Here's What I've Done So Far Associated With This Issue
(I began writing this in August of 2007)

Click Here for the pictorial web page this history refers to

 This note was written in October 2007:
Over the past two and half months Iíve spent quite a few hours trying to get someone (primarily the City of Houston) to do something about this monstrosity.  Mostly Iíve been ignored, stonewalled or otherwise bureaucratized.  All I've achieved was a couple of poor lawn mowings until mid September '07 when they made things worse by nailing up partial-height, raw plywood all around the place. 

It doesnít look like anybodyís going to do anything about his situation.

Below is a record of my travails.  Itís too much to slog through.  Iíve compiled it so if you or someone decides to look into this, when the excuses from the players begin youíll know what really happened. 

jim

It's now May 2008 and I'm trying again.

Click here to read about my attempts to work through Council member Addie Wiseman

Click here to read about round two with Councilman Mike Sullivan

Note that in none of these attempts was I able to speak to either council member.  And, their support staffs blew me off. 

 

 

Other issues that can be found in this story.
  • Houston's 311 web system isn't flexible
  • City employees fail to follow through after promising to keep you informed
  • City employees don't respond to email requests for status
  • Council members email is being thrown away without their or the sender's knowledge
  • The Mayor and most council members are not responsive to residents
  • Simple communication between Council members and city offices is formal and bureaucratic.
  • The local home owners association seems only able to enforce standards against individuals -- the least powerful

 

On about June 27th, 2007 I created this web page and tried to send it to Houstonís 311 service, but the website demanded information I didnít have (The street "number" of a lot that had no street number, I think.), so I entered it some backhanded way I was afraid didnít take.

I had no email address for the 311service, so I sent an email similar to the one shown below [see email to Council Member Addie Wiseman] to a City of Houston employee at this address -- Lisa.Fleming@cityofhouston.net.  Something led me to believe the City employees responsible for this kind of problem were at this address.  I received an email reply saying I would get status on what was being done about it.  I received no further status/communication from this office/person.

As both this mess and I are in Clear Lake City, I also contacted the Clear Lake City Community (home owners) Association.  They said they wished they could do something, but their hands were tied.  The home owners association can begin harassing my 75 year old neighbor a month after a 3' x 5' patch of his lawn dies, but can't do anything about this godawful mess that's been there for years.  Sigh . . .

When I'd heard nothing from the City in a week I emailed the Lisa.Fleming@cityofhouston.net address and asked what was happening.   I got no reply.

Council Member Wiseman

In mid July, after I'd received no reply from the Lisa Fleming inquiry, I sent the email below to my council member Addie Wiseman at districte@cityofhouston.net. When I received no reply from her after a week I called to ask what was happening. When I got no reply to this call, I called her office again a week later.

Over a period of two weeks I made four unsuccessful attempts to contact Ms Wiseman Ė two emails and two phone calls.

On July 30th, 2007, after yet another week with no reply to any of these attempts to contact Ms Wiseman, I sent the same email (under a cover explaining the above history) to Mayor White and all at-large council members, and with a request they do something about the situation.

================ Begin Copy of Email ================

Dear Councilwoman Wiseman

Please do something about this attractive nuisance and eyesore. It has been in this state for years. Please go to this page to see pictures and an explanation. http://factsfacts.com/eyesore

It's in your district. Go here for a map to the location http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/6857/nonameqb3.gif

Thank you
jim evans

================ End Copy of Email ===============

I received one, and only one, direct reply to this volley of emails. It was from Mr. John L. Guess out of Council Member Greenís office.  [NOTE:  Council Member Green has my vote from now on.]  Mr. Guess was very cordial.  He said this was uncharacteristic of Ms Wiseman, and he would make sure my message got to her office.  Soon afterward I was contacted by Ms Mallory Bell of Ms Wisemanís office.  She said they were not aware of any of my emails or phone calls.  It seems some unknown amount of their incoming email is automatically thrown away without their knowledge and with no notice to the sender.  This explains why Ms Wiseman did not get my emails, but does not explain the unreturned phone calls.

Once communication began with Ms Bell, she told me she wrote the appropriate department a letter requesting status. [NOTE: As Ms Bell explained it to me, all requests for information on, or status of a prior request made by Council Members to City departments must be made in writing and all replies are, in turn, in writing.]  This formal loop accounted for the fact that instead of her notifying me, *I* notified Ms Bell on about August 10th, that the yellow sign in the picture on the main page had been placed.

The sign only required the area be tidied up, not torn down or made into a building as I requested. But, since at least some action was finally being taken, I was satisfied to wait until the deadline of August 28, hoping this was just a first step in the process. About August 22nd I noticed the Violation Notice sign had been removed.  I notified Ms Bell it was gone and asked why.  I got no response.  On August 30th, two days after the deadline for the site to be cleaned up, and it still hadnít, I notified Ms Bell again that the deadline had passed and nothing had been done and asked what was happening and why the sign was removed before the deadline. When I got no reply to this second inquiry I called her.  She said she would check into it.

This last contact was in late August, and as of today, October 20th, 2007, Iíve heard nothing. Itís now been more than three months since I first contacted the City, and the only meaningful change has been the addition of the ugly raw plywood.

Councilman Sullivan

UPDATE:  Council member Wiseman's office stopped contacting me or returning my calls and emails in August 2007.  I emailed my new Councilman Mike Sullivan May 6, 2008. 

Having gotten no reply to this email, I emailed his office again at the other of their two address on May 22nd.  (Note: There are two email addresses given on the City website for Councilman Sullivan -- cipdistricte@cityofhouston.net and districte@cityofhouston.net)

Having gotten no reply I called on May 27th.  No one answered.  I left a phonemail with my name, number and message asking them to call.  So far no one has returned my call.

When no one from Councilman Sullivan's office had returned my call, I called again on June 2nd.  I spoke to Karina Moreno who said she would email me with her personal address and would try to call me by Wednesday, June 4th with some preliminary status.

When I had not received either the email or a call, I called again on Tuesday, June 10th.  Was told she was on the phone and would have to call me back (suggesting to me she would call when she got off the phone). 

When she had still not called by Monday June 16th I called again. She was in a meeting. I was transferred to her phone mail where I left a message reviewing the history of my attempts to contact her and again asking her to call.  Click Here to listen to my message.

She never returned my call. 

I was never able to get the councilman or his office to return my calls again.