Dear City Of Sugar Land,
I finally attended a “flood victim” meeting at the “Grand Palace of Sugar Land” (multi-million dollar City Hall, “9th wonder of the world”) on April 4, 2018. I chuckled with my neighbor as we agreed “the other meetings weren’t in the palace, I guess they’re trying to put on a show tonight.”
Mike Stone (manager of Levee Improvement District 2, LID2) spoke first. He launched into the “Hurricane Harvey dog and pony show,” re-enforcing how apocalyptic the event was (wow, I haven’t heard or seen that presentation before, just joking, we’ve received many glossy full color mailers with this exact story from LID2 and the city, printed all fancy on “public relations” quality paper). For future reference, we’ve heard about Harvey, we were there (right?). So, all you guys need to do is say “it rained a whole bunch,” then get on to the meat and potatoes. Yes, we know the “storm track” by heart (meetings hosted by desk jockeys waste so much time). But then, we totally know they’re pounding home their message of: “nothing was our fault, we’re on top of this, we’ll say it over and over again until you believe it.”
Occasionally, during this “targeted audience” meeting Mr. Stone attempted humor, but well, this topic just isn’t funny at all (After all, who was at the meeting? Well, I repeat, it was unlucky flood victims who totally got the shaft).
Mr. Stone said, “we learned some things that we didn’t know” (I truly believe that).
Mr. Stone said, “until Harvey we didn’t know how low some of the house elevations were.” (As I’ve said, a previous storm event two years before Harvey, which only lasted a few hours, brought water to within one inch of being in my house. That should have been a clue. You guys frustrate me sometimes.)
Mr. Stone also told us another big pump will be installed for LID2. (My thought would be: my neighborhood of Chimneystone is on the far side of the levee district from that new pump, so it almost sounded moot from my point of view.)
At one point in this meeting, it was mentioned that my neighborhood was annexed and they didn’t know how low some of the houses were. (Why not? Isn’t that what city and levee engineers are supposed to know? In my neighborhood we generally believe that we were annexed for revenue. It almost looks like they didn’t really study anything.)
Then Mike Stone turned the podium over to a City Of Sugar Land engineer, and Mr. Stone said to him, “OK Jorge, get up here and tell us why it’s not your fault.” (Mike Stone has already told me by email, and I quote, “Drainage in your neighborhood, streets, gutters, storm sewer, slab elevations etc. are all the responsibility of the City not the levee district.”)
So, at that point I was thinking, “come on City of Sugar Land, I want to hear something juicy”. But, when the City of Sugar Land engineer took the podium I couldn’t understand him at all, so I left (no offence, but what’s the point? This process is already a pain in the #*@ without other problems).
And, of course, no one is actually going to take the blame and open the door for lawyers and all that nasty stuff. (I must have lost touch with reality for a moment.)
Bottom Line: I’ll just wait and see what goes down. We’ll either remain screwed or someone will get it right (eventually, hopefully they’ll get it right before I go to the big retention pond in the sky).
Yours very friggin truly,
Linden Hudson (not so proud owner of a flood house)