Magnolia and Conroe, March 31 – Precinct 2 County Commissioner candidate Gregory Parker skewered incumbent Commissioner Charlie Riley for Riley’s abject failure to take actions to mitigate flooding, although Parker has conceded that Riley cooks some good hamburgers and barbecue. While Riley has claimed that he has acted to mitigate flooding, the rainstorms of the past two days have left terrible flooding problems in River Plantation and the Lake Creek area which Riley has ignored during the four years he has attempted to fulfill the duties of a County Commissioner.
Just this past Tuesday, March 27, Riley made clear in the Commissioners Court that he didn’t want the Constitutional duty of a County Commissioner to manage and oversee County government operations when he voted to ceded those duties to golf-crazed County Judge Craig Doyal, who rarely comes to his office to perform any duties. Riley’s failure to perform his road and bridge duties has also become a central issue in the Precinct 2 Commissioner’s race.
It’s probably unfair to judge Riley with respect to his performance of his two primary job functions, (1) overseeing County business, which he has refused to do altogether, and (2) acting as the project manager for roads and bridges, which Riley just hasn’t done, as traffic jams mire the Precinct, especially on F.M. 1488 and F.M. 2978, and flooding occurs almost every time it rains. It’s unfair, because Riley’s focus during the past three years of his term of office has been his criminal defense after the Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted Riley for official misconduct in the alleged form of conspiring to circumvent the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA). Riley’s energy and time have focused on raising money for his criminal legal defense and on trying to have the courts declare TOMA unconstitutional, so Riley wouldn’t have to defend himself at all.
On March 29, Parker issued the following statement:
“The citizens of Montgomery County Precinct Two deserve more from their Commissioner than quick photo ops and burgers after a flood. I have served as a floodplain administrator; accordingly, I understand that the citizens of Precinct Two need a commissioner that will focus on mitigation of flooding and reviewing flood control processes. I am firmly committed to improving flood control and drainage in our precinct, so that the citizens of Precinct Two can keep their quality of life and not have to worry every time it rains.”
As of March 30, 2018, almost three days after the rain stopped, there are at least two major areas that suffer from floodwaters that have not yet receded, according to Parker who has toured Precinct 2 during and after the rain event. The Superior Road area north of Lake Creek remains severely flooded. Additionally, River Plantation Drive remains flood. Both of those areas flooded in 1994, so it is striking that Riley has taken no action to mitigate those issues since he began working for Precinct 2 in 2003.
A lady who lives in the Lake Creek area explained,
“As a resident of Superior Road north of the Lake Creek, we have been the victims of this flooding for years. We have been property owners here for 10 years, but the development in the area over the last five years has pushed the run-off all towards Lake Creek. Lake Creek cannot handle this, therefore backing up over the road, causing it to be impassable. The county and its officials are well aware of this, but the safety and well being of its residents are not important to find a solution. Solutions are attainable , whether it’s fixing and re-routing drainage or an alternate road. If the appetite existed, solutions are possible. Thank you, Greg Parker, for calling me personally to talk about the problems. I appreciate Parker’s willingness to address the problems if elected. Please vote for him as he will bring much needed change!”
Conservative firebrand Jon Bouche wasn’t so nice about Riley’s stance towards flooding and flood mitigation and summarized Riley’s efforts as “Hey, sorry about your house but here’s a hotdog. Are we all good now?” The Golden Hammer notes that it is unclear, at press time, whether Riley actually provided hot dogs to flood victims in addition to hamburgers and barbecue brisket.
“These flood areas in Commissioners Precinct 2 have gotten a lot worse during the last five years,” Parker explained. “It’s very disappointing that Commissioner Riley hasn’t made the effort to control drainage problems arising from development. It’s the job of the Commissioner to address those drainage issues up-front as development progresses.”
Parker served two terms as a County Commissioner in Comal County (New Braunfels) from 2005 to 2012.
Additionally, many residents are very upset both with County Commissioner Riley and with the San Jacinto River Authority for failing to manage the San Jacinto River in recent days despite the fact that the National Weather Service had given clear warnings that major storms would come through Montgomery County and the San Jacinto River watershed. The River Authority has abjectly failed to manage soil erosion, the level of Lake Conroe, or silting downstream. As a result, the San Jacinto River overflowed its banks, particularly at McDade Estates in Conroe, which has suffered enormous damage.