Municipal code enforcement is a challenge everywhere. In Galveston, it can be a real bear.

That became apparent again this week when news broke the city had ousted Truffles, a giant, stuffed brown bear that usually sits outside the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 2225 Strand, for lack of a permit.

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206;

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(6) comments

Wayne Holt

Michael, right now it may be more accurate to say a number of folks downtown have the attitude of, "Damn, why did they do that to us?" and "Damn, why didn't they do that to the other guy breaking the rules?"

I think most folks would want to have clear, reasonable standards of behavior, architectural preservation, etc. The problem arises when the City hammers the locals and gives the carpetbaggers carte blanche.

This issue only going to fester until the obviously different treatment is recognized for what it is: disparate enforcement...and then addressed in a meaningful way.

michaelsmith Staff
Michael A. Smith

Wayne, which carpetbaggers are getting a pass on code enforcement?

Mary Branum

In all honesty, it is the locals who get a "free pass" because they argue that Codes don't apply to them! Have turned in the same "cars in the front yard or sidewalk" for years; still parking in the yard or on sidewalk. Same with overgrown yards and derelict properties. How difficult is it to take pride in your property, block and City?

Wayne Holt

Michael, I should have been more clear in my objection, my apologies. I lump code enforcement in with ordinance enforcement and general observation of ALL laws. The carpetbaggers I was referring to are the obvious suspects who are discussed here in GDN columns quite a bit lately.

I don't see any justification for the City to come down hard on these violations while permitting vastly more annoying and destructive behavior to fester at some--not all--of the downtown events. The solution is not to weaken code enforcement efforts but to be consistent and equitable in the application of ordinances of all stripes. As the other comments suggest, the enforcement of issues like this while allowing parts of Galveston to look like Beirut on a bad day does not encourage residents to feel positive about enforcement efforts. Start enforcement across the board for violations of any type, at any time, and I believe we would see more civic pride and sincere cooperation.

Chuck DiFalco

Good thing that city officials communicated with the business owner first rather than take the heavy handed approach. This way, the city makes its point, and the business owner gets free advertising. I never heard of this business before this incident. When Truffles gets his permit, I'm coming down to Galveston just to get a selfie of me and the bear and the permit. I can't bear the wait.

Bailey Jones


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