Etymologists Riley, Noack, Mooney use words, but aren’t they saying the same thing?

Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley enjoying a brew and obviously contemplating etymology.

Conroe, June 2 – It’s an etymological feast when Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, and Montgomery County Engineer Mark Mooney discuss Commissioners Court action as to whatever they did on January 26, 2016, with respect to the Woodlands Parkway Extension, the Branch Crossing Extension, and the Gosling Road Extension. All three of those controversial road projects were inside of the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016, upon which the Commissioners Court voted 5 to 0 to do something.

During the meeting, Noack clarified that Riley’s motion to approve the HGAC Plan was only to “accept” it. Afterwards, when Mooney published the Plan and the Plan Map on the County government website, he showed that the Commissioners Court “adopted” the Plan on “1-26-2016.”

The minutes for the January 26, 2016, Commissioners Court show that they “accepted” the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016 by a unanimous vote.

Therefore, the question arises whether they accepted the Plan, adopted the Plan, or approved the Plan.

If one turns to the Oxford English Dictionary, it turns out that it doesn’t really matter which word etymologists Riley, Noack, or Mooney use. They all mean the same thing pretty much.

“Accept” means “to take or receive something willingly; to receive with favor or approval.” Noack clearly intended to take or receive the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016, including the Woodlands Parkway Extension, willingly, and he received it with favor or approval.

“Approve” means “to make good a statement or position.” Noack and Riley made good the positions in the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016, including the Woodlands Parkway Extension.

“Adopt” means “to take up a practice, habit, word, idea, etc., from someone else, to embrace, espouse.” According to Mooney’s website, Riley, Noack, and the remaining members of the Commissioners Court embraced and espoused the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016, including the Woodlands Parkway Extension, on January 26, 2016. It’s right there on the County website ( under the “Engineering” tab, 2016 Major Thoroughfare Plan).

Now, that we’ve clarified that Riley, Noack, and their three colleagues on the Commissioners Court have embraced the Woodlands Parkway Extension and the HGAC Major Thoroughfare Plan 2016, we need to figure out what Charlie Riley is talking about in his campaign advertising.

Charlie Riley’s May 17, 2018, campaign advertisement, in which he directly lied to the voters.

The part of Riley’s campaign advertising on which we should focus is where Riley said, pretty unequivocally, “I am NOT building…Woodlands Parkway Extension.”

Taken literally, Riley’s statement was absolutely true. At the moment of the advertisement, on May 17, 2018, Riley was not building the Woodlands Parkway Extension. Construction is not set to commence on the west end of the Woodlands Parkway Extension in early July, 2018, when SpawGlass Construction will begin to build the $107 million, 3 mile, TX 249 Tollway, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway, which includes the overpass and first short section of “Wood Trace Boulevard” which is the same road as the Woodlands Parkway Extension on the HGAC Major Thoroughfare 2016 Map!

The problem, however, comes in Riley’s use of the phrase “am…building,” which, undoubtedly our etymological friend knew was the present tense gerund. While Bill Clinton suffered some confusion over the meaning of the word “is,” hopefully Riley understands that the word “am” is the first person, present tense, conjugation of the infinitive “to be.”

Unfortunately, for the citizens of The Woodlands and of Precinct 2, “am” is not the subjunctive nor is it the future tense.



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