Thursday, June 01, 2006

Good Ole...Fellas?

I was planning on sharing an awe-inspiring post I wrote over the weekend. It involves everything! Robots with an attitude. Check! Gardening. Check! Koalas. Check! Instead I stumbled across the following headline while ducking work in the lavatory:

Harper’s Landing fate hinges on Conroe offer

It took me a minute to realize why Harper’s Landing had a familiar ring to it. Harper’s Landing is one of the subdivisions of The Woodlands, however it had been built during the JD Period (James Diaspora) and therefore was not immediately recognizable like Grogan’s Mill (GM 4 Life), Panther Creek, and Cochrane’s Crossing. What really caught my eye was the subtitle:

Deal would end the annexation of neighborhood in The Woodlands

WTF?!?! Annexation? Conroe? I know The Woodlands exists under threat of annexation by Houston, but Conroe? I mean, seriously, it’s Conroe. This is the city that couldn’t find its way out of a wet paper sack if you pointed it towards the opening AND give it a very sharp knife.

Before I continue any further I feel I need to set the scene for you. As you may know, I grew up in The Woodlands which is not a real city but rather a master plan community. As with any successful master plan community this means that the property values are going to be elevated to the point where the majority of the population is going to be middle-class and up, generally upper middle-class. The Woodlands is located just a few miles south of Conroe on I-45 and those few miles make all the difference in the world.

Calling Conroe The Woodlands’ poor country cousin would be a nice way of putting it back in those days. For me Conroe was the place we went to play football games, at Moorehead Stadium which was the basis of at least one lame and infantile joke (just my sort!) I can remember, march in the lame-ass Go Texan! Parade, and the point on the trip home from Dallas where you knew you were getting out of the car very soon. Conroe did not play too large a part in my young life and, quite frankly, I liked it that way. Can you tell I was, and remain, less than impressed with the bustling metroplex that is Conroe? Let’s stop pulling punches then, shall we? I think Conroe is a crappy little town that, like Shennandoah, exists merely to leach off other population centers that are close and more vibrant and wealthy. (I’m sorry if I am an elitist prick, it just happens that way sometimes.)

There, now you know where I am coming from. Back to the article!

A utility board will have an emergency meeting today to consider a compromise deal that would halt Conroe’s plans to annex a neighborhood in The Woodlands.

Conroe Mayor Tommy Metcalf has offered to forgo annexing Municipal Utility Disctrict No. 39, which includes the Harper’s Landing neighborhood, if residents agree to pay the city (Conroe) instead of The Woodlands for fire protection services.

“It’s a fair compromise,” said Metcalf, “If they’re serious about not wanting to be annexed, they ought to whole-heartedly embrace this compromise.”

This sounds strangely familiar. Why yes, I do believe what we have here is a good old protection racket. While primarily the forte of organized crime, it has been used in the past as a manner of extending national interests (please see Czechoslovakian history around 1938 or so), and now it is being used by the good fellas on the Conroe city council to extort some $454,000 out of residents of The Woodlands. I seriously can’t believe this. Conroe is running an extortion racket on The Woodlands!

To properly honor the grand tradition of the protection racket, I thought Don Metcalf and his crew of good fellas could change the signs to something like:

(Okay, I know it needs some work and I will eventually post a better version of it, but I had to strike while this particular iron was hot.)

I should probably have something deep and insightful to say here, but I am too agast at this to be able to muster rational thought. I am caught somewhere between laughter and tears that this sort of almost-criminal behavior is being engaged in by city governments. Hell, just give out more traffic tickets if you want the money that badly.

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