Saturday, February 03, 2007

Of geese, golden eggs and water on the brain

Long before I moved to New Braunfels, I heard an oft-repeated story told about the community: Folks in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio would visit the town in the summer for a weekend getaway, having great fun floating either the Comal or Guadalupe Rivers. They'd do this for years until they retired or earned the means to live where they wanted, so remembering the great times they'd had in New Braunfels, would buy a home close to the rivers. The first thing they'd do after moving in was start to complain about all the tubers messing up "their" river.


A bunch of these "we love the rivers as long as nobody's actually enjoying them" have gotten on to the New Braunfels city council. They've been pushing through a set of new ordinances that, on the face of it, seemed designed solely to drive tubers away from the river, with little regard as to whether they're a local resident or rowdy out-of-towner. As a parent, I agree that requiring life jackets for children younger than 8 is a good idea. Most of the rest, however... I dunno. The only thing these rules accomplish is spelling out once and for all that the city council never actually goes tubing. Below is the letter I emailed to the mayor and council members this evening.
Dear Honorable Mayor and Council Members,

For the record, I am not a "young kid." I'm 37 with a wife and three children aged 8, 6 and 1. In years past, we have taken great pleasure in floating the Comal River (with the obvious exception of the youngest). With the exception of casual profanity from some of the college aged tubers, our experiences have been quite pleasant--I've yet to witness the ongoing apocalypse so breathlessly decried in the media.

I'm not against a safe, regulated environment, and supported the noise ordinance and restrictions on Jello-shots put in place last season. However, this latest series of ordinances troubles me greatly, and leads me to believe that none of you, our representatives in city government, ever actually partake in this "community treasure" you claim so vocally to defend. If this were not the case, you would already realize that most of the new proposals are onerous not just for the teenaged interlopers from foreign parts, but for the very residents of this community whose interests you are supposed to represent. While requiring life jackets for young children is laudable and common sense, and tougher open container laws in the parks and exit points on the river may be effective in reducing drunken behavior, the other proposals such as limiting one tube per person and restricting the size of coolers to a size few manufacturers bother to market is hostile towards *all* patrons of the river, be they rowdy or respectful. I believe the entire effort is ill-considered and overboard, akin to using a daisy-cutter to silence an annoying mosquito.

I've lived in several different Texas cities, but New Braunfels is the first one where I've been proud to be a member of the community. The rivers we are blessed with certainly contribute to that feeling. It's be a shame if I had to start driving my family up to San Marcos to enjoy a summertime float.


Jayme Lynn Blaschke

Not that I'm expecting it to do any good, mind you. Council member Ken Valentine, who would vote against a sunny day if everyone else were in favor of it, has been leading a crusade to shut the river down for years. Coincidentally, he owns riverfront property. I wonder if he originally lived in Dallas or Houston?

Now Playing: Rush Chronicles

1 comment:

  1. "I wonder if he originally lived in Dallas or Houston?"

    HAH! If it's not California, I vote Dallas.