The media-savvy think tank that owns the Laurel Springs RV Resort has finally figured out a way to cover up permit violations from neighbors who complain to the City of Houston, Harris County and the State of Texas. They’ve simply put up signs prohibiting photography that threaten prosecution. And they’ve installed slats in their chain-link fence to reduce visibility of their construction practices.
Losing Through Intimidation
It’s a classic case study in Losing Through Intimidation.
“If You See Something, Say Something.”
In the two decades since 9/11, we’ve been taught by authorities to “say something if you see something.” But the owners of the Laurel Springs RV Park take the opposite approach. They threaten prosecution of anyone photographing permit violations. So far, there have been four investigations of the property by the City of Houston (2), Harris County, and the State of Texas – all triggered by citizen-supplied photos. Harris County even threatened a lawsuit. And the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a 64-page Notice of Enforcement.
So what do the owners do? It’s pure marketing genius. They put out a “Not Welcome” sign, erect a veil of secrecy, and threaten to sue anyone who complains.
But prohibiting photography of permit violations just makes people look harder. What are they trying to cover up?
Perhaps it never occurred to the owners that they should just stop violating permits and invite people to see how they are complying with the law. But no! That would be too simple.
Questionable Practices Documented to Date
So far they have been caught:
- Trenching through their detention pond wall, sending mud more than a hundred yards into Harris County’s Edgewater Park.
- Piping water from their detention pond directly into Edgewater Park.
- Pumping silty water directly into storm sewers and the Park.
- Bringing fill into the flood plain.
- Putting false information in permit applications.
- Failing to erect silt fences.
- Cutting down trees on public property.
- Trespassing on County property.
- Failing to protect storm sewer inlets.
- Pretending neighboring wetlands didn’t exist in their Stormwater Pollution Protection Plan.
- Improperly maintaining construction entrances and tracking mud into Laurel Springs Lane.
Their new “no photography” marketing ploy will surely make this a “destination vacation.” Except who wants to go to a glamour resort next to the railroad tracks and not take a camera?
I hope they invite me to cover their Grand Closing. But any ceremony will, no doubt, happen under the cloak of darkness, like much associated with their “See Nothing, Say Nothing” operation.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/10/2022
1685 Days since Hurricane Harvey
The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.