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Posts published in “Day: January 22, 2008”

Festivities mark opening of METRO north line office

NORTH HOUSTON– The public came a step closer to having a comprehensive light rail system in the city of Houston, when METRO opened a neighborhood office at 2613 Fulton, to interact with the public who will use the North Corridor Light Rail line, from downtown Houston to Northline Mall.
Last Saturday’s opening ceremonies featured entertainers from nearby Jeff Davis High School, including the JROTC Color Guard, the Mariachi Band, and the Ballet Folklorico. The national anthem was sung by Madelene Rios.
Public officials and METRO staffers also participated in the opening ceremonies, and gave brief remarks. These included Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, City Councilman Adrian Garcia, and State Representative Jessica Farrar.
Metro staffers included Helen Cavazos, Mike Martinez as emcee, and board member Trini Mendenhall Sosa. Also present was Northside Management District Exec. Director Rebecca Reyna, and Metro Assoc. VP Kim Williams.

Metro has opened this office, and several others in other neighborhoods, for the public to visit, share questions and concerns, and learn about the overall METRO Solutions programs.
Corridor office staff will be available to provide the following type of information:
– Construction updates and detour information
– Utility and access interruptions
– SBE/DBE Program enrollment and training opportunities
– METRO service maps, routing guides and schedules
However, Fare items will not be sold at the METRO Solutions corridor office locations, according to the material furnished to the Northeast News.
Metro announced that the plan for the North Corridor line had been changed from BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) to LRT (Light Rail Transit).
In October 2007 METRO’s Board of Directors approved light rail technology for all five of the transit corridors. Due to recent changes in the way the Federal Transit Administration evaluates proposed transit projects, the Board was able to respond to the community’s preference for LRT versus BRT.
Regarding METRO Solutions, they said that this is a long-range transit plan comprised of a comprehensive, multi-modal system to be built over the next decade. It includes 30 miles of Light Rail Transit, new transit centers, park and ride lotes, HOV/HOT Lanes with future plans for commuter rail and signature bus services.

Candidates for Legislative District 140 hold Q & A session

NORTHEAST HOUSTON– Voters in the Aldine area gathered last Thursday night, at a public forum sponsored by the Texas Together Education Foundation. The event was held at the Pure Light Missionary Baptist Church, at Aldine Mail Route at Vickery. The democratic s primary election for the office of state representative will be held on March 4th.
The two candidates, Kevin Bailey and Armando Walle, were on hand to participate in the question and answer format. About 75 members of the public attended, and seemed to be evenly divided in their support of the candidates, or not committed at all. The format for the evening was opening statements by the two speakers, then questions from the audience with responses, and then closing summary statements.
In his opening remarks, Kevin Bailey spoke about his length of experience in the legislature since 1991, and some his accomplishments. These included chairmanship of several important committees, inception of three management or improvement districts, increased police protection in these districts, sewer and water improvements, sidewalks and streetlighting projects that are a result of legislation worked on and passed with Bailey’s efforts.

Also mentioned was the establishment of a Sheriff’s storefront office on Aldine Mail Route, and this year an expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program to include an additional 130,000 children in the state.
Armando Walle, in his opening statement, pointed out that he was a lifelong resident of the district, having been born and raised here, educated at Aldine schools and graduating from MacArthur High School, and still living in the district, as is his family. He emphasized that the economic conditions in which he grew up are similar to many residents who still live here, and that this gives him a unique perspective on the area.
Walle emphsized his experience in work in Congressman Gene Green’s office, as a staff member, and other staff work he did for Rep. Rodney Ellis and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
He also mentioned his interest and involvement in the education situation in the area, and specifically mentioned his work at Sam Houston High School as a mentor to the students.
He emphasized two qualities that he would bring to the job, hard work and accessibility by the public.
In the Question/Answer portion of the meeting, the first question was why improvements take so long to happen, and why so many street vendors are allowed on Aldine Mail.
Bailey answered that he also thought that the process was extended, but pointed out that in Texas much of the intiative has to come from the county, not the state.
Walle suggested in his response that many of these issues could be taken to federal and state officials that could be asked to help speed up the process.
The next question asked for more bike and auto patrols. Bailey agreed, but suggested that he had voted for legislation to increase school police, storefronts, and contract deputies.
Walle said we simply need more resources devoted to this issue.
In response to a partisan question from the floor, Walle elaborated on his activities for the district, including work at the NHG YMCA, volunteering at Y.O.U.T.H., on the board at the Health Clinic, worked on the flooding problem while in Cong. Green’s office.
On increased police protection, Bailey noted that the task force he participated in during December, actually happens several times a year, and he also recommended that the Sheriff’s office use civilians as jailers, to free officers for street patrols.
Immigration was a question that both candidates found difficult to answer, but Bailey noted that it actually needs a national solution rather than a state answer.
On CHIP, Bailey noted that his committee had uncovered fraud in the program, and saved money.
From the floor, Airline I.D. chairman Glenn Nitsch spoke in thanks for the h1elp that Bailey has given to the neighborhoods.
On education, both Bailey and Walle agreed that schools spend too much time on TAKS test preparation. Bailey noted that he passed legislation prohibiting the closing of Sam Houston and Kashmere high schools.
Both candidates expressed support for a statewide smoking ban, if uniform and fair.
In summary, Walle emphasized his relationship to the community, his work ethic and commitment to hard work on a full time basis, and his belief that it is time for a new breed of leader in Dist. 140.
Bailey’s summary mentioned his experience, his seniority in the legislature which benefits the districgt, and his knowledge of how to accomplish legislation.
Bailey also reviewed his accomplishments since he has been in office, including the management districts and the benefits they have brought to the area, noise abatement, water and sewer projects both accomplished and planned, work at a state and local level to improve DNA crime labs and get them properly accredited, and fighting against lobbyist influence in state government.