Establishment of the office of Election Administrator in our County
Dear Harris County Election Administrator:
I am writing to recap and expand on my recommendations to the Harris County Commissioners Court, regarding the establishment of the office of Election Administrator in our County.
First, under the law, once the Commissioners Court creates the office of Election Administrator, it will be the Harris County Election Commission that will have the power to hire and fire the election administrator, not Commissioners Court.
The members of the Election Commission are the County Judge, County Clerk, Tax Accessor Collector, Harris County Democratic Party Chair and Harris County Republican Party Chair.
Four of the five members of the Harris County Election Commission are Democrats and include Ann Bennett the Tax Accessor-Collector and Chris Hollins the Interim County Clerk. Once a new County Clerk is elected, they will replace Chris Hollins on the Election Commission. This is why I am supporting Teneshia Hudspeth for County Clerk. I hope that all the Harris County Democratic Party Precinct Chairs will also support putting her on the November ballot as the Democratic Party candidate for the job.
Second, Commissioners Court and the Harris County Election Commission should create a 15-member Community Advisory Board composed of both Republican and Democratic precinct chairs and other community leaders to participate in the hiring process for the election administrator.
This process should be similar to the process utilized by community colleges and universities when they hire a new President or Chancellor. There should be community forums to introduce the top two or three candidates to the public so that voters can ask the candidates questions and the candidates can understand that public interaction with voters would be an essential part of their duties.
Third, the Advisory Board should remain in place after the hiring process and the Election Administrator should be required to meet with the Advisory Board on a quarterly basis every year.
Fourth, the Election Administrator should be required to report to and brief Commissioners Court at least thirty (30) days before all elections and provide an after-action report to both Commissioners Court and the Advisory Board within sixty days following an election.
Fifth, the County Attorney should specifically be designated General Counsel for the office of Election Administrator. The County Attorney should be required to designate an Assistant County Attorney to work full time in the office of the Election Administrator.
Sixth, any and all changes in election polling locations proposed by the Election Administrator must be discussed in advance with the Community Advisory Board and be subject to pre-clearance by the County Attorney before any such changes could be implemented.
Seventh, the Election Administrator and their office should be subject to an annual performance evaluation and a sunset review every five (5) or ten (10) years.
Finally, the office of Election Administrator should be charged with the responsibility of achieving 100% voter registration among the voter eligible population of Harris County by 2025.
It is my belief that if these structural safeguards are adopted and implemented as a part of the creation of the office of Election Administrator, in Harris County, the voice of the community will be enhanced and the rights of the voters elevated and better protected.
Thank you and God Bless Houston. For constructive dialogue, you may contact me directly >>>
Hon. Robinson is the former Chairman, City of Houston Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committee; Former Vice Chairman, Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council (H-GAC TPC) and Associate Professor of Public Administration, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University.
Have Black Women Finally Been Included in, “We the People”?
When the United States Constitution was completed on September 17, 1787, women and people of color were arguably excluded and marginalized. The first three words of the Preamble—“We the People”—were written to affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. Moreover, it proclaims who is adopting the Constitution. This poses a conundrum for Black women because it suggests that we intentionally adopted provisions that purposely underserved us. Or, as the late Hon. Barbara Jordan once said, “I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake.”
Still, a Black woman’s presence on the presidential ticket and in the White House—by itself—is not enough. Black women are not interested in tokenism and symbolism. Systemic change is required.
When the Framers
of the Constitution drafted the governing document during the Constitutional Convention,
enslaved African Americans, then-referred to in the text as “other persons,”
were counted as three-fifths of a free person for taxation and congressional representation
purposes. This was done under the Three-Fifths Compromise
proposed by delegate James Wilson
of Pennsylvania and seconded by Charles Pinckney
of South Carolina. However, such a compromise would later be repealed by the
ratification of the Thirteenth
Despite the initial stature relegated to us,
in recent years, Black women have become a powerful voting bloc. In 2008, with
the help and support of Black women, Barack Obama
became the first African American ever elected president of the United States. Moreover,
during the 2018 midterm elections, 55% of non-Hispanic Black women
turned out to vote, a slightly higher share than for the total voting-age
population. According to the Pew Research Center,
Black women voted for Democratic congressional candidates 92% of the time.
Meaning, African American women voted for Democratic candidates at a higher
rate than any other demographic—across gender, race, and ethnicity—in the
Nonetheless, the Democratic Party has
overlooked and undervalued the support of Black women. However, that could
change under a Joseph R. Biden Administration.
In his campaign promise to “Build Back
Better,” Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden has vowed to prioritize
the full inclusion of and equality for women—particularly women of color.
As President, Mr. Biden has said that he “will
pursue an aggressive and comprehensive plan to further women’s economic and
physical security and ensure that women can fully exercise their civil rights.”
Specifically, The Biden Agenda for Women
will improve economic security, expand access to health care and tackle health
inequities, help women navigate work and families, end violence against women,
and protect and empower women around the world.
To hold steadfast to his promise, Joe Biden
knows that he must enlist the help of Black women. In doing so, his first order
of business was selecting
Senator Kamala Harris of California as his running mate, making her the
first-ever African American woman and the first woman of Asian descent
nominated for vice president by a major political party.
Biden was astute in naming Senator Harris as
his running mate. Not only does Senator Harris have a multicultural background,
but she is uniquely aligned
with the African American community in a way that no president or vice
president has ever been before. Senator Harris attended Howard University, a
historically black university and the so-called “Mecca” of Black education, and
is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first historically African
American Greek-letter sorority.
Still, a Black woman’s presence on the presidential ticket and in the White House—by itself—is not enough. Black women are not interested in tokenism and symbolism. Systemic change is required. To improve the quality of life for Black women and their families, transformative laws, policies, reforms, and initiatives must be put in place.
Biden pledged that, if elected president, he would nominate the first African American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Vice President Biden is cognizant of the
necessary changes that must take effect to empower Black women and he has a
After becoming the presumptive Democratic
nominee, Biden pledged
that, if elected president, he would nominate the first African American woman
to the U.S. Supreme Court. Such a nomination and subsequent Senate confirmation
would not only be historic, but it has the potential to have a generational
impact on the judicial system—especially the criminal justice system, the
African American community, and our Nation.
Additionally, Biden has vowed to address the
gender and racial wage gap that disproportionately impacts women of color,
particularly Black women.
On average, Black women make $0.62 (cents)
for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. According to Equal
Pay Day, Black women had to work an additional seven
and a half months this year, on top of the 12 months they worked last year, to
make as much as their white male, non-Hispanic counterparts in 2019.
Such statistics are staggering given that 80% of Black women
are the primary breadwinners for their household, roughly two-thirds of Black
women are the head of households, and a large percentage of Black women have a
high debt-to-income ratio due to student loans.
On August 13th, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, Vice President Biden acknowledged
the discrepancy by stating, “Black women are the backbone of their families,
communities, our economy, and our country. And we will ensure they earn the
pay, and the dignity and respect they deserve.”
In addition, Biden’s “Lift
Every Voice” proposal for Black America can make
far-reaching investments in ending health disparities by race. African
Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. According
to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (“CDC”), Blacks (and Latinos) in the U.S.
are three times more likely to become infected than their white counterparts.
Additionally, Black (and Latino) people are nearly twice as likely to die from
the virus as white people.
Per the CDC,
“long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from
racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying
from COVID-19.” Underlying factors that contribute to these increased risks
include discrimination, healthcare access and utilization, occupation,
educational, income, and wealth gaps, and housing.
Suffice it to say, several issues are
plaguing the African American community and must be addressed in the upcoming
On November 3rd, Americans will cast their
ballots to decide who will be President and Vice President for the next four
years. Black women are at a critical juncture because, in large part, we have a
say in who that will be. The Black community has a lot at stake in this
election—education, healthcare, the economy, environmental justice, criminal
justice, and voting rights. Black women have to be forward-thinking in deciding
who to vote for.
If Black women are to be included in “We the People,” we must elect leaders who will ensure and guarantee our full inclusion, participation, and representation in the democratic process. I urge you to consider what Black women stand to gain under a Joseph R. Biden Administration.
LaTreshia A. Hamilton, J.D. is a lawyer, writer, and global affairs professional from Houston, Texas. She holds a Juris Doctor from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, a Master of Arts in Global Affairs from Rice University’s James A. Baker, III Institute for Public Policy and the School of Social Sciences, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas Tech University.
$65,000 offered to settle Houston’s high-profile Sex Assault Case
Explosive Court Records reveal Olagundoye’s $65,000.00 offer to settle his sexual assault accuser
By Staff Refpoter
In a case now sitting on the First Court of Appeals Houston, Texas (No. 01-20-00334-CV), records have revealed a failed last-minute attempt by the defendant, Mr. Olushegun Olagundoye to pay-off his accuser. According to the “Transcription of Audio Recording” of Defendant’s Offer to Settle (marked Exhibit A), Mr. Olagundoye through his lawyer negotiated a $65,000.00 pay-offbut according to the meno, “he just doesn’t want the Nigerian community to know that he paid a bunch of money.”
In another similar correspondence over their settlement advances, Mr. Olagundoye, through his attorneys, requested a confidentiality agreement. This agreement would assure that International Guardian Publisher, Dr. Anthony Ogbo will, “retract previous articles about the case in some agreed manner and agree not to publish any future articles about the case or the settlement.” This request was, however, was never conveyed to both the Guardian and its Publisher, apparently because it was rejected by the Plaintiff.
A separate document obtained by our newsroom showed how the Plaintiff, Brenda Ezenagu rejected this offer, telling her attorney that she would prefer justice before any monetary figures. “I want the world to hear my voice because I know some people are victims of Mr. Shegun’s sexual slavery, assault, and rape,” this email revealed.
These exhibits published as trial documents are a justification for why this case may still be sitting on the docket for jurisdictive actions of the First Court of Appeals Houston, Texas. These settlement arrangements are also consistent with allegations that Mr. Olagundoye may have settled similar cases in the past.
Other documents retrieved from the Court also revealed yet another disagreement. The Court had allowed egregious redaction of Plaintiff’s medical records, shielding the jury from seeing, according to the document, “the diagnoses, orthopedic tests to which Plaintiff was positive, discussion Plaintiff had with the treating physicians, discharge, prognosis, opinions, and findings.” All these and many more constitute Course No. 01-20-00334-CV currently sitting on First Court of Appeals Houston, Texas.
Mr. Olagundoye of Kinghaven Counseling Group was sued by a former employee, Ezenagu, Nkeoma Brenda in 2016 for sexual assault and battery. The petition showed three causes of action, namely, Assault Battery, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and Violation of Texas Labor Code/Laws. Olagundoye generally denied all of Plaintiff’s claims against him.
In the early stages of this case, Attorneys for the Plaintiff – the Gbenjo Law Group had filed a motion requesting that Judge Engelhart recuses himself, alleging multiple allegations of interests with the opposing counsel Sean Greenwood which indeed might impair a fair process. Ms. Gbenjo argued that it is highly unlikely that the Judge would rule against people who enjoyed affinity or consanguinity with him, such as the Greenwoods. Judge Engelhart, however, denied Plaintiff’s Motion and kept himself in the case. To access information regarding this case, please visit:
To access information regarding this case, please
■ 01-20-00334-CV FIRST COURT OF APPEALS HOUSTON, TEXAS
(CHRISTOPHER PRINE CLERK)
– EZENAGU, NKEOMA BRENDA vs. OLAGUNDOYE, OLUSHEGUN B (Court 151)