I’d agree with Bill Broussard, but then we’d both be wrong.

In Broussard’s commentary concerning the coastal spine (“The point of the barrier was safety, not money,” The Daily News, Jan. 11), his core idea is that he desires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to disregard any suggestions from the public about the coastal spine and “build it in any way you see fit to make it as safe as possible.”

Well now, does Bill Broussard not understand that the corps labeled their presentation in October a “Tentatively Selected Plan?” What does he think is the reason for a “Public Comment Period?” Is he suggesting the corps should be or is lying when they tell us that their present plan is only a first step, and they’re requesting the maximum public input so that they can incorporate suggestions of change?

And, how insulting Broussard is to the hundreds of individual residents from Galveston, Bolivar and the mainland, and to organizations like the Houston Audubon Society, the Galveston Bay Association, University of Texas Medical Branch, the turtle rescue group, etc. All of these and many more have given their ideas for modification and change to the corps to maintain the plan’s safety, but also to fit it better to our needs.

Yet, Broussard believes the corps should disregard all of us? Hard to conceive of such a wrong-headed, undemocratic idea.

Broussard also gets personal. He implies that my sole motive in supporting the coastal spine for the last decade has been “money.” His specific implication is that the city somehow paid for my personal travel expenses to Amsterdam in a research trip a group of us took in 2012 to see the Dutch coastal spine system for ourselves. Or as he puts it, “…Council can donate massive amounts of money for Ike Dike promotional tours to Amsterdam for our famous and wealthy…”

Nope. I paid for my trip to the Netherlands out of my own pocket with no recompense from any source. I have received no monetary benefit from city funds during the near decade that I have supported the Ike Dike. Broussard is wrong, again.

Usually I think it best when personally attacked by those with whom I disagree to disregard it and focus, as I did in the first paragraph, on the core arguments of those who are attacking. But in this case, it’s not just my character attributes Broussard is attacking. He’s also making a false implication of personal behavior, which I find is quite possibly libelous. Because of that, and the fact that this implication found its way into print, I felt a response was necessary this time.

Harris “Shrub” Kempner Jr. lives in Galveston.


(11) comments

Rusty Schroeder

I am serious, you can't get better entertainment for $20 a month. Reading the comments on the Letter to the Editor section in the GCDN about the Ike Dike Coastal Spine Wall Barrier Dream Catcher might just be the savior for this newspaper. I am sure as it is cold and windy outside right now that Bill will respond, the libelous claim by Mr. Kempner probably has him rolling. Saturday's front page had grown women crying at a school meeting, that probably won't happen between these two men. But the comments are sure to be golden, I might just put chocolate syrup on my bowl of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla tomorrow to enjoy them.

Jarvis Buckley

Each of us has a right to express our opinion on the proposed coastal spine barrier. There have been many proposals regarding a barrier through
the years. None was ever considered
Viable or practical , as well as too costly to be realistically feasible. In
all probability this discussion will go
on for years . Nothing will be done ,
in our lifetime. Most reasonable folks
understand this. Please let's quit this local bickering & threatening amongst
each other. That's been Galvestons problem for years. Such a beautiful
island. Enjoy the sunrise & sunsets.
Shake hands with your neighbor's.
Life is good. God is great.
None of us will live long enough to see a coastal barrier. Just my opinion.....

Lisa Blair

It's not bickering to set the record straight when being falsely accused of taking a trip with taxpayer's money. Bill never lets the facts get in the way of his "opinions".

Jarvis Buckley

Lisa I have read mr. Broussards comments for years . While I don't
Always agree with his thoughts. I find
him very knowledgeable about Galveston & it's past. I can say the very same thing about mr. Kempner.
and have.

George Croix

It's 'undemocratic' for someone else to express an opinion but not so for the person claiming that??
Rusty's right...it's a hoot herein......

Anyway, down to nuts and bolts, it's just fine, and 'democratic' to have 'public hearings' where people express their opinions or grievances or concerns. Can sometimes serve a useful purpose of bringing to light issues that need to be considered...sometimes a waste of time, except to let people get their 2 cents in. OK.
But, I think, and, if wrong, kindly correct me...that the point was that IF the surge barrier were to ever have some hope to magically be built it will be because the builders/producers/financiers of it did NOT take EVERY gripe or concern or protest or whatever into consideration, but built what should be a well constructed and located barrier that will do the most good for the most bang for the bucks at the most important place(s). Or, summarizing, it CANNOT ever get built if EVERY concern is a showstopper or delayer....
Just to start, we're looking at the Netherlands apples to translate into a Gulf Coast bag of oranges....If during one of our rare snows lasting a day or two we went to Minnesota to see what snow handling gear we needed we'd have a fleet of salt trucks and snowplows lined up and ready to go, and sales on snow blowers at local hardware stores.... beam][beam][beam]

Jarvis Buckley

George I like the way you think.👍

Jarvis Buckley

The unfortunate part of this discussion is the barrier is just a political ploy. Just for a moment try to believe the barrier would be built.
Who do you think that would catapult
Into the Governor's mansion. If you
say George P. Bush you would probably be right.
Unfortunately the barrier is just never going to happen. The beach road between Sabine Pass never will be
rebuilt, roll over pass will never be filled in, the wall along our southern border as critically needed as it is will never be fully constructed. I hate to sound so negative, but we shouldn't count on the government for anything.
How's public housing coming along in Galveston. I rest my case.
The weather is cool but the sun is
bright. We just took a nice ride with our pups. It's a beautiful day. Enjoy it.

Steve Fouga

I would like to see more local reporting of opinions, or even better, facts, about the economic impacts of the spine and the ring levee -- beyond their acquisition and maintenance costs.

I asserted in a prior thread (admittedly with no supporting data) that a Galveston ring levee would bring more businesses to the Island, since they would be less likely to flood. This was immediately shot down by a knowledgeable person saying it's simply not true -- essentially stating that in a region with frequent hurricanes, flood protection is not a factor in businesses deciding where to locate. Okay, if this is true, why is it true? Would there be no insurance benefits? What about a ring levee's effect on property values "inside the levee?" Surely property values would rise, right? I will assert that in the case of a flooding event, property inside a Galveston ring levee will be the safest on the Gulf Coast, and that a ring levee would have no deleterious effect on tourism. That doesn't mean I'm hoping for a ring levee, just curious about the immediate negative reaction from people I would expect to support it.

On the other hand, I do wonder about a coastal spine's effect on tourism. In my opinion, anything that hampers beach access is a negative. Lately it seems a spine located on the beach has gained favor among the locals, as opposed to a spine located where SH 87 and FM 3005 currently run. I would like to see some artist's concepts of such a beachward spine, based on real engineering drawings, because... How do you get to the beach? How do you even see the beach? There can be no breaks in the spine, so that means climbing over. Remember, it's 18 feet tall.

Maybe I'm visualizing it incorrectly but, if so, I'd like some way to see how it will really look, and how it can be made to work from a practical standpoint. My main point is that while the public has been asked to comment, we've been given almost no useful information to base our comments on. I need to see some pictures, and numbers that I can relate to. Show me what this monstrosity will look like, and tell me what my taxes will be, what my property value will be, and whether I can avoid the sure-to-come increase in flood insurance rates.

Rusty Schroeder

Steve by the time this is built, we will be in Hover Crafts like George Jetson. You gotta think ahead, way ahead :)

George Croix

Steve, not a architect's rendering, but cheaper, and pretty much as revealing, is to drive from your place 20 miles or so to T.C., go to Dike Road and turn left on top of the levee and drive down it a ways. Stop. Park. Exit vehicle, walk west across road and down the west side of the levee until you reach the bottom of it. Turn 180 derees and look east. THAT, is pretty much what it would look like, with only slight differences for topography....

Steve Fouga


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