Home » Commentary » What’s the Excuse This Time?

What’s the Excuse This Time?

This little pile of wannabe compost has been adorning the curb alongside my garage for more than three weeks.  The old carpeting was placed there the week after the last trash collection, so I knew it would be another week before the trash trucks came back around through my neighborhood.  Then, the following week when the trash trucks were expected to come through, the four bags of lawn clippings were placed atop the old carpeting.  But no trash trucks came into or through my neighborhood that week.  And for that matter, I haven’t seen one in my neighborhood since the last time around.  I see them elsewhere in the city, but not in my area.  This all leads me to ask questions.

Okay, Port Arthur, so what’s the excuse this time?  Last time it was garbage and trash trucks breaking down faster than they could be repaired, or that an infestation of rats at the City Service Center were chewing through hydraulic hoses.  Be that as it may, it sure is strange how all those problems just seemed to disappear overnight as the city began purchasing new trucks and equipment.  In fact, so miraculous was the change that I have to ask what method the city used to eradicate those pesky rats because surely there are others around Port Arthur who’d like o know so we can rid ourselves of critters, too?

All I can say is that I strongly suspect the Solid Waste Department isn’t managed any more productively than is the Water Utilities Department; and, I have more than enough reason to know the Water Utilities Department was a best-case-scenario for mismanagement.  In the case of the Solid Waste Department, let me say that the most prominent evidence of mismanagement has to do with the garbage toters that were distributed to all city residences.


You know, these things!  When the City of Port Arthur first adopted the plan to replace individual garbage cans with these toters, as the toters were distributed one to each residence, the serial number of the respective toter was recorded with the street address of where that toter was placed.  Great idea, but one that fell short as soon as our area was struck by several severe storms and hurricanes.  I guess that registry somehow got lost in all those storms because the adverse weather blew those toters all over the place.  The end result is that some residences didn’t have any at all while others had two, three, four or more toters.

Instead of relying on the initial registry list to determine what toters belonged where, in response to those whose toter had disappeared altogether the City simply bought more toters.  Only this time all they did was drop the replacements off without recording their distribution whatsoever.  I guess it was just too much to expect from Solid Waste management to do such a responsible thing, huh?  Well, after the same thing happened after more severe weather, once again instead of trying to determine who had want toter(s) and where they belonged, the City bought even more toters.  See a cycle of laziness here that’s costing the few remaining taxpayers of this city even more?  People, I sure do.

I think it would be nice when the citizens of Port Arthur wouldn’t have to jump through all sorts of hoops just to see the City Manager, and I think there are some things the City Manager should be aware of.  But that’s another story for another time.  The fact is that all the outsourcing in the world isn’t going to help Port Arthur with its departmental mismanagement.  It’s like trying to convince City Council to audit every single department as opposed to only a couple.  All we’d hear about is all the crying and whining about how it all costs too much for those audits, but then again the Mayor and City Council members haven’t any problem with all the money being wasted through departmental inefficiency and waste.



  1. I found a place today you can bring that garbage — The Art Museum Of South East Texas. It would fit in very well with the piece of blue, worn out, outdoor carpet, hanging on the wall there; the kind they use on the decks of bass boats (probably off the boat you found on the side of the road). As well as the scraps of rotted lumber, nailed together by an “unknown artist” in Arizona, in the form of a horse & rider and a ukulele. I see PA’s garbage collection department is sticking to their story — “rats chewed the hydraulic lines”. They used that one on us at Stonegate MBC several times. It must be written up in the employee manual:
    “I case of complaint, use the following excuses:
    1) rats chewed hydraulic lines.
    2) truck caught on fire.
    3) driver out sick.
    4) it’s a holiday.”
    At least that’s the ones I kept hearing. Strange how rats chew hydraulic lines on garbage trucks, but they never chew them on agricultural equipment. Better check the calendar, August might be National Sanitation Worker Appreciation Month.


    • JCBP says:

      I always thought it amazing how those rats were causing so much damage on a daily basis, but all of it came to an instantaneous halt immediately when new trucks were acquired. Furthermore, back when Port Arthur was having to “borrow” trucks from neighboring communities, how come those rats didn’t chew all the hoses on that equipment, too?

      There are other things, too, but until I can substantiate everything I know of, it is of little use to approach anyone in city government with my allegations. What this all boils down to is a lack of appropriate departmental management, and is something that is doing nothing for the community other than costing taxpayers (what few of us there are actually left) with expenses that could reasonably be controlled.

      It’s too bad Port Arthur can’t hire administration with an eye toward conservation instead of “how can I line my own pockets”. But, when you lok at the picture of the entire community, you soon realize effecting positive change around here is about as much a pipe-dream as is the thinking that downtown can be “revitalized” to what it was several decades ago. The simple truth is that it simply “isn’t going to happen”.


      • Absolutely — “when you look at the picture of the entire community”. It is so easy for all of us to criticize those folks who work for the city — and it can be well deserved — but most people never think about where these public servants came from, or how they got their positions. Did they come from another planet? Did they just walk in one day, sit down at a desk, and start twiddling their thumbs? Of course not; they came from right here — this community. They were elected, appointed, and/or hired by the people of this community (or at least 10% of them). And, like many in Port Arthur, they have the old infamous “what’s in it for me” attitude, and “the end justifies the means” thinking. If the majority of Port Arthur citizens continue to hold such feelings and thought, then as you said, “positive change” will never happen. Plus, I fear that this “picture” of Port Arthur is a small sampling of the panorama of our nation. As Pogo said, “we have met the enemy, and he is us!”. I’m afraid we’ve become like the drunkard who keeps changing brands because he’s always waking up with a hangover, when what he really needs to do is give up drinking; but instead he gives up being sober. That maybe why 90% of Port Arthur doesn’t vote — they don’t want to bear the responsibility of political sobriety. On the other hand, if I knew the majority of the 10% that do care enough to vote really want to maintain the status quo, it might drive me to drink as well.


      • JCBP says:

        Previous census data shows an estimated 76% of all Port Arthur residence receive some type of public assistance, and as such do not contribute to the community by paying taxes. Please note that I use the phrase “public assistance” instead of “entitlements” because to me one has to contribute something before they can reap benefits from it, and the only thing we get out of those who do not contribute to the community is demands for things that would benefit them personally as opposed to things which could benefit everyone.

        Getting back to my reasoning, I think the high numbers of non-voters are mostly those receiving public assistance; or, are those who have given up their fight to overcome the cronyism, nepotism and corruption that has become a way of life in city government. Furthermore, I don’t see things getting any better around here even though the few voters in the community recently elected a new Mayor. If you delve into the background of this new community leader, you shouldn’t have too much trouble understanding why there are so many of us don’t see anything new for the community and a continuation of business as usual. It’s sad this city cannot seem to elect someone more representative of the people, and not in it for what can be put in their back pocket.

        I, too, have pretty much given up on ever living long enough to se things getting straightened out here in Port Arthur. It shows in the direction of the editorials I write because saying much more now is simply rehashing that which has been said so many times before. And I also see something else on the horizon that could spell an even greater disaster for not only the community, but also much of this entire region. There are a number of factors coming into play that demonstrate our nation is rapidly approaching the position of economic collapse, and that one of the primary industries that will be devastated should this take place will be the petro-chemical industry. That where the local economies lie, and another hit to them like that experienced back in the early 1970s would all but destroy what’s left of the fragile local economies. The ramifications of what could take place in the streets if our governments collapse isn’t a very pretty picture, and I’ve read some commentaries indicating the collapse of the nation’s economy could be so bad as to make the 1929 Stock Market Crash look like a walk in Central Park.

        There isn’t any timetable with regard to when, or even if, this will ever come into being. Still, in that our local governments are about as unprepared as are most people for a hurricane evacuation, I’d be willing to bet it wouldn’t take long for the money bags around here to find themselves quite empty. Then everyone suffers.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: