Bill Broussard

Bill Broussard

I’ve listened to more comments on the Ike Dike than I care to imagine, but Harris “Shrub” Kempner’s did me in (“Columnist’s rationale on ring levee was specious,” The Daily News, Jan. 8). For some time, I’ve been wondering what our chamber of commerce, George P. Bush, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have in common.

Actually, I wasn’t wondering too much; I suspected it was money, or said another way, a concern for money. After Kempner’s column, I now know it’s money. All this time, I thought it was about safety.

Explain to me how islanders can shuttle William Merrell in their personal cars to give speeches, council can donate massive amounts of money for Ike Dike promotional tours to Amsterdam for our famous and wealthy, claim the dike is for the benefit of the Houston port and ship channel, and otherwise promote a $30 billion U.S. funded project and not expect that the engineering of it might fit to their initial demands instead of some “attractive” downgraded alternative?

What were you thinking folks? You must have been crazy to think our economics and tourist world would fit into sound construction of the monstrous project you fear-mongered about.

Between the chamber of commerce, the West End beachfront homeowners, Shrub and Merrell, we have a group of folks that don’t like the huge economic and cultural impact any design will make on this city. All I can say in response is “Duh!” 32 billion times.

They’re telling the folks who professionally design such hardened structures how to build and where to build. I find that one fact both terrifying and stupefying.

Here’s what I got so far from Shrub, et al: please let the cruise ships come with no inconvenience to the passengers; please put the wall in front of the beach houses and take what little remains of public beach for around $2 billion more; please don’t cut south down 103 Street because it would define west versus east in a horrible way (cashing in the north levees for funds to move the wall to the public beach doesn’t?); and please don’t build the north levee, because only the beach houses are worth saving. Oh, and make it pretty so people still want to come and pay/park on our seawall; eight more feet added to the seawall simply won’t do.

Here’s what I say to the corps: When 50 people die in a storm, not a single one of these wise men will end up on the hot seat in federal court — but you sure will. I don’t think a federal court judge will take “We built the chamber of commerce and Shrub Kempner’s plan, and it failed” as an excuse.

Build it in any way you see fit to make it as safe as possible. Engineer it so that it will not fail. Do what you have to do to let me, Shrub and Merrell live on this island with confidence. Don’t lure victims here with a weakened plan.

Or don’t build it at all.

Bill Broussard lives in Galveston.

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(11) comments

Rusty Schroeder

I like your last sentence Bill. Odd, yesterday I liked Jeff's first sentence. Does this mean I have gone from A to Z ?

Susan Fennewald

Talk about the barrier isn't about saving lives - not many lives are lost during a hurricane anymore because people evacuate. Or they should if they don't want to be at risk.

This is about protecting property.
This is about protecting property.
This is about protecting property.

Jarvis Buckley

The levee won't be built in our lifetime Bill.

Jarvis Buckley

They agency's are just giving an appearance of something that is of great concern of folks in Galveston & heading east towards Louisiana border. Never gonna happen. Just political back rubbing. Kinda like Rollover pass project. Not ever gonna happen. Meantime water rates in Galveston going up 7 percent. Park board wants to spend 25 million on pavilion & executive offices instead of renovating existing building. Talk about chaos . Wow!!

John E Sr. Macrini

Once it rained for forty days and forty nights.....

George Croix

The question remains, WHICH property to be protected, with any real world hope it will ever happen.
Critically important to the nation?
Critically important to an island tourist industry?
Critically important to private home and business owners?
All of the above?

This project and the back-and-forth is a LOT like the old movie 'Lifeboat'.
It starts out with heroic attempts to save all.
Then....

Paul Sivon

The barrier is intended to support continued development (on the Mainland), limit infrastructure damage and prevent loss of the property tax base (on the Mainland) . Galveston is not the focus, with the levee a throw-in in an attempt to garner support from the residents of the Island. Once a levee or a barrier is built, loss of life will be more likely with complacency impacting decisions to evacuate during a storm event.

George Croix

Good point, Paul.
The #1 danger to people during an approaching major storm or any major danger is usually the decisions made by the people themselves.......

Steve Fouga

Starting with the decision to live on the coast. I doubt many of us Galvestonians were forced to live here.

George Croix

[thumbup]

It's tough in a largely tourist dependent town to choose an increased level of safety protection over aesthetics, as most tourists won't be around when danger hits, but might stay away if they see unsightly stuff or get inconvenienced too much.
It's tough in an equally largely government handout and grant dependent town to demand that the entity funding the proposed safety protection project(s) give large consideration to aesthetics and tourist related considerations.

Well, heck...there's two more decisions to wrestle with.....

Jarvis Buckley

We are foolish to think this grandiose
Idea in any form will ever happen. All that will happen is local political adversary's will write opposing views
& degrade each other's ideas to help Galveston. I repeat no levee will ever be built. Ever!! Just too practical.

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