When All Hope was Seemingly Lost...Gloria Sanderson of Pioneer Bank Showed Up for Arthur J. Smith Sr. and His Family with a $15,000.00 dollar Check

Arthur Smith Sr., his wife Darlene Koffey Smith, son Arthur Smith III, also known as “Yung Giant”, Gloria Sanderson, SVP, CRA/Fair Lending Officer for Pioneer Bank are the featured individuals on the cover of “VERSION 1” of Houston Business Connections Magazine’s “2017 Year-End Review” edition. Houston Texans football player J.J. Watt is also featured on the cover of this version. Inside this edition, J.J. Watt shares how he plans to distribute the millions of dollars the J.J. Watt Foundation received in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Beyoncé, Mattress Mack, Jim Crane, State Senator Borris L. Miles, State Rep. Shawn Thierry, Dr. Letitia Plummer, Judge Loyd Wright, Judge Christine Riddle Butts, Judge John Schmude, Judge Renee Magee, Attorney Sandra Peake, and Attorney Melanie Wilcox Flowers are just a few of the other distinguished individuals featured inside this edition. Houston Business Connections Magazine© is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. All Rights Reserved. Cover photo by: Kennedy Hall, Phillis Wheatley High School Journalism Department/Photographer

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 19TH, 2018


Gladys Knight is coming to Houston on Friday, January 19, 2018, for the Diamond Dreams Gala at Minute Maid Park

Held on the field at Minute Maid Park, the Diamond Dreams Gala features seven-time Grammy winner, Ms. Gladys Knight -The Empress of Soul, as well as Astros players and legends. The event benefits the Astros Foundation and New Hope Housing, an organization combatting homelessness by providing housing and support services for those in need. In case you don’t know, The Astros Foundation supports local 501(c)3 nonprofits and their causes through fundraising events. They support organizations whose efforts benefit Youth Baseball/Softball, Education/Literacy, Childhood Cancer, Military and Quality of Life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

2015 ELECTION WATCH: Political Consultant Ron Jackson Joins Ben Hall for Mayor Campaign; So Does Wayne Dolcefino


Veteran Political Consultant Ron Jackson is joining the 2015 Ben Hall for Mayor of Houston Campaign as Campaign Coordinator and Consultant.


Dolcefino Consulting, the investigative communications firm managed by former TV Reporter Wayne Dolcefino has agreed to handle media communications for the 2015 Ben Hall for Mayor of Houston Campaign. For additional details, please contact Dolcefino Consulting at 713-360-6911.


2015 ELECTION WATCH: The Ben Hall for Mayor of Houston Campaign announces new members of his growing campaign team to “Move Houston Forward.” 

Dolcefino Consulting, the investigative communications firm managed by former TV Reporter Wayne Dolcefino has agreed to handle media communications for the campaign. Wayne will assume the title of Campaign Communications Coordinator. 

Veteran Political Consultant Ron Jackson is joining the campaign as Campaign Coordinator and Consultant. Jackson is a veteran political consultant and former broadcaster at KYOK Radio. Jackson has worked on the political campaigns to elect two successful members of Houston City Council, former Houston Police Chief C.L. Bradford and Councilmember Michael Kubosh. Jackson also was involved in the campaign to defeat red light cameras in the City of Houston. 

Ben Hall has been an ordained Christian minister for over 40 years and married for 34 years to his wife Saundra. The prestigious Hall Law Firm

has a long resume, and the fight’s included seeking damages for a black family victimized by a cross burning, helping homeowners fight against contamination, and defending four undocumented women who were sexually assaulted by a Houston policeman.

Recently his firm donated the legal work to help save the brick streets in the Fourth Ward laid by the descendants of emancipated slaves. The family recently took over ownership of Houston’s oldest black radio station KCOH, just days before the station collapsed. 

Ben has served the City of Houston before, as City Attorney under the late Mayor Bob Lanier and has spent the last two decades in the community. 

For additional details, please contact Dolcefino Consulting at 713-360-6911.



Dear Neighbor,

I am Ben Hall and I want to be Mayor of this great city! Many of you probably know me, but for those of you who don’t, I am a husband, father, businessman and attorney. I left the private sector during Mayor Bob Lanier’s term, to lead the City Attorney’s office. During that time, I gained the skills and knowledge to move our city forward, by using private sector experience to solve problems. I learned from Mayor Bob that in order to lead this City it requires a focused and committed leader.

Saundra and I love Houston and the opportunity it has given us to be a positive force in the lives of others. We want to continue that by giving back to a city that has given so much to us.

Our streets need to be repaired; our neighborhoods need to be protected; Houstonians need jobs; and our city debt must be addressed. We can’t do this if we don’t work together. As your next Mayor, my focus will be on our City’s basic needs, and to make sure that businesses can flourish without the harsh penalty of more taxes and fees.

I am asking you to join Saundra and me in moving our city forward.

Join us in focusing on the things that matter to ALL Houstonians. I am asking for your prayers, your votes and your thoughts on how we can move Houston forward.

Sincerely,


Benjamin L. “Ben” Hall, III
2015 CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR OF HOUSTON
VOTE EARLY: MONDAY, OCT. 19TH - 30TH
ELECTION DAY: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2015
PAID POLITICAL AD BY BEN HALL FOR MAYOR

CRIME

Ben is a husband and father so he knows the importance of protecting Houstonians. Ben will work with our law enforcement agencies and first responders to keep our families and city safe. As former City Attorney, he understands safety of our citizens is priority.

FIXING OUR STREETS

Houston is a first class city and we deserve first class streets. As Mayor, Ben will make fixing our streets in a timely manner a priority; synchronizing our traffic lights; and working with regional partners to improve traffic conditions. Sitting in traffic means spending less time with your family. Houstonians deserve much more than we have received from city government.

FISCAL RESTRAINT

In tough economic times, we must do more with less. Ben will work to rein in wasteful spending that has occurred at City Hall and work to fix our city’s pension problem. Ben is a business owner and understands the city must be run like a business. He will protect your hard earned tax dollars.

BIOGRAPHY


Ben Hall is a husband, father, and business owner who understand the challenges Houstonians face each day. Ben has been married to Saundra Turner Hall for 33 years. They have two sons, Ben IV and Zachary Hall.

BEN’S EDUCATION

University of South Carolina (B.A.) 
Duke Divinity School (M. Div.)
Duke University Graduate School (Ph.D.)
Harvard (J.D.)

BUSINESS EXPERIENCE

Ben is the founder and owner of The Hall Law Firm where he fights for average citizens every day. Ben and Saundra are also the owners of KOCH Radio, the oldest black owned radio station in the Greater Houston Region. They are also owners of KOCH TV and several other businesses.

BEN'S COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND EXPERIENCE

Life Member, NAACP
Sustaining Member Harris County Democratic Party
City Attorney, City of Houston (1992-94)
Former Board Member, Red Cross, Houston Chapter
Board Member, Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

*NOTE: The individuals featured on this page are not connected to one another in any way, shape, or form, unless otherwise noted. 




2015 CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR OF HOUSTON


2015 ELECTION WATCH: Ben Hall the candidate highlighted above is a 2015 Candidate Running for Mayor of Houston Who Is Seeking Our Vote, Prayers and Support; Letters from Ben Hall and Victoria Lane are Featured Below; As Well As Six Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Going to the Polls on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

HBC REPORTS

Trying to find the right candidate in a contested Mayoral Election can sometimes become a very difficult, time-consuming, and daunting undertaking; especially when the field of candidates is comprised of several well-qualified and financed top-tier candidates. Such will be the case when 2015 Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall faces off against the likes of: Bill King, Chris Bell, Marty McVey, Stephen C. Costello, Victoria Lane, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Demetria Smith, Adrian Garcia, and Sylvester Turner when early voting begins on Monday, October 19, 2015.

THE PEOPLE WHO TURN OUT TO VOTE WILL DECIDE THE 2015 CITY OF HOUSTON MAYORAL ELECTION

“I’m praying for Houston voters to turn out in “BIG NUMBERS” armed with the knowledge they need to make an informed and empowered voting decision when they enter the voting booth on Election Day,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper. “I believe that there are some difficult days ahead for Houston and other major cities across America. And Houston needs a mayor at the helm who values every citizen, irrespective of their race, gender, or socio-economic status. This is very important in times like the times we're living in. And it’s imperative that Houstonians get it right in the upcoming election,” he went on to say.

THE LAST THING HOUSTON NEEDS

“The last thing Houston needs right now, in my opinion, is to elect someone who is "OUT OF TOUCH" and doesn’t value all Houstonians…ALL COMMUNITIES. And the jury is still out on many of the 2015 candidates running for mayor of Houston. We live in a ‘what have you done for me lately’ society,” he says. “And some of the individuals running for mayor haven’t really done anything relevant in years.”

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: "Contrary to popular belief there is "NO" Front-Runner in the 2015 race to become Houston's Mayor at this time; the complete field of candidates won’t even be officially set until Monday, August 24, 2015."

“That’s why I’m asking people to do their own research on all the candidates before going out and jumping onto anyone’s campaign bandwagon in 2015. Then, after doing their research, and due diligence, I’m encouraging people to become engaged and involved in the process of electing the mayoral candidate who best identifies with their core-values, ideals, and beliefs,” says Taylor.



1. Does this mayoral candidate have the experience and educational background needed to best represent my interests at City Hall and elsewhere? -- This question was submitted by Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.

2. Will this mayoral candidate be working for me (the voter) or special interest groups; his/her donors; political action committees; or those who supported their campaign when elected? -- This question was submitted by Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.

3. Is this mayoral candidate a person of faith, who believes in standing up to protect religious freedoms, liberty and the rights of every Houstonian? -- This question was submitted by Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.

4. Does this mayoral candidate have a proven track-record of supporting issues, concerns, and policies that are important to me, and the well-being of my family? -- This question was submitted by Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.

5. Does this mayoral candidate have a diverse campaign team reflective of the cultural diversity and makeup of the body of people living in the City of Houston? -- This question was submitted by Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.

6. Does this mayoral candidate understand the importance of being supportive, sensitive, knowledgeable, and attentive to the needs of a populous as culturally diverse as the City of Houston? -- This question was submitted by Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.

*** Email your question to aubreyrtaylor@gmail.com for consideration.

OFFICIAL FIELD NOT SET

The official field of candidates who will be running for mayor of Houston in 2015 isn’t completely set just yet. So other candidates seeking to run for Mayor, City Controller, City Council, HISD Board of Trustees, and the HCC Board of Trustees may still enter the race; but we’re pretty sure that the aforementioned mayoral candidates will be running active campaigns to earn your vote. And anyone else seeking to get in the mix will have until Monday, August 24, 2015 to get into the race.

NO STRAIGHT TICKET VOTING

There will be no straight ticket voting, or party politics at play in the 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election. So we’re encouraging you to do your research on each of the candidates. We furthermore implore you to not rely on negative radio and television advertisements as your sole way of determining which candidate will best represent your interests.

DUTIES OF THE MAYOR

The mayor of Houston is essentially the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Houston. The person elected on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 will be responsible for the general management of the City, and for making sure that all laws and ordinances are adhered to and enforced. The mayor of Houston also makes appointments, with approval from the City Council of Department heads, and other persons designated to serve on advisory boards for the City.

IDENTIFYING CANDIDATES WHO VALUE US

One of the easiest ways you can determine whether a candidate truly values all segments of Houston’s diverse populous is to take a look at the campaign team they’ve assembled. Next you should endeavor to determine whether your community is part of the targeted demographic the candidate you're thinking about supporting is trying to reach. Next you want to follow the money -- how the candidate is  spending his/her campaign funds (and where their money is coming from) -- will give you a pretty good idea of who the candidate values; or will be beholden to once they're elected. You should also pay close attention to their connections to other elected public officials. Sometimes there are "BACK ROOM DEALS" at play in elections. Sometimes these deals can determine which candidates are going to get the "MAJOR ENDORSEMENTS" and in some cases even the "FAVORABLE TREATMENT" and handling from mainstream media leading up to ELECTION DAY.

PAY ATTENTION

You should always check to see if the candidate you’re considering is making a good-faith effort to promote their campaign inside any minority-owned periodicals, newspapers, magazine, blogs or websites -- as this will give you a good idea of whether the candidate values and respects the vote of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and other ethnic groups.

MAKE THEM ASK FOR YOUR VOTE

"If a candidate isn't willing to reach out to you by way of spending at least a small portion of their campaign resources to ask for you to support/vote for them, I believe its safe to say that that particular candidate may not have a true heart for you or your community," says Taylor. "And remember LUKE 12:34, which states, 'Wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also," said Taylor. "So please, please, please, use common sense when you go into the voting booth whether you're voting early from Monday, October 19, 2015 through Friday, October 30, 2015; or on Election Day which is: Tuesday, November 3, 2015. AND DON'T FORGET THIS: "If a candidate values you, they'll ask for your vote."


At this time, Ben Hall, a well-known Houston attorney is asking for our vote, prayers, and support in his quest to become mayor of Houston. Hall finished as the runner-up to (Mayor Annise Parker) back in the 2013 City of Houston Mayoral election. “We’ve provided some information on Ben Hall below. Hall is being highlighted here because he’s one of only two candidates in the 2015 race for mayor who is asking for our vote, prayers, and support at this time,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper.

“Victoria Lane is a candidate who values and respects us, our community, and our vote. Victoria Lane, is a businesswoman with more than 40 years of experience. She was the fourth place finisher back in the 2013 City of Houston Mayoral election. She finished behind Mayor Annise Parker, attorney Ben Hall and attorney Eric Dick respectively back in 2013. “We've provided a good overview of who Victoria Lane is in her profile below,” says Taylor.


A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “The 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Race is expected to be a highly competitive non-partisan contest between several of the top-tier candidates. So, we're encouraging you to do your own research to determine which candidate will best represent your interests and values. And please don’t forget that I’m personally imploring you to value your vote by putting it to work for the people who value, respect, and have a heart for us when you go to the polls during the early voting period that will be taking place from Monday, October 19, 2015 through Friday, October 30, 2015.”

KEY DEADLINES

The candidate filing deadline is on Monday, August 24, 2015 if you plan to run for Mayor, Controller, City Council, or one of the HISD Board Trustee seats in the Tuesday, November 3, 2015 General Election.



Thursday, June 25, 2015 is the deadline to post notice of candidate filing deadline.


Saturday, July 25, 2015 is the first day to file for place on general election ballot.


Monday, August 24, 2015 is the last day to file for place on general election ballot.


Friday, September 4, 2015 is the first day for registered voters to apply for ballot by mail.


Monday, October 5, 2015 is the last day for voter registration with the Harris County Clerk.


Monday, October 19, 2015 is the first day of early voting for the 2015 General Election.


Friday, October 23, 2015 is the last day to apply for ballot by mail for the 2015 General Election.


Friday, October 30, 2015 is the last day of early voting for the 2015 General Election.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015 is Election Day for all registered voters in the City of Houston. 

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: “Please make an informed and empowered decision when you go into the voting booth to cast your vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.”

Election Day is Tues., Nov. 3, 2015 


CAMPAIGN NEWS: Mary Benton is the Moderator for the "Houston Mayoral Candidate Forum 2015" to be hosted by Council Member Dwight Boykins and the Presidents of District D Super Neighborhood Councils on Monday, June 29th, 2015

UPCOMING FORUM

On Monday, June 29, 2015 the “Houston Mayoral Candidate Forum 2015” hosted by Dwight A. Boykins, District D City Council Member and current presidents of various District D Super Neighborhood Councils will be going down. This forum will be moderated by Mary Benton at Greater Grace Outreach Church located at 10800 Scott Street in Houston, Texas 77047.  Bishop E.L. Usher, D.D. is the pastor of Greater Grace Outreach Church.

The 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Candidates invited to participate in this forum are: Ben Hall, Adrian Garcia, Chris Bell, Sylvester Turner, Bill King, and Stephen Costello. 

*Victoria Lane, a businesswoman (has not been invited yet) with over 40 years of experience is also a candidate running for mayor of Houston in the Tuesday, November 3, 2015 City of Houston Mayoral Election. Early voting will begin on Monday, October 19, 2015 and end on Friday, October 30, 2015. 

TOPICS OF DISCUSSION

A few of the topics to be discussed are: Streets and the ReBuild Houston Program; Future Development in District D (Commercial/Residential); Crime Reduction Plan; 2nd Chance Jobs Initiative Program; Funding for Senior Citizens Programs; City of Houston Pensions; and After School Programs.

DISTRICT D SUPER NEIGHBORHOODS

A few of the District D Super Neighborhoods are: Greater OST/South Union, Mac Gregor, Greater Third Ward, Greater Hobby, Astrodome Area, Medical Center Area, Midtown, Minnetex, Museum Park, South Acres/Crestmont, South Belt/Ellington, South Park and Sunnyside.





Dear Fellow Houstonians,

My name is Victoria Lane and I am running for mayor of Houston in the Tuesday, November 3, 2015 Mayoral Election.

I want to make Houston a city where every citizen has the opportunity to become prosperous -- one that we’re all proud to call home.

Here are several points I want you to consider:

1. As your mayor I will reduce Houston’s debt and bring in more tourism. I will encourage the building of more hotels to accommodate large conventions from different revenue streams. This alone will bring employment, opportunity, growth, and much needed revenue to our city. Also, I suggest that we use construction companies that are Houston based – keeping our money within our city.

2. I will create Job Fairs that actually hire individuals for employment throughout the city of Houston.

3. I will work with the school districts to create programs that decrease the dropout rate, bring back teachers that were laid off, and spearhead the development of more internship programs within the city for our high school seniors.

4. I will encourage Terry Grier, the HISD Superintendent of schools to have metal detectors installed in every HISD school. In order to decrease the number of children who are left alone, we need to bring in more programs from the private sector to develop tutoring, and after school studying programs at libraries and community centers throughout our city. For example, here inside the city limits of Houston, and surrounding areas, we already have government programs – such as Neighborhood Centers Inc.but they can’t do it alone. We are the 4th largest city in America, and we need several programs to assist our underprivileged children.

5. I will improve the city’s infrastructure by renewing the drainage system, especially in flood zone areas, which will reduce damages to our homes, and abolish the drainage fees which are placing an undue burden on our citizenry. Under my administration we will also fix our roads, and widen our freeways so that traffic flows more smoothly during rush-hour. These are project that have not been fulfilled, so they need to be addressed and updated – for example, The Port of Houston Bridge is very old and in desperate need of repair.

6. I will implement a new accountability system for our law enforcement which will be more sensitive to the community. When hired, our law enforcement officers sign an oath to serve and protect, and as mayor, I will make sure that they fulfill their promise.

7. I plan to amend the HERO Ordinance to clearly define what a man is, and what a woman is. And my administration will see to it, that men are not allowed in the restroom with us, or our little girls under my watch.

I’m Victoria Lane, and I have more than 40 years of experience – directly related to business management. So if you’re looking for “GOOD GOVERNANCE” and “MORAL LEADERSHIP” make me your choice on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.

I pray that God will provide and bless the city of Houston, and all of her citizenry.

Sincerely,

Victoria LaneThe next mayor for the City of Houston
Cell: (713)550-7899
Office: (281)530-7898

BIOGRAPHY

Victoria A. Lane was born in Cebu City, Philippines on October 10, 1953. Her father – Simaco R. Alesna, Sr., (Filipino-Chinese), and her mother, Lucia Monterde, (Filipino-Spanish) instilled the moral character and values that continue to guide her today. 


Victoria and her family migrated to the United States when she was 16 years of age. She studied at the Southwestern Adventist College and took up nursing as a result of her desire to serve the sick and underprivileged. However, being an inborn entrepreneur, she shifted to Business Administration with the dream of helping even more people by way of making meaningful contributions to society though her entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors.

So after graduating from college Victoria immediately entered the world of business. She first served in a marketing capacity for a Home Health Care Agency. To build capital, she worked in Medical Billing on the side. Once she’d accumulated the working capital, she founded VL Investments – which she still owns and operates today. VL Investments offers tax consultancy and Income Tax Returns (ITR) preparation, accounting services, debt consolidation, financial services, as well as retirement and savings planning. She also sells real estate, a variety of dietary supplements, cosmetic products, and owns various rental properties.

During the tax season, Victoria employs mostly students to help them with expenses in school, while at the same time molding them into productive members of society. 

She also assists her husband Abel, in their high-end watch, diamond and jewelry business.

Victoria isn’t out of touch. Despite her very busy schedule, she always finds time to give of her time and resources to help the underprivileged in one capacity or another. She was the treasurer of the Asian-Americans SDA and Zion SDA Church from 2007 through 2011. She was also President of the Houston Area Community Service from 2005 through 2010. This non-profit organization helps poor and homeless victims of calamities like Hurricane Katrina. However, it also assists abused spouses, children, and drug abusers who are striving to turn their life around.


Victoria’s passion for public service can be traced back to her political pedigree. She has an uncle and a cousin who were elected Mayors of big cities in southern Philippines, namely: Ronald Duterte of Cebu City, and Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City. 

Victoria believes that acting as the chief executive officer of a business, and the chief executive officer of a city is one in the same. To be a good mayor, one must have administration and management skills – the same is so in business. Victoria has these skills and more. Coupled with these skills is her heart for the people. And her more than 40 years of business experience, proven track record, proven concern for the poor, and faith in God should serve her well if elected by the voters on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.




BEN'S RESOLUTION: "My commitment to you as mayor will be to improve our streets, improve public safety, and protect our neighborhoods...That is the way that our city can move forward. I am Ben Hall and I'm asking for your vote."