Oct 13, 2008

Home by the Sea

Philip R. Klein plays the class warfare card in his latest article on the Southeast Texas Political Review:

[The Bolivar Peninsula] is now going to be the playground to the rich from Jefferson County and Houston. Like a big old toilet, it flushed and only the big chunks are left standing.

You are going to pay. Now for the average guys like you and me - no more beach.

What an interesting position for someone who has repeatedly defended tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. 

Typically, Philip is clueless - consider this statement:

The fees may be waved [sic] - but that may be the only wave [sic] many may enjoy. Get this - you must build to the new hurricane standards as prescribed by Galveston County. You must have plans, a contractors license and most of all - land?

I suspect that Philip meant "waive" and "waiver."  I'm not sure what Philip is advocating, but most places in the U.S. require ownership of the property upon which one builds a home.  Is Philip advocating building a vacation home on someone else's property?

Philip is quite confused about this issue of "new" standards, since the State of Texas ultimately determines coastal building rules and the state legislature must approve all construction standards. For information on requirements, interested readers can refer to the Texas Coastal Construction Handbook here, published by the General Land Office (GLO). 

After Hurricane Ike, the GLO has waived some of these regulations under emergency provisions.  More information on those waivers can be found on the Galveston County website.

While reading this gibberish, readers should remember Philip's claim from last Friday, Oct. 10, 2008:

1 year - The time period that we hear it will be before any permits for building are issued on Bolivar and Crystal Beach.

As I pointed out, Philip's statement is a blatant lie, according to information on the Galveston County website:

Bolivar Peninsula Update

The Galveston County Engineering Department will begin issuing building permits in five to six weeks.

The rest of Philip's points in this latest article are just as misleading. Consider this statement:

The items hanging around your property from everywhere is now your problem. If you have it - you must remove it. Now that is easy - just clean up.

Property owners are responsible for cleaning up their own property, whether they live on Crystal Beach, Nederland, or Beaumont.  Or, consider this:

There is serious talk from insurance companies and county officials - as well as state officials that some of the county property must be re-plated. Meaning - there has been soil and sand shifting and it is very hard to determine the true property lines.

I think Philip meant that beachfront property must be re-platted, not re-plated. 

This is quite common for beachfront property, since the Texas Open Beaches Act preserves the beachfront as a public resource. Homeowners who purchase beachfront property are advised that they they're purchasing the property at their own risk.  Since the average rate of erosion for the upper Texas Coast averages about 10 feet per year, it's quite possible that a 150' deep lot could disappear before the 30-year mortgage is paid. In the event of a hurricane or other severe weather event, what was once private beachfront property could become public property overnight.

Regarding Philip's complaint about stricter building codes along the Upper Texas Gulf Coast, those codes were adopted by the Texas Legislature, not Galveston County, after Hurricane Rita. The Beaumont Enterprise had an interesting story about those homes built to the newer standards adopted after Hurricane Rita. Read the article here.

Philip even claims that insurance rates are under the control of a conspiracy by the Democrats of Jefferson County:

You see the libs from Jefferson County have formed all of these committees...you are living a pipe dream if you think that you are going to build a beach house for anything less than a quarter of a million dollars. And get insurance? You are going to pay. Now for the average guys like you and me - no more beach.

Philip is obviously not aware of the real estate market in Galveston County, where the average value for a single family dwelling was  $173,400 in 2007.  Expect to pay more for beachfront property.  Readers will also note that the 2007 price is actually down from the 2006 price when the average value for a single family dwelling peaked at $176,500.

Readers will also remember that Philip claimed there are over 300 bodies hidden somewhere on the Bolivar Peninsula:

Did we mention the search for bodies of the dead? Shhhhhhhhh.....do not talk about that.

Let me make this perfectly clear - this is the worst disaster to hit Galveston County since 1947, when 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer aboard a ship exploded and leveled Texas City. However, the Hurricane Ike death toll in the entire state of Texas is less than half of that from the Texas City explosion. 

Survivors and homeowners on the Bolivar Peninsula need factual information, not irresponsible rumor repeated with a reckless disregard for the truth as part of a wingnut's partisan agenda.

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