FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Houston, TX, December 10, 2011 – On Monday, December 12, Occupy Houston will be joining our brothers and sisters in the Occupy movement around the United States in a coordinated action targeting the nation’s ports. This event is an expression of solidarity with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and West Coast truck drivers who have come under attack this year, as well as a statement against the multinational conglomerates and their relentless campaign to outsource American jobs and undermine our economy in the pursuit of ever-widening profit margins.
We will be joined here in Houston by hundreds of Occupiers and concerned citizens from all over the state, including Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth. From 1:00 – 3:00 PM, we will be protesting outside the security perimeter where the Port of Houston Authority’s executive offices are located, 111 East Loop. We will also hold a “Main Street March” down the length of downtown Main St. from 4:00 – 6:00 PM in a visible display of support for the West Coast Port Shutdown effort and the American working class.
The Port of Houston Authority and its board members have come under scrutiny this year for violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, procurement irregularities, misuse of public funds, records falsifications, and other highly questionable practices. During his tenure as PHA board chairman, Jim Edmonds became a highly paid consultant for AECOM, a global infrastructure company with deep ties to Libya and Khamis Gaddafi, son of Muammar Gaddafi. After this, the Port of Houston agreed to a major study of Libya’s Ports and even hosted a special tour of the port for Khamis Gaddafi just days before the Libyan revolution broke out. In addition, the CEO of the PHA, Alec Dreyer, is the highest paid local government official in the state of Texas, receiving a larger salary than that of even Houston’s Mayor Parker.
Occupy Houston demands justice for these abuses of privilege. We call for an audit of the Port of Houston Authority and the prosecution of those found to be culpable in the misuse of public funds. We demand stiffer restrictions on the use of public funds for executive travel expenses and more equitable and reasonable salaries for public officials such as Mr. Dreyer.