On Monday, three members of the Galveston County Commissioners Court showed how much concern they have for Harvey victims — none — by refusing to give owners of flood-damaged homes the option of a reappraisal, making them pay property taxes for what they no longer have.
Not a surprising act by County Judge Mark Henry. Had he cared for us he would not have hobbled the rescue and evacuation capacities and plans, staffing the county’s emergency management staff with just two people, cleverly camouflaging that insufficiency by counting the nuisance abatement and chief communicator officers, and even an office coordinator, as part of it. From what has been told, he did not hold emergency drills and apparently had no evacuation plans, leaving the cities to fend for themselves.
Leaving the cities to themselves and reducing services for them has been Henry’s attitude all along. Regardless of the fact their populations pay the same rate of county taxes as those living outside of them. Now, by refusing to allow the reduced value of flooded homes to be the tax basis for affected Galveston homes, he shows that he does not even care for the people living outside of cities.
That he does not give a blank about what the people need also showed in the mode of announcement and the timing of the meeting at 9:30 a.m., when most of us are busy earning enough money, part of which pays his income, and could not attend to tell him what is rightfully expected of him. And he advertised the meeting a mere week before only on the website, to which most affected people lost ways to access it.
The same non-concern for unincorporated areas seems to be shared by Commissioner Ken Clark, whose district contains just five miles of unincorporated roads. Just as Commissioner Stephen Holmes contains only 25 miles. Unlike Commissioner Darrell Apffel with 200 such miles and Commissioner Joe Giusti with 100 miles, which gives those two a true mandate.
As for Clark’s FEMA town hall meeting: Purely show! Because now, when it came to provide real help, help in the pocketbook, he showed his true colors.
And Holmes, the lone representative on the court of the party that declares itself as caring for the common man? He didn’t even bother to fake anything, did not even show up at the town hall meeting, and went along with obligating people to give what is not owed, property taxes for what no longer exists.
Apffel and Giusti’s care for all of us, regardless of whether we live inside or outside of incorporated cities, was defeated by that threesome, which yet has to show real contributions for the $1 million we spend on them for salaries, allowances, staff and offices, etc.
What do they, Clark and Holmes, do more than the cities’ mayors and commissioners, most of them serving, practically for free, populations that in many cases are more than 10 times the size of those living in the unincorporated areas of those two’s districts?
Hopefully, we remember the trio’s disservice not only in the upcoming county judge election, but also when it comes time to find someone that truly works “for the people” instead of the current county judge’s allies.