Missouri City needs new leadership
Missouri City government is nothing more than a large, disguised HOA making sure that the Quail Valley area is provided for and that a few council members get re-elected. There’s actually nothing new in this statement to even casual observers of how Missouri City government works. I’ve personally heard this joked about on many occasions. For instance, the $30-plus million city outlay for “Quail Valley recreational amenities” is a typical HOA type expenditure. The purported “city purpose” for these disbursements was to upgrade the Cartwright/Texas Parkway corridor. But, of course, this didn’t occur so the real purpose is now clear for all residents. The only “new” Cartwright/Texas Parkway development was by Missouri City or HCCS and all these did is raise our taxes.
Pretty obviously then, the golf course expenditures were actually a clever ruse to ensure some city council members would get re-elected. Sadly this has worked. Residents of Quail Valley on the council brought home the “bacon” and they can now hold their city council offices indefinitely. Quail Valley residents rightfully voted for the guys who did the most for their neighborhood. By the way, this isn’t the way Constitutional government is supposed to work because city council members should promote projects that benefit the entire city. Additionally, these expenditures have significantly increased the city’s debt and crippled the city’s ability to deal with operating issues.
Missouri City government doesn’t even act like a true Texas city would in the public relations area. They send out press releases about golf tournaments and tennis tournaments just like an HOA board would. This is the type of “news” that emanates from Missouri City government. City press releases aren’t about the amazing new commercial initiative, or Town Centre addition, or Event Center performer because these types of things don’t exist and aren’t even contemplated due to budget restrictions.
Nor do Missouri City council members act like true Texas politicians. When was the last time you heard a politician cause the stir that Missouri City councilmembers routinely create due to their lack of social skills and tact? In most Texas cities, city council members are elected based on their obvious management acumen, speaking skills, or business success but pretty obviously those aren’t the qualifiers for the Missouri City council. We very much need city council members who are interested in a balanced approach to expenditures and government.
Howard E. Moline
Sugar Land police need more sensitivity training
Mission Impossible star, Ving Rhames has carved out a pretty impressive movie career in Hollywood over the past couple of decades. With the success of the recently released sixth
Installment of the Impossible Mission series, Rhames has been in the news a lot lately. But it has been a revelation that the bankable star made public that occurred a couple of year ago that regarding police that has stirred up a commotion involving him.
Rhames was purportedly relaxing in the confines of his own home a few years ago enjoying Sports Center, when suddenly he heard a rather firm knock at his front door. Before he could get the door completely open, he noticed that there were several guns pointed directly at his grill.
As any of us would be, the actor was in shock, not knowing exactly how to respond as a cadre of police shouted for him to put his arms in the air. But before he could utter a coherent response, one of the officers recognized him, not from one of the many roles he had played over the years, but because both men had sons who were on the same high school football team.
Rhames was immediately given permission to relax and the high-powered weaponry was pulled back. The officers also apologized profusely and explained that their aggressive behavior was precipitated by a phone call from one of Rhames’ neighbors, who reported that they thought that a “large and burly” black man was trying to break into their home.
Although upset and discombobulated, Rhames didn’t cause a commotion in relation to his harsh treatment, but did present a thoughtful question to the officers. “What if this was my son who was home alone and opened the door with an object in his hand such as a remote control or something? Chances are, you would have shot him dead.”
The incident left me with ruminating thoughts because of an eerily similar incident that occurred to me while at in my home in First Colony some years ago. Like Rhames, I was at home alone late afternoon. I was preparing to head out for my routine daily workout. But unlike Rhames, I didn’t receive a knock at the door, but instead, I was summoned from the street by a cavalcade of police officers communicating through a bullhorn. Almost incoherently, they were screaming for me to come out of the house and quickly get on the ground.
As the father of a black teenage son, I incessantly talk to him about obeying orders and command if ever confronted by the police because it’s the safest and most prudent thing to do, even if he feels as though he’s not being treated fairly at the time. My mantra is to do what it takes to keep things under control and live to fight another day. Don’t make their job more difficult than it already is.
But on this day, I had decided not to do as asked for a few important reasons. First, the officers were not even at my door. They were standing in the street shouting through a bullhorn. Second, I didn’t feel safe. I had no idea what was going on. They appeared to be totally unorganized and out of control with the situation.
After about a minute, I picked up the phone and dialed 911 to ask why the Sugar Land police was camped out full force and surrounding my home. The citizen responder hesitated, then calmly told me to just go to the door and that everything was fine. As I looked outside the window, I could see one of the officers coming up my walkway side-by-side with one of my neighbors, who was grinning ear-to-ear by the way. Now feeling safe, I slowly opened the front door to see if I could learn what the heck had just happened. Was this an episode of Punk’d gone wrong, I wondered at the time.
The officer tried explaining to me that my next-door neighbor’s security alarm had gone off and that he and his team were responding. He then apologized for the inconvenience and rounded up the posse of about six additional officers (with rifles) and drove off. My neighbor at the time, who was a really good guy, and white, found humor in the incident. After all, he was the one who went up to the police captain to give him a description of who I was. He truly meant no harm, but he never understood the severity of the incident and that I came very close to being shot and killed by the Sugar Land police, in my own home because of a misunderstanding, and a big part of it was because of the color of my skin.
What the officer failed to explain to me that day was that since my neighbor’s alarm had somehow been triggered, it must have been me responsible. The reality was that the officers noticed me through my glass door and assumed the worst. I’ve never forgotten the incident.
I am also cognizant that similar incidents do occasionally happen to non-minorities. Police work is difficult business. And I respect that. When I see incidents unfold on the news that involve police and citizens, my first reaction is “did the citizen at least attempt to comply and do what he or she was initially told to do by the officer?” Once I know the answer to that important question, I usually then began to formulate a cogent opinion of the situation.
We must all make it a priority to ensure that our kids unequivocally have respect for the law, even when at times the law doesn’t appear to act in our favor. My own brother was in law enforcement for 20 years. I know all that he endured from a sometimes-uncooperative public. People of all races sometimes do idiotic and cruel things.
After the incident occurred, I elected to not walk around with chip on my shoulder or hold a grudge against the SLPD. And as a taxpayer in the Sugar Land community, I continue to count on their support and professionalism to keep me and my family safe from truly bad guys out there. I honestly believe that as citizens of the Sugar Land area, we are in pretty good hands when it comes to law enforcement. But I would like to strongly encourage continued sensitively training within the force and hope that it continues its efforts to make better strides to operate with tact and decorum. This starts with on-going training. Some officers are good at doing police work but are not so good with dealing with people. Lives on both sides are at stake each day in society. Both sides must get better.