By Peter H. Brown (Pedestrian Pete)
Pedestrian Pete says: No kidding, Houston has a flood crisis. It’s a painful, expensive experience for a lot of folks. Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results, but getting the same bad results over and over again.”
Pedestrian Pete wants to go on record to say that the way leaders in Houston have dealt with pervasive flooding is — according to Einstein — INSANE! It’s getting the opposite results than intended. Pete is angry that the reason we have failed to protect residents against high water, is the same reason we have un-walkable dangerous, congested streets: It’s the failure to properly regulate development. It’s a focus on cars, not people. It’s particularly helter-skelter building on suburban land, too much paving without effective storm water engineering! Why have the Public Works Departments and the Harris County Flood Control District let us taxpayers down? The answer is pretty simple: It’s the influence big political contributors from the intertwined development community — land speculators, builders, engineers, attorneys and highwaymen — all profiting from our engrained laissez-faire, “build it most anywhere” approach to permitting. So who pays for all of this hanky-panky and mismanagement? Simple, it’s you and me, ordinary folks. No wonder people are losing their trust in government?
Flooded-out families and businesses have done no wrong, yet they and their fellow tax payers have the pick up the tab. IT JUST ISN’T FAIR!
- So, to make it clear, in flood control politics, “money talks.” It’s “pay to play” and the voices of neighborhoods are drowned out! Thankfully, these folks are waking up, realizing that their homes, cars and streets have become default detention areas and are raising a stink.
- Pete sees an irony in all of this — when the waters rise, the glorified private car is rendered useless, and folks have to walk, or wade, to the nearest store.
- Houstonians are getting soaked in more ways than one: excessive flooding, followed by costly flood damage repairs, and increased insurance rates. It’s a raw deal!
- So let’s restate the Pedestrian Pete correlation: more highways = more cars = more development = more paving = more suburban sprawl = more flooding = no place to walk. Let’s also throw in more congestion, more air pollution. We seem to be headed for a “Car-mageddon!”
Pedestrian Pete’s call to action: Grass-roots activists, Super Neighborhoods, concerned Millennials, and lots of aggrieved folks need to tell the politicians:
- Listen to the community; do not allow neighborhood voices to be drowned out by insider politics.
- Plan for the future; no more hodge-podge reckless development that causes more flooding in developed areas.
- Enact and enforce reasonable rules, to protect our residents and businesses, using commonly accepted building standards in flood prone areas.
- No more unplanned hodge-podge development projects. At least in the city and Harris County, apply standards to make our neighborhoods resilient to flooding, and more livable and walkable.
Pedestrian Pete says: Take action, buy a life raft or move to high ground!