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Sydney Rosenfeld

I am so excited someone finally spoke up making me respond to today's guest column 'A Clean Beach At What Price.' Because I have not seen anyone support or speak up as I watched my boss suffer for the past 4 years to show real progress and results when the Park Board is removed from the beaches. It seems like the reporters work for the Park Board because all of the stories support their actions. My name is Sydney and I have worked on Porretto Beach in the East End going on four years now. I have watched Sonya Porretto maintain their beaches way before the Severance case was used as an excuse to cease raking and maintaining the private beaches along Galveston Island, Texas, ignoring the fact the public has access and uses these beaches at the shoreline. At first everyone questioned why she would request a Federal Judge to allow her to remove the Park Board from their beaches. When she was able to do so, each time she would attempt to communicate the severe damage the Park Board had been causing resulting in a perceived and misconception of natural erosion and unreal rates caused by scraping not raking no one believed such rationale so she was forced to prove it. We all watched from 2010 until today, Ms. Porretto proved by removing the Park Board of Trustees from Porretto Beaches at 6th-10, 14th-16th and 26th-27th they began to accrete rapidly both horizontally and vertically but still, no one would speak up and help or support her. We believe the fact her efforts were not supported or cared about is because the community again believe Sonya Porretto's actions are for herself or the Porretto case against the State of Texas GLO when in reality, the efforts are for the community for the entire community. As the Park Board who work closely with the Texas GLO annually request many millions of coastal funds for erosion and cleaning which are public monies, they are selectively applying them while the community struggles. Erosion rates are evaluated and utilized throughout many federal plans including FEMA. What do these rates do to the local taxes and insurance rates if they're exaggerated or altered. Do any of the Park Board members live on the Island and suffer the results of poor beach maintenance to acquire monies for erosion? If so, will this make them thinks twice and if they don't live here shouldn't they consider the reasons they don't live here and like Ms. Porretto help those who do live here see better way to maintain the beaches and proven successful. I've been able to watch current college students who worked for Ms. Porretto when they were in high school help her log the process and progress. From the time she removed the Park Board from raking the shorelines with excavators in 2010 until today many surveyors have confirmed Porretto Beach grew at aggressive rates and currently the highest "naturally" elevated beach in the east end adjacent Park Board maintained beaches. The sad part of this is Ms. Porretto had to pay a large price and lose a lot to prove these facts while criticized in the process. It's frustrating to see what the Porretto's had to go through and knowing I may one day suffer the same just to prove an agency supposed to be protecting and promoting beach erosion is causing it and receiving monies to do so.

Steve Fouga

Does the Park Board have a plan for replacing the eroded sand as part of an overall strategy? I can see where that could work. Clean beaches mean more tourists which means more money... But is it enough to pay for regular replenishment?

Personally, I'm fine with leaving the seaweed to the waves and tides, but I don't make my living from tourism.

Melanie Perry

I certainly hope that the property owners in our subdivision "Palm Beach" on the West End really read this article. For at least the past 10 years (and from my understanding a good 15 years before me), our subdivision has voted not to rake our beach. This year another group of property owners (noticed I said Property Owners - Rental Income - and not home owners) have formed their own group and have had our beach raked (since there is nothing to getting the permit and paperwork done now - you don't even need the GLO's approval anymore - thank you City of Galveston). Most of the vegetation has been destroyed (to which they say it will grow back). But most of these people will not be here when a storm comes in or a high tide hits and we no longer have our big beach or any protection because they had it raked. We also HAD a beautiful beach with vegetation and built up beach and dunes developing. But it is almost gone now. I truly appreciate your column. Wish you could attend one of our meetings, but the other party wouldn't show up anyway. Keep up the good work in your area and have a safe 4th. Thank you

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