Tuesday, July 01, 2008

We made our way down the winding road to San Luis Pass. A year after these last few trips, we would move up north, where I would finish my last two years of high school, but today, it was all about the beach. Dad didn't even bring his boat, so no fishing today. We brought the dog with us and watched how he had to stand up front in the truck, his chin on the dashboard looking out at it all. There were no other cars on this road, so he had less of an inclination to jump over the backseat in an attempt to chase the ones going in the opposite direction. Just us, the road, the dunes and the grass.

And the signs.

The signs looked like they were gorgeous jokes. They were as big as the truck and they claimed that new condos and developments were going up in the middle of the empty fields on either side of the road. The only thing that gave those claims any teeth was the road we were driving on - barely adequate to get us to our spot under the bridge before this, it was now freshly repaved and slightly wider than it had been. It was almost a dream to drive on. We looked at the signs and laughed at them, however, because there were no construction vehicles behind them. This was 1988, and the region was feeling the financial pinch of the times. That, coupled with Galveston's long history of having any new developments washed away a few years after their construction, would most likely ensure that the grasses on either side of the road would be there for a few more years, at least.

Well, beach houses are one thing. Vital city services, community centers, and affordable housing are entirely different.

I posted this last week because I hate the city's signs. Hate 'em with a passion. The promises these things supposedly hold are thinner than the plywood on which the signs are printed. I have been having nightmares about these signs - that they will be all that is left when the politicians have quit their talking. I run down the streets weeping for what was once there, and all that is facing me are these signs.

There's no construction equipment. There aren't even a few people around surveying or trying to spiff things up. No painters, no carpenters. Many of these sites are as desolate and in even worse shape than the day they were abandoned nearly three years ago.

To even attempt to connect these sorry things with the past is just sad.

In fact, at some of the places where these dumb signs have been erected, I get the feeling that, if they could make the signs so big that they could obscure the places they are supposedly in the process of recovering, then the city's version of recovery might actually come true. Pay no attention to the site(s) behind the plywood, citizens. Nothing to see here except tax dollars at work. No, really, don't look.

To see how truly useless these proclamations are, read Schroeder's post. The Recovery Progress booklets he describes made their appearance at the library in April of this year. They are wastes of the paper on which they are printed and, if we had city-sponsored recycling, I'd recommend contributing these booklets immediately. Call Phoenix Recycling instead and give those pithy treatises a new life as origami papers or something. The time, money, and energy that has gone into this citywide snow job could just as easily have gone into repairing the broken roof on the Gert Town poolhouse, into resurfacing those tennis courts, into actually DOING SOMETHING other than plying us with more words on posts and in pamphlets.

What's sad is when you see other organizations that are adopting this strategy as well. Squandered Heritage ...

So to recap, the City spent CBDG funds to clean out the house and then spends FEMA funds to demolish it. The other comical element is that the signs are NEW and they still have Donna Addkison listed as a City employee. In the last 2 years I have seen 4 of these signs and all of them in the last month.

and We Could Be Famous are on it.

We've still got a lot of questions to answer about the transparency in the demolition process.But this one isn't just about the demolition committee and that messed up process.Take a look at that press release again.

They have utilized the following ten contractors: Biagas Enterprises, BNOB Construction Services, Carter’s Renovations, Charbonnet, Inc General Contractors, Blue Carpentry Construction Co., Matthews Developers, Myers and Sons Enterprises, W.T. Verges Construction Co, General Contracting Co., Inc., and Moon-Glo Developers.

Who the hell are these guys?...

...For at least a couple of these companies, I was able to find obscure online directory listings last night but couldn't find them again this evening. For a few, I couldn't find anything last night or this evening. I'm sure with a little bit more time, we might be able to find something on the internets for most of the firms, but it doesn't seem like it will to amount to much.

So I'm not sure what's going on here.

But it's something.

In talking to People That I Know Who Might Know Something, or PTIKWMKS, I have learned that there have been rumblings about NOAH and NOAH contractors for some months.

Some of the firms may be dummies or fronts to funnel money to family members of people that are already famous.

We need to get the names behind these companies and see who they've donated money to.

In other words:

...if there is anything behind these signs, any sort of recovery at all, only a few people are going to benefit. And it won't be the elderly, the homeless, or the destitute.

Update: Maitri's take is a must read. And the Gambit has now picked up the story (link via Jeffrey). WCBF details the NOAH Ten here.


Oh, and don't show this to the pols. They might get some ideas about instilling a false sense of well-being in us all as they keep pulling the wool over our eyes about the important stuff.


bayoustjohndavid said...

I thought it was interesting to see one of the signs in front of the Latter library. Since the new master plan calls for it to be closed as a library, but kept for meetings and other purposes, anything more than reef repairs and basic maintenance would seem like a waste of money - at least until we decide how the building is going to be used. So I looked at Clancy DuBos' favorite toy and found this

5120 St. Charles Ave
Council District: B, Ward: 13
High Priority FacilityProject Type: Public Libraries
Scope: A-E firm currently developing project scope.
Current Status: Project Scope

Project Contact: Geneva Walters ORDAproject@mwhglobal.com

I don't know what "project scope" means, and it certainly doesn't whether my tax dollars are paying for needed repairs or to remodel the building for a future use that we haven't agreed to yet.

Leigh C. said...

Hmmmm....all of this is highly hinky. But seeing those signs in front of Latter is always weird to me. It's a functioning library branch that only sustained some roof damage. Unnamed librarian folks have imparted to me the "life happens and God laughs when you are making supposedly concrete plans" nature of past library master plans.

So what IS the deal here? Definite food for thought...