, Port Arthur, Texas


May 10, 2013

Editorial: Vote no on 11, 12; voters should OK other changes

— One proposition on Saturday’s ballot would make a significant change in the way Pleasure Island is managed, and we don’t think it would be a change for the better. Another proposition would allow taxpayer dollars to be spent on entertainment and for other uses without defining what those uses would be. We urge voters to vote no on Propositions 11 and 12.

Proposition 11 would make the Pleasure Island Commission an advisory board and would put the actual decision making into the hands of city employees under the direction of the city manager. The Island Commission is made up of individuals appointed by the city council and they have diligently worked to improve the island for use by the public. Despite the near complete devastation on the Island caused by Hurricanes Rita and Ike, the Island Commission and its small staff have led a comeback resulting in the golf course being rebuilt, a new state-of-the-art marina, fishing piers and other amenities.

The charter change was proposed because of the mistaken belief that the commission relies on money from the city for the maintenance and operations on the island. That’s simply not true. The Island lives on money it raises through fees and leases. Negotiations are under way for an industrial facility on the south end of the island that would result in much more revenue for the commission to use for public improvements. We’re concerned that if the island is turned over for the city to control like one of its parks, that money will be siphoned off into the general fund and will never benefit the public that uses Pleasure Island. Voters should vote no to keep the Pleasure Island Commission and the funds it raises in place.

Proposition 12 is not one of the charter change proposals, it is on the ballot because of a petition drive by the management of a low-power radio station that hopes to gain access to EDC funds. Using EDC funds to create jobs or train people to get jobs would be legitimate, but there is nothing in the proposition about that. It says up to $400,000 a year for three years could be used for land, buildings, etc., suitable for use for entertainment. Nothing about jobs, nothing about radio stations. Prop. 12 funds could just as well be used for a gentlemen’s club or bar. There may come a time to use EDC funds for additional quality of life improvements, but voters should insist their tax dollars be used for projects that are well planned and explained, not for simply undefined “entertainment” purposes. Vote no on Prop. 12.


First 10 propositions deserve voter OK

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