A city councilwoman is frustrated over what she calls a lack of attention for the West End last week during the Texas freeze.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.


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(18) comments

Susan Fennewald

Maybe the fact that 85% of the residents live east of 103rd st is why 85% of the activity was there. But there was nothing to prevent west enders from driving into town for water and heat.

I'm not sure its true, but I always think of westenders as not being poor, owning a car, and at least physically able enough to climb a big flight of stairs up to their house. So they could drive into town if they needed to.

Lisa Blair

EXACTLY! Resources should be allocated by NEED not district. Paying more taxes does not entitle anyone to more resources.

Paul Sivon

Great! After recovering from this event, the roads on the west end are in dire need of repair, but the road repair budget services the tourist traffic and sales tax base in town. This event was about safety and immediate risk and needed focus on the safety of both full time residents and of the winter Texans, wherever they’re located, regardless of their bank account. It is reasonable in this emergency that services reflected population density and not property assessments.

Nancy Meggelin

My stairs had a layer of ice on them, so going down wasn’t an option, unless I wanted to end up at the bottom with a broken neck. We finally got out early Wednesday morning with the aid of the fire department (absolutely top rate first responders here). My 93 year old father had been hospitalized since Thursday morning. He was healthy and active on the Sunday before the storm. So no, it wasn’t easy for West Enders to get out and your implication that we somehow deserve less than those on the east side is heartless.

Bill Sterchi

Nancy, I know folks who live out where you are. They CHOOSE to live there because of the "Island mindset". During good weather, it's awesome. This was one of those "once in a life" experiences. I remember it snowing in February 1960. Wasn't much, but for a 7 year old, it was wonderful. Do you have a generator? Do you have cat litter? Did you get water before the weather hit? Did you fill up the tub? The preparations are very much like a hurricane, only worse. I live in the very middle of the Island and was without power for 3.5 days, and just got my water on yesterday (leaks - busted pipes) My question is simple. With the warnings that a hard freeze was coming, AND, the predictions were that it would last for 3 days, why on earth did you put your father's life in jeopardy staying way out on the West End without a solid plan? I'm glad you and your father are okay and trust there will be more thought for such things in the future.

Allison Buchtien

I don't think the residents east of 103rd are getting more assistance than the West End. We're all experiencing the same issues and relying on the kindness of neighbors to pull us through. It's not as if the city is going around repairing all of our pipes.

Joanie Steinhaus

Exactly, neighbors helping each other out. Where is Councilwoman's mask? We are still in a pandemic, lead by example

Bill Sterchi

Yes Ma'am! Well stated. We pull together to make it all good!

Karen Sawyer

I agree, info from the Mayor was not for ANY district, BUT.. it should not be who pays the most taxes.

Bill Sterchi

I'm not certain that statement of them paying 60% of the taxes is a correct one, but I know who to pose that question to.

Wayne D Holt

"Brown said he still didn’t know why CenterPoint had taken Galveston offline for so long but had been seeking answers, he said."

On Tuesday, Feb. 16 I sent an email to Mayor Brown and to City Manager Maxwell. In it, I passed along a screen shot a friend of mine in North Texas had received from their electric co-op, which was rolling blackouts to achieve the ERCOT required power cuts as we had expected.

In it, the co-op management said that different utility companies responsible for cutting were handling it in one of two ways: 1) rolling blackout for everyone or; 2) keeping off the power of those who lost it at the beginning. Here is the exact text coming from the co-op.

"Until the statewide supply meets the current demand, EVERY utility in TEXAS is required to load shed. Some utilities are handling it a little differently. Some have decided to keep the homes that initially lost power yesterday morning OFF until this situation is over in order to not have to complete rolling outages. By keeping these customers off, these utilities are able to meet their required load shed amount."

I suggest Mayor Brown and Brian Maxwell try to determine if the above is accurate. I can't think of any reason an electricity co-op management would fabricate something like this. If true, it means those who lost power and went the longest without it were thrown under the bus so that Centerpoint could minimize the effort and dissatisfaction of a larger user base. If true, and people died because of it, I hope I'm on the jury that tries them.

Bill Sterchi

While I agree with some of what you pose here - and I believe the Mayor should get on his soap box about this, I am of the belief that ERCOT flubbed the dub in a major way. Supposedly, they "spot checked" 94 out of 600 energy providers, and found that they were prepared. A question I have is, out of those 94, how many failed and why? I understand the gas wells froze, which means no fuel. But why did they freeze? Heat Trace works very well to keep things from freezing, and they are producing electricity.....duh. As far as wind and solar, I don't trust them at all. This storm proves me out on that one. Of the four Nuclear Plants, one tripped because of secondary feed system failure (South Texas Project Unit 1 1280MWe) and they had it back up and running the very next morning. There was a vacancy of 30,000MWe for the grip to go into full supply and everyone to get power back. That is a LOT of MEGAWATTS. By the way, the design of STP has open air feed systems for both reactors - I wager everything I have, that will be redesigned - not closed in, but very heavily insulated, so this won't happen again. For a more curious point, P.H. Robinson Generating Station was closed in 2009. It produced 2300MWe. I wonder if it were still running, would Galveston have gone down? It's only 6 miles away on 146, and it could very likely be refurbished......Hmmmmm.....

Bill Sterchi

Take a gander at Wikipedia for Electrical Generating in Texas. Then ponder why ERCOT has paid more attention to wind and solar.

Carol Hollaway

We were all caught unawares by the inability of State-wide services to meet the needs of Texas residents. There was nothing coming out of “ leadership” in Austin to caution us about what we should expect. Since water pumps run on electricity, when we lost power, we lost water as well. The loss of power chilled us all to the bone continuously for days. I used ski-poles to slip and slide around my yard. We all suffered from a catastrophe that could have been prevented had ERCOT anticipated from weather service warnings that Texas was going to freeze hard and for a long time. We have a State-wide emergency management office that should take lessons from their hurricane preparedness plan. Trying to make a local issue of a State-wide problem is missing the point. We need governance in Austin that is concerned about the health, safety, and welfare of all Texans. We obviously don’t have that currently.

Bill Sterchi

Carol, my weather forecast on Saturday provided the hard freeze information through Thursday. Regardless what the "sorcerers" prognosticate, I always verify for myself what is really going to happen. They've been drinking and could care less about us minions.

Charlotte O'rourke

Anyone in need deserves help and a representative that cares. Tying up city staff in daily scheduled meetings during a crisis is neither helpful or productive.

Excoriating the mayor for a lack of daily scheduled council communication meetings during a rolling black out - that doesn’t roll - was misguided especially as direct communication with staff and mayor occurred daily per the statements.

I also didn’t understand the complaints on the 4 water locations and statement that “they had heating centers”. It’s not as if each of the other districts had their own heating centers, water distribution locations, city pipe fixers, and no long term blackouts with freezing conditions.

Where is the actual disparity of treatment across the city districts? Now blackout disparity across Texas - you betcha.

Bill Sterchi

Yep! Nailed it!

Jarvis Buckley

Nothing has changed.

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