In this special edition of Snippets, I want to bring to your attention several matters that I feel are important to the people of Port Arthur, Texas, as well as some questions being raised about how the City of Port Arthur handled the devastation brought on by Tropical Storm Harvey.
Tropical Storm Harvey, prior to leaving the Houston-Galveston area, was known and recognized as Hurricane Harvey. The approach of the storm towards the Texas coast was huge news throughout the area in the weeks prior to its arrival. In Port Arthur, as much as a week before the storm got this far, local Emergency Management and other related city officials met to discuss planning for the storm. There was already a fair amount of forecasting that the storm would eventually make its way to Port Arthur, and so concerned were those officials that a State of Emergency declaration was made. From John Beard, Jr.:
The strange part in all this is that the people of Port Arthur never became aware of the State of Emergency declaration because city officials never released a report of it to any members of the local news media. It was if they didn’t want people to know, as much a two weeks in advance, of the potential for destruction that was predicted for this area. Furthermore, four full days before then Hurricane Harvey had even left the Houston-Galveston area, the US National Weather Service Office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, began issuing special weather statements and warnings that not only accurately predicted Harvey’s path towards the Port Arthur area, but also indicated that the area could expect “feet, not inches” of devastating rainfall.
So why didn’t the Port Arthur Emergency Management and other important city officials warn the people of the city not only of the State of Emergency declaration, but also of the pending threat against the community? The person to ask this, and other, questions of would rationally be Port Arthur City Manager Brian McDougal. The problem is that it’s reasonably doubtful he’d be willing to speak directly to any of us “commoners“. Especially because some of us “commoners” are wondering if he didn’t initiate an action that allowed much of the city’s fleet of vehicles and equipment to be destroyed by the flooding at the City Service Center? Considering some of the other stunts he’s been a party to around Port Arthur, this isn’t as far-fetched as some would think. After all, how better to get a brand new fleet of vehicles and equipment than to allow the old stuff to get destroyed by an act of nature, and on FEMA’s dime?
Now if you get so lucky as to have an audience with City Manager McDougal, also ask him why the city didn’t enact the Emergency Management Plan, adopted by the city a number of years ago, that would have provided a step-by-step plan of action to reduce losses and protect the safety and property of citizens? From what I’ve been told, copies of the EMP weren’t handed out to city officials until two (2) weeks after the storm, and only then over the objects of McDougal. Stuff like this kind of makes you wonder just whose side he’s on, because were it to be proven he defrauded FEMA into picking up the tab for an aging fleet of vehicles and/or equipment, Port Arthur could find itself in a world of legal you-know-what.
Something else is asking where was Port Arthur Police Chief Patrick Melvin while Tropical Storm was kicking the teeth out of Port Arthur? Wouldn’t it seem logical that the leader of the Port Arthur Police Department would be on-hand to direct rescue efforts and provide for the safety and security of people and their property? How could he have done this so far out of the city? The truth is, he couldn’t – and didn’t. In fact, word has it four (4) days passed before he even came back to Port Arthur.
This all follows on the heels of local news reports that members of the Port Arthur Police Officers Union are contemplating a vote of “no confidence” against the Chief:
I’d like to say “I’m sorry” for what is taking place involving Chief Melvin, but I’ve watch dozens of good officers have their reputation tarnished and demeaned at the hands of a vindictive City Manager Brian McDougal and an even more vindictive Chief Patrick Melvin. Much of this stems, I think, following an attempt by Chief Melvin to have as many as seventeen of his officers brought to Port Arthur from Arizona, from which he came. The move of those personnel would have been at the expense of the City and city taxpayers. The Port Arthur City Council had the good sense to refuse his request, and shortly after the war against the existing officers began.
Many will remember all the news reports indicating certain officers had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of investigations into allegations of wrong-doings. However, nary a word was reported by the media when many of those allegations proved unsubstantiated. In other words, it appeared as though McDougal and Melvin had set out to destroy the character and reputations of as many officers as they could to apparently dramatically reduce the number of officers working within the PAPD, and thereby force the City Council into authorizing the transfer of other officers from Arizona. If this is true, and I know of no way to substantiate these rumors, then all we can hope is that someone on City Council doesn’t cave in to this and instead turns the matter over to the Texas Department of Justice for help.
And one more thing I’ve heard repeatedly pertaining to this before I leave you to chew on everything. It’s my understanding that there’s a coalition between City Manager Brian McDougal and Port Arthur Police Chief Patrick Melvin; just like a coalition between City Manager Brain McDougal and Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham. Rumor has it that many of the allegations against officers of the Port Arthur Police Department originated with District Attorney Bob Wortham’s Chief Investigator Marcelo Mofino (sic). That, ladies and gentlemen, would make sense. And again, trying to confirm these rumors is all but impossible unless some of you know something I don’t. That’s possible. If so, then you tell me …