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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors
by Jim Guidry
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors on Tuesday voted unanimously to provide up to $300,000 to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments for its Hurricane Ike housing repair work and to provide up to $190,000 to the City of Shoreacres to clean up and restore public lands damaged by Hurricane Ike.

“The City of Shoreacres has an Ike cleanup project that could be completed in three months with four to six employees,” said the staff report. 

The board voted to approve the Clear Lake Bicycle-Pedestrian District Study that will be done in collaboration with the City of Houston, which will provide the $100,000 local match.

The board voted to defer action on a $150,000 grant for the Together Against Weather program that was developed by a task force with representatives of Harris, Galveston and Brazoria Counties to assist with communicating information about evacuation planning for special needs populations and with non-English speaking persons.  H-GAC Executive Director Jack Steele recommended the deferral after an objection by Glenda Joe, who described herself as a community advocate for the Asian and Latino communities.

“Fifty percent of the Latinos in Houston are from another country; eighty percent of the Asians in Houston are from another country,” she said. “We need to do a better job in providing critical messaging to my community: Laotian, Cambodian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Latino.”
Listen:
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“This concern came to me, in fact, after five last night,” Steele said, noting that the concern was expressed by the second ranked group recommended to handle the program.  “Obviously we would like to look into the concern that was expressed to us and the concern that you have heard here.” Listen: MP3 RealPlayer  

The three-county task force had ranked CORE Concepts first in a ranking of three groups proposing to do the project; Great Wall Enterprises second; and Gilbreath Communications, Inc. third.  Steele said there is a grievance process that will be explained to Joe.  If the recommendation is approved at next month’s meeting the task force will negotiate with CORE Concepts. 

All other agenda items were approved.  All votes were unanimous.

Walker County Commissioner B.J. Gaines, Jr.; Conroe City Council Member Toby Powell; Deer Park Council Member Thane Harrison; Friendswood Council Member Bill Holbert; La Porte Council Member Chuck Engleken; Pasadena Council Member Darrell Morrison; and Texas City Commissioner Dee Ann Haney were absent.  Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Council Member Anne Clutterbuck were not present, but they were represented by alternate members Melissa Noriega and Sue Lovell.




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