View the Newsletter from the Office of Council Member Mike Laster, District J Journal – May 18, 2012



City Seal
From the Office of Council Member Mike Laster

District Journal

Official Newsletter of Houston City Council District J


Friday, May 18, 2012 

Honoring the “Thin Blue Line”


HPD sealTonight I will have the solemn honor to attend the Houston Police Department’s Annual Memorial Service commemorating the brave men and women of police agencies across the nation who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. This event marks the conclusion of Houston’s participation in National Police Week events and activities. You may have noticed the flags at half-mast at City facilities this week in honor of those who have fallen. Some time ago the phrase “thin blue line” was coined to remind us of the line of protection provided by our police and law enforcement agencies. Under unimaginable circumstances our law enforcement personnel place themselves between us and harm’s way. I hope you will join me in lifting up a prayer of thanksgiving for the sacrifice of those who have perished and for the protection of those who continue to serve.


The Battle to Revitalize District J Continues on New Fronts


Le Promenade Condominiums


JusticeThis week presented a new effort on the part of City of Houston and Harris County authorities to reverse the deterioration of the neighborhoods of District J.


This morning’s Houston Chronicle detailed a recent lawsuit filed by the Harris County Attorney’s Office against the owners of Le Promenade Condominiums located at the 7400 Block of Bissonnet. This nuisance suit – the largest of its kind that has been filed in Harris County to date – is an attempt to require the owners of the facility to improve, clean and revitalize the property. The suit is being processed by the office of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan on behalf of the Greater Sharpstown Management District. Located just across the street from Sharpstown High School and the neighboring Sugar Grove Academy, these buildings have long been a source of gang and drug activity that have haunted the surrounding neighborhoods of Sharpstown, Larkwood, Braeburn Valley, and Bonham Acres. Homeowners, businesses, community activists and civic groups have long sought efforts to move forward in eradicating the crime and blight that has spilled forth from this property.


Treasures Strip Club


In addition to the lawsuit described above, we also learned this week that the Harris County Attorney’s Office and the Office of the City Attorney jointly filed a nuisance lawsuit to stop operations of Treasures Strip Club located in the 5600 block of Westheimer. This property is now located in the newly formed District J. The law suit alleges that human trafficking, habitual prostitution and drug activity where owners, management and employees engage in “gang related organized criminal activities that constitute a public nuisance” occurs at that location.


According to City Attorney Dave Feldman, “They masquerade as legitimate businesses, but these high-end strip clubs like Treasures really are hubs of human trafficking.” “Treasures happens to be the most prominent of these clubs. It’s the largest. It is clearly the most visible and most notable and prominent. We are hopeful that with this action, we serve notice not only on Treasures, but the other clubs out there that Houston-Harris County is not going to put up with this type of criminal activity.”


I commend the efforts of the Harris County Attorney, the Greater Sharpstown Management District, and the City Attorney’s Office and hope that such cooperative efforts will become more common place in the future.


I wish you and your loved ones a safe weekend and coming Memorial Day Holiday.

Mike Laster - signature 

– Mike Laster, Council Member – District J

Gulfton Festival – Celebrating 20 Years of Community Commitment



Gulfton FestivalIt was a beautiful Saturday at the 20th Annual Gulfton Festival.  Many community members and organizations showed up for the parade, including State Representative Scott Hochberg, NCI’s Baker-Ripley House, the Houston Public Library, SER-Ninos Charter School, Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary, several local apartment complexes, HAF Automotive & Fleet Repair, and many more.   

Once the parade concluded at Burnett-Bayland Park, it was great to see Congressman Al Green and Judge Russ Ridgeway at the Festival, also attended by a multitude of area service providers.

We hope everyone who joined us had lots of fun.  To see photos from the Festival, please check out our Facebook page.

Disaster Preparedness Workshop for Religious Leaders



Disaster PlanOn June 1 and 2, 2012, the Houston Department of Health and Human Services will host a disaster preparedness workshop for the religious leaders in Houston’s communities.  Priests, Pastors, Rabis, Imams, Deacons, Sisters, and other Religious Leaders of all stripes are encouraged to come.

Participants will  receive key information on mitigation, education and preparedness.  The workshop will also cover how houses of worship can respond to crisis, including how to coordinate volunteers, manage donations, provide mass care, attend to spiritual and mental health needs, and continue their many religious and social services after a disaster and throughout the recovery process.  The workshop will prepare leaders to take care of their congregations before, during and after a disaster.

June 1, 2012
West-End Multi-Service Center
170 Heights Blvd
6pm – 9pm

June 2, 2012
Kashmere Multi-Service Center
4802 Lockwood
8am – 12 noon

For more information, please contact the Houston Department of Health and Human Services Office of Surveillance and Public Health Preparedness at 832-393-5050

Summer Food Service Program



LunchHouston Parks & Recreation Department’s (HPARD) Summer Food Service Program, for youth ages 1 to 18 years old, will operate from June 4 to August 17, 2012. This program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), administered through Texas Department Agriculture and sponsored locally by HPARD since 1984.

For the 2012 Summer Season, HPARD has teamed up with Wal-Mart and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to Fight Childhood Hunger in Houston this summer. For a location near you a link will be available in June 2012!

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) operates Monday through Friday at more than 464 sites in Houston and Harris County throughout the summer. No registration is required. SFSP meals are served at Houston Parks and Recreation Department Community Centers and other participating locations including: churches, apartment complexes, learning centers and other non-profit organizations.

The nutritious packed lunches are prepared and delivered daily to each site and comply with federal and state requirements. They include one serving of milk, two or more servings of vegetables and/or fruits, one serving of grain or bread, and one serving of meat or meat alternative.

Lunch is served 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and a healthy snack is served from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. To find a site near you call 2-1-1 or (713) 676-6832 and give the operator your zip code.


More Fun Summer Youth Programs!

SunEarlier this month, we ran a list of summer youth programs in Houston and the District J area.  Here’s a list of additional programs in District J.

Houston Public Library Summer Reading Program

Houston Swim Club – Sharpstown:  Swimming Lessons

Neighborhood Centers Baker-Ripley:  Emerging Leaders Summer Program


The Emerging Leaders Summer program supports the social and academic development and health and wellness of young people through innovative opportunities in leadership and service learning projects and activities. For more information call Linda Villanueva at 713-273-3701.

  • Little Leaders – ages 5-13; $240/month
  • Young Leaders – ages 14-18; no cost
  • Field trips, breakfast, lunch and snacks included.

St Francis de Sales Vacation Bible School
For elementary students, grades 1-5.  June 25-29 at the Family Life Center.  Email for downloadable forms.  For more information, please call 713-774-7475. 

  • Cost $25 per child / $40 per family
  • Registration Begins May 19th after each Mass  

If your organization is offering any summer youth or family programs, let us know!  We’ll gladly share them in our next edition of the District Journal.    

Volunteer Initiatives Program

ThVIPe Houston Police Volunteer Initiatives Program (VIP) is for individuals who wish to volunteer their time as members of the Houston Police Department.  The greatest asset of any community is its people.  A barometer of that value is the willingness of the people to volunteer.   HPD recognizes the importance of volunteers and the valuable contributions they can provide the department.  Our goal is to enhance the quality of life in the city of Houston by working as a team. As a Police VIP volunteer, you become a member of our team.

The Police VIP is made up of the integral components which form the Houston Police Department’s volunteer base:

To become an HPD Volunteer, you must complete a Police VIP Application.  For more information on VIP, its components, and volunteer requirements, please visit the VIP home page.  


Upcoming Events


Calendar2Please refer to the Community Events Calendar on our website for time, location and other event details

May 18

  • Bike to Work Day – Texas Medical Center
  • Girl POWER Empowerment tea party

May 19

  • Alief Community Forum – Save Texas Schools Regional Workshop
  • Armed Forces Day
  • Houston Area Wood Carvers Club Meeting

May 21

  • HGAC Brown Bag Lunch series presentation, “EcoDriving”

May 22 

  • Alief Super Neighborhood Committee Meeting – Annual Public Safety Meeting
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club

May 23

  • Memorial Hermann Southwest – Acid Reflux and Heartburn Seminar

May 24

  • Sharpstown Civic Association
  • Sharpstown High School – FAME Jr!

May 25 

  • Sharpstown High School – FAME Jr!

May 28

  • Memorial Day – City of Houston Offices Closed 

May 29

  • John F. Kennedy’s Birthday
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club

June 1

  • Disaster Preparedness Workshop for Religious Leaders