As the former Galveston City Council representative of District 1, I’m very concerned with a letter mailed from the city of Galveston’s Marshal’s Office that stated in part: “A housing inspection is being conducted by the city of Galveston to ensure that all living units conform to the International Building Code, the International Property Maintenance Code and the city code of the city of Galveston.”
This unauthorized governmental decree concerned me so much that I made an open records request in order to find out who granted the marshal’s office with so much power to inspect any home in Galveston at whim, and with the stroke of a pen, can nullify any existing building code that is supposed to be protected under the grandfather clause. That’s too much power.
Needless to say, I was informed by the city secretary’s office that no one knew anything about a citywide inspection of all livable houses in Galveston, that includes Mayor Jim Yarbrough, city council members, City Manager Brian Maxwell, City Attorney Don Glywaski and City Marshal Michael Gray, whose stationery was used to write the notice of a housing inspection on.
Having run into a dead end with the open records request, I decided to contact City Councilwoman Amy Bly for help. I asked Bly to please put on the council’s next agenda an item to discuss the city ordinance that would allow a housing inspection of all livable houses in Galveston. Bly hasn’t responded to my request.
I must also point out here, I’ve intentionally avoided attending any council meetings over the last three years because I strongly believe that there can only be one council representative of District 1 at a time. That decision may soon change.
Every conscious and concerned resident of Galveston knows that because of years of social, economical and political neglect, District 1 is the poorest district in all of Galveston and needs all the help it can get.
Today, retired baby boomers and unscrupulous investors are stalking District 1 like hungry wolves searching for a young defenseless prey to devour.
The recent amalgamation of unauthorized governmental decrees and forced gentrification are being used to legally rob poor people — especially in the black community — of what little property they still own after the Jim Crow era.
As a community activist for over 50 years, I’m publicly asking the mayor or any member of Galveston City Council to put on the next council agenda an item to discuss this apparitional governmental decree that only manifests itself inside homeowners’ mailboxes.
Anything less, and I will break my own promise about one representative at a time, and I will make my appearance before council to articulate the lungs of those who cannot speak for themselves.