Primary runoff elections set for May 24
The 2016 primary runoff elections are set to take place Tuesday, May 24.
Of particular importance to South Belt voters is the race for Harris County Precinct 2 constable.
In that contest, incumbent Chris Diaz and challenger George Goffney Jr. are competing for the Democrat nomination.
In the March 1 primary, Diaz received 45 percent of the vote to Goffney’s 21 percent.
The winner of the runoff will go up against Republican Daniel Vela in the November general election. In the March primary, Vela narrowly avoided a runoff, defeating Joe Alanis 51 percent to 49 percent. (See related questionnaire on Page 3A)
Also to be decided is the Democrat nomination for Harris County sheriff. In the March primary, Ed Gonzales received 44 percent of the vote to Jerome Moore’s 30 percent.
The winner of the runoff will go up against Republican incumbent Ron Hickman in the November general election.
Both parties will vote to determine the nominee for railroad commissioner.
In the Democratic election, Grady Yarbrough will face Cody Garrett for the nomination, while Gary Gates will go up against Wayne Christian in the Republican contest.
The Republican Party will also elect a Harris County party chairman. Vying for the position are incumbent Paul Simpson and challenger Rick Ramos.
Early voting is currently underway and will continue through Friday, May 20. Local early voting locations include the Harris County Courthouse Annex No. 25 at 7330 Spencer Highway in Pasadena and the Freeman Branch Library at 16616 Diana Lane in the Clear Lake area. Polling hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Voters should be aware that early voting locations are different from Election Day polling locations.
Voters should also be aware that the vast majority of local precincts have changed polling locations since the March 1 primaries, and all Republican polling locations had yet to be confirmed by the Harris County Clerk’s Office at press time Wednesday?
Voting hours on Election Day are also 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information or to see a complete list of polling locations, visit www.harrisvotes.org.
Where to vote
Primary runoff polling locations
Pct. # Location
76 D _ Burnett Elementary, 11825 Teaneck
76 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
289 D _ Pearl Hall Elementary, 1504 9th St. (South Houston)
289 R _ *IBEW Hall No. 66, 4345 Allen Genoa (in Pasadena)
417 D _ Burnett Elementary, 11825 Teaneck
417 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
418 D _ Burnett Elementary, 11825 Teaneck
418 R _ *IBEW Hall No. 66, 4345 Allen Genoa (in Pasadena)
475 D _ Burnett Elementary, 11825 Teaneck
475 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
476 D _ Burnett Elementary, 11825 Teaneck
476 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
536 D _ Laura Bush Elementary, 9100 Blackhawk
536 R _ *Palm Center, 5300 Griggs Road
537 D _ Laura Bush Elementary, 9100 Blackhawk
537 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
545 D _ Burnett Elementary, 11825 Teaneck
545 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
654 D _ Laura Bush Elementary, 9100 Blackhawk
654 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
755 D _ IBEW Hall No. 66, 4345 Allen Genoa (in Pasadena)
755 R _ *IBEW Hall No. 66, 4345 Allen Genoa (in Pasadena)
762 D _ Laura Bush Elementary, 9100 Blackhawk
762 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
774 D _ Laura Bush Elementary, 9100 Blackhawk
774 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
842 D _ Burnett Elementary, 11825 Teaneck
842 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
996 D _ Burnett Elementary, 11825 Teaneck
996 R _ *Parker Williams Library, 10851 Scarsdale
*Not confirmed at press time
Local schools are being forced to address the controversial transgender bathroom issue after the Obama administration recently threatened to withhold federal funding from districts that do not comply with federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The most controversial provisions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law in question, is the requirement that schools allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity.
While some organizations such as the National PTA and the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, have been supportive of the measure, others have sharply condemned it.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been a vocal opponent of the issue, saying the state will not comply with the demand.
“I believe it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer has been taken out of school,” Patrick said. “He (Obama) has set a policy in place that will divide the country, not along political lines, but along family values and school districts.”
While local taxes provide the majority of public education funding, federal dollars are used to help poor and disabled students, as well as those who are learning English as a second language – something Patrick is apparently willing to forgo, despite ongoing education funding issues in the state. See related story on this page.
“He (Obama) says he’s going to withhold funding if schools do not follow the policy,” Patrick said. “Well in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States.”
At the local level, school administrators told the Leader that while they have received numerous calls from concerned parents, the issue hasn’t really been that much of a problem.
“We’ve had very limited experience with the issue,” said Pasadena Independent School District Superintendent DeeAnn Powell. “In the last 11 years that I’ve been at the central office, we’ve only had four students whose parents have contacted us about this issue, and we have worked with each family individually.”
According to Powell, three of the incidents involved high school students, while the fourth was an intermediate school student
Both PISD and the Clear Creek Independent School District have released statements saying they will address the issue on a case-by-case basis, should it occur.
“Pasadena ISD prohibits discrimination against a student on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, or on any other basis prohibited by law, that adversely affects the student. It has been the district’s practice to work with students and families on an individual, case-by-case basis to accommodate individual student needs while still serving the best interest of all PISD students. The district appreciates the feedback from our community regarding the president of the United States’ recent announcement and the joint “Dear Colleague Letter” issued by the United States Department of Education and Department of Justice. After reviewing both the president’s announcement and the “Dear Colleague Letter,” PISD does not foresee any changes to its current policy or practices. As always, student safety is of the utmost concern to PISD, and we will continue to work with students, parents and the community to keep our children safe while they are at school,” the PISD statement reads.
CCISD administrators have a similar take.
“The Clear Creek Independent School District is committed to providing each student a safe and nurturing learning environment free from discrimination and harassment. The school district staff is trained on how to deal with the varying, complex and sensitive issues that may arise under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which is a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs. In Texas, the scope of a transgender student’s right to use sex-specific restrooms, locker rooms and overnight facilities is not legally settled. Therefore each situation is handled on a case-by-case basis with a shared understanding that a transgender student’s right to not be discriminated against equals a non-transgender student’s right to privacy. We have been successful in balancing the rights of all students without issue and offer restrooms, showers and changing areas for students seeking privacy, regardless of their gender or gender identity.”
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