Last night I attended the delayed April Jersey Village City Council meeting where it was expected that numerous people would take the opportunity to address the city council during the citizen comment period.

While there were many people who spoke to the positives about our city and about coming out of this disaster stronger than ever, there was a vocal minority that was quick to point fingers at the city council and our city manager for not doing enough to stop the flooding.

When my time to speak came, I thanked the city council and the city employees for spending sleepless days and nights during the flooding to ensure the safety and security of all in Jersey Village.  I acknowledged that people were justified in being upset and angry.  It’s natural to want to point fingers at someone to take the blame.  So I suggested where that blame should be directed.

If you want to blame someone for the flooding, blame me.

As several hundred people sat silently behind me and a stoic city council sat on the dais before me, I explained why they should blame me.

You see, I have never once sat down to write a letter or e-mail to our county commissioner.  Nor our representative in the U.S. House.  Nor either of our U.S. Senators.

Ultimately, while the five council members and our mayor in Jersey Village may be our city goverment, to Harris County they are just six individual constituents.  The same is true for U.S. Representative John Culberson and U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.

Yet, I am one of over 5,000 registered voters in the City of Jersey Village and I have done nothing to convince Harris County Precinct Four Commissioner Jack Cagle to contact the Harris County Flood Control District to find out why flood mitigation projects in Jersey Village have been on hold for so long.  I have never contacted Rep. Culberson or Sens. Cruz and Cornyn to find out what steps they are taking to ensure that the Harris County Flood Control District receives the federal grants needed in order to complete projects such as the enlarging of the White Oak Bayou channel that has been sitting unfunded since 1996.

The problem is that legally the Harris County Flood Control District has sole jurisdiction over the bayous, tributaries and other channels that run through and around Jersey Village.  The city cannot simply decide one day to dig into White Oak Bayou or redirect water from the bayou into a detention or retention pond of any sort.  That is left solely to the Harris County Flood Control District.

So you see, I am part of the problem because I haven’t joined with 5,000 of my fellow neighbors to make my voice heard along with theirs.  A few people won’t solve this problem, but together our concerns will be heard loud and clear.

Therefore, I ask you to join me and the rest of our neighbors in contacting our elected officials in county, state and federal governments to enlist their help in the effort to fund and complete the various flood control projects planned for Jersey Village.

Here are helpful talking points:

  • The City of Jersey Village has undertaken substantial effort to reduce flooding, including drainage replacement for 25 streets, 96 undersized inlets removed and 19,500 linear feet of new storm lines added
  • Remaining work on flood control in Jersey Village is part of a single federal project that requires funding
  • Harris County Flood Control District has been awaiting funding since 1996, but this funding requires “new start” status from the federal government to begin

The best letters and phone calls are ones that are in your own words.  The above information is intended to help you with concrete facts, but our elected officials really want to know how important this is to you and why.  Share your personal story and how the flooding has affected you and your neighbors.

Here is the contact information for the various officials that could help:

Commissioner Jack Cagle
Harris County Precinct 4
1001 Preston, Suite 950
Houston, Texas 77002
713-755-8801 Fax

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett
1001 Preston, Suite 911
Houston, Texas 77002
713-755-8379 Fax

Representative John Culberson
U.S. House of Representatives
10000 Memorial Drive Suite 620
Houston, Texas 77024
713-680-8070 Fax
Click here to E-mail Rep. Culberson

Senator Ted Cruz
U.S. Senate
808 Travis Street, Suite 1420
Houston, Texas 77002
Click here to E-mail Sen. Cruz

Senator John Cornyn
U.S. Senate
5300 Memorial Drive Suite 980
Houston, TX 77007
713-572-3777 Fax
Click here to E-mail Sen. Cornyn