Editorial: A proposed reform measure for the San Jacinto River Authority during the 2019 “Sunset”

ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer

Many residents of Montgomery County believe that the San Jacinto River Authority caused the flooding damage to homes downstream during Tropical Storm Harvey by increasing by a massive quantity the amount of water discharged from the Lake Conroe Dam, by failing to warn residents downstream that SJRA was about to release the water, and by failing to pre-release water to lower the Lake Conroe water levels during the week or so before Harvey hit this area so that the SJRA would have the ability better to control the quantity of the water releases.

In response, to some of those concerns, SJRA has taken two approaches. First, on September 1, 2017, SJRA released a video starring SJRA General Manager Jace Houston who explained, “we understand there will be devastating flooding downstream but we don’t have the option to stop releases to avoid the catastrophic consequences.”

This week, however, SJRA has taken a bit of a different tack. It’s on the offensive. SJRA issued a press release calling Kingwood officials liars and accused those officials of “several misrepresentations or misstatements.”

Serving on the SJRA Board of Directors is quite lucrative. They’re paid fees for their service, get paid trips, and enjoy “meeting expenses.” They get to meet in one of the most opulent government meeting rooms in Texas that makes even Texas Legislature meeting rooms look quite plain.

SJRA’s critics say SJRA caused the flooding. SJRA has responded by accusing those critics of lying.

In 2019, SJRA will have to face the Texas Legislature’s “sunset” review process. As part of the “sunset” legislation, The Golden Hammer suggests the following language as an addition to the enabling legislation for SJRA:

1. All members of the Board of Directors of the San Jacinto River Authority, the General Manager of the San Jacinto River Authority, the Deputy General Manager of the San Jacinto River Authority, and the General Counsel of the San Jacinto River Authority shall reside in River Plantation subdivision in Conroe, Montgomery County, Texas, during the entirety of their term of office and shall keep all of their personal property at such residence during their term.

2. All of the foregoing are prohibited from maintaining flood insurance on their homes or personal property during the entirety of their term of office.

3. Any of the foregoing who shall violate this section shall be guilty of a felony in the third degree for each day of violation.

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