Alert/Update: U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson to hold townhall on Dallas postal operations Monday moderated by Shawn P.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson will hold a townhall meeting on Monday August 24th regarding the Dallas Main Post Office and Distribution Center.  A few weeks ago we reacted here to rumors that the Dallas Main Post Office was closing.

While rumors of the Post Office’s demise were a bit exaggerated, the reality of moving a bulk of the center’s operations away from Dallas Main is serious.  A study by the U.S. Postal Service recommended the transfer of mail processing operations from the Dallas Main Post Office to Coppell, TX.

Those scheduled to speak at the meeting include:

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert

The Honorable Royce West

Mr. Tim Vierling, Senior Plant Manager Dallas Post Officee

Congresswoman Johnson and her staff requested that I serve as moderator of the meeting that is sure to bring questions and concerns from residents, union members, government officials and the like.   The meeting will be held at Dallas City Hall – City Council Chambers and begin at 6:00 p.m.

What: Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Townhall on Postal Operations

Date: Monday, August 24, 2009

Time: 6:00 PM

Location: Dallas City Hall, City Council Chambers
Room 6 E North, 1500 Marilla Dr., Dallas, TX 75201

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson writes Inspector General of the United States regarding proposed changes at Dallas Main Post Office

Here are the contents of a letter written by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson to David C. Williams, Inspector General, United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General.  I actually retyped it (tech issues on my part), so any typos or mistakes are mine.

The letter is dated July 23, 2009 and expresses Congresswoman Johnson’s concern about reports that all or part of mail operations at Dallas’ Main Post Office will be transferred to Coppell.

Dear Mr. Williams:

My constituents have serious concerns about the proposed changes to the Dallas, TX Processing and Distribution Center.  The recommendations in the recently conducted Area Mail Processing study would transfer outgoing mail and processing operations and approximately 117 employees from Dallas to the North Texas P&DC in Coppell.  These changes have the potential to significantly affect both postal employees and local customer service.  As such, I am formally requesting that the Office of the Inspector General perform an independent review of the postal service’s plan to consolidate these operations.

The Office of Inspector General is pivotal in maintaining the accountability and integrity of post office operations.  An independent review by your office will ensure  that postal employees are not unnecessarily transferred and that service is not disrupted.  The audit should review cost savings, efficiency methods, employee changes, and customer service implications.  Additionally, it is my request that the audit also examine the current AMP study in relation to public announcements, input meetings, and public transparency.

It is my hope that an independent review will help to determine whether or not the proposed consolidation changes will save money for the postal service, while also maintaining quality of service for residents.   Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Trisha Raines of my staff at (email address) or (phone number).

Sincerely,


Eddie Bernice Johnson

Member of Congress

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Roundup

Here are some of the important developments that came out of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s office last week.

CONGRESSWOMAN EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON ANNOUNCES $1 MILLION TXDOT GRANT

Funding will be used for 2.6 mile road in Tarrant County

Washington, DC – (May 15, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today announced that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will receive a $1 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration for the construction of a 2.6 mile project in Tarrant County.

The project will consist of a six-lane road from State Highway 114 to Dove Road and a four-lane road from Dove Road to Randol Mill Road.  The funding was allocated by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), the economic recovery package that Congress passed and President Obama signed in February.  Congresswoman Johnson was the only Member of Congress from North Texas to vote for ARRA.

“This project will incorporate cutting-edge transportation technology that will yield a stronger and safer road, which thousands of North Texans rely on for travel each day,” Congresswoman Johnson said.  “I am delighted to see our state’s share of economic recovery funding utilized to bolster our region’s infrastructure and put people to work at such an expeditious rate.  I commend Secretary LaHood and his team for the outstanding job they are doing in getting funds out the door and allocated quickly.”

Construction on the project is expected to begin in fall of 2009.

CONGRESSWOMAN EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON BACKS SCHOOL MODERNIZATION LEGISLATION

21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act passes House 275-155

Washington, DC – (May 14, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today voted for H.R. 2187, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act.  H.R. 2187 authorizes $6.4 billion for fiscal year 2010 for the modernization, renovation and repair of school facilities, guaranteeing each district a minimum of $5,000.  The legislation passed the House by a vote of 275-155.

“Students can’t reach their full potential in inadequate school facilities,” Congresswoman Johnson said.  “Simple factors like lighting, noise and poor air quality can have a serious effect on student learning gains and behavior.  This legislation will make our schools safer, healthier and more conducive to learning for our young people.  It will also make them more energy-efficient, putting people to work in the process.”

School districts located or partially located in the 30th District of Texas will receive the following amounts of funding:

School District Amount
Cedar Hill ISD  $489,000
Dallas ISD      $38,532,000
Desoto ISD      $783,000
Duncanville ISD $1,166,000
Ferris ISD      $154,000
Irving ISD      $4,228,000
Lancaster ISD   $509,000
Mesquite ISD    $3,619,000

Total $49,480,000

The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act will also authorize an additional $600 million over six years for public schools that were damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

CONGRESSWOMAN EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON STATEMENT ON FUNDING STATUS FOR DALLAS ISD LEARNING CENTERS AND MAGNET SCHOOLS

Washington, DC – (May 14, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today released the following statement about the status of funding for Dallas Independent School District (ISD) Learning Centers and Magnet Schools:

“I remain greatly concerned about the status of funding for Dallas ISD Learning Centers and Magnet Schools.  Over the past weeks, I’ve been in close contact with the Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Superintendent Michael Hinojosa regarding potential funding cuts within the Magnet Schools and Learning Centers.  In particular, there are outstanding questions as to whether or not the Learning Center programs may gain a waiver from being required to meet comparable funding requirements.

“All Title I schools must meet comparability requirements in order to receive Title I funding.  If Dallas ISD is found to be in violation it could potentially lose Title I funding, which is approximately $105 million.

“The Department of Education and the Texas Education Agency are closely reviewing all of Dallas ISD’s comparability numbers in order to determine what, if any, funding cuts need to be made.  Dallas ISD has been working hard to get TEA all the necessary data, but it is my understanding from TEA and the Department of Education that there is still outstanding data that it needs to review.  The Department of Education will not be able to give a determination until they can review all of this information.

“Based on these circumstances, I have called on Dallas ISD Board of Trustees President Jack Low to delay tonight’s vote on the budgetary measures that will result in funding and staff cuts for the Learning Centers and Magnets.  While I understand the need to plan for next year and reposition staff, I also believe that final determinations from TEA and the Department of Education are integral to this funding decision.  We should not make cuts to these schools and programs until we know what is required under law.  I have been assured that the Department of Education will make a prompt determination once it has the necessary data, so I do not advocate a lengthy delay to this vote.

“It is my hope that the Board of Trustees will take this under advisement, and I will continue to do my part in working with the Department of Education to receive an answer on what funding cuts may be necessary in a timely manner.  I will continue to work with Dallas ISD to get the best possible result for our schools.”

CONGRESSWOMAN EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON VOTES TO PROTECT CREDIT CARDHOLDERS

House passes Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights 357-70

Washington, DC – (April 30, 2009) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today voted in favor of H.R. 627, the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by a vote of 357-70.

“Credit card companies have been taking advantage of cardholders with misleading and deceptive practices,” Congresswoman Johnson said.  “The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights levels the playing field between credit card issuers and cardholders and brings much-needed oversight to the credit card industry.

“This legislation protects consumers from excessive fees and incomprehensible agreements, and it bans retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances, double-cycle billing and due date gimmicks,” Congresswoman Johnson continued.  “It also prevents credit card companies from issuing credit cards to minors under the age of 18.  The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights is bipartisan, common-sense legislation that is long overdue.”

The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights:

· Ends unfair, arbitrary interest rate agreements;

· Bans excessive “over-the-limit” fees;

· Ends unfair penalties for cardholders who pay on time;

· Requires fair allocation of consumer payments, preventing the practice of applying payments to lowest interest rate balances first;

· Requires companies to mail billing statements 21 calendar days before the due date, up from the current requirement of 14 days;

· Prevents companies from using misleading terms and damaging consumers’ credit ratings;

· Protects vulnerable consumers from high-fee subprime credit cards;

· Bars issuing credit cards to minors; and

· Requires better data collection from credit card industry

The House of Representatives passed a bill with similar provisions in the 110th Congress by a vote of 312-112.

CONGRESSWOMAN EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON PARTNERS WITH TXDOT FOR “The EBJ Highway to Recovery”

Workshop for economic recovery opportunities for women, minorities and veterans

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson will co-host a workshop with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) on April 20, 2009. The workshop, titled “The EBJ Highway to Recovery” is designed to expand business opportunities for women and minorities.

TxDOT will provide overview of economic recovery projects and the process for bidding on them, followed by TxDOT and NTTA holding one-on-one sessions with workshop participants.

The “EBJ Highway to Recovery” workshop will follow the “Roadmap to Recovery” workshop.


Date: Monday, April 20, 2009


Time: 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM


Location: The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Ave.
Dallas, TX 75210


To RSVP for the workshop, please register online at:
http://www.dot.state.tx.us/business/conferences/stimulus_workshops.htm

Congresswoman Johnson to hold Economic Recovery Workshop in Dallas, Shawn Williams to moderate panel discussion

On Monday April 20th, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson will hold an economic recovery workshop, titled The Roadmap to Recovery. The workshop is designed to bring together representatives of financial organizations and federal and state agencies, who will share information on ways for North Texans to access economic recovery funding.

Three panels featuring agency representatives will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Yours truly (Shawn P. Williams – Publisher/Editor Dallas South) will serve as moderator for one of the panels as will Mike Davis of Dallas Progress.

Agencies that have confirmed that they will be represented include:

· Internal Revenue Service

· Taxpayer Advocate Service

· Texas Department of Transportation

· U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

· U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

· U.S. Department of Labor

· U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

· U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

· U.S. General Services Administration

· U.S. Small Business Administration

· U.S. Social Security Administration

Financial organizations that are sending representatives include Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas and the Dallas Small Business Development Center. John Podvin, an attorney at Haynes and Boone, LLP, will speak about the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) and newly-created Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP).

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert will also give remarks at the workshop.

To RSVP for the workshop, please call Congresswoman Johnson’s office in Dallas at (214) 922-8885 or e-mail recovery.ebjohnson@mail.house.gov. To submit a question to the panelists, e-mail recovery.ebjohnson@mail.house.gov, specifying which agency or financial organization the question is directed to.

What: “The Roadmap to Recovery” workshop

Date: Monday, April 20, 2009

Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Location: The Music Hall at Fair Park

909 1st Ave.

Dallas, TX 75210

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson Website totally revamped

On Friday, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announced that she has overhauled her website. The new website has the same URL as the old website http://ebjohnson.house.gov/.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s updated Congressional Website

“Many people use the Internet as the primary source of information about their elected officials and the federal government,” Congresswoman Johnson said. “My new Congressional website is user-friendly and is a good resource for constituents, or for anyone interested in Congress or the 30th Congressional District of Texas. I encourage constituents to visit the website and to share their feedback about it with me.”

Congresswoman Johnson has always had my respect in the area of technology, and it’s not just because she was the first elected official to reach out to your friendly neighborhood blogger. I admire how she has long championed STEM education – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

There’s a lot of good info at Congresswoman Johnson’s site, including how constituents can learn about current legislation, read recent press releases and sign up for tours of federal buildings in Washington, DC. She plans to add more features in the weeks to come.

Congresswoman Johnson comes out hard against Inland Port Master Plan and JWP

 

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When talk of a Master Plan at the Inland Port in Southern Dallas came up, I was skeptical.  I mean the Allen Group had gotten the port off to a great start and I haven’t heard one negative thing about what they are doing out there.  They have 6,000 acres of what could one day be a 70,000 acre project.

I was taken aback by the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board’s decision to support the Master Plan.  The Dallas County commissioners came back a few weeks later and killed the plan by a 3-2 vote.  The editorial board came back and disagreed with their decision.

Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer writes an article regarding the port that pits Rep. Eddie B. Johnson against Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.  Here’s some cuts from Schutze’s article, …Shaking Down Development Deal.

  • Johnson told me last week she views Commissioner Price’s role, in particular, as part of a long, bad history: “I see all of these different deals that he’s trying to do over the years, shaking people down and all that kind of stuff.”
  • She said she knew what was wrong with the proposed inland port master plan the first time she heard of it. “John was making sure he put a cork in there to stop everything until they did what he wanted them to do.”
  • In prior columns, I’ve reported on the extraordinary lengths to which Price has gone to oppose The Allen Group project, with help from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, a regional planning agency.  Last week on December 11, Leppert blinked: Chris Heinbaugh, his spokesman, confirmed for me that the mayor had withdrawn his support from the plan, at least for now.

    Then this week on Monday, December 15, the NCTCOG blinked too. The agency’s director told a specially convened panel of local elected officials that he was willing to drop it, as well. I guess that leaves the News.

  • Congresswoman Johnson was blunt with me about her view of Price’s role. “If people want equity,” she said, “they have to come up with some money. Most of the time folks don’t care what color you are if you come up with money.”

jprice.jpgOf course Schutze’s columns are always long,  but it’s worth it to dig through what he’s talking about.

The craziest part is that the only person who could give an interview like this, the only person who could say the things that are said here is Congresswoman Johnson.  I’ve had people allude to these types of dealings and talk around people involved, but according to Schutze, the Congresswoman was naming names.

The last time I mentioned the Master Plan on Dallas South, this was a comment that I received:

  • If history is any predictor of future behavior, the smaller surrounding cities will have zero input on this plan. Similar to the bridge that Price held up in Hutchins until Congr. Eddie Bernice Johnson came to ensure that it was built.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is the highest ranking African-American official in these parts, and her words carry a lot of weight. After the vote by the Dallas County Commissioners, everybody else has jumped ship.  As quickly as they jumped on board the Master Plan, now it’s as if the Master Plan never existed.

Whatever happened here, a lot more people will be paying attention now that she has entered into the discussion.

Hopefully it will cause more people to look at the inland port and the opportunities that it presents to Southern Dallas. It’s to bad that it has to take Jim Schutze’s muckraking to get it done, but the more people know about the inland port -and the Allen Group- the better.

There are more and more parties interested in making sure that the will of the few doesn’t negatively impact the plight of the many.  That includes folks like the person who sent me this article on Facebook.

But one thing is true. Ii we wanted to truly influence what goes on in our community and sit at the table where the decisions are made, we’re going to have to come up with some capital from somewhere.

Obama Supporters: Sign up now, plan Unite for Change event

Folks have been asking me what they can do to help out the Obama campaign. Yard signs and bumper stickers are easy, but it’s going to take more that that to make sure November turns out in our favor.

First, sign up for an account at my.barackobama.com. I have to say that I’m very pleased with how my account has worked out since I signed up in January. The campaign is very good about sending good info, even emailing you before Senator Obama goes up to give a speech. They also make it easy to make campaign contributions.

Second, you can host or attend a Unite for Change event on Saturday June 28th. According to the website:

You’ll gather — not just with Obama supporters, but with anyone who’s tired of the politics of the past and ready for something new — to discuss our common vision for the future. And you’ll start planning how to build this movement across the country in the weeks and months ahead.

This is part of the 50 state strategy that Barack Obama has been running since day one. Click here to see how to host a Unite for Change event in your community.

This may not seem like an important undertaking, but it’s the type of thing that has made Senator Obama so successful up to this point. I’ll continue to send updates on how to get involved as I get them.

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CONGRESSWOMAN JOHNSON’S STATEMENT ON ECONOMIC STIMULUS DEAL

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Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson issued the following statement today in response to the economic stimulus package announced yesterday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and House Republican Leader John Boehner:

 “The most effective thing Congress can do is to create jobs and give the middle class a boost by putting money in the pockets of North Texans and families across America. I am pleased that, under this package, 35 million working families, who would not otherwise have been helped, will receive tax relief this spring, and that 117 million families will receive a stimulus check.  I am disappointed, however, that there was no aggressive plan for job training programs such as adult education and literacy, welfare-to-work, vocational education and vocational rehabilitation.”

"The stimulus package will seek to alleviate some fiscal hardships at least in a short term and begin the process of moving our stagnant economy in a stable direction.”

This comprehensive stimulus package will provide the following benefits:

·           Grant tax relief this spring of up to $600 for an individual and up to $1,200 for a married couple, plus $300 per child. A total of 117 million families will  receive a check.

·           Include $28 billion in checks to 35 million working families who would not have otherwise been helped.  More than 19 million of these are families with children.

·           Double the amount small businesses can write off their taxes for new investments, and provide immediate tax relief for all businesses to invest in new plants and equipment.

·           Provide mortgage lending reforms—including a one-year increase in Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s conforming loan limits (from $417,000 to a maximum of $729,750), and a permanent increase in the FHA loan limit from the current $367,000 up to a maximum of $729,750.  The legislation will also include other changes that immediately help families facing foreclosure refinance their loans and get the housing counseling they may need.

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