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8% is the rate by which violent crime is lower in U.S. metro areas where unauthorized immigrants are most prevalent. Property crime is also lower in immigrant-heavy regions, by 10 percent.


EHL Spotlights Hip Hop Artist TK Koontz

TK Koontz is a hip-hop artist who connected with Texans Together via the Hip Hop the Vote campaign last fall. He met Saeed Rose (a Texans Together organizer and trainer) through a mutual friend, and ended up performing at Hip Hop the Vote. Saeed also talked to TK about Texans Together’s Empower Houston Leaders program. Intrigued, TK attended a meeting.

TK said the community forums hosted by EHL encourage everyone attending to air their opinions regarding issues that affect the community. All ideas are welcome and the group gets energized as they discuss community needs and possible actions to meet those needs. The EHL leaders gradually help the group narrow their focus to issues that can be addressed in the EHL framework. Before you know it, newly-minted volunteer community leaders are out on the streets, stopping their friends and neighbors to talk about subjects that impact their lives.

Testing the Waters

The View From The Cheap Seats

EPA Samples Well Water at the Bonta Ranch

It was a cold, overcast day when the EPA arrived with an entire alphabet soup of agencies to test the well water on Pamela Bonta’s ranch.In addition to her well, the EPA tested 5 others in the area north of Highland proper. This February 20th visit by the EPA was prompted by a number of factors. Pamela and her family have tested positive for heavy metal poisoning from hair, nail and urine samples.  In addition to common metals like lead they also tested positive for 18 other heavy metals including rare earths like caladium, iridium and uranium.

The family has suffered from poor to serious health issues; bone loss, seizures, weakness, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, joint pain and cancer. One of the factors that prompted this testing was the number of cases of a relatively rare form of cancer: multiple myeloma.  

Guest blog from Jackie De Hon, Ph.D.

Today’s post is by Dr. Jackie De Hon, a retired college instructor and federal program administrator. She advocates for true democracy, which she defines as public officials carrying out the wishes of the people and working for equality for all.

Why not fund ALL Public Schools fairly?            

I believe we must demand that the Legislature fund all public schools fairly. 

We have plenty of money to restore the massive $5.3 billion Governor Perry and the Legislature cut from public school funds last time around. We can even restore the $3 billion they cut four years ago—$8.3 billion cut in four years!  It was always there in the “rainy day fund” that Governor Perry appears to treat as a fund that exists as a discretionary fund. This year we can pay part of our school funding needs from current taxes and part from the rainy day fund. Yet the governor wants to return sales tax money to the people. 

Why don’t public officials want to establish fair funding and create quality public education for all of our children?  Good question.

Make That Eight

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has become the 8th Republican governor to accept the federal government's Mediciad expansion plan.

An article in today's New York Times quoted Governor Christie as saying, "“Let me be clear: I am no fan of the Affordable Care Act....I fought against it and believe, in the long run, it will not achieve what it promises. However, it is now the law of the land. I will make all my judgments as governor based on what is best for New Jerseyans.”

Practical Republican Governors Who are Giving the ACA a Try

Among political leaders the Affordable Care Act is a controversial topic, with opinions sounding pretty extreme most of the time. Slowly, however, some Republican governors are drifting to the middle, putting aside their personal preferences and party rhetoric in favor of extending health care coverage to the uninsured in their states.

Rick Perry is standing firm. So far.

Seven Republican governors, including Texas Governor Rick Perry’s friend, Governor Rick Scott of Florida, have accepted that Medicaid expansion in their states is too good a deal to pass up. After all, the feds will foot the vast majority of the expense, and the citizens who are most at risk for health care will be covered at last.

Moving Forward at the Mint

Mint Apartment Resident Coordinators and a cadre of about 30 volunteers are keeping things moving at the Mint Apartments in Alief, the first site of the Apartments Are Communities project.

Over a period of three years, Mint residents gradually took over more and more of the responsibility of identifying projects of importance to the apartment community and working together to get results. They did such a super job that last fall Texans Together pulled back into an advisory role, and turned its attention to the next Apartments Are Community project at the Linda Vista Apartments.

Frank Garcia, AAC coordinator and organizer, reports that residents at the Mint didn’t miss a beat as they stepped forward to keep things humming on their own.

Here’s what’s happening:

We'd like to share an inspiring story reposted from LatinaLista about young people changing their world

Guatemala youth learn to take control of their environmental future and change the course of their country


By Anna-Claire Bevan

GUATEMALA — In the small pueblo of Chimaltenango, just 45 minutes outside of Guatemala City, a group of young people from across Guatemala and neighbouring El Salvador gather for a 4-day youth leadership congress, organised by the Guatemalan NGO Seres.

Young girl learns the importance of planting trees for the future of Guatemala. (Photo: Anna-Claire Bevan)


In a scene that could be mistaken for an acrobatics class, they discuss how in teams of six they can hold a group pose with only eight hands and three feet touching the ground. There is laughter and high spirits as one by one each human pyramid comes crashing down. But, despite the jovial atmosphere, there is a reason why these young people are here today: each one of them is concerned about environmental issues that are devastating their communities and they want to help put a stop to them.

Good Public Education is Worth the Price Tag

From the bench last Monday when he found the state’s public education system unconstitutional District Judge John Dietz noted, “There is no free lunch. We either want increased standards and are willing to pay the price, or we don’t. However, there is a cost to acting, namely a tax increase. And there is a cost to not acting, namely the loss of our competitive position as a state.”

He must have been referring to the fact that Texas is ranked at the top for business interests. It certainly isn’t for education. The idea that we might lose our competitive position in education, where we have been ranked in the bottom half of the nation for my living memory, made me smile.

Judge Dietz makes a good point: are we willing to pay for the change we want? Perhaps as a people, we need to put our money where our mouths are. I admit, I am not happy about the idea of paying more taxes. My kids are out of school, so it won’t even affect me. Will it?

The Nuts and Bolts of State Funding for Public Education

As you know, if you have been following the news and our posts, February 23rd is the date of the big rally in Austin in support of increasing funding for public schools. If you want to go, just send us an email at savetexasschools@texanstogether.org and let us know.

There will be buses leaving from Alief and the Third Ward. If you live outside the Houston area, let us know and someone will be in touch to help you get to the rally. If you can’t go, please give your State legislator a call to let him or her know you support increased funding for the public schools. You can find your legislator’s contact information at http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx.

I was curious as to where exactly the money comes from that funds our schools, so I did a bit of research online, and this is what I found:


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Texans Together Education Fund

P.O. Box 1296
Houston, Texas 77251-1296



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by Dr. Radut