Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Councilmember Jarvis Johnson stands with 5th Ward residents in battle with HISD

Homeowners in Fifth Ward are speaking out against Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) plan to use eminent domain to acquire their properties situated next to Dogan Elementary School.

HISD wants to expand the school but has yet to give clear information according to Council member Jarvis Johnson, who held a press conference on Sunday, October 11, 2009 in front of the home of 86-year-old Elizabeth Williams.

“These residents deserve some answers. There seems to be a lot of ambiguity and a lot of uncertainty,” said Council member Johnson.

"There is nobody standing here who is against expanding educational opportunities for our children but some questions need to be answered," he said.

HISD sent out certified letters informing residents they had 14 days to accept their offer. This did not sit well with Ms. Williams, who has resided in her home for sixty years.

"I got a short letter in the a mail saying they'll give me 14 days to accept the offer and I said, 'That's not a lot of time'," she told the media inside her home.

"I have been so depressed and sad,” said Ms. Williams, who is one of the 11 homeowners being targeted by HISD.

"So we are asking what is the plan for Dogan Elementary and for this particular community, so we may move forward, so that our community will have a better understanding of what's going on," said Council Member Johnson.

According to many of the residents, they are being offered unfair prices by HISD. The district has even used strong-arm tactics by sending an appraiser into the neighborhood with a police escort, according to Council member Johnson.

"The district would never use these types of “gangster-style moves” in River Oaks,” stated community activist Deric Muhammad.

Resident Emily Peterson owns four properties and says she is being offered $30,000 less than the appraised value.

"My home is full of memories. I don't mind selling my home but I want more money. I want what it is worth,” expressed Mrs. Peterson.

Reuben Holms, a resident of the area for sixty-five years, sees the moves being made by HISD as the infant stages of an ultimate plan to "hand this area over to the rich and build high-rises because it's close to downtown."

The Fifth Ward is not a settlement. This is a dignified, historical community. The superintendent needs to come and talk to these residents or we will bring Fifth Ward to your office,” declared Mr. Muhammad.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tonight: Councilmember Jarvis Johnson to stand with a family to address a $20,000 question in Houston


Activists, Family, Friends, Local Residents and Elected Officials Gather for Candlelight Vigil

Houston, Tx: Over 200 people have confirmed to attend when a local family announces that it has personally put up a $20,000 reward for anyone who can give information leading to the arrest of the party(s) responsible for the death of Marcus Washington.

Washington, a 35 year old Halliburton employee who was only a few months away from receiving a Masters Degree from the University of Houston, was found in his apartment shot to death on July 3rd.

He had been given the day off by Halliburton to celebrate Independence Day. An eyewitness claimed she saw 3 young males outside Washington’s apartment shortly before it is believed he was murdered. Authorities have yet to arrest any suspects.

Tonight, Sunday Oct. 11th, activist Deric Muhammad, Houston City Councilman Jarvis Johnson and hundreds of others will stand with the Washington family in a call for residents in the area to speak up if they have any information.

Area residents have seen a huge spike in crime in the area and believe Washington may have been a victim of a random robbery “gone bad”. Activists are not satisfied with the apparent slowness of the Washington investigation and are calling on the community to get involved.

“We should not be afraid of what will happen if we come forward with information leading to the arrest of the real culprits”, said Muhammad. We should be afraid of what will happen if we don’t.”

The Washington family has circulated hundreds of flyers in an effort to gather information. Several people have come forwarded, but no one has been arrested. Now they have taken their journey for justice to the next level by raising the reward ante’ by $20,000. The funds have already been registered with Crimestoppers.

The brutal beating death of 14 year-old honor roll student Derrion Albert in Chicago has sparked a nationwide sense of urgency to stop the senseless killing in the Black community. The murder of Marcus Washington is but one local example of a nationwide problem. We must wage war against the violence that takes the lives of innocent human beings like Washington.

Where: Carriage Place Apartments (where the murder occurred) located at 505 Wells Fargo St. (Northwest Houston)

What: Candlelight Vigil & Community Rally

When: 7:00 p.m., Sunday, October 11, 2009

POC: Deric Muhammad (281)865-8323 or

To download the Official Prayer Vigil Flyer click here:

***PRESS CONFERENCE*** Councilmember Johnson to speak out Regarding the HISD Property Acquisition for property surrounding Dogan Elementary

For Immediate Release
October 10, 2009

Amy Francis 713-539-4168

Jesse Muhammad 832-978-0939


Houston Councilmember Jarvis Johnson to speak out

Regarding the HISD Property Acquisition for property surrounding Dogan Elementary School

Houston, Texas--Council Member Jarvis Johnson is very concerned about the manner in which his constituency, particularly senior citizens, is being treated by HISD regarding their plans for expansion that will directly impact homeowners in that area.

Councilmember Johnson will be joined by residents, community activists and others for an emergency press conference to clearly state his stance on this serious issue. Residents will also speak out.

“I have seniors contacting my office who were not notified until an HISD contractor showed up at their door with an offer to purchase their home.” says Council Member Johnson. “This is a very terrifying thing for seniors who have been in their homes for over 60 years.”

The Press Conference will take place Sunday, October 11 at the corner of Quitman St. and Leffingwell St, just south of Dogan Elementary. Press conference will start at 2:00pm. All media is invited to attend.

Many feel HISD has failed to do a good job of communicating with all homeowners including those that may not be able to leave their homes. The failure to communicate has increased the number of constituent complaints that Council Member Johnson’s office has received.

Why is the combination of two schools with low enrollment necessitating an expansion of Dogan Elementary School? Council member Johnson believes that the homeowners deserve more explanation and better treatment.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Councilmember Johnson invites ALL MINORITY AND WOMEN TOW TRUCK OWNERS..




2:30 PM – 5:00 PM














You may be certified on the spot! Complete the attached application and bring it along with the requested paperwork to the meeting. City staff will process your application on site. For additional information contact Norma Meadows – 713-837-9015.

Re-Elect Council Member Jarvis Johnson for Houston City Council District B

Listen to Councilmember Johnson's recent interview with Off the Kuff

Reposted from

by Charles Kuffner

"Wrapping up my series of incumbent district Council member is Jarvis Johnson, who is finishing his second term in District B. Council Member Johnson has been one of the leading advocates for bringing wireless Internet access to various parts of the city, as well as being an adopter of social media through blogging and Twitter. (He and CM Mike Sullivan appear to be the most frequent users of Twitter among the not-running-for-another-office members of Council.) He has one opponent for November."

Click here to listen to the interview!

A Message to Acres Homes and the City of Houston: Stay Vigilant!

Council member Johnson and a coalition of community leaders, including activist Deric Muhammad, held a press conference in response to the possible apprehension of a suspect in a string of Acres Homes sexual murders and assaults. The council member warned the residents to "stay vigilant and do not let your guard down. Continue to practice safety measures to avoid being a victim."

Councilmember Johnson expresses concern with the amount of opportunities that are not being given to Houston small and minority businesses.

As a Council Member I have always been concerned with the amount of opportunities that are not being given to our small and minority businesses. I have seen a great deal of contracts that have been brought before City Council that have not met their MWBE participation goals and because the general contractor has not met the goals instead of ensuring they are obtained, they request that the goal itself be changed to a 0% goal.

In today’s difficult economic times it is very important that we encourage economic stability through job creation and business opportunities for our chief employers small and minority business. Did you know that small Businesses employ just over half of the country’s private sector workforce and hire 40 percent of high tech workers, such as scientists, engineers and computer workers, this number includes 52 percent home-based businesses and two percent franchises, they represent 97.3 percent of all the exporters of goods, represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms and generate a majority of the innovations that come from United States companies.

When we fail to give opportunities for small and minority businesses to contract with the fourth largest city in this nation, we are not doing our job as elected officials to ensure that we lead in job creation. There are 1,787,607 small businesses in Texas, 399,323 have employees. The remaining 1,388,284 are Texas small businesses that have no employees. On August 5th before the approval of the Bombardier Transportation contract, I spoke during council session regarding this grave injustice of the O% goals and/or the lack of unbundled contracts. At that time the Mayor stated that he agreed with my concerns and joined with my office in requesting an unbundling of contracts. I received a commitment from the Houston Airport Systems (HAS) to begin an unbundling program.

While I accepted this commitment with great skeptism in light of the amount of times I had heard this promise in the past, I still entered into an understanding with HAS in good faith. One month later we are in the same place we were on August 5, 2009. We now have Agenda Item 32, which is a JOC contract worth nine million that offers great contracting opportunities for our SBE and MWBE’s to become prime contractors HAS, that will not overburden or over commit and will create capacity and experience. In the past the main excuse that I have hear from HAS is that the SBE & MWBE’s did not bid, now four out of the six bidding vendors for this contract were SBE/MWBE’s

I am insisting that HAS spilt this contract into three or more additional contracts to ensure more participation of SBE/MWBE. I have received no evidence that this contract cannot be split. We have an inherent problem with allowing and encouraging sub-standard SBE/MWBE participation among our Prime Contractors and not creating more opportunities for our sub contractors to become prime. We cannot continue to count on the promise of better cooperation from these companies.

I am committed to ensuring equal opportunity to all companies who desire to do business with the city of Houston.