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Houston Won’t Host DNC Convention In 2020, Apartment Application Fraud On The Rise, And Texas Teachers March, Lobby In Austin

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Jacquelyn Martin/AP/File
Tom Perez, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Houston Won’t Host DNC Convention In 2020

Democrats selected Milwaukee to host their 2020 national convention Monday, setting up the party's 2020 standard-bearer to accept the presidential nomination in the heart of the old industrial belt that delivered Donald Trump to the White House.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez chose Milwaukee over Houston and Miami after deliberations lingered longer than party leaders or officials from the three finalist cities had expected. The convention is scheduled for July 13-16, 2020.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement he is "deeply disappointed" and said Houston's bid brought together people from both major political parties, and from no particular party, to show that the Bayou City represents the demographic future of America. Turner also noted Houston "has unmatched experience with putting on mega-events," such as the Rodeo, the Super Bowl and the Final Four.

The Harris County Democratic Party also expressed their disappointment and noted that Texas is a "battleground state."

It will be the first time in over a century that Democrats will be in a Midwest city other than Chicago to nominate their presidential candidate. Instead, the political spotlight will shine for a week on a metro area of about 1.6 million people.

Florian Martin/Houston Public Media
Apartment application fraud has been on the rise with the increase in online leases.

Apartment Application Fraud On The Rise In Houston

Landlords in Houston are increasingly dealing with fake documents from lease applicants, according to the Houston Apartment Association (HAA).

"We've seen a very big uptick in fraudulent applications online" in the past 18 months, immediate past HAA president Michelle Pawelek said.

The increased use of online leasing has made fraud easier, she said. Pawelek added that sometimes "rental approval packages" – which can include pay stubs, fake IDs and address track records – are even advertised on sites like Craigslist.

On average, most apartment companies will ask for a monthly salary equal to two to three times the monthly rental amount, with the deposit typically amounting to one month's rent. To confirm the salary, most companies ask for the last two to three paycheck stubs.

Screenings typically include both a credit check and a criminal background check.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Louis Malfaro (center), president of the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Texas Teachers March, Lobby In Austin

Houston teachers are spending Monday in Austin, marching and speaking to state legislators about the financial needs they want to prioritize for public education in Texas. It's a crucial moment in the state for school funding reform, since Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen have designated it as a priority for the 2019 legislative session.

Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, talked to Houston Matters about the day of action at the state Capitol and weighed in on the legislation that has already been filed.

Capo said the Senate's proposed $5,000 pay raise is a good start but isn't enough because Texas teachers would need to get a $7,000 raise per year to reach the national average, according to data from the National Education Association.

Capo commended House Bill 3 because it proposes a higher increase in funding than the Senate bill, but said that too much of the increase is connected to merit–based pay systems.

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