Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
The Plot Thickens!
by David Stanowski
09 February 2012
If you thought that the Poverty Industry in this city could not possibly grow any bigger, more intrusive, or incestuous; then think again! New ORRs have uncovered evidence that the tentacles of the octopus are spreading!
Who is Lexi Nolen?
It is not clear if her name was mentioned by the GHA in discussions with City Council prior to August 2011, but that is when there were the first clear indications that there was a new player in the game!
On 17 August 2011, the GCDN published a guest column by Lexi Nolen, i.e. Alexandra P. Nolen, PhD, entitled "Public Housing Can Effect Our Health". This short piece argued that mixed-income development was better for the health of the residents than traditional Public Housing. At the time, this hardly seemed profound, because ANYTHING could be better for the residents than living in traditional Public Housing, but the article obviously hoped to offer a completely new reason for supporting the MBS plan, and it was coming from the "director of the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities (CEHD) at The University of Texas Medical Branch".
Later that month, several of the people involved in the debate over Public Housing in this city got a phone call from Sarah Clune of the PBS Newshour asking us for our views on the controversy, and suggesting that we be interviewed for an upcoming PBS show on the subject.
When Ms. Clune said to me, "What do you think of Lexi Nolen's ideas on how to transform your Public Housing program"; I said, "Who?"
She explained to me that Dr. Nolen was trying to upgrade the health of Public Housing residents through some kind of "innovative" program.
I said that other than the 17 August Guest Column, I wasn't even aware of who she was, and had no idea what kind of "innovative" program she was developing. Other people had been involved in this debate for over two years, and Dr. Nolen was very new to the game; why was PBS focusing on her?
It should come as no surprise, after you see what we have uncovered, that Dr. Nolen was the feature of the PBS show, with Norman Pappous getting about 90 seconds on behalf of the people who live here! The GOGP was completely shut out of the program, as were many other voices!
I remember during this time that Chris Toombs said that he found a reference to the fact that Dr. Nolen had some sort of a grant from GHA, but we had no detailed information.
It seems like Dr. Nolen made one or more appearances at City Council to do public comment, and/or workshops in the Fall and Winter, supporting mixed-income, but it still wasn't clear if she was a major factor in the debate. However, when she showed up with three co-workers, at the 12 January Council meeting, to speak against the resolution to declare a moratorium on Low-Income Tax Credits; it was time to find out; who is Lexi Nolen.
Two recent ORRs yielded some very interesting information that we share with you below.
Councilmember Steve Greenberg has said more than once that the GHA is the only institution in the City that is hated more than City Council. On the other hand, UTMB is a local institution that is generally held in very high regard. This makes the fact that their CEHD department has signed on as a major player in the Poverty Industry, in order to provide public relations support for the very unpopular Galveston Housing Authority, a very risky decision on their part! Does UTMB really want to take the chance of being tainted by this sort of relationship with the GHA, especially when the public reads below that "CEHD would like to partner with GHA"?
The first ORR asked for a list of the grants given to the CEHD, and the amount of money involved.
The table on page 2 of the following document appears to contain a typo, listing GHA as $0, because on page 14, reference is made to a grant of $96,500 from GHA, AND CEHD adding another $75,000 of UTMB funds! In fact, this page seems to indicate that the total spent on this project may exceed $200,000!
Read the CEHD Funding Proposal
The second ORR asked for all correspondence between the CEHD and the GHA from 01 January 2011 to 31 December 2011.
It was interesting to note that the UTMB legal office chose to appeal a few emails to the Attorney General's office, AND they notified the following parties of our request, and encouraged them to appeal any emails that might include them:
Georgia State University:
The GHA paid GSU $23,118.23 in 2011. In the past they paid them to review the work of the GOGP, and Chris Toombs, as well as to try to find a way to dispute the GOGP's regional Communities of Opportunity approach with Geo Spacial analysis, but one of their first commentaries they did for the GHA actually said that mixed-income development had HIGHER CRIME RATES than traditional Public Housing! See page 4
This is the non-profit division of MBS that helps them sell their social engineering schemes in order to gain the necessary political support for mixed-income development.
Galveston County Mutual Assistance Partnership: web site
Note that the Board of Directors includes Barbara Crews and Betty Massey!
As you go through the following emails, note the discussion of the 17 August Guest Column, the fact that the CEHD is involved in helping GHA select the very controversial scattered sites, and the comments about UTMB's relationship with MBS!
Read the CEHD-GHA Email
It is also interesting to note that GHA's 2011 check register recorded $17,458.90 paid to M.J. Nashke for PR services, but they also feel the need to spend another $100,000-$200,000 of taxpayers' money to create academic studies to give them political cover for their controversial decision to build mixed-income which serves as little more than still another expensive public relations campaign!