I feel it's important to respond to Michael Moriarty’s letter ("I'll vote no on increasing the cost of a seawall pass," The Daily News, April 23): As one of the voting members (I was the District 6 representative for the Seawall Parking Ad Hoc Committee), I can assure you that we were presented very detailed records of budgets, how the money was spent, allocated, etc., since the seawall paid parking program was first implemented, and those records are available to the public for review.

Next, the annual parking fee is available to anyone who prefers to purchase an annual pass — be it a Galveston resident or visitor. As concerns to the consensus to raise the annual parking fee to $45, if someone paid to park for just three full days (at the new rate of $16 per day), they would spend $48, so the value of an annual pass is definitely valid.

What's also significant, as one who is on the beach/seawall most every day, the cleanliness of our beaches and seawall have improved dramatically since the city implemented paid parking. I do believe our visitors, by having to pay to park, have shown more respect for our beautiful beaches and sidewalks as littering has definitely declined.

Robyn Bushong

Galveston

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(9) comments

Paula Flinn

People who are on a fixed income will have trouble paying the parking fees if you raise them. People will drive elsewhere to fish. It’s people like you who we oldtimers thought would ruin Galveston. We are not Florida or Hawaii.

Bailey Jones

"People who are on a fixed income will have trouble paying the parking fees if you raise them. People will drive elsewhere to fish."

$45 a year? $3.75 a month? 87 cents a week? And what does bait run these days?

Michael Moriarty

$25 a year, $2.08 a month, $0.52 a week, currently. The new numbers are an 80% increase over the current annual fee. That is why I voted hell "NO!"

Paula Flinn

Bailey, people don’t come everyday. They have to work. Maybe they come 3 times in the summer. They don’t want to pay $15 + bait for each time.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Flinn's comment above, in particular the part about people like this ruining Galveston. On the other hand, since parking program officials have been so transparent for Ms. Bushhong, perhaps she can enlighten us as to how much of that $547k allegedly spent on "maintenance" of the fabulous new amenities was utilized on the shower at 45th St. I have tried to rinse sand off my feet with it and found that, quite literally, I produced more water to do so by wringing out my t-shirt. A kitten has greater volume and pressure while urinating. Better triple the parking fee to make the showers actually shower water out of the nozzle. And the theory that paying for parking makes tourists litter less is so absurd I have had to do an “Earth Check”. The evolving justifications are all just smoke and mirrors for a money grab. VOTE. And tap on the word: AGAINST on the new touch screens.

Christopher Webber

This is the level of transparency
• the city collected the money
• the city spent the money

What the citizens approved was:
• 75% of funds collected spent on Seawall Improvements
• 15% on maintenance
• 10% on Administrative overhead

That’s what we approved last time. No only did the city NOT follow that mandate... they did not even keep track of how much the amounts collected were to be dedicated to which type of expenditure. They cannot even provide an accurate accounting. There was never an intention to spend according to the lengthy finally hammered out set of exact designation of categories of expenses. And there is no remorse or expression of regret associated with totally ignoring the will of the citizens. That’s crystal clear... which is a couple levels up from transparent...

Miceal O'Laochdha

Mr. Webber your reminder to all of the original agreement that resulted in provisional approval of the paid parking program after years of public opinion against it, is timely. Thank you. I think many current voters do not know the history (or those who were here then have forgotten it) of this program and buy once again the old story that seawall parking fees will result in improvements to the seawall. It seems plausible...unless one knows the history of deception and mismanagement. The original program should have gone back for vote much quicker (say 2 years) when voters still remembered the promises. The longer it is extended the less chance of accountability, which is where we are today.

Michael Moriarty

Ms. Bushong, provide me a certified audit of the funds collected and how they have been spent and I'll reconsider my comment. However, part of the original deal sold to the voters of Galveston was the reasonable annual fee. What is part of the extension is not reasonable and they have made it an all or nothing proposition that will likely result in nothing and that is how I voted and I would urge everyone to consider voting the same!

Christopher Webber

Yes - lets see those numbers - and the sub ledger they were attributed to:
• improvements
• maintenance
• admin

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