I hope you had an opportunity to cast your vote during the early voting period. If you haven’t, please be sure to do so on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you need a ride, Metro is offering free rides to the polls on all its light rail trains and local buses as well as the METROLift buses. Just inform the bus operator and/or fare inspector you are going to, or returning from, the polls.
Remember that you must vote at your assigned voting location for your precinct on Election Day and you must present valid ID. To find your voting location visit www.HarrisVotes.com or call the Harris County Clerk’s Office at 713-755-6965.
In addition to the federal, state, and local races on the ballot, voters are asked to consider two important propositions:
Proposition A – ReBuild Houston
Proposition A is a “do-over” vote to approve the City’s existing Rebuild Houston street and drainage program. Voters are asked to re-establish a lockbox around the revenue from the drainage fee and restrict use only for flooding, drainage and street improvements.
Proposition B – Fire Union Petition
Proposition B is a vote to tie firefighters’ pay to police officers without additional requirements on education or work schedules. The vote would require the City to give firefighters a minimum 29% pay raise the first year.
According to the City’s finance department and the independently elected City Controller, the 29% raise would cost the City of Houston approximately $100 million per year. In order to offset the significant annual cost, Mayor Turner has warned that the City could be forced to lay off firefighters, police officers, municipal employees and reduce services to public safety, trash service, parks and libraries.
It’s important to note that the fire union turned down a 4% raise offered by former Mayor Parker and a 9.5% raise over 3 years offered by Mayor Turner. In comparison, the City has successfully negotiated sustainable pay raises with police (7% over 2 years), and municipal workers (6% over 3 years). The most recent 9.5% raise Mayor Turner offered to the fire union remains on the table.
As always, I encourage all voters to research the candidates and propositions on the ballot before they head to the polls. It is our civic duty to not only vote but to be informed voters.
Houston Council Member
FREE Health Fair at Mason Park – Nov. 3
Come Celebrate Grand Opening of New Mason Park Pedestrian Bridge – Nov. 10
Mason Park Bridge Ribbon Cutting
Saturday, November 10 – 10 a.m.
541 South 75th Street
Houston, TX 77023
SAVE THE DATE! Though we had to cancel the community celebration for the new pedestrian bridge at Mason Park last month due to weather, we are excited to announce that we have rescheduled the ribbon cutting to Saturday, November 10 at 10 a.m.!
Veterans Day Celebration – Nov. 11
On Sunday, November 11, 2018, the City of Houston will honor our armed forces at the Annual “Houston Salutes American Heroes” Veteran’s Day Celebration.
The celebration this year will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, November 11, 2018 with the US Family Health Plan Health Fair surrounding the reflection pool in Hermann Square at City Hall.
The traditional Veterans Day Ceremony will begin at 10:45 a.m. starting with a 21 Gun Salute followed by a Moment of Silence in memory of the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the WWI Armistice.
The American Heroes Parade sponsored by H-E-B, will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of Dallas and Bagby, and proceed east on Dallas, north on Louisiana, west on Walker, south on Smith, west on Lamar, ending on Lamar at Bagby.
Parking is free in the Theater District Tranquillity Parking Garage.
TxDOT Begins Work on Wayside Bridge near Polk
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has begun a construction project to replace the Wayside (US 90A) bridge over Country Club Bayou (near Polk Street). The $3.8 million project will include the complete reconstruction of the four-lane vehicular bridge, including wider sidewalks, and decorative concrete railings.
Work began last month with the closure of the northbound side of the bridge. Traffic has temporarily been shifted to the southbound side, with one lane open in each direction. When work is completed on the northbound side of the bridge traffic will be shifted back for work to begin on the southbound lanes.
The project is being completed by TxDOT’s contractor, Harper Brothers Construction, and is scheduled to be completed by September 2019. Drivers should slow down for the work zone and be alert and cautious of roadside workers.
Gus Wortham Golf Course Reopens
Councilman Robert Gallegos worked with the Houston Golf Association (HGA) and the East End Community Coalition to host an Open House on Oct. 6, 2018, for the community to tour the restored course and see the work completed under Phase One.
Approximately 300 residents and golfers stopped by the golf course throughout the morning to tour on golf carts, take practice shots on the newly extended driving range and new putting green. “The Open House was a successful event and the community is excited to see the course reopen,” said Councilman Gallegos.
Phase One work included the restoration of the golf course, new cart paths, bridges, overhauling the irrigation system for better water conservation, adding a new irrigation lake for storm water retention, and reestablishing creek banks, as well as extending the driving range. The entire restoration was funded through private dollars raised by the HGA.
“Completing the first phase of the restoration was a tremendous undertaking, and the Houston Golf Association delivered,” said Councilman Gallegos. “We are looking forward to Phase Two, which will bring a new club house, educational facilities for the First Tee program and other amenities.”
The course officially reopened for public golfing on Saturday, Oct. 13. To book your tee time visit www.GusWortham.org
New Public Trail to be Built Around Gus Wortham
With the recent completion of the first phase of the Gus Wortham Golf Course restoration project by the Houston Golf Association, the City is preparing to commence work on a new sidewalk project that will better connect residents to the Brays Bayou Greenway hike and bike trail.
Councilman Robert Gallegos allocated funding to rebuild and widen the public sidewalk that surrounds Gus Wortham Golf Course along Lawndale, Wayside and on the north end of the golf course property. When complete, the new 8-foot-wide sidewalks will loop around the golf course and provide trail users direct connection to the Brays Bayou trail system and beyond. In addition, Councilman Gallegos is working to secure additional funding to replace the perimeter fence at the golf course. The sidewalk project is tentatively scheduled to begin later this month.
As part of the sidewalk project the contractor, Miranda Construction, is working with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) Urban Forestry division and Trees for Houston to replace several trees along the right of way. Most of the trees being replaced are invasive species and in poor condition. Trees for Houston is working with HPARD Urban Forestry to mitigate the tree removals and will donate 21 new 100-gallon trees for planting once the sidewalk work is complete.
Important Steps Taking place to Grow Houston’s Garden
There are some very important things happening at the Houston Botanic Garden (HBG). The horticulture staff is studying the plant life at the site to understand what plants are hiding in the soil and ready to emerge as the site transforms from a golf course to a botanic garden.
There is also a research project going on at the site to determine the more effective and economical method to naturally rehabilitate the soil at the site to be healthy soils which will grow the incredible variety of plants that will be on display and support healthy ecosystems.
All of this is made possible by the support of private philanthropy, which has contributed more than $27 million of the $35 million goal to create a beautiful place to appreciate and learn about plants. As part of this support, HBG was awarded a grant by the Texas General Land Office to create stormwater detention wetlands to improve water quality on the site, mitigate flooding, and create natural habitat for native aquatic plants and animals. Even though cultivated gardens are not yet being installed, important steps are taking place to Grow Houston’s Garden.
Site construction is expected to begin in 2019. Phase One, known as Botanic Beginnings, is scheduled to open in late 2020.
Parks Board Presents Plans to Better Connect Residents on Both Sides of Sims Bayou
Houston Parks Board continues to make progress on the newest greenway segment along Sims Bayou from Glenbrook Park to just west of I-45. On Monday, Oct. 29, representatives from Houston Parks Board and Councilman Robert Gallegos met with community members to share updates on the segment, which addressed community input particularly in providing more direct access along the bayou.
The work will include a new concrete hike-and-bike trail on the south side of the bayou from Glenbrook Park to an existing golf cart bridge near the Botanic Garden, crossing over the bayou then continuing on the north side of the bayou to a welcoming greenway ‘gateway’ on River Drive before it heads under I-45 to the existing trail system. As part of the project the Parks Board would improve the existing golf cart bridge closest to I-45 and transform it into a pedestrian and bike bridge. The gateway may include benches/unique seating options, trash and recycling bins, signage, and a few parking spots.
Design is underway now and the Houston Parks Board anticipates reconvening with the community in mid-2019 to share progress. To stay up to date on progress on the Houston Parks Board’s work in this area, please visit www.HoustonParksBoard.org.
New Jody Miller Dog Park Opens in Fonde Neighborhood
The new Jody Miller Dog Park is officially open! Residents and their pets were excited to explore the new space and check out the neat features at a ribbon cutting celebration last month.
The park was named after longtime civic leader and dog lover Jody Miller who sadly passed away before the park was completed. “Jody was a passionate advocate for his neighborhood and worked with me to initiate the project,” said Councilman Gallegos. “I know he’s smiling down on us thrilled to see his neighbors and their pets enjoying the beautiful dog park he envisioned.”
The park, located within Fonde Park at 5500 Carrolton Street, was made possible thanks to District I service dollars that were allocated by Councilman Robert Gallegos in 2016, and was designed with the help and support of residents and the Fonde Civic Club.
Councilman Purchases Power Saws for HFD, Joins Hobby Station for Dinner
The District I office worked with the Houston Fire Department to purchase needed tools used by firefighters when responding to incidents in the community. One of the needed tools were new power saws capable of cutting through thick steel and concrete.
“These power saws have proven to be a critical tool often used by our firefighters when rescuing victims trapped in mangled cars after accidents as well as cutting through burglar bars of homes and businesses engulfed by flames,” said Councilman Robert Gallegos. “I’m proud to have acquired these tools for fire stations located across our community.”
The 4 new saws were purchased with District I Service Dollars and were delivered to stations in the district a few weeks ago.
Councilman Gallegos also joined fire station 81’s b-shift for dinner last month. He and members of his team stopped by with take-out from one of District I’s favorite restaurants, Spanky’s Pizza, and shared a meal with the firefighters stationed at fire house 81 at Hobby Airport.
“I enjoyed our conversation, touring the station and learning more about the unique responsibilities they have as an airport-based fire house,” said Gallegos. “I appreciate Capt. Faubush and his guys’ invitation!”
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