Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Houston Councilmember Johnson tries to cut funding for AIDS Housing

I hope my readers will excuse a brief foray into local politics:

A visibly agitated Councilmember Javis Johnson admonished the Houston City Council to protect the “values of the community” by not renewing a grant to Marjo House today.

Marjo House has operated in the Pleasantville neighborhood of Houston since 2002, providing housing for people with AIDS. It’s neighborhood impact is so minimal that the neighborhood association wasn’t aware of its existence until 2006. The neighborhood association has been fighting to close the house since then.

Councilmember Johnson’s rant can be viewed here starting at 37:50

In it the councilmember makes several false claims, calling Marjo House a “For profit organization” and a “business” (it is a nonprofit organization) that houses 15 people (it houses 3-9).

Arguing that the city does not have to renew the grant just because it has been renewed in the past Johnson says “does that mean that two wrongs make a right?” I’m curious how the councilmember figures that caring for the sick is “wrong”.

Later in the meeting Councilmember Jarvis dismissively threw his hands in the air and behaved exasperated as Councilmember Jolanda Jones carefully rebutted his misrepresentation of the facts.

The Houston City Council will vote tomorrow morning (Wednesday, May 19) to extend city funding for this vital program.

It’s hard to believe that the city council would be swayed by such small minded petulance, but just to be safe if you live in Houston please call your council members, or all the council members, tonight and leave a message telling them to “renew funding for Marjo House”.

Brenda Stardig 832.393.3010
Jarvis Johnson 832.393.3009
Anne Clutterbuck 832.393.3004
Wanda Adams 832.393.3001
Mike Sullivan 832.393.3008
Al Hoang 832.393.3002
Oliver Pennington 832.393.3007
Ed Gonzalez 832.393.3003
James G. Rodriguez 832.393.3011
Stephen C. Costello 832.393.3014
Sue Lovell 832.393.3013
Melissa Noriega 832.393.3005
C.O. "Brad" Bradford 832.393.3012
Jolanda "Jo" Jones 832.393.3006

UPDATE: City Hall scuttlebutt has it that the executive director of Marjo House supported Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee during the March primary and that Johnson, who ran against Jackson Lee, is attempting to punish her for it.

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