Harris County Proposition 1 — This proposal would authorize the county to issue $190 million for road projects. These road expansions and improvements will be needed to keep traffic moving and accommodate development and growth.
Harris County Proposition 2 — This would allow the county to issue $95 million for parks. This region and state are underparked. More public green space is needed to improve the quality of life for today’s residents and assure park access for the many more who are on the way.
Harris County Proposition 3 — If approved, this measure would let the county issue $195 million to build a central processing and adult detention center. This jail facility is necessary to relieve unsafe and improper overcrowding and to deliver adequate health care to inmates. The center also would screen inmates for mental illness and humanely direct those who need it to treatment. County Judge Ed Emmett has promised that the building’s site on Buffalo Bayou would not interfere with long-planned hike and bike trails.
Harris County Proposition 4 — This would authorize $80 million in bonds to build a medical examiner’s forensic center. The facility would include a morgue and crime labs. The chronic, expensive problems at the Houston Police Department crime lab, from leaking roofs to incompetent employees, suggest that spending on the latest crime lab technology is a good investment.
I don’t remember if they’ve already dealt with the port bond (County Prop 6) and I missed it, or they’ve still not gotten around to it. No rush, y’all!
As you know, I voted No on Prop 3. I strongly disagree with their stated logic here. What we need is smarter bail setting, better probation management, and just generally using our existing scarce resources more wisely. The Chron has done some excellent reporting on the overcrowding at Harris County’s jails. It’s a damn shame that the editorial board has chosen to wave its hands at the underlying causes for that overcrowding and endorse spending almost $200 million on new jail space that we shouldn’t need. I’m sorry, but that’s irresponsible to the point of negligence. Let’s get our house in order first, then we can see if we really need to build.