Archive for April 7th, 2014

Don’t Run Pal!

MariGirl sent this out last Friday:

I’m very happy to announce that starting this Monday, April 7th, I will be joining the team of Neighborhood Centers Inc. as Immigration Program Manager for their Immigration Department. I have always been passionate about moving our community forward and I know Neighborhood Centers Inc. is an organization that holds that same desire. I’m very excited to join NCI in this capacity and I look forward to a future collaboration with you and your organizations.

Good luck Marisol!

I am sure most folks saw the blurb about the Dem congressman that thinks congress deserves a pay raise. Tone deaf? Here is a part:

Retiring Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., is aware that Congress is unpopular, but he still thinks the legislative body deserves a raise.

“I think the American people should know that the members of Congress are underpaid,” Moran, who’s announced he will leave office when the current Congress ends, told the newspaper Roll Call. “I understand that it’s widely felt that they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”

Rank-and-file members of Congress make a yearly salary of $174,000 — well above the median household income in Washington, D.C., which between 2008 and 2012 was $64,267. Still, Moran said, “A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently in Washington.”

The only thing I have to say is if you don’t like the money then don’t run for office.

Name the MLB Hall of Fame great that won the MVP Award with the same team but in different cities?

Well the Chron E-Board put a spanking on Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee this past Saturday. It had to do with North Forest. It is a pretty good spanking so check it out here:

Ten months after HISD took over North Forest Independent School District, the high school has a newly renovated building that doesn’t smell and bathrooms that feature toilet paper, soap and paper towels. “There’s nowhere to go but up” (March 31, Page B6).

Principal Pam Farinas has ended “mall time,” a period after lunch during which students socialized as they would if they were in a mall. With the worst test scores in the state, there’s a lot of catching up to do, and school days have been extended until 4:15 p.m. At the high school, more than 100 students are on probation or parole for criminal convictions, roughly 30 girls are pregnant and a significant number of students have substance- abuse problems. We’re glad that the Houston Independent School District has committed four counselors and two social workers to the campus, even if students could use more help.

For years, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, and others fought hard to keep North Forest alive as an independent school district. “This is going to be a fight for the children. Not for us. It’s going to be a fight for the children,” Lee announced at an emergency town hall meeting in February of last year.

We want to know: Where is Lee now? The old North Forest schools may not smell any longer, but many students at the high school are so far behind that the first step for them is just learning how to attend classes again.

While these students are making progress, they have many needs, some brought on by years of educational neglect. HISD is funding math tutors after school to work with students to build up basic math literacy. But many can’t read fluently, and funding for literacy tutors is not available.

To help these students catch up, the community should support these students through the gift of our time.

The North Forest area, in the northeast part of the city, does not boast much in the way of business or the cultural arts, yet some students seldom leave the area. Requests for field trips are met with a chilly reception; North Forest High School’s reputation precedes it. As a consequence, the students have a limited understanding of possible careers. To remedy this deficiency, Farinas would like to bring the community to North Forest. She says that North Forest High School would welcome speakers from all walks of life, and not just lawyers, doctors and nurses. Cosmeticians, X-ray technicians, mechanics, plumbers, day-care providers and construction workers, to name a few, have much to teach these kids about the broader world.

As camera crews may not be in evidence, we don’t expect Lee to show up to tell these students about the life of a congresswoman. But we are grateful to Principal Farinas and the other principals and teachers in this area for committing themselves to try to make a difference in the lives of these children.

These kids now may have a long way to go to catch up. But as Lee liked to pontificate when she was fighting to keep North Forest on life support, “We can’t ever give up on our children.”


Here is what I don’t get. The HISD Superintendent recommends closing five schools and the HISD Board votes to close just one – and that one is now a maybe. What is the point in recommending closing schools then? Here is the latest from this weekend’s Chron:

Facing continued protests from parents and activists over the looming closure of Dodson Elementary, Houston school trustees plan to reconsider its fate.

Board president Juliet Stipeche, with support from two trustees, exercised a rarely used policy to bring the item back to the board for consideration Thursday – four weeks after the board voted 5-4, during a tense meeting, to close Dodson. It’s unclear whether there are enough votes to save the school.

“We’re expecting the community to keep up the pressure,” said Loretta Brock, a community activist who organized a student boycott over the closure. “We are turning up the heat.”

Stipeche, whose district includes Dodson, voted with the majority in March to close the school. After mounting criticism, she received support from trustees Wanda Adams and Rhonda Skillern-Jones to add an item to the board agenda next week, over objections from Superintendent Terry Grier’s administration.

Grier had proposed closing five small schools, but Stipeche used her power as board president to remove three of them from the list in early March. The board later voted to close Dodson and to turn Jones High into a specialty career-focused school without athletics.

Grier’s staff released a statement Friday saying the administration stands by its recommendation to close Dodson, a few miles south of downtown, and to rezone the students to Blackshear, Lantrip and Rusk next school year.

“Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to work with the entire Dodson community – teachers, students, parents, community members – to ensure that we create a school environment where students can focus on learning,” the statement said.

HISD’s initial closure proposal said Dodson landed on the list because of “changes in housing development patterns.” Grier also acknowledged that district officials wanted to use the building to house students from other schools being rebuilt – a justification that frustrated Dodson supporters.

Officials are considering temporarily housing students from the Energy Institute High School and the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Stipeche’s alma mater, at the Dodson campus during rebuilding.

“After careful consideration of additional information and community input, I felt the need for this to be reconsidered,” Stipeche said, adding that Dodson’s Montessori program was popular enough to draw more than 200 applications, and parents were concerned about security around Blackshear Elementary. “I know that it’s difficult.”

Dodson enrolls about 445 students. Blackshear, a couple miles away, has about 340.

Trustee Paula Harris, who voted in the minority to keep open Dodson, said she expects to be absent from the board meeting Thursday. If Stipeche is the only trustee who changes her vote, the motion to keep Dodson open will fail on a tie.

Trustee Anna Eastman, who also voted against closure, said she is unsure how she’ll vote. She said she opposed the Dodson closure last month because it wasn’t part of a broader facilities plan.

“I just have a real problem with putting something up for vote one month and then bringing it back the next month,” Eastman said.

Oh well.

I got a Wall Street Journal delivered to me this morning. I think the Chron is trying to get me to subscribe. I don’t think so.

The great Willie Mays of course won the NL MVP Award with the New York Giants in 1954 and with the San Francisco Giants in 1965.

Well the team is 3-3. When they win they look great like in yesterday’s five dinger victory. When they lose they look like the 2013 ‘Stros. The H-Town fans are still not convinced though. They had crowds of 14,000 and change and 15,000 and change this past weekend for the Angels.

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