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HPD RISES TO THE TOP IN THE CLIMBING COMPETITION!

FINISHING FIRST IN THE STAIRWELL!


The hard work and training – hurriedly climbing dozens of flights of stairs each morning with nothing but sweat and achy muscles to show for it – paid off.

A group of eight Houston police officers calling themselves “Houston Cops – SWAT Team” worked as just that – a team – to defeat and rise above dozens of other teams including one from the Houston Fire Department in the first American Lung Association “Fight for Air” Stair Climb on Saturday (May 16).

The stair climb was a grueling, fast-paced hike up 39 floors of the Marathon Oil Tower in uptown Houston at 5555 San Felipe.  It proved to be a worthwhile finish for the HPD team as it compiled the lowest team score for its top three climbers with a combined time of 20 minutes and 28.7 seconds.  The top three officers averaged an impressive 6.76 minutes to scale 39 flights!

The “Houston Cops – SWAT Team” was comprised of Officers T. Hardin, H. Gutierrez, T. Warren, G. Griger, L. Mouton, R. McCusker, J. Murphy and Lieutenant A. Mihalco.  Team leader, Lieutenant Al Mihalco, praised his team and the American Lung Association (ALA) for their hard work.  “Our HPD team looked at this competition as an opportunity to give back to our community and those like ALA who need our help,” Mihalco said.  “We had a great time not only competing against our brothers and sisters at HFD, but more importantly helping the ALA raise money and awareness to fight lung disease.  We look forward to coming back next year,” said Lieutenant Mihalco.

The “Fight for Air” Stair Climb event raised more than $126,000 for the American Lung Association, whose mission is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. The ALA estimates that 35 million Americans are living with chronic lung disease.

REMEMBER WHEN THE INSITE FIRST WROTE ABOUT THE CONTROVERSIAL FORT BEND COUNTY PROSECUTOR MIKE ELLIOTT!


THE ISNITE’S ORIGINAL POST ABOUT ELLIOTT: http://carey2.blogspot.com/2007/05/shocked-at-fort-bend-county-assistant.html

A former Fort Bend County prosecutor claims he was fired Friday to give his boss a better shot at winning re-election, but District Attorney John Healey said Mike Elliott was dismissed for “performance issues.”

Healey confirmed Saturday that he terminated Elliott, who headed the office’s economic crimes division.

He declined to elaborate.

“I have a habit of not discussing personnel matters,” Healey said.

Elliott said the dismissal was politically motivated.

“He is trying to use me as a scapegoat,” Elliott said Saturday. “He doesn’t want to take responsibility for his own actions,”

Healey, who intends to run for re-election, said that the firing may actually provoke competition in next year’s Republican primary.

“As a matter of fact, I don’t think he would have run against me had I kept him in the office,” Healey said.

Elliott, who was hired in 1992 by a previous district attorney, made headlines a decade ago for his domestic violence prosecution of former Houston Oiler Warren Moon, who was acquitted.

More recently, he pursued criminal charges against Fulshear Mayor James W. Roberts. The charges were dismissed.

Former employees of Holden Roofing, owned by Brett Holden, sued Elliott and Holden in federal court last year accusing them of conspiring to pursue unfounded criminal indictments and a groundless civil case against the workers. The lawsuit contends that Elliott pursued a malicious prosecution against them because of his friendship with Holden, who also made political contributions to Elliott’s wife, Fort Bend District Clerk Annie Rebecca Elliott.

Mike Elliott has denied the lawsuit’s allegations.

Elliott said he was fired minutes after a man he prosecuted for intoxication manslaughter received the maximum 20-year sentence.

But he doesn’t have a copy of the termination letter, he said, because it was taped under a glass table top.

“(Healey) asked me to slide the books over and see if I could read what was under the books through the glass,” Elliott said.

The letter stated that he was “overzealous,” he said.

Elliott, who was led away from the courthouse by deputies, said his legal career will continue in private practice while he weighs other options.

“I had told him that while I was under his employment, I wouldn’t run against him,” Elliott said, “but I’m very strongly considering what many, many people are asking me to do — which is run for district attorney.”

Fort Bend’s new economic crimes division chief is Scott Carpenter, a former Harris County prosecutor.


URBAN RADIO STATIONS TAKE A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO AM RADIO!

TWO MESSAGES TO KILL HR 848!

Many of you are familiar with the controversy involving House Resolution 848.  It’s the Performance Rights Act.  It would require radio stations to pay the artists who sing the songs that air on your local radio station.  In the past just the composers of the songs were paid.  

Recently, Black owned Radio One took to the airwaves in Houston.  It warned listeners if this legislation passed you’d likely lose Black owned and small radio stations around the country.  
I recently heard a similar ad on AM radio.  It was paid for by the National Association of Broadcasters.  They take a different approach in their message to kill HR 848.  Instead of saying you’re going to lose your favorite radio station they claim all the money will go to foreign owned companies.  What does that mean?  It means many of the record labels are no longer owned by Americans.  They’re owned by those who live in Japan or England.  So, AM radio has almost taken what some would consider the conservative approach.  It’s them against us.  
The AM ad implies if we pay all of this money to artists for playing their songs on the radio only the record companies owned by foreign interests would benefit.  
Do you think one approach is better than another?  The Insite would like to hear your opinion!
Note: At last check HR 848 calls for the record companies to walk away with at least 50% of the royalties that would go to the artists if their songs are played on the radio!

STAR TREK STILL STRONG AT THE BOX OFFICE!

THE MOVIE YOU MUST GO SEE THIS SUMMER!

1. “Angels & Demons,” Sony, $46,204,168, 3,527 locations,
$13,100 average, $46,204,168, one week.
  
2. “Star Trek,” Paramount, $43,034,547, 3,860 locations,
$11,149 average, $147,645,384, two weeks.

   3. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” Fox, $14,702,425, 3,892
locations, $3,778 average, $150,993,169, three weeks.
   4. “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” Warner Bros., $6,653,384,
3,150 locations, $2,112 average, $39,855,222, three weeks.
   5. “Obsessed,” Sony, $4,588,973, 2,634 locations, $1,742
average, $62,610,148, four weeks.
   6. “17 Again,” Warner Bros., $3,368,189, 2,450 locations,
$1,375 average, $58,363,111, five weeks.
   7. “Monsters Vs. Aliens,” Paramount, $3,182,085, 1,951
locations, $1,631 average, $190,733,766, eight weeks.
   8. “The Soloist,” Paramount, $2,402,801, 2,022 locations,
$1,188 average, $27,505,154, four weeks.
   9. “Next Day Air,” Summit Entertainment, $2,244,878, 1,139
locations, $1,971 average, $7,613,221, two weeks.
   10. “Earth,” Disney, $1,697,956, 1,584 locations, $1,072
average, $29,088,771, four weeks.

PEOPLE GIVE YOU STRANGE LOOKS IF YOU’RE ON A BUS STOP!

CAN I GET A RIDE OR CAN YOU RUN ME TO WALMART?

I’ve never quite understood the bus mentality in the deep South.  A lot of people believe riding a bus is beneath them.  If I had around the clock bus service in my neck of the woods I would hop on public transportation in a minute.  On Monday I decided to sit down at a bus stop near OST and Almeda as my photographer was shooting an accident scene.  While sitting there people gave me almost a snobbish like, I’m better than you type look.  Have you ever had that before? In big cities everyone will hop on a bus or a train without a second thought.  It seems to be almost a crime to ride the bus in the south.  In my hometown of Baton Rouge no one rides the bus unless their car is broken.  So, that leads me to the question of the day…If the Insite was car less would you give me a ride if you saw me at the bus stop?  

THE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER VERSUS THE COUNCIL MEMBER WHO WANTS TO BE MAYOR!

WHO’S RIGHT AND WHO’S WRONG?

Houston City Council Member Peter Brown apparently pointed out some problems with our education system that has caused a ripple effect.  Those comments have p-o’d a local HISD board member.  Here’s the response to Brown’s comments:


Is Peter Brown running for Mayor or HISD Superintendent?  The Mayor needs to be a leader for Houston’s economic stability to make sure the infrastructure for all parts of the city is rebuilt for the future, and to maker sure our police and fire departments are second to none.
 
The Houston Independent School District is still not perfect, but we are working on making it better. Check the numbers by Broad, the Gate’s Foundation or the National School Board Association, and you can see that Houston is one of the Best School systems in the country; but running a Mayoral campaign on the basis for improving the school district; only serves to expose the lack of focus on City Government.
 
Manuel Rodriguez
Trustee, HISD Board of Education
District III
 

Brown Challenges Locke: Schools Need Reform, not more Politics-as-Usual
The Buck Stops Here

 
There’s a crisis in Houston and it threatens the economy, safety and future of our city. 
 
The dropout rate for Houston Independent School District is 49.9%, according to an independent study, which means nearly half of Freshman who enter schools in Houston don’t graduate. It’s a problem that disproportionately affects minority communities as Hispanic students are three times as likely to dropout of school as their white peers. 
 
Sadly, my opponent Gene Locke would rather criticize me for claiming I was open to new strategies for dealing with the problem than actually face the problem himself. Rather than provide real leadership and new ideas, Gene Locke has decided to play the cynical blame game of political distortion. The state of our schools, to him, is merely another issue with which to score political points and he’s gone so far as to misrepresent my views. 
 
Our children don’t have the luxury of waiting for overburdened schools to magically transform themselves. Houstonians deserve a mayor who isn’t afraid to take on anyone, anywhere, anytime to help ALL of our children succeed. 
 
I believe it’s going to take more than weak promises of more dialogue to address this serious issue. Gene Locke said, in his attack, that he wants to “champion schools.” I don’t want to champion a system that’s failing half our students, I want to fix it. I won’t ignore possible solutions because it’s the politically convenient thing to do. As your mayor, I’ll make education a top priority and not a political football.
 
I’m running for mayor because I want to deal with the important issues, not avoid them, and there are few greater challenges for Houston than education. 
 
The buck stops here,
Peter Brown
At-Large City Council Member Place #1


IT’S TIME TO RATE THE CITY OF HOUSTON!

DID THE GARBAGE MAN PICK UP YOUR TRASH ON TIME?

How satisfied are you with city services?  What services warrant the most emphasis from city leaders?  What’s your overall perception of Houston?  City Controller Annise Parker is giving you the opportunity to answer those questions and many more through a detailed city-wide citizen survey.  “City government is accountable to the taxpayers,” said Controller Parker.  “There is no better way to determine if we are meeting your expectations than to ask.” 

Interviewers, including several who are bilingual, are placing calls to a random sample of approximately 35,500 Houstonians.  The goal is to obtain 200 respondents in each of the city’s nine geographic city council districts, for a minimum of 1800 completed questionnaires.  Residents also have the option of taking the survey online by visiting the controller’s Web site at www.houstoncontroller.org. The online version is available in both English and Spanish. 

“There are questions about everything from the quality of police services to the city’s airports,” Parker said.  “If you happen to be one of the residents in our random sample, I hope you’ll take the time to complete the survey.  If you are not in our random sample, please take advantage of the opportunity to take the survey online.  The information gathered will be important to the city’s ongoing effort to provide the most efficient and cost-effective services possible during a time of budget constraints caused by the economic downturn.”

The survey is modeled after a similar poll performed annually by the City of Kansas City for the last nine years.  Jefferson Wells and Decision Information Resources, Inc. are under contract to perform the survey.  Jefferson Wells is a worldwide professional services firm with a local presence.  DIR is a minority-owned business and certified Historically Underutilized Business.   Since 1984, the company has provided government, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations the research, evaluation, and technical support that they require for making informed decisions, measuring the effectiveness of programs, and planning strategies.    The company’s previous clients include the City of Houston, the State of Texas, several federal agencies and M-D Anderson Cancer Center. 

DIR will conduct the survey using its Houston-based computer-assisted telephone interviewing center.  The results are expected to be available mid-summer. 

EVERYONE IS BIKING WITH THE ACCOUNTANT TO THE STARS!

DID YOU RIDE TO WORK LAST FRIDAY?




Friday was Bike-to-Work Day.   Accountant to the Stars Bob Martin biked from his home Friday to the Fox 26 studios to do his regular live Wake Up Money segment on the Fox 26 Morning News at 5:45 am. Bob then joined Fox 26 floor director, Sam Kee, for a morning bike ride from Fox 26 to Memorial Park.  At Memorial Park, Bob and Sam joined Houston Mayor Bill White, morning anchor Tom Zizka and a number of other cyclists for a bike ride to City Hall.  Friday was the culmination of Bike-to-Work Week which encourages workers to commute to their jobs by bicycle.  Here is the link to Bob’s Wake Up Money Segment that highlights the benefits of cycling to work. http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/morning_news/090515_wake_up_money_work_bicycle

CHRON’S CAROLYN FEIBEL HEARS CHIEF HURTT MAY BE LEAVING HOUSTON!

IS SAN FRANCISCO THE NEXT HOME FOR THE CHIEF?

It began with a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, that Houston’s police chief, Harold Hurtt, is on a list of “semifinalists” for police chief of San Francisco.

I got on the case Saturday and reached Hurtt. He refused comment at first, but after calls to the mayor’s senior staffers, he called back and had more to say.

I’m working on a full story, but the take-away is that Hurtt has received some inquiries about taking jobs with other law enforcement agencies, but has not made any decision.

“I’ve told the mayor I’d stay until the end of his administration,” said Hurtt, 62. “However, I still have to look out for what’s best for myself and my family. I would love to stay in Houston but I think it’s inappropriate to raise any assumptions . . . with any potential candidate for mayor at this time.”

I couldn’t get a call back from White, but spokesman Frank Michel said turnover is expected in the mayor’s last year.

The director of the Houston Airport System, Richard Vacar, resigned abruptly Friday after serving in that position for 11 years. The reasons for that are still unclear. Terence Fontaine, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff, left in December to work for CenterPoint Energy.

WWW.CHRON.COM

TURNING 53 AND RUNNING FOR MAYOR OF HOUSTON!

ANNISE PARKER WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND SUPPORTERS!









Houston City Controller opened up her home to more than 500 people over the weekend.  It was to celebrate Annise Parker’s birthday and a fundraiser for her bid for Mayor of Houston.  Parker proudly turned 53 years old and it was also the theme of her party.  Supporters were asked to give anywhere from $5.30 to $530 to show their supporter for the city official and her run for Mayor. Lots of people turned out for the event including Parker’s family members and friends.  The Sunday afternoon party also made the Rockets – Lakers game available for those who had to support the home team.  Some of the people attending: Council member Sue Lovell, Jerri Brooks, Maverick Welsh, Mary Benton (covering for her blog), Annise Parker and a long list of others.  Here are some of the pictures captured at Parker’s Westmoreland home!