ROW and construction spending for first half of 2022

San Jacinto Watershed Still Virtually Ignored

Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) spending data on right-of-way acquisition and construction for the first half of 2022 shows that, once again, the San Jacinto watershed has been ignored. Thus, the largest watershed in the county received virtually no help in terms of flood-mitigation funding.

Brays, where Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis lives, received $89.4 million for the completion of Project Brays. But the San Jacinto watershed and Kingwood, which he constantly berates for getting “all the money,” received only $200 thousand. Cedar Bayou, also in the northeastern part of the county, received only $160 thousand. Buffalo Bayou received only $230 thousand.

Thus, Ellis’s Brays received 389X more than Buffalo Bayou. 447X more than San Jacinto. And 559X more than Cedar. All in the name of equity.

Oh, and don’t forget that Adrian Garcia tried to move $190 million designated for Cedar Bayou in the 2018 Flood Bond to his newly redistricted Precinct 2. I’m convinced that that’s what poker players call a “tell.” See more below. But first…

FOIA Data in Graph and Table Formats

Here’s the right-of-way and construction data from my FOIA Request in a bar graph. Do those blips on the right below make you feel ignored?

Harris County ROW and Construction dpending data obtained via a FOIA Request for Q1 and Q2 2022

Here’s the same data in a table, again arranged from highest to lowest.

If it weren’t for money contributed by Federal, State and City sources, virtually nothing would get done in this part of the county. So far, Harris County has mostly paid for studies. But the studies do no good without construction to back them up. They’re just yellowing paper on a bookshelf somewhere.

It looks like the Democrats are hoarding money hoping for a larger majority in November so they can move around – at will – the remaining money in the bond.

Hypocrisy of “Worst First”

Since 1979, floods have ravaged the northeastern part of the county more than most.

historical flood loss map of Harris County after Hurricane Harvey
Historical flood-loss map of Harris County since 1979. From MAAPnext.

And during Harvey, we had the highest water above flood stage in the county – 20+ feet! Compare that to representative locations in watersheds getting the lion’s share of funding.

worst first
Chart showing feet above flood stage of 33 gages of misc. bayous in Harris County during Harvey.

It’s much more difficult to survive a 20′ flood than a flood that’s two or three feet.

When Will This Political Torture End?

The Democratic majority on Commissioners Court has proven that it won’t play fair. It’s up to voters to create a new majority in November and right this wrong. People’s lives are at risk.

Imagine being trapped in one of these as water rose during Harvey. Parts of other townhomes were swept away and now lie at the bottom of Lake Houston somewhere.

Just yesterday, we were treated to more political theater in Commissioners Court by members of the Northeast Action Collective whining about how they don’t get any money. Their watersheds netted approximately $78 million in the first half of this year alone! And they want to take money from Kingwood!

If you lump historical spending on top of first-half spending, the disparities become even more exaggerated. Get mad, people. Your silence only emboldens them. Demand fairness. Demand change.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 9/1/22

1829 Days since Hurricane Harvey