Guest Speaker Council Member Ellen Cohen

Council Member Cohen was gracious to carve out a significant amount of time for Winlow Place during what we all know is a very busy holiday season. We were very pleased to have her in attendance at the December Winlow Place general meeting.

To shed some perspective, Council Member Cohen began with the high-level outline of how are City Council is composed. There are:

  • 11 Districts (in which we are District C)
  • 5 At-Large Council Members
  • 1 Mayor

This totals 17 members in the Council who each receive one vote. There were previously 15 members, but two positions were added when Houston reached a population of 2 million.

Pubic meetings:

There are no "executive" meetings – that is to say that as of now, every meeting is open to the public, and often there is a significant amount of time allocated to public input. The meetings that are of primary interest are the ones each Tuesday afternoon at 1:30pm. These are the Tuesday Public Sessions, which are devoted to public comment. A few resources:

  • The City Council agenda is published on Friday afternoon prior to the next week's meeting. You can view these agendas at this web address – under the City Secretary's Office Links there will be an item called "Current Agenda" which will get you to the right place.
  • Check the Council meeting calendar since there are some weeks that are scheduled breaks (due to holidays, etc.).
  • Sign up to speak by calling the City Secretary at 832.393.1100, sending an email to or coming by the office on the public level of the City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby, Houston 77002 by 1:30pm that Tuesday.

More about District C:

District C is very populated, and very participatory in community goings-on. You can see how geographically large and complex this district is by looking at the map to the right. There are about 215,000 people in this district, and a huge core value to these residents is quality of life. Appropriately, Council Member Cohen is the chair of the Quality of Life Committee who has championed issues like the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, food truck deregulation, smoking bans in parks, and the ban on synthetic marijuana. In addition, this committee works to make Houston a city that attracts visitors and conventions so as such, they are currently working on plans for the possibility of a botanic garden (as we do not currently have one).

You may always feel free to contact Council Member Cohen by using this info:

Council Member Ellen R. Cohen
City Hall Annex 
900 Bagby, First Floor
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: 832.393.3004

Helping out Winlow Place:

A few of the recent issues Council Member Cohen has helped us with include the controversy regarding the classification/use of Dunlavy Street, as well as facilitating the appropriate dispersement of information regarding the proposed annexation of Montrose into the Midtown TIRZ (which is currently off the agenda thanks to her help until 2015). Both of these issues may resurface in 2015, but it is likely that our neighborhood (and surrounding neighborhoods) will receive more accurate and timely information so that we have an opportunity for response. Please also read the "TIRZ 101" blog post written by Ben Garry. For more information on either of these, contact

A big thanks to Council Member Cohen.

– by Caroline Garry