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Posts published in “Day: October 16, 2012

Early voting starts Oct. 22 – Local elections on ballot

Harris County voters will be able to vote early starting on Monday, October 22 through Friday, Nov. 2nd. Hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm Oct. 22 to Oct. 26, 7 am to 7 pm on Saturday, Oct. 27, 1 pm to 6 pm on Sunday Oct. 28, and 7 am to 7 pm Oct. 29 through Nov. 2nd.

Locations that are convenient for Northeast area voters include the Harris County Administration Building, 1001 Preston, 7002, Northeast Multi-Service Center, 9720 Spaulding Street, 77016, Hardy Senior Center, 11901 W. Hardy Road, 77076, Octavia Fields Branch Library, 1503 S. Houston Ave., Humble 77338, and Acres Homes Multi-Services Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Rd. 77091.

There are a total of 37 early voting sites, and officials urge voters to take advantage of these, because the ballot this year is long and complicated, with a number of national and local candidates, and many bond issues and referendums included for some or all areas of the county.

General Election

This is of course a general election, set for Tuesday, November 6th from 7 am to 7 pm.

National candidates will include a U. S. President, either Democrat Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney. Their running mates are Joe Biden for VP, or Paul Ryan. Also running are Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party Jill Stein.

For U. S. Senator to replace retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison, voters have a choice of Republican Ted Cruz, Democrat Paul Sadler, Libertarian John Jay Myers, or Green Party David Collins.

For U. S. Representative in the 18th Texas District, the incumbent Democrat Sheila Jackson-Lee will face either Republican Sean Seibert or Libertarian Christopher Barber. In the last election in 2010 Jackson-Lee received 70% of the vote.

For U. S. Representative in the 29th District, incumbent Democrat Gene Green has no Republican challenger, but faces opposition from Libertarian James Stanczak, and Green Party’s Maria Selva.

In State Senate District 6, Mario Gallegos Jr. is running against Republican R. W. Bray. In State District 13, incumbent Rodney Ellis is running unopposed.

In State House races, in District 139 Democrat Sylvester Turner is running against Republican Sam Brocato. In District 140, Democrat Armando Walle is running unopposed. In District 141 incumbent Democrat Senfronia Thompson is running against Republican Michael Bunch. In the last election in 2010, Thompson received 76% of the vote.

In Harris County offices, in the District Attorney race has Democrat Lloyd Oliver running against Republican Mike Anderson, who upset the incumbent Pat Lykos in the primary.

For County Attorney, incumbent Democrat Vince Ryan faces Republican Robert Talton.

For Harris County Sheriff, incumbent Democrat Adrian Garcia faces Republican Louis Guthrie and Green Party Remington Alessi.

In the race for County Tax Assessor-Collector, well known Republican politician and city councilman Mike Sullivan is running against Democrat Ann Bennett and Libertarian Jess Hopson.

Harris County Commissioner for Pct. 1 has incumbent Democrat El Franco Lee facing Republican Chuck Maricle. In Pct. 4, incumbent Republican Jack Cagle is running against Democrat Sean Hammerle. Cagle was appointed by the County Commisioners last year to fill the rest of the term of Jerry Eversole, who resigned.

In Pct. 1 Constable’s race, Democrat Alan Rosen faces Republican Joe Danna. Also running are Libertarian James Lancaster and Green Party Carlos Villalobos.

In Pct. 3 Constable race, the incumbent Democrat Ken Jones is running against Republican challenger David Cruzan.

School Board Election for North Forest

The most interesting local race will be for positions on the North Forest School Board. For Position 4, Thaddeus Seals is running unopposed. For Position 5, the incumbent Albert Coleman is running against two opponents, Linda Bell Robinson and JoAnna Love Casey.

Bond Issues and Referendums

Also on the ballot will be a METRO referendum to choose how the 1 cent sales tax is used.

The City of Houston will have two Propositions regarding revisions in wording of certain laws. More importantly they will have 5 Propositions, A to E, regarding issuing of bonds to pay for public safety facilities, parks, public health, libraries, and housing.

Houston ISD will have a proposition asking to authorize bonds for construction totalling $1.89 billion dollars.

Houston Community College will present a bond request proposition for $425 million for new facilities.

N. Houston Highway Improvement Project presents road-construction alternatives to improve Beltway 8, Hardy Toll and 45

By Julieta Paita

Northeast News

HOUSTON–Last Thursday (Oct. 11) at its second public scoping meeting at Aldine ninth grade school, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project presented some alternatives for transportation improvements in three segments of the city (see map to the right).

Segment 1: Beltway 8 to IH 610

Eight preliminary alternatives were presented for this area:

1. Widen Existing with elevated managed lanes: Addition of director connector from IH-45 to Hardy Toll Road that includes four (4) managed lanes. Also includes widening of Hardy Toll Road to provide one additional lane inbound and outbound.

2. Widen Existing: Twelve (12) lane section-includes eight (8) general purpose lanes and four (4) managed lanes. Additional ROW will be acquire on West side of IH 45.

3. Widen Existing: Twelve (12) lane section-includes eight (8) general purpose lanes and four (4) managed lanes. Additional ROW will be acquired on East side of IH 45.

4. Widen Existing: Twelve (12) lane section-includes eight (8) general purpose lanes and four (4) managed lanes. Additional ROW will be acquire on both sides of IH 45.

5. Elevated Managed Lanes: Twelve (12) lane section-includes eight (8) general purspose lanea and four (4) elevated managed lanes on a single structure at the center.

6. Elevated Managed Lanes: Twelve (12) lane section-includes eight (8) general purspose lanes and four (4) elevated managed lanes on two (2) separate structures on left and right sides of centerline.

Last meeting purpose was to present and gather people’s input on the preliminary alternatives as well as to discuss the project and answer any questions.

Raquelle R. Lewis, public information supervisor and special projects administrator with the Houston District said that criteria and alternatives must be evaluated to meet the goal.

According to a document by the North Houston Highway Improvement Project, “Transportation improvements are needed within the IH 45 project area because the existing IH-45 facility currently experiences undesirable levels of congestions during peak and off-peak periods. Increased traffic on IH 45 from expected future regional population and employment growth would further increase the congestion already being experienced in the project area.”

In a study, the North Houston Highway Improvement Project found out that improvements to the portion of IH 45 extending from near downtown Houston northward to Beltway 8 North are needed because of several reasons:

The road does not provide adequate capacity for existing and future traffic demands, resulting in congestion, longer travel times and reduced mobility.

The one-way reversible HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane serves traffic in only one direction during the peak hours and is unused for large periods of the day, limiting its use.

IH 45 is a designated evacuation route for the region; at its present capacity, its effectiveness would be limited in case of a hurricane.

Portions of the IH 45 do not meet current roadway design standards, creating a safety concern.

Other deficiencies also include inadequate stormwater drainage (specially on frontage roads between Parker Road and Gulf Bank).

The North Houston Highway Improvement Project involves evaluation of the highways in the three segments and identify areas of concern and implement an integrated system of transportation improvements that would manage traffic congestion in the IH 45, provide expanded transit and carpool opportunities, expand roads for emergency evacuation; in one word, a solution to all deficiencies cited above.

It’s expected that by 2016 a Record of Decision should be completed. Environmental impacts will be also evaluated for the recommended alternatives that meet the purpose of the project and then a preferred alternative will be selected, including a no build alternative.

This project also requires the participation of other agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), City of Houston, Harris County, Harris County Toll Road Authority, Texas Parks and Wildlife Departmant among others.

Public can submit their comments by Friday, October 26, 2012 via mail to:

Director of Project Development

Texas Department of Transportation

P.O. BOX 1386

Houston, TX 77251

or via e-mail to:

Your input is important in this phase of the project.