GALENA PARK – With the general election approaching on Saturday, May 9, and Early Voting underway for the Charter Amendment, voters in this community are talking about and debating the 18 amendments that are on the ballot.
Councilman Juan Flores organized three Town Hall Meetings, to present the amendments and give citizens for and against them a forum to discuss and debate their merits.
These meetings were held April 22 at Baggett Center; April 23 at Galena Manor, and April 25 at Woodland Acres.
On hand for each meeting were Council members, City of Galena Park department heads, and a moderator/facilitator.
To start each discussion, Councilman Flores handed out a white paper with the Amendments summarized, and a statement of the need for amending the Charter. The paper stated: “Many of the articles in the City Charter are outdated and should be brought up to current standards.”
Then Joe Thibodeaux, chairman of the Charter Committee, explained that they met 3 or 4 times over a 3 month period, had 15 members appointed by the Commissioners, and researched and debated each article. The Charter has not been amended since 1979, he said.
At the Baggett Center meeting, moderated by Gilbert Hoffman, most of those attending seemed in favor of the changes. Jack Brown and Dorothy Harding pointed out to the speakers that some of the amendments were already sufficiently codified in the existing charter. At the Galena Manor meeting, moderated by Joe Thibodeaux, citizen Judy Jefferson questioned the definitions of some of the terms in the recommendations.
A surprising lack of opponents at all three meetings did not reflect the obvious noisy objections at the last council meeting, or the proliferation of Anti-Amendment “Save Our City” signs throughout many neighborhoods. It may be that this opposition will appear again at the city council meeting on May 5, or wait to voice their opinions in the Early Voting or Election Day May 9.
If adopted, some amendments would take effect immediately, and some at the next election.