Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jan. 17 Council Agenda

I meant to write this yesterday, but my aging vehicle had a front end problem and my aging house had a plumbing emergency, between them took up my Saturday. On the plumbing end, when I went out to cut off the water I had to dig out several inches of silt that had built up and totally covered the meter and cut-off. With a friend working top-side and me in the crawlspace all afternoon, I had plenty of time to think. I remembered getting my new water (OK, formally "Utility")bill Friday, charging me for 4,000 gallons, about normal, but I wondered, how did anyone read that meter a couple weeks ago? In fact, I had to scrape an inch or so of dirt off the meter box cover before I opened it and found the meter covered up. I don't think anyone has flipped the lid and read that meter in a while. Gentle Reader, you might want to look at your meter, a little more difficult than say, the electric on your outside wall, but if we're getting billed on a "Guess and Bigosh", might be worth your time.

I did scan the City Council Agenda packet. This has become far more inconvenient since Slideshare took it over. Hint: if you ever want to look it over, set up your account and password on Slideshare, then finally get to the Agenda Packet for the right day, then forget reading it! Slower than death; download the rascal, then it behaves as a good file should. My thanks to Mr. Turner, who taught me this trick.

First thing caught my eye was Council will order the May 12 Municipal election. Officially they will vote yes or no, but they WILL order the election, time frame being what it is, they no longer have any choice.

Two things in the Packet on this issue. City Clerk's Memo (p.178) tells Council they will be considering a May 14, 2011 election. The cost estimate in that Memo is based on last election, estimated at $40,000. This ignores the additional cost of equipment, closer to $100,000.

In the Ordinance language itself, someone got the date right. Then in Sec. 3 we are told "That voting at and on said election shall be by use of digital scan ballots". Anybody downtown hear of HAVA? According to the Help Americans Vote Act, ALL polling places WILL have at least one handicapped accessible voting station; E-Slates under the system we use, Hart Intercivic. Could be E-Slates and cost of same aren't listed because City dithered until the last moment and has not paid for the equipment because it won't be here in time.

Then under Appendix A where the election day 8 voting sites are listed, at least four precincts off top of my head simply vanish! 108, 145, 155, and 338 are not listed at all!

City missed a beautiful chance to dodge all this by moving all municipal elections to odd-numbered years where there is no conflict with Primary elections. SAISD will not share our costs or legal troubles, they moved their elections to odd years back in Sept.

Now to Item 15, a Paul Alexander special; pedestrian use of Hillside/Gun Club Rd on the north side of Lake Nasworthy. I am quite familiar with this loop around the hill. It is very popular with walkers. Fairly narrow rd. but wide enough for two-way traffic IF you and the car you are meeting aren't dodging pedestrians with dogs, kids, baby-buggies and the like. It is just scenic as all giddyup, giving an elevated view of the lake for most of the 2 mile loop.

This has been mentioned to Council at least twice, August and again Sept. 22. I, among others suggested that since it was A) popular for pedestrians and B) purely a residential loop as to vehicles an obvious, inexpensive solution came to mind. Make the road one-way for vehicles, put up some signs and paint the road, Voila! we have a pedestrian walkway. Keep the vehicles against the hill, the strollers get both the exercise and scenic view.

Far too simple. See Agenda packet, pages 134, 135, the city is proposing to spend $234,000 on a walkway at the top of the hill, with its only entrance a parking lot across from KOA Campgrounds. This ignores the fact that a majority I'm sure, of the pedestrians City is getting ready to "protect" live on the loop. What they want is to walk out the door and take a walk down their street. What a concept! Any of you ever walk down your street?

They are probably thinking; "Please, don't help me!". Query; when was the last pedestrian injury/fatality on this loop. This is no more a high-speed, high-traffic street than the one in front of my house. Why should we spend $234,000 to irritate residents who do not want to have to drive somewhere to start their walk?

Maybe the City has a new policy of building walkways where nobody wants to walk. Good thinking I guess; if nobody uses it, they won't wear it out. I mean, Red Arroyo walk/bike path. The southern part will give one a scenic view on one side of people's back fences and trash cans. Raked over scrub you want to stay out of on the other.

Enough for today, hope I haven't bored to tears already.


  1. A quick comparison of Tuesday's agenda packet and the polling places listed in the December 6th agenda packet shows that about 2 dozen precincts were left out of the current agenda packet.

    There are several other errors in the online agenda packet. For example, the minutes for January 3 list Mayor New as being present and participating when I never saw him and he was said to be in Australia. What happened to attention to detail?

  2. nah! Unless my name is Nobody, somebody is listening!

    1. We'll see on Tuesday. What's that old saying about actions and words?

  3. People who pay high dollar for lakeside homes may not like the general public clogging their street. Of course residents of the street will continue walking the lower loop. It's the interlopers who need to take the elevated path.

    I saw something similar happen around Lake Jackson's Lake Jackson. The city eliminated a public park, highly utilized by walkers and runners.

  4. My wife is from Lake Jackson. I'll find out from her what happened there.

  5. The proposal for making a walking area on the hill for Hillside/Gunclub Rd. is the best idea that has been suggested yet. The pedestrian traffic is larger here than any of the parks. This street is not a park, and the parking is prohibited by an ordinance already. This is city property, and no vehicles should be allowed to park in any of the open areas. If this was only neighborhood pedestrians, it would probably be no problem like it was 6 or 7 yrs. ago, but now with 100 to 200 people a day from all parts of town it has become extremely dangerous and a a nuisance to the residences that live on the street. This street is not a park, and it should not be treated as one.

  6. If it is thought that most of the walkers on Hillside are residences on this street, nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the walkers, etc. do not live within 10 miles of this area. I would say that there are probably only about 10 walker that live on this street. Most of these pedestrians could probably find a park or area to walk several miles closer to their house.

  7. The City of Lake Jackson broke up the public park and sold lots for high dollar homes, which already occupied most of the land around the lake..