City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Councilman Larry V. Green, District K, recognized the Westbury Christian boys basketball team in front of City Council downtown on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, and proclaimed it “Westbury Christian School Boys Basketball Day” in honor of the team’s fifth consecutive TAPPS state title, and the 21st since the WCS boys basketball team won its first TAPPS state title in 1991.
On January 25th, the Southwest and International Management Districts organized a dinner in honor of Houston’s Chief of Police Art Acevedo held at Ocean Palace Restaurant located in the International Management District and title sponsored by East West Bank. The dinner brought together nearly 500 people representing the vibrant diversity within the professional Asian Pacific American, South Asian, and Muslim communities. These communities came together to give a Texas-size welcome to Houston’s “Top Cop” and over fifty classified and civilian members of the Houston Police Department. The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston donated two tables for HPD.
Alice Lee, Executive Director of the Southwest Management District, served as the Mistress of Ceremony and prominent figures across the represented communities delivered welcomes and words of commendation. Some of those figures present were: Wea Lee, Chairman of the International District; Kenneth Li, Chairman of the Southwest District; Alex Chang of East West Bank; Jagdip Ahluwalia of IACC; Honorable Martha Wong, former Houston City Council Member and former State Representative; Judge Theresa Chang, Harris County Civil Court at Law #2; City Council Member Brenda Stardig, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee; City Council Member Steve Le of District F; Honorable Randy Sim, Council Member of Southside Place and recently relieved Mayor Pro-Tem; Honorable Nghi Ho, Former Trustee of the Alief Independent School Board for many terms; Magistrate Judge Aneeta Jamal; and Former Council Member and former Harris County Sheriff, Adrian Garcia, along with many others. Board Chairs and members of the Southwest, International, and Brays Oaks Management Districts presented Chief Acevedo with an engraved gift and a large floral arrangement.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner fought rush hour traffic to address a joint breakfast meeting of the Brays Oaks Management District and Southwest Houston 2000 Tuesday, Jan. 10 at Houston Baptist University.
The mayor spoke about the city’s growth and diversity and talked about issues that concern all Houstonians––not just those affecting residents in the southwest sector of the city. He reiterated his commitment to repairing an estimated 40,000 potholes and said that 97 percent of those problems were fixed within one business day in 2016.
“We’re getting it done,” he said, then moved on to the concern of infrastructure repairs and better drainage to reduce flooding problems. The city has identified 22 drainage projects––two in each district––and is focusing on those first. He also talked about the city’s involvement in finding funding for Project Brays, a $480 million project to reduce flooding in the Brays Bayou watershed. While waiting for $311 million in federal funding, a loan of $130 was requested from the state, the mayor said.
In addressing public safety, Turner said that the city is currently 600 officers short and has reassigned 175 desk officers back to the street to assist in filling the gaps. He also talked about controversial changes to the city’s pension plan, which he called “a runaway finance system” that can’t be fixed overnight.
“I don’t have the power to turn water in to wine,” the mayor said, “But, we are not balancing our books on the backs of working men and women.”
The problem of Houston’s homeless population is a much more difficult one to address, he said.
“It’s easy to fill a pothole; it’s much harder to fill a hole in someone’s life,” Turner said. Simply providing housing is not the complete answer, he added, because many of these people will elect to go back to the streets. The problem is partly a financial one and partly a mental health issue. He pointed to a program that the city of San Antonio is currently using to provide shelter and services for up to 1,700 homeless people, but added that the Haven for Hope program is costing $23 million a year.
Turner stressed that the emphasis on the homeless population is not motivated by Super Bowl 51 coming to the city’s NRG Stadium in February because it can’t be fixed by then. It is an ongoing problem that requires the involvement of not only the city government, but also faith-based and charitable organizations. The mayor said that, having lived with hunger and poverty himself, he was personally not opposed to feeding the homeless, but that providing food does not address the complexities of their needs.
“We cannot be comfortable with people living on the streets and under underpasses,” Turner said.
In addition to the mayor’s address, attendees at the breakfast meeting also heard from students of Westbury High School who are working on a project to build a pier at Willow Waterhole near their campus. They have already collected two-thirds of the $30,000 needed to build the pier, but are seeking donations of time, money, labor, and materials from the community.
Dr. Michelle Garza of Sharpstown High School also spoke about a program to register students for discount fare Metro bus passes, since transportation is an important part of school attendance, early arrival for tutoring, and the ability to stay after school for extra-curricular programs.
A great time was had by all at the Brays Oaks Volunteer Appreciation breakfast on Thursday, December 8. This annual event is hosted by the Brays Oaks District and SW Houston 2000 to thank individuals in our community for all of the volunteers efforts and good causes they support throughout the year.
This year Pablo Carrillo, Director of Area Operations for Fiesta, Greg Meyers, Board member for Houston ISD, Cheryl Riedl, Volunteer at Memorial Hermann SW, Reginald Lewis, President Richmond HOA and Super Neighborhood 41, Eddee Hestand, Chaplain with PACA, Mike Terry with Braes Interfaith Ministries and Sherri Cortez, volunteer with the Glenshire Subdivision were recognized for their efforts. Congratulations to all!
Friends, family and community members gathered at Willow Waterhole on Monday, Oct. 17, to honor Bob Schwartz for his many years of community service by naming the gazebo at Willow Waterhole in his honor.
Bob Schwartz was a founding member of the Brays Bayou Association and Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy. He has tirelessly advocated and promoted flood control projects in the Brays Watershed, helping in the development of Project Brays and the Willow Waterhole Detention Project.
Mayor Turner, Council member Larry V. Green, Brays Oaks District Board Members, and WGC worked with volunteers to kick off Arbor Day 2016 in the Brays Oaks district. Thanks to all of our volunteers who came out this morning. Because of their efforts, our community will save thousands of dollars in planted materials.