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Mayor Parker taps 1st woman city attorney

News from the City of Houston:

Mayor Annise Parker has selected Donna Edmundson to be the new city attorney.  Upon confirmation by City Council, Edmundson will become the first woman to hold the position.  She has nearly 30 years of experience with the City Legal Department.

“With just a year left in my term and a wealth of internal talent, I did not see a need to consider an outside candidate,” said Mayor Parker.  “Multiple employees were interviewed from within the department, and I concluded Donna is the best choice.  She has deep and broad experience in matters of law and management.  I particularly like that her recent experience has been in the area of neighborhood protection, which is one of my top priorities.”

Edmundson has been practicing law in the City Legal Department since 1986.  Since 2008, she has served as Chief of the department’s Neighborhood Services Section.  Her current responsibilities include managing 25 attorneys and support staff as well as providing legal advice regarding neighborhood issues to various city departments. She has pursued legal action against the owners of dangerous buildings and works closely with the Houston Police Department (HPD) on gang, drug and vice related matters. Her work targeting a north side gang known as the Hollywood Click resulted in a 40 percent reduction in criminal activity in a 48 square mile area on Houston’s north side.  She was also intimately involved in the settlement that ended long-standing litigation between 16 area topless clubs and the City.  The agreement set new regulations for operation of the clubs and provided funding for creation of a human trafficking unit within HPD.

Prior to being named to the management position of section chief, Edmundson served as a Senior Assistant City Attorney.  She has a law degree from South Texas College of Law and a B.A. from Sam Houston State University.

Edmundson will replace David Feldman, who is resigning effective January 16, 2015, to go into practice with his son.

City Council is expected to consider Edmundson’s confirmation in two weeks.

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Houston’s new poet laureate: Dr. Robin Davidson

robin-davidson-2015Houston has a new poet laureate: Dr. Robin Davidson. She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Houston-Downtown. As Houston Poet Laureate Davidson will represent the City of Houston by creating excitement about poetry through outreach, programs, teaching, and written work. She will receive an annual honorarium of $5,000 through the City’s Initiative Grant Program of the Houston Arts Alliance and serve a term of two years, May 2015 through May 2017.

About Dr. Robin Davidson

Born in Trieste, Italy, to American parents, Dr. Davidson is a poet, translator, and assistant professor of Literature and creative writing at the University of Houston-Downtown. She holds a B.A. in French from the University of Texas at Austin, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. She is the author of “Luminous Other” (Ashland Poetry Press, 2013) which won the 2012 Richard Snyder Memorial Prize, as well as two chapbooks: “City that Ripens on the Tree of the World” (Calypso Editions) and “Kneeling in the Dojo” (Finishing Line Press). She is co-translator, with Ewa Elzbieta Nowakowska, of “The New Century: Poems by Ewa” from the Polish (Northwestern University Press).

In 2003 – 2004 Dr. Davidson served as Fulbright professor of American literature at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. Her poems and translations have appeared in such American literary journals as “AGNI,” “The Paris Review,” “Gulf Coast,” “Tampa Review,” “91st Meridian,”Literary Imagination,” and “Words Without Borders.” She is the recipient of a 2009 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Translation. She currently teaches creative writing as associate professor of English for the University of Houston-Downtown, serves as the faculty advisor for UHD’s literary and visual arts magazine, “The Bayou Review,” and served as president of the board of directors for the Writers in the Schools program from 2008 – 2010. She also is the recipient of a 2009 Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant for her poetry.

Hear from her

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Mayor Parker’s Remarks for “Dress for Success” (video)

This video is from a news event held by Mayor Annise Parker for “Dress for Success Houston – Send One Suit Day.”

Mayor Annise Parker, City Council Member Brenda Stardig, and executives from Dress for Success and Chevron kick off an initiative which promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Local establishments will participate in Dress for Success Houston’s Send One Suit Day which will be the start of a charitable week. For the past 11 years, Dress for Success Houston (DFSH) has hosted and engaged the community in its large, city-wide suit drive. During this week, more than 100 companies will host suit drives at over 200 locations. This initiative brings in over 60 percent of the agency’s clothing inventory.

SOURCE: http://www.houstongovnewsroom.org/go/doc/2155/2110809/

Visit the Dress for Success website for more information the great work they do.