GALVESTON

Two-time City Councilman Tarris Woods intends to run for his former seat in the May election, but first he’ll have to deal with five unresolved code enforcement violations he said could jeopardize potential campaign endorsements.

“I can’t run with this cloud,” Woods said. “Who’s going to endorse me with five violations?”

The violations, which Woods denies, are for two properties, both of which are vacant lots, Woods said. The violation for the first property was for high weeds and grass. The violation for the second property was for two counts of trash, litter and debris on the property, high weeds and grass and vehicles parked on a lot, according to Galveston Municipal Court records.

The municipal court alleged in formal complaints against Woods that all five violations went unattended. The complaints said he “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly and unlawfully” failed to bring the property into compliance within 10 days of being notified of the violations.

Woods said he plans to contest the charges on the basis that he didn’t receive proper notification of the violations or court summons, he said. Several of the first notices were sent to Woods’ District 1 address listed in the Galveston Central Appraisal District but Woods said he lists his mailing address as a post office box.

Some of the complaints date as far back as November 2016, according to municipal court records. Failing to appear in court to address the violations also resulted in three warrants for Woods’ arrest. Woods said he wasn’t aware of the complaints until he appeared in court later this year after receiving a notification from his post office box address.

Those warrants were rescinded and Woods’ court date was reset for Feb. 28, according to documents Woods provided to The Daily News. Galveston Municipal Court officials declined to confirm whether warrants had been issued for Woods and what the warrants’ statuses are if they existed because the case was still open.

Woods also alleged that the complaints lodged against him are inconsistent — one notification claimed he violated the International Property Maintenance Code, documents show.

A Dec. 8 email from Debbie Stark, code enforcement assistant director of operations, stated that the charge — not cutting weeds and grass — had been revoked because it didn’t pertain to the International Property Maintenance Code.

The court summons for failing to appear in court for the weeds and grass violation on that property stated that Woods violated the city of Galveston Code Chapter 23, records show.

“I should have a right to run for city council unhindered by these false allegations,” Woods said.

Code enforcement officials declined to speak on the details of the case, but said that in general, violation notices are both mailed to and posted on the door of the property listed by the Central Appraisal District.

“Generally the owner, if they go by the property at all, they will see the notice at least on the outside,” City Marshal Michael Gray said.

Woods said the department didn’t follow adequate procedure. Section 23 of the city code states that a person should be notified “at his last known post office address, or by publication as many as two times within 10 consecutive days.” Woods said that means it should be published in the newspaper, but Gray said he wasn’t aware of any such rule.

Woods served on the city council from 2008 until 2010, and then 2014 to 2016. Several residents have accused him of not living full-time in District 1, which he has denied.

Woods said he’s denying all five of the charges and that he was denied due process. He asked to appeal with a jury trial and was denied, he said.

“If they’re doing this to a former city councilman, what do you think they’re doing to the average Joe Blow over there?” Woods said.

Samantha Ketterer: 409-683-5241; samantha.ketterer@galvnews.com or on Twitter at @sam_kett

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(20) comments

Joe Henry

Amy Bly is working out just fine. No need for the comedy hour to return to the city council.

Don Schlessinger

Well said!

Walter Manuel

If this former Galveston city councilman doesn't have enough working brain cells to understand that his property is "obviously" out of city code and compliance, no matter how much lipstick that you want to put on that there pig, at the end of the day it's still a pig.

I've always been told that people's actions will always speak much louder than their words ever will. [yawn]

Kelly Naschke

Isn’t this the same Tarris Woods that didn’t live in the district he represented and used the address of one of those tun down properties to get elected? If Mr Woods is unable to keep his personal affairs in order, how is he expected to keep city affairs in order?

Mike Meador

[thumbup]]

Mary Branum

Always using excuses; just drive by your properties. The least you can do is have respect for the neighbors in maintaining these properties. Code Enforcement is here to see that slum landlords are held accountable. Nothing worse than living next door to a property owner that believes the law does not apply to him!

John Merritt

Mr Woods comment implies that he thinks the city code enforcement would treat a councilman differently than a "Joe Blow."

Randy Chapman

Don't councilmen get special priveledges? Of course, we all know Tarris Woods is special.

Bryan Manuele

Some unity in Galveston!? I can only hope we use this as momentum to support and further encourage our Marshal, code enforcers and the city council to keep the pressure on and step up the efforts to bring order and pride to all neighborhoods. If the city is to succeed we must set a standard and relentlessly support and pursue it. So much of Galveston has been gamed by people who only take and contribute nothing to the community at large.

Ron Binkley

Isn't this the same guy that used to fall asleep in council meetings?

Bill Broussard

Ron: I think that was our esteemed Council member from District 5: Diana P. She also had a house that was full of code violations only a few of which were ever corrected.

Ron Binkley

Thanks for the correction Bill.

Lisa Blair

So the big question is, does he intend to run in D1 or D5?

Steve Fouga

His filing in D5 would bring out challengers in droves. [cool]

Jarvis Buckley

Mr. Woods was actually a good city council member. Worked hard representing his constituents .He never fell asleep at a council meeting.
That's fake news. He sure appears to be scaring a lot of folks. Wonder why?

Jarvis Buckley

B.B . It wasn't D.P. It was S.F. 😳

Bill Broussard

Jarvis. You are correct! Diana just looked asleep but susan was asleep

Jarvis Buckley

Sorry B.B. you are right as usual S.F.
was asleep at times.DP. Property looked like an abandoned junk yard.

David Doe

Galveston Can and Should do better!

Paul Steele

Typical Politicians, mostly crooked what a shame.

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