I’m confused……Thank goodness I’m not running for office. Not only because I have a low tolerance for fools and thus would not be able to get along with my peers or constituents long enough to be effective, but mostly because I would have no idea about the boundaries of the districts, the deadline to sign up, or even when the final primary vote will take place. I think I pretty much know when the general election will be. It’s always the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, but I’m pretty much stumped about when any primary will occur.
First you say you will, then you say you won’t…….I kept up with the primary politics when the three San Antonio federal judges changed all the boundary lines and took Sugar Creek and Commonwealth out of District 26 (by the way, did Sonal Bhuchar ever really move?), but you lost me when the Supremes agreed to hear argument about Texas redistricting in January, thus throwing a monkey wrench into everything.
Another by the way, what exactly is a monkey wrench and wonder where the expression came from? Is it politically correct? Wouldn’t want to be politically incorrect. Oh, who am I kidding? I love to be politically incorrect.
So not only do I not know the boundaries and correct filing date, I don’t even know when to vote. I’m just going to wait until the dust settles (I know where that term came from—Lubbock) and vote when I am told to vote. I’ll let you know too. Don’t worry. It’s no trouble. It’s my job.
I advised Jacquie Chaumette to take a long nap until someone decided where she was running and when to vote. I caught her as she was about to knock on another voter’s door. I doubt she will be napping.
A foolish waste of money or joining the 21st century…..Missouri City has installed all these “dynamic message” signs all over the city on major thoroughfares. They are actually large digital signs which hang out over the street and make Missouri City look like a “with it” urban area.
When I saw them I thought they were a foolish waste of money as they only had the date and something about the Missouri City Snowfest on them.
So I called the city and found they were part of the “intelligent transportation system” which is being built with a $2.8 million federal grant.
The thing about federal grants is they are still our tax money, whether local or state or federal. Plus government entities usually have to hire a high priced “grant writer” to go look for that money.
However, if Missouri City didn’t get the grant money, some other city would.
After talking to the city, I also found out that the intelligent transportation system is not a new road nor a new bridge. It’s a network of cameras mounted all over the city which will feed into a traffic command station which is near to being built. This traffic command station can change the ebb and flow of traffic by changing traffic lights. It can even alert emergency vehicles about wrecks or other emergencies.
If you think Big Brother is watching you, he is…. Big brother is watching not just in Missouri City. Sugar Land has had a system in place for several years that does the same, although I think at times they are asleep in their traffic watching booth.
These dynamic signs will carry emergency alerts and traffic updates. You know, like signs you see telling you how long it’s going to take you to get from one place to another. Oh, yeah. I really like those although about half the time I think they are lying as it usually takes me longer than advertised. Can you believe it? Lying signs!
I questioned about whether the city had gone up on their taxes or cut back other services while they were busily installing cameras and the six dynamic message signs.
I was told the city had not either increased taxes or decreased services, and had recently received another federal grant to hire four new police officers. You know, that free federal money. By the way, I’ve covered enough city council meetings to know that when they tell you that this won’t cost a thing, they don’t tell you that you have to provide uniforms, cars, training, and permanent employment long after the grant runs out.
But back to the signs. We are being advised that a national ban on cell phones, even “hands free” cell phones is in the works becasue drivers get too distracted. Isn’t Missouri City adding to the problem by posting digital signs all over the city? No, according to the city, they are not distracting, and many people have called to say they like them.
If people have called the city I don’t know how they got to talk to anyone. When I was working on this story, I started with the City Manager and worked down from there. It was Tuesday after Christmas. I guess everyone was still on vacation or celebrating Christmas because I finally reached Stacy Walker, who is called the information manager. I noticed that Missouri City is called the “Show Me” city. It’s a damn good thing because they are certainly not the “Tell Me” city.
So Ms. Walker is my source on all this and she told me that Missouri City got the federal funding through Houston Galveston Area Council. The city heard about the federal funds available and applied for them. Since the city already had a plan and design in place, it won the money and actually TxDot bought and handled the installation and did all the purchasing. The six signs cost about $5,000 each, not counting the pole to put them on, but by that time I was bored with the story since I couldn’t find anyone local to blame and actually needed to congratulate the city on having a plan and getting the money. (Remember even though it’s all our tax money, some other city would get it if Missouri City didn’t.)
Another aspect about the intelligent transportation system is that it may cut down on the number of lanes and roads to build as it should foster a better flow of the traffic. Less asphalt means less pollution of our wonderful planet. Maybe the feds aren’t always as dumb as we think.