The story at City Hall after the last City Council meeting is this: Paid parking on the Seawall is failing miserably, but none of the members of the City Council or city government seems willing to admit it. The Galveston Daily News doesn’t want to admit it either. Everyone is trying to church it up and act like there is no catastrophe occurring. It is reminiscent of the stewards on the Titanic telling passengers “No trouble, it’s just a small leak…”
The Police Department in Galveston has reduced the number of officers enforcing paid parking on the Seawall, since there really aren’t many people there. Even before winter set in, during the first few months of paid parking, people were staying away from the Seawall in droves.
At the City Council meeting on January 23rd, it became clear that the City of Galveston will not have enough revenue from paid parking to even begin providing the “amenities” that were promised. Not one palm tree.
In fact, it looks like this plan, which allegedly cost taxpayers nothing, is going to be operating in the red. They are clearly not going to be able to keep the promises they made to the voters.
Captain Jeff Heyse of the Police Department promised Council that he will run the Seawall project “on a shoestring budget, as best we can” in an effort to reduce costs.
City Manager Mike Kovacs admitted that none of the planned amenities would be “on the ground” by October 1st, and did not speculate on when (or if) any future amenities would be forthcoming.
Since the plan isn’t paying for itself, Council then discussed the possibility of using Federal Transit Administration grant money to fund amenities – which include restrooms, bus stops, sidewalks, ramps, lighting, shrubbery, and a long list of other proposed improvements.
In other words, they are going to take money away from other projects in order to fund this project which allegedly cost the taxpayers nothing. It sounds, smells, and looks like something that comes out of the back end of a bull.
City Council, upon learning of this problem, immediately sprang into action, voting on a proposal to have the Police Department create a written plan to reduce expenses.
The result was a 3-3 tie. It fell to Mayor Lewis Rosen to cast the tie-breaker, but Rosen could not be found. He had simply faded into the woodwork like a well-oiled genie while the debacle was being discussed.
Elvis had left the building…
The next time they have one of these confabs, Council is supposed to decide whether they are going to charge for overnight parking on the Seawall during Mardi Gras. Such parking has traditionally been free, and some would like to keep it that way. Council Member Marie Robb suggests charging $200 for the weekend.
This would simply be another nail in the coffin of the Galveston Mardi Gras, which has degenerated into a small, dismal, gathering of vendors trying to sell shit to one another.
Listen up, dumbasses: You want G’ville by the Sea-ville to be a happening place?
Stop charging for parking.
But still use the grant money to build all that cool shit on the Seawall.
Stop charging admission at Mardi Gras, and make money on the parking, vendors, and taxes.
Unhitch the City’s plans from Tilman Fertitta’s plans.
There is a vortex of mediocrity that swirls around politics in Galveston. A continuous series of significant blunders that goes back for many years. I would be astonished if there were any change, especially with the current group.
If you are in any way familiar with Galveston, you might ask yourself: Since 2008, which has done the most harm to the Island: Hurricane Ike, or the City government?
I suspect a large number would choose the latter.