If you have a sign and wish for me to pick it up, please let me know either by sending an email to IndianSpringsGuy@sbcglobal.net or calling 281-292-2925.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Meaning of Campaign Integrity

We have such a variety of interpretations of integrity, don't we? However, I believe the essence of one's real integrity is more than keeping their word, it's one step further. It's putting words into action and practicing what you preach. With that goes integrity of purpose, obeying the law, respecting others and a whole host of characteristics that make up genuine integrity

In a campaign, and especially this one, all candidates including myself agreed to run positive campaigns and to not personally attack other candidates. One has to consider, however, personal motivations and why each of us is running for office. For me, that motivation is that I am only concerned about what is best for The Woodlands, positive progress for The Woodlands, and which candidates are really able to give themselves wholly to this endeavor.  I am founded in the Christian principals of honesty and trust.  I support others who adhere to these critical traits, and those who put their best foot forward in everything they do, including this race.  

I am about real integrity, real representation, and real commitment. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In more debt but at a low cost

The Woodlands Township Board approved a new bond issuance yesterday at a rate of 3.82%. If there ever was a good time to issue bonds, it was now. I am told bonds could continue downward, but nobody seems to have high confidence that we have not bottomed out. Considering risk factors, I believe this is the right time to execute such an issuance. We came close to a AA+ rating which would have given us an even lower rate. The MUD and school debt held us back. Our MUD debts will remain for a while before disappearing. Each MUD district's debt declines every year. Our staff and consultant worked hard to get the rate we got. Not a terrific investment for buyers, but not too shabby, considering the market. I support this method of financing capital assets for 20 years, most of which will have a useful life of 30+ years. Municipal bonds are great tools to spread the tax burden over 20 years to a population that tends to be mobile, moving every 3-6 years.  There could be 3-4 owners of any one home over 20 years.
Commentary -  Bond 2010 Announced
Commentary - Bond 2010 Details

Monday, March 22, 2010

A shared experience from a time investment in our community

A couple of weeks ago, we had an incident in our neighborhood. It confirmed my intuition on how we as citizens should be the first responders to many incidents that happen around us. When I found out about the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program last year, I immediately signed up for the first course. I felt this national program had considerable merit, and I should become part of it. CERT came about as a result of the lack of trained first responders in the community when Hurricane Ike struck our town. This program is not specific to hurricanes. It is for general emergencies. I suggest readers look it up. I will not get into any details here. I am a member of The Woodlands CERT Council, a leadership group consisting of one CERT graduate from each village. This council was elected from within the CERT graduates for one year terms. That team now promotes new classes and organizes promotions of the program. 

This story is about having the right skills, tools and about the confidence needed to use those tools effectively in an emergency situation. Our neighborhood emergency was potentially a devastating one. I went outside on a Saturday afternoon and smelled smoke. That is normal when it is cold, especially on a weekend. However, something about the smell bothered me. Then I went into the house and to the back yard and observed a fire behind our home. I immediately called 911. The grass fire had already been reported. I went to assess the situation so I would know what action to take. The fire was subsiding on its own, but I noticed a grass fire about 60 yards away out of control, in the trees and could tell that it was probably going to threaten a neighbor's home. I ran there to find a six-foot or higher flame in two locations,  a back yard fence on fire, several tree stumps on fire and a grass fire moving rapidly in other locations among the trees, pushed by the wind.  My training in CERT taught me to be the first responder. First, were there any people or animals in the home? A neighbor and I assessed that there was no one at home and no pets on the premises. Next we had to put the fire out. I went into the backyard and found a garden hose, turned it on and managed to put out all flames except at one location where the hose would not reach. By now several neighbors had come to help, so I asked one neighbor to get a longer hose, which he did. I connected it and started dowsing the remainder of the fire with water. By the time the fire department arrived, there were only a few small  flames still burning. Then my job was finished, so I thought. I remained on the site and provided them with a rake. They made sure the fire would not return to threaten the home again later in the day. I was instructed to make sure the other fires were under control. So I went and watered them down, making sure no embers remained to rekindle a fire.

First responders can and will apply their training to emergency situations. This may have been rather simple, but many people do not feel comfortable entering a neighbors yard and will not respond themselves, just wait for the professionals. When you can enter an emergency situation with confidence because of your hands-on training, you get the job done without hesitation. You even direct the response. Neighbors worked as a team, and we got the job done. People tell me that I make real commitments. That is true. I like to think my involvement is real

I definitely felt good about my ability to help, but that is not why I tell this story. I tell it because I want others to take the training and learn to be ready to respond and protect their family and neighbor's possessions in such unexpected situations. This is the reality of life. We cannot depend on others to take action before we do. We cannot throw money at the solutions and expect everything to be better. For us in this neighborhood, a fire response averages 8 minutes. In 8 minutes, a home can be severely damaged by fire and lives lost. That is why I insisted that we build the new fire station here in Indian Springs as soon as possible, not wait until after the Creekside Village fire station was built.  Fortunately in this event, the wind was not strong, the ground was wet, the back yard was clean and did not have much fire kindling, and there was a first responder in the vicinity. It could have been the fall, with dead trees, leaves everywhere, dry and windy. I have to say also that the Parks Department arrived before the fire department and managed to put out out the embers of two other fires behind our homes. I am grateful for the ranger being there so quickly. I never had a chance to thank him, as he left while I was working on the larger fire. He did not go unnoticed.  

Watch what people say about spending priorities. Some say that the fire department costs are excessive and that policing requires a great more funding. I say that our first priority is the fire department and second is our police department. Our fire department operations may not be cost optimized yet, that is almost always the case in growth, but we do have the best. We must have our new stations built now. I will soon share my thoughts on what needs to be done for police protection and may bring forward some ideas for the fire department as well. 

Don't you want a first responder on your street?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome to Randy Scott's REAL Campaign

Many know me as Indian Springs Guy. My REAL name is Randy Scott. I am running for Director Position 4, The Woodlands Township. The person elected to that position will be one of seven residents governing The Woodlands for the next two years.  

My campaign is real. It is simply a grass roots campaign, not politically motivated but issue motivated. What matters the most is how you vote in the booth. We start with residents, not getting endorsements from politicians or famous people, not churches or influential institutions. I am here because I am Randy, a very normal but very informed resident of The Woodlands who really cares about my neighbors and community.

I came here 12 years ago because I simply fell in love with The Woodlands. It took me an entire year to find my home. I was very particular! I still love The Woodlands and want to stay here for all the same reasons that I elected to live here. So I give you a chance to elect a real resident to work for you.

Ah ha! "Who is a real resident?" you ask. It is someone concerned about the same issues as his neighbors, someone in the "norm" of local living standards, and someone who experiences the hustle and bustle of everyday life here. So how come I proclaim to be the norm? I worked in downtown Houston for years, commuting as many do. So I am very familiar with commuting issues. I flew internationally in the oil business for years, so I am aware of the issues people have in mobility and transportation. I live next to a park, so I am very familiar with safety issues in the woods and outside visitors. The park also connects me to the Recreation and Parks Department and the issues they deal with every day. I live next to The Woodlands Parkway and another major thoroughfare, so I am very familiar with noise, lights and the other issues around increased traffic. I have been representing other residents in my area, facing major issues with the county, Development Company, association and now township. I run, walk and bike on the Hike and Bike paths. My lifestyle is to use the amenities of The Woodlands. I spend most of my time right here. I am retired and get to appreciate the community as never before.

By being here day and night, I have become increasingly aware of local issues. There are many. I hope you read some of the articles in the Commentary. Over the past three years, I have written quite a few articles on specific topics I have chosen to dive into. I have talked face-to-face with management of the Development Company, Mayor of Tomball, Mayor of Conroe, everyone on the Township Board who bothered to understand a resident's point of view, the County Judge, our Texas Senator, our Texas Representative, and the list goes on. I have not asked anyone for their endorsement, because you are not voting for them. Who they vote for in the booth is their business. I am asking for your vote and asking them for their vote. Endorsements are often politically motivated. Local politicians and high profile personalities are usually not the guys next door, although I have a high respect for many of them.

My credentials include education and activities, but that will be presented elsewhere. I expect you will want to know where I stand on certain issues. I can assure you that I not only have a position on many of them, I seek dialogue with residents on how they stand as well. I have already picked up useful ideas from some individuals. I will publish where I stand on many issues but don't want to leave the impression that I know everything, because I certainly do not! That is why I have an open door policy. I love to talk and you will find me here and there talking to people. There are a jillion things to learn about in this world, and I have not even begun.

That is where diversity plays a strong role in my life. I would love to discuss with you why this is the case. I find some good traits in many of the candidates. I do not believe there is anyone with the credentials I have that can serve you as I can. I hope to give you my view of an ideal candidate. I would certainly like to hear your comments on it.

The strength of diversity is the resulting broadness of thought from embracing it. That brings tolerance and acceptance of others' ideas and customs, as well as helping to identify what needs to be communicated in order to include others in discussions and decisions. There are not enough hours to tell you all about all of the reasons that make people call me REAL. REAL RANDY is a phrase coined by a very good friend of mine, knowing where I come from on many subjects and being able to understand my heart. I am making a REAL commitment and willing to provide REAL representation.  I am the REAL choice for The Woodlands Township Board.

So I am offering you my services for two years and maybe more. This is strictly a volunteer job. Many hours will be expended working on projects and issues on your behalf. There will only be seven directors on The Woodlands Township Board, charged to manage a $78 million dollar budget. These seven directors will  have the services of the Township Manager to manage day-by-day activities of the Township. The organization of the board can be expected to change with the reduction to seven members. Committees need to be reviewed for efficient handling of matters.

I would personally like to work on the "final government". I want all residents and businesses to be represented as the next and final step as our governance model unfolds.

What is needed from you? Your support and vote for sure! Yet more than that. If you are a citizen and not registered in the county you live in, I want you to go to the county right now and register! Make a difference! You must register before April 8th These are the ways you can do it in Montgomery County:
  1. email: Request forms 
  2. Call: 936-539-7843
  3. Drive to:  
    9159 FM 1484
    Conroe, Texas 77303
  4. Visit Montgomery County Website