By Sylvia Cedillo

            On Thursday, September 23, the City of Prairie View’s Planning and Zoning Committee met before a packed room, the majority of whom were Latino community members.  The meeting coincided with the Prairie View Police Department’s “Meet Our Police Officers” reception at City Hall.  The chief topic of discussion involved a proposed rezoning of Villa Capri Subdivision from single family homes to manufactured housing.  Villa Capri Subdivision is located near East Texas Precast, Ltd.  Numerous homes there continue to exist without proper water and sewer connections.  A nearby lift station is in need of repair to the detriment of residents affected by the odors. 

            Participants commented that, despite being zoned single family, prior administrations had allowed them to locate their manufactured homes in Villa Capri.  Others noted that arbitrary policies about location of manufactured homes created confusion in permitting or refusal of permits.  Mayor Brian Rowland outlined several proposed initiatives for moving forward with the rezoning, much of which involved studies and planning.  The planning will help with proper infrastructure development.  He announced that the Prairie View City Council would be taking up the zoning change before the end of September. As only part of the mayor’s statements were translated to Spanish, a request was made that he offer simultaneous translation for future meetings on Villa Capri.       


By Sylvia Cedillo

            On Wednesday, September 22, the Prairie View’s City Council met with all members and the mayor in attendance.  Public comments included invitations for Council’s participation in the City’s upcoming Hispanic Heritage Festival.  The festival marks a tribute to the growing Latino community in Prairie View and recognition of Afro-Latino connections throughout Mexico and the Americas. The council addressed only one agenda item of the fifteen listed before adjourning at 8:25pm.  The remaining agenda items were carried over to the next council meeting, raising concerns about the sometimes four- and five-hour long council meetings that have become a pattern. 

            J.J. Johnson, the city’s financial adviser, presented a workshop that prompted discussion on salary and wage increases, continuing questions on the use of crime control district funds for police operations, and requests for more information how the proposed $2.5 million in grants will affect the budget if not received.  Mr. Johnson reminded the council that they must adopt the 2021-22 budget before the end of September.  The next City Council budget meeting will require a super majority to pass the budget.    

Hispanic Heritage Month in Waller County

By Sylvia Cedillo

            Waller County schools, local governments, and communities will observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15.  The decades-old recognition encourages in-depth exploration of the histories, cultures and contributions of Latinos whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.  National Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim a National Hispanic Heritage Week.  In 1988, Congress expanded the celebration for 31 days calling it National Hispanic Heritage Month.    

            The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively.

            Waller County’s fast-growing population includes Hispanics from all over the globe.  The 2020 Census reports Hispanics comprise 30% of the county’s population.  Numerous Hispanic-owned businesses operate in the county and new residents are settling in by building homes and joining the property tax rolls.  Municipal sales tax revenue has also grown with Hispanics’ every-day purchases in our communities. 

            To learn more about Hispanic culture, check out these Internet sites:


By Sylvia Cedillo

            On September 8, the City of Prairie View City Council held a special budget meeting to meet the State of Texas’s September 29 deadline for adopting its budget.   The quorum included all council members and the mayor, with Council member Jonathan Randle absent.  This year’s budget includes an increase of $3.79 million dollars over last year’s budget of $7.45 million dollars.  The budget relies on $3 million dollars in bond revenue and $2.5 million dollars in unrealized grant revenue.        

            The City’s $11.2 million dollar budget includes payroll and benefits for 13 police officers, with an additional 2 officers budgeted for hire in January, according to Mayor Brian Rowland.  In Prairie View, law enforcement comprises about 10 percent of the City’s budget.  Ongoing citizen concerns about the police budget stem from the City’s access to support from the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, Prairie View A&M University’s Department of Public Safety, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Precinct 3 Constable Herschel Smith and his reserves.  In addition, the majority of Prairie View’s population lives on the University’s campus and crime rates in the City are low.

            Several citizens commented on the City’s use of Crime Control and Prevention District funds to cover police operations.  By law, those sales tax funds are to be applied to special law enforcement programs, which are outlined in Chapter 363 of the Local Government Code.  City bookkeeper J.J. Johnson commented that the City of Prairie View, because of its size, received special consideration from the Texas Comptroller to apply the special Crime Control and Prevention District funds to operations.  He had no explanation as to why no separate Board had existed to administer the funds for over a decade or why no audits existed, despite legal requirements to do so.  Nor did Mayor Rowland or any council-member address why non-residents had been appointed to the newly formed Crime Control and Prevention Board

           In other budget matters, the 2021-22 budget will support expansion of much-needed infrastructure improvements in the area of water and sewer.  Residents in the Villa Capri subdivision continue to manage without access to City services and have high expectations for connectivity in 2022.  Under debt service, the City will pay $500 thousand dollars towards debt service on loans and bonds from property taxes.  The next City budget meeting will include adoption of the proposed tax rate.



A Proclamation on National Immigrant Heritage Month, 2021


America is, always has been, and always will be a Nation of immigrants.  It was the premise of our founding; it is reflected in our Constitution; it is etched upon the Statue of Liberty — that “from her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome.”  During National Immigrant Heritage Month, we reaffirm and draw strength from that enduring identity and celebrate the history and achievements of immigrant communities across our Nation.

Across each generation throughout our history, wave after wave of immigrants have enriched our Nation and made us better, stronger, more innovative, and more prosperous.  The American story includes the story of courageous families who ventured here — be it centuries ago, or just this year — from every part of the world to seek new possibilities and help to forge our Nation.  In every era, immigrant innovators, workers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders have fortified and defended us, fed us and cared for us, advanced the limits of our thinking, and broken new ground.

After an especially difficult period marked by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the all-too-frequent demonization of immigrants, it is vital that our Nation reflect on the leadership, resilience, and courage shown by generations of immigrant communities, and recommit ourselves to our values as a welcoming Nation.  We recognize all of the workers, many of whom are immigrants, who have contributed to the food security, health, and safety of all Americans during this challenging year — and every year.  And we honor the sacrifices made by immigrants who serve on the front lines of the pandemic as health care providers, first responders, teachers, grocers, farm workers, and other essential workers.  It was these same immigrant families and communities of color who were disproportionately struck by the virus.  In honor of those we’ve lost, let us dedicate ourselves as a Nation to protecting one another and doing our part to put an end to this pandemic for good.

The promise of our Nation is that every American has a fair shot and an equal chance to get ahead, yet systemic racism and persistent barriers have denied this promise to far too many immigrants throughout our history and today.  I have placed equity at the center of my Administration’s agenda.  From day one, I promised that my Administration would reflect the full diversity of our Nation — and today, nearly one-third of my Administration’s 1,500 political appointees are naturalized U.S. citizens or children of immigrants. 

I have directed Federal agencies to rebuild trust in our immigration system that has been lost, to reach out to underserved communities unable to access the opportunities our Nation offers them, to offer again a welcoming humanitarian hand to the persecuted and oppressed, and to reduce barriers to achieving citizenship and equality. 

I am honored to serve alongside Vice President Harris, the first daughter of immigrants to hold the Office of the Vice President, and to work with so many dedicated public servants who are immigrants — and who carry with them every day the legacies of their families’ sacrifice and resilience.

Despite the progress our Nation has made since our founding, there is more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to all our people.  Nearly 11 million people in this country are undocumented — and it is time that the Congress acts by passing the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, the immigration reform plan that I introduced on day one of my Presidency. My plan would provide a pathway to lawful permanent residency and citizenship for these undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, individuals with Temporary Protected Status, farm workers, and other essential workers who contribute to our Nation every day.

Vice President Harris and I affirm that immigrants historically have made and continue to make our Nation stronger.  I urge my fellow Americans to join us this month in celebrating immigrant heritage, stories, and cultures.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2021 as National Immigrant Heritage Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to learn more about the history of immigrant communities throughout the generations following our Nation’s founding, and to observe this month with appropriate programming and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.



            Prairie View residents face an upcoming special election November 2 to renew its Crime Control and Prevention District, a taxing district managed by a board similar to the county’s Emergency Services District.  The election is required because the district is dissolved on the fifth anniversary of its inception if a referendum for continuation or dissolution is not held.  Many cities around the state have similar districts.

            The district, funded by a .0025 sales tax, is intended for programs such as block watch programs, senior citizen community safety programs, and drug and alcohol awareness programs.  Voters approved the district in 2006.  The Texas Comptroller reports that in Year 2019, the tax raised $193,000 for crime prevention for the board to disburse.  In Year 2020, due to Covid 19’s impact, the district revenue was only $116,000.    

            The Crime Control and Prevention District has built-in accountability measures that include an annual budget and audit requirement.  Like other municipal bodies, the district’s board must prepare an annual budget and publish that budget prior to the City of Prairie View’s approval.  By law, all of the board members must be residents of the municipality.  The newly appointed board met to approve the 2021-22 budget on August 16.  The City Council met August 30 to amend the Crime Control and Prevention District Ordinance and to approve an election services provider.


By:  Sylvia Cedillo : 979-633-3120 ext.0


The Prairie View 4B Economic Development Corporation (EDC) held its regular board meeting on August 30. Member Thaddeus Singleton presided over the meeting while the board awaits election of a new president. The board’s agenda included a presentation regarding the reopening of Zippy’s Full Service Restaurant and Community Hall on Owens Road in Prairie View, an update on the EDC’s website development, and a presentation about the condition of Tapscott Park, which still lacks working bathrooms after more than 5 years.

Conflicting City meetings made it difficult for J.J. Johnson, the EDC’s bookkeeper to make his formal presentation on the EDC budget forms. EDC board member and Councilmember Wendy Williams managed to appear and answer before departing to a simultaneous City Council meeting.

Charles Zech, the EDC’s counsel advised the Board that several items were not appropriate for funding from the EDC. Those agenda items considered outside of4B’s funding scope included paying Checkers Restaurant workers for lost wages due to a business shut down August 10 through 1 1 , authorizing $5400 to the City of Prairie View for updating its zoning map, and ffnding a $4500 request for the Community Engagement Board.

The Checkers frnding request followed a shutdown ordered by Mayor Brian Rowland when Perry’s Plumbing, owned by Councilmember Waymond Perry, was frying to fix a leak at the Checkers premises. Mayor Rowland insisted that leak repairs required a pennit and ordered the City of Prairie View Police to close the restaurant, but had no statute showing a pennit requirement when the repair does not alter a plumbing system. After the restaurant closed, workers were sent home, resulting in lost pay. Dwayne Charleston received a grant to fund the second volume of a Prairie View Magazine, focusing on the city’s agricultural roots for this issue.

The EDC also considered staffng issues for an offce manager and an Interim Executive Director. Several months ago, the EDC hired an Executive Director and requested Mayor Rowland place this item on the City Council’s agenda for consideration and approval, as required. Despite repeated requests, Mayor Rowland refused to add the agenda request to the Council’s agenda, leaving the EDC in limbo. With gant applications to review, business contacts to develop, and new projects on its plate, such as Councilmember Waymond Perry’s Young Entrepreneur Project, the EDC overlooked communicating with their original Executive Director pick about serving as an interim director. Mayor Brian Rowland joined the EDC’s meeting but did not offer any explanation as to his continued refusal to add the Executive Director position to Council ‘s agenda. The EDC will meet twice in September, and possibly convene a special meeting to revisit the matter.

By: Sylvia Cedillo

Constitutional Amendment Order Decided for November 2, 2021 Election

Contact: secretary@sos.texas.gov

AUSTIN – Deputy Secretary of State Joe Esparza today drew the ballot order for the 8 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution that will appear on the November 2nd ballot. In order to appear on the ballot, the proposed amendments must be approved by at least two-thirds of the members of both the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives.

Texans will have the opportunity to approve the following amendments with a majority vote:

Proposition 1 (HJR 143)

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the professional sports team charitable foundations of organizations sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to conduct charitable raffles at rodeo venues.”

Proposition 2 (HJR 99)

“The constitutional amendment authorizing a county to finance the development or redevelopment of transportation or infrastructure in unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted areas in the county.”

Proposition 3 (SJR 27)

“The constitutional amendment to prohibit this state or a political subdivision of this state from prohibiting or limiting religious services of religious organizations.”

Proposition 4 (SJR 47)

“The constitutional amendment changing the eligibility requirements for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge.”

Proposition 5 (HJR 165)

“The constitutional amendment providing additional powers to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct with respect to candidates for judicial office.”

Proposition 6 (SJR 19)

“The constitutional amendment establishing a right for residents of certain facilities to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation.”

Proposition 7 (HJR 125)

“The constitutional amendment to allow the surviving spouse of a person who is disabled to receive a limitation on the school district ad valorem taxes on the spouse’s residence homestead if the spouse is 55 years of age or older at the time of the person’s death.”

Proposition 8 (SJR 35)

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”

For more information and resources for voting in Texas, visit VoteTexas.gov.


Perry Town Hall Brings a Crowd

On Saturday, August 21, Prairie View Council member Waymond Perry hosted his inaugural town hall meeting to a packed room at Victorious Believers Church in Prairie View. The lively audience reflected the Prairie View community by race, ethnicity, gender and age. The two- hour town hall ran smoothly, as participants had opportunities to submit written questions and question Council member Perry directly. Questions ranged from inquiring about the City’s infrastructure to asking about amending the City’s Charter. Midway through the meeting, participants completed a 10-question survey. The survey included identifying the top concerns about the City of Prairie View to rating interactions with City Hall staff for their courtesy, helpfulness, and efficiency. The survey also inquired as to whether or not individuals participated in City Council meetings and, if not, why.

Council member Perry was praised for his agenda which also included time for public comments. Those in attendance welcomed this in-person interaction with an elected leader. For months, Prairie View’s City Council has conducted its meetings via teleconference and will not commence in-person Council meetings until mid-September. Council member Perry’s next meeting is tentatively scheduled for October.

For more information contact: Sylvia Cedillo, 979-633-3120 ext.0