Lawyers are necessary to present best case
By BY WILL ARMSTRONG
June 15, 2012 at 1:15 a.m.
We know for a fact that two large apartment complexes and two multi-stored hotels are under construction now. It is a fact that Caterpillar has started production and will continue to hire and increase production into 2014. Other companies that will supply Caterpillar are looking at Victoria. Formosa Plastic has announced a major expansion, and with new supplies of natural gas located in our area, we will see other expansions in the petro-chemical industry. Just north of town on Highway 77, Pioneer Energy Company is building an office and equipment yard. Several other oil-related businesses are hiring and investing in Victoria County. Activity at the Port of Victoria is picking up. Both Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria are growing and providing more services to our area. Our city has received an increased number of building permit applications for both residential and commercial projects. As small towns across the United States die, our Victoria is one of the exceptions. Victoria is going to continue to be a good place to raise a family and live a meaningful life.
All this above mentioned economic development is about creating opportunities for young people. The happiest people that I know who are my age (71 "late middle-age") are those who have their children and grandchildren nearby.
Successful economic development equates to an increase in population and ultimately more flushes, more showers, and more dishwashers and washing machines. It has been well established at City Council meetings that we need a new modern sewer plant. Also, we need to close the Willow Street plant, which was built in the 50's and is a smelly, obsolete mess that affects the lives of many families.
In September in Austin, lawyers will present their cases in a court-like setting to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). They will issue a ruling in January.
At our last council meeting on June 12, we decided that we were not going to pull the permit application, but we still haven't decided what to do about paying a lawyer.
An analogy that I used at our last meeting was: Someday when I get real old my children may need to take care of me by taking me to our family doctor. Our doctor listens to my heart and tells me and my children that he would like for a heart specialist to look at me. Then, I hope my children would not say, "We love our dear old daddy, but we aren't going to pay for a specialist. Just do the best you can."
The same thing applies with attorneys. There are good all-around lawyers and there are lawyers that specialize in certain areas of the law. We need a lawyer with experience trying cases before the TCEQ; a specialist. No one on our city's legal staff has tried a case before TCEQ.
I was asked by a friend who works for a large company why we needed an Austin specialist attorney if we had such a good case. I mentioned experience with the TCEQ. Later in the day, I called my friend back and asked him what kind of lawyer his company used when they were confronted with a legal situation. My friend got the point and the point is that if you want to win, you hire a good lawyer, and a good lawyer for our case would have experience with the TCEQ. If we are willing to pay for experience now, we may save the taxpayers money in the long run. If we do it right the first time, then we won't have to do it the second time.
We have to build a new sewer plant. Wouldn't it be nice if we, as neighbors, met and came to an agreement that would be mutually beneficial to those families near the proposed site and all the many families near the Willow Street site?
Will Armstrong is the mayor of Victoria. Residents can reach him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.