Friday, October 12, 2012

League City's new public safety building

Laura Elder describes the developmental fate of two of Centerpointe's near-adjacent tracts of land this morning in this story
  1. The tract north of Gas Dude is going to hold two combo office/warehouse structures, one of them to be occupied by an air conditioning contractor, apparently. 
  2. The municipal tract is being developed as the new public safety building, which will include a jail but apparently not one of the type (or extent) originally proposed (?). 
I want to spend most of this post talking about the public safety building issue.

There was a story in GCDN back in July 2012 about League City having found a way to borrow $75 million to cover this project (among others) without securing voter approval.  You might want to read that one if you plan to vote in the next election (or even if you don't, because it just might inspire you to get out and vote).  Several Council members questioned whether LC should take on that magnitude of debt without voter approval.  I happen to agree with them. 

But since the time of that initial story, there have been few (or no) updates on what has been transpiring on this issue.  I'm not sure what to think of this whole thing at this point because I haven't done all of the homework that would be required to really know the issue well.  (I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I'm primarily building a lifestyle blog here, not a political / social issues blog, but again and again, I feel forced to return to those realms for lack of viable alternatives.)

Back in June 2011, I did publish this post in which I was definitely opposed to any kind of a joint facility because I questioned the appropriateness of siting what sounded like a regional correctional facility smack in the middle of a freakin' bedroom community. 
Here is the map I published at the time of that 2011 post.

And here, just for purposes of local comparison, is an aerial photo showing an analogous facility. The "A" Googlemarker in this screengrab indicates the position of the Brazoria County Jail.  Do you notice how it's in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but farm fields?  Not in the middle of suburban residential subdivisions. 
My points at the time of that blog post included the propensity for significant local traffic increases which would impact us, plus, do you really want to see more sights of this type springing up around Centerpointe?  How would more of these impact property values?
Nothing like bail bondsmen
to spruce up the ol' neighborhood, eh?
Are we going to get more of these
setting up shop near us now?
This is what jails attract. 
Screengrab from Googlemaps,
Highway 3 and West Walker.
Anyway, the public safety building deal has now been done without any public involvement, and what this situation leaves me with is a strong wish that we had a more active blogging community in League City.  We have an acute need for citizen journalists.  Here we have a city which is absolutely renowned for its questionable politics and administrative instability, and the degree to which this store is being minded does not exactly give me a warm fuzzy.  GCDN does a great, great job of covering what ultimately transpires, but their reporting mandate includes the entire County, not just this one little historically-dysfunctional corner of it, and so they have breadth issues to which they must remain responsive.  And we all know what's been happening to mainstream journalism, so they undoubtedly face that challenge, too, just as every other newspaper does. 

This situation also leaves me with a wish that there was a clearer path to public outreach and public involvement on League City matters.  Congratulations, Centerpointe subdivision.  Word on the street is that you were instrumental in blocking a dog park that was to be built near here, and yet you let the whole jail-building issue slip right through your fingers.  Talk about penny wise, pound foolish on the issue of public involvement!  But arguably, there wasn't all that much you could have done in this case because:
  1. Our fine elected representatives managed to side-step the need for a vote on this issue, and
  2. We didn't have a viable informational route to understanding the alternatives in real time. 
I may have more to say on this issue in the near future, but for now, let me underscore this perspective by leaving you with a quote that appeared in GCDN back in July:

"But Phalen said city residents have already put their trust in them to make these types of decisions by voting them into office."
(from this GCDN piece)

"Just trust us - we are The Government."

Any time you hear any taxpayer debt issue dismissed by way of those particular words being spoken, you better hope that someone is out there taking a good hard second look at the situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm forced to moderate comments because the spammers have become too much for me to keep up with. If you have a legitimate comment, I will post it promptly. Sorry for the inconvenience.