I am a third generation citizen of Hardin County and a 12th generation Texas and a native of Kountze. My parents bought the land and home I live in the year of 1938. It was their wish to see any children inherit the fruits of their labors. It was their legacy and one I am proud of and do my best to uphold.
When my brother was on Kountze City Council I frequently heard a variety of comments from him – ie the lack of interest in Kountze for starters. He tried his best and served with distinction but died four years ago with a certain realization when the dust settled and all is over and done – who really cared? He is surely missed by me and by anyone with a lick of sense. He drove through our neighborhoods and filled up pot holes, helping citizens his way. He helped. Are we being helped now by the city?
Yesterday I noted two city employees hedging the median on Highway 69 – and did so during the middle of the day. The neon sign posted 102 degrees. I stopped at Brookshires and was going to provide Jennifer and another employee water and a cold towel but they exited the median and hopefully were spared another second of brutal Texas summer heat. These two are hard working souls. No doubt their instructions came from someone who was enjoying an air conditioned office. Abuse of their employees – most certainly. Abuse of the citizens of Kountze – so what is new?
I speak from experience as the city has harassed me most of this year. First the city wanted me to obtain water service. I did so. Then they wanted me to repair the leak which caused the little red circle to spin inside the meter. I did. Then three employees arrived at my home early one morning demanding to enter my home to look for a leak which had been repaired and was under my home. I stated I was in my pjs and would not allow anyone into my home. The employees also wanted to check my water service for lead content. I refused and was threatened with no water service, loss of home and property. The next day my water service cut off.
Legal – NO!!! I have consulted a number of attorneys who have stated without fail there is nothing legal about their actions. If they wanted to check the repair work of the plumber they could have. They could have also obtained a sample of water from me and tested for lead content – that is if they knew how? I have asked via cert. mail my water service be restored. Now I receive another excuse – some law about back flow. No mention of an ex leak anywhere. What they gonna say next – heard Jimmy Hoffa buried under the home? And by the way I just paid my water bill yesterday so I owe NADA.
In the interim I am a 64 year old woman, on social security, on a limited income and on medication for hypertension. I am in a home without water. This is terrible and worse than terrorist. And you think I am the only one? Think again.
Another citizen was brutalized by the city. He was building a home on his property and was threatened with arrest if he did not stop – despite obtaining permits and despite a master carpenter checking the work and giving a hardy thumbs up. This citizen is an African American, a long time member of the school board and a model citizen of our community. He has been deeply hurt and he wants justice.
A long time friend was threatened with the condemnation of her home. She did not have the money to replace the roof which cost $9,000. She was very upset as she and her husband planned to retire here – to their home. Fortunately the funds came through and the ongoing carnage was stopped.
Other citizens have been harmed – and many are not in the financial position to put a stop to the city’s high jinks. Others had had their water service cut off and they do not have the funds to make all the repairs the city demands. The low income citizens often the target of the few who rule the roost in a small, red neck town. If the lights are right – you can drive through Kountze in a minute. Most people can’t even pronounce the name correctly and often don’t recall driving through. The town is shrinking. Sadly!
The city council needs to pull up their big boy and girl pants and show some back bone. If the city attorney is too expensive for them to contact – then get someone who will do the right thing. We don’t need greed. There is enough of that in the world don’t you think? We need justice. We need respect and then some!!!!
Kountze will never grow as long as boorish behavior is blessed by those hired to stop it. Kountze will never grow as long as the school yard bully is given the green light to proceed as usual. Kountze will never grow as long as folks care about is their own little world. It is a lethal combination and toxic. It will thwart any new growth – any hope of expansion, any hope of better.
Learn to appreciate those who appreciate you. I see my father’s name on the wall at the courthouse and I know if he knew what has been going on and how his daughter has been treated – he would be rolling in his grave. My mother and brother would join him as would my grandparents who rest at Hooks Cemetery.
So the next time you want to get riled up about something folks – you got plenty of riled up material here. Next time there is a city council meeting – third Thursday of the month – attend it and show you care. As it is – the room is often empty except for the council and city employees.