OFF THE BENCH
Off the bench, I am an advocate for responsible redevelopment of near town neighborhoods by participating in projects and groups that promote the inclusion of affordable housing in redevelopment plans, the preservation of historic architecture, and the provision of public infrastructure and amenities that improve the quality of life for inner city Houstonians.
In 1991, I joined with like minded neighbors as a founding board member of Avenue Community Development Corporation. For ten years, I served on the board and my life partner Mark Parthie continues serving today. Avenue has grown over the years and built or restored over 350 units of affordable housing in the Near Northside and Washington Avenue Corridors. Just prior to my full time appointment to the Municipal Courts, I served as Director of Rental Housing at Avenue.
My historic preservation efforts have been recognized by the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. In 1996, my business partners and I received the Good Brick Award for Neighborhood Revitalization for a block face of properties we restored in the Old Sixth Ward. Two of my projects at Avenue CDC were also recognized: the Summer Street Rentals and the Elder Street Lofts (formerly the Jefferson Davis Hospital).
I am an advocate for human rights, including participating in the election campaign of Annise Parker, Houston's first openly gay or lesbian officeholder as Campaign Chair and Treasurer, serving on the board of Stonewall Lawyers (formerly Bar Association of Houston Rights), serving as Secretary and Councilmember for the State Bar of Texas Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues and numerous Houston based political campaigns.
I have served the citizens of Houston and Texas in a number of ways including: Vice Chair, Old Sixth Ward Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board; Secretary, Houston Buyers Club; Chair, Abandoned & Contaminated Sites Subcommittee, Houston Foresight II Committee; Member - Houston's Committee for Sustainable Community Redevelopment; Founding Board Member & Past President - Avenue Community Development Corporation.
I have always believed in sharing knowledge and wherever I am I find ways to do so. Currently, I am adjunct professor in the University of Houston’s School of Communications where I teach communications law and ethics. It’s a challenge to bring the law to life for non-law students, but current issues in the first amendment, privacy and copyright laws provide great fodder for learning and teaching.
Over the years, I have been frequent speaker to lawyer groups, law students and the general public on issues that range from civil procedure and trial strategy to diversity in the profession and words of wisdom to GLBT students and professionals to environmental law. What follows is a sample of some of the presentations I’ve given.