Local Cities Face Negative Impact from Biggert-Waters Act
By David Lee Janda, Jr.
to a recent economic impact study commissioned by Harris County, communities by the Bay could lose more than $270 million
in property value if the controversial Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 passed by Congress takes full effect.
The study cites the communities of Morgan’s Point and Shoreacres as potentially being hardest hit by the law.
Congress passed the Act to help steer the troubled
National Flood Insurance Program towards solvency by phasing out subsidized insurance rates and increasing premiums of affected
properties by 25 percent a year until they reach the full risk rate. Although few homes and businesses in Harris County would
see such spikes, many of them are concentrated in coastal areas, including Shoreacres and Nassau Bay, where many homes are
located in high-risk flood zones under new flood insurance rate maps issued by FEMA.
The study, prepared by League City firm Norex Engineering and two University of Houston-Clear Lake
professors, Stephen J. Cotton and Jason Murasko, looked at how higher flood insurance premiums will affect the economic activity
of local communities along Galveston Bay. The two primary affects are 1) loss of disposable income for
consumers that would otherwise go to businesses for goods and services and 2) reduction in property values.
The total market value of properties under the base flood elevation
that could be affected by higher premiums includes $76,445,166 (La Porte), $15,533,446 (Morgan’s Point), and $80,608,001
(Shoreacres). However, La Porte’s amount is only 1.9% of the value of all properties in the city.
Morgan’s Point and Shoreacres face more severe exposure. 20.2% of total property value in
Morgan’s Point and 88.2% of total property value in Shoreacres could see strong reductions in value if the affected
properties are laden with higher flood insurance premiums.
cities cited by the study include Baytown, Nassau Bay, Pasadena, Seabrook, and Taylor Lake Village, among others.
The study concludes that approximately $43 million reduction in
annual business volume and about $6 million annual reduction in property tax revenues could result from the Act, the loss
spread over the various local municipalities.
Councils of La Porte, Shoreacres, and Morgan’s Point, and the Board of Trustees of La Porte Independent School District,
among other local political bodies, have passed resolutions opposing implementation of key provisions of the Biggert-Waters
|Photo by Clayton Jeter Craig VanBaarle
|Jon Friend holding up sign in front of Besaw's before it was torn down.
Historical Spot Comes Down for Progress
by Kelli Grabbe
by Maggie Anderson - Editor
month, Around La Porte reported that the San Jacinto History Museum was in the process of expansion and had purchased land
in the area of the monument to build a museum. Part of the land purchase was the location of what some call a historical landmark
in the La Porte area, Besaw’s Café. We recently sat down with the former owner of Besaw’s Café,
Jon Friend, to talk about his memories of Besaw’s, being in the restaurant business, and what it was like to own that
little bit of history.
Mr. Friend believes that the decades long appeal of
Besaw’s was because it was “on the edge of the country, not in a strip center or the middle of town.” Originally
opened by John Besaw and his wife, Hoyt, it was famous for its lunch-time hamburgers and for a beer or three on the way home
from the area’s refineries.
As a youngster, Mr. Friend often rode his bicycle down
Battleground Road past BeSaw’s on his way to the ferry, and then back to the monument’s museum to “look
at all the uniforms and maps” that he found fascinating. It was later, while working for Brown and Root in the 70’s,
that he first entered Besaw’s after being talked into stopping for a beer there instead of his old stomping grounds,
Jon Friend purchased BeSaw’s Cafe in January
1999, after two previous successful restaurant ventures, including RJ’s BBQ in Deer Park. In fact, it was the success
of RJ’s that allowed him to purchase Besaw’s. He contributes part of his success with restaurants to the
fact that he provided a family atmosphere, and acknowledged that “the secret is advertising”.
Very shortly after the purchase of Besaw’s he finished paving the parking lot so that
his customers wouldn’t get stuck. He also says he didn’t like so many people waiting for a table, knowing they
were looking for a quick lunch, so he expanded the seating area with an additional “15-20” tables. Besides
these changes, Besaw’s remained much the way it had been, including the one meat and three vegetable blue plate special
and steam table lunch. Live music was another continued customer favorite, and included monthly Elvis by Ray Covey shows,
a Texas singer song writer named Brian Burns, and of course, Buck Sloan, who originally played for the Besaw’s almost
60 years before he played for Mr. Friend.
He recalls a couple of his favorite famous customers:
Sam Houston IV, and a local businessman with whom he became close friends, Sherwood Cryer…..a name many of you may
remember as part owner of Gilley’s and owner of The Texas Independence Trail Ride.
Jon Friend says that he knows that times change and evolve. Even though Besaw’s is gone,
he is happy that more Texas history is going to be displayed where the café once stood. He also wants to send
a thank you to his customers and let them know that he “feels very fortunate” and appreciates each of them from
his time at Besaw’s.
Porte is 25th in Safest Cities in Texas
By Jaree Hefner, Marketing/PR Specialist, City of La Porte
The City of La Porte has always prided itself on being a low crime and tight-knit community to live in and, this week, Safewise.com has agreed by naming La Porte
the 25th safest city in Texas to live in.
and security company expressed that they were impressed with all aspects of La Porte, announcing, “If you are in search of an affordable water community that’s
also safe and oozes small town charm you’ve just found it.”
Not only did the city, as quoted on the Safewise website, have only 10 robberies and 18 aggravated assault reports in 2011, the Police Department also announced in its 2012 annual report that the city’s crime rate was down yet another 5.7%
You can read more from safewise.com
and why they think life by the bay is a perfect fit for families at: http://www.safewise.com/blog/safewise-50-safest-cities-texas/
What's Happening Around Town
Basic Citizen’s Police Academy Starts January 21,
next Basic Citizen’s Police Academy will start Tuesday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Herbert F. Freeman, Jr. Police
Administration Building at 3001 North 23rd Street in La Porte. Past classes have included topics
such as Animal Control, Bomb Explosives, D.O.T. Truck Inspections, Investigations, S.W.A.T., Crime Scenes, and Gangs. Classes
take place each Tuesday for 15 weeks. If you are interested in attending
the class you may call 281-471-2141 or contact Officer Jeff Tippit at email@example.com
The Sam Houston State University Bay Area Alumni & Friends Club is looking for a few good BeaKats! If you or
someone you know is looking for an active SHSU alumni club to join, send an email to SHSUbayarea@gmail.com or like us on Facebook at SHSU Alumni Bay Area - Texas
Blue Santa Gift Drop Off
You can drop off new, wrapped, or unwrapped
gifts at the La Porte Police Station or other drop boxes at City facilities to provide toys and Christmas dinners for needy
children and their families in the La Porte area.
Christmas on Main Presented
by City of La Porte
December 5th, 2013 Main Street La Porte
will look more like the North Pole than up North with Santa, a sledding hill, and
Clutch “The Rockets Bear”. The parade will begin at 5:00pm starting at
5 Points. Read more inside!
For more events check the Calendar of events link on
the Side Bar