In the old days dentists would strap children down in a “papoose” and work on them while they were screaming their heads off. The images are horrible and traumatic. The Texas Dental Board has banned the practice except in rare circumstances.
Children 1st Dental & Surgery Center (C1DS) has been providing a safe compassionate alternative to this barbaric dental procedure, providing anesthesia so little kids can sleep while even the most extensive dental work is done in a safe surgical setting.
Now the doctors at C1DS are going public with allegations one Houston insurance company is putting financial greed before the best interests of children.
Tomorrow at 10:00 am the C1DS medical team will ask the State Health Department to investigate, claiming underprivileged children are the only ones paying the price.
More than 600,000 Houston area children on Medicaid were eligible for insurance through one insurance plan, the Texas Children’s Health Plan. They have denied C1DS the right to see Medicaid patients, forcing some children to travel up to 80 miles to the closest dental surgical center. Dentists who want to send their patients to C1DS can’t. The Chief Beneficiary of this insurance game is Texas Children’s Hospital.
“All over the state we have been welcome, except in Houston where just one insurance company corners the Medicaid market”, says C1DS Dr. Craig Jacobs. “It is time for the State to protect these children and make it as convenient as possible to get safe treatment.”
WHO: Children 1st Dental & Surgery Center Medical Team
WHEN: Tuesday, October 12, 2015 @ 10:00 am
WHERE: 8700 S. Gessner Dr. # 200, Houston, TX 77074
The embattled boss of Cypress Creek EMS says his company doesn’t need the Emergency Service District #11 contract to stay in business, even though that government contract accounts for almost the entire CCEMS budget.
Taxpayers from Tomball to Spring pay about $10 million in taxes for their 911 service. The rest of the money comes from the medical bills resulting from the 911 service.
CCEMS has defied the Texas Attorney General, the Harris County District Attorney and the ESD #11 elected board of directors, refusing to detail who is on the payroll, even though they are paid with taxpayer money.
The ESD Board has threatened to cut off money to CCEMS unless they turn over the records.
At a sworn deposition last week, CCEMS Executive Director Brad England detailed a plan to simply go around the ESD, even though they are responsible for handing out 911 contracts. England suggested he would simply go to the MUD Districts and get them to put a fee on water bills, like they did in the old days before Emergency Service District Boards.
“This guy thinks taxpayers will volunteer to pay twice as much for the same service just cuz,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The ESD needs to do his job, and show Mr. England who is in charge of 911 service. The CCEMS Board needs to stop the secrecy, because their games could jeopardize the ambulance service of half a million people.”
At the deposition, England claimed CCEMS could always find another territory to run their ambulances, even though all the paramedics are currently paid with taxpayer dollars.
“Mr. England clearly would rather lose the ESD contract than simply tell taxpayers exactly who is on their payroll and show them the records of how he spends their money,” says Dolcefino. “England was more than willing to convince taxpayers to raise taxes to help pay for the ambulance service. The CCEMS Board needs to decide who is more important, Mr. England or half a million taxpayers.”
Sylvester Turner is counting on intimidation to scare the media off so they won’t remind Houstonians why they have rejected his candidacy for Mayor twice.
Houstonians shouldn’t fall for it.
Friday, a Fox 26 reporter questioned the hundreds of thousands of dollars Rep. Turner’s law firm Barnes & Turner, was paid by charter schools accused of fraud, safety violations and abuse. Records show Turner represented these schools before the Texas Education Agency, a state agency whose budget he helped control. It’s all public records and totally fair to question the ethics of a politician who appears to get paid because of his influence. Turner’s firms have made millions from government contracts or from people who depend on taxpayer money. That is just a fact.
Turner’s response to the media: It is the desperate act of a ‘disgraced former reporter.’
So apparently, it’s all my fault.
This week Channel 13 questioned the $144,000 Turner’s title company, American Title, made on a real estate deal made possible by the 2012 bond election. Turner opposed the bond election in 2012 but then suddenly changed his mind and convinced his community to support the bond.
This weekend the group Women for Turner struck back 13’s story, suggesting it may be “another attempt by Mr. Dolcefino to use KTRK to try to smear Rep. Turner on the eve of the election.” Since “Women for Turner” raised the 1991 story on Turner and his roommate let me oblige.
This week is the anniversary of the end of the libel trial for the 1991 story that Sly Turner blames for his defeat the first time he ran.
This past week Texas Monthly labeled the stories as a “smear campaign, a discomfiting set of stories about a nearly incomprehensible insurance scam that was laced with homophobic innuendo.”
What about the truth?
In the heat of the runoff, the married Sylvester Turner was actually sharing a home with a guy, and his wife had signed a sworn affidavit, raising questions about his fitness for office.
If the Women for Turner want to blame me for Sylvester Turner losing the election that’s fine. I would do that story again in a heartbeat. But perhaps the Women for Turner should read what the Texas Court of Appeals wrote in 1998 about their candidate:
“As the runoff election approached Turner began to attract greater scrutiny by the press. Articles in the Houston Newspapers reported a suit against Turner for insurance fraud… Newspapers also reported that Turner had failed to repay student loans to Harvard Law School and the University of Houston, and that Harvard had obtained a default legal judgement against him. Turner also had a history of many other delinquent bills, including the failure to pay State Bar dues… The Houston Post reported a bad check charge… and stated a warrant had been issued for Turner’s arrest at the time.”
I am sure my report about the faked death of a guy named Sylvester Foster didn’t help the Turner campaign. Turner was his lawyer and did legal work to collect insurance money after Foster supposedly drowned in Galveston Bay. Days before the 1991 runoff I got tipped Sylvester Foster was really alive. That probably wouldn’t have gotten on TV.
But when I went to the Turner campaign house I discovered he wasn’t living with his wife, but with a guy named Dwight Thomas. Thomas was the business partner of the guy who faked his death.
Mr. Thomas made quite an impression on Houston viewers. By the time the U.S. Attorney declined to indict anyone in the case, death had claimed key witnesses, including Keith Anderson. He was one of the guys on the boat when Foster did his fake death deal. He swore in a deposition that Turner was a participant in the conspiracy, not just the lawyer. Keith Anderson had nothing to gain. He was dying of AIDS and said he simply wanted to clear his conscience.
None of that mattered. On October 14, 1996 a jury decided they didn’t think the story was true, and from all accounts they didn’t like me either. I yelled a lot on the stand, in part because my mom had died of cancer a few days before I testified. Quite frankly, I resented having to waste my time in court and I still remember my frail bald headed mom shooting the bird at Turner on TV because she knew I was just doing my job.
If more reporters were doing their job today, Houston voters would be better off, and make a wiser choice in November. Don’t let Sly or any other public official intimidate you.
By the way, Sylvester Foster was in prison when I did my story and when I went to trial. Never talked to him in my life, until a few weeks ago.
Don’t be intimidated.
Being right is always worth the fight.
When Pastors came forward to say Sylvester Turner falsified their support the Houston Chronicle was silent.
When Houston TV stations exposed his companies made money on the HISD bond deal he supported, the Houston Chronicle was silent.
Surprise, Surprise Sunday the Chronicle endorsed Turner, a 4th term of Mayor Parker’s agenda and the tax increase Turner has promised.
It is time for Houston families and fiscal conservatives come together to fight.
Sylvester Turner is exactly what Houston doesn’t need. He has gotten rich off taxpayers while neglecting the neighborhood he served.
Regardless of you have supported until now, it is time to support the ONLY fiscal conservative who has a chance to beat Sylvester Parker-Turner in a runoff and stop the waste and backroom deals.
King and Costello won’t make it. Only Ben Hall can combine support in the conservative Anglo, African American and Hispanic Communities to stop a tax increase.
The Chronicle remains silent…but now we all know why!
Last night KTRK Channel 13 reported on Sylvester Turner’s apparent use of public office to enrich himself. The disturbing report says Turner’s title company was paid a whopping $144,000 for the sale of just one school property, after Turner had helped convince minority voters to pass the HISD bond.
Even if it is not illegal, the fact that Turner would appear to sell his influence for this deal suggests that he is what is wrong with politics. Houston needs to end “pay to play” politics. The news report also shows Turner received over $800,000 on yet another city transaction. City Housing records show companies linked to Turner received more than $3 million dollars in payments from affordable housing funds.
Today we’ve learned Sylvester Turner’s law firm charged state funded charter schools hundreds of thousands of dollars to represent them before the very state regulators Turner influences as a legislator. He should be helping the children of Texas for free.
“The true judge of a politician is what he does to improve his community and not what he does for his own bank account,” says Hall. “Mr. Turner fails the test miserably”.
“If Sylvester Turner will use his elected office to make himself rich he is not a person to be entrusted with a $5 Billion annual budget of the City of Houston. These disturbing revelations suggest that Turner has sold out his constituents. If he has not sold them out, he has clearly feathered his own nest while in public office.”
“A state representative should be helping the school children of Texas as part of his job, not getting paid to represent the schools before government officials,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “What we have discovered speaks volumes.”
Houston State Representative Sylvester Turner has played a key role in deciding the budget for the Texas Education Agency.
We now know he also intervened with the Texas Education Agency on behalf of charter schools who paid his law firm handsomely.
Personal financial disclosures and e-mails just released by the Texas Education Agency raise new ethical questions about the state lawmaker who has made quite a living off of government contracts and firms doing business with the State of Texas.
According to his Personal Financial Statements, Turner’s law firm, Barnes & Turner, was paid a legal retainer every year beginning in 2007, by Ollie Hilliard and the Jamie’s House Charter School he founded. As of June 2015, that amounts to at least $225,000 in retainers alone.
Back in 2010, Jamie’s House became news in a bad way after a science teacher was caught on camera, kicking, slapping and dragging a 13 year old student. The Houston Chronicle reported the founder had run at least one other facility for children, that the state shut down for failing to meet minimum standards. Top officials of the TEA twice signed off on renewing the Jamie’s House contract, long after another state agency told Hilliard another facility he ran posed a health and safety risk to children.
Education Commissioner Michael Williams moved to revoke the charter of Jamie’s House Charter School in December of 2013. That led to the expansion of Zoe’s Academy, another client of Sylvester Turner’s law firm. Zoe’s hired Turner’s firm in 2013 and has paid at least $75,000 just in retainers since.
Did Turner’s clients get preferential treatment? Who knows? But the Texas Education Agency treated Sylvester Turner as more than just a lawyer.
E-mails show Turner was involved in getting Zoe’s Academy a waiver to the campus. It appears the Commissioner of Education had agreed to approve the waiver even before the documents were submitted. When Turner raised questions about the waiver process, a TEA official Julie Kopycinski wrote “I need to talk to someone about this ASAP b/c I have to call the rep back.”
Kopycinski is not a charter school official. She is the head of Government Relations with the Texas Education Agency that deals with legislators.
This latest revelation about Turner’s potential conflicts comes a night after KTRK Channel 13 questioned how American Title, a company linked to Turner, was paid $144,000 as part of a real estate deal made possible by the 2012 HISD Bond Election. Turner was against the bond, but within a month had changed his mind, and 2 years later, profited from it.
Turner’s law firm also received more than $800,000 in affirmative action contracts from a controversial government tax collection firm.
Both Turner’s law firm Barnes and Turner and American Title Company, have also received millions of dollars in payments from the City of Houston Housing Department.
Another Turner client, 3D Visions Planning Consultants, boasts of its relationship with the Harris County Housing Authority and State of Texas.
It is time for Mr. Turner to tell voters the WHOLE story.
Ben Hall urged members of the Greater Houston Pachyderm Club this week not to squander their votes on so-called Republican candidates in the race for Mayor.
“There are simply not enough Republicans inside the city to get Bill King or Steve Costello into a runoff, Hall told the crowd. “I am a fiscal conservative and the only one of the candidates to oppose the bathroom ordinance. And I am the only conservative candidate who can build a coalition of Republicans, Democrats and independents.”
Even the recent survey of a few voters by the Houston Association of Realtors proves King and Costello can’t win. Political scientists say the survey is flawed because it ignores half the potential minority vote and exaggerates Anglo votes.
Even with that curve, neither King nor Costello make a runoff.
Labels don’t tell the story.
Republican Steve Costello supports the bathroom ordinance and orchestrated the illegal rain tax on Houston homeowners.
Bill “Waffle” King can try to fool folks with his sudden fiscal conservative rebirth, but when he wrote a book he didn’t name it “Conservative to the End,” he named it “Unapologetically Moderate.”
King refuses to say how he will on the bathroom ordinance and supports sanctuary city policies. That’s a conservative?
“Do you want to be stuck with another liberal tax raising Mayor with the same agenda as Mayor Parker?” We don’t.
The Hall campaign asks all Republican voters to think strategically when they go to the polls.
Which conservative voice can put together the coalition needed to win a runoff?
There is only one and that is Ben Hall.
The old adage, “the first casualty in politics is the truth,” is proving true in the City of Houston elections.
The Houston Association of Realtors owes Houston’s minority community, in fact all Houston voters, an apology for deceptionin a recent mayoral survey.
This PR firm creation is not worth the paper it is written on, and members of the Houston media who are reporting on the survey, should immediately read the fine print before they mislead their audiences.
Polls are scientific. The numbers aren’t just collected, they are analyzed. 62% of the survey recipients were white. That hasn’t been the makeup of Houston’s electorate for decades. Only 10% of the registered voters surveyed were Hispanic and 20% of those surveyed were African American. It’s a gross misrepresentation of the voter makeup in the city of Houston.
“The Hispanic community should be outraged at this slap in the face”, says Hall. Our campaign has received the endorsement of the most influential pastors in the Hispanic community, and they deserve an apology.
American Strategies, the group who conducted the poll, wants you to believe only 38% of voters are opposed to the bathroom ordinance. There isn’t a political consultant in town who believes those numbers.
“It is time for Houston voters to stand up and say enough of this bogus sales pitch trying to convince folks the election is over,” says Ben Hall. “Our internal polls show us Houstonians are responding, but we are not going to sit idly by while the special interests try to peddle this nonsense.”
“Houstonians are smart. They want a Mayor who will tell them the truth, who will protect them, and will stop wasting their money on silly backroom deals. I will be that Mayor.”
American Strategies should be forced to defend why they put out a survey that doesn’t even reflect the Houston electorate. What’s their agenda? How could their margin of error be 4.4% when they don’t know how to count Houston voters?
The future of Galveston Bay may be at stake in a legal showdown this Thursday, October 8th in Judge Randy McDonald’s 344th Disrict Courtroom in Anahuac.
Lawyers for the State of Texas will try to erase a restraining order the Judge imposed last week, stopping the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department from letting anyone take oysters out of a 23,000 acre section of Galveston Bay, even companies who have paid for state leases.
“Because of Judge McDonald’s actions, the safety of the Galveston Bay Oyster Crop is in jeopardy,” says Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting, an investigative firm hired to fight this takeover. “This week, oyster companies were supposed to be transplanting oysters to safer waters so they would be safe to eat. This reckless action and this legal home cooking cannot stand.”
This oyster war is part of a legal battle now being waged across three counties.
Judge McDonald issued the restraining order on behalf of a local Chambers County Company called STORM (Sustainable Texas Oyster Resource Management). STORM claims it has been given the exclusive right to control the entire oyster population in the 23,000 square foot area by the Chambers-Liberty County Navigation District, an unelected board appointed by local officials. The owner of STORM is a local Judge and his politically powerful relative.
The State of Texas has declared that lease illegal, and has warned STORM it will pay for any damages to the oyster crop.
Oyster companies that have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and are now being denied the right to move their oysters, went to a court in Galveston County for their own restraining order to keep STORM from touching their oysters.
Galveston Bay has been historically one of the biggest oyster producing regions in the country, and this high stakes legal battle could eventually determine if the People of Texas own Galveston Bay, or whether a private company can control public waters.
The hearing is at 1:30 p.m. in Anahuac.
The new Spring Branch School Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri has laid down new ground rules to protect young female students at district high schools from older students by issuing a letter to all Spring Branch ISD Principals.
School principals will now be required to immediately notify the School Police Department when an adult student 18 or older harasses or bullies a younger student.
Last year, a 19 year old at Memorial High School threatened a freshman girl to send compromising pictures of herself. School police never seized the cell phones involved in the incident. The football student was never disciplined by the football team or school administration.
After going to the media months later, the Harris County District Attorney’s Child Exploitation Unit raided the student’s house. By then, any potential evidence of the criminal conduct was gone. In August, the District Attorney’s Office provided special training to Spring Branch ISD Police about evidence gathering in these cases.
Now Superintendent Muri has reminded Principals the District has zero tolerance for any form or harassment or bullying, instructing principals to be sensitive to the concerns of student victims and student parents.