Tuesday, February 13, 2007

High and dry 2

I wish I could say I was surprised, but I'm not. Despite the overwhelming turnout of New Braunfels residents in opposition to the proposed river restrictions, the New Braunfels city council went ahead and passed them anyway. To add insult to injury, council member Ken Valentine and his personal pep squad Kathleen Krueger actually amended one of the ordinances to make it more restrictive than the version already opposed by the populace:
Before the cooler vote, District 6 Councilman Ken Valentine made a motion to amend the ordinance to change the size of the small coolers

“I make motion to approve the ordinance with adjustments to amend and change dimensions of the six-can cooler to 8" x 6- x 7-inches for the Comal River and change the dimension on the Guadalupe to 11- x 8- x-7- inches,” Valentine said.

That further reduced the cooler size from the original dimensions — 9- x 6- x 9- inches for the Comal and 11- x 9- x 10-inches for the Guadalupe — passed three weeks ago when the cooler ordinance first went before the council.

Valentine said he had heard that the original six-can cooler dimension actually would allow nine cans to fit in a cooler and the originally proposed 12-can cooler possibly could fit up to 18 cans.

District 5 Councilwoman Kathleen Krueger said she was “in total support” of the ordinance and seconded Valentine’s motion.

These folks have acknowledged that their ordinances have little popular support in the community. The mail and phone calls they've gotten have been overwhelmingly in opposition, yet they simply don't care. Ken Valentine (or, to paraphrase Junie B. Jones, "I hate that Ken/That Ken I hate") has got to be the single most arrogant elected official I've ever had the displeasure of meeting. And Krueger... boy oh boy. To think I was initially happy with her election. The other two plotters in this little power-hungry cabal are Beth Sokolyk and Pat Wiggins. My only regret is that these two are not in my district, which means I'll never have the pleasure of voting either of these yahoos out of office.

However, I do want to applaud the efforts of council members Gayle Pospisil and Sonia Munoz-Gill, who along with Mayor Bruce Boyer, voted against the most egregious of the ordinances in an effort to protect the citizens of New Braunfels from the overbearing zealots on the council. My own council rep, Munoz-Gill, has in fact impressed me greatly by her excellent communication and availability to discuss the issues. She voted in favor of the fence and improvements to the park--which I think can be a real asset to the area--but also voted against the draconian cooler ordinance, and also attempted to make the ban on open containers in the city's riverfront parks seasonal. By restricting open containers and alcohol during the summer months, it targets mainly the rowdy vacationing crowd. During the fall and winter months, locals having family barbecues and and fishing excursions are unaffected. Not a perfect solution, to be sure, but at least she made the effort to respect the local citizenry's access and use of the parks--something "That Ken I Hate," Krueger, Wiggins and Sokolyk obviously have no concerns about.

Now Playing: Emerson, Lake and Palmer The Return of the Manticore

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