Before Hitchcock city commissioners discuss the proposed “mass gathering” ordinance, they ought to ask one question: Why does Hitchcock need it?

Usually, laws are proposed as a way of dealing with problems.

What, exactly, is the problem in this case?

The city officials who started this discussions have pointed out that other cities have such ordinances. But Hitchcock isn’t exactly overrun with mass gatherings. It seems to have gotten along without one. It’s not clear why the city needs an ordinance now.

City officials said they brought up an old ordinance, passed in Santa Fe in 1981, as a basis for discussion. The language of the sample would require any event that attracts at least 300 people to apply for a permit that could cost as much as $10,000.

That certainly got the discussion going. People who put on traditional festivals and church suppers expressed concern.

Proponents of an ordinance said those kinds of events are not what they had in mind, which raises the question again of what they do have in mind — what problem, specifically, are they trying to address?

Even if you took out every provision in the sample and started over you can see the problem with these kinds of ordinances just by looking at that $10,000 fee.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to assembly to all citizens, not just to those who can afford a fee.

And even if worthy causes and good events are exempted from the rules and the fees, someone will have to decide which causes are worthy and which events are good.

There already are concerns about favoritism.

Commissioner Lee Sander suggested the ordinance was not so much about mass gatherings but about mass gatherings involving minorities. 

Even organizers of Hitchcock’s signature event — Good Ole Days — expressed concerns about fair treatment under the proposed ordinance. If the Good Ole Days festival isn’t safe under this ordinance, what is?

Somewhere behind the push for this ordinance are some folks who are concerned about a real problem.

Perhaps the underlying problem is that the Hitchcock Police Department bears too much of the burden of patrolling state Highway 6 for drunken drivers during the annual Galveston County Fair and Rodeo. Perhaps the department — or the city — is bearing too much of the burden of providing that service.

If that’s underlying problem, Hitchcock commissioners should address it. If something else is the underlying problem, city commissioners should address that.

That’d be a real solution to a real problem.

The “mass gathering” ordinance, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be a solution to any specific thing. Perhaps because of that, an awful lot of people see it as an open invitation to mischief.

Heber Taylor is editor of The daily News.


(19) comments

PD Hyatt

Herb if you were to be honest there are MANY laws on the books of the local, county, State and Nation that do not need to be there.... Many of our elected officials seem to think that they need to continue to write laws for no reason at all.... Hitchcock has not grown while other cities have and there is a reason why that is....

Chris Gimenez

Heber Taylor once again proves he is the master of small-ball journalism. Why does what the City of Hitchcock does regarding this topic merit his opinion? The answer is it doesn't.

Meanwhile, the GCDN and Heber Taylor continue to cover for the misconduct of the criminal District Attorney Jack Roady. If Taylor had the cajones-and he doesn't-to question the conduct of Roady as to why he did what he did to Frederick Mueller and why he covertly dismissed the felony child abuse indictment against TC Police Officer John Thorn, then he could claim some kind of credibility as a newspaperman. As it is, Taylor doesn't even have the courage or decency to answer my email providing him the facts. Get back to your small ball journalism Taylor-it's what you do best.

PD Hyatt

If your evidence is so compelling against Jack Roady, then do us all a favor and take it to the State AG and present your evidence that is so clear and compelling to them and see what they say, for if it is so compelling they will come down on him like a ton of bricks.... The GDN on the other hand has no power to convict nor arrest anyone.

Jim Forsythe

Paul, he will not do that as he would no longer have it to talk about it. He also might be proved wrong. I guess he thinks the AG office is against him.

Jim Forsythe

bvresident see below

Chris Gimenez

bigjim, see the above.

Chris Gimenez

One thing is certain about commenters like paul-hyatt and bigjim, they do nothing to challenge how important low-information voters like them are to people like Barack Obama and Jack Roady. Gullibility, a willingness to excuse misconduct because of party or friendship, a deep ignorance of how our justice system is abused for political purposes, and of course, a complete unwillingness to dig into facts because the facts always prove them to be what they are: low-information individuals.

They've both tried to take a page from the Heber Taylor playbook but like Taylor, it's a playbook designed only to fool the likes of bigjim and paul-hyatt.

One accusation I've made against District Attorney Jack Roady is that he has two sets of laws-one for law enforcement and elected officials and one for the common citizens of Galveston County. When TC Police Officer John Thorn was indicted by a Grand Jury on a felony child abuse charge the GCDN hid the story in the police section of the newspaper. Of course I called them out on it and after numerous stumbling excuses by T.J. Aulds, the story got on the front page.

Then, in spite of an investigation by both the Galveston County Sheriff's Office and Child Protective Services and being indicted on a felony by a Galveston County Grand Jury, the D.A. Jack Roady quietly dismissed the charge against TCPD Officer John Thorn. The GCDN helped Roady keep this quiet because they were going to endorse Roady for re-election and after reading all the negative comments made about Thorn in the original story they weren't about to let this become a publicity nightmare for Roady.

So Officer Thorn didn't have to go to trial, he got his charge dismissed "In The Interest of Justice" so that he got to keep his law enforcement commission, and the ones who got screwed here are the abused child and the public trust. No big deal to Jack Roady, the GCDN, paul-hyatt, or bigjim.

Jim Forsythe

It's hard to see were I want to excuse misconduct as Paul and I were
trying to get You to contact the AG office and not take it any more. You seem to like feeling sorry for Yourself, .I may be a fool for trying to reason with a rock. Calling me a fool when you are unwilling to expaned your small mind is just what I expect from someone like YOU If You have had the pleasure of meeting Paul ,then You would not have called him a fool.

This see who thinks You are right and I'm wrong!

Chris Gimenez

Misconduct doesn't always reach the level of criminal conduct although criminal conduct is almost always misconduct. The AG's Office deals with criminal conduct so your statements are straw arguments that avoid the real issues in the DA's Office. That's your prerogative but it doesn't change the facts. If this newspaper wants the public to believe it will expose the misconduct of elected officials no matter who they are then they have failed.

As for your buddy's goofy statement that the GCDN doesn't arrest or convict anyone well, that supports my statement that both of your are low-information individuals who offer your support based on party or friendship.

I'm not sure where you get that I feel sorry for myself by continuing to expose the misconduct of Roady but I suppose it's like so many of the others on the Left who aren't sure what to accuse the Right of after running out of excuses for Obama.

Jim Forsythe

Paul said ""If your evidence is so compelling against Jack Roady, then do us all a favor and take it to the State AG and present your evidence that is so clear and compelling to them and see what they say" Please try to understand a clear statement. He want's YOU to take action if it is at that level.
It may be over Your head to try and help Yourself. You may need to seek help for Your problem, if You can't fix it Yourself.. You may not think you don't have a problem, but You keep beating it to death.

Chris Gimenez

Talk about being thick-headed, bigjim takes the cake. It's obvious neither paul-hyatt or bigjim can grasp the difference between provable criminal conduct and misconduct of office regarding disparate treatment under the law. I understand it's particularly disturbing to paul-hyatt because he's already admitted he's a friend of the D.A.'s so getting him to accept the obvious facts won't happen. And bigjim knows the facts but can't handle the truth so he has to keep going off in the weeds about what corrective action is available while desperately trying to stop the exposure of Roady's misconduct. Well, that ain't gonna happen.

And Heber Taylor will continue playing small-ball journalism while ignoring the 800lb gorilla in the room because he's a shill for Roady.

PD Hyatt

Since there seems to be not enough or no evidence that you can show to bring charges against the Jack, I have prayed for your peace and will continue to pray that some how that you will have peace concerning your hatred of Jack....

Chris Gimenez

paul-hyatt, it's so gracious of you to offer to pray for my "hatred" of the misconduct of your friend District Attorney Jack Roady. Let me translate that for the uninformed reader: paul-hyatt can't deal with the factual evidence that has been presented to him regarding the disparate and unequal treatment by Jack Roady depending on whether you're a law enforcement officer or elected official or just a regular citizen.

Here's why Jack Roady should be a concern to every law-abiding citizen in Galveston County.

Ken Anderson was a result of a zealot prosecutorial mindset by a District Attorney and law enforcement more than willing to "manage" evidence to reach the desired conviction-even if the accused is innocent. Prosecutorial misconduct is alive and well in Texas and across the country and all it takes is a Google search to back that up.

The rest is taken care of by having useful idiots like paul-hyatt, bigjim, and the GCDN to look the other way and continue providing brainless support at the polls.

Frederick Mueller
Charged with felony intoxication manslaughter by Jack Roady although his BA level was only .01 and his victim's was .156 along with three heavy duty prescription medications. However, the victim was a close friend of Galveston PD officers so it was easy to get Roady to overlook the obvious lack of evidence. Roady dismissed the charge after a year although it put the academic honor student Mueller through hell at school and cost his parents two attorneys and a private investigator.

Joshua Bledsoe
A black man charged with felony armed robbery although the only witness told 911 she couldn't give any description because the perps were wearing masks and gloves. Not to worry though. Roady's prosecutors withheld the 911 tape from the defense team, refused to obtain phone records proving Mr. Bledsoe wasn't even in Galveston County the night of the crime, and magically the only witness changed her testimony on the stand to finger Mr. Bledsoe. The Judge didn't buy it and ordered a directed verdict of acquittal. Not a problem for Jack Roady though. He knows he'll just have to work harder next time to convict an innocent man. BTW, Mr. Bledsoe did get to enjoy being incarcerated for ten months in county jail while awaiting trial. Can't beat that with a stick.

Nara Wilson
Charged with the murder of her husband but was it was dismissed after two years, defense attorney costs, and bond money posted because the evidence proved it was self-defense. Now the common citizen-although not paul-hyatt or bigjim or the GCDN-would expect that since there are no statute of limitations on murder that Jack Roady would have made sure the evidence proved murder before charging her.

TCPD Officer John Thorn
Indicted by a Grand Jury on felony child abuse after an investigation by CPS and the Galveston County Sheriff's Office. That wasn't enough though for Jack Roady to take Mr. Thorn to trial and the charge was promptly-and very quietly-dismissed. The GCDN chose to provide political cover for Jack Roady on this one as they were about to endorse him for re-election and didn't want this to muddy things up for everyone by showing the disparate treatment given to law enforcement by Jack Roady.

So while paul-hyatt, bigjim, and the GCDN put their blinders on and accuse me of hating Jack Roady, the facts are stubborn. We have a District Attorney who has two scales of justice under which he decides whether to charge and prosecute those who come before him.

Jim Forsythe

Boy are You good, YOU know how I voted.

" Prosecutorial misconduct is alive and well in Texas and across the country and all it takes is a Google search to back that up" If You think theses people were wronged and You want to help them then "You may report to the judge and the state bar where you are you located"
If YOU don't want to help then let it go.
Get involved when Roady come's up for election, and work against him Just don't let it eat YOU up... Fix it or move on to something YOU can fix

If You are talking about Frederick Mueller " This 17-year-old Bellaire student who had installed a stereo system in the old F-150 pickup that now pulsed to the mellow reggae sounds of SOFJA.". As it was a accident that involved a death and the limit for Texas is .00 for anyone under 21 and driving ,You wanted him to just let him slide .even thou . the limit is set at .00 and It would be hard to charge the other driver as he had died.

Chris Gimenez

Well bigjim, I certainly appreciate your advice to "to let it go" and I'm sure you'll appreciate that I could care less what you think about my exposure of Roady. As for working against his next election, let's just say I'm starting early by informing the public of his misconduct.

Now for Frederick Mueller. Are you suggesting there's a criminal violation for having a stereo system in his truck?

And the .00 limit for a fatality accident is really ignorant. It doesn't justify an intoxicated manslaughter charge which was the reason Roady had to dismiss. So it sounds like Roady is also incompetent since he doesn't know what he could have charged Mueller with in order to make it stick. As for the other driver being deceased, are you saying whoever survives should be charged with something regardless? What a foolish bunch of nonsense but I'm used to hearing that same kind of garbage from those trying to justify what our boy president does.

Of course I can also talk about the GPD report that showed he passed all the field sobriety tests except for the oft-abused HGN test and yet the investigating officer wrote that his eyes were red, his speech was slurred, and he could barely stand, Hmmm. And all that happened AFTER he found out the deceased was a friend of his. A DUI expert was ready to testify that a .01 BA level is "statistically insignificant" and it obviously wasn't enough for your friend Roady to put in front of a jury.

Like I said earlier, elected officials like Roady and Hussein Obama depend on useful idiots to keep them in office. But keep in mind, if you don't like what I write then you and paul-hyatt don't have to read it. Just like any other comments that get posted here.

George Croix

Mr. Taylor, you write an article critical of Hitchcock's commission's failure to provide any information why they believe such an ordinance is necessary, yet you made no such request of Commissioner Lee Sander to provide information on why he believes the ordinance is aimed at minorities.


George Croix

I guess we'll never know why......

Chris Gimenez

gecroix, my point got lost in all the histrionics by paul-hyatt and bigjim so I'll try to make it again. Taylor and the GCDN don't report the news so we can decide. They decide what news they want us to hear because like so many others of the same media ilk, they believe it is their responsibility to manipulate the news to manipulate out views. It works for the useful-idiot group (see the below comments) but others like you and me, their reporting only leads to more questions about why one piece of a story is important but not a directly related piece. The fact that they felt it important to put Mr. Sander's comment in the article and then not elaborate by asking him to explain or back it up is classic Heber Taylor/T.J. Aulds. It's grade-school manipulation to drive criticism of their target.

Taylor and Co. uses their manipulation in an effort to drive emotions or opinions a specific direction or to prevent the facts from driving emotions or opinions a specific direction. Hence my questioning of why the GCDN refused to expose the dismissal of a grand-jury felony indictment of a law enforcement officer by their endorsed candidate Jack Roady. Taylor didn't want that obvious sweet treatment of law enforcement on such a serious offense to taint the candidate he knew they were going to endorse.

But look at the hubbub surrounding the efforts of the County Judge and Commissioner's to decimate certain Constable's offices. Now that the County has re-established it's media policy with the GCDN, there simply isn't going to be much written about what they're doing. There are all kinds of letters being written by Constables regarding this but you're not going to see it on the GCDN.

Taylor doesn't want you to know why, he wants you to believe only what he prints.

George Croix

I simply asked Taylor why he had a different standard for one and not the other.
No reply is the answer I expected.
People unwilling to think for themselves can be manipulated and have their emotions driven easily, no matter who's pushing the buttons.
Anyone fair minded person will read the aricle, then note my question, then note an opportunity to answer it was ignored, and draw an appropriate conclusion.
The unfair minded don't care what I say, or you, or Heber, or T.J. or anybody else IF it confuses them with facts once their mind is made up.

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