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Flood bond referendum: Interview with Ed Emmett

Judge Ed Emmett

Believe it or not, early voting for the August 25 flood bond referendum begins this week, on Wednesday the 8th. Those of you who make the effort to show up and vote will get to decide whether or not to ratify a $2.5 billion bond package put forth by Commissioners Court for a variety of projects involving bayous, detention basins, wetlands, emergency response systems, and more. You can find all of the county’s information about the bond package here. There’s a lot to read and there are lots of maps to look at, and you really should try to learn as much as you can about this not just so you’ll know what you’re voting on but also so that you’ll know what to expect and how to stay engaged should it pass. I’d like to do my part to help people understand the issue by doing what I do for elections, which is to say interviews. The logical place to start for that is with County Judge Ed Emmett, as he helped spearhead the drive to get a bond issue before the voters, and because he pushed to have it in August, on the one-year anniversary of Harvey, rather than in November. We talked about what’s in the package now and what might be in it later, why we’re doing this at such an unusual time, what else there is to be done, and more. Here’s the interview:

I’ll have another interview on Wednesday. Let me know what you think.

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3 Comments

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    First time I have taken time to listen to a pod cast. Not sure what I learned if anything.

    Looking at the projects map, the bulk of the projects will be outside the Houston area.

    Think I figured out what those little triangles are (at least the ones along the bayous), they are previously identified erosion areas, not sure what the bonds will do with them.

    Did not learn how the money will help Brays Bayou although the Judge did mention it several times. Will the money be used to replace the bridges? He did not say yea or nay only that they would be replaced at some time.

    The County Judge and Commissioners have control over taxes, why have the FCD taxes remained low when everyone that thinks about what can happen in the future based on the passed knew that it was a disaster that was waiting to happen. Like baseball it took three strikes to get their attention.

    What was the County position before Harvey?

    “… TALBOTT: Yes. With engineering data to back that up, it’s not just my opinion. The mitigation that’s being done by new development is absolutely effective. They’re building stormwater detention, they’re building new channels, and all of it is being mitigated appropriately.

    Every single development goes through a rigorous review process, and everybody’s got criteria manuals that are two inches thick.

    TT: So the notion that there’s rogue development …

    TALBOTT: No, that’s absurd. I’m concerned — A lot of the ink that has gone down after [the Tax Day flood] has been given to critics with an agenda. When somebody wants to claim that, “well, it’s because we’re paving over all the wetlands and these magic sponges out in the prairie would have absorbed all that water,” is absurd. …”

    Source – https://www.texastribune.org/2017/09/07/conversation-former-harris-county-flood-control-chief/

    But to be fair the City has not been any better than the County.

    The Judge did make one statement that should be followed, we should build homes using pier foundations, elevating the house with fill only helps that house. The water still has to run somewhere. Because of the soil that we have it will also help with foundation problems.

    Still don’t know how they intend to spend the money. I will probably vote NO not because of any increase in taxes, but because there is already too much wasted pandering to the people that give large amounts of money.

  2. Manny Barrera says:

    Finally the list is published and after reviewing will recommend to people in my area to vote yes on the bonds.

    https://www.hcfcd.org/media/2907/2018bondprojectlist2018-08-06-1130.pdf

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