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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie

    Protestors To Rally Outside Gov. Perry Event In Dallas

    Protestors To Rally Outside Gov. Perry Event In Dallas

    July 29, 2014 5:30 PM

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    Gov. Rick Perry has called the Legislature back for a third special session to approve more money for roads, but the main sticking point centers on what is the most conservative way to fund them without raising taxes (credit: by Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images)

    DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Protestors are planning to rally outside the Dallas event where Governor Perry is set to speak Tuesday evening.

    Before Gov. Perry delivers the keynote speech for the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council at the Hilton Anatole, members of the Texas Organizing Project will hold up 12 huge blank checks to signify the millions that will be spent under Perry’s plan.

    “Sending armed troops to militarize our border is unnecessary, and it is going to cost taxpayers in Texas $12 million every month.Where is this money coming from?” said Margarita Alvarez, TOP leader and an immigrant mother from Guatemala. “The money is going to be diverted from areas that Perry doesn’t think

    are critical, like healthcare and transportation, but the people of Texas beg to differ. We will raise our voices this evening so our governor knows his actions are unacceptable.”

    Meanwhile, a legislative panel is questioning what Texas will ultimately have to show for the $4.2 million per week it’s spending on beefed-up border security amid a surge of unaccompanied immigrant children.

    Gov. Rick Perry is deploying 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border at a weekly cost of $3 million. The state was already spending an additional $1.2 million weekly on border security.

    Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw told a Texas House hearing Tuesday in Austin that while children aren’t criminals, they’re crossing the border with smuggling gangs.

    McCraw says federal authorities have been overwhelmed, causing other crime to spike.

    But committee Democrats wondered what would constitute success, since Texas is trying to stop crime and illegal border crossings that were common before the current immigration spike.

    CBS 11 has requested access to the event where Governor Perry will be speaking. A representative with ALEC says his speech is closed to the media.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    Texas Organizing Project says it's 'not ACORN with a new name'

    By KIM HORNER / The Dallas Morning News
    Published: 23 July 2010 07:52 AM

    The activists who held signs in the hot Dallas sun Thursday to fight for utilities assistance for the poor were from the Texas Organizing Project, or TOP.

    But many consider them a new version of an old community-organizing group that folded earlier this year after a string of controversies: ACORN.

    Like the defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, TOP is a grass-roots community-organizing group.

    The new Houston-based nonprofit was formed by several former Texas ACORN employees. And its mission is to help low-income people.

    But the similarities to ACORN end there, said Allison Brim, a community organizer for the Irving chapter of TOP who used to work for ACORN.

    "We're not ACORN with a new name," Brim said. "We're a completely new organization."

    TOP aims to work for improving schools, neighborhoods and access to health care and jobs. Brim said TOP is not working on any voter registration drives, though it may in the future.

    Conservative bloggers have been writing about similar new community organizing groups that have surfaced across the nation since ACORN's demise.

    "The Texas chapter of ACORN has pretended to break off from the national group and has incorporated itself under the name Texas Organizing Project," reads one post on The American Spectator's conservative blog.

    Uproar over videos

    ACORN disbanded after an uproar over hidden-camera videos showing staffers in other states advising a man and woman posing as a pimp and a prostitute on how to apply for housing to open a brothel. The Dallas chapter was not linked to any of those problems.

    The national group also was accused of voter registration fraud in 2008 and ousted its founder that year after learning that he had concealed embezzlement of nearly $1 million by his brother. The money was later repaid by an anonymous donor.

    The Texas attorney general is investigating ACORN's activities in the state.

    Dallas County Republican Party chairman Jonathan Neerman said he's aware of TOP.

    "Whether they call it ACORN or pine nut or whatever, it sounds like they have the same goals and mission," Neerman said. "What impact they're going to have politically, who knows?"

    But Neerman said he was not aware of any problems with the group.

    "If this group is following every law, then there's no concern. If they're out encouraging people to vote legally, then that's good for the process. Everyone should vote."

    Thursday's news conference was the first for the Irving chapter of TOP since the state organization formed in December. About 20 TOP members stood outside the Dallas County Health and Human Services building along Stemmons Freeway to urge legislators to release additional money from a state fund designed to help low-income residents with utility bills.

    The state has $610 million in the System Benefit Fund, collected from a fee on utility bills to provide a discount to low-income residents. The state appropriated $119 million for the discounts in 2010, a spokesman for the Public Utilities Commission said.

    TOP wants legislators to increase that amount and allocate additional funds for weatherization projects. The group also delivered applications on Thursday for the county's Weatherization Assistance Program, which is quickly running out of stimulus funds.

    'Awesome' group

    Robert Conley, a TOP member, said the residents are calling on legislators to release the money. The retired Irving resident said he's struggling to pay monthly utility bills as high as $800. Conley said he was happy to be a part of TOP.

    "It's an awesome organization," he said. "ACORN faded away. ... TOP is the only one we know of fighting for the cause of low-income people. "You're going to see the Texas Organizing Project kick up some dust. We're going to make a ruckus. We're going to make elected officials accountable for this fund that's set up for us."

    About TOP



    On the Issues


    The Texas Organizing Project (TOP) works to improve the lives of low-income and working class Texas families through community organizing, and civic and electoral engagement. TOP is a membership-based organization that conducts direct action organizing, grassroots lobbying and electoral organizing led by working families in Texas.

    In addition, we provide training, leadership development, and public education, putting community organizers on the ground in working communities throughout the state. These organizers identify issues of common concern; recruit, develop and train leaders; and build partnerships with community, labor and policy groups to strengthen neighborhoods across the state of Texas.

    With every campaign we run, every issue we fight for and every neighborhood we organize, we focus on creating effective ways to ensure that voices of low income and minority communities are not only heard, but that they have sufficient power to advance their issues.

    By mobilizing neighborhoods into public issue-based campaigns and linking those issues to the importance of voting, we have been able to build an infrastructure of grassroots community leaders and organizers to win tangible results and increase voter participation.

    If you would like more information, please visit or contact any of our offices in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio or the Rio Grande Valley.

    The most recent statewide campaigns that we have organized include:

    Access to Affordable and Quality Health Care (ongoing)

    Comprehensive Immigration Reform (ongoing)

    Increased Public Education Funding

    Current local campaigns we are leading include:

    Stopping the Pipeline to Prison

    Eliminating Wage Theft

    Improving Neighborhood Infrastructure

    Healthy Port Communities

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