Guest Column: Bob Bagley writes an open letter to Rice University Environmental Practice Professor Jim Blackburn

MCHD Board member and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Candidate Bob Bagley.

October 6, 2017

Dear Professor Blackburn,
I first heard of you on September 12th on the 10 o’clock KHOU 11 News cast. I was thrilled to know that you and others have been working on the Houston flooding issues. I read your Sep 6, 2017 Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey: Policy Perspectives and your Nov 10, 2015 Reducing Flood Damage in Houston reports.
I am appalled that the Greater Houston Area has not done more to prevent flood damage. The news report talked about county engineers, County Commissioners and other elected officials overlooking the developer’s lack of proper rain water and drainage mediation.
Montgomery county is no better. New developments are allowed to be built in water shed areas that have been built up, causing the runoff to flood others. Sure they are required to build retention ponds, but we know that is not enough.
I could go on, but my purpose for writing is to inquire if a meeting with you and a couple of our local businessmen and one of our State Representatives is possible.
When I decided to run for County Commissioner in Montgomery County my main goal was, and still is, to put a plan together for our roads and drainage. I’ve lived in the county 20 years and there hasn’t been a road or drainage study, except for our South County area (The Woodlands and Spring). We can’t continue to do what we have and expect the problems to be fixed.
I believe that there is no better time in history than now to bring all government agencies together, along with Universities, like Rice, and develop a plan. Montgomery County, nor Harris, can afford to take on the burden of financing the study and implementation alone. As you pointed out in your Reducing Flood Damage in Houston Report, there are a number of government agencies that have hoops for us to jump through.
I also saw that your study was financed by a grant from Houston Endowment. There was no funding source noted for your … Harvey… report. I’m not sure what a plan would cost, but I would feel much better having Rice or other universities help us, than to rely on the engineering companies that continue line the pockets of elected officials and give them the results they want.
We’re still busy helping others to put some calm back into their lives and rebuild their homes, as I know your schedule is likely as busy; but we would desperately like to meet with you.
Sincerely,
Bob Bagley
Board Member, Montgomery County Hospital District
Candidate for Montgomery County Commissioner, Precinct 4
Longtime environmental lawyer and now Rice University Professor Jim Blackburn.

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