I don’t particularly care for those who think nothing wrong with going through life lying, cheating and stealing from others; and, I especially don’t care when those who are lying, cheating and stealing from others are elected and/or appointed officials of community government and administration. This is because if these people are so willing to lie, cheat and steal from others it simply means they won’t have any problem lying, cheating and stealing from you and me either. Ergo, Port Arthur city government and administration.
Please take into consideration that the City of Port Arthur recently announced an anticipated $32 million budget shortfall, more than $2 million of which is due to city Water Utilities Department losses. Wouldn’t it seem prudent if city officials, aware of this anticipated budget shortfall, to immediately implement plans to drastically reduce waste and spending? The word for this would be “austerity“; and, would demonstrate their care and concern for the community and people who call it home. Chuckling yet? I am, because this is Port Arthur, Texas.
Pay close attention to the following photographs. What these pictures depict are examples of the deplorable condition of certain city roadways; things that have existed for quite some time and have been largely ignored by the city.
The hole in the pavement at the intersection of Fort Worth Avenue and 10th Street is approximately a foot deep, and people in the area say that vehicles have been damaged when hitting the hole while not realizing it was there until it was too late to avoid it. The hole in the 400 block of 53rd Street has also been there for some time and it, too, has damaged vehicles.
I doubt it would take a rocket scientist to figure out these are just a couple of the myriad of deplorable street conditions in Port Arthur. The sad part is that most go ignored almost completely. So one would really have to question the integrity of city officials were it to be realized that, facing this serious potential budget shortfall that slop-shod repair attention would be given to a city street that carries almost no regular traffic, is subject to frequent flooding, and is all by itself a nightmare to drive on. The following photographs demonstrate the hap-hazard repair work performed by city crews earlier this week.
Ladies and gentlemen, this was about as sloppy a street repair job as it comes. Shown are several areas where oil was mixed with basically dirt, spread out, and tamped down with truck and grader tires. Some potholes received a couple of scoops of asphalt, but so little was tossed into them that those holes are now simply indentations in the road surface. And the vast majority of the damages along this stretch of roadway remain untouched.
This section of roadway is most often driven by contract employees taking a shortcut from either FM 366 or Twin City Hwy to Memorial. And most of that traffic is in the afternoons. There are no places of business located along this chunk to 60th Street, nor are their any residences. The only things out there is a backdoor entrance into Lucian Adams Park and a driveway into the old soccer fields where thrown-out appliances were piles after Hurricanes Rita and Ike. Otherwise, very few people attempt to negotiate this roadways because it’s in such bad shape. So why in the heck did Port Arthur send out crews to do this stuff to it … especially when the city is supposedly so short of money?
And this all gets worse, ladies and gentlemen. I’ve been made aware of some as yet unsubstantiated rumors that the City of Port Arthur has been accused of “grossly overstating” the amount of damages the city itself suffered due to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. An example of this, so I’m told, includes the allegation that the Port Arthur Police Department reported it lost a total of forty-one (41) vehicles in the storm, but reported only losing seventeen (17) to the Texas Municipal League. I’m also told a number of those allegedly lost vehicles included several at the city service center that were already damaged, wrecked or out-of-service for other reasons.
I have taken the liberty of sending a Freedom of Information request to FEMA asking how much money has been provided to the City of Port Arthur, and what those funds were to have been used for. I’ve also sent an Open Records Act request to the State of Texas asking the same questions. If I am provided this information (there could be a question as to whether this information is confidential, or not), I’m going to use the content of those reports to address the matters with our Mayor, City Manager (if we have one by then) and various members of the Port Arthur City Council. And by the way, people, I don’t really anticipate much cooperation on the part of the city, either. After all, if they were willing to lie, as well as try to cheat and steal, from both the State of Texas and the federal government, why would I reasonably expect them to be honest with me (or you)?
I think it’s going to be interesting to see how all this pans out. Especially since I’m convinced that if the people of Port Arthur don’t use this opportunity to replace as many people as possible in our city government and administration, then I think we can expect Port Arthur to either force financial recovery on the remaining taxpayers in the city, or be bankrupt before the end of this decade. This is most likely our final opportunity to effect change and begin working towards making Port Arthur better. Let’s not waste it!