Council Member Oliver Pennington (District G) recently asked TIRZ 17 to wait on drainage projects within the TIRZ until the regional drainage study is complete. (See article here). I don’t want this blog to just be about what Houston is doing wrong. Houston is great. I love living here, and I want to point out when our elected officials are doing right by us. I think Council Member Pennington did just that by asking TIRZ to wait.
Our drainage systems and pipes are old (as I pointed out in a previous blog here). Updating these are projects that can and should be worked on as soon as possible. However, other projects that entail new methods or new construction should be done prudently. The TIRZ’s consulting engineers, Derek St. John and Rafael Ortega, said that their drainage projects “were preliminary and could accommodate any changes made necessary by the regional drainage study”. The study will be complete this summer, so why not wait? Why go ahead a with a project and then possibly have to spend more of our money later redoing parts to accommodate the study?
I know that there will come a time when we need action. We can’t always wait for the next new study, or nothing will ever get done. As I have pointed out before, there are a lot of studies out there. I think the key here is to know which studies to wait for and which ones to trust because at the end of the day, we can’t just blindly create new projects and hope for the best.
With that being said, there is a reason why I want to point out Council Member Pennington. Too often we see elected officials who want to look good and do “something” to fix a problem. Often that “something” is hasty because they need to get votes in the next election. Council Member Pennington seems to want to do the right projects in his area. I said this over and over again in the last City election that flooding does not start and stop at district boundaries. What one council member approves for his or her district will cause an effect the next district over. While we have at-large members who are supposed to look at issues as a whole, it is nice to see district council members who seem to get it too.
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