Home » Opinion » Pointing Fingers & Placing Fault

Pointing Fingers & Placing Fault

If ever were there a word that I think best describes Port Arthur’s city government and administration, that word would have to be “dysfunctional“.  No matter what happens, why it happens or what happens because of it, be assured there are more than enough people (especially in social media) standing by vigilantly to make sure everyone and their brother knows who is at fault.   However, inasmuch as many of our local government and administration have more than adequately demonstrated they are far more interested in their own personal and political special interests than they are maintaining the community, or addressing the concerns of the people, they are ultimately not to blame for the way Port Arthur has become.  All fingers should be pointed directly at, and all blame placed squarely upon, the people of Port Arthur themselves.

Port Arthur hasn’t always been a community comprised of abandoned and dilapidated buildings, vacant lots and properties dotting the city’s landscape, a crumbling infrastructure and city streets and roadways in such state of disrepair as to make drivers wonder if they can be safely maneuvered without causing major vehicle damage.  Port Arthur was once a bustling little metropolitan center for commerce and economic development.  At least until the bottom fell out of the local petro-chemical industry.  Not only is that where and when the downward slide began, and has perpetuated right up through the present.

In what has been described as “white flight“, people began abandoning the city in lieu of seeking greener pastures elsewhere.  Those who were financially able abandoned Port Arthur and left; and, those who were not so financially well off were left in the aftermath.  Don’t get me wrong, but I think those who lacked the backbone to dig in their heels and work together towards making Port Arthur a better place are little more than a bunch of two-faced, self-centered, self-serving, cowards who have to check every day to determine whether that yellow streak running down their backs has grown any from the day before.

I also think the people who were left behind had become so used to literally having everything done for them became so lazy that faced with the prospect of having to do much of anything to improve the community was way beyond their willingness to commit to.  So the question is, are those who remained behind following the so-called “white flight” really any better than those who abandoned their community?  I think not.

Although Port Arthur may claim itself “an ethnically diversified community“, and it may actually be so population-wise, it sure the hell isn’t where it comes to city government and administration.  For the most part, only two specific ethnic groups have been represented in our local government and administration, and it’s more than clear neither is willing to work with the other towards the betterment of Port Arthur, Texas.  For nothing more than purely racist reasons, each wants to run the other out of not only city government and administration, but the community as well.  Most of this is due to the overall racist attitude within the community spilling over into elected and appointed city officials; something perpetuated through hatred, mistrust and the idea that someone owes the other something.  By my estimation only, I think Port Arthur is possibly one of the most ethnically racist communities in Texas, if not much of the rest of the nation.  I also think those who perpetuate this separation simply because of the color of their skin ought to be ashamed of themselves.

So this goes to show how the people of Port Arthur have become so apathetic towards their community that the chances of this city ever becoming more than what it is right now are quickly evaporating; and, the day is rapidly approaching when the chances of Port Arthur ever changing its stripes will disappear forever … leaving the city bankrupt and further decaying.  The truth is there isn’t going to be anyone to blame when this comes about than the people of Port Arthur themselves.  The question I have to ask is just how much more are the people of Port Arthur going to tolerate before they unite themselves to clean this governmental and administrative mess up?

Consider this.  Port Arthur gets its legs cut out from under it by Tropical Storm Harvey.  Where is our illustrious Mayor, Derrick Freeman?  He’s out hobnobbing with a CNN news crew making himself into some kind of a media mogul by playing a sympathy game for his poor city while the people of that community are struggling not only with the loss of damned near everything important to them, but the overall destruction of their lives.  And what about our City Council representatives who are supposed to represent people in government?  Only a couple were able to be located as the rest wouldn’t even answer their phones or respond to text messages.  What message does that send to you?  It’s a simple answer.  They were more worried about themselves than they were you, the people left behind.

However, now closing in on a year after Tropical Storm Harvey came to visit, something has surfaced that has definitely caught the attention of nearly all elected and appointed city officials; and, that is a large number of people evacuated from Port Arthur to other communities aren’t coming back.

KFDM NEWS:  Port Arthur’s population drops by 5,000 after Tropical Storm Harvey

Read the report carefully because this is something that hits Port Arthur and its self-centered, self-serving city officials right where it counts, in the pocket-book!  What’s more, in that it isn’t very likely very many of those people will ever return to Port Arthur, Port Arthur officials are now calling for extra measures to ensure the next Census count includes every man, woman and child in the community so the city won’t have to face losing out on millions of dollars in state and federal funding that can’t be skimmed and used for other purposes.

KFDM NEWS:  Port Arthur faces nearly $32M budget shortfall post-Harvey

In addition to other factors, pay close attention to the fact that this estimated $32 million budget shortfall includes almost $2 million in Water Utilities Department losses.  I have to say again that Port Arthur’s Water Utilities Department has to be one of the worse cases of administrative mismanagement that I’ve ever encountered, and that I place blame on the department’s administration for not being able to bring an effective end to waste and take control over costs.  But you know who is going to be left picking up the tab for all this, don’t you?

KFDM NEWS:  Port Arthur residents face increase in their water bills

In a city wherein government and administration doesn’t include the word “austerity” in their vocabulary, why would anyone be surprised that the people of Port Arthur are once again being victimized by our elected and appointed officials by forcing them to replace funds that I can only say they lost due to their mismanagement practices.

PORT ARTHUR NEWS:  PA Council approves option to get water and sewer out of the red

Surprised?  I’m not.  And considering the number of times that I’ve been told that the City of Port Arthur has tons of funds stashed away, all I can say is that “once a leech, always a leech“.  Why should anyone with a lick of sense ever think that Port Arthur would use any of the funds it has allegedly amassed to bail itself out of a monetarily tight situation when it can so easily hold the people of the community responsible to paying more in taxes and fees?  It’s why I say that those we have elected to represent us in government, as well as those they appointed to administer the community, seem to live in their own little world that allows them to all but completely ignore the plight of the people who elected, and often have re-elected, them in the first place.  IF this isn’t enough to make you think, also recall other situations they have dropped the ball on and never bothered input from the people of the community.

How about when it came to selecting a new Chief of Police for the Port Arthur Police Department?  Sure, there was an event held at the Civic Center to introduce Patrick Melvin to the people of the community, but that was only after City Council had made the choice to select him in the first place.  However, based upon what I’ve been able to learn, I have to wonder whether our City Council members even bothered doing their homework.

AZCENTRAL:  Salt River tribal police quit gang unit

It seems to me that if your area is suffering from illegal drug activity, and subsequently also suffers from other increases in crime, that would be far more important to the community than quitting just because a tribal official was followed and searched in error.  But, now PAPD Chief Melvin caved to political pressure even though it meant virtually destroying the effectiveness of other law enforcement agencies fighting the problem.

EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE:  Richardson: Cooperation needed to make Salt River, East Valley safe from gangs

Perhaps it was Chief Melvin’s experience in making life easier for gangs to take over these area s that allowed him to start gutting the Port Arthur Police Department by discharging several important crime prevention programs and placing so many officers on unpaid administrative leave.  Whatever the excuse, our own City Council had better do one heckuva lot better job of finding a replacement for him once they get tired of all the games and face the outrage of Port Arthur’s people.

Port Arthur also got its condescending bell wrung in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey in other ways, too.  Look at the issues pertaining to the removal of storm debris and other heavy trash.

KFDM NEWS:

Port Acres residents fear more flooding due to debris clogging drainage ditches

Residents of Port Arthur subdivision say they’ve been ignored by council; city manager

Port Arthur city manager addresses claims about storm drainage problems

PORT ARTHUR NEWS:

Praise for Dominion Ranch speakers

Subdivision wants answers about reoccurring flooding

Meeting face to face

Dominion Ranch homebuilder speaks up

Let’s face up to something, people.  The only reason Port Arthur officials waded into this is because they were put on a spot when the matter was addressed in local media; and, even then things became contentious when people expressed their disgust with the city.  Had not that media coverage taken place, it’s most likely officials would have continued to ignore these people.  Even City Councilman Harold Doucet made sure the people of Dominion Ranch were clear that Montrose, Elvista and Vista Village were far more important than Dominion Ranch.  After all, those who live in Dominion Ranch are only good for their tax dollars that Port Arthur likes to spend in its own personal and political special interests, right?

Disgusted yet?  Enough to make more of you willing to do something to effect change by voting these people right the heck out of public office?  Okay, I won’t be either surprised, nor disappointed, if you can’t take the few minutes of your valuable (?) time to cast ballots to replace them.  After all, your own behavior is what has gotten Port Arthur to what and where it is today!

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