The Porretto Beach decision, correct or not, is not the topic of this editorial. For now, the decision to release the rights of way stands on its own merit, and will either result in a purchase from the developer or will go to auction. The five acres are cleansed.

Rather, I’ll speak to the treatment of residents at the hands (or mouths) of their elected officials and taxpayer-funded staff at a time when so much of the community heart and soul was genuinely invested in a decision.

Let’s take the statement of our mayor to start: “I don’t want to see the property developed either,” Mayor Jim Yarbrough said. “You think you’d vote your personal convictions all the time. I don’t. I wish I could.”

Perhaps no mayor, in the short time I’ve been alive (70 years), has such a track record of getting exactly what he wants than does our current mayor. How that occurs is usually through the bowing and scraping of hand-picked city staff. One could say that listening to city staff is a much better guide for what the mayor thinks and wants than listening to a talented and experienced politician. When the city manager or the city’s legal counsel speaks, it’s as if Mayor Jim shouted his name in the Pala Doro Canyon. All that can be heard is the echo of the mayor’s own voice. Listen to what city staff advised on this matter.

Then there is Frank Maceo. Having heard the entire room tell him about the advantages and benefits of holding the five acres for a city purchase, he said, “I do not see a public benefit of hanging on to these rights of way.” It’s a good thing Maceo has changed his work to land and not offshore. Since he can’t see the crowd of people who just told him the benefit, he’s clearly not seaworthy.

Council member Terrilyn Tarlton-Shannon, the only regal personality in that entire room who can afford to live in Beachtown, used her chair for another dose of self-aggrandizement telling residents who could not speak or rebut how wrong they were. In fact, the residents were correct, she was in error. Her majesty’s tenure has been one embarrassing “Let them eat cake” statement after another.

Council member Carolyn Sunseri kept her comments brief. In fact, her only reason in voting for the abandonment was somehow connected to the fact she “does not work for Stewart Title!”

I remain unsure about what that has to do with abandonment. I am sure that in the moment of her non-sequitur, Stewart Title reclaimed its great reputation; South Land’s sunk.

An old saying is: “You cannot lie to a crowd.” Council needs to do some hard work to embed genuine respect for our residents or it needs to say that respect for residents is just not possible and they will continue to treat taxpaying adults as unschooled children.

Who they are speaks louder than anything they say.

Bill Broussard lives in Galveston.

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(15) comments

Kelly Naschke

If the topic isn't the Porretto Beach decision, the topic must be to insult as many of our hardworking city servants as possible in 1,000 words or less. Once again Bill finds himself on the losing side of yet another city issue. As is typical for Bill, he resorts to personal attacks and insults when he can't articulate a substantive debate to the issues at hand. He has created a pattern with his toxicity that stands to do nothing but undermine his relevance. Personal attacks and insults speak volumes of true character, or rather, lack thereof. Keep it up Bill. We all know this is your veiled attempt to start your smear tactics leading up to the next election. Any candidate that has Bills support in the coming election will do nothing more than represent Bills toxic behavior. To any candidate that makes the mistake having Bill as your mouthpiece,you will probably wind up right next to Ralph. And just for the record Bill.....this is Leroy Naschke III....not Frank Maceo as you so accused previously. This is also the second time I have told you exactly who I am....maybe you should write it down somewhere so you don't forget again. You may now resume your insults. Thanks.

Jarvis Buckley

Leroy you seem to have an extreme ,
loathing for a man who has spent most of his entire life , being a watchdog for many of Galvestons
residents. I certainly have not always agreed with Bill, but I have always found his comments knowledgeable & very articulate. It's obvious you disagree with Bill's perspective . Instead of attacking his character I would urge you to explain why his
thoughts are incorrect.
I mean know I'll will towards you at all. I do believe Bill is has followed island politics long enough for his thoughts & comments to be considered. Not condemned .

Kelly Naschke

He should be able to get his points across without the insults. That’s my only point. Civility toward our elected officials is crucial to the political process. Local level included.

Jarvis Buckley

I agree insults are not productive. That was my point. 😀

Jarvis Buckley

Leroy 9-out of 10 - of your comments I totally agree with. Just saying.....

Don Schlessinger

Personal attacks and insults? Let's all pitch in and buy Kelly a TV. Then he can watch the experts do it. Personal attacks and insults are the "bread and butter" of politics on either side of the isle.

Steve Fouga

It is a little funny to see a person using a personal attack to complain about another person's personal attack. [tongue]

Isn't this just a case of Mr. Naschke being pro-Development, and Mr. Broussard being pro-Resident, both perfectly valid points of view? It's only natural for them to disagree about a clearly pro-Development decision being made by a clearly pro-Development council.

My question is this, having lived in Galveston for just 6 years: Has Galveston EVER had a pro-Resident council? Is there even such a thing? 🤔

Charlotte O'rourke

Steve, I would suggest changing the question to: has Galveston ever had an anti-development Council (the opposite of pro-development Council).

This would explain the boarded up buildings reference and lack of private investment in Galveston, as well as the reference to the the lack of investment and development of Galveston’s port compared to other ports.

Appropriate balance should be the key to responsible development and quality of life issues.

Bill Cochrane

Steve, There has always been a Pro-Resident council. Why do you think that Houston is so large, and has such a large port. Texas City is one of the largest ports (in volumn) in the world. If the City of Galveston had always been a Pro-Development city, the seawall would not have shuttered buildings. Pelican Island would be fully developed with commerce surrounding subdivisions.

Ellen Morrison

That is an extreme, and extremely incorrect , oversimplification of the issues surrounding the development of Galveston Island.

Steve Fouga

I disagree, Bill. Not with everything, but what you're saying seems too simplistic. Houston outgrew Galveston in part because of a string of devastating storms. Because it has a larger and more protected harbor. Because there's more room to grow, room for railroads and international airports. Major highways. Colleges and universities. Arable and grazable land nearby. Texas City has a high-volume port because there are refineries next door. Much harder for Galveston to have any of that. I do agree that Pelican Island is sadly underutilized.

By contrast, Galveston is a small island. It was always going to be overshadowed by Houston, and Dallas, and Fort Worth, and San Antonio, and New Orleans. Just a matter of time. And how in the world are shuttered businesses evidence of Galveston being pro-Resident?

To me, pro-Resident means great schools and walkable neighborhoods. Beautiful parks and smooth roads. Excellent flood control. Low crime. Kept promises.

Galveston pro-Resident? I don't see it.

Debra Criss

Ms. Sunseri had both a right and responsibility to state publicly that she is not and has not been employed at Stewart Title. In a recent guest column McMorris wrote that she was employed at Stewart and suggested there could be a conflict.
Ms. Shannon addressed an attempt by McMorris to have the public believe the flyer he presented were plans for Porretto Beach. They are not. That was also appropriate.

Charlotte O'rourke

I would suggest an incongruent use of opposite terminology in this discussion.

The opposite of pro-resident is not pro-development.

To obtain excellent schools, maintained roads, a walkable city, low crime, flood control, and beautiful parks, a city needs a certain amount of private money and development to help pay for these things as well as reasonable taxes and a livable wage job or income to be able to afford living here.

One can be pro development and keeping current taxable property on the tax rolls as well as being pro resident and wanting quality of life.

Over the last few years I have seen more major projects being accomplished than anytime in the recent past. I hope city management and council continues on this improvement path.

Steve Fouga

Charlotte, even though it was I who introduced those terms to this discussion, I agree 100% with your comments. I used the terms to contrast Mr. Broussard's and Mr. Naschke's sentiments, but then extended them to city council. Thanks for your clear and concise response!

Personally, I'd like even more emphasis on neighborhoods, schools, roads, etc., but yes, even as a fairly new resident I can see the change from prior councils. [thumbup]

Charlotte O'rourke

Steve, I totally agree with the emphasis on improving and investing public money in areas that positively impact residents and the quality of life for residents.

I see this emphasis in the new construction on streets, drainage, curbs, beaches and in investment of private funds at the Old Falstaff building, downtown, etc.

I want this positive progress to continue, and City management and Council are on the right track demonstrated by the visual changes and projects our city is undertaking.

We need more people -like yourself- opting to live here and making Galveston HOME.

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