John A. Brown, Guest Editorialist
To put things in perspective, for almost two years, the Woodlands Township Board of Directors has been through over 15 special planning sessions, encompassing over 50 hours in public forum, 1 special-focused public forum, and over thousands of documents by consultants and legal counsel advice. Each special planning session there were, and still are, two opportunities for public comment. Also, each session is recorded for those who wish to watch it from home or review it at a later date. I believe all board members welcome questions and have never turned down an opportunity to answer questions from residents. Most questions a resident wants answered are either already on the Township website, or at www.thewoodlandsincorporationstudy.com. There has never been a situation where this process has not been transparent.
We continue to gather data, accept public feedback, and work diligently to review and digest this information. We still have plenty of work ahead of us and made no statement of rushing the process. The false narrative that’s being pushed about an urgency to incorporate is irresponsible.
I have spoken to over 300 people personally about this subject, with all varying opinions. Regardless of the view, the first thing I ask is “Have you watched the videos?” Roughly half respond “No.” I then direct them to the incorporation website and specific videos of our Township meetings where most of their questions can be answered. I don’t tell them to take my word for it, but want them to understand the answers I am giving them, which are backed by data already provided. Most of the time I would receive correspondence thanking me for guiding them.
Hundreds of pro-incorporation residents have asked me why aren’t we putting this up for a vote now, to which I confidently have stated that we are not done with the study. I believe it is premature to make such assumptions prior to the study being completed. It is a complex process that deserves a lot of time and commitment.
Incorporation is inevitable; it is simply a matter of time. As leaders, we should always be forward thinking, planning for the future and giving our residents the best opportunity to govern themselves. We can choose to be part of the problem or be part of the solution. I believe in this community, the amazing talent that lives here, and the genuinely giving people. Together we can accomplish anything when we work together.
Although I strongly believe in self governance, I will not discredit those who are skeptical and would agree that some of their concerns are important. I simply ask that you do your own homework and question those motives that are so eager to prove their own agenda.
Just imagine all the great movies you would have missed if you just listened to critics.
John A. Brown lives with his family in The Woodlands. When he is not training for the IronMan Triathlon, Brown serves as an elected member of the Woodlands Township Board of Directors and as an employee of Huntsman Corporation.