The Thomas Telegraph: Vol. 5, Issue 1 – July 14, 2023
Vol. 5, Issue 1 – 07.14.23
Earlier this week, we released a weather advisory due to the heat. Please take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your pets this weekend. Remember, city buildings such as libraries and multi-purpose centers can serve as cooling centers.
I appreciate your attention and participation regarding the District F Summer of Safety. Our efforts have included updates from HPD, a community activation with Houston Fire, and on Sunday, we are partnering with Houston Waves for a swim safety event for kids and adults. Good news, we are fully subscribed.We look forward to seeing registered families at the Alief Neighborhood Center on Sunday, July 16. We are working to provide water and extra sunscreen for protection.
Let’s talk about homelessness:
Over the last two weeks, my office has received more emails and phone calls than average regarding interactions with homeless individuals and growing tent encampments at the following locations:
Beechnut and Cook Rd. Bissonnet and Kirkwood Rd. Dairy Ashford and Westpark Rd. Bellaire and Cook Rd. W. Houston and Richmond (near Shadow Lake and HCA)
I want to reiterate our ongoing efforts to address the public safety of patrons and residents. Most of the complaints are related to exchanges on commercial property, and police reports have been filed, video recorded, and efforts deployed to address this. As a reminder, please do not engage where you do not have to.
If you notice more than five tents gathering, please alert my office to the location, provide a photo, and it will be added to the list. We are currently working to decommission ‘tent cities’ (phase 1) and then will move to address individuals residing within the trees at noted intersections (phase 2).
Let’s talk about parking:
For the last year, we have worked to address the issue of large trucks parked throughout our residential neighborhoods and on public streets that violated city ordinances. Good news, on Wednesday, July 12 city council unanimously voted to update language to restrict large trucks (18-wheelers, trailers) from parking in residential neighborhoods. Of course, if they are unloading or parked for business purposes such as delivery – they are exempt from citation.
Let’s talk about public safety:
As we move into August, I want to highlight a couple of new collaborations to underscore our work related to public safety. On August 9 at 10 AM, I am hosting a press conference with Children At Risk and Uber to announce HB2313, which allows ride-share companies to train and fight against human trafficking. If you want to attend, please join us in the Legacy Room at City Hall. Also, my office, Outdoor Media, and the Houston Area Coalition of Omega Chapters are partnering to advance ending gun violence against women — we will launch our joint billboard on Highway 59 S.
HOUSTON PUBLIC WORKS UPDATE:
LODGING FACILITY AT 9666 RICHMOND AVENUE
Following is an update regarding 9666 Richmond Avenue:
This location has an active RESIDENTIAL GARAGE CONVERSION W/ ADDITION & REPAIR PER SPEC LIST under Project #: 19063781. The last performed and approved inspection at this location occurred on 07/10/2023 for a Mechanical – Local Vent Permit. The property owner is actively working on completing this project to proceed with an occupancy inspection to ultimately obtain the Certificate of Occupancy and Lodging Facility Permit.
The property owner has filed an application to obtain the Certificate of Occupancy for the residential facility under Project #: 22091622. The occupancy inspection will be able to be conducted upon the successful completion of Project #: 19063781.
The City of Houston Legal Department has advised HPW-HPC Building Code Enforcement that there are no deed restrictions preventing a Lodging Facility from operating at this location.
Furthermore, additional occupancy investigations have been conducted at this location. As of most recently, on 06/29/2023, access was granted to the residence’s interior, where evidence of online business sales display/materials was observed. [Legal] is aware of this information and additional details related to the associated investigation.
Neighborhood complaints or concerns regarding:
Article 7. Nuisances: Permanent piles of trash and heavy trash have been standing on this property for months now. Likewise, a large number of vehicles, sometimes blocking the sidewalk, are permanently parked on the property, driveway, lawn, and nearby sidewalks. Between 13 to 15 cars are parked daily. This represents not only a nuisance to the neighborhood but a safety concern given the high traffic the Gessner Road / Richmond Avenue intersection has.
Please get in touch with the Department of Neighborhoods for investigative assistance regarding nuisance complaints (accumulation of trash, debris, rubbish, abandoned/junked motor vehicles). If vehicles block the public roadway, impede traffic, or pose a safety concern for traffic and pedestrians, please contact the Houston Police Department.
There are no deed restrictions preventing yard parking at this location.
Please click here for information on creating, renewing, and modifying restrictions.
Please click here for information on prohibited yard parking.
TRANSPORTATION & DRAINAGE OPERATIONS UPDATE:
BRIARMEADOW SOUTH ESPLANADE
Following is an update from the Project Manager within Transportation & Drainage Operations:
On 7/12/2023, the Senior Inspector and I met with a representative from the HOA to discuss his concerns. We presented alternatives to address his grass watering concerns in the added median areas. The representative preferred to cover the median areas with concrete; the photo above shows what was agreed upon with the HOA representative. This job will be assigned to the following contractor once the contract is approved by the City Council later this year. Timeline forthcoming.
Regarding the grass placement in the areas, Public Works would be responsible only for the area used by the contractor (JF Construction). We have contacted the contractor regarding the issues on Stoney Brook Drive and Pagewood Lane and they will make corresponding repairs. Per picture #1 with the Stop sign, the sub-contractor used this area for materials and staging. This area will be covered with sod. Picture #2 details a driveway near 7714 Pagewood Lane that is needed to be repaired by the sub-contractor.
CITY COUNCIL MAKES CHANGES
TO PARKING REGULATIONS
The City Council voted Wednesday to make changes to Houston parking regulations, including new rules for disputing parking tickets and enforcement on large vehicles.
Street parking for large vehicles is limited to a two-hour limit and prohibited parking between 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. To simplify the process for parking citations, the city will now allow up to 30 days to contest a citation online (it used to be seven days), a cash bond is no longer required to schedule a hearing, and a prosecuting attorney presence in court. A payment plan has been added to allow customers to make payments for booted vehicles who aren’t able to pay in full.The large vehicles and parking citation changes go into effect immediately.
CM THOMAS & MO AMER
CELEBRATE 713 DAY AT CITY HALL
On July 13, Councilmember Thomas and Mayor Sylvester Turner welcomed Comedian/Actor Mo Amer to City Hall to celebrate 713 Day. The unofficial holiday is an opportunity to showcase Houston’s rich culture in art, entertainment, and music.
Turner declared September 16 as Mo Amer Day in 2021 and this year he’s coming home to celebrate. The comedian will be performing at the Bayou Music Center with a portion of his proceeds going to his alma mater, Alief Hastings High School’s theater and band departments.
Amer created and stars in the critically acclaimed Netflix series “Mo” which is a series of love letters to the city of Houston. He was also seen in the DC Comics superhero film “Black Adam” alongside Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
Tickets for Amer’s show at Bayou Music Center are now on sale through Live Nation.
On July 12, Councilmember Thomas recognized the Houston Urban Debate League (HUDL) for their impressive showing at the 2023 National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Championship Tournament in Phoenix earlier this month.
All three of the qualifying World School Debate teams advanced to elimination rounds for the first time, with the Alief Early College team placing in the top 16 in the nation.
Two HUDL students were ranked as the 3rd and 5th overall best speakers in the country out of the 350 students competing.
Click here to watch the Proclamation presentation.
IGBOFEST CELEBRATES 20th ANNIVERSARY
On July 12, Councilmember Thomas presented a Proclamation to IGBOFest in recognition of its 20th Anniversary. The festival is known for high-energy, musical performances that embrace the Igbo culture and display an array of cultural dances and folklore.
Houston has one of the largest Nigerian immigrant populations in the country and Igbo is one of its most popular tribes.
Hosted by Ndi Ichie Cultural Club, the event will be on Saturday, July 22nd, from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the Jones Lawn at Discovery Green.
Click here to watch the Proclamation presentation.
ONE COMPLETE HOUSTON RELEASES STUDY FINDINGS
On July 11, Councilmember Thomas moderated a panel discussion featuring directors from the City of Houston’s Public Works, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Houston Parks Department.
The panel was held in conjunction with the release of findings from the City of Houston’s first equity indicator study.
Conducted by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research with funding from Shell USA, Inc., the report uses equity scores to identify socioeconomic inequalities exacerbated by biases based on race, ethnicity, gender, and ZIP codes.
Houston’s overall equity score is 44.1 out of 100, delineating a need for improvements. The equity scores are not pass-or-fail measurements, but more of an indicator of the progress we have made towards our goal of being a more fair and equitable city.
On July 5, Councilmember Thomas joined the English as a Second Language graduating class at the Alief Neighborhood Center for a brief ceremony.
The students demonstrated their English language proficiency by performing skits and reenacting real-life scenarios.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING &
THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF HOUSTON
On June 30, Councilmember Thomas joined affordable housing developers, builders, lenders/banks, and landowners for the Bankers Fair hosted by the Houston Housing Collaborative. In conjunction with the Houston Land Bank, the organization’s aim is to identify financing opportunities for new construction or rehab and preservation of affordable homes, whether for ownership or rental.
A long-time advocate for affordable housing, Councilmember used the opportunity to remind attendees that they have the power to not only change lives for the better today, but for generations to come. For many Black or Hispanic families, homeownership puts them on a path to generational wealth.
Click here for more information on affordable housing.
HOT SPOT TEAM HIGHLIGHT
WEEK OF JUNE 26
Total Work Orders: 37
Hotspot of the Week: 2870 Stoney Brook
Total Man Hours Worked: 64
Tree Waste: 780 lbs.
Furniture Waste: 14 pieces
Trash Debris: 270 lbs.
Shopping Carts: 1
Bandit Signs: 139
BARC WAIVES ADOPTION FEES
BARC, BISSELL Pet Foundation, and MetLife Pet Insurance have teamed up for this summer’s “Empty the Shelters” campaign. With the shared goal of helping pets find and stay in loving homes, this collaboration will include more shelters and allow BARC to completely waive adoption fees.
Interested adopters can visit BARC’s Adoption Center at 3300 Carr Street any day from June 6 – 31 from noon to 5 p.m.
CM Thomas Speaks to New Parking Ordinance & Large Trucks
CM Thomas Presents Proclamation to
Houston Urban Debate League
CM Thomas Presents Proclamation to
IGBOFest on its 20th Anniversary
CM Thomas Moderates Panel Discussion on Equity
One Complete Houston:
Understanding Our Equity and Study Findings
DISTRICT F NEWS
DISTRICT F AT THE HOUSTON ZOO
District F residents, friends, and family enjoyed free tickets to the Houston Zoo. More tickets will be available this fall.
GO GREEN, REDUCE WASTE
For a limited time, District F residents can drop off their compost for FREE every week at the Westchase District Farmers Market. Simply visit 10503 Westheimer Road on Thursdays between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
To get started, you will only pay a one-time fee of $8 to receive your Happy Earth Compost bucket at the Farmers Market. Fill it up throughout the week and return it the following Thursday during market hours (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.). When you drop it off, you’ll receive a new bucket to take home for the next week.
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): No meeting July and August
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
Hunting Village HOA: Every 3rd Thursday at 7PM Location: Clubhouse, 9511 Cook Road