The Port Arthur City Council, the EDC and you

Published 3:49 pm Monday, April 18, 2016

As discussed last week, our Port Arthur EDC’s (Economic Development Corporation) sole objective is to promote, market and attract business and industry to grow and improve Port Arthur’s economic base. It’s literally that simple. What it is not is a political facet of our city government. Port Arthur EDC board members are average Joe’s just like you and me. They are not elected to their position, they are appointed by Port Arthur City Council members. And the reason they are not elected positions is to ensure there is zero political bias when making decisions about the economic growth of our city and they are able to focus solely on promoting, marketing and attracting business and industry.

Once decisions are made by the PAEDC, they are moved to the “political” side and placed before Port Arthur City Council. It is there that citizens can voice their opinions and the City Council person over their district can vote as the representative of his or her constituents. That’s just how our system was set up to work.

It’s unfortunate, and should never have been allowed to happen, that current PAEDC board member Langston Adams was allowed to circumvent our system and steamroll the board with his personal and political motives, using this issue as his platform to do so. His roll during this friction should warrant his removal from the PAEDC board, as it does not coincide with the focus and basis of this entity.

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Now, I’m not trying to take anything away from the concerned citizens of Port Acres who seem unified in their desire to keep Riceland Farms from building a meat processing plant near their neighborhoods. It is completely in their right to be concerned. Some of these concerns have merit and should be discussed then investigated to uphold or remove these concerns. Other concerns are baseless and added to the attack to inflame citizens. Nonetheless, it is their homes they are concerned about and that in itself is individually important.

It is the desire of many in the community, who wish to see economic growth in Port Arthur, that the Port Arthur City Council not fail where the PAEDC did. Find a way to bring jobs to Port Arthur. Some may remember the ZEO Gas debacle in 2014 where PACC was unable to come to an agreement with ZEO Gas on abatement terms, losing the opportunity to bring our city close to 800 jobs. If we lose Riceland Farms, that will mean our community turned away close to, if not more than, 1,000 jobs in the past two years. How can we afford to do this?

If the current proposed location for the meat plant near the business park will not work for residents, be proactive and find another location that will work for both Riceland Farms and the city of Port Arthur. Find a way!

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