Kevin R. McCarthy for Jefferson County Commissioner

Rebuilding Highway 87… revisited

Don’t let it be said that I don’t listen.  I’ve said several times that I disagree with rebuilding Highway 87… but the people of South Jefferson County want hwy87 between Sabine Pass and the Bolivar Peninsula rebuilt, so if I’m elected, then I will get the thing built for you.

After doing some research, if I’m elected then I will propose a few things that would make the highway more palatable for the environmental groups and improve the highway lifespan from 30 years to at least 60 or more years.

My plan would be to build it as a bridge… think about the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway.  It’s 18.2 miles, slightly more than the part of hwy 87 that needs to be rebuilt.  It’s built entirely on piers for that entire distance and has withstood floods and hurricanes.

The advantages:

  • Less environmental impact.  Water and creatures can travel freely underneath the highway, leaving the wetlands pretty much as is, plus no alligators to hit while driving at night (a friend of mine hit an alligator just outside of Sabine Pass one night).
  • The highway will be more tolerant of storms and storm surge.  Say the highway is built 6-8 feet above sea level, there would have to be quite a storm to flood the highway and it would avoid damage from the constant pounding and shifting from weather
  • It could probably be built faster than if we had to stabilize every inch of roadbed.  Modern technology allows the prebuilding of lengths of road that are then moved out over the piers and placed into position.  Steel connections between sections would allow for shifting from weather, settling, and differential heating.

Disadvatages

  • It would probably be slightly more expensive, but this would have to be looked at.  I find it difficult to believe that building a bridge would cost more than having to stabilize some 93,000 feet of swamp.
  • Traffic issues: broken down cars, beach access, bird watching, emergency access, etc (more below)

For those traffic issues, I would propose two things to help out.  The first would be a great boon for Sabine Pass and High Island.  That is convince the cell phone companies to put towers in Sabine and High Island.  As far as I can tell there is only one company with excellent connections in Sabine.  The others are spotty to non-existent.  If I get stranded, I may not be able to get a call out depending on where I am.

The second affects the road/bridge itself.  I would propose to add four or five ‘wide points’ where the road extends to 4 lanes and there are under bridge turnarounds.  I would place beach access off of these points as well as making provisions for bird watchers and some additional access to the wetlands (boat ramps may not be out of the question).

This would add to the cost of the project, but hopefully turn it from just 17.5 miles of road to something that actually enhances Southeast Texas.

Comments from Civil Engineers and citizens of SE Texas welcome.

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April 20, 2008 Posted by | Campaign, Jefferson County, Politics, Port Arthur, Texas | Leave a comment

Meeting

Additional details as events warrant. Don’t forget the Libertarian meeting Wednesday at Serintos in Beaumont.

April 15, 2008 Posted by | Campaign, Jefferson County, Politics, Port Arthur | Leave a comment

Campaigning

Sorry, I haven’t been posting in a while.  I’ve been putting up a wood fence and doing yardwork.

It’s pretty neat to watch what’s going on in the Democrat runoff.  I’m looking forward to the main event.

For those that are interested I have a few ideas to spread the word about my campaign.

First, I plan on being at the monthly meeting for Jefferson County Libertarians each month.  We meet on the second Tuesday at Sertinos Cafe in the Best Buy shopping center in Beaumont. They have some pretty good food and an ice cream bar, which I have been strenuously avoiding.  If you have some time and questions about me and/or the Libertarian Party, then come out and say hi.

Second, starting when I get the fence and yardwork finished (say in May), I plan on spending Saturday Lunches at a variety of places around town.  I’ll post where I plan on being a week or two in advance and try to get it in the newspapers and various community calendars.  I’ll eat and hang out for a few hours.  If the location allows it, I’ll have some Libertarian materials and such.  I hope that some of my many reader come introduce themselves (even if you aren’t in Precinct 3).

Third, if anyone would be interested in hosting a coffee or something, then let me know.  I can bring some homemade goodies and be willing to discuss anything you like in a small (or large) group.

Finally, I’m hoping that the PA News will host a debate between myself and the Democratic candidate.  Not just the bio that they did before, but an actual debate.  Alternately, a question/answer column with you guys asking the questions and us answering the questions.  That might even be better.  You know what you want.

This summer, I’ll be visiting some areas of the precinct and talking with everyone I can.

I want to know what your concerns are, what you think is wrong, what needs to be fixed and any ideas you have that could help.

It’s time to get serious.   You have a choice between me and another Democrat.  I can’t promise I’ll do everything right, but I can promise that I will try to lower taxes, reduce the county budget, and fix Ford Park… not to mention getting some common sense into the government.

April 4, 2008 Posted by | Campaign, Jefferson County, Libertarian, Politics, Port Arthur | Leave a comment

Just to Prove the County Doesn’t Listen

So, they didn’t listen when we didn’t want Ford Park.  Now that we have it and our hockey team is doing fantastic, they want to get rid of the hockey team… again, in spite of all the people that want the team to stay.

Sigh.

April 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Arts in Southeast Texas

Once again an organization ignores locals to bring in outsiders for business.  KFDM reports a woman called in from out of the area to paint murals from a children’s book on the walls of a church.

The one thing that really struck me was her blatant use of the word ‘copy’ when describing her work.  It makes me wonder if she (or the church) has permission to use the images and copy them onto the walls.

Once again though, local groups are going outside the area to have work done that could be done be local people.  ( see this blog entry for a list).

It has also come to my attention that local artists and organizations could get grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts, SETAC, and the Stark Foundation.  So it wouldn’t cost the City of PA or the church anything to have the work done.

Please note, I would be mad about anything that could be done locally that wasn’t.  It’s just that I know about the arts because of my wife (who happens to be a professional artist and have work in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, but no one does a news show on her!).

March 14, 2008 Posted by | Jefferson County, Texas | Leave a comment

Kicking out the Wildcatters

Jefferson County has kicked out the Wildcatters (link to story by KFDM)

OK ‘leaders’, now what?  Tell us just what you are going to do with a hockey rink in SE Texas.  I’m sure the citizens that skate will cover the costs of the entire thing… oh wait, you don’t have skate days.

I’m hoping that you have some grand plan to put something else in place.  If so, you really need to let someone know because right now you look pretty stupid.

Is the goal of the Jefferson County Commissioners Court the complete destruction of SE Texas?  Heaven forbid that something good stays here.  I may not be a hockey fan, but these things take time.  It’s not like the Wildcatters suck or anything, they lead their division in wins by a significant margin.  They’re still in the playoffs…

Check out this letter to the county…

It’s a real shame that our ‘leaders’ (through malicious intent or complete inattention) are losing (losing? driving away with a truck and pushing out onto the highway) something that has real potential in SE Texas.

March 14, 2008 Posted by | Jefferson County, Politics, Wildcatters | Leave a comment

Libertarian County Meeting

Tonight (Tuesday the 11th), there will be a Libertarian meeting at Sertinos Cafe in the Best Buy shopping center in Beaumont. The meeting starts at 6:30 PM.

We have a new county chairman. I will be there.

If you have any questions for me, about the Liberty Party, or what’s going on, stop by and say hi.

For more information, you can contact Dean Tucker 409 626-4691

I hope to see you there.

March 11, 2008 Posted by | Jefferson County, Libertarian, Politics | Leave a comment

Thurman Bartie’s Position and Kevin McCarthy’s Responses

I just can’t help myself.  I have to comment on this from Bartie’s website.  My comments in red… and yes, I’m being kind of snippy here, deal with it.

1.  Roads & Bridges
Bartie will maintain the roads and bridges of Precinct 3 and appropriate wisely the statutory fund dedicated to this cause.
 It’s good to know that you would do the job that is expected of you.
2. Public Works
Bartie will properly maintain ditches and waterways within precinct 3. Will approach the need of services in rural areas according to availability.
It’s good to know that you will maintain ditches, though I really don’t ever expect to see you with a shovel.  Rural areas are a part of the county.  If you don’t do jobs in the rural areas at the same priority as jobs within PA City Limits, then you are putting the needs of one area above the needs of another area and that’s not right.
3. Tax Rate
Bartie will maintain the tax rate and strengthen the economic growth and development.
This one ticks me off.  Don’t maintain the tax rate… LOWER IT.  Here’s what I want to accomplish if I’m elected.  One, reduce all department budgets by 5%.  Two remove the $25 million emergency fund portion of the taxes.  We haven’t used it right?  No emergencies right?  With those two things, the tax PAYMENTS should be lower.  If the county raises property values again, then the tax RATE should be waaaay lower.
4. Park System
Bartie will maintain  the park system within the precinct (Umphrey State Park, Keith Lake Park, work to reopen Sea Rim State Park).
Do you know what “State Park” means.  That means that the state is responsible for it.  Quit trying to make us pay for other things.  BTW: You can scratch Sea Rim off the list.  Texas has the money to fix it now.
5. Coastal Erosion
Bartie will further study coastal erosion and seek a cost effective method for eradication.
Coastal erosion is a fact of life along the Texas coast.  You can’t stop it.  You can do some short-sighted things to limit erosion in one area, but it always causes more problems in other areas and more long-term problems.  Don’t ask an environmental company, ask a couple of scientists at Lamar or A&M Galveston whose life is studying the Texas coast.  They’ll tell you the same thing.
6. Employment
Bartie will work closely with industry and the Texas Workforce Commission to assist South and Southwest County residents with gainful employment.
There are lots and lots of available jobs right now.  OK, the jobs aren’t making $20/hr at a refinery, but they are jobs.
7. Public Health & Welfare
Bartie will further support the County Health Care system; Indigent Care and  Veteran Benefits
Aren’t Veterans Federal?
8. Intergovernmental Relations
Bartie will work with all governmental agencies from Sabine Pass, Fannett, to Port Arthur for a better quality of life for all citizens.
Something I can agree with.
Bartie will work with both the U.S. Congressional and Texas Legislative Representatives to rebuild Hwy 87.
 WHY!?!?  Highway 87 is dead, just let it go people.  Please.  (See Coastal Erosion)  I would rather see some efforts spent towards the HWY 69/ 365 area to improve that (I know it’s in progress) and 365 between 69 and West Port Arthur Road improved.  The intersection there needs some work too.  

Bartie will  work in harmony  with all City Officials, County Officials and Regional Officials for a more effective government. I’m not so sure about this one.  Can you work in harmony, Bartie?  It seems to me you’ve had issues with working with people in the past.

Bartie doesn’t mention one of the 3 fundamental jobs of a county commissioner and it’s one that he should be well aware of… that is maintaining the county courthouse and courts.

I really think that Bartie will get the Democrat nomination.  But he has the same problem that a lot (all?) of the other candidates have, except me.  He wants to push for more government doing more things at a huge cost.

I’m the only candidate who WILL NOT agree to a budget increase.  In fact, the proposal I outlined above for the next county budget cycle is the minimum that I will vote to accept.  Will I win, probably not, but I will fight for it.  If I fight for it this year, then the other precincts can elect others who will fight for lower taxes as well.

P.S. I will allow one exception on the department cuts.  Mosquito control gets one year without a cut, since they have had budget cuts recently.

P.P.S. I think I did pretty good and didn’t bring up any of the major problems with Bartie at all.  This is all (well, almost all) based on his position.

March 9, 2008 Posted by | Campaign, Jefferson County, Libertarian, Politics, Port Arthur, Texas | Leave a comment

Jefferson County Primary Results

So, for precinct 3 it’s a runoff between Mike Sinegal and Thurman Bartie.  Are you kidding me?

I can understand Mike, he seems to be popular in Port Arthur.  But Bartie??!??!?!?!

I would like to run against Sinegal.  I think we would have a good competition.  I would really like to run against Bartie, a defrocked judge with anger management issues.  If he somehow gets the spot, then I’m leaving.  I will now that Jefferson County can’t be saved and it’s merely a playground for those who want power and money and I’m gone.

Let’s go for the runoff.

March 5, 2008 Posted by | Campaign, Jefferson County, Libertarian, Politics, Port Arthur, Texas | Leave a comment

The Politics of Change

Everyone wants change in politics.  Yet few are willing to vote for anyone who really will change politics.

The Democrats and the Republicans are to entrenched in the system.  Everyone seems to think that the president can change the system.  He/she can’t without congress.

Instead vote for a real agent of change… Libertarians.  We have plans that actually work and cost less than the Democrats and the Republicans.

Try it out.

March 4, 2008 Posted by | Campaign, Libertarian, Politics | Leave a comment