Thursday, February 24, 2011

Choice Tonight: Draft a Public Statement

I spent the evening drafting a public statement that I will deliver tomorrow morning sometime between 9:30 and noon at the Houston-Galveston Area Council's Transportation Policy Council. Spending the evening on this means that other work I intended to get to this evening will spill over into the weekend. I missed three earlier public hearings on this funding issue. Tomorrow is my last opportunity and I am duty bound. Have no idea where on the agenda they will put public comment. I only know that they confine us to two minutes.
Tomorrow is a busy day indeed. After putting in my two cents at HGAC, Earl and I will meet Martin over at Sonny's where we'll load two of his very large map paintings on the district's trailer and take them to the new district offices. They'll be on loan and will look wonderful on terra cotta walls.
After moving the paintings, Charles Krenzler will take Earl and me to look at several East End properties that might work for a studio. This search translates, "When Earl has a studio, he will no longer be borrowing my studio. And I can get in there again and produce the new work that is floating around in my head."
I love what Earl is painting in that studio of mine, but I'll also love it when I can reclaim the space for work of my own.
The rest of my day? District board meeting this afternoon. Worked on the 1002 Washington Avenue project all morning. Can't believe it's the end of Thursday already.
So here's what I wrote tonight:

Good morning. Today, I’d like to talk about a green, pedestrian oriented project in Houston’s East End where I’ve lived for 2 decades. In 2007, when I was president of the GEEMD, HGAC encouraged the district to apply for a study grant for a Livable Centers project.
The project area is a 10 minute walk east of Minute Maid Park. And it’s home to the original Mama Ninfa’s Mexican restaurant. Our HGAC study grant led to more funding and the project is now well underway with strong community support. Brick pavers have been set and new sidewalks are being poured.
This project will reach the goals of Livable Centers, which are to

  1. Reduce emissions
  2. Promote infill development
  3. Increase the safety of alternative transportation – walking, biking and public transit. BTW, the project area includes METRO’s second light rail line, now under construction.

This project is one that HGAC and all who are sitting at this table will be able to point to with pride. This one worked.

So my questions are, why stop funding a project that is well underway and is already deemed successful? Why not finish this job and be able to say, “This project works for almost 100,000 residents and over 2500 businesses? And, it can lay claim to a piece of Texas history, because it’s right on the path to the San Jacinto Battleground.

Please include East End Livable Centers on your list of projects to complete – and to brag about. We make a relatively modest sum go a long, long way.

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