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Tidbits!

And off we go…

KBMT – Dumping the older employees on the morning show and evening news for younger people. More on Sunday.

Wurstfest Fire – New digs for Wurstest. Big fire – burned down the entire building. 

Officer Involved – The guy was from Port Arthur. Not kidding.

Rodney Reed – Not going to be executed. Parole Board says no. It is what it is. 

A Mess – There is a mess in DC. Too funny to watch. Senate will act like mature people and shut this thing down. 

Got To Love This – Kevin Morgan got hired at Lamar. Ace reporter Angle San Juan got the tip – ran with it – and it was a big deal. He left. 

LNG – Has started building. Over 1,000 jobs. Interesting. 

Lumberton Is Seeing Crime Wave – They have begun to have a crime problem! And that from a long-time law enforcement officer. 

Port Arthur Going To – Have their own party during Mardi Gras. Duling drinking parties. Too funny. 

Have a great weekend – we will post on Sunday regarding KBMT!

Same As The Old Boss

And just like that – Port Arthur spends $25,000 for a nationwide search and hires within. You know, just like the old boss.

At the same time this month – we hear that the first 100 days of the Bartee administration is wonderful? 

Well here is a report from KBMT :

A new leader could mean a new chapter for Port Arthur. After 100 days in office, mayor Thurman Bartie wants his community to know what’s been accomplished. 

“In Port Arthur, this is a mecca for development,” Bartie said. 

With 100 days in the books, Bartie is confident Port Arthur is better off than it was 100 days prior. Bartie hinted that he’s been talking with some individuals who he believes will be very beneficial to the future of Port Arthur. 

“Folks can’t see it right now, and I’m not at liberty to speak about it right now, but I know for a fact within the next 100 days, or 300 for sure, those changes will be evident,” Bartie explained. 

Bartie went through a long list of what he’s done so far, and what’s in the works for the future. Some of his biggest moves so far include; establishing a dialogue with the Texas Governor and holding a round table discussion with industry and education partners within the city to come up with a plan to educate students to work in the industries. 

“That’s really important to me,” Bartie said. 

Bartie is proud of his work with risk management through Imelda. He knows another major storm could come through before we know it, and now he’s better prepared. 

Bartie is also working alongside the interim city manager, and the people of Port Arthur to come up with solutions for common issues. Bartie admits, some problems will take time to resolve. 

“We haven’t been able to fix all the potholes, we haven’t been able to straighten up all the streets, we haven’t been able to stop some of the shootings,” he said. 

However, Bartie said he’s working with law enforcement and faith-based communities to get the violence under control. 

“I know within the last 100 days nothing was in place for that, but no we have something in place, and I believe we are able to enlarge upon that, and let’s go another 100 and see what happens,” he said. 

What did he just say? Something is coming – but nobody knows what – but it is big – well maybe?

Let us help you with what has happened in Port Arthur – NOTHING. And that is just sickening – because of the citizens of Port Arthur should demand the fact that they have a city council that is always running a scam or shuck and jive thought problems that only lead to other problems. The issues again always seem to fall back to a few things – one of which is corruption.

So now we have a guy, who has never ever run a city, that is beholden to the mayor (the mayor’s guy) and with the city now way below 50,000 people, and face a certain pullback of federal funds, they continue to fall down. 

You cannot solve the violence when one of your own city council members threaten police, threaten firemen and city workers. They are nothing but scam artists and there is nobody to stop them. And that is a fact. 

It is what it is.

DD6 Under Investigation – Owens Resigns

Well, you knew this was coming. According to our sources inside the USDOJ – investigators have launched a criminal investigation regarding five employees of DD6 that used government resources and government equipment that benefited employees of the government agency post flooding in their private residences. 

As well, the Review has learned that board member Bart Owens has either submitted his resignation or is in the process of resigning from his seat. Sources tell us that Owens is resigning as he is seeing further corruption and may have cooperated or is considering cooperation with federal authorities. 

According to our sources, the DOJ is looking into the use of federal funds for private use. Sources also tell the Review that a report or inquiry was made to the Jefferson County Sheriffs department and they passed on investigating the government authority. That is when two employees of the district went to the government to point out the corruption to which many says is worse than BISD. All of which Owens, who all say he is on the up and up, seemingly has had enough and is upset with what he sees. 

Our take?

We smell very bad things coming down the line. And we want to know why the Sheriff’s department passed on any investigation and we would like to hear about who is really under investigation. And we too believe that if you are going to put BISD employees in jail for the same damn thing – why all are getting a pass. Remember – those that went to jail at BISD for using government funds for their own self-worth, and using government resources for personal gain, why would anyone ignore other government employees for doing the same thing?

Maybe some of these guys that point this stuff out – well – maybe they are right. 

Get Getz!

Oh…the ides of Donald Trump is at play here – and according to Mike Getz – they are coming for him. We love political DRAMA – and here is the drama according to Mike Getz facebook page :

“So the City Manager and the Mayor put the item listed below on the agenda for Executive Session tomorrow. The way I found out about it was when I received a message from a reporter Friday evening asking me if I would like to comment as to why I was the subject of a discussion scheduled for Executive Session. I told him I had no idea and that I had not even seen the agenda, that I would look into it and get back to him.

I texted the City Manager and he called me back around 6:30 Friday evening and told me that he and the Mayor submitted my name for discussion in Executive Session because I had spoken to a FEMA representative asking questions about how the rules should be applied for using FEMA funds. He did not elaborate saying we could talk about it further in Executive Session.

BACKSTORY

The City Manager scheduled a workshop for the City Council to take place on October 29, 2019 away from City Hall and at 9:30 a.m. The work shop was not televised. No members of the public were there. The only media present was the Beaumont Enterprise (because I called them and tipped them off about it). The primary item for discussion on the agenda was listed as “Items to review and Discuss”. First and foremost was the following agenda item:

” The Riverfront Park Bank Stabilization Project and the use of possible additional funds (the cost difference between stabilizing the shoreline where it was pre-storm and the cost of stabilizing it post-storm) for other projects”.

At the work shop, the City Manager explained to the City Council that it would likely cost 47.3 million dollars to return and stabilize the shoreline of Riverfront Park to where it was prior to Hurricane Harvey and it would likely cost 28 million dollars to stabilize the shoreline of Riverfront Park at it’s current location. The City Council was further informed that we would be able to use the difference of approximately 19 million dollars for “other projects”. The City Manager gave examples of the type of other projects that the City Council could consider. They included having the City of Beaumont purchase Crockett Street. Or tearing down City Hall and relocating it to market the land where City Hall now sits. Or acquiring the AT&T building. While I thought it somewhat odd that the City Council was being told that the 19 million could be used for any type of project, I took the City Manager’s comments at face value and I openly advocated that at least part of the money be used to construct the first section of the Dowlen Road Extension.

Apparently FEMA read about some of the City Manager’s ideas on how we could use the money and made it very clear to him that the 19 million could not be used for things like “buying Crockett Street” or “tearing down City Hall”. Rather, the money had to be used to repair something damaged by Hurricane Harvey or to mitigate against future disaster events. So the City Manager instructed his staff to come up with a new project, which was presented to City Council at a workshop on Monday, November 4, 2019.

The new project put forward by the City Manager was to construct a new water pump station to extract water from the Neches River at a cost of 19.5 million dollars. The current water pump station, located near Collier Ferry Park, flooded during Hurricane Harvey and the city was without water for 8 days. (It is important to note here that the current water pump station was repaired and received all new components after Hurricane Harvey and is now operational and working fine. Cost to repair the current water pump station after Harvey? Less than a million dollars).

To construct a new water pump station to be located near the intersection of East Lucas and Pine Street would also require a new water pipeline to be constructed to convey the water from the water pump plant to the water purification plant at a cost of an additional 15 million dollars. Now you are nearly 40 million into this project. And where would the pipeline be located? Underneath Pine Street, so you would have to tear up and rebuild Pine Street at a cost of 5 million dollars so now you are 45 million dollars into this project.

Keep in mind that it took a 1,000 year storm to flood our current pump station and it was rehabilitated at a cost of less than one million dollars. And if you sincerely have a concern that we might get another 1,000 year flood and that it could flood again, you could elevate the critical components of the current pump station at a cost of around 2 million dollars. Still think building a new water pump station is a good idea? Wouldn’t it be better to take that 19.5 million dollars and put it into rehabilitation of our sanitary sewer system which was damaged by Hurricane Harvey? We have citizens from every part of the city complaining weekly that they cannot flush their toilets when it rains. That 19.5 million would go a very long way towards fixing that issue.

But I digress. Why is my name on the agenda for Executive Session discussion? Apparently, it is because on November 6, 2019, I had the termerity to contact a FEMA official to get some additional guidance as to how the cities excess funds, the 19.5 million dollars, could be used. One of FEMA’S requirements is that any excess funds used on an alternate project be “cost effective”. I wanted to know how that factor weighed in when FEMA considered a project because I definitely do not think that a new water pump station is cost effective. (See above).

It got back to the City Manager and the Mayor that I contacted FEMA and they are not happy about it and want to take me to the woodshed and give me a good scolding. Last time I checked, I was an elected public official with First Amendment rights to talk to anyone about anything I wanted to talk about! Especially when it involves using your tax dollars on something that I see as incredibly wasteful. I also wanted to go straight to the source since the City Manager had so badly missed the mark on how those excess tax dollars could be spent at the first work session.

I work for you, the citizens. I do my homework. I try to be a team player but if I see something that I don’t think is right, I am going to say something. If the Mayor and the City Manager don’t like it, too bad.

I sent the City Manager an email Sunday and asked him to state clearly, in writing, what conduct he thinks that I have done that warrants a discussion about it in Executive Session. Due process would seem to dictate that I know what I am being charged with doing. I have not heard back.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow should be interesting.”

Welcome back to the show that never ends!

What is happening? Well, it seems that Getz, after hearing what the council was trying to do behind closed doors did some checking of his own. And the extra money (remember we told you we smelled a rat whenever money is running around) can only be used for certain things. Not what the Mayor of the management of the city wants to do with it – a-la buy Crocket Street or build a huge Fariswheel. Well, that pissed off the powers when Getz did his job and made calls. Now FEMA is watching how the money is to be spent. 

Hey FEMA – Welcome to Jefferson County!

So Getz is getting called into the principles office and we are sure that he will be threatened with something. And who cares – it is all blowhard. But the important part is this – Getz caught them in an illegal scheme before the scheme could unfold. Yes, he did. And you the citizens are now seeing what a real whistleblower looks like. 

What does all of this mean? Nothing but political drama. And our hats go off to the Gadfly Getz! Let’s see how the media spins this one. 

Goodbye Mike

There are times when you meet someone and you just know they are golden. This is one of those guys and his name is Mike Hamilton. 

I met Mike back in the 1980s when he opened a place called Tuffy’s in Mauriceville, Texas. We served together on some boards in Austin and I saw when we hit the hill his dream of becoming a Legislator. And he did. He became one of the best legislators to hit the hill in issues that mattered to my industry. Mike and I became good friends – and I would see him from time to time after we went to our different paths. He was in Austin – I was here in Southeast Texas. But every time we saw each other it was like two kids – laughing and talking. 

He would feed me with information for the Review. He was always wonderful in getting facts and directions to me. And in fact, he showed up here at the Review’s office from time to time while he was checking on his place in Port Arthur. 

Mike knew he had heart issues. It scared him a bit – but he would always tell me that if it was time – it was time. He gave so much to his family, his religion and most of all his community.

The first day he was in office it was wonderful to visit with him in his office with nothing on the walls. I had the chance to watch him on the floor for the first time and I actually had some time to run a bill or two with him. We were 2-0 when he sponsored those bills. 

The last time I saw Mike was about six months ago. My assistant walked in and said “Tuffy” was here. And she giggled and walked off. He marched in and said a good hello – and I said come on Mike let’s blow this joint. We found a quiet little restaurant that I love down here and we just talked. He was unusually frank with me that day. I asked what was up and he told me that he was a little uptight – and could not put his finger on it. 

We did not laugh it off. 

It was of no surprise to me when I heard he was in the hospital again. The last big trip was the old triple bi-pass. I figured that maybe it was another small attack and he would come out of it. But it was not – and he did not come out of it. 

Mike Hamilton was a politico that put the people first. He lost in a primary to a good man as well. They, in the end, got along – but doesn’t everyone on both sides of the fence. 

Mike – thank you for your years of service to our community. Big shoes will have to be had to keep up with your legacy. May God Bless you, may God Bless your family and may God Bless our great state. 

Mike Hamilton will be buried this week in Austin – in a place that he should be remembered as moving Texas forward. 

And we all say, on both sides of the fence, amen. 

Can The Horses Help Jeff Co?

It is an interesting business adventure here in Jefferson County. And it will be even more interesting as betting on the pony’s comes to one of the most corrupt counties in Texas.

Now let’s just be honest. The group that has been formed to bring this venture into Southeast Texas is anything but corrupt. They are a fine group of businessmen and women that are looking for solutions to what hurts Southeast Texas. The plan is pretty simple – why does Louisiana get all of the gambling money? Why not Texas?

The answer was made when the commissioner’s court allowed the question to go to the voters. And it passed. Not really big – but it passed. Now, in the next two years a complex will be built and the ponies will run and the winner will get money, and you can win money if you pick the right horse.

Now, how does this affect Jefferson County?

Well, it seems that Ford Park has been dead (duh). And these investors want to take the heat off Ford Park and get the county taxpayers their money back. So, after the place has been mismanaged so bad, these investors are going to build a track, with stadium-like seating, with fancy places to eat, and offer people who own horses a chance to win at their track for money.

Okay.

So our take.

We watched the super investigative report Angel San Juans report and you can as well :

Welcome back.

Now here is the deal. The investors want to buy Ford Park. And we agree. Buy it! And they want to build the track. And we agree. Buy it and get it off the taxpayer’s back.

So that was easy right? Well not so fast.

What will Jefferson County do with all of that savings? Give it back to the taxpayers? Uh no we are told. Not going to happen.

The money to run the place is about 1.7 million. And in the grand thought of things – in a budget such as this county – that is not a bunch of money. What is a bunch of money is simply this – how much money has already been spent and how do we get the money back? Well, by the sale of the property and building they say.

That is what we all need to watch.

Is this the answer? Maybe. Should we all give it a chance – yes!

But the devil is always in the details – and we need the media to watch that.

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