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Posts published in “Day: March 15, 2011”

HOUSTON INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMBER. Drake:Grenspoint-the Market, the Myths, the Milestones

GREENSPOINT– In his evangelical style, Greenspoint President Jack Drake presented to the Houston Intercontinental Chamber a talk entitled “Greenspoint Revealed.”
The occasion was the monthly luncheon of the chamber, held last Thursday, April 3 at the Airport Marriott hotel.
Drake has talked before about the vigor of the Greenspoint District, and this was an update of the activities that have happened in the last year, and some plans and predictions for the future.
Drake started by reviewing the Market that exists around the Greenspoint area. Continued growth of population, employees, and businesses signal economic strength now and in the future, he said. He presented a number of new projects, ranging from parks and bayous, to large warehouse and office prospects. He also mentioned the revitalization of the Greenspoint Mall, as the new 20 screen theater opens next month.

Location both in the county, and in the country, foretell continued market strength, he indicated. This is true for transportation, real estate, and also a national fiber optics network that passes through Greenspoint.
Transportation is a key factor in Greenspoint’s future, he said. He mentioned that the combination of Continental and United make the country’s largest airline, and their reservation center remains in Greenspoint.
High speed rail is in our future, Drake indicated, with a line from Dallas to Houston by 2020. The private corporation that will build it is headquartered in Greenspoint. It will partner with Japan High Speed Rail, a leader for 50 years in this technology. He foresees a HSR line that will take only 70 minutes to reach Dallas, travelling at 215 miles per hour. Former county judge Robert Eckels is president of this corporation, Lone Star High Speed Rail.
Drake made a point of debunking a Myth, that crime is rampant in Greenspoint. In fact, he said, crime is down 42% since 1991, while population has grown 63% and employment in the area has grown by 121%.
He took pride in mentioning some Milestones, such as leading the city in LEED certified buildings, having 10,000 hotel rooms or 17% of the city’s total in Greenspoint.
He said that there was 13 million square feet of office space in Greenspoint, with 80 energy related companies as tenants. The class A office space is almost 100% occupied.
Recently, former Mexican president Vincente Fox visited the offices of Greenspoint District, and also toured a call center on Northborough, which is in a building meant to be an “incubator” for other Hispanic oriented businesses. This is another indication of the diverse businesses that are interested in Greenspoint, Drake said.
Chamber president Jocklyn Keville announced the next luncheon, on April 5th, would focus on the subject of Trans-Border International Police. It is in conjunction with a conference on the subject.

Eversole bribery trial begins

By BOBBY HORN JR.
HARRIS COUNTY– Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Eversole’s federal bribery trial began last week with the selection of jurors.
The U. S. Attorney for Houston, Jose Angel Moreno, in December, unsealed a federal grand jury indictment against Eversole and businessman Michael Surface.
The 31-page indictment lists conspiracy, receiving a bribe, and filing false income tax statements against Eversole. It lists conspiracy and paying a bribe against Surface.
In total, Eversole is charged in four counts.
Eversole and Surface have both plead not guilty.

The charges stem from a corruption investigation that has been ongoing for several years, and of which Eversole said he was aware. He commented to several media representatives last year that he expected to be indicted.
Eversole is charged in the detailed indictment, with receiving such things as vacations, clothing, antique firearms, and financial support for his home mortgage from Surface, and in return voting to award Surface and several of his companies with lucrative county contracts. He also appointed Surface to the Sports Authority Board, and even conspired to retire in favor of Surface assuming his commissioner’s seat, according to the indictment.
Among the alleged gifts are a $63,000 cashiers check from Surface, which prosecutors say Eversole used to but land for his home, $17,000 in landscaping and $23,000 in antique firearms.
Eversole’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, stated that the two men have been friends for over 25 years, and the dealings were personal and not related to county business or favors.
In the prosecution’s opening statement, given on March 8, they said that Eversole traded favorable votes in commissioners’ court for money and gifts.
Eversole has countered that there is no proof that he committed a crime.
If convicted, Eversole faces up to 21 years in prison and $700,000.
In 2009, the Texas Ethics Commission fined Eversole $75,000 for violation campaign finance laws. At the time it was the largest fine that the ethics commission had ever levied.
Eversole has served as county commission for six terms. Last November he won the sixth term against no opposition.
Surface’s trial is expected to be held in October.