Friday, January 31, 2014

Baytown is now big news

I like to watch the news on the television when it signs on early in the morning.  Like my father before me, I watch the news ad nauseum.  In simpler terms, I watch it till it loops, and then watch it until it loops and loops and loops.  For those readers who think this is humorous, let me say that I “get” it the first time; I just prefer the news to the non-news (read Entertainment tonight), or most of the blather the networks try to force on me like the ridiculous bologna of the Grammy Awards.

I want to go on record as saying I don’t care one iota what Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, the non-celeb Kardashians, or the angry faux-Messiah one of them married are doing or saying ever again.

One thing that has changed in the news programs is now Baytown is included in every broadcast.  It’s as if we’ve suddenly been discovered.  Note: It has always irked me when coming up SH-59 that the exit for I-10 directs people to Beaumont – not Baytown.  Maybe that will change also.

The reason for this change in reporting is not Scott Johnson’s great parks program, or Mayor Don Carlos’ charisma, but job growth in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area.  A lot of people work here.  What happens here directly affects them too; like whether or not the Fred Hartman Bridge is ice free.  I like the fact that weather people call it the “Baytown Bridge” and not the La Porte Bridge.

By the way, I do believe I was the first person to jog over it to the bottom of the La Porte side and back.  I was waved off it the morning of the Governor George W. Bush dedication by a security guard after I got off work at 5am, but the next morning it was wide open.  If anyone can assert they did it before that, I’ll give them a gift.  It’s a genuine Cornell Hurd band whoopee cushion I’ve been saving for just the right person.

Speaking of the bridge, the view a visitor gets as they come north is of the marina and Bayland Park.  Has anyone else noticed the gradual deforestation of the park?  This is the place some of John Wayne’s “Hellfighters” movie was filmed, but now a person could throw a fire hose nozzle end to end and not hit a tree.  If you are unfamiliar with that movie, go to Roosters on North Main.  They have a lot of historic tribute material on display.

There are giant pines up by Kenefick that would make perfect replacements for the vanishing forest here.  The young pine-lings are growing everywhere. I think it’s time to replant before we lose them all or just bulldoze the trees to expand the boat dock and parking lot.  One thing is for sure, the current Business 146 double lane situation by the park will most likely become an elevated highway to facilitate State Highway 99 and this is another reason our little sleepy town will be in the news.

The incredible amount of commerce coming from the old US Steel area on the other side of Cedar Bayou will create thousands of jobs and commuters.  I’ve harped on this possibility many times, that as a city, we need to attract and keep people with money by building high-end houses and lodging.  We don’t need more low income anything.  Let attrition and depreciation create low income properties – don’t encourage or build it.

Am I being crass? Heck no.  Take an automobile for instance.  Should automakers create a car for low income people or should the low income person simply buy a ten year old car they can afford?  Unfortunately some do-gooders are simply for the tax-paying population to give low income workers brand new cars and the rest of us pick up the tab and that is exactly what I am talking about on housing.  If you give away stuff our forefathers had to work for, where is the impetus to work for it?

Baytown was just mentioned in the news again and it involves our weather this time.  It is always good when it isn’t crime they are reporting.  Spur 330, I-10, and SH-146 afford criminals easy access to our fair city and they use these same roads to leave after committing crime here.  With the increase in commerce coming, we also need to bolster our city services, especially our police department.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself here and I’m certainly not in a panic, but I find myself “carrying” more and more often these days.  At 3:30am last week I was pumping gas at the corner of N. Main and Massey Tompkins and I had a premonition – something I do not ignore.  Extracting my Charter Arms .44 Bulldog Pug, I checked the action and as I looked around, an SUV pulled into the station and stopped shining its headlights at me.  It wasn’t near a pump and was in the dark part of the lot.

I do not want or intend to be featured on the 6pm news for any reason involving crime, but I surely do not intend to be a victim either.  I have a habit of opening both front and back doors on my Jeep when I am fueling and standing in between them and this is what I was doing.  If someone has an inclination to rob me, they can’t see what I am doing between those doors and it gives me an extra layer of protection to boot.

Maybe they were talking on their phone, or maybe I didn’t project a victim mentality, but I finished fueling and drove off.  I’m glad to finish that story without something dramatic happening.  I simply wanted to get gas and go to work.  Only fools fantasize about shooting someone.

Baytown will continue to be in the news and I am more exited about our town than I have been in a long time.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the celebs. JC

Anonymous said...

I really liked this one. Thinking our town is being noticed for more than crime is true. Love the part about the small cars. Only thing is the people you were talking about buy big cars/trucks and do not care about the fuel cost because it is part of the perk of living half way off the government. Great article. I hope people wake up and see what is happening around us. AS

Anonymous said...

Petty crime is on the decline nationwide. However murder by cops is on the rise. That last bit bothers me more than the petty crime itself but mainstream media isn't going to report on that. I don't think there is much difference in crime between now and even 20 years ago. The big difference is in dissemination of information. We get news and events in near real time and on a global scale thanks to the interwebs and the multitude of mediums that we use to consume such information. So perception has changed and not so much the crime. With all that said I challenge you to not watch local news or any of the big networks that's pushed to your TV. Do this for 6 months. Then pick it back up and report back. I've gone several years now without CableTV. About the only thing I can tolerate nowadays is the pretty weather girls... with the TV muted of course. AEG

Anonymous said...

Great article, Bert! Thanks! DH

Anonymous said...

Our industry is expanding in spite of politics.

Energy is the life blood of all economies and is recognized by China, Russia, Japan and etc.

It is time to approve the Keystone Pipeline and let the economy expand. CK

It can only happen while shopping!

As the big man is my witness, every word of this is unquestionable and void of hyperbolic incredibility. With that taken into consid...