Tag Archive for: Tom Ramsey

How to Find HCFCD’s Active Projects in Your Area

Ever wonder where your tax and flood-bond dollars go? Harris County Flood Control District shows all its active projects on one page. You can review those projects in tabular form or on a map. You can even click on links to learn more about each project. Or explore it in depth by going to its related “watershed” page.

Active maintenance (orange) and capital (purple) flood mitigation projects in Harris County as of 1/4/22 shown against backdrop of precinct boundaries adopted on 10/28/21. Purple = P1, Green = P2, Red = P3, Yellow = P4.

Paragon of Transparency

HCFCD’s Active Projects page is a paragon of government transparency. You can even switch out base maps to see where the projects fall in terms of the old or new precinct boundaries approved on October 28, 2021.

One side benefit of the two base maps is that they give you a clear, unambiguous view of the redistricting boundaries.

Zoom far enough in on the map and you can even see your street, home, and the drainage features around you (streams, channels, storm sewers, etc).

As of today HCFCD has 64 active projects.

  • 31 maintenance projects total $60 million
  • 33 capital projects total $232.4 million

In case you want to see how the map changes from time to time, you can even download a PDF, such as this one from December 2021. Save it for future comparison.

Monitoring Work in Progress

Physically seeing work in progress is difficult. Construction zones are dangerous and often fenced off or hidden behind trees. They’re also so large that seeing them from an entrance at ground level is almost impossible.

The good news: the projects almost always include hike and bike trails, like the one below, which you can enjoy upon completion.

Willow Water Hole
Willow Water Hole near South Post Oak and Highway 90. One part of a six compartment detention basin complex ringed by hike and bike trails.

However, if you want to monitor work in progress, your best bet is a drone.

Good News from Commissioners Court Today

Commissioner Tom Ramsey introduced a motion to affirm Commissioners’ intentions to complete all projects in the flood bond. Despite several previous attempts to cancel projects and change bond priorities, commissioners voted unanimously to complete the entire bond package. Ramsey will be the new commissioner for the Lake Houston Area if the Ellis-3 redistricting plan survives court challenges. See the sprawling red area on the map above.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 1/4/2022

1589 Days since Hurricane Harvey

Redistricting Lawsuit Dismissed by Ellis-Backed Judge

A lawsuit by Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle and their supporters that sought to overturn a redistricting plan devised by Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis has been dismissed by an Ellis-backed judge, Dedra Davis.

How Ellis-3 Redistricting plan affects Lake Houston Area
In the Ellis-3 Redistricting plan, almost all of the Lake Houston Area including Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita, Huffman and Crosby will change from Precinct 4 to Precinct 3. Tom Ramsey will remain the Commissioner of Precinct 3, and will not be up for re-election in 2022.

Details of Redistricting Plan

The Ellis redistricting plan swapped the numbers of Precincts 3 and 4. It also redrew the boundaries of Precincts 3 and 4 so that Ramsey’s home and Cagle’s home changed precincts. The Ellis plan has two immediate effects.

  • It forces Cagle and Ramsey, both Republicans, to run in each others’ precincts because commissioners must live in the precincts they represent.
  • The number swap will deny voters in the new precinct 3 the right to vote for commissioner in the next election. That’s because only even-numbered precincts will vote in the next election cycle for commissioners. So the Lake Houston Area will not be able to vote for commissioners next year as it normally would have.

In addition, the plan redraws boundaries of the new Precinct 4 so that it becomes more Democratic. That jeopardizes Cagle’s chances of re-election and could shift the balance of power in Commissioners Court. Four Democrats could create a super-majority, enabling them to raise taxes at will.

A supermajority could also have far reaching consequences for flood mitigation by enabling Democrats to shift funds between watersheds as Adrian Garcia already tried to do.

TRO Denied, Then Lawsuit Dismissed on Plea to Jurisdiction

The plaintiffs sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) to block preparations for redistricting until the lawsuit could be resolved.

Judge Brittanye Morris (acting as an ancillary judge for Davis) denied the TRO on November 29 without explanation.

Hidalgo then filed a Plea to the Jurisdiction on December 13. In it, she pled that:

  • Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claims
  • She enjoyed sovereign (governmental) immunity
  • Plaintiffs did not plead a constitutionally valid claim
  • She was acting within her powers.

Yesterday, December 22, 2021, Judge Dedra Davis of the 270th District Court upheld Hidalgo’s plea to the jurisdiction and dismissed the lawsuit.

Judge Davis, who was supported in her election bid by Rodney Ellis, a key player in this drama, did not recuse herself. Nor did she cite any reasons for dismissing the case in her terse ruling.

Rodney Ellis and Judge Dedra Davis
Rodney Ellis and Judge Dedra Davis during her election bid.

Stage Set for Appeal

A spokesperson for Commissioner Jack Cagle’s office responded that the plaintiffs intend to file an appeal. However, because of the holidays, no other details were immediately available.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/23/2021

1577 Days since Hurricane Harvey