I am amazed at just how short a memory a City Council member has.

It seems like only a few weeks ago each candidate extolled the virtue of saving, helping and protecting Galveston’s historic peculiarity by nurturing our neighborhoods.

Most of our residents still live in neighborhoods and for many years now, we’ve funded the antics of City Hall with little return.

Here’s an example: The oldest neighborhood on the West End is Bay Harbor.

Bay Harbor has been paying taxes for decades yet still does not have sewer connections.

Every West End council member rotating through City Hall simply ignores them.  

We have a difficult situation developing in central Galveston also.

The San Jacinto neighborhood lies north and adjoining the Seawall.

Recently, council passed a permit to build a high rise on 13th and Beach, appropriating space, view and sun from a neighborhood more than 75 years old.

There was little given the neighborhood in return.

Similarly, our city has passed paid seawall parking leading to an almost-indefensible assault on the adjoining neighborhoods through spillover from record crowds.

Record crowds are great news for merchants, the city, the Park Board and the Industrial Development Corporation, but bad news for residents who want to park in their own driveways.

This city cannot account accurately for the funds from parking or the cost of providing the program.

In fact, we still do not know who is accountable for the entire parking program.

At least this writer thinks the city might be out of compliance with Texas General Land Office rules at this point.

Those facts seem not to disturb our council.

The most recent insult comes in the form of a significant zoning change for the proposed Balinese Room.

Council was treated to a sketchy show-and-tell by an architect who has become a paid talking head for large commercial interests. His concept is an over-the-water concert venue that holds 1,600 people or more at a single event.

Only one council member was concerned about parking on a seawall already unable to accommodate traffic.

No one raised the concern about sound and disturbance to the neighborhoods once the band strikes up until after they had voted for megalomania again.

It would have been child’s play to place enforceable limitations on this rezoning with time limits.

If a parking plan is not submitted and if the developer cannot demonstrate sound levels real people can tolerate, the zoning should just expire and revert to the previous zoning.

But that night, City Council had amnesia and forgot residents in a rush to appease a not-so-prominent architect paired up with a prominent family of investors and Realtors: a lapse similar to the one where the 2009 tax hike was to be returned to us by now.

I hope the San Jacinto neighborhood, the adjoining neighborhoods and the Galveston Alliance of Island Neighborhoods realize that we apparently did not matter at the last council meeting. Nothing is going to change for us unless we insist that it change.

Bill Broussard lives in Galveston.

(4) comments

GW Cornelius

Same old BB loves to hear his self talk about stuff he has no idea about. Take a nap call us in 30 years.

George Croix

It is common practice these days for the ruling class to simply ignore that with which they disagree, do whatever they want anyway, and just wait until any objections are lost to the next news cycle.
It's infectous, and even folks normally predisposed to honesty and forthrightness, can fall to the siren call of power, or self-importance of position.
Is that the problem?
Something else?

Richard Moore

"...not-so-prominent architect..."

That is a pretty tacky comment from a purported professional regarding another professional.

Zoning regulations are designed to guide development. Exceptions, at times, MUST be made by some governing body - in this case it is the COG Council. You should save your vitriol for those making the decisions!

Diane Brodie

I think city council should require large projects to include adequate parking be provided. An why isn't the convention center being used when there is nothing scheduled there? It could be making money from beach goers all summer.

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