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Posts published in January 2018

CRIME FORUM SEEKS JUSTICE

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (center) introduces Criminal Justice Panel. L – R : Judge Darrell Jordan, Defense Attorney Joel Androphy, Executive Assistant Chief Troy Finner, Congresswoman Lee, Congressman John Lewis, Commissioner Rodney Ellis & District Attorney Kim Ogg. (Allan Jamail photos)

Distinguished panel wants reform of Criminal Justice System

By Allan Jamail

HOUSTON, FIFTH WARD — January 24, 2018 — Hundreds of community leaders and citizens gathered to listen to the distinguished panel at the Criminal Justice Forum (CJF). The forum consisted of a broad spectrum of the criminal justice community, including elected officials, criminal justice reform advocates, law enforcement, judges, attorneys, community and religious leaders, educators, and ex-offenders.

The CJF presented an opportunity for an open and provocative dialogue about the real reforms needed in our system and to offer solutions that will bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. Panelists of experts from law enforcement, the judicial system, elected officials, and religious leaders offered suggestions to bring a fairer result for those who cannot afford the cost of a defense and then end up wrongly sometimes being convicted. The panel addressed some very serious issues impacting the lives of Texas families and the very social fabric of our community.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime said, “The criminal justice system (CJS) in its current construct creates more criminals and victims than justice, and necessitates significant changes and reforms to ensure that all Americans receive equal treatment under the law.”

Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis says, “The best non-violent action we can take to correct the unfair Criminal Justice System is to VOTE! Vote like you’ve never voted before. Get everyone to VOTE!”

Civil Rights icon Congressman John Lewis, who led the legendary March across the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama, as the keynote speaker said, “The civil rights movement of our time is to reform the CJS. The best non-violent action we can take to correct the unfair Criminal Justice System is to VOTE! Vote like you’ve never voted before. Get everyone to VOTE! I remember the day when 3 young boys in Alabama were murdered just for registering voters.”

The seventy-six year old Lewis showed that he can still rally a crowd of hundreds. He said, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate, to stand up, speak up and speak out, and get in the way, get in trouble, good trouble, and necessary trouble.”

“I’ve been arrested about fifty times for standing up against things unfair and not right and I’ll probably be arrested many times again,” Lewis said.

During the civil rights movement of the sixty’s Lewis once did something so heroic, so noble, that it helped to change the course of a nation for the better. The Georgia Democrat was beaten up savagely by white Southern racists in 1965, and everyone appreciates very much his personal sacrifice to advance civil rights.

Galena Park hosts Community Health Fair

Mayor Esmeralda Moya addresses the media along with Commissioner Barry Ponder and Riceland healthcare professionals about the Health Fair and the future new clinic. (Photo by Allan Jamail)

City to get new medical clinic

By Allan Jamail

Galena Park, TX – On Saturday, January 20, 2018 the City of Galena Park and Riceland Healthcare professionals had a Community Health Fair. Citizens got an example of the medical services which will be available for the community in the near future.

Doctors and nurses setup in the Shafaii Banquet Hall on Holland Avenue and provided free medical services and advice to the citizens. Family Medical Doctors, Allergist, Cardiologist, Podiatrist, and Pulmonologist gave examinations.

Mayor Moya said, “It’s all about the citizens. After more than 27 years of not having access to a health clinic in Galena Park, with the help of Riceland Healthcare, approximately 12,000 people from this city will receive high quality, low-cost care in a state of the art clinic. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with some of Riceland’s physicians and realized their compassion and love for the well-being of the people. Citizens will now be able to have access to medical services without worrying about high costs.”

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Court papers reveal concealed funding of Waste Pits protest groups

Cartoon by Nick Anderson depicts cardboard type false “citizens” campaigning to keep the Toxic Waste Pits capped and in place, but showing that the Potential Responsible Party, Waste Management, is actually behind the protests with their financing and encouragement. (Art Courtesy of THEA)

HOUSTON – For over a year protest groups have voiced their opinion that the San Jacinto River Waste Pits should remain in place, with a membrane “cap” to protect the public and the environment, instead of the method of removing the toxic material by excavating and hauling it away.

These groups have manifested themselves as the San Jacinto Citizens Against Pollution with a website “KeepItCapped .org” and also gave funds to a group known as the Galveston Maritime Business Association. Their representative, J. T. Edwards was allegedly a former Waste Management employee. He often spoke at public EPA hearings, urging the cap to be retained as the solution to the dioxins, instead of removal. Other tactics used by the opposition group included anonymous phone calls to residents in Highlands, Channelview and Lynchburg urging the cap to be retained.

The financial link between the PRP companies (Potential Responsible Party) was uncovered by investigative reporting by Greg Groogan of FOX26 news. He discovered a recent filing, in December, in which the companies submitted additional information in a personal injury or property claim case now before the courts. The defendants are Waste Management and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corporation. In the filing, the attorneys stated that the companies “have been involved in some community engagement efforts” to influence the EPA decision on how to deal with the Toxins in the Waste Pits. The document states that the activities include “significant participation by retained third parties and involvement in keepit capped.org, the San Jacinto Citizens Against Pollution, and the Galveston Maritime Business Association.”

Groogan interviewed J. T. Edwards, the president of the Galveston Maritime Business Association, who confirmed that his organization had received support from Waste Management. He said that one of his supporters had misrepresented his support as personal money, when it was really coming from Waste Management.

However, Edwards indicated that he did not see a problem with that money, and would welcome additional support. Edwards has been a vocal opponent of the EPA decision to remove the toxins from the site, saying “I think it’s going to be good for the community,” referring to a cap instead of removal.

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Sylvia Garcia for Congress opens Campaign office

Senator Sylvia Garcia in the center, holding her campaign for Congress yard with Congressman Gene Green and supporters.

By Allan Jamail

Senator Sylvia Garcia had a Campaign For Congress Open House reception at her first campaign office. Supporters of all ethnicity turned out in large numbers to fill the building to capacity.

Congressman Gene Green opened the event by stating why he’s enthusiastically supporting Garcia. He said, “It’s important we elect Sylvia because she the most qualified candidate and because she knows the communities and the leaders of our communities in the district. We don’t need to let someone who’s recently moved in and is wealthy, who’s spending lots of money to buy the position and yet hasn’t ever done anything for our communities and doesn’t know our leaders.” Green stated Sylvia’s has a long record of achievements and experience in service to citizens and experience matters.

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Many Candidates competing for Green’s Congressional seat

The March 6th Primary election will see a large number of candidates competing for open Congressional seats. In Texas alone, eight seats are open, and the ones of most interest in this area area TX29, Gene Green’s seat, and TX2, Ted Poe’s seat.

Green is a Democrat, but seven Democrats and four Republicans will be on the ballot in March for this position.

Poe is a Republican, and nine Republicans and five Democrats will try to win a spot on the November general election for this position.

Also contested in the primary and general election will be Senator Ted Cruz, up for re-election after his first six year term. He is opposed by four Republicans, and three Democrats including front-runner Beto O’Rourke from El Paso.

These elections have national significance, as the House and Senate could lose their Republican majorities in November. Another interesting Texas race is the governor, where 10 Democrats are running in the primary to oppose Governor Greg Abbott, and two Republicans. Because of the large numbers of candidates running in each of these races, it is anticipated that there will be a run-off election in some, which is scheduled for May 22. Candidates for the TX29 seat given up by retiring Congressman Gene Green include Democratic frontrunner State Senator Sylvia Garcia, real estate agent Dominique Garcia, Houston Attorney Roel Garcia, school teacher Hector Morales, and Beaumont area businessman Tahir Javed. (more…)

Galena Park Council meeting holds awards presentation

Ellaine Underhill, left, of United Healthcare receives award from Cheryl Ponder, right, of the Committee for a Better Galena Park.

By Allan Jamail

At 6PM on January 2, 2018, the Galena Park city council meeting was called to order by Mayor Esmeralda Moya. After the opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, the council approved the meeting minutes of December 19th and the Accounts Payable through January 2, 2018.

The council also pproved hiring Gary Fisher as full-time and Melissa Galan as part-time police dispatchers.

The council approved hiring Emerson Chavez full-time in Ground Maintenance.

Cheryl Ponder of the Committee for a Better Galena Park presented Ellaine Underhill representing United Healthcare with a recognition award for their continued support to the Secret Santa Program.

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