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Breaking News: Horror at Santa Fe High School

Houston Sun News Service

The 40-year-old neighboring town 30 miles South of Houston started the day with a tragic domestic terrorist attack allegedly by a 17-year old student at his Santa Fe High School of about 1,400 students. The high school serves a population of about 12,200 (US 2010 Census) residents in the rural town of Santa Fe, (Holy Faith in Spanish) in Galveston County.  Police sources have stated that a young man has been placed in custody and nine people are dead while others have been taken to the League City Hospital and the UT Medical Center in Galveston.

Students report that there was a shooting threat in February at the high school and that they were in lockdown mode for two hours. A freshman student reported that he heard two bombs and the gunshots and a weeping 10th graders speaking through tears said that her friend was shot in the leg.

Students were evacuated to the Alamo Gymnasium at 13360 off Highway TX 6.

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Commissioner Ellis Applauds Appeals Court Ruling on Bail Case

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis applauded a federal appeals court that ruled Wednesday the county’s wealth-based bail policy violates the Constitution because it jails misdemeanor defendants simply because they cannot pay money bail.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals largely ruled against Harris County in an appeal that the county brought in O’Donnell v. Harris County. In an opinion drafted by Judge Edith Brown Clement, the appellate court held, “We are satisfied that the court had sufficient evidence to conclude that Harris County’s use of secured bail violated equal protection.”

The panel also dismissed Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez from the lawsuit and directed U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal to craft a narrower injunction.  However, the appeals court judges held that the county must follow Judge Rosenthal’s injunctive procedures until she crafts new procedures that more directly address the constitutional violations.

“With this decision, the conservative 5th Circuit is telling Harris County that it’s unconstitutional to have two justice systems: one for the rich and one for the poor,” Commissioner Ellis said.  “Yet Harris County has already spent more than $5 million defending a morally and legally indefensible bail system that violates the Constitution and punishes people simply because they are poor. The ruling is a significant victory for justice and offers further proof that it is time for Harris County to settle this lawsuit and enact meaningful reforms that treat all people equally and fairly under the law.”

Judge Rosenthal entered a preliminary injunction against Harris County last April after finding that the county treats indigent misdemeanor defendants unequally solely because they cannot afford money bail.  She further found that Harris County’s pretrial detention procedures for misdemeanor cases lack due process because defendants are not informed of the significance of being able to afford money bail.  Her preliminary injunction required Sheriff Gonzalez to release indigent misdemeanor defendants within 24 hours of arrest if they could not afford to post a money bond.

The bail lawsuit was filed in May 2016 by Maranda Lynn O’Donnell, who spent more than two days in jail because she could not afford $2,500 bond after being arrested on charges of driving with an invalid license.  Her lawsuit was merged with another lawsuit filed by two misdemeanor defendants, Loetha Shanta McGruder and Robert Ryan Ford, who were locked up when they could not afford money bail.

Last year, Commissioner Ellis filed an amicus brief in Judge Rosenthal’s court that discussed Harris County’s history of discriminatory treatment of poor defendants of color and that agreed with the O’Donnell plaintiffs’ assertions that the bail scheme is unconstitutional.

In addition to Judge Clement, the three-judge panel that ruled on the county’s appeal also consisted of Edward Prado and Catharina Haynes.  The county now can seek permission for rehearing of its appeal by that panel or to have its appeal heard by all the judges on the 5th Circuit.  It also can seek permission to have the 5th Circuit’s decision reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Rosenthal stated in her April order that she would schedule a trial on the merits of the lawsuit, but also warned that the plaintiffs have a great likelihood of winning that trial.  The trial is expected to be scheduled soon.

Commissioner Ellis stated, “With regard to the remedy, I am confident that once additional evidence has been presented, the federal courts will implement a bail system in Harris County that protects the constitutional rights of everyone.”

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Commissioner Ellis, Mayor Turner Announce $30 Million Project to Repair Streets in TSU-UH Corridor

                                    

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on March 13announced a joint agreement in which Precinct One will pay $30 million to improve seven streets in the University of Houston-Texas Southern University corridor.

“This is a great example of how Harris County can innovatively and strategically partner with the City of Houston, our universities and other entities to improve mobility, safety and quality of life for all residents,” Precinct One Commissioner Ellis said. “Precinct One is looking forward to supporting TSU and UH, and the entire Third Ward community through this project.”

Earlier on March 13, Commissioners Court voted to negotiate with two engineering firms that will develop the scope of the work.

Dubbed “Complete Streets” project, the improvements dovetail with Mayor Turner’s Complete Communities program, which involves improving Third Ward and four other neighborhoods that have been under-resourced for many years.

“Now I’m excited to see that the Commissioner is bringing safer, more attractive streets to this community of twin universities,” Mayor Turner said. “… If the improvements in these areas were just relying on the city, they would be highly incomplete. I want to thank him for this spirit of collaboration and cooperation with the city utilizing resources at his disposal in order to address many of the needs within the city and within Harris County.”

Precinct One is committing $15 million to improve infrastructure near TSU and another $15 million to projects around UH.

The goal is to create streets that are attractive and a source of neighborhood pride, while improving safety and accessibility to all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.

In addition to roadway work, the project also includes drainage improvements, which will help reduce street flooding during heavy rain.

“This is a win-win opportunity for everyone,” Commissioner Ellis said. “Pedestrian and bike-friendly streets bring neighbors together and encourage healthy activity. I also hope that these improvements will help attract new businesses and jobs for communities in Third Ward.”

Councilman Dwight Boykins, whose District D includes Third Ward, also praised the city-county partnership.

“Given Houston’s revenue cap, it’s crucial that we lean on different partners to find innovative ways to access desperately needed dollars to support our infrastructure,” Boykins said. “As history has shown us, a collaboration between the county and the city in these matters often falls short of what we need to get this job done. That’s why I’m appreciative of the efforts of Commissioner Rodney Ellis and my friend, Mayor Sylvester Turner, who have brought $30 million into my district.”

The streets in the TSU area are Cleburne (Emancipation to Scott); Blodgett (Scott to Ennis); and Attucks (Cleburne to Wheeler).

The streets near UH are Cullen (Interstate 45 to North MacGregor); Wheeler (Cullen to Scott); Elgin (Scott to I-45); and Holman (Scott to Cullen).

“This project will significantly enhance the gateways into these great institutions by creating a beautiful streetscape for students and residents,” Commissioner Ellis said. “The improvements also will help hundreds of Houston residents who attend classes and work at the universities.”

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Mayor Turner’s statement on the death of Houston City Council Member Larry Green

Breaking New: Houston City Council Member Larry Green found dead Tuesday morning in his home

Houston District K Councilmember Larry Green is dead. He was elected to the newly created District K

in 2011 and served until his death on March 6, 2018.

Larry Green 52, District K Houston City Councilman was found dead in his home Tuesday morning. Green’s death has caused sadness throughout the city for he was known for high visibility and as a working representative for his constituents. According to the Houston Police Department, foul play is not expected in the death of the southwest Councilman.

 

HOUSTON – Statement by Mayor Sylvester Turner:

“I am shocked and grieving over the untimely death of Houston Council Member Larry Green. But one person’s feelings are secondary to the fact that all of Houston has lost a groundbreaking advocate for equality, economic opportunity and neighborhood safety.

“Larry Green was the first and only District K council member following the south/southwest district’s creation for the 2011 municipal elections. He was the right person to give definition to this new alliance of neighborhoods and businesses: A hard worker. Not a grandstander. He shared in the economic advances and public safety strides of the district without taking the credit for himself. ‘We’ have fought together ‘to build up the economy of District K,’ he wrote on his campaign website.

“Council Member Green was fond of pointing out that his council district had more undeveloped land than any other and was therefore ‘filled with opportunities.’  Well so was he, and part of this tragedy is that he is no longer with us to follow through in his uniquely industrious way.

“He advocated persistently for all business people to have a fair shot at doing business with city government, such as for construction and supply vending. That focus of his, he said, was ‘so that every business owner has an opportunity to do business with the city – regardless of their age, race, sex, sexual orientation or distinguishing factor.’

“Council Member Green captured the essence of being an enlightened public servant for Houston. My heart goes out to his family, his colleagues and all city residents.”

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Dr. Bullard ranked among top urban planning professors

Dr. Robert Bullard Dr. Robert D. Bullard, distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at TSU, was ranked 11th in the top 25 rankings of urban planning faculty in the United States and Canada. Professor Bullard’s book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality” was ranked 8th on the top 25 rankings of cited publications by urban planning faculty. The rankings were compiled by Tom Sanchez of Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs using Google Scholar Citations. Click here for the complete rankings.

About Dr. Bullard:

Robert D. Bullard is the former Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University 2011-2016, he is currently Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy. Prior to coming to TSU he was founding Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He has been described as the father of environmental justice. He received his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University. He is the author of seventeen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity.

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Hurricane Harvey Photos

If you have great photos of Hurricane Harvey, share them with the Houston Sun and we will publish them and give you photo credit.

Send photos and include the title, place, and a description of what is happening. Send to: sunphotos@houstonsun.com. Include your name, address, and phone number.

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FEMA Claims Link

The link below is for Houston Sun’s readers’ use. If you have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey, this link should be beneficial.

https://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance

Since 1983, The Houston Sun brings you new and information that you can use and trust.

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Houston League sets up Harvey Care Fund, requests donations

Responding to the devastation of the epic and historic Hurricane Harvey, the Houston League of BUsiness and Professional Women, Inc in collaboration with The Houston Sun has established a three tier HLBPW Harvey Care Initiative. To that end, the Houston League during the conference call explored the following:

  1. Ways to Support and Engage is Hurricane Harvey Welfare, Safety, and Care Actions
  2. Establish an Official Fundraiser Process for Hurricane Harvey Donations
  3. Collection and Delivery of Supplies for residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

It was decided to implement the above three initiatives and call upon all members, friends, organizations, the general public, and partners to support those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

a.    Collect, organize, label, bag your supplies, books, toys, games,  and deliver them to the Sun or prepared to caravan to the George R. Brown or an official shelter. Organize Clothing items by size, gender; items for children, and babies. Place items in separate labeled bags and deliver to the Houston Sun, 1520 Isabella St. 77004 beginning Wednesday-Friday, from 4-6 PM,  providing it is safe for you to travel. Used clothing should be gently used and clean.

b.    Participate in the  Houston League’s Care Initiative by emailing and posting to your social media Send donors to:hlbpwharveycare@gmail.com to make contributions using PayPal. Those contributions will be distributed as follows: First, Impacted African American Small Business; secondly, Texas Southern University Beta PSI and thirdly, Family with Children.   “All funds are tax deductible and will go to businesses and families that have been vetted by the Houston League of BPW,” said Dorris Ellis, Publisher Editor of the Houston Sun and President of the Houston League of Business and Professional Women, Inc.

About the Houston League

The Houston League was organized in 1964 by Mrs. Luellia W. Harrsion as an affiliate of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. Its purpose is to:

  • To promote and protect the interest of business and professional women; to create good fellowship among them;
  • To direct the interest of Business and Professional Women toward united action for improved social and civic conditions;
  • To recognize achievements of business and professional women and to preserve the history of these achievements, that all people may be informed and that our young people may know their heritage and be inspired,
  • To develop youth through leadership, and

 To seek and create job opportunities.

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Recapture issue is on the ballot through May 6

Saturday, April 22nd the Harris County Democratic Party hosted an extremely informative Funding the Future Forum on the Houston Independent School District (HISD) Recapture ballot initiative at Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Please be aware that early voting starts today! Early Voting will be from April 24th until May 2nd and Election Day is May 6th.

The local branch of the NAACP in a statement said that voters in Houston are not accustomed to having May elections so please tell your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to go vote. Below is a link to the early voting locations as well as a link to HISD that gives additional information on the issue for your review.