Bellaire - Meyerland - West University Edition | Oct. 2020

BELLAIRE MEYERLAND WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 6  OCT. 129, 2020

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After 25 years, historic preservation faces a Supreme Court battle

BY MATT DULIN

Boulevard Oaks resident Georey Walker said it should be well known by now that his neighborhood is a historic district, with a canopy of live oaks and stately homes dat- ing back to the 1920s. “It’s like the Southwest Freeway,” he said, referencing the highway that separates the neighborhood from the Montrose area to its north. “It’s not going anywhere.” These districts are a feature of Houston’s historic pres- ervation ordinance, whichwent on the books 25 years ago. Since then, the ordinance has designated 22 neighbor- hoods and 400 landmarks across the city for protection CONTINUED ON 20

A 1920s home in Boulevard Oaks is undergoing renovations under the supervision of Houston’s historic preservation law, which rst took eect in 1995. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

When Bellaire resident Mike Jacobs stepped to the podium during a January 2019 Bellaire City Council meeting, it was for one purpose: to declare he had secured 2,500-3,000 signatures—far more than the 580 required—to formally request a charter amendment. Jacobs communicated the frustration felt by some Bellaire residents regarding the city’s process for sidewalk construc- tion across three areas: ooding concerns, transparency from local government, and lack of local control. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll not have CONTINUED ON 16 Longstanding sidewalk dispute comes to a vote BY HUNTER MARROW 2020Voter Guide

Petition breakdown

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propositions on the ballot

signatures gathered 2,5003,000

2017

Last time Bellaire held a charter election

SOURCES: CITY OF BELLAIRE, TEXAS CONSTITUTIONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

VOTER GUIDE 2020

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BELLAIRE - MEYERLAND - WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS IMPACTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 University Boulevard project delayed CITYCOUNTY 11 News fromHouston and Harris County

MARKET TEAM SENIOR EDITOR Matt Dulin CITY HALL REPORTER Emma Whalen REPORTER Hunter Marrow SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Anya Gallant ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Sherry Cousins METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, TX. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across ve metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE

FROMKRISTINA: As we embrace the fall months and cooler weather, be sure to visit Page 7, where we’ve captured a few local events you can enjoy safely with friends and family this season. The polls are soon to be open—stay up to date on your local elections and candidate priorities with our Voter Guide starting on Page 13 and nd additional candidate Q&A’s online at communityimpact.com. Kristina Shackelford, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

Voterguide

BALLOT INFORMATION Candidates, polling locations NEWS REPORT County prepares for turnout surge

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FROMMATT: On our front-page story this month, we track the development of Houston’s historic preservation ordinance. Over 25 years it has become an eective tool for some communities, but it is now facing a potential threat at the Texas Supreme Court. In another story of conict over community preservation, we examine the longstanding dividing line in Bellaire: sidewalks. Matt Dulin, SENIOR EDITOR

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IMPACTS

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Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

and a fossil find. Funding comes through the Friends of West University Parks Fund, which is maintained by Friends of West University Parks, a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) organization. Colonial Park is open to West U residents and their guests. www.westutx.gov 4 Greentown Labs , the Boston-area based clean energy incubator firm that is expanding to Houston, will build its new home at 4200 San Jacinto St., the company announced Sept. 22. The firm will take over the former Midtown Fiesta grocery store across the street from the Ion, which is under construction in the city’s nascent Innovation District. The building will be retrofitted to offer more than 40,000 square feet of labs, offices, and community space. Greentown Labs expects to have on-site capacity for 200-300 employees for as many as 50 startups when it opens in spring 2021. www.greentownlabs.com 5 Francesca’s boutique clothing store is exploring “strategic initiatives” after the company announced 2020 second quarter net sales losses of 29%, down to $75.7 million, according to a Sept. 15 investor report. In addition to considering bankruptcy, the Houston-based retailer has begun looking into other ways to im- prove its liquidity and financial position, including further lease concessions and deferrals; reductions of operating and capital expenditures; raising additional capital, including a refinancing of the company’s debt; and restructuring its debt and liabilities through a private restructuring. The shop has several Hous- ton locations, including 2515 University Blvd., Houston, in Rice Village. www.francescas.com CLOSINGS 6 The Rice Village location of Urban Outfitters, 2501 University Blvd., Hous- ton, permanently closed Sept. 13. Howev- er, other Houston stores—at the Galleria Mall at 5135 W. Alabama St., Houston, and at Citycentre at 799 Town and Coun- try Blvd., Houston—remain open. 713-529-3023. www.urbanoutfitters.com 7 Bellaire Broiler Burger , located at 5216 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire, is up for sale, according to a voicemail greeting updat- ed by business ownership. The restaurant

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ANNIVERSARIES 1 Endocrine and Diabetes Plus Clinic , at 5420 Dashwood Drive, Ste. 301, Houston, celebrates its first anniversary in October. Dr. Kim Jongoh and Dr. Libu Varughese offer specialty care for diabetes, choles- terol, obesity, hypertension, and bone and calcium disorders. 832-968-7003. https://endocrine.plus EXPANSIONS 2 Houston Zoo , located at 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, has announced that its latest expansion project, South America’s Pantanal, a 4.2-acre, multi-species habitat featuring the tropical wetlands of Brazil, will open to the public Oct. 10. Giant river otters

will be featured in the habitat for the first time, and visitors will be given the chance to view jaguars, capybaras, dart frogs, howler monkeys, anaconda, and macaws. The habitat also features two aviaries. 713-533-6500. www.houstonzoo.org IN THE NEWS 3 Children visiting West University Place’s Colonial Park at 4130 Byron St., Houston, will soon have new playground and fitness equipment. Construction on the park is expected to finish by the end of fall, according to the city. Updates include a new youth fitness challenge course and the removal of old wooden play structures; that space has been con- verted into a sand play area with a new wooden sailboat, playhouse, sand diggers

Bellaire Broiler Burger

HUNTER MARROW/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

shut down temporarily in June to make way for a new management team. Owner Tom Daneman was seeking a buyer for the business and property, according to the voicemail. Daneman has been owner of the restaurant for the past 48 years, though it has had a presence in Bellaire for about 60 years. 713-668-8171.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

Virtual and in-person events in October-December

COMPILED BY HUNTER MARROW & EMMA WHALEN

Houston Texans tailgates: Up to 100 cars can tailgate at NRG Stadium before and during football games as long as each car carries no more than four people. Houston Dynamo and Dash games: The Houston’s men and women’s soccer teams can play for up to 3,000 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium, which has seating capacity for 25,000. Houston Symphony: Live performances can resume at Jones Hall for up to 150 audience members. Jones Hall has a capacity of 3,000. with the book picked up curbside from Brazos Bookstore). 713-729-3200. www.erjcchouston.org 29 THE GREAT PUMPKINHUNT As of press time, the city of Bellaire was planning to host its annual Great Pumpkin Hunt, which is expected to include live music by The Lost Boys, popsicles by Popston and more. 7008 S. Rice Ave., Bellaire. 4:30 p.m. Free. 713-662-8222. www.bellairetx.gov NOVEMBER 11 THROUGHDEC. 11 SHOP THE VIRTUAL NUTCRACKERMARKET The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, celebrating its 40th year and previously scheduled for Nov. 11-15 at NRG Center, will be a monthlong virtual shopping event this year due to concerns about COVID-19. The market, which supports the Houston Ballet, will open Nov. 11 for early bird sales, then Nov. 12 for all shoppers. More than 200 merchants have signed on to participate, oering holiday items, home decor, gourmet food, apparel, jewelry, toys and gift items. The 2019 market had over 100,000 shoppers and $20.4 million in sales. Early bird access tickets are $30; otherwise market access is free. 713-535-3231. www.nutcrackermarket.com.

THROUGHDEC. 19 STATES OFMIND: ART ANDAMERICAN DEMOCRACY EXHIBITION Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts is holding an exhibition titled “States of Mind: Art and American Democracy,” which includes many works that examine the status of the country’s founding principles of freedom and equality, while others touch on questions of voting access, gun control and immigration policies, timed to coincide with the 2020 presidential election to encourage dialogue around social and political issues. 6100 Main St., Houston. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Tue.-Sat.). Free. 713-348-2787. https://moody.rice.edu OCTOBER 07 AUTHOR TALKWITH JENNIFER ROSNER Presented in partnership with Brazos Bookstore and Holocaust Museum Houston, the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center will host a virtual conversation with Jennifer Rosner, the author of “The Yellow Bird Sings,” a story about Róża and her 5-year-old daughter, Shira, as they hide from soldiers during World War II, a ctitious tale inspired by the true stories of Jewish children hidden during World War II. 7 p.m. $8.50 (virtual ticket), $18.50 (premium ticket bundle NEWEVENT REQUIREMENTS INHOUSTON The Houston mayor’s oce for special events began authorizing event permits in September for the rst time since the pandemic began. All event permits are also vetted by the Houston Health Department and must comply with safety requirements such as temperature checks, capacity limitations and mask rules. The permits are not allowed for festivals, runs, bike races or other events in “uncontrolled environments.” Here are some of the events so far.

OCT. 25

VIRTUAL HOUSTON JAZZ FESTIVAL

OCT. 2425

MUSIC FEST 2020 CANCELED

In partnership with the Art Blakey Estate, Miller Outdoor Theatre will host the 2020 Houston Jazz Festival. “Message from Bu” will feature Bu’s Jazz Messengers, who will play to honor the jazz legend’s 101st birthday. The event will be livestreamed on several platforms, including NPR Live Sessions and Facebook Live. 6 p.m. Free. 832-487-7102. www.houstonjazzfestival.org

Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy canceled Music Fest 2020 over COVID-19 concerns. The event would have hosted 14 professional bands, performances, art and food trucks. It had originally been scheduled for April 4-5 then was delayed to October before ultimately being canceled. Organizers hope to host the event in April 2021. 5300 Dryad Drive, Houston. www.willowwaterhole.org

COURTESY FRANCIS WOLFF

COURTESY WILLOW WATERHOLE CONSERVANCY

ONGOING EVENTS THROUGHDEC. 14 CRITTERS AND CRAFTS

Participants can run or walk a 5K or 10K either at the park or around their homes between Sept. 26-Oct. 3 while supporting the conservancy. Registrants will receive a T-shirt by mail, as well as gifts from Saint Arnold Brewing Co. and Shake Shack, and will be eligible for door prizes courtesy of Fleet Feet Houston. 1700 Hermann Drive, Houston. Registration is through Oct. 3 at 11:59 p.m. $20 for 5K or 10K events. 713-524-5876. www.hermannpark.org THROUGHNOV. 08 SUBSAHARAN PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT ATMFAH Hosted by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, “Through an African Lens: Sub-Saharan Photography” features photography from across Africa, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe through some 20

The Hana and Arthur Ginzbarg Nature Discovery Center oers its fall Critters and Crafts program for kids ages 3-10. The program will introduce the basic biology of animal groups with to-go packs containing video lessons, as well as crafts. Pack pickup days: Oct. 5 (Fish), Oct. 19 (Frogs), Nov. 2 (Reptiles), Nov. 16 (Birds), Nov. 30 (Mammals), Dec. 14 (Animals in Winter). Orders for packs should be placed no later than noon three days prior to pickup. 7112 Newcastle St., Bellaire. $16 (members), $20 (nonmembers). 713-667-6550. www.naturediscoverycenter.org THROUGHOCT. 03 17THANNUAL RUN INHERMANN PARK Hermann Park Conservancy is hosting its 17th annual Run in the Park, though this year it is doing so virtually to maintain the health and safety of participants.

artists. 5601 Main St., Houston. 713-639-7300. www.mfah.org

Find more or submit Bellaire-Meyerland-West University events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY SHAWN ARRAJJ & MATT DULIN

Harris County to tap toll road surpluses A new limited government corporation approved by Harris County on Sept. 15 will reallocate surplus revenue from the Harris County Toll Road Authority toward county needs potentially outside of the realm of transportation and mobility. The commissioners approved the measure in a 3-2 vote as part of a refinancing of the authority’s debt. As part of the deal, the authority will fund the corporation with a $300 million one-time franchise fee, as well as $90 million annually moving forward. The court’s five commis- sioners will initially assume roles on the board of directors of the new corporation. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Precinct 1 and 2 Commissioners Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia said they saw value in flexibility in

PROPOSEDPROJECTS

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SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY TOLL ROAD AUTHORITY/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

RICE UNIVERSITY

how that money can now be spent, including for flood control projects and health care needs. “I think in the midst of the worst health challenge in 100 years and probably the worst economic chal- lenges since the Great Depression, we can’t solve all our problems, but I think we should not handcuff ourselves,” Ellis said. Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack and Precinct 4 Commis- sioner Jack Cagle said the plan needed more public input. “This is a money grab,” Radack said. The toll road authority brought in just over $900 million in reve- nue in fiscal year 2019-20, which ended Feb. 29, according to budget documents.

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University Boulevard improvements Plans for overhauling University Boule- vard from Main Street to Kirby Drive have been pushed back two years to 2024 under Houston’s Capital Improvement Program. The project will provide safety and street parking improvements, storm drainage, curbs, sidewalks, driveways, street lighting and underground utilities in the Rice Village and Rice University area.

Westbury neighborhood drainage In September, Houston City Council ap- proved an amendment to a $1.47 million contract to allow the completion of the design and construction of neighborhood street drainage improvements near West Airport Boulevard and Chimney Rock Road. The next steps include surveying, environmental services, traffic control plans, Atlas 14 drainage studies, storm- water pollution prevention and tree pro- tection plans, and community outreach. Timeline: TBD Cost: $2.87 million Funding source: city of Houston

Timeline: 2024-TBD Cost: $6.05 million Funding source: city of Houston

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF SEPT. 28. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT BMWNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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BELLAIRE - MEYERLAND - WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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Virtual Health&Wellness Programs We host ongoing classes that help keep you healthy and informed: • Managing your health online classes • Nutrition classes and cooking demos

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GCHKU3PEN Partners in Primary Care does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-877-320-2188 (TTY: 711). 注意:如果您使用繁體中文,您可以免 費獲得語言援助服務。請致電 1-877-320-2188 (TTY: 711). Find fun virtual online events & activities at PartnersInPrimaryCare.com/events or call 713-581-6798 to learnmore.

• make any new sidewalks in Bellaire impossible forever • remove your choice permanently, regardless of need

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from Harris County, Houston, Bellaire and West University Place

HPDadopts cite-and-release for low-level crimes

CITY HIGHLIGHTS WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE The City Council was expected to approve its $62 million budget Sept. 28. The proposed tax rate is $0.29409 per $100 of assessed value, down from last year’s rate of $0.30921. HOUSTON Mayor Sylvester Turner on Sept. 16 announced a collaboration with the solid waste department, public works, the parks department and various neighborhood groups to promote a public awareness campaign against littering of personal protective equipment as well as illegal dumping. HARRIS COUNTY In-person jury trials in the county’s district courts resumed as of Sept. 14 with COVID-19 precautions, including social distancing, temperature checks, and the use of hand- sanitizing stations and face masks. Jury selection takes place at NRG Arena, a venue chosen for its size and ability to house a large number of people safely. Bellaire City Council meets the rst and third Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. at 7008 S. Rice Ave., Bellaire. Meetings are streamed at www.bellairetx.gov. West University Place City Council meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at 3800 University Blvd., Houston. Meetings are available via teleconference. Find details at www.westutx.gov. Houston City Council meets weekly at 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays for public comment and 9 a.m. Wednesdays for regular business at 901 Bagby St., Houston. Meetings are streamed at www.houstontx.gov/htv. MEETINGSWE COVER

BY EMMA WHALEN

policy if it was in place in 2019. Individual police ocers will have discretion when applying the policy, but they must receive permission from superiors and le reports explaining each exemption, Houston police chief Art Acevedo said. HPD will publish a monthly report on the policy, Acevedo said, including data on the race and ethnicity of oenders as well as the numbers exempted and still taken to jail. Turner said these reports and crime trend data will be used to adjust the policy as necessary. “This is not a matter of being soft on crime,” Acevedo said. “It's a matter of being smart on crime.”

established by Harris County, applies to possession of under four ounces of a controlled substance, criminal mischief costing less than $750 in damages, grati causing less than $2,500 in damages, theft or theft of service valued less than $750, and driving without a license. It does not apply to non-Harris County residents or to those on pro- bation or parole or with outstanding warrants. Oenders cited under the new policy will still have to appear in court, Turner said, but will not be brought to the Harris County jail. HPD estimates that 3,000 cases in Houston would have fallen under the

Houston adds new supports for victims of domestic violence covering 640 square miles," Turner said. “The question is how can we best utilize them and their time while simultaneously protecting the community.” The policy, which follows guidelines HOUSTON The Houston Police Department implemented a new cite- and-release policy for some low-level oenses starting Sept. 29. Mayor Sylvester Turner signed an executive order Sept. 28 formalizing the policy so that during his and future administrations, it will remain under the mayor’s discretion rather than the police chief's. “We have 5,300 police ocers

Bellaire City Council approves $60million budget, at tax rate for scal year 202021

BY HUNTER MARROW

The approved tax rate of $0.4473 per $100 valuation means residents can expect to pay an average prop- erty tax bill of $3,040, calculated using the average taxable value of a single-family home in the city, estimated at $679,789, according to the city of Bellaire, though individual tax bills vary by annual valuations. With no increase in the tax rate year over year, Bellaire is set to generate $249,000 less in property tax revenue from existing prop- erties, while new properties will contribute $355,167, according to the budget documents.

BELLAIRE City Council approved the scal year 2020-21 budget Sept. 21 with expenditures of almost $60.8 million. It also approved keeping its tax rate at year over year. With slightly reduced projected revenue, Bellaire will tap into about $160,000 of its fund reserves to carry the budget. It will start FY 2020-21 with a fund balance of $5.24 million with that amount expected to shrink to $5.08 million by the end of FY 2021-22. Its 60-day reserve level is $3.52 million.

BY EMMA WHALEN

HOUSTON The Houston’s Mayor’s Oce of Human Tracking is expanding its scope to respond to rising domestic violence concerns, ocials announced Sept. 14. “We know there is a common thread among domestic abuse survivors and human tracking survivors,” said Minal Patel Davis, the director of the expanded oce. The new role includes partnering with domestic violence support agencies throughout the city. One of the rst initiatives of the oce is to connect survivors to a 30-day skills training program called Makr Collective, hosted by the local sustainable fashion nonprot Magpies & Peacocks, to help develop entrepreneurial skills and gain employment opportunities. Domestic abuse and human tracking survivors need an aver- age of $700 to escape an abusive relationship, said Emily Whitehurst, the president of the Houston Area Women’s Shelter. “Too often we call them victims, and we see them through the lens of their trauma and victimhood,” White- hurst said. “This program sees them through the lens of their strength and potential.”

License plate readers coming toBellaire

BY HUNTER MARROW

city, according to Bellaire Police Department Lt. Russell Brown. Bellaire City Council voted Aug. 17 to allow the department to apply for and receive $27,500 in grant funding from the Bellaire Police and Fire Foundation to pay for the installation and a one-year lease agreement. “If it is successful, then we’re hoping that we can add some additional cameras in future years to try to cover larger areas,” Brown said.

BELLAIRE Automated license plate readers will soon be deployed in a pilot program designed to help Bellaire police track and apprehend suspects. In September, the city attorney was in the process of reviewing a contract with Atlanta-based vendor Flock Safety, a startup specializing in 24-hour wireless cameras. Once the contract is approved, 10 cameras will be installed at major entry and exit points around the

License plate readers such as this one will be installed as part of a pilot program. (Courtesy Flock Safety)

11

BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GUIDE

Candidates and information for November elections

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN

VOTER GUIDE 2020

DATES TOKNOW

WHERE TOVOTE Harris County residents can cast a ballot at any voting center in the county, including several 24-hour voting centers on Oct. 29, as well as drive-thru voting at various locations. Find more voting centers at www.harrisvotes.com.

OCT. 13 First day of early voting OCT. 23 Last day to apply for ballot by mail* OCT. 30 Last day of early voting NOV. 3 Election Day *DATE RECEIVED, NOT POSTMARKED

SAMPLE BALLOT

POLLING LOCATIONS

*Incumbent

*also early voting 24 Will be open 24 hours on Oct. 29

D Democrat

G Green

I Independent

L Libertarian

R Republican

Residence Garage 2347 Underwood St., Houston Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church 5308 Bualo Speedway, Houston Shearn Elementary School 9802 Stella Link Road, Houston Sheltering Arms Community Center 3838 Aberdeen Way, Houston Southside Place Park Clubhouse 3743 Garnet St., Houston The Rice School 7550 Seuss Drive, Houston West University Community Building and Senior Center 6104 Auden St., Houston West University Elementary School 3756 University Blvd., Houston West University Scout House 6108 Edloe St., Houston Westbury Baptist Church 10425 Hillcroft St., Houston

Braeswood Assembly of God 10611 Fondren Road, Houston ChristChurch Presbyterian 5001 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire Civic Center Auditorium 7008 S. Rice Ave., Bellaire Courtyard by Marriott West University 2929 Westpark Drive, Houston Elrod Elementary School 6230 Dumfries Drive, Houston Emanu El 1500 Sunset Blvd., Houston Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center 5601 S. Braeswood Blvd., Houston Faith American Lutheran Church 4600 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire Godwin Park Community Center 5101 Rutherglenn Drive, Houston Herod Elementary School 5627 Jason St., Houston

*John P. McGovern Texas Medical Center Commons 24 6550 Bertner Ave., Houston Linkwood Park Community Center 3699 Norris Drive, Houston Longfellow Elementary School 3617 Norris Drive, Houston Lovett Elementary School 8814 S. Rice Ave., Houston Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions 2545 Pressler St., Houston Parker Elementary School 10626 Atwell Drive, Houston Pershing Middle School 3838 Blue Bonnet Blvd., Houston Pin Oak Middle School 4601 Glenmont Drive, Bellaire Poe Elementary School 5100 Hazard St., Houston *Reckling Park - Rice University 2050 University Blvd., Houston

D Elizabeth Davis Frizell Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4 R Kevin Patrick Yeary* D Tina Clinton Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9 R David Newell* D Brandon Birmingham LOCAL U.S. House District 2 R Daniel Crenshaw* D Sima Ladjevardian L Elliott Scheirman U.S. House District 7 D Lizzie Fletcher* R Wesley Hunt L Shawn Kelly U.S. House District 9 R Johnny Teague D Al Green* L J ose Sosa Texas House District 134 R Sarah Davis* D Ann Johnson Texas House District 137 D Gene Wu* L Lee Sharp Texas House District 146 D Shawn Thierry* L J.J. Campbell Senate District 13 R Milinda Morris D Borris Miles* Texas State Board of Education District 6

R Will Hickman D Michelle Palmer L Whitney Bilyeu HARRIS COUNTY District attorney D Kim Ogg* R Mary Nan Human County attorney R John Nation D Christian Dashaun Menefee Sheri R Joe Danna D Ed Gonzalez* Precinct 3 commissioner R Tom Ramsey D Michael Moore Constable Precinct 5 R Ted Heap* D Mark Alan Harrison County tax assessor- collector R Chris Daniel D Ann Harris Bennett* L Billy Pierce Harris County Department of Education, At-Large Place 5

NATIONAL

President R Donald J. Trump* D Joseph R. Biden L Jo Jorgensen G Howie Hawkins U.S. Senate R John Cornyn* D Mary “MJ” Hegar L Kerry Douglas McKennon G David B. Collins STATEWIDE Texas Railroad Commission R James “Jim” Wright D Chrysta Castañeda L Matt Sterett G Katija “Kat” Gruene Supreme Court, Chief Justice R Nathan Hecht* D Amy Clark Meachum L Mark Ash Supreme Court, Place 6 R Jane Bland* D Kathy Cheng Supreme Court, Place 7 R Je Boyd* D Staci Williams L WilliamBryan Strange III Supreme Court, Place 8 R Brett Busby* D Gisela D. Triana L Tom Oxford

R Bob Wolfe D Erica Davis

Harris County Department of Education, At-Large Place 7

Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3 R Bert Richardson*

R Don Sumners* D Andrea Duhon

VOTER TURNOUT Texas

Harris County

For more election information, visit communityimpact. com/vote .

2012 presidential election

2012 presidential election

7.99M

13.65M

1.19M

2M

Turnout Registered voters

2014 gubernatorial election

2014 gubernatorial election

4.73M

14.03M

679K

2.06M

Turnout Registered voters

2016 presidential election

2016 presidential election

SOURCES: TEXAS SECRETARY OF STATE OFFICE’S WEBSITE, HARRIS COUNTY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

8.97M

15.1M

1.3M

2.23M

2018 gubernatorial election

2018 gubernatorial election

8.37M

15.79M

1.2M

2.36M

2020 primary election

2020 primary election

4.11M

16.21M

524K

2.37M

13

BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

CANDIDATE Q&A

Get to know the candidates running in the general election

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN

Democrat D

Libertarian L

Republican R

Incumbent

U.S. House District 7

LIZZIE PANNILL FLETCHER

Occupation: real estate Relevant experience: combat veteran, business man, father, and husband. As the husband of a nurse practitioner and a young father, I understand the importance of securing access to quality, affordable health care for every American. https://wesleyfortexas.com WESLEY HUNT

SHAWN KELLY

Occupation: Member of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives Relevant experience: Serving in District 7, introducing and passing legislation to improve disaster recovery; leading the conversation about our energy future; and expanding access to quality, affordable health care www.lizziefletcher.com What are your highest-priority agenda items? Since taking office, I have prioritized the issues that matter to this community: protecting and expanding access to quality, affordable health care; rebuilding and making our infrastructure more resilient; growing our economy; and ensuring Houston leads the way into our energy future. D

Occupation: Drafting/design for oil and gas industry Relevant experience: I am a regular American citizen. This is my first run for any public office. I feel the citizens’ voice has been ignored for far too long. It is my goal that the United States be returned to the citizens. www.facebook.com/ShawnKellyTX2020

R

L

In order to preserve the American promise for future generations, I will: protect Houston’s energy jobs from Congressional Democrats and the Green New Deal, [and] ensure Houston receives the support it needs to recover from [Hurricane] Harvey and prevent future flooding.

Balancing the budget. Seeking to create ways to make it easier for families to adopt. Working toward equal opportunities and equal justice. Bringing term limits to the Congress. Reforming elections to make it easier for everyday citizens to run for office. I will preserve our constitution as written.

How will you work to build productive relationships across districts and party lines? Leaders across the aisle need to act based on the needs of their constituents, not the priorities of their political parties. When I get to D.C., I will work with both parties to deliver results to the 7th District and Texas as a whole. It is the highest privilege to bring Houston’s values of inclusion, innovation, and collaboration to Congress to help bring progress, equality, and opportunity for all Americans. That means working with members of both parties to find common-sense solutions.

I am non-partisan and will vote for what is best for all Americans.

Answers may have been edited for length. Read full Q&A’s at communityimpact.com/vote .

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT

2020 Voter Guide

VOTING Harris County gears up for potential record turnout inNovember election

The Harris County Clerk’s Office has taken on a number of initiatives to make voting safer and more accessible to voters during the coronavirus pandemic. DURING COVID-19 Harris County voters can cast ballots at any of the county’s polling centers during the early voting period and on Election Day. There are 2.4 MILLION registered voters in Harris County, and officials projected as many as 70%—or 1.7 MILLION —could cast ballots in this year’s election. WHERE TO VOTE

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

are disabled, those who will not be in the county on Election Day or during the early voting period, and those who are in jail but are otherwise eligible to vote. In his Sept. 11 ruling, Judge R.K. Sandill said Paxton’s argument “ring[ed] hollow,” and Hollins himself has called the lawsuit “baseless” and “friv- olous.” Hollins said the county is complying with the Supreme Court stay but is prepared to move forward if a ruling comes down in their favor. Any mail ballot applications sent out would also include educational information explaining who is and is not eligible to vote by mail, Hollins said. “Fortunately, all vote-by-mail applications have already been delivered to Harris County voters aged 65 and above,” Hollins said in a Sept. 15 state- ment. “My office is prepared to send applications and educational materials to remaining registered voters at the conclusion of this baseless litigation.” Prior to the July primary runoff election, the county sent out nearly 400,000 mail ballot appli- cations to registered voters age 65 and older, and Hollins said about 50,000 of those were returned. About 80,000 people voted by mail during July elections, Hollins said. “The success of our outreach efforts in June and July is a clear indication the voters are concerned about their health at the polls,” Hollins said. The effort to boost mail ballot infrastructure is part of a larger $27 million plan to both prepare for and carry out the November election, including the implementation of 10 polling locations where voters can use drive-thru voting. A total of 121 early voting locations will be open starting Oct. 13, triple the number of early voting options in 2016. Hollins said he is aiming to have a record 808 locations open on Election Day. “We have a critical need for large facilities to serve as voting centers, and we left no stone unturned in our search,” he said.

Harris County is moving forward with prepara- tions for the November election, which officials said could feature record-breaking turnout in the middle of a pandemic. However, plans put in place by the Harris County Clerk’s Office to send mail ballot applica- tions to the county’s 2.4 million registered voters have been put in question after a lawsuit was filed and a stay issued by the Texas Supreme Court on Sept. 15. Harris County Clerk Christopher Hollins has identified mail voting as a crucial tool for voters to help keep people safe from the coronavirus. “This also makes it safer and more convenient for in-person voters. [It is] one less person to wait behind in line and one less person they might be exposed to at a voting center,” Hollins said. The Sept. 15 stay was the latest in a back-and- forth battle between the county and the state over whether Harris County has the legal authority to send mail ballots to all registered voters. After the clerk’s office first announced its plans in an Aug. 25 tweet, the Texas secretary of state’s office sent Hollins a letter ordering those plans to be halted. By Aug. 31, the Texas attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit. A state district judge gave the go-ahead to Harris County to send the applications in a Sept. 11 ruling, but Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed, prompting the Texas Supreme Court to block the county’s plans until the case fully plays out. Paxton has argued sending applications to all registered voters would confuse voters and poten- tially cause people who are not eligible to vote by mail to attempt to do so. Texas is one of six states that is not allowing all registered voters to vote by mail during the pandemic, Hollins said. Under state law, only certain voters are eligible to vote by mail—those who are ages 65 and older, those who

up from 46 in 2016 locations 121 early voting

projected Election Day voting locations 808

up from 785 in 2016

Drive-thru voting will be available at 10 LOCATIONS .

24-hour voting will be available at SIX LOCATIONS , including:

BERTNER AVE.

JOHN P. MCGOVERN TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER COMMONS 6550 Bertner Ave., Houston

BRAESWOOD BLVD.

HOLCOMBE BLVD.

N

HOW TO VOTE

Under Texas law, voting by mail is limited to people: ages 65 and older disabled outside of the county throughout the voting period in jail but otherwise eligible to vote

DATE TO KNOW

Mail ballot applications must be received by OCT. 23 .

NEW THIS YEAR

In addition to mailing ballots in, voters can drop off mail ballots at any of the county’s 11 ANNEXES on or before Election Day.

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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BELLAIRE - MEYERLAND - WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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