Sunday, November 29, 2009

Farenheit Eight-Two

Saturday was such a wonderful day. Here is a white buzzard of some kind, down at the docks by Palm Street Pier. Warm skies and temperatures prevailed.

Here are some of the Mercado sponsors, including Ann, Dan Quandt, and our fearless leader, Nancy. I have lots more Mercado pictures but it was a glowing success, and many sold off loads of their product. Thanks to people like the above! The locals and visitors loved it. This is what our town is all about ... and money was raised for sea turtles, the humane society, and the public library as well.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Community Center and Town Square

Port Aransas Community Center

I am still confused about why the town needs a community center and a town square, costing millions of dollars. So far, the rationale has been "the town has spent all their money on the tourists, nothing on us residents, so we want a piece of the pie." And that bothers me.

Of course I had to post such negative thoughts on the SPI Forums, which nearly caused a revolution. Several posters quit on the spot, like "Sam how dare you?"

My main point was that there were plenty of other large projects to fund, such as redesigning Padre Boulevard to make it more attractive and accessible by foot traffic, although I really wasn't opposed to having a town square and community center - especially if you knew pretty much what you wanted. But the fact remains, nobody really knows what we want, other than we want something.

The logic seems to be that a 20 million dollar bond will only cause our property taxes to go up about 5 to 7 cents on the rate, so what's two or three million for a community center? This is remarkable given the fact that new town hall went over budget by a couple million, and people howled in protest and disgust - how dare you waste our money like that? I don't get it.

Further, other projects include not only Padre Blvd but also Gulf Blvd that runs next to the ocean: this avenue needs better parking, beach access, and drainage. There is no drainage on Gulf Blvd, so when that street floods, the whole island floods. People are complaining about vehicles being parked on their lawns on the east side of Gulf. Yet here we are talking about a senior citizen activity center and a grassy patch that maybe can be used for a few small concerts and "mercados" a year?

Perhaps I simply suck as a politician, and can't understand it. And some act like if I oppose the community center and town square, I am directly insulting them and their citizen rights. The only downside I can see is that if the land deal fails, we won't have a new place for the fire station (which by the way, many oppose because they already have a fire station that could be rebuilt).

But I thought I would clarify my thoughts on the issue. I am not opposed to acquiring land for a community center and a town square - whatever those thingies are - but those are pretty far far down my list of priorities and I haven't seen where operating and maintenance funds would come from, other than that good old "trust me" wink and nod that seems to prevail on this sandbar.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On being a waiter

That's some city cafe in maybe Spain about 1910. The waiter is walking down the curb towards the camera. He's really mean, or as the five dollar word is, "brusque." He probably was a socialist and had a pistol in his pocket.

The American wait staff scene is soooo much different. There again, so were the times and the people.

Part Two

It is more rare these days but in many places abroad, such as in Europe, the waiters at the nicer joints get a full salary and health and bennies. Here in the US, the business model is "I'll pay you minimum wage and you make your own dang tips." Of course I am grossly over-exaggerating. But according to my daughter, you even have to "pool" your tips, even worse. It's pretty obvious why service is so much different though, American versus old style.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

All along the water tower

The water tower mid-island on SPI has grown a queen's crown and yes there are three dudes messing with the rigging again, getting the tower ready for sandblasting and painting. I missed the fellow on top standing up on that pointy thing in the middle, whatever it is. Oh, and here's the lyrics to 'All along the watch tower.'

"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief, "There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief. Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth, None of them along the line know what any of it is worth."

"No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke, "There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate, So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl'