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InstantNewsWestU.com Constantly Updated Neighborhood News for West University, TX 2018-04-18T21:50:16Z http://www.instantnewswestu.com/feed/atom/ WordPress George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[Heading toward the goal: Burke recall drive takes to the streets, social media]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52118 2018-04-18T21:50:16Z 2018-04-18T20:50:52Z They claim to have more than a third of their goal achieved in one weekend. And organizers of the campaign to recall West University City Councilmember Kellye Burke have scheduled another round of circulating petitions and have set up a Facebook page to help in their effort.

“We will not stop collecting signatures until we reach our goal,” said Jay Cohen, spokesman for the group — and City Secretary Thelma Gilliam said they have until July 20 to submit petitions to put the matter on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Cohen said more than 600 residents have signed, toward a requirement of 1,600-plus signatures — 15 percent of qualified West U voters.

The recall campaign is in response to Burke’s behavior during and after an incident on March 31 where the 50-year-old councilmember verbally used offensive language to a teenage girl wearing a Trump Make America Great Again T-shirt while the girl bought cookies with friends in a business on Edloe Street. Burke was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct for her behavior, which reportedly included yelling, “Grab her by the p&$$y, girls!” a reference to a quote attributed to Trump.

As the story spread to national and international news and social media, Burke issued three apologies through attorneys, the last one at the April 9 council meeting, which she missed, claiming to have “fled” the city with her family because of safety concerns.

In event of a successful November recall (at a West U taxpayer cost of about $10K), the seat would remain vacant until the next regular West U municipal election on May 4, 2019 — meaning the city would function with a mayor and three councilmembers for six months.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[West U petition drive to recall Councilwoman Burke enters second day]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52094 2018-04-15T12:56:33Z 2018-04-15T12:56:33Z After what they termed “a very successful first day,” a group of West University residents will be outside the Municipal Building again today (Sunday, April 15) seeking

A group of West U residents launched a petition drive Saturday to recall Councilwoman Kellye Burke over an incident when she confronted a teen girl wearing a Trump T-shirt, drawing a disorderly conduct charge. (Photo by Carlos Aguilar)

signatures to recall Councilwoman Kellye Burke.

To qualify, signers must be registered voters and live within West U city limits. Hours for the drive, at 3801 University Blvd., will be from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

“Residents supporting the recall petition feel Councilwoman Burke has lost her right to lead,” said Jay Cohen, one of the organizers of the drive. “The community had a positive reaction to the petition.”

To trigger a recall election, organizers must collect signatures of 15 percent of West U’s qualified voters — 1,656 of 11,040, according to the city secretary. “The goal is to collect around 1,700

signatures,” Cohen said. “We will continue until we achieve that number.”

Burke, 50, was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct for a March 31 incident in which she verbally attacked a middle school-age girl who was wearing a “Trump Make America Great Again” T-shirt and a group of her friends buying cookies at Tiny’s Milk & Cookies on Edloe Street. A parent of the targeted teen said Burke used language associated with Trump, including “grab her by the p&$$y!”\

The councilwoman issued three apologies through attorneys, the third one last Monday night at the first council meeting since the incident. She missed the meeting claiming she had “fled” West U because of concerns for her family’s safety after the story of the incident was reported widely by Houston, national and international news outlets and social media.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[West University Republicans: More Lincoln than Trump-Abbott]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52089 2018-04-10T18:07:12Z 2018-04-10T18:07:12Z In an explosive and divisive era when Donald Trump leads the national party and Greg Abbott the Texas branch, West University Republicans stubbornly defy that new norm.

They are highly educated, measured and conciliatory. They are fiscally conservative but loathe to have too much government involvement in personal matters. They supported Mitt Romney over Barack Obama 64-34 percent in 2012 — but voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump 49.5-42 percent in 2016.

Take the matter of abortion. Proposition 7 — among 11 gut-check issues placed on the party primary ballot last month by the Texas Republican Executive Committee — posed this statement for a yes/no response: “I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas.”

Statewide, it received a resounding “yes” from 67 percent of Republicans, with a third saying “no.” The results weren’t much different in Harris County — 63 percent “yes,” 37 percent “no.” In West U, though, the responses flipped: Only 36 percent took the so-called right-to-life stance, with 64 percent saying “no.”

Sarah Davis has become the prototype West University Republican, and her victory in the GOP primary in a quest for a fifth term as a state representative was as much a win over Abbott as her contender, Susanna Dokupil.

Confronted with anti-vaccine, climate change-disbelieving rhetoric, Davis staunchly defended representing her district, which includes the scientific genius of the Texas Medical Center and Rice University, and which has been battered almost annually by devastating, “once-in-a-lifetime” storms.  

Questioning her conservative credentials because of her stands, the governor had hand-picked and help fund Davis’ opponent and vigorously campaigned against Davis. The race, Abbott proclaimed, epitomized a “fight for the very future of both the Republican Party and the state of Texas.”

He lost that fight, bigly. Davis trounced Dokupil 56-44 percent throughout District 134, and 62-38 percent among West U voters.

“I represent so many Republicans that are just like me and feel that I give them a voice and a home in the party, and without someone like me, they are starting to wonder: What does it even mean to be a Republican?” Davis told the Texas Tribune when the race became big news state-wide. “We have to be a big-tent party.” 

Her fellow West U Republican, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, called the Davis vs. Abbott showdown “perhaps the most important race in the state of Texas because it will answer that question of, ‘Who is the Republican Party?’”

A former state legislator himself from 1979-87, Emmett became Harris County judge in 2007 and is arguably the most popular elected official in Harris County, respected by Republicans and Democrats alike.

“Does the Republican Party have to toe the line of statewide elected officials, or is the Republican Party able to represent its constituents?” Emmett wondered to the Texas Tribune, concluding, “…In this case, Sarah Davis has done that very well.”

As has Emmett, who as chief operating officer of the third most populous county in the U.S., deftly steers clear of partisan hyperbole and focuses instead on accomplishments and government efficiency — on “hunkering down” instead of lashing out.

West University Place Mayor Susan Sample is a Republican in a nonpartisan position, which suits her fine. “As mayor, I am not elected to be a partisan but to get things done,” she explains. “Our city councilmembers have a wide range of political pedigrees, but we all work together to accomplish our common goals for West U. We were elected to get things done, not fight.”

She says Republicans here represent the kinder, gentler version of the party: “West University Republicans are center-right, but not far right. We want fiscal conservatism but also believe in social tolerance. Democrats are not always wrong, and Republicans are not always right. We support ideas, not personalities.”

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Ken Fountain <![CDATA[West U council drama: Absent Burke says she has fled after threats — but won’t resign]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52080 2018-04-10T14:51:35Z 2018-04-10T04:05:06Z By Ken Fountain

West University Place City Council meetings aren’t generally known for attracting spillover crowds and television cameras, but both were on display Monday evening. The main draw, however, was a no-show.

Councilwoman Kellye Burke, who set off a firestorm of criticism and caused a highly unusual national (even international) spotlight to beam on the small enclave during a March 31 incident in which she confronted a young female supporter of President Trump and other teens at an area cookie store, was not present when councilmembers took their seats behind the shoehorn.

Burke, 50, first elected to council last year, has been charged with disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor, for allegedly launching a verbal attack on the four girls buying cookies at Tiny’s Milk & Cookies, apparently triggered by one of the girls wearing a Trump T-shirt.

She reportedly yelled, “grab her by the p#$$y, girls!” (referring to an audio recording of Trump, made by the TV show Access Hollywood in 2005 and which became public shortly before the 2016 election) and “MAGA, MAGA!” (Make America Great Again, Trump’s campaign slogan).

When the family of one of the girls posted about the event on social media, the news went viral and rebounded through the political echo chambers. News outlets around the country and even abroad have reported on the furor.

After the council returned from an already-planned executive session (dealing with the installation of a “virtual gate” security camera system around the city), Mayor Susan Sample said in her “Mayor’s Statement” that although Burke’s reported comments were not condoned by either herself, the other council members or the city, there was no provision under the city’s charter that would allow the council to remove or otherwise sanction a sitting council member.

“We’re all independently elected,” Sample noted. (After the meeting, she told a reporter that the only way to remove Burke would be through a recall vote, which would require a petition under state law.)

Sample said she has repeatedly reached out to Burke asking about her intentions but received no reply. She later told a reporter that she was giving Burke “space” to come to her own decision about her political future.

During the public comments session of Monday’s meeting, Christopher Downey, a Houston attorney representing Burke (she had initially retained the very high-profile attorney Rusty Hardin) read a prepared statement from her. In it, she explained that she had been advised not to attend the meeting (she didn’t specify by whom) because of security concerns over the charged atmosphere. (Later, West U City Manager Chris Peifer told Instant News that the recommendation had not come from the police department.)

Burke said through an attorney she would not resign. (File photo)

Downey said the response included vociferously negative emails and social media comments —  and even death threats that had forced her to “flee” her home.

In the statement read by Downey, Burke said she immediately regretted her words during the incident and tried reaching out to the families of all of the girls involved, and that one family had responded and accepted her apology. Burke said she has continued to reach out to all of the parties to apologize, to no avail.

“I’ve made every effort to sincerely apologize in person. I was born and raised in Goliad,Texas, the daughter of two loving parents who expected to work hard, be joyful in hard times and do right by God,” Burke said in the statement. “I’ve done my best to live up to that standard of grace, but sometimes I make mistakes. And when that happens, as my parents would say, I take my lumps by acknowledging that hurt and doing my best to make amends.”

Burke said she believes her remarks were in bad taste but that when weighed against her community service both before and during her time on council, she has no plans to resign. A 12-year West University resident and business consultant, she is well-known for her gun control advocacy with Moms Demand Action, on whose behalf she has lobbied at the Texas Legislature.

Besides Downey, several speakers spoke on behalf of and against Burke.

Ranae Scheibner, a longtime friend of Burke’s, said, “She’s a hardworking, highly educated, energetic woman who won her seat on City Council because she’s good for West U. Neighbors, she is one of us.

“She’s not a person who would attack or assault anyone. She made a mistake. She does not deserve the harsh treatment that people are handing out.”

Scheinber said the stories of the incident had been one-sided and exacerbated by social media. “It’s tearing our community apart.”

Many of the comments, including calls for Burke to resign, she said, had originated outside of West University. “West U residents need to decide what happens in West U,” she said. “Kellye Burke may have made a mistake, but she is still a city councilwoman we can be proud of.”

Anne Furse, another friend of Burke’s, lauded her for her volunteer work and advocacy and her work on council on flood control and other issues.

“Kellye made a mistake, but she is a warm and energetic great mom to two kids, a smart and enthusiastic community volunteer. She does not deserve this,” she said.

Therese Tusa, a retired West University Elementary School teacher and Houston resident wearing a blue “Trump: Make America Great Again” shirt, said she participated in a rally for Trump in 2016 where she was “verbally and physically” accosted by a young man who asked her why she, a woman, would support Trump.

“The experience was extremely frightening and traumatizing,” she said. She said the incident involving Burke and the young girls reminded her of that incident.

“I’m an adult and I can take care of myself,” Tusa said,

“But I cannot imagine the fear experienced by these young girls buying cookies at the cookie shop being verbally assaulted by an adult, not knowing to what extent the woman’s anger might reach.”

Tusa ended her remarks by calling on Burke to resign.

Courtney Bucy, who said she voted for Burke, said she was “beyond disappointed” when she read the news about the councilwoman’s comments, including her public statements of apology.

“At the end of the day, we elect our officials because we trust your judgement, we think you’re going to be accountable for your actions, and that you’re going to listen to your constituents. She has exhibited beyond reproach any sort of horrible judgment I have seen. I don’t want to see a community that is tolerant of intolerance, and that’s happened that day,” she said.

Bucy reprimanded Burke both for her “non-apology” and for not attending the meeting to hear from her constituents.

“She made a grievous error, and she needs to be held accountable,” she said. “If she doesn’t step down, she is sending the message that it is OK.”

Following the public comments portion, the meeting shifted to more prosaic matters involving providing guidance to the planning and zoning commission on the development of townhomes and “fence-like hedges” and preparations for a new City Charter Committee, which is mandated this year.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[TONIGHT: West U City Council meeting]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52075 2018-04-09T18:33:16Z 2018-04-09T18:29:50Z Tonight, Monday, April 9, beginning at 6:15 p.m., there will be a meeting of the West University Place City Council. It will be held in the Municipal Building Council Chambers located at 3800 University Blvd.

Virtual gated city

The first order of business will be a closed briefing discussing West U’s planned city-circling surveillance camera system.

Why the secrecy?

Because West U Police Chief Ken Walker and  IT guru Gary McFarland will be discussing the plan’s effect on city-wide security. A closed briefing for security issues is permitted under Section 551.076 of the Texas Government Code.

Public comments

This is an opportunity for citizens to speak. Public comments must be kept relevant to the subject before the City Council. Mayor Susan Sample will rule on the relevance of comments. People making irrelevant, personal, impertinent, or slanderous remarks may be barred by the Mayor from further comment. Speakers are required to register in advance and must limit their presentations to three minutes each.

Tightening the rules for Townhouse Zoning and Fence-Like Hedges

Discussion with Zoning and Planning Commission Matters related to providing direction to the Zoning and Planning Commission on townhouse zoning and fence-like hedges. Recommended Action: Discuss and take any desired action. Mayor Susan Sample

City Charter Review Committee

The City Charter requires the City Council appoint a Charter Review Committee of seven residents every six years.

Thier purpose is to propose changes to the City Charter that would be ballot items in November.

The City Charter requires these appointments to be made by the first meeting in June. So this agenda item gives the City Council the ability to discuss the appointments.

If you have more questions,  please contact City Secretary Thelma Gilliam at 713.662.5813

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[West University councilwoman claims she ‘misjudged’ teens’ ages in disorderly conduct case as recall talk grows]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52072 2018-04-06T19:18:51Z 2018-04-06T19:18:51Z Embattled West University City Councilwoman Kellye Burke is standing firm Friday that she “did not commit any type of crime” in an incident involving her confronting a young female supporter of President Trump and other teens whose age she now says she “misjudged.” Meantime, the story has gone viral in headlines around the world — from Fox News to the New York Daily News to the London-based Daily Mail, while talk of a recall grows in West U.

“As I expressed to the parents who agreed to meet with me, it was not my intent to upset the teens,” Burke said in a statement to Instant News Friday afternoon. “I regret the choice of words I used and that I misjudged their age. I have, and will continue to, apologize to them for that.”

News and partisan websites across the U.S. and the globe are carrying accounts of the incident last Saturday outside Tiny’s Milk & Cookies, 3636 Rice Blvd. Burke, 50, has been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly launching a verbal attack on the four girls buying cookies, apparently triggered by one of the girls wearing a Trump T-shirt.

Despite the offense being a Class C misdemeanor and her repeated claims that she was not guilty of any crime, Burke has retained high-profile criminal defense attorney Rusty Hardin.

She reportedly yelled, “grab her by the p#$$y, girls!” (referring to an audio recording of Trump, made by the TV show Access Hollywood in 2005) and “MAGA, MAGA!” (Make America Great Again, Trump’s campaign slogan).

Parents told authorities and Channel 2 News that the girls felt threatened by Burke’s behavior. If convicted, she could draw a $500 fine.

Politically, Burke is facing the ire of West U residents — with some exploring options for and demanding a recall — while attracting support from anti-Trump factions, including gun control advocates, based on her visible involvement with the group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

City Manager Chris Peifer told InstantNewsWestU.com  Friday afternoon that four residents had requested information about options to remove Burke from office.

Section 4.07 of the West U city code stipulates that a petition containing the signatures of 15 percent of all qualified voters in West U — currently 1,656 of 11,040 — “demanding the removal of the elected officer” would direct the City Council to hold a recall election. The rest of the code describes that a majority of votes would be enough to recall the officeholder, and would trigger a special election to fill the vacancy.

Burke’s earlier statement, issued Thursday through Hardin, fanned the flames. “…I do not believe repeating the words of the president of the United States is a crime,” it read in part. Saying she had “repeatedly apologized for the bad judgment I used and making the statement I did,” Burke concluded, “…I will apologize again on behalf of myself, the president of the united states (sic) and all the media outlets who repeated his words both electronically and in print.”

A 12-year resident of West U, the business consultant was elected to council in 2017. She drew 1,264 votes, the second-highest total in a field of eight candidates.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[UPDATED: Statement from Kellye Burke]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52063 2018-04-07T16:17:48Z 2018-04-05T19:45:45Z

STATEMENT FOM KELLYE BURKE:  “I have repeatedly apologized for the bad judgment I used and making the statement I did, but I do not believe repeating the words of the president of the United States is a crime.

However, I will apologize again on behalf of myself, the president of the united states and all the media outlets who repeated his words both electronically and in print.”

UPDATED: Statement from West University Place Mayor Susan Sample. “Thank you for reaching out about the city’s position on one of its councilmember’s actions last Saturday. The reported comments definitely do not speak for the City of West University Place’s government or employees. My position as Mayor, however, does not afford me any official authority with respect to matters such as this. Neither the city council nor the Mayor has any authority to remove fellow councilmembers.

“I am glad to know that this councilmember, who was independently elected by our city voters, is taking responsibility for her own actions and has reached out to the affected families to apologize for her remarks.

“This incident is a reminder that part of our responsibility, as elected officials, is to set a good example of civil discourse for those we represent, particularly our young people. I hope that my Council colleagues and I will move forward in that spirit in doing the work we were elected to do.”

Original story 

West University City Councilmember Kellye Burke has been charged with disorderly conduct for an incident Saturday night when she reportedly launched a verbal attack on a group of teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a “Trump Make America Great Again” T-shirt.

The offense is a Class C misdemeanor which carries a potential $500 fine if she is convicted.

The incident happened outside Milk & Cookies, the outdoor dessert window service at Tiny’s No. 5, 3636 Rice Blvd., where the girls said they were buying cookies to take to youngsters at their church. According to a report on Channel 2 news, based on an interview with the father of one of the girls, Burke, who is 50, shook her fist at them and yelled, “grab her by the p#$$y girls!” and “MAGA, MAGA!”

One of the girls’ mothers took to social media to try to find the woman and later indicated that video of the incident had been located which led to Burke.

While West University Police took the first complaint, the case was transferred to the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office and filed in the Justice of the Peace Court to avoid the appearance of a conflict since City Council hires West U municipal court judges and prosecutors.

Burke was reportedly issued the citation Thursday morning. A 12-year resident of West U, the business consultant and Texas chapter leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was elected to council in 2017.

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Ken Hoffman <![CDATA[Ken Hoffman: Astonishingly stupid]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52053 2018-04-05T19:41:36Z 2018-04-05T18:13:45Z In news from my little town (great song by Simon and Garfunkel): West University Place Councilmember Kellye Burke has been charged with disorderly conduct after shouting at a teenage girl wearing a President Trump “Make America Great Again” T-shirt.

The councilmember noticed the girl – and the T-shirt – at Tiny’s Milk & Cookies walk-up shop in West U’s “downtown.” The girl was in line to buy cookies for her church group.

The councilmember shouted at the girl, quoting a line from President Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.  

 Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office charged the councilmember with disorderly conduct. The councilmember has apologized for the incident.

My take: the councilmember showed very poor judgment and did something astonishingly stupid. But the real crime here is Tiny’s charging $32.50 for a dozen chocolate chip cookies.

West U’s favorite columnist Ken Hoffman appears regularly on www.culturemap.com and shows up occasionally to ruin Charlie Pallilo’s show, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m, on SportsMap Radio 94.1 FM.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[The West U Piranhas are coming]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52042 2018-04-04T18:44:50Z 2018-04-04T17:54:40Z The West University Place Piranhas Swim Team officially starts the 2018 season this week!  Dates impacted begin on April 7 and run through June 28.  During this time, the team will hold tryouts, practices and meets at the West University Place Recreation Center pool. Recreation Center members & customers should be prepared for limited pool availability and potential increased traffic in the parking lot during this time.

Listed below are the dates and times that swim team usage will impact lane and/or pool availability as well as parking at the Recreation Center:

Sat, April 7                         10-11: 30 am Tryouts, minimum of one lap lane available

Fri, April 13                         6-7pm                   Tryouts, minimum of one lap lane available

Mon-Thu, May 14-31          4-7pm                    Practices, lap lanes most likely unavailable

Mon-Thu, June 4-28           7-9am                    Practices, lap lanes unavailable

June 4, 18, 25                    4-11pm                   Meets, pool CLOSED 4-11pm

Lane availability will be very limited May 14-31 from 4-7pm. Staff will attempt to make one lane available during this time, but most likely all lanes will be unavailable.  It is recommended to schedule your swim workout before or after these times. Please call ahead to check availability, 713-662-7420. Lanes will be unavailable June 4-28 from 7-9am. Again, it is recommended to schedule your swim workout before or after these times.

Please call 713-662-7420 for the most up-to-date information, as schedules are subject to change. Thank you in advance for your patience, understanding, and support as our swim team ramps up for another great season.

Good luck West U Piranhas!

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[Parks program sign-up]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52044 2018-04-04T18:52:13Z 2018-04-02T18:49:14Z 2018 Summer Class Registration

Priority Registration

Begins Tuesday, April 3, participants may register in advance for the same classes that they are currently enrolled in or have been enrolled in within the past 30 days.  Registration stars at 5:00am in person at the West University Place Recreation Center, 4210 Bellaire Blvd.

Resident Registration

Begins on Tuesday, April 10 at 5:00am.  You can register in person at the West University Place Recreation Center or online at westutx.gov.

Non-Resident Registration

Begins on Thursday, April 12 at 5:00am.  Register in person at the West University Place Recreation Center or online.

For more information please call the Recreation Center at 713-662-7420.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[Houston ISD chief leaving the financial crisis behind to head New York City schools]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52039 2018-03-05T21:41:27Z 2018-03-05T21:36:07Z UPDATED WITH BOARD REACTION

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio introduces HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza as his new school chancellor Monday. (Image from WABC-TV livestream)

Less than two years after taking the reins of Houston ISD — and in the midst of what is arguably the district’s most serious financial crisis — Superintendent Richard Carranza is leaving to head the New York City school system.

Carranza appeared Monday (March 5) along with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for the announcement that he would become the chancellor of the diverse 1.1 million-student system.

He is the second choice, with the mayor’s first pick, Miami-Dade chief Alberto Carvalho, rejecting the job on live television last week when his school board implored him to stay.

Carranza came to Houston in August 2016 from leading the San Francisco schools, after a long career in teaching and as an administrator. DeBlasio praised his record in San Francisco and became a bit of an apologist for Carranza’s time in Houston, describing the impact of Hurricane Harvey and what he described as a state-inflicted funding crisis.

DeBlasio said he was impressed by Carranza’s “passion,” and described him as an “educator’s educator.”

UPDATE: The HISD board has its regular monthly meeting Thursday, and in a statement, the media office said the “next step” would be discussed by trustees.

“We the board wish Carranza the best in his endeavors and appreciate the leadership he brought to this district,” said President Rhonda Skillern-Jones in the release. “We are committed to continuing the work he began and moving the district forward.”

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[West U polling locations for tomorrow]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52033 2018-03-05T21:12:43Z 2018-03-05T21:12:43Z Political ads have flooded mailboxes and television programming, and now West University Place residents will vote Tuesday (March 6) to select party nominees for important county, state and federal posts.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at four West U precinct locations — and you must vote at your assigned precinct. Voters will be asked to choose a Democratic or Republican ballot, and for any positions which will require a runoff May 2 to decide the nominee, will have to vote in that same party.

Up for election are a number of judicial posts at state and county levels, state jobs including West U’s state representative and senator up to attorney-general and governor; county judge and who will represent Bellaire in the U.S. Congress and Senate.

To learn I.D. requirements or see a sample ballot for each party, visit harrisvotes.com.

Precinct 15
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
5308 Buffalo Speedway

Precinct 87
West U Scout House
6108 Edloe Street

Precinct 133
West University Elementary School
3756 University Blvd. @ Edloe

Precinct 183
West University Community Center
6104 Auden


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Charlotte Aguilar <![CDATA[Taking care of business: Rep. Davis moves district office as primary looms]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52030 2017-12-05T21:10:49Z 2017-12-05T21:09:48Z State Rep. Sarah Davis, a West University Place resident representing District 134, has relocated her district office to an accessible West Loop location, keeping an eye on constituent services as she faces a GOP primary where conservative forces outside her historically moderate district are seeking to unseat her.

The four-term legislator’s staff — no changes there — is now operating out of 6300 West Loop South, Suite 140, Bellaire. And the phone number is unchanged — 713-664-7095.

“This location will provide increased accessibility to my constituents for any potential needs they may have,” said Davis in a statement. “It has been an honor to serve those in House District 134, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue to do so from our new location.”

State Representative Sarah Davis

Davis was first elected to the legislature in 2010 and is seeking a fifth term in the district that covers West U, Bellaire, Southside Place, River Oaks and a section of Montrose, Braeswood Place, and the Texas Medical Center.

Davis has risen to several key leadership positions, chairing the General Investigating and Ethics Committee, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommitee, and serving on the Select Committee To Study Economic Competitiveness and the Committee on Hurricane Harvey Resources and Recovery.

Her efforts for ethics reform — and her open disappointment in Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s failure to make that a priority in the last legislative session — was a major factor in him endorsing Davis’ opponent, Susanna Dokupil, in the Republican primary, to be held March 6, 2018.

Davis fought back in a statement, saying she has “always voted my uniquely independent district.”

“When it comes to campaign season I have always stood on my own, which is why I outperformed Republicans up and down the ballot in the last mid-term election. Republican voters in HD 134 will not be told for whom to vote, and will not nominate a candidate who will be so easily defeated in the fall because they are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the extremist fringe group, Empower Texans.”

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[Fear of drug cartel motivates West U arrestee]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52024 2017-11-15T22:24:29Z 2017-11-15T22:05:20Z The man thought the drug cartels were after him. The man’s solution?  He thought he would be safer in jail than on the street. The chase began just before 2 a.m. when police attempted to pull over a driver for failing to use his blinker properly in the 2900 block of Duke on November 15th.

But the driver fled. He led the  WUPD, the Southside Police Department, and the Houston Police Department on a slow-paced 16-mile chase on some of Houston’s best freeways, but he never drove more than 45 MPH. A Houston cop put spike strips in the 12200 block of I-10 east that destroyed the suspect’s front tires – then the suspect was taken into custody.

The suspect’s explanation? He said the drug cartels were hunting him down. He appeared disheveled and without his mental faculties.

He was transferred to the largest mental health facility in Texas – the Harris County Jail.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[TONIGHT: Police cameras, Little League and more…]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52020 2017-11-13T20:16:57Z 2017-11-13T20:16:57Z Tonight’s meeting of the West University Place City Council begins at 6 pm in the Municipal Building Council at 3800 University Blvd.

On tonight’s agenda:

Virtual Gated City

The first order of business will be a closed briefing discussing West U’s planned city-circling surveillance camera system.

Why the secrecy? Because West U Police Chief Ken Walker and  IT guru Gary McFarland will be discussing the plan’s effect on city-wide security. A closed briefing for security issues is permitted under Section 551.076 of the Texas Government Code.

Youth sports field sharing agreement and $125K annual payment to Tri-Sports Association

The Tri-Sports Association is an umbrella group that provides and maintains playing fields for youth baseball, softball, and soccer leagues. More than 1K West U youths take part in these youth sports leagues, but the leagues are also open to non-residents.

Facility sharing agreement with West University Baptist Church

Since 1998, The city and West University Baptist Church have had an arrangement where the city gets to use the WUBC parking lots on the 3800 block of Milton for its Community Building/Senior Center program participants, and WUBC uses the Community Building on Sunday mornings for classroom space to conduct some of their Sunday School programs. No rental fees exchange hands but West U charges the church market rate for janitorial services.

West U Piranhas Swim Club agreement to use our pools

About 290 West U kids swim for the Piranhas every year, non-residents can also join the team. Under the agreement, West U gets no cash for the West U participants but receives $25 for each non-resident.

If you have more questions, please call West U City Secretary Thelma Gilliam at 713.662.5813.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[CAMERAS EVERYWHERE: The plan is for West U to be a virtual gated community]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52014 2017-10-20T21:08:28Z 2017-10-20T21:08:28Z West University Place will press the prism in term of modern technology in crime deterrence and detection with its budgeted $4.2 million spending on cameras at every entrance and exit to West U – The police will get you coming and going. We will have a feature about this in the November issue of West University Essentials.

Intersection surveillance camera

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[HARVEY: West U employees step up to help one other, we can help also]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52007 2017-10-20T19:56:23Z 2017-10-20T19:42:04Z West University Place has about 130 employees. And they want to help each other in times of need.

That is why the West University Place Employees’ Association voted to amend the by-laws to give cash to their fellow employees that were devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

The Employees’ Association is funded by participating employees who give $2 per month into the fund, which typically goes towards gifts or floral offerings for life events (births, funerals, hospitalizations, etc.) for fellow employees and family members. The association does not receive any funding from the taxpayers.

The head-honcho of the employee group is Susan White, who is also the popular Director of Parks and Recreation. and also a 23-year West U employee. White started as a clerk in the water department and is now a department chief.

“After the hurricane, several residents contacted West U to find out how they might be able to help West U Employees. As a result, the membership unanimously approved a by-law amendment, which now allows the Employees’ Association to serve as a conduit for outside donations.” All donations received will be earmarked for disaster relief and will be dispersed to employees who were heavily affected by Hurricane Harvey after an application and needs evaluation process. For more information or to make a donation, please contact Treasurer Josie Hayes at jhayes@westutx.gov or phone 713.662.5843.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[West U cops catch crooks]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=52003 2017-10-19T23:35:11Z 2017-10-19T23:35:11Z On Thursday, October 19 a West University Place Police Department officer in an unmarked car saw a car stopped next to a landscaping truck in the 5800 block of Westchester. The West U cop saw a backseat passenger leave the care and steal some items from a backyard. The car then sped off. Before the unmarked police car lost the vehicle, they got the license number. A few minutes later, the suspects were arrested at Bissonnet and Weslayan They were both hauled to the West University Place jail.

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George Boehme http://InstantNewsWestU.com <![CDATA[NEW: Terrifying details on Weir Park attack, police report another robbery attempt]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=51997 2017-10-17T22:37:43Z 2017-10-17T22:01:30Z New details have emerged about a bold robbery Saturday in West University involving a mother and her children — including the possibility it could have been averted — and on a separate robbery attempt in a West U neighborhood Monday night.

It turns out that first case, which InstantNewsWestU.com reported earlier today when police released information and a surveillance photo, happened at Weir Park, was witnessed by horrified park goers and children — including the victim’s own youngsters.

Police at first said simply that the woman had her purse grabbed from her shoulder by a black man at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 14) and sustained minor injuries, with the suspect returning to a white Pontiac Grand Prix where two other suspects awaited.

Now West U police have added that the park was the location of the robbery, that the Grand Prix in question was an older model with no license plates, and that the woman was dragged to the getaway vehicle, suffering injuries to her arm and foot. According to other details from police, the robbers used her credit card, charging $151 at Champs Sports Bar in the Galleria area.

That corroborates a frenzied report posted on social media report right after the incident Saturday by a West U resident who saw the robbery and said the victim was walking to her car with her children and appeared to be targeted by robbers waiting for someone to leave the park.

“One of the mom’s (sic) there was walking to her car with her 2 toddlers and a car with 3 guys inside stopped and snatched her purse,” the account read. “Everyone was screaming we thought they tried to kidnap her child it was horrible and traumatizing.”

Frustrating to police is the possibility that the crime may have been prevented.

Shortly before the robbery, a resident in the 2800 block of Nottingham saw suspects in a vehicle fitting the same description running into an open garage. He said because he saw a police car passing by, traveling northbound on Wakeforest so he didn’t think to call 911 — and waited to report the suspicious behavior until after the Weir Park robbery had occurred.

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects — and are reminding residents to call 911 immediately when they see any suspicious behavior.

In another incident, a resident walking up his driveway at Riley and College streets at about 10:15 p.m. Monday was able to avoid a robbery attempt.

West U police said the man was approached by a black man who got out of a parked, dark-colored sedan and asked for directions. He attempted to steal the resident’s phone, but the man was able to get to safety, and the suspect fled.

Anyone with information on either crime should contact West U police at 713-668-0330.

 

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Charlotte Aguilar <![CDATA[West U police release suspects’ photos in brazen robbery of woman]]> http://www.instantnewswestu.com/?p=51989 2017-10-17T14:55:48Z 2017-10-17T14:53:14Z West University police are asking for help from the public in locating one assailant and two accomplices responsible for robbing and injuring a woman Saturday (Oct. 14) and have released surveillance images of two of the suspects in the daylight attack.

The robbery occurred around 6:30 p.m. in the 3000 block of Sunset. The victim told officers a black male got out of a white Pontiac Grand Prix and grabbed the purse that was on her shoulder, causing her minor injuries in the process.

The suspect then ran back to the vehicle where two other suspects were waiting, according to the victim.

Anyone with information on the suspects should contact the West University Place Police Department at 713-668-0330 or email crime@westutx.gov. Callers can remain anonymous.

 

West U police released these surveillance images of two of the three suspects wanted in the robbery of a woman on Sunset Saturday. (West U Police)

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