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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


New twist to landfill opposition may be successful

The fact that three of Houstonís major television stations have now joined the fight to oppose the Blue Ridge Landfill may put a different twist to the quest.

Letís face it the Texas agency that governs such permits seems to have turned a deaf ear to the pleas of residents who complained of the stench, the lowering property values and perhaps a health threat from leakage of various substances that arenít the best to inhale or consume.

Fort Bend County and Missouri City government officials were kind of between a rock and a hard place in offering any support to residents. They had earlier joined in an agreement not to oppose any future expansion plans of the trash giant. In return the two entities get tipping fees based on the amount of garbage at the facility. While some residents feel the fees are nothing more than a legal bribe, they are being used to help that area. Now whether or not the choice of where to put the money and for what purpose is a whole new chapter.

Anyhow, with three TV stations and a really successful environmental attorney bringing up not only the health and well being of the residents in the sparsely populated area, but the well-being of citizens throughout the Gulf Coast, the scale may have tipped in favor of the grass-roots group. After all, there is not a one of us who wants to go back 40 years and have no advance warning on hurricanes that may threaten the coast. Nor do we want to sit in the dark with our battery operated TV wondering if that noise from the thunderstorm is just really serious thunder or an approaching tornado.

The trash dump is going to be higher than the Doppler radar and that, my friends, is a serious situation for this area. It is so serious it may even get the attention of the state officials. Perhaps Gov. Rick Perry can pull himself from his confidential dossiers long enough to run over to the Emergency Management Office and take a look at what would happen if this state didnít have early warning systems in place. Not a pretty picture.

I held out little hope for the grass roots movement, though commendable, would have the end they wanted. Now, I just donít know ... but the chances are a lot better than they were a week ago.

What dufus did that?

Every time I look at plans for the new jail tower and listen to all the costly changes that will be necessary to make the older facility user friendly and curse free, I canít help but wonder what dufus designed that first tower. OKóletís put a bunch of inmates on the top story in rain, sleet and snow or typical coastal heat and humidity and letís just put in screen windows and open air ventilation and let Ďem go. Duhódidnít anyone realize that sounds would carry? Small wonder the inmates are cursing loudlyóafter all how calm can you be when the temp is, say, 96 degrees and youíve been running up and down a concrete floor chasing a basketball?

I donít know which of the last few sheriffs played a part in this but I can say whichever one played a primary role in suggestions for this design was indeed a dufus.

Sad thing is that we, the taxpayers, are always having to come up with a ďdufus taxĒ which in this case is about $1.5 million. Too bad we canít bill public officials for such costs.


Contact skinnerc1@ev1.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  May 23, 2007