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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Is it a Water Rate increase, bad management, a hidden tax increase.or all of the above?

Recently the City of League City announced a steep increase in water rates while it was scheduling a three million dollar transfer from the water enterprise fund to the general fund of the city. The transfer of funds is supposed to offset the expenses of the city to support the enterprise of supplying water and sewer services to the citizens. However, there seems to be little support for the amounts that the city has charged the enterprise fund. There seems to be a lot of rounding up of expenses being charged to the water enterprise fund.

While it is well known that the cost of water is on the increase due to multiple factors. Some are; supply and demand, the record growth of our community, bad planning of the past, stupid deals made with other municipal water systems (more on this subject at a later time). Premature take overs of municipal utility districts with un reimbursed debt to the developer.

League City obtains its water from the City of Houston and the Gulf Coast Water Authority. The cost of providing potable water is increasing for all the reasons that are driving inflation across the country. League City has historically not negotiated contracts to supply the burgeoning community with water and has been restricted in how much well water it can pump from the city owned wells. This perfect storm has caused some near misses in recent past summers where consumption cam very close to exceeding the allowable daily supply. You may notice large water storage tanks being placed in many corners of the city. These tanks are an effort to store water during low consumption periods to buffer those periods of high consumption.

Is the water rate increase a reflection of higher costs of water, new storage tank consumption or is there another component not being discussed? I believe that the city has mistakenly not reimbursed some developers for negotiated rebates on municipal utility districts or MUDs and now they have to pay the piper(No pun intended) to the tune of over Three Million Dollars, which is a familiar number.

What are your thoughts on the this issue?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Todd Kinsey is declared the winner of the City Council Position 4 race with 50.2% of the vote without the counting of the provisional ballots. It looked like Todd Kinsey and John Babcock would be in a run off. When the final votes were tallied Kinsey pushed over the top to be the Winner of Position four.

Gerri Bentley was declared the winner of position five with 53.7% of the totals not including provisional ballots

Heidi Thiess wins position three with 55.27% of the total votes not including the provisional ballots.

A congratulations is due to all the candidates. Good luck to all three new council persons.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sign Claimed by Owner

Yesterday a new sign appeared at a polling location. This sign caused quite a stir as it proclaimed to vote for the following Democrats. Many candidates where shocked to find their names on the sign. This led to 24 hours of theories on who put the sign up and why. The bottom line is everyone who blamed their opponent; it seems they may have been wrong.

Bradley-this is my sign. I bought some signs that were not going to be used. I bought and built this sign in my own front yard with materials from around my house. when this election is over this sign will be recycled used in my bee hives. Untill then they are usefull to shine the light on some practices of playing for two opposing teams. I appreciate the red tape, if some one where to make a sign calling me a Republican, I would probably deface their sign too. Notice the three names covered by tape, I have respect for which ever of you placed it on to my sign. The point: if you feel your name is here by mistake, please tell me that you are not campaigning for or endorsing members of the democratic party (working for the dems). This sign will be placed again(with the tape intact). I like your choice of red tape,you see i'am a Democrat but the only way for a real Dem to be free ( my opinion) VOTE REPUBLICAN.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It Depends on what is your Definition of The iss,

After all the negative ranting about Obama by Heidi Theiss, the Democrats are voting for her? Somebody connect the dots for the rest of us? Somebody said it all depends on what your definition of The iss.

Click here for the title to make sense

Politics shouldn't be this complicated.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

How I voted for the ballot propositions

Many people are saying this is the most important election in our lifetime. While that may be a slight exaggeration it is certainly the most important election since Reagan defeated Carter.

The 2012 election is also an important election on a local level as well. There are three city council seats up for election and a number of vital ballot propositions. For what it’s worth, here is how I voted for the proposed changes to the City Charter.

  1. YES – This proposition would make all future city elections coincide with national and state election in November rather than being held annually in May. Sadly under our current system, we only have about 5,000 people exercising their right and their duty to vote. By moving the election to November we should see these numbers drastically increase.- Shall Article II, Sections 1 & 3, Section 1, of the City Charter be amended to provide for biennial elections on a uniform election date in even numbered years and allow a member of Council to serve a four year term rather than a three year term, effective with the 2014 general election with adjustment of existing terms as necessary (not to exceed one year) to cause municipal elections to occur every two years on a uniform election date with the next municipal general election to occur in 2014 instead of every year as currently required for the terms of Mayor and Council members in the charter.
  2. YES – Proposition two would allow for council members or the mayor to serve only two terms in office. Depending on what other ballot propositions pass, we could end up with elected officials being able to serve 6 years, 8 years, 9 years or 12 years. Ideally, if Prop 1 and Prop 2 pass, elected officials will be able to serve two, four-year terms. - Shall Article I, Section 2, of the City Charter be amended to provide for more restrictive term limits such that no person may be a candidate for Mayor if serving a second consecutive mayoral term or be a candidate for Council if serving a second consecutive term. Currently no person may be a candidate for Mayor or Council if serving a third consecutive term.
  3. YES – Proposition 3 would require the mayor to become a voting member of City Council. As it stands now the mayor only votes to break ties which only happens if a council member is absent or abstains for some reason. To me this is a logical step to take after the citizens approved a city manager form of government. In the past, the mayor was the chief executive of the city and had direct interaction and authority over city staff. Since we changed forms of government, the city manager controls the day-to-day operation of the city with council providing oversight (mainly financial). As such, the best way for citizens to know what their mayor believes in is to have a voting record. - Shall Article II, Sections 1 & 13 of the city charter be amended to provide that the Mayor shall vote on any ordinance, resolution, action or question presented to Council, and be counted for the purposes of establishing a quorum? Currently the Mayor is prohibited from voting except in the case of a tie on City Council. (Which only occurs if someone is absent)
  4. NO – My understanding of Texas State Law is that a quorum is to be determined by a simple majority, which, in this case would be five (5). I don’t believe that we need to pass a charter amendment to perform simple math. - Shall Article II, Section 11 of the City Charter be amended to provide that a quorum of City Council for the transaction of business shall consist of 5 voting members of City Council. The current provision requires 5 councilpersons excluding the Mayor, and may be affected by other proposed amendments being submitted, including allowing the mayor to vote.
  5. YES – This is one of those lawyered up ballot propositions where yes means know and vice versa. I believe this was deliberately done by the city to try and confuse voters so that the red light camera cash cow would survive. Voting yes for this proposition means that you agree that we should not renew our contract with Redflex when it expires. Conversely, voting no means that you don’t agree and would like the city to renew its contract and keep red light cameras. - Shall Article IX of the City Charter be amended to include a new section 8, in order to prohibit the further renewal or deployment of photographic traffic enforcement systems on the City’s public rights of way when the contract with Redflex (Who is suing the City) expires pursuant to its terms? A vote for this proposition will prohibit red-light cameras a vote against this proposition will keep red-light cameras.
  6. NO – This proposition would require a super majority of council to consist of seven (7) members out of eight (8). Personally I would rather see this number be seventy five-percent which would be six (6) members of council. - Shall Article II, Section 22, Article 5, Section 4, and Article VII, Section 8 of the City Charter be amended to avoid any confusion in interpretation of the existing provisions by clarifying and adopting uniform language that a super majority consists of a four-fifths majority of the voting members of City Council, specifically including the Mayor, if given the right to vote. (This provision will make it so that 7 out of 8 members will be required for a super majority)
  7. NO – With a cursory read most people would probably agree with this proposition. After all, we expect our leaders to show up and do their job. However when you dig into the details of this proposition I fear it could be used as a devious tool to get rid of political rivals. For instance, let’s say a council member goes on vacation with their family over the summer and misses a workshop on Monday and a council meeting on Tuesday. At the council meeting, a special meeting is scheduled for Wednesday. Now said council member has missed three meetings and could be removed from council. I cannot support this ballot proposition in its current form. - Shall Article II, Section 7 of the City Charter be amended to provide that a Councilmember remaining absent for three consecutive meetings of Council of any kind, including special meetings or workshops, shall be determined to have vacated office. The current provision provides for determination of vacancy upon a Council Member remaining absent for 3 consecutive meetings of City Council (Theoretically this would prevent a council person from taking a vacation if they missed a workshop the night before a council meeting, the subsequent council meeting and a special meeting called in the week after said meeting)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wrong Ballot Loaded In Voting Machine

I experienced a surreal event while trying to vote. I thought I would beat the long lines at the League City Annex to early vote by going to the Kemah Community Center. It was not crowded at all and I would have been in and out in three minutes had I not run into a snag.

As I was scrolling through my ballot I noticed that Craig Eilland was listed as a candidate that I could vote for on this ballot. I thought to myself that redistricting was certainly gerrymandered but this was ridiculous. I quickly recalled in my head the precinct map for precinct 452 and realized that something was terribly wrong. Then I realized that all my League City elections and Charter Amendments were not loaded in my voting machine either.

I left my machine to tell a voting worker that I had the wrong ballot. She told me that was impossible. I assured her it was possible. I again explained that instead of listing the candidates in the JP7 race, the candidates listed were for JP5. I also told her that all my League City Ballot was missing. She took my license and looked up my registration and told me again that I had the correct ballot for my address and then asked me if I moved from this address. I told her that has been my address for seven years.

After many people gathering around to see what the issue was, the poll workers cancelled my machine ballot, called Galveston and received the proper code for my ballot. Then they forced the machine to give me the correct ballot.

I believe that 90% of the voters would have voted and walked away not knowing the difference and would have missed one of the most important local elections in League City in years.

Has anyone else received the wrong ballot in the past? I suggest that everyone know their precinct number, download your precinct ballot from and familiarize yourself with the correct ballot before voting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Garbage Stinks again

Last night the League City Council voted to accept a new contract for garbage valued at an estimated 39 million dollars over five years. Not the usual kind of garbage that goes on, but real garbage. BFI/Republic Waste was awarded a 5 year contract with a 18% annual increase in rates for commercial garbage collection and a .24 cents per month reduction for residential garbage pickup. Many concerned business owners were there and some spoke about their concerns over the increase rates. CCISD representative Paul McLarty spoke and informed the Council that the new rate structure would cost CCISD $41,000.00 a year more than they currently pay. Councilman Dennis O'Keeffe and Councilman Dan Becker made a motion to postpone the vote and give the council time evaluate the information they received just prior to the meeting Tuesday night. Dennis Okeeffe wanted to get more citizen input on the 18% rate increase and the public's thoughts on the matter. Councilman Becker and Okeeffe wanted more time to evaluate the proposals and the scoring of the five or so bidders that was prepared by staff. They also wanted more time to review d a citizen's committee's recommendation to accept the contract from BFI/Republic. Becker and Okeeffe's motion was defeated 4-3. The staff evaluated the proposals given by the bidders and then consolidated that tabulation for the council. It appeared that Phalen, Dawson, Mann and Lee were convinced that the contract presented by Republic/BFI was the best deal and no further deliberation was necessary and they voted to approve the five year agreement.

A representitive of Ameriwaste, the current garbage contactor, spoke unrecognized by Mayor Paulissen. He shouted from the audience that he only had a 2.4% increase in his proposal. The Mayor gaveled him down and said that he had the information from staff and his bid was 20% higher.

In another unusual interaction, former Councilman Tommy Cones, addressed the Mayor in a high tension 4 minutes exchange, Mr. Cones inappropriately addressed the Mayor as "Tim" instead of the usual "Mister Mayor". This started a 1 minute exchange of high intensity conversation and high drama. Mr. Cones suggested that in his opinion the incorrect process was used to obtain the bids and the scoring of bidders was skewed unfairly towards one bidder.

While an incorrect bidding process or skewing of a bid would seem out of character for this current staff to have done, Mr. Cones was adamant about his opinion.

Last nights Council meeting was a throw back to past years of dissension. Mr. Dan Becker's and Mr. Dennis Okeeffe's comments win last nights four star award for making the most sense. Keep it up Mr. Becker and Mr. Okeeffe. It might be worthwhile to watch it on channel 16 reruns or stream it on the web if you are interested to see the high drama and tension that took place.