to Solve All Its Problems
by David Stanowski
01 May 2008
This article originally appeared in the Galveston County Daily News on 01 May 2008. The text version of the article appears below.
There is a desperate need for some kind of group that can clearly define the authentic identity of Galveston and then formulate the policies that will help bring it to fruition. Political parties often create more problems than they solve but the fragmented, ad-hoc, and Balkanized nature of the politics now practiced in our city demonstrates that a local political party could create and implement a comprehensive political vision.
Galveston once was a prosperous port that created enough economic activity to support a vibrant middle class. This is no longer true. The party I envision would create and support free-market entrepreneurial policies aimed at revitalizing our local economy. Looking at economic data, as far back as 1980, clearly shows that the decision to build beach houses, condos and rehabilitate historical houses as second homes, in lieu of actually building a functional economy; has failed!
Both the private sector and local government must share the credit for this failure, but the major factor is the benign neglect the city government has toward local businesses. The most fundamental evidence of our government's failure to understand what the business community needs is its belief that residential real-estate development is the same thing as economic development.
We have had at least three decades of residential development on the West End and the seawall while downtown Galveston and the port have languished. Recently, the city funded a plan on condo height-and-density guidelines to continue this process. Where are the studies on revitalizing downtown, the port and industrial development? If such studies are eventually done, will the city actually implement the needed changes?
The first order of business should be to designate the area between Sixth and 39th streets as a master conservation district. This is where the residential character of the city is and where its commercial districts are floundering as they await new energy and investment. From now on, the primary focus of the city government must be on the city center, because it has been neglected far too long.
I am organizing a new political party, to be known as the Galveston Founders Party, which will address these problems. By the 1870's this city's founders had done so well managing it that its per-capita income was among the highest in the world. In addition, after Galveston was almost destroyed, they built the seawall, raised the grade, and rebuilt the city with little outside help or funding.
Contrast this with a Galveston that now is one of the poorer cities in the United States and lacks the leadership to find a self-reliant path toward any kind of meaningful improvement.
The GFP will be policy driven and not ideological; I merely advocate learning from our mistakes and returning to methods similar to those the City's founders employed to achieve success. The GFP manifesto, outlining an analysis of Galveston's city government, a summary of the "state of the city" and a "platform for constructive
change," is available online at: thefinancialhelpcenter.com/Galveston-Economy/Galveston-Founders-Party.html.
Also see The Formation of the Galveston Founders Party
For more information on the Galveston Economy: CLICK HERE
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