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!

CONGRESSSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE GIVES HER SIDE OF THE STORY!

JACKSON LEE: IT’S BEING FAIR TO THE PERFORMERS!

In an interview to address the Swine Flu in Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee quickly changed the subject on FOX 26 news Monday morning.  She knew what was on the minds of lots of viewers in her congressional district.  Is she selling out Black owned and minority radio stations?  

Last week Jackson Lee was at the center of the storm.  Radio One went after the Congresswoman alleging she supported a House resolution that would essentially destroy Black radio.  
HR 848 is the Performance Rights Act.  It requires all radio stations to pay artists for playing their music.  In the past radio has paid the writers of songs such like Dolly Parton every time Whitney Houston performs the #1 hit song ‘I’ll Always Love You.”  Even though Houston took the song to new heights after the movie ‘Bodyguard’ she didn’t earn a dime from it because it was written by Parton.  That’s the way the music biz has worked.  
The legislator also pointed out the United States is one of only four countries in the world that don’t pay the artists for performing a song.  Also on that list: Iran, N. Korea and China.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee says it’s time for those artists to be paid.  She said the legislation that she supports will not put Black radio out of business.  She says the most small radio stations would have to pay is about $5,000 a year.  Jackson Lee says the amount large radio stations such as 97.9 The Box will pay will be negotiated.  She went on to say she’s been appointed the negotiator. 
This information is a stark contrast to what the radio station’s (97.9) parent company claimed just last week.  Officials with the urban radio station said they could be forced to pay anywhere from $8 to $10 million dollars a year if the resolution is passed.  The question is who do you believe? 
House resolution 848 is still being worked on according to Jackson Lee.  She says if you have questions call her office.  But last week her office was inundated with calls and most people couldn’t get through.  

ALL MORNING IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM!

I KNOW YOUR EYES ARE BURNING AND YOU CAN’T SEE BUT AREN’T YOU THAT GUY FROM YOUTUBE!

On Friday I had to call in sick to the job at FOX 26.  The problem?  I couldn’t see a thing.  

It all began Thursday night while I was at 24 Hour Fitness.  I noticed my eyes were turning red. I decided to put some Walmart brand eye drops in when I got home.  After I did that my eyes started burning.  Then I put some saline solution into them and the eyes got even worse.  
By 1 am my eyes felt as if I had been maced.  By 2 am I couldn’t see a thing.  Everything was completely white.  
I decided to go to the St. Luke’s Emergency room.  When I arrived instead of whisking me right in the night guy at the front desk wanted to know about some video of me on YouTube.  I’m thinking now is not the time for this.  This guy was just so tickled and joking about grasshoppers while my eyes felt like they were about the come out of my head.  
After about 10 minutes I was with a nurse and doctor.  Both of them took my pain away.  But that relief lasted briefly.  The blindness returned and I was in pain again.  
I just bit the bullet and went to an eye specialist early Friday morning.  She did a complete eye exam and diagnosed me with Allergic Conjunctivitis.  
Saturday I could see but things were still blurred.  By Sunday I was 20/25 again and able to drive.  I’m not sure how my eyes got that way but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. 
I haven’t been to an emergency room since I was 6 years old. Just a day in the life of the Insite!

IT’S ON TO GAME 7 AND HOW SWEET IT IS!

THE INSITE TAKES YOU TO THE FLOOR OF THE TOYOTA CENTER!














The Insite was once again on the floor of the Toyota Center as thousands of Rockets fans electrified the arena.  They were there to see their team claim game #6.  That happened with the Rockets stomping the Los Angeles Lakers 95 to 80.  Aaron Brooks and Luis Scola scored a combined 50 points despite a young man by the name of Kobe Bryant.  That means it’s on to Los Angeles on Sunday.  Meanwhile, before the game, I was very busy on the floor snapping photos of some famous faces.  On that list: Yolanda Adams, Rusty Hardin, Boris Miles, Jermaine Dupri, Brandi Garcia, and many others.  I think I must have snapped over 500 pictures but I can only post a fragment of that.  Enjoy and I’ll see you for game #7 because I believe.  What about you?

TWO CITY OF HEMPSTEAD OFFICIALS ENTER GUILTY PLEAS!

THE LATEST ON LARRY WILSON AND PARIS KINCADE!

Former City of Hempstead Mayor Pro-Tem Larry Wilson and City Alderman Paris Kincade have both pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for their vote and support resulting in the awarding of city contracts, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Both men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal programs fraud before the Honorable Judge Keith P. Ellison.

Wilson, 42, who entered a his guilty plea on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009, and Kincade, 53, who pleaded guilty today, admitted to soliciting and accepting bribe money or kickbacks from a local contractor in exchange for obtaining approved vendor status resulting in the awarding of city contracts.

Beginning in December 2006, Wilson who was the Mayor Pro-Tem and a City Alderman of the City of Hempstead, and Kincade, a City Alderman, conspired to use their official positions with the City of Hempstead to commit federal programs fraud. They corruptly solicited and accepted monies from a contractor, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with the eventual award of city contracts. Wilson accepted a $10,000 bribe and Kincade accepted a $3,000 bribe connected to demolition contracts valued at $19,650. Wilson and a cooperating witness discussed potential contracts worth more than $160,000. Both men accepted the bribes in return for their vote and assistance to approve vendor status of the cooperating witness in the City of Hempstead which led to four contracts for demolition. Wilson was captured on tape explaining how the cooperating witness could inflate city contracts stating “It take[s] you $10,000 to tear that down. You tell me it’ll take you 15.” Kincade was captured on tape telling the cooperating witness, “You know you got me and you know you got Wilson.”

The City of Hempstead is located approximately 50 miles west of Houston in Waller County.

A conviction for conspiring to violate federal programs fraud carries a penalty of imprisonment of not more than five years and/or a fine not to exceed $250,000. Both men remain on bond pending sentencing. Wilson will be sentenced May 14, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. and Kincade will be sentenced on May 20, 2009, at 10:30 a.m.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by special agents of the Houston FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Wright prosecuted the case.