for City Council
My thoughts and observations about our city. The below were from his Mayoral run in 2017
January 27, 2017
A co-worker of mine once told me "Larry you say what needs to be said that no one else will say". Follow my page, more to come.
January 28, 2017
In 2017 I heard that some of my opponents expect to spend over $100,000 each in their campaigns. Now, this is for a job that pays $9,000 per year. Is something wrong here?
January 29, 2017
If anyone wants to know about ethics in government, they should look at the article in this Sunday's morning paper. Politics need to be cleaned up and I'm glad to see that there are other efforts.
January 30, 2017
In 2017 I had no intention to run for Mayor. But after 5 years on the City Ethics Commission, I had no choice.
January 31, 2017
I sat in the training for the new City Council members yesterday. From what I saw, someone who has worked and understands multi million dollar projects would be a great help on the City Council
By the Horns
February 1, 2017
Many of my friends are surprised that I'm running for City Council. This is because they have not seen my other side. A member of the Ethics Commission (who I regularly have intense disagreements with) has said: “You are qualified and can take the bull by the horns to get this city stable.” She has seen my other side.
Thinking short term got us in trouble
February 2, 2017
Our infrastructure problems did not happen overnight. They started with the decisions of the City Council about 20 years ago. Back then a City Engineer for streets told me how frustrated he was with the City Council. He wanted to repair the streets for the long term. Instead, the Council told him to go with the short term low cost route
February 3, 2017
One definition of insanity is where you do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. Does this apply to Corpus Christi politics?
February 5, 2017
Projects can be divided into three groups:
Capital Maintenance Projects (maintain what we have)
Capital Improvements Projects (make better what we have)
Capital Projects (add something new)
The problem is that over the years the City Council authorized money for Capital Projects (add something new, optional) and didn't spend the money on Capital Maintenance (maintain what we have, mandatory). Now we're paying the price for this neglect.
February 6, 2017
When money is not spent wisely, you always need more. The City money must go to where it is needed and not for special projects for special groups. My utility bill has increased 66% over the past 5 years and we're using less water. I'm going to look into this.
February 7, 2017
In 2017 the City was flushing 30 million gallons of drinking water each month to the storm drains for control of the disinfectant (chlorine or more accurately monochloroamine). Will this flushing continue when the next drought occurs? How did we end up in this situation?
This problem is one reason I'm running for City Council.. I have experience dealing with dead end lines, tanks going “stale”, and chloroamine chemistry. Someone is needed on the City Council who understands these things.
February 9, 2017
February 10, 2017
Bridge to Nowhere
February 11, 2017
February 15, 2017
In 2017, I was informed of a supposedly objective phone survey about the Corpus Christi Mayor race. The questions are such that one particular candidate is favored. This unethical political practice is one reason I'm running for Mayor.
Who is really designing the city?
February 18, 2017
February 19, 2017
The City's 2017 spending budget is 11 million dollars more than the expected income. Do you think this is going to be a problem? Doesn't a wise budgeter always plan to spend less than their income?
February 20, 2017
For the past 20 years the City leaders have been building cheap, disposable, streets. You should drive down Rodd Field Road to Yorktown. Where Rodd Field becomes concrete, it is a little bumpy, has some patch work, but no pot holes. This concrete road is 75 years old. Our streets can be built to last, why weren't they?
Bonds Put Us in Debt
February 24, 2017
Bonds have the appearance of not costing the tax payer. This is initially true. But eventually, the tax payer pays and pays a lot. Corpus Christi had a $1.6 billion dollar debt in 2017 because of bonds. Guess who ends up paying this debt with interest? This morning's Caller Times article about the canal/bridge on Padre Island has solidified my position: After the projects for a bond are complete, all money left over is to go to pay down the City debt. None is to be spent on projects that the voters did not approve or intend.
Where's the money?
February 26, 2017
An argument for new development is that it increases the tax base which means more money to the City. Question: with all the development we've had over the years why doesn't Corpus Christi have the money to pay for repairs to our neglected infrastructure?
February 27, 2017
A few years ago an owner of a local public relations firm told me: “to get elected to City Council costs $87,000.” Our political system must change to where a candidate gets elected by who and what he/she is; not by how much political contributors pay to get someone elected. Let's change this. What are your thoughts?
Protecting "Shady" Deals
February 28, 2017
The loophole described in today's (2/28/17) Caller Times editorial on government transparency is a good example of how those in government can help their buddies. A 2015 Texas Supreme Court ruling allows government to keep secret how some tax money is spent. The justification is to protect a business' competitive advantage. As an engineer, I understand the need to protect a business' proprietary (technical) information. But the cost of a contract, food services, search for a CEO , etc. are not proprietary. Keeping the amount paid and other non-proprietary details secret is the best way to hide favoritism to a particular contractor. I hope the Texas legislature realizes that tax payers have a right to know how their money is spent.
March 5, 2017
For 40 years I've worked to reduce cost and increase productivity. I won DuPont's highest award by almost doubling productivity at little cost. This experience is what I'll bring to City Hall. What experience do the other candidates have on reducing cost and increasing productivity? Is their experience only to raise taxes?
March 6, 2017
A City Council member recently said “...that's what I'm saying, if you're talking about ethics. If you're talking about political games that's a different story.” Unfortunately, our political system can be an addictive game. Playing this game doesn't make something ethical or right. Politicians play political games; public servants don't. We must end these political games by putting public servants on the Council.
March 10, 2017
Over the last few months, Corpus Christi has spent lots of money on the issue of term limits. The real problem is that the politicians several years ago rejected the citizens committee recommendation that a person, during their life time, be limited to 12 years on the Council. Unfortunately, this was too simple for the politicians. They instead put complicated language under the disguise of term limits to allow unlimited time on the Council. They just have to sit out 3 terms (what is a term?) after 4 or 6 terms (either 4 or 6?) on the Council. After which, they can be on the Council again. This is not what is intended with term limits. I'll fight for the “real term limits” that the original citizens committee recommended.
Water problems: One cause and solution
March 19, 2017
Corpus Christi has about 1,900 dead end water lines. This is a major source of our problems. Any engineer familiar with pipe design for water knows that dead end lines must be minimized. I'll work to fix this.
Say something honest
April 2, 2017
My daily posts will be specific on my attitude, approach, or position on City issues. Politicians are skilled at talking to get votes while at the same time say nothing. My posts will say something and may generate a lot of discussion. Please keep my honesty in mind if you read something you disagree with. I'd rather be honest as to who I am than pretend to be something I'm not. I'm a public servant, not a politician.
April 3, 2017
Development must slow down (not stop) to give our infrastructure time to catch up. Some of the City money going to development should go to infrastructure.
April 4, 2017
The City's reduced development effort should focus on the re-development of downtown in response to the new Harbor Bridge. New development needs to be towards the Calallen area to minimize the impact on traffic, like Crosstown and SPID at 6 pm. Development on the South Side needs to wait till after streets like Everhart are repaired. To fix streets after traffic increases from new Development is a mistake.
April 5, 2017
Corpus Christi has neglected it's infrastructure. The best way to avoid future neglect is to set up each Utility with a “capital maintenance” budget item. Funding must be accrued (accounting method) for “capital maintenance” instead of using Bonds. Capital Maintenance funding must be consistent and reliable, like part of a user fee. This money would only be used for major repairs per what the Department Head decides, not what the City Council decides.
April 6, 2017
The City needs to encourage the spaying and neutering of pets. The City also needs to look into a back up veterinarian when the one veterinarian is not available for adoptions. All money (tags, fees, etc.) collected by Animal Control is to go to that Department, not to the City's general fund. The City needs to be proactive in code enforcement on the care of animals. The best way to educate those who do not take care of their pets is with their wallet. Unfortunately, other efforts on this issue are limited because of the City's infrastructure problems.
High Paying Jobs
April 7, 2017
The new Harbor Bridge, deepening the channel for bigger ships, good roads, and a reliable water supply are what will bring high paying jobs to Corpus Christi. A quality work force (Craft Training Center, Del Mar, etc.) is also needed. I also want to attract high tech companies (aviation, drone technology, electronics, information systems, medical equipment manufacturers, etc.) to Corpus Christi. Having a council member who is an Engineer should get the attention of these high tech industries.
April 8, 2017
Political campaigns rely too much on money. Politicians pay lots of money for large street signs that say nothing about who they are. This is winning by name recognition. I urge everyone to investigate the candidates. Voters should know more about the candidates than just their name. If we don't change the system then money will continue to run our City.
Political Campaigns, Part II
April 9, 2017
In my campaign I have small yard signs. A political sign at a home shows personal support for a particular candidate. This is better than a large political sign in a vacant field.
Fixing our infrastructure
April 12, 2017
My first step to fix our infrastructure is to divert some money from development to infrastructure. Development must slow down to give our infrastructure time to catch up. As an Engineer, I'll look at how City projects are done compared to what industry does for efficiency and productivity. Next I'll look at diverting funds from low priority items to infrastructure. I will also direct City Staff to look for State/Federal grants that may be of help. My last step will be to look at taxes and user fees. I know people don't like this last step, but I can't mislead people on how expensive fixing our infrastructure will be. .
Bonds, Use Them Wisely
April 13, 2017
A Bond is to pay for a new street, a new buildings, etc. This cost is a one time expense and benefits the future. A Bond therefore moves the cost to the future. Maintenance is not a one time expense. It needs to be done on a regular schedule because of ongoing use or wear. Ongoing major maintenance is paid for by accruing money from an ongoing funding source (user fees, taxes, etc.). Borrowing money (Bonds) for maintenance will cause the City debt to continually grow. Besides the added cost of interest, Bonds do not allow for long term planning to minimize costs. But the biggest difference is that Bonds are for projects that are optional; where as, maintenance is not. Unfortunately Corpus Christi has had to learn the hard way that maintenance is not optional.
April 16, 2017
Desalination is expensive and has a large waste stream toxic to fish. These facts must be considered in any evaluation of desalination. A desalination plant is not needed at this time because we presently have plenty of water. But we must get ready for the inevitable drought by deciding where a desalination plant will be located, where the plant's intake will be, and where the waste stream will go.
Transparency in government
April 17, 2017
One aspect of transparency is where City documents are well organized for access on the Web Page. It also means minimizing the topics covered in Executive Session. Transparency is stating the truth plainly instead of “political double talk”.
Political system must change
April 19, 2017
The political system must change. Good people with good intentions go into politics. The problem is that the system corrupts them and they don't know it. I struggle every day to not let our political system do the same to me.
Transparency in Government Part II
April 21, 2017
Council members should never say one thing and then do something different behind closed doors. The City Council Members should review the Texas Open Meetings Act and Open Documents Act on a routine basis. I reviewed these Acts a couple of times while on the Ethics Commission; had to, ethics can get complicated.
Our Political System Needs Change.
April 24, 2017
Our political system encourages candidates to mislead people. When I ran for Del Mar Board of Regents I was told to join the Alumni Organization even though I did not graduate from Del Mar. I was also told to have a treasurer in name only so my wife could be the working treasurer. In both cases I was told this looks good and will help get votes. Misleading people is unethical but it is accepted as normal in politics.
Our Political System Needs Change, Part II.
April 25, 2017
“Engineers Shall be Objective and Truthful”. This statement is from the Texas Ethics Code for Engineers. Real Engineers are conditioned to not lie or mislead people because if we did, bad things would happen. Unfortunately, politicians are not held to the same standard.
May 3, 2017
When deciding on who to vote for, I suggest you consider the three hundred million dollars needed to repair our streets. Mismanagement by 1% will waste three million dollars of the taxpayers money. Vote for someone who will not play the shell game and knows how to manage multi-million dollar projects.
Desalination Part II
September 14, 2020
Eventually Corpus Christi will need desalination. We just don’t know when. I know the questions to ask. I worked with desalination for several years. I also have experience with waste water discharges and their impact on the receiving waters. My position is that we need to determine the location of the plant site, water inlet, and an environmentally safe waste water outlet. Most importantly, obtain all permits now. Then take a hard look at when construction should begin.
September 24, 2020
As a candidate for City Council I struggle everyday to not fall into the politician trap. Our system encourages candidates to focus on name recognition, looking good, and saying what people want to hear. Public Servants say what people need to hear, which is often hard and uncomfortable.
Desalination: Protect our environment and our tax dollars
September 28, 2020
Desalination has significant environmental and financial risks. As a licensed and experienced Engineer, I'm familiar with the technology and how projects need to be managed. When the studies are complete and my questions are answered, I'll know if the proposed projects are adequately protecting the environment. Because of my experiences with contractors and vendors, I'll know if they are trying to make something look better than it actually is. Corpus Christi will eventually need desalination. If elected, I'll make sure that desalination in the Coastal Bend Area is successful at the lowest cost with no negative environmental impact.