From the “If at first you don’t succeed” files

Sometimes you have to try try again for 24 years to get what you want.

The road in question

It seems as if he never existed, but he certainly did.

For 24 years, Charles Hixon attended nearly every Harris County Commissioners Court meeting to complain about a drainage problem at his property in Huffman, delivering a speech that evolved only slightly.

But Hixon, 55, who briefly suspended his biweekly plea in 2002 when was trying to unseat his then-county commissioner, Jerry Eversole, has missed the last half-dozen meetings.

At the last one he attended in September, the room fell silent as the gadfly stepped to the speakers’ podium and deviated from his usual script, one that county regulars can recite from memory.

“I’d like to recognize Commissioner Morman for his activity on Palm Lane and encourage your activity to a successful completion,” Hixon told the five-member court. “But I don’t have really too much of an idea as to what you’re doing.”

At the previous meeting, Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, who had just become Hixon’s commissioner after a long-awaited court ruling that altered precinct boundaries, promised his new constituent he would try to fix his problem. Crews had already been dispatched to the site, Morman told him.

They have since cleared and re-dug the overgrown ditches Hixon had said were “overburdened and do not drain,” installed neat, sturdy culverts in more than a dozen driveways and paved over the dirt and caliche road avoided by U.S. mail trucks and school buses. The work wrapped up early last month.

Hixon has not returned to court to say whether he’s satisfied or returned phone calls requesting comment.

Hixon has been a semi-regular commenter on this blog ever since I noted his then-quixotic attempt to get Commissioners Court to listen to him a decade ago. He finally got some traction on his epic quest in August when he got a new Commissioner.

Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman aims to free up Charles Hixon’s Tuesday mornings.

The Huffman resident has attended almost every Harris County Commissioners Court meeting for 24 years, delivering the same scripted speech – with minor variations – complaining of a drainage problem at his property in northeast Harris County.

Various officials throughout the years have attempted to mollify the most persistent of gadflies, now in his mid-50s, but most have determined that he could not be helped because his .69-acre lot, between Palm Drive and Cry Baby Lane, sits on a road that is not listed on the county road log, meaning the county is not responsible for maintaining it.

That changed on Tuesday, when the Commissioners Court – at the behest of Morman – voted to take on Palm Drive and its ditches, which Hixon contends “are overburdened and do not drain.”

Morman, of Precinct 2, became Hixon’s commissioner this month when new county precinct boundaries took effect after a long-awaited court ruling on redistricting.

When the first-term commissioner learned he would inherit the persistent constituent, he asked county staff to look into the problem.

“There is a grading issue and a drainage issue, so yeah, there’s a problem for not just this guy, but for all of his neighbors,” Morman said.

Not really clear why Morman decided this was a county issue when everyone else had concluded otherwise, but that’s all in the past. The road is paved, the drainage issue is resolved, and everyone appears to be happy. Commissioners Court meetings may never be the same.

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5 Responses to From the “If at first you don’t succeed” files

  1. Joe White says:

    Begs the question of why the road wasn’t the county road log. Was it because it was a private road? Or because it it got left off the log by mistake?

  2. joshua bullard says:

    This became personal with former commisioner eversole,eversole simply refused to add the road to the countys liabilities and he used that old guy “raycraft” to cover for him=the other commisioners could not technically get involved but from what i reviewed over the years charles hixon had it right from the beginning=its just that eversole got wrapped up into it personally=however i will take this time out to say publically that county judge ed emmitt should have tried to push a resolve earlier,but thats about his only fault,this guy commisioner morman has really stepped up the game on the reciever end and i think its touching emotionally for most rate payers as well as hixon himself.

    joshua ben bullard

  3. Don A in Pennsyltucky says:

    Commissioners — be they County, Township, or other political subdivision — are notoriously reluctant to take over roads lest they have to pay for something. The general principal has always been to try to shift the burden up to the next level. Township tries to get County to pay, County tries to get State to pay. State tries to get FedGov to pay. Roads and bridges deteriorate.

  4. P J Evans says:

    Texas is known for unpaved county roads. They run a grader across them every so often to clear the ruts.

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