Category Archives: Galveston

Turmoil in Galveston

Galveston is caught in a juncture of rebuilding and building for the future. City Council  fired the popular City administrator Steve LeBlanc over his supposedly lack of vision. While the voters thought that vision was what  the mayor and city council were supposed to provide and that the city administrator was to impliment.  Maybe it is because the vision isn’t all that great?   Apparently the beloved leaders think we need growth:

Hurricane Ike bit into the island city’s population in 2008, knocking it from 57,000 to about 48,000.

“Our population is going to recover from a bottomed-out low point,” Mayor Joe Jaworski said. He wants to restore the population to 50,000 in one to two years. “My sweet spot is to get it up to 75,000,” he said.

I think they need to explain to us why growth is in the voters interest.  Is more traffic, and drains strains on  our small islands sewage and water resources going to benefit the voter taxpayer and home owner.   Personally, I find Galveston more livable after the Ike than it was before. Its cleaner with less traffic, with seemingly less crimes and fewer panhandlers. Its becoming apparent that the city wants to represent the people who are not here yet rather than the voters who already exist.

The idea, echoed by others in the community, is to capitalize on the layout of the historic neighborhoods, historic downtown and seashore by making the city greener and pedestrian- and bike-friendly.

Jaworski says people are leaving the island for three reasons: a misperception that the schools are poor, the shortage of affordable, attractive housing, and a sense that the city lacks cleanliness and safety.

No Joe, you have it all wrong! They are leaving because of the threat of hurricanes and the extremely high cost of wind and flood insurance.  While any efforts to improve the quality of lifestyle for us existing residents is much appreciated, Any efforts by the city should be done improve things for those who live here, but not to encourage growth.  If we do certain things to improve the lifestyles, growth will likely happen. An unfortunate side effect of an otherwise good thing. Population growth just for the sake of population growth is against the residents best interest. If we wanted to live in a big bigger city  Houston would be most accommodating .  We aren’t League City or Clear Lake City and we don’t want to be.

There is currently a recall petition to get rid of Joe Jaworski and some of his coherts in the City Council, Probably not a good idea.

By contrast, the people who are organizing the drive to recall Jaworski do not seem to have a vision for Galveston’s future — at least not one that most islanders can rally to.

Bill Quiroga, who is heading the drive, has offered himself as a candidate for office before. When he ran for mayor in 2010, outlining his vision for Galveston, he received 2 percent of the vote.

We as a city voted for Joe, and really want him to succeed in leading us into the future, but he needs to understand what is best for the voter and residents isn’t always what is best for developers and real estate agencies

 

Parking Meters Passed

The votes are in. They will be charging for parking on the seawall.

Seawall paid parking will be implemented in accordance with a neighborhood parking and security plan and adhere to state law provisions governing the expenditure of beach user fees.  Paid parking will expire seven years from the date the fees are first collected unless otherwise renewed or amended by a majority of qualified voters.

Proposed Seawall Paid Parking Plan Elements:

Parking Fee: $1.00 per hour up to $8.00 per day or $25.00 annual parking pass
Times & Dates: Year-round; 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM; Seven days a week
Method of Collection: Pay stations
Income Usage: Up to 10% for administration. 15% reserve to replace capital improvements. 75% Seawall enhancements either through debt service or M & O

This will be troublesome for businesses and their customers along the seawall. Those who provide free parking will be fighting squatters who don’t want to pay.

Voting Tommorrow

Seaweed At the Beach

We will go to the polls Saturday, and vote against charging for parking on the seawall.  A hairbrain scheme designed to make local government a little bit bigger.  When will the city learn, the cure is almost always less government not more.  Charging for parking is likely to cause onl;y more problems for businesses near the seawall. How will they keep people from parking in business parking lots and walking across the street?

Meanwhile seaweed has taken over the beach, and bureaucracy, not a lack of parking fees, has prevented cleaning it up.

“It’s the most seaweed we’ve had in recent years,” said Mario Rabago, interim executive director of the Galveston Park Board of Trustees.

Seaweed usually washes ashore at peak levels from April to September. Cleaning the sargassum has been delayed by new enforcement of a permitting requirement.

The city has granted a variance to allow for cleaning along the seawall, and Apffel Park should be cleaned by the end of the week.

A topographic study of Stewart Beach is needed before a permit can be approved.

Meters will not cut the red tape, but may make it harder for some to go to the beach.

Gambling in Texas

There has been a lot of talk about gambling in Texas, and some folks think that because of the budget crunch and the state Legislators stubbornness on not increasing taxes that legalized gambling would be a source of income that would make every one happy.  `tain’t so.  While the house committee forwarded a bill.

A Texas House committee surprised the casino lobby Friday night when it voted out legislation that would allow video lottery terminals — slot machines — at state racetracks and Indian reservations. The casinos were left behind.

Casino interests wanted any legislation approved by the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee to also allow destination casinos in major cities and on the state’s barrier islands.

They want to allow gambling at the horse tracks, but not allow real resort type casinos to be built in the big cities and barrier islands. The bills have split their support, between the the track owners and the casino developers. and have far to go before the Memorial day deadline.

While some folks have pined their hopes on gambling being an answer to this budgets crunch. Money wouldn’t come into the state coffers at least until 2013.  The legislators would have a hard time seeing that far into the future.

 

Somebody Must be doing Something Right

Our State Rep Craig Eiland is having anger management issues.  Throws the rule book up in the air in frustration, show his great statesmanship skills.

Tempers got even testier moments ago when House Calendars Chairman Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi wanted to suspend all necessary rules for several controversial bills on Monday’s agenda.

Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, threw the House rule book high into the air to show his disgust.

Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, raised his voice from the back microphone – pointing out that Hunter’s extraordinarily unusual motion required one-hour notice.

“If you don’t want to enforce rules, that’s on you,” Fischer said in a loud voice to House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. “That’s not on us.”

He also reminded Straus that House members took down former House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, and more than two years ago because of his strong-armed rule.

What has him upset is TWIA tort reform legislation. “I have to go out and work (sue) under these rules.” -Rep. Craig Eiland

Or that his sugardaddy Steve Mostyn will be disapointed in new TWIA reforms.  All I know is that windstorm insurance is a backbreaker here on the island, and they don’t even cover much.

Hyperbola

The airlines have canceled most of their flights, many schools closed early today. Just about all of the schools have closed tommorrow,
Here in  Galveston we might get 1/10 to 1/4 of ice and maybe 1 inch of snow. Further away from the coast 1 to 3 inches of white stuff. While it is predicted there isn’t one flake of snow or a sliver of ice yet to be seen,

Watching the local news we are reminded that it is the end of the world as we knew it.

Too much Time on Their Hands

Our tree sculptures are a symbol of recovery to us in Galveston turning our loss into something positive.

It was almost 2 years ago on Sept, 13 that Hurricane Ike struck Galveston. The destruction Island wide was devastating. Weeks after the rebuilding we saw some of our majestic oak trees start to die off.  Rather than just cut them down folks decided to turn them into art. There are about 30 of the sculptures around town all are within view from sidewalks and the roads. The informal Tree Sculpture Tour has become a popular thing to do on our Island, and the homeowners have been so gracious.

The City in its never ending efforts to punish  efforts to do good, has assessed a fee of $10.00 to the home owners who tolerate visitors coming by to observe and take pictures in front of their homes.

As a sign of recovery and as a sign of the creativity and spirit of humankind, a group of local artists began to sculpt the stumps of the dead trees, creating mermaids, angels and hope from the dying remnants. There are about 20 such sculptures scattered around the city. Three are on public right of way — hence the $10 fee.

Beauty always is in the eye of the beholder, but the sculpted trees are beautiful. They have gained worldwide attention on the Internet. The public art is altogether a good and positive thing for a city that still struggles to get its feet back on the ground after a devastating hurricane.

For the city to charge homeowners a $10 fee for a sculpture is ridiculous. Nonetheless, the license-to-use fee applies because the tree sculptures are “designed” and thus fall into the category of right-of-way infrastructure. Galveston didn’t see the original trees as right-of-way infrastructure. But the sculptures — well, that’s another matter. Rules, after all, are rules.

While Tilloson generously offers to pay the $30.00 for the home owners. I respectfully suggest that in these hard times that if the city is so desperate that they can save a lot more money by eliminating the positions of whoever came up with this decision.  When a department comes up with ridiculous ideas, it is a sure sign that there are too many idle minds in one place. The savings would be significantly more than the annoying fees they are subjecting the homeowners too.

Change in Galveston County Winds

The new county commissioners swore in yesterday. For the first time since reconstruction, the County Commissioners Court will be run and headed up by Republicans.  Things probably won’t change a lot, hopefully though some of the good old boy politics will change. I kind of hate to admit it, but I’m going to miss Jim Yarbrough, he really was a servant of the people, and did a good job leading us through good times and bad. Although it is time for a change he has earned a lot of respect throughout our small county.  I wish him luck in his future.

Latonia Wilson displayed a lack of class in not co-operating with the transition.  Any politician who believes they are entitled to a position, doesn’t deserve the job.

The new blood should be good for Galveston, I think us taxpayers are gaining more protection of our money, and that they will represent us fairly. Hopefully they avoid divisional politics that the last court showed it comes to setting up polling places, and that the court will represent all the voters in the county.  They will be doing some redistricting, to reflect the population shift from south to north, The districting should be done to represent similar people in rather than to strengthen a particular party. Tom Delay styled gerrymandering will not represent the people as well as placing similar populations in  the districts.  The Court doesn’t need to protect themselves by gerrymandering. Doing the job we expect of conservatives Republicans will keep them and the party in power for a long time.