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  March 22, 2011

City of Houston E-Newsletter

Table of Contents

City of Houston Redistricting 2011

The City of Houston Charter requires that Houston City Council expand to eleven single-member districts at such point that census data demonstrates that the city's population exceeds 2.1 million residents. With council's confirmation that the city has surpassed this threshold, the City has embarked on the process of creating Districts J and K.

The City is interested in hearing from you and your neighborhood regarding your suggestions for the configuration of the new council districts. You are invited to attend any town hall meeting and tell us what you think. Go to for more information.

For a further explanation of the process, please see this video If you have questions or concerns, contact or call 713.837.7826.

New Houston Volunteer Opportunities Website
Goes Live Monday, March 28, 2011

Volunteer Initiatives ProgramMayor Annise Parker encourages all Houstonians to volunteer and help our city, and one another while enhancing the existing good work being done by Houston's nonprofit sector. On Monday, March 28, 2011, the City of Houston is launching a new free website to make it easy to find volunteer opportunities in the city.

Please visit to post volunteer opportunities before Monday, March 28, to be included in the initial site launch. All that is required is a tax exemption number and about 15 minutes. You are encouraged to post volunteer opportunities after the launch as well.

Please forward this exciting opportunity to other nonprofits, faith-based organizations and volunteers alike. For more information visit

How to Get Your Water/Wastewater Account Questions Answered

Water Faucet and Glasses

If you have questions regarding your water/wastewater account, please contact a Utility Customer Service Representative at 713.371.1400 or by e-mail at

If you are not satisfied with the resolution offered, you may request an Administrative Review of your account. You have 90 days from the date of the first disputed bill to request the review. A representative of the Quality Review Section will thoroughly review the account to ensure that your bill is accurate. If you are still not satisfied with the resolution, you may request an Administrative Hearing. You must request the hearing within ten days of the close of the review process.

Upcoming Green Building Resource Center Events
Learn About
Green Building and See How Others Have Done It

Green Building TourMayor’s Green Building Tour: Friday, March 25, 2011, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2424 Sakowitz Street, Houston 77020

Houston’s first green multifamily housing development is New Hope Housing’s 2424 Sakowitz community (named after the very street on which it resides honoring the rich history of the Sakowitz Family). As a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) for Homes certified Platinum (the highest level of certification) property, 2424 Sakowitz is Houston’s first green multifamily housing development. The fact that it is also permanent supportive housing makes this recognition even more significant. Located in the Greater Fifth Ward/Denver Harbor, the Sakowitz development contains 166 units and is New Hope’s largest single room occupancy affordable housing community offering life-stabilizing, quality housing at a more stable rental rate.

The event is free and open to the public. Visit for more information and a map.

Green Building Resource CenterGreen Building Resource Center Education Seminar on Earth Day Eve: Thursday, April 21, 2011, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 3300 Main Street, Houston 77002

What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place? The purpose of the Living Building Challenge is straightforward – it defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to diminish the gap between current limits and ideal solutions. Whether your project is a single building, a park, a college campus or even a complete neighborhood community, Living Building Challenge provides a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment. Learn how the Challenge is different from LEED.


Catherine Callaway, AIA, LEED AP

BNIM Architects


Julie Hendricks, AIA, LEED AP

Kirksey Architects


Amanda Tullos, AIA, LEED AP

Green Building Services

This event is free and open to the public. Visit for more details and a map.

Houston Police Department Embarks on Citywide DWI Initiative

Police DepartmentFor those who are getting ready to partake in the March Madness, that is the NCAA (National Collegiate Basketball Association) basketball tournament, a few words of warning to you and your friends. The Houston Police Department (HPD), along with several other agencies, is running a full-court press against drunken driving.

Harris County currently leads the nation in drunken driving related crashes. As a result, last month HPD launched a citywide campaign that runs through July. HPD will be beefing up patrols and DWI (driving while intoxicated) enforcement during this crackdown, in addition to having the HPD Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) vehicles visible at various locations around the city with nurses on board to administer blood draws.

So, as a reminder to you and your friends; if you're going to drink, don't drive. And if you do drink, have a designated driver or call a taxi. If you witness someone you believe may be driving drunk, you can call *DWI (*394) from your cell phone. Let's all enjoy the festivities in a responsible manner and eject drunken drivers! For more information about HPD, visit

Two Special Opportunities to Help the Environment
Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trash Bash

With a resounding “Clean it Like You Mean It,” thousands of residents are making plans to attend the 18th Annual Lake Houston Trash Bash, Saturday, March 26, 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This is one of 16 Trash Bash events planned for this day.

This annual clean-up activity takes place at the Lake Houston Marina (10611 F.M. 1960 East at McKay Bridge, Key-Map 338-Q), Huffman 77336. Cleaning team members get safety equipment, a Trash Bash t-shirt and lunch. The Trash Bash is a great family outing providing an environmental educational learning experience for the kids. Plenty of entertainment and a door prize drawing is planned.

For more information contact Jerrel Geisler at or call 832.395.3780. Registration forms and other information can be found on the Trash Bash website

Final Four

Electronics Recycling Drive

Houston residents are encouraged to drop off and recycle any brand of electronic products or computers between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Saturday, March 26, 2011 at the Houston Reliant Stadium (blue lot), home of the 2011 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Men’s Final Four, April 2-4, 2011. This eCycling is free and the eCycling group will be on hand to take items from your trunk.

The City of Houston and the Houston Final Four Local Organizing Committee are working with Official NCAA Corporate Partner, LG Electronics USA and Official Sustainability Partner of The Big Dance Concert Series and Bracket Town, Waste Management Recycle America to sponsor this eCycling drive.

Reliant Park is located within the Inner Loop of the southern portion of Interstate Loop 610 between Kirby Street and Fannin Street; follow signs to the eCycling drop-off site. For more information visit and

Green Houston

We Need Your Input on How to Spend Federal Community Development Funds

The City of Houston's Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) seeks your input on how to prioritize and spend millions of dollars in federal community development funds. HCDD invites you to voice and share your community’s greatest needs at a public forum.

Thursday, March 24, 2011
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Magnolia Service Center
7037 Capitol Street
Houston 77011

This forum is part of the City of Houston’s Action Plan process, the annual request for federal Housing and Urban Development funds to provide services to low to moderate income Houstonians. The Action Plan process guides HCDD’s allocation of these federal funds. Currently, funds are used to support affordable housing, single-family home repair, community development, economic development, neighborhood facility improvements and parks, as well as programs serving youth, the homeless, persons living with AIDS and people with special needs. Visit to view a draft of the 2011 Action Plan.

If you are unable to attend the hearing, you are encouraged to send comments on community needs by Wednesday, April 13, 2011, to Andrea Jones, HCDD, 601 Sawyer, 5th floor, Houston 77007 or e-mail her at

Government Procurement Connections 2011
April 6 - 7, 2011

The premiere government contracting event of the year for small, minority, women-owned and disadvantaged businesses, Government Procurement Connections (GPC) will be held on Wednesday, April 6, and Thursday, April 7, 2011, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Exhibit Hall B-3, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Houston 77010.

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in forums and workshops and meet city, county, state, federal and corporate exhibitors involved in purchasing, construction and professional services contracting, as well as financial institutions, resource agencies and prime contractors.

Yolanda Garcia Olivarez, Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, will serve as the keynote speaker on Thursday, April 7, 2011, for the Minority Women Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) awards breakfast ceremony at 7:30 a.m.

For further information on GPC 2011, contact the City of Houston’s Affirmative Action and Contract Compliance Office at 713.837.9000 or visit Please be patient with the website.

Government Procurement Connections 2011

ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER Announces Free Business Workshops

One Stop Business CenterPlease make plans to attend one of the City of Houston’s ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER’s free business workshops, held at a convenient location near you. Business workshops are aimed at new and existing business owners needing information about:

  • Business permits and licenses
  • Business planning
  • Financing - including loans and grants
  • Food service (restaurants)
  • Government procurement options
  • SCORE counseling and sources of technical assistance
  • Social media marketing

The Spring Business Workshop Series is a collaborative effort between the Mayor’s Office, Houston Public Library, SCORE (Senior Corps of Retired Executives), Constant Contact and Kitchen Incubator, LLC. There is no charge to attend the programs, although pre-registration is required. Please call 832.393.0954.

For a complete list of topics and upcoming workshop dates and locations, visit

The ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTER is located in the City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby Street, Houston 77002. Hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

More Money @ Your Library®
A Financial Literacy Program

More Money Graphic

The Houston Public Library’s (HPL) free financial literacy program “More Money @ Your Library®” offers classes and online resources. HPL is working with the Women’s Resource of Greater Houston, Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC), SCORE (Counselors to America’s Small Business) and Houston Community College. This program will provide access to workshops and resources to help Houstonians take charge of their finances.

HPL and its community partners are offering classes and online resources for all ages, including children and teens. Class topics include budgeting, savings, banking and checking basics, identity theft, and much more. For teens thinking about going to college, there will be an informative program presented by representatives from the Financial Aid Office of Houston Community College. These representatives will offer critical tips on seeking and securing financial aid for college which will also benefit parents of students seeking funding for their child’s education.

All Houstonians are encouraged to take advantage of the classes offered at HPL locations. Classes are free, on a first-come first-served basis and will be held in April 2011 and October 2011.

More Money @ Your Library® has been funded by a Smart Investing @ Your Library® grant through FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association.

For more information about HPL services, see For a complete list of More Money @ Your Library® classes and programs, visit Online resources are also available at

Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission Launches New Website

Historic Preservation

The Education Committee of the City of Houston’s Archaeological and Historical Commission has launched a new website! The goal of the committee is to help educate Houstonians about the importance of preservation within our great city.

We invite you to view and catch up on the latest news and updates. This new website will offer a variety of information including preservation news as it happens, featuring articles focused on important preservation topics and related events around the area such as walking tours and demonstration classes. The website will also spotlight significant historic buildings around Houston as well as local historic treasures that have been Saved, Threatened or Lost. And don’t forget to check out the Resources section which offers links to organizations at the local, state and national level in addition to links for technical assistance.

As stewards of Houston’s history, let’s all work together in “Connecting Our Future to Our Past!”

News from the Houston Airport System
Hobby Airport Opens New Lobby; Catch a Plane? Jump on the Bus to Bush Intercontinental Airport

Hobby AirportOn March 15, 2011, the Houston Airport System opened a newly renovated lobby at William P. Hobby Airport. The major renovation improves the airport's efficiency and aesthetics. The Houston Airport System's investment into the terminal not only helps Houston shine, but it also helps stimulate the local economy. The project is part of an overall $250 million makeover of the airport's terminal.

As the first impression a visitor has of Houston, Hobby Airport is a valuable gateway by serving nine million air travelers annually. The next phase of construction continues on new baggage carousels, which are scheduled to be operational this summer.

Metro’s Airport Direct bus service to Bush Intercontinental Airport (Terminal C) is available every 30 minutes from 4:50 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. daily. Travel time is 45 minutes departing from five downtown locations: MetroRail’s Main Street Station between Dallas and Lamar, 815 Pierce at Travis, Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana and Four Seasons, 1300 Lamar. And the best part? The one-way cost is only $4.50. So avoid costly parking expense while you are out of town and get aboard Airport Direct. For more information about this service, visit

To learn more about Hobby Airport, visit and for more about the Houston Airport System, visit

Airport Direct

"Tolerance" Sculptures on Buffalo Bayou Accessible by New Rosemont Bridge

Tolerance SculpturesA magnificent group of sculptures created by internationally renowned contemporary Spanish artist and sculptor, Jaume Plensa are now open to the public at "Harmony Walk" on the Buffalo Bayou side of the intersection of Allen Parkway and Montrose. The Rosemont Bridge provides a new view of downtown Houston with 780 linear feet of concrete and steel spanning Buffalo Bayou. On Saturday, March 26, 2011, at 11 a.m. on the north side of the Memorial Drive trail system near Montrose Boulevard, the Rosemont Bridge will have its Grand Opening Ceremony and Festival.

Artist Jaume Plensa imagined harmony and unity in his creation of "Tolerance," consisting of seven aluminum-framed human figures representing the seven continents. The large majestic sculptures are made in his signature alphabet pattern, each representing a mix of languages including Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Greek, Hindi and Cyrillic. At night the figures glow from within, creating a constellation of beacons. The artist’s inspiration comes from his belief that despite all of our many differences that make us unique, such as religion or language, we are all trying to achieve similar things, such as love, health, prosperity and the success of our children.

The Rosemont Bridge's ramps connect nearby neighborhoods and provide access to Buffalo Bayou's 200 acre park while creating a new tree-top view of Buffalo Bayou and Houston's downtown skyscrapers. The bridge will also give park users convenient access to Spotts Park, Cleveland Park and Memorial Drive by connecting recently completed hike and bike trails on the north side of Memorial Drive with existing Buffalo Bayou trails systems.

The “Tolerance” project was initiated by Mica Mosbacher and Dr. Mahmoud Eboo, representing his Highness the Aga Khan, who personally contributed to the realization of the project. The Houston Arts Alliance oversaw the project and installation. For information about cultural arts in the City of Houston, visit

Houston Parks and Recreation DepartmentFunding for the bridge was provided by the Memorial Heights Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #5 and is part of a Capital Improvement Project that includes the Old Sixth Ward trail connector, Spotts Park Hydrology Project and Shepherd Underpass to Memorial trail connector. For more information about the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, see

Help Victims of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Please consider contributing to the Japan Relief Fund to provide much needed assistance to the people of Japan who were devastated by the recent catastrophic earthquake and subsequent tsunami. This fund was created by the Japan-America Society of Houston, the Japan Business Association of Houston, the Japanese Association of Greater Houston and the Japanese American Citizens League Houston Chapter. All donations will be presented to the Consul General of Japan in Houston, who will transfer the funds directly to the Japan Red Cross for use in their relief efforts. Make checks payable to The Japan-America Society of Houston, write Japan Relief Fund on the memo line and mail to 4543 Post Oak Place, Suite 220, Houston 77027. For more information call 713.963.0121.

Mayor Annise Parker Launches 2011 Poetry Reading Series

Poetry GraphicThe community is invited to join Mayor Annise Parker as she launches the Poetry Reading Series on Saturday, April 2, 2011, at 2 p.m., at Houston Public Library’s Central Library, 500 McKinney, Houston 77002. The Mayor will be reading a poem of her choosing and light refreshments will be served.

The Houston Public Library has partnered with Public Poetry to showcase a free Poetry Reading Series featuring local and visiting poets the first of each month beginning April 2 through June 4. This event also coincides with the National Poetry Reading Series held during the month of April 2011.

The event is free and open to the public. For details on upcoming poetry programs visit or call 832.393.1313.

City of Houston Website Wins Sunny Award

The City of Houston website is a Sunny Award winner! The Sunny Award is presented by the editors of Sunshine Review to honor the most transparent government websites in the country. The city's website,, scored an “A” transparency grade on Sunshine Review’s Transparency Checklist. This year, only 100 of the more than 6,000 government websites ranked by Sunshine Review earned a Sunny Award.