Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Galveston Seawall Parking Fees Should Be For Seawall Improvements—Just As Voters Thought They Had Approved

When Galveston voters approved parking fees long the Seawall last year, they did so with the expectation that they were voting for Seawall enhancements.

All you need to do is look at the picture above to see what I am saying. I took that picture last year during the campaign for parking fees on the Seawall that was claimed to be about Seawall enhancements.

And yet here is what was reported by the Galveston County Daily News on 3/22

“A private company would get more than 70 percent of the projected first year’s revenue from parking fees on the seawall under a proposed contract… some voters are asking how such a deal could be in line with a ballot proposition approved May 14. Language voters approved in that referendum led some to believe 75 percent of the program’s gross revenue would go toward seawall enhancements, such as lighting, bathrooms and showers…The controversy lies in a draft agreement being negotiated between city staff members and Tennessee-based Central Parking System…seawall parking would generate gross revenue of $1.127 million during the first year of operation. After taxes and credit card fees, the city and Central Parking would have $962,256 to split, under the terms of the formula. That would mean $285,135 — 29.6 percent — for the city, and $677,120 — 70.3 percent — for Central Parking, according to the proposed agreement……state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, is a vice president in Central Parking System.”  

Why must everything be a scam where public dollars for public purposes flow to well-connected private firms?

It is these type things that erode people’s faith in government, and strengthen the hand of the private sector to rip us all off.

Surely the City of Galveston can do a better job respecting the will of the voting public, and maintaining a public resource as valuable as the Galveston oceanfront.

March 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 5 Comments

Home Is Wherever I’m With You—An Idea As Solid As The Galveston Seawall

I feel sometimes that I am most at home when on the move, when considering ideas that are interesting, and when I’m with friends.

This is why I enjoyed this graffiti that I saw on the Galveston Seawall earlier this week.

I was on the road for a day trip, I liked the idea being expressed, and I was with a friend.

“Home is whevever I’m with you”—An idea as solid as the Galveston Seawall.

February 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Next Occupy Galveston Protest Is Saturday, November 5th At 28th & Seawall

Above is the poster for the next Occupy Galveston protest.

The poster also has information about how to contact, follow, and, if you wish, provide leadership for Occupy Galveston.

Even in smaller towns and cities in our great nation, Occupy Wall Street has inspired people.

Here is the Occupy Wall Street website.

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 6 Comments

While Circumstance Matters, It Is Best Not To Allow Others To Construct Your Reality

Fort Adams State Park, Newport, Rhode Island

Galveston Seawall

Downtown Houston

Alki Beach area of Seattle

Galveston Seawall

Tony Marron Park in Houston  

Serpentine Wall leading to the Ohio River in Cincinnati   

(All photos copyright Neil Aquino.)

Just because there is a staircase does not mean we’ve been offered a chance to move on up, or that there is a way out of a place we don’t want to be.

I suppose in some cases you could see these staircases as offering a way out. At least if you can swim through strong currents to reach the staircases.

While context matters and sometimes we are in a circumstance not of our own making, it is best—with help from others since we need not be alone—to make a world of our own construction instead of allowing someone else to define our world and our options.

The good thing is that we can strive for a society where people work together to find a way out of places that may seem to have no exit, or that appear to lead no place at all.

August 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Staircases To Nowhere—I Have Confidence You Can Find An Alternate Route

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(Below–Downtown Houston.)

(Below–The Alki Beach area of Seattle.)

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(Below–Tony Morrow Park in Houston.)  

(Below— Serpentine Wall leading to the Ohio River in Cincinnati.)   

(All photos copyright Neil Aquino.)

The good news is that most often we can find an alternate route.

Don’t let other people construct your world.

June 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Galveston Seawall Parking Vote On May 14—I’m A Frequent Visitor To Galveston Who Would Be Willing To Pay

This upcoming Saturday the good people of Galveston will vote on the question of ending free parking on the Galveston Seawall.

(Update 5/15/11–The people of Galveston voted “Yes” for paid parking on the Seawall.)  

From the Galveston County Daily News

“…..Charge up to $8 a day to park along the seawall or $25 for an annual pass. Hourly parking would be available at $1 an hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Up to 10 percent of income from the paid parking meters could be used for administrative costs, 15 percent would replace capital improvements and 75 percent of the income would go to seawall enhancements. The council has voted to use the parking revenue for showers, restrooms, litter control, neighborhood security and lighting. Finally, the proposal includes a sunset clause that would end paid parking seven years from the day collections start. If paid parking is beneficial, the council could extend the clause.”

This is a matter for the people of Galveston to decide.

However, as someone  who visited Galveston every six weeks or so for the nearly 13 years I’ve lived in Houston, I can say I’d be very willing to pay to park at the Seawall.

Galveston has the right to charge a modest fee to recoup the costs of maintaining and improving the Seawall. As much as I enjoy walking at the ocean in Galveston and walking on the Seawall, it is clear that it is a bare bones operation without even the most basic amenities  such as a public restroom. The $8 daily fee or the $25 annual pass is affordable even to lower-income visitors. Many people visit the Seawall with friends and family. The cost of parking could easily be split between passengers in a vehicle.

Here is a list of improvements that seawall parking would fund as according to Blog.Galveston.com

  • Vehicular controls, management, and parking
  • Sanitation and litter control
  • Law enforcement/Neighborhood and Seawall Security
  • Beach/dune system education
  • Public facilities (restrooms, equipment rentals, picnic areas
  • Recreational and refreshment facilities
  • Wash off stations
  • Necessary staff and personnel
As long as the parking fee remains affordable, the people of Galveston have the right to raise the money needed to well-maintain a public asset as valuable as the Seawall. It seems that the entire City of Galveston would benefit from the money raised by this modest fee.

May 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Just Because There Are Stairs Does Not Mean There Is A Way To Move Up—Maybe You Can Build Your Own Staircase

Just because there are stairs, does not mean you have a real chance to move on up.

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(Below–Downtown Houston.)

(Below–The Alki Beach area of Seattle.)

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(All photos copyright Neil Aquino.)

any people work very hard and yet they just can’t seem to advance.

Here is a series of articles from the liberal political magazine The American Prospect discussing the difficulties of the middle class in the U.S. and offering ideas on how to make the situation better.

There are many ways in life we might feel that the chance to move up is somehow frustrated or blocked.

In these cases, you’ll just have to try to build your own staircase.

For example, I met my need to communicate my ideas to others by becoming a blogger.

I don’t mean to neglect the role of circumstance in life.

It is a fact of life that sometimes the staircase of existence has been knocked loose or leads no place but underwater. A lot of talk about pulling yourself by your so-called bootstraps is junk. Life is sometimes rigged for the good of the few and at the expense of the many.

One good way to build a staircase for yourself is to have some help. Help might come from friends and family. Help might come from the government in the form of assistance for education or with a grant of some kind.

Maybe you can build a staircase that others will use as well.

Without forgetting that sometimes stuff is just not going to work out, you still need to make use of the life that you have.

The good thing is that things in life often work out for the best, and that there are many people out there who share your goals and who are willing to help.

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Patriotic Ocean Santa

Here is Patriotic Ocean Santa.

I saw him on the Galveston Seawall three days ago.

He sure must have been hot in that suit because it was 82 degrees three days ago.

Please have a nice and safe holiday. Please be kind to others.

(Photo copyright Neil Aquin0)

December 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Where Are Republican Objections To Federal Dollars For Galveston Seawall Improvements?—Where Are Seawall Bake Sales And The Citizen Volunteers?

The people of Galveston County will be enjoying the benefits of federal dollars as the federal government will be picking up most of the expense for $15 million in improvements to the Galveston Seawall.

(Above–Picture of Galveston Seawall I took earlier his year. Government, in concert with our own hard work, can help protect us from the storms of life.)

From the Houston Chronicle—

“….the seawall from Fourth Street to 83rd Street will be landscaped with palm trees and native grasses… Other improvements include solar lighting, benches and markers with information on history and local plants and wildlife. The bulk of the $15 million cost for the entire project will be paid for with federal transportation money…”

In 2010, the voters of Galveston County elected a Republican county government.

I thought the message of the 2010 election was to get government out of our lives.

Where are the objections to this project from Galveston County Republicans? Where are the Republicans of principle holding bake sales to raise funds for Seawall improvements? Where are the citizens forming volunteer parties to do this work without federal intrusion from Washington?

People can go on and on about government. But in the end, they take the money.

There is nothing wrong with taking the money for useful projects such as improving a resource as vital to the safety and prosperity of Galveston County as is the Seawall.

Also, there is nothing wrong with realizing the fact that government  has a role to play in our lives.

Wherever  in the country you live, you can bet that folks who complain about government  are taking government dollars for needed and helpful reasons.

We should be proud of the fact that we live in a civilized nation where funds are raised and people are helped for the good of the general welfare.

Here is some history of the Galveston Seawall.

(Photo copyright Neil Aquino)

December 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Painting On Galveston Seawall Of People In Gas Masks Cleaning Sea Muck

Here is a picture I took of the Galveston Seawall this afternoon. I’m writing this post from Galveston.

You see in the picture that people in gas masks are cleaning up muck in the sea.

I don’t know when this was painted, but it seems that somethings don’t change.

There is no oil off the coast of Galveston from the BP spill. However, the Gulf of Mexico has long been a dumping area for all types of sludge and muck.

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Four Bird Species Work Together To Eat Trash

Here are four bird species working as a team to eat trash on the Galveston Seawall. I took this picture last week.

I think this picture really shows that we can all come together in life despite our differences.

April 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Ron Paul Joins The Socialist Movement—Welcome Aboard!

So-called libertarian Congressman Ron Paul, a Republican from the Houston-Galveston area, is now happily part of the Obama Socialist movement. (Above are logos of the Socialist Party of Portugal. This is what party Rep. Paul would be a member of if he lived in Portugal.)

Here is the Houston Chronicle reporting on Congressman Paul’s adding of earmarks to the recent stimulus bill —“Rep. Ron Paul vehemently denounced the $410 billion catch-all spending bill approved last week by the House of Representatives. But although the libertarian-leaning Republican from Lake Jackson cast a vote against the massive spending measure, his fingerprints were on some of the earmarks that helped inflate its cost. Paul played a role in obtaining 22 earmarks worth $96.1 million, which led the Houston congressional delegation, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of more than 8,500 congressionally mandated projects inserted into the bill. His earmarks included repair projects to the Galveston Seawall damaged by Hurricane Ike and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.”

It’s easy to say you oppose the bill and vote against the bill when you know it is going to pass. What would have been the real test for Rep. Paul would have been to not  add any projects to the bill. If you know it is going to pass, you know that by adding projects you will be increasing the cost of the package.

I’m glad to see that big government is on the move in the United States and in Texas. People can whine and moan, but in the end they know that it is only government that can do big things such as fixing the Galveston Seawall and the Intracoastal Waterway after a hurricane.

With the support of people such as Representative Paul here in Texas, I know that this movement of big government will be very hard to stop even after the recession ends.

Also, in addition to Congressman Paul, let me please thank former President George W. Bush for messing up so bad that he made this all possible. I’ve been waiting really all my life for a government that works for average folks and now finally it seems we have that chance.   

(Below–The Intracoastal Waterway at Bolivar and entering Galveston Bay)

March 1, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Galveston, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

If Only Our Own Defenses Against The Storms Of Life Could Be Fixed With Some Sand And A Few Dollars

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Galveston Seawall is at risk of collapse after all the years of storms and after the more recent battering of Hurricane Ike. (Above–Seawall protecting Galveston from a hurricane in 1909. Here is some information about that storm. It was the first big test for the Seawall after the famous 1900 storm )

From today’s Chronicle article— “For a century, this vulnerable barrier island’s famed Seawall has protected, comforted, enabled and endured. But the hopelessly romantic notion that the Seawall could stand tall forever, holding back storm surges while preserving Galveston as a place apart, disappeared with Hurricane Ike. The September storm threatened the wall by exposing the wooden pilings that support its older sections, state and local officials said. Ike left so little sand to shield the Seawall’s base that the underpinnings could corrode or wash away, causing the 17-foot-high concrete structure to collapse. The danger has prompted a multimillion-dollar effort to replenish the beach in front of the Seawall before the next hurricane season. “We wouldn’t be spending millions of dollars if we weren’t really concerned about the wall,” said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who is responsible for the state’s coastline. “We want it to be there another 100 years. The effort requires more than 400,000 cubic yards of sand from nearby land to be dumped along the Seawall to create a 70-foot beach from 10th Street to 61st — a strip that fronts several hotels and restaurants.

This is indeed a dire report. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if our own internal defenses from the batterings  life offers could be restored with some sand and a few dollars? You’d be worn down from life, but have the knowledge that it could be fixed and you’d be back up and running. 

We all have our internal reserves, and for many of us they are quite strong and resilient. We also have people in our lives who help us out. There are beliefs we can call upon.  

Still, it would be good to know that when we simply run out of steam, that there was a fix such as the plan to secure the Seawall after over 100 years of hard work protecting Galveston. 

Here is some good information about the Seawall.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Galveston, Texas | , , , , , | Leave a comment