Or, life’s a beach and then
you pass laws to help yourself
and all your neighbors
Perhaps one time in his life, Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian might have said: “There ought to be a law.” In any event the Republican lawmaker from Center, in the East Texas Pineywoods, managed to slip a provision through during the waning hours of the Texas Lege which benefits him and some of his beach-home neighbors on Hurricane Ike-wrecked Bolivar Peninsula.
Christian pushed through an amendment to a bill that extended homestead tax exemptions on property damaged last year by Hurricane Ike until those homes can be rebuilt. That amendment allows Christian and about a dozen neighbors to rebuild on the beach, which skirts the Texas Open Beach Act that prevents people from building on beaches and which applies to everyone except Wayne and his neighbors should the legislation be signed.
Being the stand-up guy that Christian is he skirted credit for the amendment because the bill was ramrodded by Rep. Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton. The Mauriceville Republican also owns a beach home on Bolivar although his property does not fall under the provision. Hamilton said the legislation benefits “99 percent” of his constituents, which is a rather peculiar statement since one of the three counties Hamilton represents has perpetually seen high poverty levels. Newton County had a 19.1 percent poverty level, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, and almost 38 percent of children 5 years old in that county live in poverty. It’s unemployment rate in April was 9.1 percent. Hardin County, another county in Tuffy’s district, was a little better off at 7.6 percent unemployment. Still, there aren’t a lot of beach homes being built, or rebuilt, by folks in those counties.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who oversees public beach property, is urging Gov. Rick “The South’s Gonna Rise Again With Goodhair” Perry, to veto the bill. Patterson, a Republican, said rather colorfully in an Associated Press story that he wouldn’t enforce the law if passed:
“My option is just to say, ‘Screw you, Wayne Christian,’ because the Legislature didn’t pass this, one guy passed this.”
Amen, Bro. Patterson, and the horse Christian (and Hamilton) rode in on.