Thursday, June 14, 2018

Contributing to our city is a group effort

This is a modern day perception of Baytown in general.
Gene Schdrader's letter to the editor is an eye-opener about perception. It is an example of how one Baytown citizen sees our image and how our city stewards spend our tax dollars. "Two hundred and seventy thousand dollars is a lot of money for Baytown to spend on a sign saying “Welcome to Baytown.” I know the state gave us the money but where did the state get the money? That’s right - us taxpayers."

It is indeed a lot of money. I had the same thought and then this one: "Maybe I could have bid $260,000!" However, I believe there is more in play here than a quarter million tax dollars. It's called tourism and our city is working very hard to fulfill the wishes of the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee in that we beautify our city through park improvements, landscaping, adding new roads and widening others, not to mention litter abatement. In many ways I feel like my tax dollars are being well represented. I say this because I ask the right people a lot of questions and move about the city and observe.

Old Baytown Sign from the 1940's.
Mr. Schdrader then goes on with what appears to be unqualified speculation about ownership of certain properties, which if I read it right are in Chambers County and not in the city limits and suggests "some important person" has thrown a stick in the spokes to keep it just as trashy and environmentally unlawful as Mr. Schdrader suggests. "Sounds to me like a safety hazard and an environmental hazard, where does all the polluted water go when it rains – in Cedar Bayou."

We have a good number of dilapidated buildings (like every other city) that would enhance peoples image of Baytown if they were gone. Myself, I contribute daily by picking up trash everywhere I go. Its a start and maybe if each of us spent more time working on what could improve our city, then we would have less time to gripe about what is wrong.

Notice all the trees Texas DOT is planting in the entire Houston area? They are attempting to give visitors a better view than Chemical  Plants, auxiliary services, and tire shops along the highways. It is working in other states also and that is why Texas as a whole is trying to improve our image as more than an oil producing city/state. What our city needs more than angry-sounding letters accusing people of making bad financial decisions and wild speculation about graft, are suggestions for improvement.

Years ago in the chemical industry I embraced, I would identify a problem area and then before I started pointing fingers, I tried to find a plausible solution. I am still doing this with our city government. If you want action on come city problem, create a paper trail. Write email messages to your council person so you can prove you are trying to help. " You can catch more flies with honey..." honey! Be nice. Make suggestions and follow up on them via your paper trail. I ask direct questions at times when dealing with people in charge, but I make sure to write it. They know I will quote them exactly (not interpret what they said and then write that).

It takes a village to run a village. The last thing we need is doubting Thomas' who only sees the negatives. My suggestion to Mr. Schdrader is to photograph said property and do a little research to see if it can be cleaned up. Then and only then will this specific eyesore be remediated. Maybe 10 years ago I published North Main's Dirty Dozen on and it was picked up by the Houston Chronicle. I cited code violations on businesses with descriptions and photos and all involved sign and landscaping violations. Needless to say it got immediate attention and was remedied in every instance.

Let me be clear that I am not criticizing Mr. Schdrader; I am offering a solution to his frustration, which I fully understand. We can baby-step our way into a truly Beautiful Baytown if we work together to solve its many problems or we can angrily question why no one is doing anything right. Its simply going to be a group effort to be successful.

Council response: 

Good Morning Bert,

Thank you for your editorial today.  It was good. 

As an added thought on the gateway, we want to put this there so people entering our city will know where and what community they are coming into.  We have one of these on the west side, south side and now will have one on the east side of town.  In addition, there are a lot of people referring to this corner as being in Mont Belvieu.  Its not Mont Belvieu and Walmart used to announce "Welcome to the Mont Belvieu Walmart", that is until I talked to the Manager to correct him on where he was and who was involved with getting this Walmart location on the ground (it wasn't Mont Belvieu).  So we will now have a nice attractive gateway to welcome people into Baytown.  And by the way, the city limit is the farthest north curb at the intersection on the north side of I-10 feeder road side.  In fact, all of the feeder road on the north side of I-10 is in the City of Baytown (it goes east past the intersection about 100 ft. I believe).

Oh, one other thing.  The BMX did not make the cut for year 2018 list but is still on my list and will propose again in this budget session.

Thank you,
Robert C. Hoskins
Baytown City Council - Distr. 5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Porter Flewellen: The same theme is said of our government. And I fully agree with your statement. Togetherness is the answer. How do you pit bullheadedness against common reasoning? The liberal mind seems to be against all that appears to be the good for all. So the wall remains. God is still in Charge!!!!

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