Monthly Archives: August 2012



Early in the morning on August 31, the Department of Homeland Security raided the home of a male teacher from Anderson Elementary School (5727 Ludington) and arrested him on suspected child pornography charges. Federal agencies traced the child pornography to his home computer through internet activity on a child pornography website. The teacher remains in federal custody and has been removed from his duties. Law enforcement officials are continuing their investigation.

At HISD the safety of all the students is top priority. The district takes these charges very seriously and will work closely with law enforcement agencies. Counselors are available at the school for students as needed and all parents have been notified of this incident.

Denisse Cantu
HISD Media Relations Dept.



Rolling Out Magazine: In a city that’s seen its share of controversy surrounding clergy, a new story is circulating online about an Atlanta pastor that not only slept with members of his congregation, but infected them with the HIV virus.

An e-mail sent to is said to be from a woman named Ronita McAfee, a member of Full Gospel Baptist Church. The woman claims that she engaged in an illicit affair with her church leader, Pastor Craig Lamar Davis, who later turned out to be HIV positive.

According to McAfee, she and Davis had sexual encounters in an abandoned home, oftentimes unprotected. After detailing an encounter where the clergyman was acting strangely, McAffee told the blog that he informed her that one of his ex-girlfriends recently tested positive for HIV and advised her to get tested.

McAfee tested negative for the disease but later found out that a second woman, also a member of the church, tested positive.While some people are doubting the validity of the story, the blogger who wrote the piece (@WilliamGMcCray) claims to have quotes from the pastor himself and even made mention of a July arrest, which is absolutely true.


According to public records, Pastor Davis was arrested on July 22 on two counts of reckless conduct. He was released two days later on $1,500 bond. McCray quotes the pastor as saying in an explosive phone conversation, “I have never f—– no boys. Be sure to say that any man that comes to court or claims I infected them with HIV is a damn lie and I will see about them.” Davis is said to have been removed from his position at Full Gospel.More on this bizarre story can be found here. -danielle canada



Samsung’s got a handful of announcements to offer its mobile fans at IFA this year, and it’s started big: with the Galaxy Note II.

The new Android device packs a larger 5.5-inch, 1,280 x 720 16:9 screen, but still falls roughly within the same generous footprint of its predecessor.

A year on, we’ve now got a more powerful SoC, up from a dual-core 1.4GHz processor to a new quad-core 1.6GHz Exynos chipset (yes, that’s even faster than the one found in the Galaxy S III) and Android Jelly Bean right out of the box.

Samsung’s putting a lot of focus on making the most of all that screen space and S Pen functionality.

We got our hands (both of them) on the Galaxy Note II just a few hours early, so after the gallery, skip past the break for our first impressions.



Louisiana officials on Wednesday ordered the evacuation of some 3,000 people in a parish outside New Orleans and are continuing to rescue dozens of others in the same area trapped by rapidly rising floodwaters caused by Hurricane Isaac.

Plaquemines Parish has emerged so far as the area of southeastern Louisiana that has received the most significant damage from the storm, which continues to crawl over the coastal area, carrying with it 75 mile per hour winds and driving rain that has led to calamitous flooding.

“We haven’t seen anything like this, not even with Katrina,” said Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, located about 95 miles from New Orleans. “Those areas that didn’t flood for Katrina were flooded for this storm. If this is a Category 1 storm, I don’t want to see anything stronger.”Mr. Nungesser said that officials had concluded that a levee protecting a portion of the parish was not tall enough to hold back quickly accumulating water. “We don’t believe we have enough height,” he said, “to keep the water back.”


Gov. Bobby Jindal said officials had been mulling intentionally causing a breach in the levee to keep it from being overtopped.The fire department is going door to door in the area, and evacuees, including some of those in a nursing home, will be transported to higher ground in school buses, officials said.On Wednesday morning, another levee in the parish was overtopped, causing extensive flooding and stranding more than 100 people who ignored evacuation orders.

Dozens of people are still awaiting rescue on rooftops and in attics.The levee is not one of the large, federally maintained earthworks lining the Mississippi River, but a locally maintained levee some 8 feet high, and lower than the 12-foot surge that hit it, according to officials from the Army Corps of Engineers. The water threatened people living along the east bank of the parish, near the mouth of the Mississippi River.



Press Release: Today is a victory for the people of Texas. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied preclearance for the Republican-drawn Texas legislative maps. Due to repeated attempts at using the redistricting process to disenfranchise minority voters, the Voting Rights Act requires Texas to have its redistricting plans approved by the federal government. The federal government will not approve the plan if the maps marginalize minority voters, and this is exactly what the Republican-drawn maps did.

I am thankful that this federal court has denied these maps and preserved the integrity of ‘one man, one vote’ by enforcing the Voting Rights Act. The Republican-drawn maps were a prime example of why Texas maps must be precleared in the first place: the maps did not represent the demographics of our state and blatantly disenfranchised minority voters. While this does not affect the current maps for November’s election, today’s opinion ensures that we are one step closer to having maps that allow voters to elect representatives of their choice.

I was called as a witness by the U.S. Department of Justice in this case, and I would like to thank Attorney General Eric Holder and his staff for their vigorous defense of the Voting Rights Act and their stellar performance in federal court. Attached and below is a copy of my 2011 letter to the Department of Justice arguing that Plan H283 passed in H.B. 150 by the Legislature is retrogressive and violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

April 29, 2011 The Honorable Eric Holder Attorney General of the United States Mr. Tom Perez Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Gentlemen: We are writing to call your attention to the Texas House of Representatives redistricting plan that was passed this week by the Texas House despite the opposition of an overwhelming majority of African American and Latino legislators. The House Bill 150 plan is a blatantly retrogressive plan that dilutes the ability of African Americans, Latinos and other language minorities to elect candidates of their choice.

Having been passed by the House, this plan will likely be signed by the Governor and be submitted to you or the District Court in the District of Columbia for preclearance. At that time, we will provide much greater detail about the Section 5 violations contained in this redistricting plan and the process that was used to develop it, but we wanted to inform you immediately about the fundamental flaws in the proposed map.

1. Statewide Retrogression. In the past decade, 89% of Texas population growth was non-Anglo, but the State House redistricting plan reduces the number of effective districts where Hispanic, African American and Asian voters can elect the candidate of choice by systematically packing minority voters into existing minority opportunity districts to prevent the creation of additional minority districts and eliminate effective minority coalition districts where African Americans, Latinos and other language minorities vote cohesively to elect their candidate of choice. A number of alternate plans by legislators that would have increased the number of minority opportunity districts were presented by Latino and African American legislators, but all were rejected.

2. The number of Latino districts was reduced by the Texas House plan. According to the 2010 census, the Texas Latino population increased by almost 2.8 million since 2000, accounting for 65% of the state’s population growth, but the plan reduces the number of effective Latino districts to 34 from a benchmark of 35 or 36 existing districts. Plans were submitted that would have created as many as five additional effective Latino opportunity districts, but all were rejected. Additionally, there was retrogression in some of the 34 Latino districts maintained in the plan.

3. Effective Coalition Districts are eliminated by the plan. The 2010 census confirmed what we already knew: in Texas, minority population growth has moved into suburban areas over the decade, providing minority voters the opportunity to vote cohesively to elect their candidates of choice in coalition districts outside traditional “core” communities. The Texas House plan eliminates five existing effective coalition districts. The most egregious destruction of an effective coalition in the plan is the elimination of District 149, a Southwest Houston district that is currently only 26.6% Anglo Voting Age Population and is currently represented by a Vietnamese American legislator, Representative Hubert Vo, who has been elected four times by a minority coalition that has also elected local candidates to office. Instead of preserving and enhancing the district’s minority population, District 149.[sic] In fact, Vo was paired with the incumbent in neighboring Hispanic opportunity District 137.

4. Examples of Local Retrogression • Harris County – The Harris County Anglo population decreased by over 82,000 between 2000 and 2010 (a negative 5.7% growth rate) while Hispanic population grew by 551,789; African American population grew by 134,564 and Asian population grew by 76,827. Even though minority population was responsible for over 100% of Harris Co. population growth, the plan creates no new minority opportunity districts in Harris County and eliminates an effective multi-ethnic coalition district (149 – Vo), while diluting Latino HVAP in District 137 by 4.4% – from 59.8% to 55.5%. Anglos make up only 33% of Harris County population, but they would control 54% of the House Districts in the plan.

• Dallas County – The Dallas County Anglo population decreased by over 198,000 between 2000 and 2010 (a negative 20.2% growth rate) while Hispanic population grew by 243,211; African American population grew by 73,016 and Asian population grew by 30,302. Even though minority population was responsible for over 100% of Dallas Co. population growth, the House plan creates no new minority opportunity districts in Dallas County and eliminates effective coalition districts. Anglos make up only 33% of Dallas County population, but they would control 58% of the Districts in the House plan.

• South Texas – District 35 is currently only 56.4% Hispanic Voting Age population (HVAP) and has not consistently elected the Hispanic candidate of choice. Alternate plans were submitted that would have strengthened District 35 by as much as 8% HVAP and maintained Latino voting strength in adjoining districts, but the House plan diluted the District’s HVAP by 1.5% to 52.9%. • El Paso – Four of the five Districts in El Paso currently range from 73% and 92% HVAP and from 66% to 82% in Spanish Surname Voter Registration (SSRV), but District 78, which has not consistently elected the Latino candidate of choice once in the last decade, lags behind. In other areas of the state, the plan packs existing effective Latino districts to reach an arbitrary standard of 50% SSRV, claiming that this retrogressive plan increases Latino representation because an additional District meets that one fixed percentage, but in District 78, where an alternate plan demonstrated that such an increase could easily be accomplished without diluting adjacent districts, the House plan actually decreased the SSRV to 47.1%, which is problematic given electoral performance in District 78.

• Tarrant Co. – The House plan simply maintained the status quo: preserving two effective existing minority opportunity districts and one existing coalition district, although 321,000 of the county’s 362,000 population growth was non-Anglo. The House plan’s sponsors claim they created a new coalition District 101, but it simply replaces the existing District 93. Existing minority opportunity Districts were packed in the House plan and an alternate plan that created an additional majority-minority coalition district was rejected.

5. The County Line Rule. The State Constitution includes a provision that has been interpreted to require a Texas House district plan to split as few county lines as possible, which allows a 10% deviation range among districts. Alternate plans were introduced that created additional Latino opportunity districts and split a few more county lines, but still kept the vast majority of the state’s 254 counties intact. However, other alternate plans were introduced that also increased the number of Latino opportunity Districts and majority-minority coalition districts while adhering to the minimum number of county line cuts – and one even cut one less county line than the House plan

6. The Misleading “SSRV Standard.” As noted previously, the sponsor of the House plan CSHB plan claims he created a new Latino district, but that false claim is based on a singular statistic –Spanish Surname Voter Registration. Latino legislators and advocates repeatedly pointed out that the Department’s guidelines clearly state that the “ability to elect” is not determined by any predetermined or fixed demographic percentages. In fact, by packing minority voters into already effective minority opportunity districts, the House plan achieves its overriding partisan goal and dilutes the ability of the minority voters to elect the candidate of their choice. When and if the Texas House plan is formally presented for Section 5 preclearance we look forward to the opportunity to provide more information to assist your review of this plan.


Strong winds have been moving into New Orleans Tuesday afternoon as hurricane Isaac approaches land. This video was taken on Camp Street near Canal by the LaQuinta hotel.



I was shocked to see long lines just before midnight on Canal street in New Orleans, Louisiana Monday night.

I thought people were standing in line to buy last minute supplies for Isaac. 

The storm system that’s slowly approaching the Louisiana coast line. 

But as I got closer to this long snaking line, O realized it was not about weather but sports.

One person in front of Game Stop looked at me a bit odd when I asked what was the line about.

Another woman who was near her car said this was about Madden. 

Enthusiastic game lovers were anxious to get their hands on EA’s Madden 13. 

It’s the latest release from the video game company. 

I’m also told those in line at midnight would also received a free Era hat from Game Stop.

So, it’s clear even Isaac is not match for Madden.



Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier today introduced a new breakfast and lunch initiative with the HISD Police Department. Dr. Grier made the announcement during his visit to Billy Reagan K-8 Educational Center to kick off the first day of classes for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Beginning Tuesday, August 28, HISD police officers will eat breakfast and lunch with students at various elementary and middle school campuses. The officers will participate in the program during their normal patrol hours when time permits. While on campus the HISD police officers will also meet with administrators and will conduct safety and security checks.


Alan Helfman

River Oaks Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram President Alan Helfman initially approached HISD Police Chief Jimmy L. Dotson about the idea and is pleased the program is becoming a reality. “I have been passionate about this idea for several years and I’m pleased that it is finally coming to fruition. It’s wonderful that the officers will have another way to serve as role models and mentors for our children,” said Helfman.



Samsung will be announcing the Galaxy Note 2 on Aug. 29 in Berlin and has put up this teaser on YouTube. If you would rather not wait and spend that kind of money, but still want a large 5.3″ screen on your smartphone, the current Galaxy Note is for you. You can now get a refurbished Galaxy Note on AT&T for just $49.99 – this device is normally $199.99. The Note also comes with a stylus that adds tablet functionality and precise writing and drawing capabilities.

Full features of the Galaxy Note include 5.3″ 1280×800 capacitive Super AMOLED display, dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB built-in storage (expandable to 48GB via microSD), 8MP rear camera with 1080p video (2MP front), 4G LTE speeds, Bluetooth, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, microUSB, HDMI via microUSB, NFC, 26 hours talk time, Android 2.3OS (later upgradable to 4.0), and advanced S pen stylus.

Top Deal

Samsung Galaxy Note 5.3″ Smartphone (refurbished) (AT&T) for $49.99 with free shipping (normally $199.99)