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Posts published in “Day: August 11, 2022

Harris County plans $1.2 bond issue for November ballot

HOUSTON – Harris County leaders took the first step to put a $1.2 billion bond referendum on the November 8 ballot. The proposal would devote $100 million to public safety facilities and technology, $900 million to roads, drainage, and transportation projects, and $200 million to parks.

Commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines to authorize multiple county departments to develop a capital improvement bond proposal. Judge Lina Hidalgo set conditions for casting her vote with her fellow Democrats, Commissioners Adrian Garcia and Rodney Ellis.

“The guidelines should include a ‘worst-first’ approach to match funds to the greatest need, with at least $220 million to be spent in each precinct and $100 million to be set aside for public safety,” Hidalgo said.

The “worst-first” requirement addresses a concern that Commissioner Ellis raised, citing past bond initiatives where poorer neighborhoods like those in his Precinct 1 were shortchanged.

Gun BuyBack takes 845 guns off Street

Officers from HPD and HCSO check guns turned in.

HOUSTON- Due to an overwhelming response from the public, the One Safe Houston Gun Buyback collected 845 firearms and distributed nearly $100,000 in gift cards on Saturday, July 30. As a result of the unprecedented response, the event, which began at 8 a.m. and was scheduled to end at noon, did not conclude until almost 7 p.m., when the last person collected a handful of gift cards.Earlier in the day, dozens of vehicles were turned away due to demand and long lines. However, more than 150 people were given priority vouchers for a place in line at the next gun buyback. Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Houston Police Department will announce a date soon for a second event.

“We used best practices to plan and hold today’s event. I did not know what to expect, and the turnout was overwhelming,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The turnout demonstrates there are too many guns on our streets, and people want to get them out of their possession. The gun buyback is not the only solution, but we can and will make our streets safer and help reduce gun violence.”

The successful event was a collaboration between Mayor Turner, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and the Houston Police Department.

Russia sentences Griner to 9 years

During her trial, Brittney Griner was kept in a metal cage in the courtroom. Here she displays a photo of her teammates supporting her.

Swap or Appeal is possible

RUSSIA – Houston Native and Aldine Nimitz graduate Brittney Griner, was found guilty of drug possession and sentenced to 9 years in prison last week, as her trial ended. Although her attorneys had sought a minimum sentence, under Russian law this was one year short of the maximum 10 years possible.

However, Russia subsequently indicated by comments from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that a prisoner swap that involved several other American and Russian prisoners might be possible. He warned the United States government that any discussions of this matter must remain private, as they develop.

The Kremlin said Friday that it’s open to talking about a possible prisoner exchange involving American basketball star Brittney Griner but strongly warned Washington against publicizing the issue.

COUNTY PROVIDES $48M FOR CHILDCARE

New program funded by American Rescue Plan funds will allocate historic $48 million dollar investment for childcare and early childhood development

HARRIS COUNTY – June 14, 2022, In a 3 to 2 vote, commissioners court approved a new program investing $48 million American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds for childcare and early childhood development in Harris County. It is the largest known investment of ARPA dollars by any county or city in the nation for early childhood education.

“Early childhood programs have one of the strongest returns on investment of any type of public program. Those positive effects also endure throughout the child’s life, increasing their graduation rates and future earnings while reducing any possible contact with the criminal justice system,” said Judge Hidalgo. “ We have an obligation to go beyond just the minimum standard of funding roads and bridges and public safety. We also have an obligation to support our next generation of workers and innovators and leaders.”

The program will increase accessibility to high quality childcare and early childhood development by 10% in the third-largest county in the nation. Approximately 105,000 children aged 0-3 with working parents live in a quality child care desert in which there are few or no affordable options for quality child care in their area. Due to the high cost of childcare, often one parent is forced to stay home, preventing them from entering the workforce and costing families lost wages.