Houston Mayor Annise Parker appears to be the second highest paid Mayor in the country.
In 2014, her salary was $235,000 dollars. Of course, she runs an entire city.
John Breeding runs ONE single neighborhood in the heart of Houston. Just 500 acres. It is called Uptown.
Guess who makes more?
John Breeding does!
In Fiscal year 2014 Breeding was paid $326,000. Ninety thousand dollars more than the Mayor. Of course, he got a bonus.
Add another $69,433 dollars in retirement, medical and dental benefits. Nearly $400,000.
In three years, Breeding’s pay went up nearly 30%.
Of course, John Breeding has two titles, according to documents released by Uptown. He is President of the Uptown Management District and Administrator of the Uptown Development Authority. That’s where all those decisions for the controversial Post Oak Bus Project are officially made.
All three Uptown bureaucracies meet in the same conference room in their high rise office on Post Oak.
You know how much the rent is?
$300,000 a year.
Houston Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall pledged today to stop a plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to tear up Post Oak Blvd for a flawed bus project.
And Hall went farther, promising to conduct a review of all neighborhood reinvestment zones to stop abuse of taxpayer dollars.
“Like all Houstonians I have watched in amazement as a city in financial distress agrees to spend a billion dollars to improve just one park, and push to spend 200 million dollars more to tear up a street that doesn’t need tearing up, all while ignoring streets and parks in Sunnyside and Acres Homes and across Houston that desperately need attention” says Hall.
Property Owners on Post Oak are lining up against the plan to tear up Post Oak. Hall is also worried the project will destroy retail stores on the street which provide significant sales tax revenue to the City.
Hall calls for a total review of Neighborhood Tax Reinvestment Zones that are now treating tax money as a private piggy bank.
“We face real financial problems in this city, and we need to prioritize how and where we spend our money. I want to find ways to protect our people and fix our streets. We created these reinvestment zones to help troubled neighborhoods that needed investment, not to create huge bank accounts for a few developers.”
The Uptown bus project has put a spotlight on the unelected neighborhood bosses who control a lot of Houston’s finances.
Dolcefino Consulting announces today Monday, June 22, 2015 that the firm has agreed to provide media consultation services to Ben Hall in his quest to become Houston’s next Mayor.
As part of this agreement, President Wayne Dolcefino will serve as Campaign Communications Coordinator.
“Ben is a dear friend,” Dolcefino said. “We go way back, and I will help him. Ben is willing to walk away from a hugely successful law practice to run for Mayor because he wants to give Houston a Way Forward. My firm cares deeply about Houston too. We also share a strong desire to make sure Houston doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”
Dolcefino Consulting is an investigative communications firm involved in many high profile battles in the Houston area, from the Highway 6 Landfill, to the Oyster fight in Galveston Bay, to the heart of Uptown, where a $300 million dollar bus boondoggle has exposed the conflicts and out of control power of management districts.
Dolcefino Consulting is managed by former investigative journalist Wayne Dolcefino.
The ESD # 11 MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR 9 AM THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015 AT 7111 FIVE FORKS, SPRING, TX.
Half a million people get emergency ambulance service from Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS).
From Tomball to Spring Harris County taxpayers paid more than 10 million dollars in tax money last year to support 911 ambulance service. Much of the money went to pay salaries.
Yet Cypress Creek EMS refuses to tell you who is on the payroll.
Thursday morning, their secrecy will lead to a showdown.
Elected Commissioners of ESD #11 now want the same public records CCEMS has refused to show for nearly a year, even ignoring the Texas Attorney General and the Harris County District Attorney.
ESD #11 homeowners pay taxes to pay the field staff on the ambulances, but CCEMS has refused to reveal the names of the people on the payroll. 6.3 million dollars and they won’t say who is getting the money. At least four of those field staff report salaries of more than $100,000 a year.
CCEMS also refuses to show exactly how they spend the millions of dollars they took in from the bills you paid for 911 service. All over Texas those funds are used to offset the additional need for property taxes, but not in ESD #11. CCEMS has kept all the money to spend as they want, and they have refused to release the records under non-profit laws.
CCEMS claims they do not have records showing how much they actually use ambulances that are supposed to be working 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Taxpayers need to pay attention. The days of heroic fire and ambulance services running to the sound of the fire bell as underpaid volunteers are nearing an end in Harris County. This is now big money.
The ESD # 11 MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR 9 AM THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015 AT 7111 FIVE FORKS, SPRING, TX.
GALVESTON BAY “OYSTER WAR ALREADY CLAIMS 100,000 SACKS OF OYSTERS
Oyster fisherman worry rains from Tropical Storm Bill may kill much of the remaining young oyster population in Galveston Bay.
That’s the latest bad news from a summer that has already seen millions of dollars in oysters killed, both by mother-nature and the ongoing war over oyster rights in Galveston Bay.
A mission to save oysters in East Galveston Bay after the Memorial Weekend storm failed, and the results are devastating.
Hundreds of thousands of oysters are gone. Two million dollars-worth.
But the culprit is not just Mother Nature.
Members of the oyster industry are blaming STORM for this seafood mass killing.
“STORM boats illegally harassed our oyster boats as they tried to save these young oysters,” says Lisa Halili of Prestige Oysters. “They circled our boats dangerously close, and their constant videotaping of our fisherman scared them into resigning and refusing to enter the area.”
Before Bill came ashore, Oyster companies were moving their young oysters from legal state leases after recent storms affected salinity in East Bay. STORM boats tried to disrupt this rescue mission. The Chambers County Judge who owns STORM claims he now controls 23,000 acres of Galveston Bay because hometown politicians gave him a lease. The state has told STORM the lease is illegal.
“We have been warning the state to take action to stop the harassment of oyster boats in Galveston Bay for
weeks,” says Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting. “Now we have the added damage done by Mother Nature.”
Prestige Oyster in San Leon are among those oyster companies available to comment.
Lawsuit seeks to halt Post Oak bus project
Katherine Driessen of The Houston Chronicle reports a homeowner’s association is suing Metro over its involvement in plans to run bus lanes along Post Oak Boulevard, saying the project puts the agency at odds with a 2003 referendum that included adding a rail line along the corridor.
As officials celebrate Uptown transit project, opponents persist
Supporters say transit service will improve, while foes highlight conflicts of interest
A Houston Chronicle editorial says “A good bus delay”
Let’s get the facts right before breaking ground on the bus rapid transit project:
With a little digging, Wayne Dolcefino, a former television investigative reporter now working for opponents of the project, found that the 19,000 riders were based on outdated ridership numbers and overly optimistic estimates. Uptown’s rush to build while relying on these questionable statistics makes it look like the board cares more about building something rather than building the right thing.
The news conference will be held at 11:00 am outside Masraff’s Restaurant at 1753 Post Oak Blvd
This announcement may very well spell the beginning of the end to that controversial plan to tear up Houston’s “Rodeo Drive” for an unwanted bus project in the heart of Uptown.
The Post Oak Property Owners Coalition representatives will be joined by prominent Houston Attorney Andy Taylor.
The news conference will be held at 11:00 am outside Masraff’s Restaurant at 1753 Post Oak Blvd, shortly after Uptown officials and the Mayor hold a ceremonial ground breaking for the project down the street for the project.
In recent weeks Houstonians have learned some Uptown Board Members lobbied for taxpayer money without disclosing their conflicts of interest and potential financial windfall. The plan to dig up Post Oak for two exclusive bus lanes will force the street to be widened and the chairman of the Uptown Board stands to make millions on the deal. At least three other Uptown officials have conflicts of interests in the bus project.
An investigation by Dolcefino Consulting exposed so many questions about the inflated ridership claims of the proposed project the chairman of Metro has now ordered a review of the projections.
“It is sad that Mayor Parker once ran for office as a watchdog and now looks the other way to blatant conflicts of interest. Taxpayers think this project is unneeded and an incredible waste of money in a city with a lot of real needs”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
Major Post Oak Property owners aren’t the only ones adding their voice to the growing opposition to the project. Uptown’s own State Senator Joan Huffman now says she is personally opposed to the project and does not think “tearing up Post Oak” is a fabulous idea. Huffman is joining the call for a review of management districts in Houston in light of growing transparency questions.
The Post Oak Property Owners Coalition will make their major announcement Monday morning at 11:00 am, and will not be available prior to comment.
Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting will be available to answer questions for any of the Monday morning early shows if needed. My e-mail contact is below.
office 713-360-6911 firstname.lastname@example.org
State District Judge Michael Landrum has rejected attempts by the controversial Houston Veteran’s Charity Helping a Hero to conceal 2014 financial records.
Helping a Hero wanted to keep the financial records secret from Dolcefino Consulting, an investigative communications firm in Houston run by long time television investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino.
Dolcefino Consulting has been probing the financial practices of Helping a Hero since 2013 at the request of several disabled veterans who think the charity cheated them.
“This charity gets millions of dollars in donations and then spends money trying to fight the public’s right to see how they spend the money”, says Wayne Dolcefino. “In my view that forfeits their right solicit donations.”
Helping a Hero has been the target of complaints from veterans across the country.
In April 2014 Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson told the charity to comply with Texas non-profit laws and the charity did release some financial records.
Since December, Dolcefino Consulting has been fighting to see the way donations were spent in 2014, and has now filed a criminal complaint against the charity with the Harris County District Attorney.
“These laws are useless if Ms. Anderson doesn’t vigorously enforce the right of all Harris County taxpayers to see how their money is spent,” says Dolcefino. “These charities are tax exempt as part of a contract with the people of Texas.”
The Houston veteran charity Helping a Hero wants a State District Judge to help them keep their financial records secret from the public, who has donated millions to help wounded war veterans.
Tomorrow morning at 9 AM, in the 113th District Court of Judge Michael Landrum, Helping a Hero will try to gain a protective order to block review of 2014 financial records by Dolcefino Consulting.
Dolcefino Consulting, an investigative communications firm here in Houston has been probing the financial practices of Helping a Hero since 2013 at the request of disabled war heroes and their families.
In April 2014 Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson told the charity to comply with Texas non-profit laws and the charity did release years of financial records. Many of the expenditures had no accompanying receipts or explanations of what the expenditures were for.
The Dolcefino Consulting probe began after veterans and former charity board members complained about secrecy by the founder of the charity Meredith Iler. In December 2014 Dolcefino Consulting filed an updated request to examine spending after news reports last year.
Helping a Hero claimed they sought a legal opinion from the Texas Attorney General but months later Dolcefino Consulting discovered the Attorney General claimed no record of the request.
On May 13th, Helping a Hero went to court to seal records of how they spent millions in your donations.
“ I think every Texas charity should welcome people to come in and see how they spend money and that is exactly why we have the law”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Helping a Hero is raising money on behalf of war heroes and they are worried what we will see. That is a giant red flag.”
Helping a Hero claims Dolcefino Consulting asked for the records on behalf of the Pinkerton Law Firm, representing a former veteran and his wife in another lawsuit against the charity.
“ I continue to work for these veterans because my family owes them gratitude for their sacrifice, says Dolcefino.” Helping a Hero wants to use these guys and their injuries to get donations, and then treat them poorly. Didn’t they suffer enough for us”.