Archives by date

You are browsing the site archives by date.

Prosecutor: ‘No plans’ to have Perry testify

A special prosecutor says he does not plan to call Texas Gov. Rick Perry to testify before a grand jury investigating whether he abused his power.

Michael McCrum spoke to reporters Friday in Austin before the expected meeting of a grand jury investigating Perry’s veto last year of funding for public corruption prosecutors.

McCrum declined to say why he would not have Perry testify.

McCrum is investigating whether Perry abused his official powers when he threatened to veto $7.5 million for the state public integrity unit run by the Travis County district attorney’s office.

Perry said he would veto the money if District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg stayed in office after pleading guilty to drunken driving.

http://www.kristv.com/news/prosecutor-no-plans-to-have-perry-testify/

4 Texas VA Centers Rank Poorly in Wait Times

Four medical centers serving veterans in Texas have some of the nation’s worst wait times for new patients.

A federal report released Monday shows that Texas’ eight Veterans Affairs Department medical centers scheduled at least 92 percent of their patients for appointments within 30 days. However, facilities in Harlingen, El Paso, Dallas and Amarillo rank among the longest waits for new patients.

The Texas Valley Coastal Bend facility in Harlingen averaged a 145-day wait for new patients seeking specialist care, the nation’s worst backlog. The next longest is El Paso’s medical center at 90 days.

Harlingen also ranked second worst for new patients seeking primary care, at 85 days.

The centers in Amarillo, El Paso and Dallas ranked in the top 10 for new patients seeking mental health care.

For more information visit the National VA Website.

See video here

http://www.kristv.com/news/4-texas-va-centers-rank-poorly-in-wait-times/

Over 2500 pastors and citizens attended this short notice rally to send a message to our city officials!

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has introduced and promoted what she is calling an “Equal Rights Ordinance…”

…that follows closely the language of those promoted by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) organizations like the Human Rights Campaign all over the nation. In fact, Houston City Attorney David Feldman confirmed that the HRC was involved in the drafting of Parker’s ordinance just as they were in the infamous San Antonio ordinance. While Mayor Parker initially tried to sell it as protections for race, disability and veterans, due to the intense and negative public response she has finally admitted this is “about my life.” 

Why a Referendum?

When an elected body fails to act in accordance with the will of the people and/or their oath of office to uphold and defend the Texas and U.S. Constitutions, citizens in Houston as well as most cities in Texas have the right to engage in what is called “Legislation By The People,” through “direct legislation by the initiative and referendum.”

There are two forms generally used:

1. Initiative – This process amends the city ordinances by petition of the people if qualified for the ballot properly and passed by a majority vote of the citizens casting a ballot. This does NOT change the city charter, nor does it necessarily repeal an existing ordinance.

2. Referendum – This is the means by which the people can directly repeal an ordinance passed by the City Council, if an adequate number of qualified signatures are received within the deadline of 30 days after it takes effect or is published (after adoption). The city council must then either repeal the ordinance or place the measure on the next city election ballot for the vote of the people. A simple majority prevails and if achieved the ordinance is repealed.

a. IMPORTANTOnce the necessary signatures are filed with the city and certified (again, must be within 30 days), the ordinance is immediately suspended and is no longer in effect pending the vote of city council or the people!

Over 100,000 emails and thousands of calls were received by Houston City Council members regarding Mayor Parker’s so-called “Equal Rights Ordinance” that is in fact an UNequal Rights Ordinance. Reports from council members themselves were that the calls ran from 4 to 1 to as high as 10 to 1 against the ordinance. Every rationale given by Parker and her City Attorney David Feldman for this were refuted completely by the myriad legal information provided by the pastors’ coalition and many others, proving there was no need for this except to satisfy Parker’s LGBT national allies.

With city council members C.O. Bradford, Ellen Cohen, Stephen Costello, Robert Gallegos, Richard Nguyen, Ed Gonzalez, David Robinson, Larry Green, Jerry Davis and Mike Laster patently ignoring both law and the will of the citizens, the referendum serves as the immediate (however certainly not the only) remedy to such public malfeasance.

READ IT FOR YOURSELF

Final Ordinance language adopted by Houston City Council on May 28, 2014

(Council members who voted FOR the ordinance were: C.O. Bradford, Ellen Cohen, Stephen Costello, Robert Gallegos, Richard Nguyen, Ed Gonzelez, David Robinson, Larry Green, Jerry Davis, Mike Laster)

(Council members who voted AGAINST the ordinance were: Dwight Boykins, Jack Christie, Michael Kubosh, Dave Martin, Oliver Pennington, Brenda Stardig)

Alliance Defending Freedom’s legal analyses as requested by Houston Area Pastor Council:

Analysis of Proposed NOD (for first draft ordinance)

Analysis of Removal of Section 17-51(b) (for revised draft)

The Threat to Women and Girls Illustrated – case examples around the nation

MAYOR PARKER’S “EQUAL RIGHTS” ORDINANCE THREATENS OUR WOMEN AND CHILDREN


All discrimination protections for the “Protected Characteristics” in the new ordinance CURRENTLY EXIST for city government. All other legitimate anti-discrimination areas in private employment, housing, etc. exist in state and/or federal law. This ordinance only serves to impose sexual orientation, gender identy/expression and genetic information as protected classes AS BEING EQUAL TO RACE, RELIGION AND SEX onto the private sector of Houston, with centralized power of investigation, fines and punishment under one person – the Mayor*. There is NO evidence of ANY systemic discrimination EVEN if we accepted the premise of sexual orientation, etc. (*The Mayor appoints the City Attorney, to whom the Director of the Office of Inspector General is directly accountable and who is SOLELY in charge of investigations)

KEY POINTS:

  1. It will by government decree open thousands of women’s restrooms, showers and girls locker rooms in the city to biological males! Predators and peepers can use it as cover to violate our women and children! There are actual cases in other cities around the nation that validate these concerns. A biological male simply claims that his “perceived gender identity” is female, walk into a women’s restroom, locker room or shower and under this ordinance would be protected.
  2. As has already happened in other states, business owners will be forced to violate their faith, beliefs and consciences. How soon will it be before a photographer, florist, wedding facility and others are prosecuted for declining to provide service for a same-sex ceremony even if their faith convictions are violated?
  3. It is patently offensive to claim that a sexual lifestyle or gender confusion are equal to skin color, AND to assert that these sexual lifestyles are a class that has suffered any documented discrimination in employment, housing and public facilities that rises to the need of imposing this extensive policy over all.
  4. Where is the “emergency”? This ordinance is SIMPLY NOT NEEDED. What is the compelling government interest in creating a broad scope of investigative power over the private sector and creating serious legal jeopardy? There is no evidence of any discrimination that rises to the level of imposing the threat of fines and punishment on ALL citizens and MOST businesses in the city.
  5. Protections against wrongful discrimination based on legitimate protected classes such as race, ethnicity, religion and sex are already specified in state and federal law. Employment and Housing in particular are highly regulated and scrutinized already, so again – why is this necessary?
  6. The definition of “Gender Identity” is infinitely vague. “…an individual’s innate identification, appearance, expression or behavior as either male or female, although the same may not correspond to the individual’s body or gender assigned at birth.” How do you protect against “identification, appearance, expression or behavior” discrimination? Who is the arbiter?
  7. This leaves businesses vulnerable to prosecution and litigation they cannot avoid. All it takes is for a person to claim they were discriminated against because of an “identity” or “expression” or “behavior” that may or may not be even visible and businesses – and eventually churches – are defendants under city investigation. You cannot defend against what you cannot define.
  8. Why should the 99% of the population who are NOT gender confused be forced to accommodate the less than 1% who are? Why is the physical and emotional safety of women and children who accept their birth gender less important than the tiny few who suffer from what has always been considered a psychological disorder? It is clear that from the beginning, “He created them male and female” (Gen. 1:27) and we choose to stand with God.
  9. Places inappropriate investigative authority under the office City Attorney as compared to its purpose under city ordinance. The Office of Inspector General, under the authority of the City Attorney, currently only has jurisdiction within city government with specific limits. It was created by Mayor Parker to investigate “allegations of employee misconduct” (EO 1-39, 3/2011)FOR CITY GOVERNMENT NOT THE ENTIRE PRIVATE SECTOR. “The city attorney shall represent the city in all actions and proceedings…. He shall represent the city in all other legal matters…he shall render opinions and advice to the mayor or city council…” This ordinance adds criminal investigations to OIG without regard to its ability or qualifications to perform such actions. It gives the City Attorney prosecutorial powers completely unintended for that office.

 

Continue reading here.

http://nounequalrights.com/information/

Woman shot & killed, witness holds suspect until police arrive

by Gianna Caserta

An innocent bystander put his own life on the line to stop the man accused of killing a woman at a gas station in southeast Houston.

It started around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, when a white van with four occupants parked at the Valero in the 7000 block of Scott Street.

“[A] verbal dispute broke out [inside the van],” said Officer Jennifer Saldana with the Houston Police Department.  “The driver was seen shooting at a front passenger female.”

Chance Perkins, a witness at the scene, described the moment the shot rang out, while he stood just feet away:

“I look[ed] out of the corner of my eye and [saw] a silver pistol in this man’s hand,” said Perkins.  “I want[ed] to keep my distance, and then he just shot the victim like it was nothing.  Cold-blooded just right there, pulled [the gun] out in broad daylight and shot her.”

Perkins not only witnessed the shooting, but stepped in to help hold the suspect before police arrived.

“I was five feet from him, and that’s when flight or fight kicked in, and me and him got into it,” Perkins said.  “I pushed my knee into the small of his back and got him on the ground.”

According to reports, the suspect still had a gun in his hand at the time, and managed to fire three more shots while Perkins wrestled him to the ground.

When asked what motivated him to help diffuse the situation and hold such a dangerous suspect, Perkins had a straightforward response:

“I know what’s right.  I gotta [sic] do it.  When I saw that happen, I couldn’t live with myself if I just walked away or ran.  I couldn’t do that.”

Another bystander saw them struggle and rushed over to help prevent the suspect from running away or causing additional harm.

Their actions provided officers the time they needed to arrive at the scene and arrest the suspect, investigators said.  He now faces murder charges.

As for Perkins, he said a crime like this is nothing you’d ever expect to witness.

“I [was] on my way home, and I just needed some gas.  And I see a Valero, and sure enough the price is right, and [now] here we are.”

See video here.

http://www.click2houston.com/news/woman-shot-killed-witness-holds-suspect-until-police-arrive/26388414

S. Texas man sentenced to prison for gun trafficking conspiracy

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head sentenced 27-year-old Angel Aquino-Pineda of McAllen Friday to 100 months in prison.

According to prosecutors, a police task force in Kingsville had pulled over Aquino-Pineda in 2013 and found 35 AK-47 variant rifles and $26,000 in a false compartment. He admitted to transporting the rifles from Houston to McAllen where they would then be smuggled into Mexico. Six others from Houston have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and await sentencing.

Weapons imported illegally from the U.S. to Mexico have been fueling violence among that country’s drug cartels and authorities.

http://www.click2houston.com/news/s-texas-man-sentenced-to-prison-for-gun-trafficking-conspiracy/26380552

Dallas’ 15-year-old Trinity toll road agreement with NTTA has little protection for the city

By Rudolph Bush

I just got finished reading the 16-page interlocal agreement between Dallas City Hall and the NTTA that appears to pledge eternal cooperation in the construction of the Trinity toll road.

Drafted sometime in 1998, it’s not clear whether this thing was written by a legal genius or the slowest first year at Dedman School of Law.

What is clear is that the agreement provides a whole lot of protection for the NTTA if it decides the road can’t feasibly be built.

What it does not appear to provide is any out for the city if the NTTA doesn’t, in some timely way, deliver on the goods.

Remember, this agreement is now a sophomore in high school. It has all the awkward signs of that age.

For instance, it puts the price of the toll road at a quaint $394 million. Well, we know that’s not right. The road is somewhere north of $1 billion. Well north I believe.

There is a great deal in the agreement about the city’s many responsibilities, including its pledge of $84 million to the road. That figure seemed like a substantial contribution at the time. It’s not quite a rounding error yet, but getting there.

What bugs me about this agreement is that no one at City Hall at the time appeared to look at it and say, gosh, maybe we should add some outs for ourselves in here. Maybe we should give ourselves a little legal push back in case, say, 15 years goes by and this road still isn’t built and we decide that, perhaps, there would be a better way to build our city.

I’m no lawyer. Maybe that’s in there. I can’t find it. I’m going to post the agreement and ask that the bright lawyers who read this blog help me look for it.

See, a group of people are planning a funeral for the toll road on Sunday. I’m probably going to go. It’s easy writing material. Problem is, I still don’t believe it.

Did you see what Michael Morris, head of the North Texas Council of Governments, told our Brandon Formby?

It’s all about “lane balance” now and something called the Southern Gateway. These are not things I heard about in 2007 when the road narrowly escaped death by vote.

“How do you do the Southern Gateway project if you have no way to unload it on the rest of the system?” Morris said.

Let me guess: You build a toll road through the Trinity.

So here we are, with this ancient agreement that appears to be eternal in nature that the city may not be able to get out of, even if it wants to.

Lawyers, the agreement is on the jump. Begin combing. What did I miss?

NTTA agreement with City Hall on Trinity Toll Road

Continue reading here.

http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/06/dallas-15-year-old-agreement-with-ntta-on-toll-road-has-little-protection-for-the-city.html/

Dallas police: Man sexually abused 15-year-old boy in fast food restaurant bathroom

By Tristan Hallman

Dallas police arrested a 29-year-old man Friday after he was accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy in the bathroom of a Lake Highlands fast food restaurant.

Marques Elder has been charged with indecency with a child, a second-degree felony, in connection with the incident in the 11800 block of Abrams Road. His bond has not yet been set.

Elder has previously been arrested for a forgery of a check charge in Dallas County.

Police ask that anyone with additional information contact Det. Jessica Criddle at 214- 671-4207.

http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2014/06/dallas-police-man-sexually-abused-15-year-old-boy-in-fast-food-restaurant-bathroom.html/

Head of Annie’s List dies in Texas car crash

Grace Garcia of Annie’s List, a group dedicated to electing Democratic women who support abortion rights, has died in a car crash.

Garcia was a powerful supporter of candidates including Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, who is running for governor against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, and Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, the Democrats’ candidate for lieutenant governor against Republican Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston.

“It is with a tremendous sense of loss that we announce the passing of our executive director and leader, Grace Garcia, who lost her life in a car accident Monday afternoon,” Amber Mostyn, Annie’s List board chair, said in a statement.

Mostyn said another staffer was injured in the crash, which occurred in Waxahachie, and was in intensive care.

“Grace Garcia was the passionate, tough, visionary leader we needed at Annie’s List. The best possible tribute to her life is to continue the work Grace started on behalf of Annie’s List and women across Texas. Thoughts, prayers and privacy are appreciated at this time,” Mostyn said.

Mostyn said Garcia’s family will make an announcement regarding arrangements in the coming days.

Garcia worked in the White House for President Bill Clinton and in the State Department for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before joining Annie’s List.

A second-generation Mexican-American, she was born in West Germany but counted San Antonio as home because, she told the Express-News’ Elaine Ayala last year, Army brats are able to pick the cities they choose to be their hometown.

Her father was a career officer.She attended Thomas Jefferson High School with Van de Putte and was the Mexican-American Democrats’ first executive director while attending the University of Texas at Austin.“In looking back, it was an amazing journey I never expected to be on,” Garcia told the Express-News last year.

http://www.themonitor.com/news/apnews/head-of-annie-s-list-dies-is-texas-car-crash/article_7e5f6156-eb49-11e3-b29f-0017a43b2370.html

Soldier goes on trial over prostitution ring

Female soldiers at Fort Hood testified Monday that they were recruited for a prostitution ring set up by a sergeant involved in the sexual assault and harassment program at the Central Texas post.

 

The testimony came as the court-martial began for another Fort Hood soldier accused of using the service, which Army prosecutors said preyed upon young, cash-strapped female soldiers at Fort Hood.

Master Sgt. Brad Grimes is a 17-year Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army prosecutors said in the military court on Monday that Grimes participated in the prostitution ring set up by another Fort Hood sergeant not yet charged but still under Army investigation, the Austin American-Statesman newspaper reported.

The case arose from an investigation of a lower-level coordinator of Fort Hood’s sexual assault and harassment prevention program. The Army said a noncommissioned officer involved in the program recruited female soldiers for the prostitution ring.

Defense attorney Daniel Conway said Grimes is being court-martialed because he refused a deal to testify against the other soldier. Grimes denied the charges of adultery and conspiring to pay for sex from a Fort Hood private.

“At the end of the day, Master Sgt. Grimes chose to do the right thing and not have sex with that young lady,” Conway said. “This is really a case about sex parties, and Master Sgt. Grimes had nothing to do with that.”

Conway asked Col. Gregory Gross, the military judge presiding over the trial, to throw out the case against Grimes. He argued that the Army high command and top federal officials, including President Barack Obama, had biased the process by pressing for prosecutions over military sexual assault allegations. Gross declined to dismiss the case.

The trial is to continue Tuesday.

http://generalstrikeusa.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/soldier-goes-on-trial-over-prostitution-ring/

Texas ranks high in number of human trafficking victims

by: Jace Larson

Houston ranks No. 1 among U.S. cities thought to have the most victims of human trafficking. The rank comes from new numbers released on the total calls made to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center tip line. The crime is so underreported that FBI agents say calls to a national tip line indicate the size and location of the problem.

Among states, Texas ranks second. Only California had more calls in 2013, according to the FBI.

The FBI, along with local and state law enforcement agencies and many elected officials kicked off a new campaign against human trafficking Tuesday morning at a press conference  at Houston’s City Hall.

“The fact that slavery exists in America today is embarrassing. It’s frustrating, frightening and tragic,” Mayor Annise Parker, D-Houston, said.

New billboards and public service campaigns will be used to raise awareness about human trafficking. Some of the public service ads will appear in Houston-area Yellow Cabs, Metro buses and shopping malls. They will also appear on Spanish-language TV and radio.

“This modern-day slave trade is an affront to modern human decency. It is the product of the worst among us,” Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, said.

Last year, 144 trafficking cases were reported in Houston. A total of 436 came from Texas, the FBI tells Local 2 Investigates.

Anyone with information on human trafficking can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.

The FBI also unveiled a list of Texas’ Most Wanted Human Traffickers. A reward up to $10,000 is being offered for information leading to their arrest.

Alfonso Diaz-Juarez, aka Poncho, aka El Greas, a 45-year-old Mexican national, is wanted for alleged sex-trafficking violations. Investigators believe Diaz-Juarez may be in the Houston area, or traveling between Texas and Mexico.

FBI agents say Diaz-Juarez is a pimp who locked women and girls in rooms in Houston and also forced them to have sex.

Roger Galindo-Sepeda, a 40-year-old Honduran national, and Maria Isabel Cruz, a 46-year-old Honduran national, are wanted for allegedly promising at least 30 women and girls they would have a better life in Texas. Prosecutors say they then forced the women and girls into the sex trade.

Investigators believe they may be in the Dallas area, or traveling between Texas and Honduras.

If you have information about these fugitives call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or the Crime Stoppers tip-line at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

http://www.click2houston.com/news/texas-ranks-high-in-number-of-human-trafficking-victims/26305600