Vol. 4, Issue 10 – 05.19.23
HOT SPOT TEAM HIGHLIGHT
WEEK OF MAY 8
  • Total Work Orders: 21
  • Hotspot of the Week: 10327 Huntington Place
  • Total Man Hours Worked: 72
  • Tree Waste: 960 lbs.
  • Mattresses: 4
  • Furniture Waste: 13 pieces
  • Tires: 22
  • Trash Debris: 570 lbs.
  • Shopping Carts: 0
  • Bandit Signs: 134
  • Landscaping: none
MAYOR UNVEILS PROPOSED FY2023 BUDGET
On May 16, Councilmember Thomas joined Mayor Sylvester Turner, finance director Will Jones, and her fellow council members for the release of the 2024 fiscal year proposed budget.

The budget will utilize $160 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to replace millions of dollars that would have been used for government services to maintain and sustain critical city services. With the assistance of ARPA funding, the city plans to continue to combat violent crime with the “One Safe Houston” crime reduction initiative.

Budget hearings begin Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Click here to review the Mayor’s 2024 fiscal year proposed budget. If you are interested in participating and are unable to attend the budget meeting, please send your statement to districtf@houstontx.gov and Councilmember Thomas will read the comment in chambers on your behalf (time permitting). 

ONE HOUSTON ONE BOOK INITIATIVE LAUNCHED
On May 15, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced One Houston One Book, a special citywide program that promotes literacy, diversity, and community conversations by encouraging Houstonians to come together, read, and discuss books with a common theme.

Programs and events include author talks, story & craft times, open houses, and a special grand finale event.

Councilmember Thomas recommends Jade’s Food for Thought by District F Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month honoree, Katherine Cheng-Arif. Her book has proven to be an invaluable resource in teaching children about the importance of diversity, embracing their differences, and promoting inclusivity.

Councilmember Thomas will join Katherine at a special book event on May 20. Click here for more information. 

Click here for more information about One Houston One Book.  

102-YEAR-OLD PINEY POINT ELDER HONORED
On May 13, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church (MBC) held the “going home” service for Mrs. Reversa Rhoades, a longtime resident, and pillar of the historic Piney Point community. Mrs. Rhoades was born on January 18,1921 in Wharton, Texas. In 1939, she moved to Houston into the Piney Point community and joined the Pilgrim Rest MBC. She met and married Samuel Rhoades at the church. Together they raised three children in the Piney Point community and in the church.

Mrs. Rhoades lived to be 102 years young. She was the matriarch of her family and a pillar of the Piney Point community. Mrs. Rhoades remained in Piney Point until her death. Her hard work and dedication to the community and the City of Houston will be missed. Please click here to sign the funeral home guest book.

NOOO…BLAKE’S CLOSING AFTER 42 YEARS
On May 11, Blake’s BBQ & Burgers announced it will close its doors after 42 years in business. Owner Don Blake is retiring and wants to do other things. His success story has been told many times over the years.

Letters from the Bush family, Frank Sinatra, and other notables line the walls. Blake’s old-fashioned hamburger won over Houston and the restaurant became an iconic destination.

Blake’s last day of business is May 20, but Councilmember Thomas and City of Houston officials are planning a larger community “farewell” event on June 30. Check back here for details.

PINEY POINT CIVIC CLUB
On May 10, Councilmember Thomas and her staff met with the Piney Point Civic Club. The District F team reviewed the Conservation District ordinance and discussed the next steps for the neighborhood, including appointing a chair and co-chair to lead activities, as well as draft unique development standards for the area. The first order business will be to host a series of community engagement meetings to garner input from residents.

The group also discussed the proposed changes to the Chapter 42 ordinance and ‘Livable Places’. The ‘Livable Places Houston’ initiative is a continuation of the Planning Department’s effort to update portions of Houston’s development codes to create more opportunities for walkability, affordability, and equity. Click here for more information on “Livable Places’ and here to learn more about the changes to Chapter 42.

WELLINGTON HOMES PARK GETS SPEED BUMPS
Beginning this week, Houston Public Works will install speed cushions, more commonly known as speed bumps, in Wellington Homes Park. Each orange dot represents a proposed location. Click here for street project pictures and updates.
CITY OF HOUSTON WORK PERMIT UPDATE
The City of Houston building policies mandates that any construction or remodeling work should have a building permit.

The Permit Activity Report provides Houston Public Work’s information regarding new construction, remodeling, or change-of-use permits by zip code.

This report is typically released weekly by the Planning and Development Department from permit data compiled by Houston Public Works. Click here to view the Permit Activity Report.

SUPPORT FOR LOCAL ARTISTS
On May 10, Councilmember Thomas and her coworkers approved a $5 million investment of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the Arts Sector. The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) will distribute the funds through the Houston Arts and Cultural Stabilization Grant Program, which will be managed by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA).

COVID-19 had a devastating impact on the arts and cultural sector’s ability to host public gatherings, which resulted in historic losses of earned income due to canceled performances, exhibitions, and gig work for creative workers. One of the City of Houston’s main investments into the arts and cultural ecosystem is through the Hotel Occupancy Tax, which saw a loss in income in 2020 and 2021 that totaled $11,600,000.

Round 2 of Let Creativity Happen! and City’s Initiative grant programs will launch June 1. These grants are open to artists, 501(c)3 organizations, and fiscally sponsored projects. Let Creativity Happen offers up to $2,500 for projects promoting artistic vision in Houston, while the City’s Initiative grants $5,000 to $10,000 for projects that engage visitors and build cultural identity. Applications must be submitted via the HAA Grants Portal by June 30, 2023, at 11:59 pm CDT. Click here for Let Creativity Happen! guidelines and here for City’s Initiative guidelines.

Additionally, the HAA 2023 Annual Grant Programs will launch on June 26 and close on June 30. The grant programs include Festival, Support for Organizations, and Support for Artists and Creative Individuals.

  • The Festival grant program offers up to $10,000 to fund arts festivals or cultural festivals in Houston.
  • The Support for Organizations grant program provides operating funds for arts and cultural activities for organizations in existence for at least one year, with three different funding tiers.
  • The Support for Artists and Creative Individuals grant program offers up to $15,000 for specific artistic projects throughout Houston.

Click here for more information. All grants are funded by the City of Houston via the Hotel Occupancy Tax and are awarded based on cash-in-hand or projections.

CHROMIUM-6 WATER SAMPLING UPDATE
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur. EPA has not developed a drinking water standard specifically for chromium-6 but does have a drinking water standard for total chromium of 100 parts per billion (ppb), which includes chromium-6. The chromium present in drinking water in parts of District F has consistently remained far below the SDWA limit of 100 ppb.

All the sampling locations in the report are either in District F or near District F. This report reflects all monitoring conducted since 2013, click here to review the updated chromium-6 summary table that includes data from the latest (March 2023) water sampling event.

COVID NO LONGER A PANDEMIC
On May 5, the World Health Organization said that COVID-19 no longer qualifies as a global emergency, marking a symbolic end to the devastating coronavirus pandemic that triggered once-unthinkable lockdowns, upended economies and killed millions of people worldwide.Even though the emergency phase is over, the pandemic hasn’t finished. Following are COVID-19 updates from the Houston Health Department for the week May 8:

  • Houston’s latest 14-day average COVID-19 positivity rate is 5.5%
  • Wastewater virus load is 83% of the baseline
  • Houston’s CDC COVID-19 Community Level is currently LOW

The Houston Health Department offers free COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites across the city every week. Stay up to date with vaccines and help lower the numbers. Please click here to find nearby free vaccination sites or call 832-393-4002.

DANGEROUS BUILDING DEMOLISHED
The property at 13306 Ascot Glen Lane has been demolished and the vacant is clean and free of debris. The building was torn down as part of the Department of Neighborhoods’ (DON) 2023 Demolition initiative, which calls for the removal of nearly 300 dangerous structures by the end of the year. Many of the buildings on the City of Houston’s demolition roster are in underserved, under-resourced neighborhoods.

The City’s demolition of dangerous buildings is administered by the Department of Neighborhoods’ Inspections and Public Service division and is carried out by City contractors. The dangerous building legal review process is conducted by the Building and Standards Commission or an Administrative Hearing Officer. Demolition orders issued by the Building and Standards Commission and Administrative Hearing Officer undergo extensive legal review by the City’s Demolition Assessment Panel for final approval.

Click here for more information about DON code enforcement.

METER DEVICE REPLACEMENT UPDATE
Over the last several weeks, Houston Public Works (HPW) installed new meter reading devices in neighborhoods where the previous ones were not working properly. HPW is aware that some customers received high water bills after their meter reading devices were replaced.

There is no action required by the customers. HPW is currently operating under a City Council approved program to replace the meter reading devices in specific areas of the city where failure of the devices has occurred. This is not a city-wide issue.

Customers affected by this change will be notified once their accounts are corrected and will not incur late fees or experience service interruptions. The old devices led to some accounts being estimated and charged incorrectly. Moving forward, bills will be generated based on actual readings.

If you have questions or believe you have been incorrectly charged, please reach out to the Customer Account Services team at 713.371.1400.

MAY IS NATIONAL BIKE MONTH
May is National Bike Month and the Houston Bike Summit will start on Monday, May 22.  This year, Mayor Sylvester Turner will be honored for his leadership throughout the City of  Houston’s transformation into a multimodal city.

On a more somber note, a District F resident on Corona Lane reported that her bicycle had been stolen on Friday, May 12.  There is video of the suspect jumping the fence surrounding her backyard to gain access to the bike. The individual is believed to be a 15-18 year old male with dark skin. He is wearing a red mask to cover his face. In the video, he is wearing a camouflage jacket: green, brown, and black with joggers and adidas tennis shoes.  A police report has been filed but if you have seen the bike (pictured above) or the individual, please call 311 to report the incident.

CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS

 
COUNCILMEMBER THOMAS HAS QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BYOB ORDINANCE
 
COUNCILMEMBER THOMAS SPEAKS TO THE MAYOR’S PROPOSED BUDGET
 
COUNCILMEMBER THOMAS & WHAM LAUNCH THRIVE
 
To View City Council Agendas
To Watch Videos of Previous City Council Meetings
DISTRICT F NEWS
AAPI HERITAGE MONTH SPOTLIGHT:
CHAO-CHIUNG “C.C.” LEE
Architect/Philosopher/Feng Shui Master/Artist/Educator/Author
During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we proudly celebrate Asians and Pacific Islanders in the City of Houston and pay tribute to the generations who have enriched and strengthened our communities. District F will spotlight these individuals who have worked tirelessly, influenced our lives, and made major contributions to the culture and history of our town.

Chao-Chiung “C.C.” Lee is a philosopher, a feng shui master, an artist, an educator, and an author.  But most people know him as the president and chief executive officer of STOA Architects, one of the firms responsible for the George R.Brown Convention Center.  C.C. started his architectural practice in 1983 with offices in Houston, as well as Pensacola and Panama City, Florida. The firm’s strong and internationally proven, systematic design method helps clients worldwide with modern design and development challenges.

Mr. Lee is a Feng Shui Master who has taught interactive workshops at Rice University and many other universities around the world. He is also the author of TEA (Total Environmental Alignment) The First Feng Shui design textbook.

So District F, let’s salute C.C. for being a proud Houstonian and say ‘thank you’ for his unwavering support of the arts, and his dedication to making Houston beautiful.

The firm will hold a celebration on May 25 at Fung’s Kitchen (7320 Southwest Frwy) from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

FREE TICKETS TO THE ZOO
Please click here to reserve your free tickets to the Houston Zoo. Priority will be given to District F residents and there is a 5 tickets limit per household.
DISTRICT F NEW STAFF HIRES
Stephani-Nicole Leota is a native Texan with a successful career in public service. Most recently, she served as the Green & Gold Congressional Aide in the Office of Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, where she handled casework and outreach duties.

Prior to earning her Master of Social Work at the University of Houston in 2021, Stephani honed her skills as an intelligence analyst in the Washington, D.C. area and served as a Persian-Farsi linguist in the United States Army.

She was president of the Graduate College of Social Work Student Association at the University of Houston and assisted with the college’s efforts to increase voter registration and civic engagement among students and their communities. Stephani served as a delegate at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

She received the Rising Star 2020-2021 Award from the League of Women Voters of Houston. Stephani is eager to contribute to the great work happening in District F and is committed to working diligently alongside its residents.

Kathy Reece serves as Executive Assistant to Councilmember Thomas. In this role, she is the liaison between the Councilmember to the constituents of District F, city council members, Houstonians, and city hall staff. She is responsible for managing and responding to constituent inquiries and the dissemination of city policies as directed to the citizens of District F.

Additional responsibilities include coordinating and prioritizing Councilmember Thomas’ calendar including meetings, public appearances, events, briefings, and all other related scheduling.

Throughout her career, Kathy has served in executive administrative roles with UT Southwestern Dallas, Verve Communication Group, and the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas. She is a graduate of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas and is studying to complete her B.A. in Psychology.

As a lover and patron of the arts, Kathy enjoys theatre, studying dance, music, and the visual arts. She prides herself on being of service to those in need. She is committed to hard work, collaboration, and supporting the people of District F.

MAY 2023 CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

There are several opportunities for you to engage with your neighbors and receive accurate information from community partners, elected officials, and public safety leadership regarding District F and the greater Houston area.

Schedule
SN – 17 (West Oaks and Eldridge): Every 2nd Tuesday at 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Location: Eagles Trace, 14703 Eagle Vista Drive in the Austin Square building catering room

SN – 25 (Alief): Every 4th Tuesday at 6:30PM
Location: Alief Neighborhood Center

Westside PIP Meeting: Every 3rd Thursday at 6:30PM
Location: Westside Station, 3203 S. Dairy Ashford Street, 3rd floor

Midwest PIP Meeting: Every 3rd Wednesday at 7PM
Location: 7277 Regency Square Boulevard

AARP-ALIEF #3264 Meeting: Every 1st Thursday at 10AM
Location: The Salvation Army Church, 7920 Cook Road

Briarmeadow: Every 2nd Tuesday at 6PM
Location: 3202 Freshmeadows Drive

Westmont Civic Club: Every 4th Thursday every quarter at 7PM
Location: Treemont Retirement Community, 2501 Westerland

Piney Point: Every 2nd Tuesday at 7:30 PM
Location: Pilgrim Rest MBC Activity Center, 3402 Amanda Lane

UPCOMING EVENTS
RESOURCES

Water Bill Questions 

HTX Collects (Solid Waste App)

Trash Pick Up Dates

HPD Beat Map – Beats, districts and locations of HPD stations and storefronts

To Report a Minor Crime (Theft or Property Damage, under $5000) click the link: https://www.houstontx.gov/police/online_report.htm

BARC Information