VIDEO: Fighting Prostitution in District J
 
Council Member Edward Pollard has teamed up with Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey to spearhead a multi-agency initiative to curb the solicitation of prostitution in Houston, and specifically along the Bissonnet track in District J. As of September 1, the solicitation of prostitution is a felony crime in the state of Texas, punishable by up to two years in jail. Council Member Pollard and Commissioner Ramsey spoke with Isiah Carey on Fox 26 about efforts to develop a strategy around this important issue.
 
On August 31st, Council Member Pollard hosted a private roundtable discussion with leaders from various law enforcement agencies to create a strategy and plan for next steps. The purpose of the meeting was to bring ideas to the table with multiple agencies working together to tackle this issues. Others in attendance included Minal Patel Davis, Director of Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence (MOHTDV), Roger Bridgewater, County Commissioner’s Office, Precinct 3, Assistant Chief Ernest Garcia, Assistant Chief Yasar Bashir, Assistant Chief Ban Tien, Commander Reece Hardy, Commander Jessica Anderson, Harris County Lt. Luis Gonzalez, Johna Stallings, District Attorney’s Office, Christian Menefee, Harris County Attorney’s Office, Peter Acquaro, Southwest Management District, Special Agent Bethany Morris, FBI, and Torsha and Pastor Terrance Johnson of Higher Dimension Church. A special thanks goes out to other law enforcement leaders and community organizations in attendance.
City, county team up to fight Bissonnet prostitution and sex trafficking
 
District J Jobs Event Provides Opportunities
 
Council Member Edward Pollard hosted the District J Jobs event on August 21, 2021, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Gethsemane Campus. The event featured over three dozen companies and organizations actively recruiting for new employees. Job applicants were able to interview with interested employers and receive coaching on resume preparation. Special thanks to the Southwest Management District, the Houston Police Department, the Strake Jesuit Varsity Baseball Team, ALife Hospitality Group and all the vendors who participated. Anyone interested in future job fairs in District J and other employment-related content may keep up to date by visiting DistrictJJobs.com. Click here to view more pictures.
 
 
 
Hurricane Ida Relief: Helping Our Neighbors
Supporting our neighbors in need from Louisiana after Hurricane Ida is just the Texan way. The Category 4 storm forced thousands to seek safety here in Houston, and many evacuees are in need of critical supplies and food. The City of Houston is hosting a Food & Supply Drive for Louisiana drive-thru event. If you’re able, please consider making a donation of needed items as listed on the flyer below.
 
Video: PEACE Program Extended for HPD
 
In July, Council Member Pollard’s office partnered with yoga instructor Jazmine Porter to create the The Police Enlightenment and Collective Education (PEACE) pilot program for Houston police officers. The purpose of the program is to reform and enhance the law enforcement by focusing on the wellness of officers as individuals. For two months, officers have participated in mindfulness and yoga classes to help them with stress management and emotional processing. The program is being extended, and more officers are being encouraged to take part.
Houston Police new program aims to help mental health of officers
 
Lead and Copper Water Testing
 
Houston Public Works has extended the survey to offer free water testing for qualified homes that may have lead & copper pipes. Lead and copper enter drinking water primarily through plumbing materials. Exposure to lead & copper may cause health problems. This survey should take no more than two minutes and will determine if customers qualify for free lead & water testing.
 
If customers qualify and are selected for free lead & copper water testing, Houston Water will send an email before the end of the year. A test kit will be dropped off at the front door with instructions on how to sample water from the kitchen or bathroom sink. Leave the sample outside the front door. Houston Water will pick it up within the week. Email questions to LCRProgram@houstontx.gov.
 
 
School Supply Drives Throughout the District
 
Our staff has enjoyed supporting the many families in our district by helping various organizations with school supply drives throughout the area. Special thanks to all the volunteers who have helped with these initiatives, including Burt Levine.
 
 
District J staff members were on hand to help at the back to school distribution held at the Houston Police Department Gulfton storefront location. A dedicated group of volunteers and sponsors made this event a great success. Special thanks to HPD Chief Troy Finner, Veronica Hernandez and the Department of Neighborhoods, Alice Lee and the Southwest Management District, Tammy Rodriguez and the Gulfton Citizen’s Advisory Council, AT&T, Amazon and other organizations.
 
 
The Alliance’s 14th back to school event provided essential items, groceries and school supplies for over 5,000 families. Onsite vaccines and child immunizations were also available. Special thanks to Board Chair Nelvin Adriatico, Executive Director Daniel Stoecker, and leading sponsors Amazon and Southwest Management District.
 
 
The Islamic Center of North America and Muslims for Humanity Back to School Drive helped newly arrived residents prepare for the school year. Residents received backpacks, supplies, toys and shoes. We appreciate PlazAmericas Mall, HPD Chief Finner and other police officers for their efforts and organization of the event.
 
 
Council Member Pollard enjoyed visiting Ed White Elementary to help hand out backpacks and school supplies. The distribution was organized by the Chinese American Relief Effort (CARE). Thanks to all the volunteers, teachers and parents who participated.
 
Supporting Local Businesses with United Airlines and the Black Chamber
 
Council Member Pollard hosted a press conference in August during Black Business Month, where United Airlines and the Greater Houston Black Chamber announced a new collaboration to support local, Black-owned businesses during. As part of its Shop Local initiative, the airline is using its digital platforms to highlight the Chamber’s Black Business Director for travelers flying to Houston. It’s these types of collaborations that help keep small, local businesses in operation.
Gulfton Circulator Ribbon Cutting
 
Residents in the Gulfton area have a new, easier way to access transportation thanks to the new Gulfton Circulator, bus route for the area that will link multiple destinations so residents can avoid walking long distances to get to bus stops. The route will connect multiple destinations with the Bellaire Transit Center, Hillcroft Park & Ride, and the Westpark / Lower Uptown Transit Center. Council Member Pollard joined METRO and other community stakeholders at KIPP Connect for the event. This offering will provide a safer alternative for transportation.
India Culture Center Proclamation
 
One of the things that makes District J such a great place to live is its diversity. Council Member Pollard presented a proclamation from the city of Houston on behalf of Mayor Turner to the India Culture Center during the celebration of India’s 75th Independence Day. The Center is a non-profit organization that exists to promote, educate and unite the diverse Indian cultures.
Lyndon B. Johnson Legacy
 
President Lyndon B. Johnson was a staunch advocate for voting rights, civil rights, education and immigration reform. Council Member Pollard was on site at Houston’s Tranquility Park to stand with President Johnson’s daughters, Ms. Luci Baines Johnson and Ms. Lynda Robb, at the unveiling of the new LBJ monument. President Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law, making it possible for people to vote regardless of their ethnicity.
Supporting Our Youth
 
Council Member Pollard has a heart for mentoring young people. He recently met Jayden Buckley, who spent the summer selling water bottles in the Houston heat to raise money for clothes and school supplies. When the council member heard about this exceptional young man, he met with Jayden to encourage him and help him select a new suit at Erik’s Tailor, located in District J. Special thanks to Joesph Dinnon and Husein Hadi for their support of this young man.
 
 
HISD Wants to Hear from You
 
The Houston Independent School District is holding a series of community town hall meetings to hear from families about the challenges facing our students, educators administrators and the community. HISD leaders want to hear input from the community about the district’s future and learn about issues that are important to you. See the schedule of town hall meetings below.
CASE for Kids Funding
 
Council Member Pollard’s office partnered with the Center for Afterschool, Summer, and Enrichment for Kids (CASE for Kids), a division of Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) to provide funding for seven nonprofit organizations that supply services to students in grades Pre-K to 12. The programs provide engaging academic and enrichment activities in an inclusive afterschool learning environment. Some of the activities include healthy and fitness, financial literacy, STEM, English/literacy, college and career readiness and SEL skill building classes.
Summer Interns Say Goodbye
 
The District J Office sends a heartfelt thanks to our summer interns, Cameron Mudd, a sophomore at Vanderbilt University, and Ethan Jett, a junior at Kinkaid High School. The two young men were instrumental in helping our staff serve the District J constituents over the summer. They had a well-rounded and complete exposure to every position in the council office including scheduling, constituent services, event planning, communications and more. We wish them well in their educational pursuits.
 
Neighborhood Project Updates
 
Hillcroft Safety Improvement Project
 
Construction has begun on High Star Dr., from Hillcroft Ave. to Rookin St. to improve the sidewalk and install a bikeway. The project will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 is underway and is expected to be complete in October. During this time, parking on the north side of High Star will be removed. During Phase 2 of the project, parking on the south side of the street will be removed, and a travel lane will be shifted to the south side. This will be completed in early November. All driveways in the area will have access during construction.
 
District J Patrol
 
District J Patrol is a three-pronged approach to public safety bridging the gap between the law enforcement officers in District J and the communities they serve. Sponsored by the District J office, this pilot initiative includes community patrolling by Houston Police Department’s Differential Response Team (DRT), the use of two Polaris vehicles and the District J Patrol Task Force. Residents may report small neighborhood violations and infringements, such as panhandling, loitering, overgrown lots, graffiti, homeless encampments and other public nuisances. To file a report, visit the online portal at www.DistrictJPatrol.com
 
To learn more about our new modern approach to community policing, or to file a report regarding a quality of life issue, please visit www.districtjpatrol.com. To retrieve data, research policy, or to file a complaint online, visit houstontx.gov/policetransparency.
 
HOT Team
 
The HOT Team assists with picking up scattered debris, removing heavy trash, tree waste and illegal dumping, and handling specific landscaping issues. All requests for assistance from the HOT Team should be submitted via 311. The HOT Team makes pickups according to the following schedule:
 
1st Thursday – Sharpstown
2nd Thursday – St. George, Gulfton and Richmond Plaza South
3rd Thursday – Braeburn Area
4th Thursday – Alief/Westwood
 
 
District J Programs
 
There are many organizations in District J that are beneficial to our community. Each month, we will include some of those events in this newsletter.