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Old 11-06-2007, 12:28 PM  
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San Marcos
Join Date: Mar 2005
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If I were running for office

I'm not running for office, but if I were, rather than use these forums to sling mud, I would be using them to connect with the voters. Specifically, I would be asking voters what they would like to see fixed and perhaps engaging them in conversations about those topics.

So, what would you like to see fixed?

I'm not running, but that does not prevent me from starting the conversation. Anyone is welcome to join in, students, non-students, realtors, developers, whatever, anonymously or otherwise.

To kick things off, here is my short list:

1. I'd like to see more good jobs here, but more importantly, I'd like to see better schools and a better trained workforce. At least then, some of the poorer folks could commute to the better jobs, like I do. Not ideal, but it sure beats being in poverty.

2. I'd like to see far greater levels of cooperation between the city and the university. A fair amount of animosity between the students and the non-students comes from little things, like loud parties, littering and speeding through neighborhoods and from knee-jerk reactions from non-students, blaming students for all sorts of issues, but those are really easy to address. In fact, if we all felt part of the same community, they would probably happen a lot less frequently.

The bigger problem is that the city and the university have historically been at odds with one another and this has created a lot of ill will, which has manifested itself in resentment between students and non-students.

It's probably worse for the students, because they don't have the history to even understand where the animosity comes from, as they are always rotating in and out.

I don't want to drag up ancient history, I'd just like to see more projects like Bobcat build, but better yet, projects that involve the students and the non-students (can we even participate in Bobcat build?). Maybe some cooperation on bike projects - the city has tons of money allocated for bike improvements, maybe they could coordinate with whomever is doing the bike cave project. Who knows what the two could accomplish together? As a citizen looking in, it is difficult to see any cooperation. If there is any, there needs to be a much stronger PR effort to get the word out.

3. I'd like to see a program to clean up the litter in this town. It seems like a little thing, I am sure, but it goes a long way toward creating a city we can all take pride in, which encourages people to stay and help us grow even more and get even better.

4. I do believe there is a considerable problem with drunk driving that needs to be addressed. I'd like to see some creative solutions beyond more and more enforcement. More enforcement needs to be done, for sure, but there need to be other pieces. Maybe DWI fines or court fees could fund a shuttle service or something.

5. Put in the whole freaking loop. Until there are more jobs in San Marcos, a lot of us have to work outside the city. Way outside. Depending on the time of day and the time of year (is school in or not?) it can take me 3-5 minutes to get from my house to the highway or back, or it can take 20. Throw in a train or two and it can be downright brutal. If I just drove 30-60 minutes from my job and I have to sit in traffic for another 20, just to get a few miles across town, there is not a lot of incentive for me to stay in San Marcos. I'm sure the commuting students would appreciate it too.

6. There is a CIP item for railroad quiet zones (reworking the crossings, so that the trains don't need to blow their horns anymore). Get that project done. Too many people have said that they could not live here because of the trains and too many people in poor parts of town have to deal with a level of noise that is ridiculous. I've been there and it sucks. The quality of life improvement for those folks alone should be worth the expense.
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:11 PM  
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See semi, I knew we didn't disagree that much... If any of the candidates who were running could have said anything as concise as that, deciding would have been a whole lot easier. There are certainly more issues that that, but I'm tired of politicians not being up front about their views. We just need to conscript Robertson into running against whoever takes the Bose-Prather fight the next time that seat comes up.
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:07 PM  
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Great points Semi!

The railroad quiet zones are desperately needed. I haven't slept the night though in 3 months due to the trains...and this would be a major reason not to stay in town.

Don't have any first hand knowledge of the schools, though what I hear across the board from people is not encouraging.

And while you're talking about drunken driving, how about addressing public drunkeness in City Park? In the daytime. In the playground. No way will I take my child back there - in three trips we've been approached by folks abviously shnockered, and one aqcuaintance had to roust a drunk out of the slide, for pete's sake!

I'm not a teetotaler, but there is a time and a place...

Any chance you *would* run for office someday?
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Old 11-10-2007, 02:15 AM  
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Easier Said then Done

The problem is that too many people don't get involved. You mentioned the loop... San Marcos has been talking about it since the 70's and the county started funding options and citizen involvement in 2000. TXDot was going to give 133 million dollars to the county to build the first phase of the loop, improve FM1626 in Buda and expand ranch road 12. Wimberley out voted the rest of the county because they showed up to the polls. I agree....we need the loop to start now....Let's do something and not sit on it for 30 years. Not to mention traffic on 35 and streets like 80 and 123 are about to increase with the I30 loop dumping out onto 35 at the Hays/Travis county line. If you were talking about the Wonderworld loop, it was ready to go, and then in the environmental study they found a burial ground or something. Basically it is going through the process of all the preliminary action items before the actual construction can begin. Overall, the problem is that there is a vocal minority in this community that has a tendency to get what it wants because they are the only ones speaking out to the elected officials and they always vote. I wish more normal, rational, logical thinking people would get out and make a difference. For example in the recent election, I think about 2,500 people voted in San Marcos out of 25,000 registered voters and out of a town that just claimed 50,000 residents. That's scary....

Also, it seems like the school district is trying to get more of a connection with the rest of the community, but most of the time, unless you have children, there is no way of knowing what is going on with the schools. If they did more with the community, I think it would help improve there ability to train and educate for jobs needed in the area. Also, the community, city and schools need to incorporate Gary Job Corp into workforce training. We have one of the best Job Corps in the nation in our back yard. This should be considered when recruiting businesses to locate here and working with all educational groups to come up with a solution to provide those businesses with employees.

I agree the city should work with the university, but it is my understanding that whenever the city, county or other local governments try to work with the university on group projects, the university tends to say no. I think they have approached them to combine on issues like some roads, lights and a unified 911 dispatch center. They have their Master plan, city has theirs. Just to clarify, when I refer to the university, it's not the students.

Going back to the loop and cip projects.... projects get pushed back year after year because groups of citizens protest, threaten, storm city council meetings, sign petitions and vote more than the everyday person just trying to get to work and back home before their son or daughter's soccer game is over.

I encourage you to start writing emails to elected officials, show up to meetings, get your neighbors registered to vote and have gatherings every now and then to talk about the issues with them.

Thanks for putting the issues out there!
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:44 AM  
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Yeah, the election turnout numbers are pathetic. It's obvious there is a huge amount of voter apathy here. Hell, there were more signs that that posted around town. I'm not really all that active politically, and by the numbers I'm one of the more active in this town...

Local schools are a big issue. The fact that we have one of the larger universities in the state, yet the local schools have higher than average dropout rates and lower than average numbers of students continuing on to college is wrong. Hays county needs an ACC campus. Students leaving high school here need to see more local educational options.

Drunk driving and speeding are huge issues. Unfortunately, they are issues everywhere. I'd be interested in knowing if our rates are any different than other college towns of similar size? I don't know what the solutions are. Better shuttle/taxi services. Better bike facilities (but I don't want to be out riding when there are drunks on the road...) Cars are seen as an American right. Lots of students live on the north side of campus, but drive the less than 1 mile downtown to get wasted. Getting people out of their cars so that they took a 15min walk would be a start, but how do we do it?

To be honest, speeding and driver inattentiveness are problems here day or night, drunk or sober. I've been hit in my car in town because someone was speeding and not paying attention to traffic. I used to ride my bike everywhere when I lived in Austin (and Sacramento, and Davis...) San Marcos drivers scare me. Combine that with the narrow bad roads and I don't ride much anymore.

TX130 is currently only funded to the point where it hits TX45SE at US183. It will be years before 130 gets finished all the way to I10 (Sections 5 & 6). TX45SE is what is being built just north of Buda. TX45SW (which will connect to MOPAC) is not currently funded, and will face many holdups because much of it is on the recharge zone, and in endangered species habitat. SH130 is NOT the Trans Texas Corridor.

Wonder World and the Craddock extension at least appear to be different than the 110 loop on the map that I have, and IMO are more important to the city. It doesn't surprise me that they've found archaeological sites on the route. This area is the longest continually inhabited site in North America. Additionally, the contractor was complaining that they had to follow environmental regulations for building in recharge, karst, and endangered species habitat. The environmental regulations won't keep the project from happening, but they do require that mitigation measures be taken for the destruction of habitat or a potential increase in pollution going into the aquifer. For them to work, the contractors MUST work to get an accurate accounting of the habitat and impact. If we want the springs to continue to be the gem of this town, then the days of unregulated construction need to be stopped. Both the Craddock and 110 projects will run into the same issues. My main issue with the loops is that it will push development further out into the contributing and recharge zones on the aquifer. Instead of building up we are continuing building out. As we do so, we will increase our environmental impact and the core areas will be forgotten as more strip malls are built on the ouskirts. If you are looking to be able to fight for improved transportation options in the main part of town, the loops are not good. You NEVER build yourself out of traffic issues. Look at Houston.
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:30 AM  
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San Marcos
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curious View Post

Any chance you *would* run for office someday?

Never say never, but I doubt it. I just don't care for politics in general. I'm more inclined to start a private organization (non-profit or for-profit, it doesn't make much difference) to address some of our issues.

I've been kicking around ideas for awhile, but the right one hasn't hit me yet.
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Old 11-12-2007, 01:32 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curious View Post
The railroad quiet zones are desperately needed. I haven't slept the night though in 3 months due to the trains...and this would be a major reason not to stay in town.
Funny, but when I first moved to Austin, after a year on the train track side of Haynes street, it was too quiet to sleep. I think I had to put on "No sleep till Hammersmith" by Motorhead when going to bed for about two months
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Old 11-12-2007, 01:45 PM  
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San Marcos
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 486 | Kudos: +1
I don't know. I lived on Haynes for several years at one time or another, very close to the tracks, as well as a few other places not much further from the tracks and I never got used to the noise. I could sleep through it, sure, but having to talk over it, hear the radio or TV over it, etc, always bothered me.

Now, I live about as far from the train as I can get in this town and I still hear it. It's not loud enough to disrupt anything and some people think it's romantic, but it bugs the hell out of me and it bothers me even more to think of people who live on top of those tracks for decades.
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