Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ron Paul's "Libertarian Paradise?"

Jim and I were in Texas last week, and spent last Wednesday night in Galveston. We'd never been to the Texas coast before, and Galveston always sounded like an interesting place to go.

It wasn't quite as interesting as I'd hoped. The downtown is OK, but, unlike many coastal areas, it's extremely hot. Not much in the way of sea breezes at all, unless you're actually on the water. We took a harbor cruise, which was interesting as Galveston is a main shipping harbor. We also saw quite a few dolphins.
We had a good dinner at Fish Tales (I had four kinds of shrimp!) and drove around the island.

So how does presidential candidate Ron Paul relate to Galveston?

Well, it's part of his Congressional district. For a place that has both industry and tourism, the infrastructure is in need of repair.

For example, we decided to take a walk from our B&B that was on a residential street down to the beach at about 9pm (just after sunset). The street had almost no street lights. We should have brought a flashlight with us. Worse, the sidewalks were in poor repair, so we had to walk very slowly and carefully (me a bit more than usual as I'd recently had surgery and didn't want to risk a fall).

But what does that say about crime? Decent street lights are usually a helpful crime deterrent. Luckily, other than running into at least one old guy who was drunk, stoned and/or homeless, we got to the beach area safely.

While I'm not a huge fan of Florida for many reasons, almost every beach area in Florida has benches, where you can sit and watch the ocean. No such luck at the public beach in Galveston. Now, maybe if we wanted to drive down to the pay beach, there might have been benches. Or, if it had been daylight, we could have rented a beach chair and umbrella.

We walked out on a somewhat lighted fish pier. If we'd wanted to fish, it would have cost us money. That's something else I don't remember seeing in Florida. They might charge you money for bait, but charge you to just stand on the pier and fish?

Driving to Galveston from Austin, we'd hit a mess of highways under construction in the Houston area. We decided to avoid that by taking the toll beltway back to Austin. The beltway cost about an extra $4.50, but it was worth it to avoid the construction. It turned out to be a better choice than we expected as a bad accident closed part of 45 in Houston that day!

And speaking of road construction - Texas has bizarre customs regarding how road construction areas are signed. In some states, like, say Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, construction areas are clearly marked and the reduced speed limit is also clearly marked. In Texas, there are signs saying "Construction area, reduce speed" with no info on what the construction speed limit is or how long the construction zone is. These areas can go on for 10 or 20 miles. When you finally do see workers in the road, the traffic is speeding by at 65 or 70 miles an hour. So if you want to do road work in Texas, better be extra careful because the state isn't going to do much to protect you from the nutty drivers.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

It's difficult to imagine what the disrepair in the Galveston area could possibly have to do with Ron Paul since he is a federal politician.

All he can do with respect to local politics is allow his office to help individuals in need, and to redirect omnibus spending to his district in the form of earmarks to pork bills -- which he also gets criticized for.

The guy is honest and principled, but his political office only has so much power.

Any blame for the state of things in Galveston should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Galveston's local politicians.