Tag Archive for: Whitmeyer

Remember Flooding? Vote for Whitmire.

This is a week for good news and bad. Yesterday, we locked in another $50 million for the Lake Houston Gates Project. But one of the key people who helped us secure that funding is himself locked in a runoff election for City of Houston Mayor. And turnout so far has been abysmally low.

Whitmire Helped Secure $50 Million for Gates from State

More about the good news first. Yesterday, the Texas Water Development Board officially confirmed a $50 million grant to help build additional floodgates on the Lake Houston Dam. That will clear the way for final design, approvals and construction.

State Senator John Whitmire, candidate for City of Houston Mayor, helped secure that money. According to Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin, who has shepherded the gates project since Hurricane Harvey, Whitmire reportedly talked several reluctant senators into supporting the grant. Whitmire has been in the Texas Senate for 40 years and sits on the Finance Committee.

So Whitmire already has some skin invested in the gates project. If elected Mayor, he could provide necessary consistency for the project as it moves forward during the next four years.

Martin also reminded me that future FEMA grants for Lake Houston will depend on a maintenance dredging program. So, we need a mayor who can work with the state legislature to help secure future dredging grants. And Whitmire has relationships with all the key players in Austin.

Turnout Abysmally Low

Now, for more on the bad news. Turnout in the Houston runoff election so far has been “sluggish” according to the Houston Chronicle.

I personally would call it “somewhere south of abysmal.” Only 131,887 people in a City with roughly 1.75 million adults voted early. So, less than 10% of Houston adults have voted so far in what could be the most consequential election of this generation!

Why Mayor is Crucial

After Harvey, the Lake Houston Area Task Force identified more gates for Lake Houston as one of the three most crucial projects to reduce flooding in the area. In case you’re new here, this is what the San Jacinto West Fork looked like during Harvey.

Looking south toward Humble along US59. Water here was more than 20 feet above flood stage, the highest in Harris County and knocked out the southbound bridge for almost a year.

The flood affected 16,000 homes and 3,300 businesses in the Lake Houston area. That included 44% of all the businesses in the Lake Houston Chamber and 100% of all the businesses in Kingwood Town Center, which still hasn’t fully recovered. At the time, many people said, “If it happens again, I’m leaving.” That said…

It will likely take four years to complete the gates – the entire term of the next mayor. We need a mayor who will remain committed to the project.

The Mayor has the power to prioritize the project…or not.

Only Whitmire Has Made Flooding an Issue

In that regard, Whitmire is the only candidate who made flooding a central element of his campaign.

This election could determine the future direction of our community and the City for decades to come.

Four 500-Year Storms in Eight Years

And lest you think a 500-year flood only happens once every 500 years, I would remind you that four hit this area in the last eight years: Tax Day, Memorial Day, Harvey, and Imelda.

We Have Power to Swing This Election

Now for the final piece of good news. So few people are voting throughout the City that Kingwood has the power to swing this election on Saturday.

Only 8,381 people have voted so far at the Kingwood Community Center – in a community of more than 70,000 people. While that’s one of the highest totals in the county, it still leaves the citywide outcome in doubt.

So please vote. Get your neighbors to vote. And get your neighbors to get their neighbors to vote. Etc.

When I voted early, I got to the polling place and back before my screen saver kicked in. It took less than 20 minutes round trip. With so much at stake, there’s just no excuse not to vote.

Voting Times, Places, Ballots, Etc.

Remember, races for several council positions and city controller remain open. View your sample ballot here.

Polls will open at 7AM and close at 7PM.

Vote at any of these locations.

For more voting information, visit HarrisVotes.com.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/8/2023

2292 Days since Hurricane Harvey