It isn’t as though there wasn’t any advanced warning of what would happen in our region when then Tropical Storm Harvey made its way into our portion of Southeast Texas. For as many as three (3) days prior to the storm’s arrival the National Weather Service Office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and the Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, were issuing special weather statements warning that Harvey would re-enter the Gulf of Mexico upon exiting the Houston-Galveston metropolitan area, move up the coastline again making landfall around Sabine Pass, halting its forward movement. Once the storm center stopped due to an approaching cold front, the eastern “dirty side” of the storm was then predicted to move around the center of the storm coming to a halt once it reached the norther storm edge. The warnings clearly predicted this region would receive “feet, not inches” of rainfall.
Unfortunately, our county and community leaders chose to ignore those warnings and the only affirmative action taken in advance of the storm’s arrival was to issue a voluntary evacuation order for the people of Sabine Pass. No State of Emergency declarations were issued that could have prepared any other areas of the region, nor was Marshall Law invoked. Had there been, officials throughout the area most likely would have taken steps to better prepare themselves for the disaster that was approaching. However, when push came to shove, many of those officials couldn’t even be located when needed to mandate those orders. In other words, they saved themselves at the expense of everyone else. Is this why we elected them?
It’s doubtful any pumping system in the world could have handled the excessive amount of rainfall we received from Tropical Storm Harvey. That said, matters remain to have been made worse by pumps that didn’t operate, or ran out of diesel fuel, at critical times. Too, as in the case of the City of Port Arthur, city vehicles would have been moved to higher ground had the warnings been heeded; and, the loss of those vehicles due to the flooding might have been prevented. Every bit as important, evacuation orders for the hardest hit areas could have allowed citizens at least a small margin of time to get out of harm’s way. Sadly, because our elected officials and those overseeing county and community services largely ignored the warnings, we have the conditions we have today even though its been weeks since the flooding took place.
Until this disaster, although I had only met the man for a few minutes, I held a fair degree of respect for Port Arthur Police Chief Melvin. Unfortunately, that respect all but disappeared when I learned that he had evacuated the city and wasn’t heard from for days after the storm. I think a man in his position would have stayed available, and in town, to oversee the rescue and safety operations within the community. Apparently he has a different opinion of his anticipated responsibility to the people of the community that pays his salary.
The same holds true for City Manager McDougal. Where was he when the city should have been preparing for the weather emergency? Why wasn’t he taking steps to prevent the loss of so much city equipment and vehicles? And where in the hell was he after-the-fact when city operations needed to be overseen? I still haven’t an answer to any of these questions, and would welcome the opportunity to hear him explain himself. I think the people of Port Arthur should, too.
Finally, now that Port Arthur Mayor Derrick Freeman is a “media mogul” because CNN interviewed him and showed a video of the few inches of water he had in his home, plus having had articles about him and his “dedication to his city” (I say that with tongue in cheek), he must not have time for us commoners any more. At least that’s the way most of our local media feels because he won’t speak to them any longer. Methinks his national media fame has gone to his head, and it makes me wonder what ol’ Uncle Carl has to say about that?
Although I haven’t yet attended any of the townhall meetings that have been taking place in locations throughout the area, I’m hearing they are packed with upset citizens all screaming bloody murder at officials for allowing the devastation to take place. Social media has become a hotbed for the after-the-fact know-it-alls to spout off how things would have been different had they been in charge. And the blame-game is in full swing with everyone and their brother pointing fingers trying to lay blame upon anyone they can. Surprising? Not really.
So who is to blame for all the damage and destruction that took place? Who will carry the responsibility for pumps not working or running out of fuel? Who will have to answer for the massive loss of community vehicles and equipment? Yes, fingers will be pointed at public officials, but the truth of the matter is there isn’t anyone to blame but the people of Jefferson County and the communities and neighborhoods within it. That’s right, YOU!
You people make me sick! I’ve never come across a bigger bunch of mouthy, two-faced cowards in my whole life. You fill social media with your perpetual bitching, belly-aching, crying and whining about everything and its brother, and how all you know-it-all after-the=fact experts can do everything better. But not a damned one of you is willing to step forward to do anything about anything. Look at our election records. On average, our local elections draw less than ten percent (10%) of the registered voters. And where in the hell are all the know-it-alls who proclaim how they could do everything better? They sure the hell aren’t stepping up and seeking election to replace those they proclaim so incompetent. And then there’s those who left our area altogether. Instead of sticking around and trying to make this a better place, they turned tail and ran. It makes me ask myself in when they get up in the morning and stand in front of their bathroom mirror if they turn around to see if that yellow streak running up and down their backs has gotten any bigger overnight.
All I can say to you people is either put up or shut up! Don’t like the way the county or your community is run? Then run for office and do that which you so proudly proclaim you can do better. And get off you dead, lazy asses and vote! Otherwise, you haven’t any right whatsoever to bitch and complain.
END OF STORY!