Last month I joined council members, county commissioners, state legislators, and grassroots organizations from across Texas at a press conference on the steps of the Texas Capitol to denounce Senate Bill 4 (SB4), which the governor signed into law on May 7.
Every major city in Texas, including San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and El Paso has since adopted resolutions to challenge the constitutionality of SB4 in court. Houston City Council will be voting on whether to join the lawsuit on June 21st, and I will work with Mayor Turner to ensure that our council colleagues support legal action against this discriminatory law.
SB4 requires local police, including college police, to enforce immigration law. It opens the door to racial profiling, and will make communities less safe as undocumented individuals, working families and students, will be reluctant to reach out to police for fear of being questioned over their immigration status, arrested and deported.
In fact, in an open letter to the legislature and governor last month before the law was passed, the chiefs of police of every major city in the state, including Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, warned that this law will damage the relationship between police and immigrant communities; people will stop trusting police, reporting crimes, and victims will refuse to serve as witnesses.
As a first generation American whose parents immigrated to this country in search of a better life, I proudly stand with our immigrant community, and I will continue to speak up against this dangerous law.
Houston Council Member
Councilman Gallegos Hosts 350 Senior Citizens at Annual Prom Dance
Councilman Robert Gallegos hosted over 300 senior citizens from across District I at his Third Annual District I Senior Citizens Prom Dance. The event was held in the ballroom at the Marriott South at Hobby Airport Hotel.
“Our guests had a wonderful time catching up with friends, enjoying brunch and dancing,” said Councilman Gallegos. “We even crowned a 2017 District I Prom King, Mr. Jaime Cortez, and Queen, Mrs. Audrey Boudreaux. These seniors, our parents and grandparents, have helped build and advance the community we all love, and this was just a fun way to celebrate and say ‘thank you.'”
The event has grown each year since the first prom dance in 2014. The District I office wishes to thank sponsors like United Airlines, Comcast, CenterPoint, Union Pacific, Walmart and others for their contribution and commitment to the community.
Last Summer Job Fair for Youth
Know of a young person who will be looking for a job this summer? The City of Houston has partnered with a number of organizations and companies to offer summer jobs to thousands of young people in our community. There is one final job fair scheduled for Saturday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Southwest Multi-Service Center located at 6400 High Star Dr.
The program will provide young people ages 16 to 24 with a 7 week summer job, earning a minimum of $8 an hour. Most opportunities will begin June 19, 2017 and end in August. Applicants do not need to pre-register or be pre-screened, but are encouraged to bring their resume, Texas ID and Social Security Card.
For more information visit www.houstontx.gov/summerjobs or call 832-393-6148.
Free Spay/Neuter Services for District I Residents
I-45 Improvement & Widening Project Community Meeting – June 26th
Council Member Robert Gallegos, in partnership with TxDOT, will host a community meeting to present TxDOT’s proposed widening and re-routing of I-45.
Monday, June 26, 2017
6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Learning and Development Center
4501 Leeland Street
The proposed project would include:
- Reconstructing mainlanes and frontage roads
- Rerouting of I-45 in the downtown area to be coincident with I-10 on the north side of downtown and coincident with US 59/I-69 on the east side of downtown
- Removal of the existing elevated I-45 roadway along the west and south sides of downtown
- Adding access to the west side of downtown via “Downtown Connectors” that would allow access to and from various downtown streets
- Realigning both I-10 and US 59/I-69 within the proposed project area to eliminate the current roadway curvature
- Adding four I-10 express lanes between I-45 and US 59/I-69
Please note: verbal and written comments regarding the project may be submitted by email to HOUemail@example.com. The comment period has been extended to July 27, 2017, and comments must be emailed by that date to be part of the official record. For more information visit www.ih45northandmore.com.
City Prohibits Encampments, Obstructive Panhandling; Launches Initiative to Encourage Giving to Charities
City Council adopted two new ordinances in April that prohibit encampments, and obstructive panhandling. Councilman Robert Gallegos submitted amendments to strengthen the ordinance and prohibit panhandlers from obstructing the sidewalk, and prohibit individuals from blocking the doorway of commercial or residential buildings. Both of those amendments were incorporated into the ordinances adopted by the City Council:
- The Ch. 40 ordinance prohibits individuals from impeding the use of a roadway, blocking a sidewalk, or blocking the doorway to a building.
- The Ch. 21 ordinance prohibits encampments in public places (rights-of-way, parks, streets, sidewalks, hike/bike trails, underpasses, parking lots, and bus stops/shelters).
In addition, the City has launched a robust plan in partnership with health, social service providers and shelters to assist individuals in need by connecting them to more shelters, as well as short-term and more permanent supportive housing.
The City also kicked off “Meaningful Change – Not Spare Change”, a community led, public awareness campaign encouraging giving to homeless organizations instead of panhandlers. For more information, visit www.MeaningfulChange.org.
City Pools are Open for Summer!
The Houston Parks Department’s 37 outdoor swimming pools are open during the summer months (June – Aug). All pools are FREE and open to all ages; however, children under 8 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The pools are open Tuesday through Sunday, from 1 to 8 p.m.
The department also operates a heated indoor natatorium for citizens with disabilities at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, 1475 West Gray.
- What to Wear: Appropriate swim-wear is required – No cut-offs, shorts, T-shirts, or thongs. The City of Houston’s policy prohibits the wearing of T-shirts in swimming pools unless an exemption letter has been accepted and filed in our Aquatics Office. Exemptions are granted based on medical and/or religious reasons, for the wearing of plain white T-shirts only.
- For the Kids: Children under 8 must be accompanied in the pool by a parent or an adult. Swim diapers are required for infants and babies.No flotation devices, such as floaties and inflatables, are permitted.
- What Not to Do: No smoking is allowed. No eating and drinking is allowed, except in designated areas. No beverages or alcohol in glass containers are permitted. No excessively loud music is permitted.
For a complete list of rules and regulation for department pools please visit: www.houstontx.gov/parks/aquatics
Basketball Court Improvements Completed
Residents may have noticed that the basketball courts at two District I parks were recently refreshed. Councilman Robert Gallegos allocated District Service Funds to improve the basketball courts at Charlton and Clinton parks. The work began in April and was completed this month.
“These courts are highly utilized by our residents, especially young people,” said Councilman Gallegos. “With the summer break around the corner, I want to make sure the courts and other amenities are in good shape and ready to be enjoyed by everyone.”
Improvements included resurfacing and re-striping the basketball courts and repairing the basketball goals and nets. In addition to Clinton and Charlton, Councilman Gallegos is working with the Parks Department to repair the goals and nets at the basketball court at DeZavala Park.