(12) comments Back to story

Dwight Burns

I, for one, never thought I would see the day the city of my birth and known for it's ethnic diversity, since it's birth, would try to restrict who lives and who does not live on Galveston Island.

Affordable Public Housing is a part of every City I know of in America. The rebuilding of homes destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008 should be in the past. Yet hear it is 2013 and the City of Galveston is still throwing up road block after road block in order to keep low income people displaced by Hurricane Ike from moving back to the Island by every legal trick in the book and not.

I think the idea of having to use Kirk McClure, a professor of Urban Planning at the University of Kansas, to conduct a study is a slap in the face to every professor of Urban Planning in the State of Texas. Why in Sam heck does the City of Galveston have to go all the way to Kansas, to find a professor of Urban Planning when the Galveston/Houston College System has qualified professionals who could do the job and probably because they 'live here', do a much better job at less cost to the tax payers who will pick up the tab?

In my 65 years, I haven't seen Galveston this separated by race, even during Segregation.

Walter Manuel

Drumb47, while I agree with most of your post, I don't think the part about race being the dominating factor as to where to put the public housing units is accurate because there are equally I'm sure just as many low-income Caucassion, Mexican American, Asian, as well as, other nationalities who utilize public housing.

It does appear however by all accounts as though city officials is taking advantage of an unfortunate situation by trying to limit the number of public housing units replaced in Galveston itself in order to change the climate of their residents in an effort to appeal to the higher end property owner.

I absolutely agree with you that those displaced by hurricane Ike do deserve the same rights to return to Galveston and to the life that they once had prior to the hurricane.

Surely there can be a compromise that's a win-win for everyone?

Norman Pappous

It is a universal right to be able to return home after a disaster has forced you to leave. The only caveat is if the area is still safe - Chernobyl is a good example.

GHA residents were provided with vouchers after Ike. That means they can choose where they wish to live. If they want to return to Galveston, they have that right and that ability as Galveston has more subsidized housing available per capita than most anywhere in the entire state - if not the nation.

Many have chosen to return. That was confirmed by GHA representatives to the GISD Board of Trustees and the CoG City Council on different occasions. It is on tape and available for viewing. The only roadblock is that you have to search through the meetings to find the appropriate one. Alternative you can connect with each entity's Public Information Officer for assistance in locating that meeting date.

No one is keeping anyone from living in Galveston. If you know of any GHA resident that was refused housing in Galveston and was fully compliant with HUD regulations, please have them contact me at normanpappous@cityofgalveston.org and I will look into it.

As for McClure instead of a local person.... McClure is one of the best in the country and was recommended by a Texas professor when they were unavailable to do the work.

JT Edwards

Councilman Pappous said:
"No one is keeping anyone from living in Galveston. If you know of any GHA resident that was refused housing in Galveston and was fully compliant with HUD regulations, please have them contact me at normanpappous@cityofgalveston.org and I will look into it."

I, as a GHA Commissioner, share in that same sentiment.

You can contact me directly at jtedwards@ghatx.org

No one has been refused to my knowledge.

Steve Fouga

"I, for one, never thought I would see the day the city of my birth and known for it's ethnic diversity, since it's birth, would try to restrict who lives and who does not live on Galveston Island."

drumb47, are you serious? Have you ever lived anyplace other than the Island? All over the country, cities try to shape their populations to match their goals. Galveston already has a large proportion of poor people, and probably sees no reason to add more. Have you traveled extensively? I have. Nowhere have I seen more ethnic diversity than in Galveston. It's pathetic that supporters of public housing immediately turn every debate into a discussion of race.

IMO, the issues are crime, and whether we need more non-contibutors to the future and well-being of Galveston. If we feel a higher crime rate is desirable, then by all means build the housing. If we need a further drain on our future, build the housing. I say Galveston already has enough disadvantages.


Why is Texas City and or La Marque so mum about this foolery going on in Galveston! Seems to me as if the mainland should be seeking legal advise to counter Galvatraz. This is their problem, not ours. A culture of social hierarchy, exclusion and exclusivity with very little investment of into the community (unlike Texas City) has created this climate in Galveston. Galveston prides itself on self reliance, well..... here's your opportunity. We on the mainland don't want any part of your mess.

Steve Fouga

I'm sure you don't, but your liberal politicians might. I doubt it, though. They're probably not as dumb as our liberal politicians.

George Croix

My right to return to my property does not, or certainly should not, include any right to demand that someone else pay their money out of pocket to restore my property to it's original or better condition.

Kevin Lang

gecroix, your point is well-taken. I'll rattle off a few things that are worth considering, however: family ties, work, higher education. I don't think we should make a blanket statement that a poor person whose family lives on the island should necessarily be compelled to move because their PH washed or blew away. If moving away creates a hardship for the person to keep their job, that's something we need to look at, too.

I do not endorse a blanket approval for able-bodied folks to sit in public housing in locations where they are not likely to find jobs that would allow them to climb out of poverty. However, I don't endorse forcing the elderly or disabled to live inland while their immediate family is doing OK in Galveston.

I think it would be very important for the PH advocates to specify how many of the residents would be elderly or disabled, gainfully employed, and unemployable. I don't much care for a plan that essentially pays for people to just hang out on the beach while living on free rent and meals. It seems to be rewarding them for being unemployable. The government should not strive for building homes just to warehouse people that are able-bodied but would not be able to find local employment.

So, just because they were living in Galveston before the storm shouldn't be reason enough to rebuild them a place in Galveston. There must be more justification than that.

George Croix

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the rights of each enumerated in the Declaration of Independence.
There is no application at the end of it for anyone to fill out to be insured as to the level of success one will have in any of those areas.

Kevin Lang

I don't think that I made any points about guaranteeing someone a right to success. To flip your coin, though, we do not have the right to deny someone the opportunity to continue on their path of success. Along those lines, from what I understand, it doesn't sound like there's any rampant indications of that happening, though. If it's true that everyone that had just cause to return, and expressed their desire to return, have been accomodated in other units on the island. Which gets to my point of the advocates needing to indicate who's yet to return, and what the compelling reasons for their return are. Just because that's where they were before Ike, or because that's how many units there were before Ike doesn't seem to be reason enough to build 500+ PH units. I don't think that either side has been able to demonstrate whether there's an appropriate number between 0 and 569 that would represent the right number of units to build.

Eva Quearry

Is there a shortage of workers to fill minimum wage jobs on the Island? Having real numbers would help clarify whether we would be bringing back hundreds of former residents to likely unemployment or to fill vacant job openings. Pre-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans is a good example of large numbers of unemployed (unemployable/disabled/no available jobs/lack of transportation/uneducated/temporarily unemployed, etc) living in largely segregated (cultural/familial/cost) areas that became uninhabitable after Katrina. Have we learned nothing from that example just 3 years before Ike? If there are jobs available & Galveston can provide transportation to get to those jobs, then we should ensure that those former residents have an opportunity to live here. But is it really feasible or desirable to bring back anyone or everyone who used to live here on the Island just because they used to live here? Not a simple issue but I have heard no compelling argument that it is prudent to do so, if not only for their own health, safety, & well being.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.