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Showing posts from September, 2007

What is the price of Tranquility?

A friend of mine has raised the question of whether the plan to enforce the smoking ban will take police away from what they feel is real crime-fighting duties.

Please don’t think I am condescending or attempting to force-feed anyone. I am simply responding with what I feel is the voice of reason and in doing so, I am laying it out to consider the alternative, which is non-enforcement.

The city has new leadership and with our existing leaders, they are going to attempt to enforce statutes, laws and ordinances. This is a good thing, but it is touch and go and time will tell if they make the right decisions and set their priorities correctly. Garry Brumback said as much in Friday’s article about the Lakeview apartments. Our city is way overdue for solid leadership and enforcement of codes, that anything they offer at this point should be viewed as welcome.

There is going to be growing pains involved in enforcing the laws and we as citizens must be patient, as has been stated over and ov…

The Hellfighter Returns to Baytown

The last time Baytown Texas saw someone determined to fight hell with their fists was 1968 and that man was John Wayne. Go on down to Rooster’s on Texas Avenue and eat a Rooster Burger and you can still see evidence of his work here. There’s even a life-size cutout of the Duke, just so folks don’t forget.

If what we citizens are seeing continues, Mr. Lowell Cox will need to clear a wall to make room for the legacy our new city manager Garry Brumback will create. I liked the man the first time I shook his hand and I figure myself a pretty good judge of character.

Mr. Brumback came into my view a little over a month ago and almost immediately there was opposition to his appointment from a certain sector – that sector appears to have a lot of complaints about everything. It seems one outspoken fellow in this here town is convinced Mr. Brumback is not the man for the job. Well, time will tell, but I was and am, willing to give the man a fair shake.

I’m reminded of a story I read years a…

City threatens to shut down Lakeview Apts.

By Barrett Goldsmith Baytown Sun
Published September 21, 2007

Residents of the Lakeview Terrace apartment complex on Northwood could be forced to relocate next week because of delinquent utility bills by the owners of the property, Baytown city manager Garry Brumback said Thursday.

The owners of the property, ISH and Company based in Montreal, currently owe the city nearly $62,000. The city notified the leasing agent for the property Sept. 4 that the complex owed $31,614, and did not receive payment. The complex is now delinquent on its current bills of about $26,000, and has been assessed a late fee of about $4,000.

If the owners or the leasing agent fail to pay the amount in full, water to the complex will be cut off Tuesday. After that point, the apartments will be declared inhospitable and residents will have 24 hours to leave their apartments. The water service will not be restored until payment is received.

“The property owner is packing up and has no intentions of paying anything,…

Love thy neighbor, as thyself…in Baytown?

The good citizens of this old oil town, long known for their independent and self-reliant spirit are beginning to make a change in how they watch out for each other. I’m not implying that Baytonians aren’t caring people; we just like to go our own way. In a pinch, we have always relied on each other.

Baytown is my town of choice and that’s why folks call me Baytown Bert. In fact, some of my Hispanic friends shorten my moniker and simply call me Baytown.

Yesterday, I spent an hour walking part of my 500 home subdivision encouraging my neighbors to band together against criminal activity when it rears its ugly head. Our plan is to use the Neighborhood Watch system of calling police when suspicious activity appears, even if it isn’t our own house. Today and tomorrow, others will be attempting to blanket this neighborhood with flyer's. Soon we will install 30 new Neighborhood Watch signs we paid for with our neighborhood civic group monies.

Every neighborhood and apartment comple…

BPD steps up patrols

By Barrett Goldsmith
Baytown Sun Published September 12, 2007

Baytonians should be seeing a heightened police presence, especially around trouble spots such as the apartment complexes along Northwood drive and Village Lane, as well as in prime shopping areas along Garth Road. The Baytown Police Department has commissioned a number of four-wheelers, acquired through grants, to patrol those shopping areas. The vehicles give police a visible presence and allow for easy maneuverability.

Capt. Roger Clifford, head of investigations, said he and patrol Capt. Keith Dougherty have been seeing the signs of increased crime and developing strategies to hit it head-on, even before others began calling attention to it. Clifford said the department is using overtime and putting officers from other bureaus onto patrol and marshaling the department’s resources to take a firmer hand.

“Our officers haven’t been able to do as much proactive police work,” Clifford said. “But now this gives them the abili…

Baytown officials talk about crime concerns

Sept. 11, 2007, 12:29AM
Mayor pledges budget support for police efforts

By CAROL CHRISTIAN
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

About 200 Baytown residents turned out Monday for the second meeting of a new anti-crime group.

Baytown Concerned Citizens, which drew about 70 people to its first meeting last month, has grown largely through information posted on a Web site, www.hotpursuit.com, organizers said.

The group and its mission has had the blessing of Police Chief Byron Jones, Mayor Steve DonCarlos and City Manager Garry Brumback, who took part in Monday's meeting at the Baytown Community Center.

City manager impressed: "It is more inspirational than I have words to express having an organization like this in my new home town," said Brumback, who is in the second week of his job as city manager.

"The fact that citizens are willing to give of their time is what makes a community great."

Brumback moved to Baytown from Clearwater, Fla., where he was assistant city manager…

Public invited to anti-crime meeting

Public invited to anti-crime meeting
By Barrett Goldsmith Baytown Sun

Published September 10, 2007
After weeks of combing through questions and comments from Baytonians irked by increasing crime in the area, the Baytown Concerned Citizens are poised to receive some answers tonight from city officials and the Baytown Police Department.

Police Chief Byron Jones, Baytown Mayor Stephen DonCarlos and new city manager Garry Brumback will all be on hand to address citizens and answer questions culled from an August meeting at El Toro, which drew more than 70 people. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and last until 8 p.m. in the auditorium of the Baytown Community Center, 2407 Market St. The meeting was originally slated for a smaller room, but organizers to have a standing-room-only crowd of more than 500 people in the new venue.

Bert Marshall, one of the group’s leaders, said he hopes to get the meeting televised on Comcast Channel 16 for local citizens who can’t attend. Marshall said the explo…

Taming our Shrews

I read one time that pound for pound, the shrew is the most ferocious animal on earth. They have an appetite unparalleled in other mammals, consuming 80-90 per cent of their body weight each day. Shrews are small mouse-sized animals of which there are 376 species and are grouped into three subfamilies: White-toothed, African white-toothed and red-toothed. They will eat anything apparently and when cornered, they fight like an animal 10 times their size.

These little mammals live here. They blend in very well. If you were to actually see one in Baytown, you would mistake it for a common mouse…most likely. Some are actually venomous and some use echolocations just like a bat, to find their prey. To other small animals, reptiles and birds, shrews pose an extreme danger. When a shrew is around, nothing in its path is safe.

Baytown has another version of the shrew and for the most part, it resembles the average Joe. Our people-sized shrew stands on two legs and walks, talks, drive…

Would you want me as your neighbor?

I’ve lived in the same house for the last fifteen years and I have very good neighbors. With few exceptions, they reflect my idea of what a perfect neighbor is. I sincerely hope I fit their description also. My neighbors are good as gold and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

If you are around me very much and I’m asked what exactly it is that I would like to see abiding in this subdivision, you’ve already heard the drill. I don’t hem and haw, mutter incoherent nothings, coughing and mumbling – I reply without thinking and I tell it like this:

“I don’t want no criminals or perverts living here (yes, I say it like that even though it is a double negative). I don’t care what color their skin is or secondary culture they have, as long as we share the same values. Wow! What does that mean exactly you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

It means they put being an American citizen before past allegiances.

It means they want to raise their family in safety. It means they believe in working for …