s a viable and hard-working opponent that I can support.

Those are the ones that have the eyes of DosCentavos on them. By all means, check out Kuff’s post on the rest. I do agree with Kuff that we are looking forward to the first campaign finance reports to be published. They always give a better snapshot of things.