During the last several weeks, I’ve been seeing posters throughout the city stating, “Vote for a Safer Brownwood.” I asked myself, “What does that mean?” After driving through downtown, I just knew it had to do with a bond for improving our streets. Filling potholes and paving our streets would definitely make Brownwood safer for everyone.
When I went to vote on Monday, I realized that those posters had to do with whether we decided to vote for or appoint the chief of police. How does appointing the chief of police make Brownwood a safer place? Our law enforcement can only enforce the law. Our real problem is the judicial system that continuously allows criminals to commit the same crimes.
Before the last city council election, I attended a forum/debate of the candidates. I remember one issue that a resident brought up. The question was, “Why can’t the city clean up the dilapidated and condemned houses in Brownwood?” The response was, “The city is doing the best we can. It costs approximately $2,000 to $3,000 per home for the city to clean the property of condemned homes.” I realize that it’s expensive and time consuming, but within a few minutes, talk had shifted to the new train museum. None of the council members (serving at the time) could put an exact dollar figure on how much the city was going to spend annually on the museum. I heard figures anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000. Maybe we could make Brownwood a safer place by using this money (if it’s truly that much money) to “Clean up Brownwood.” The city could clean up 100-plus properties per year with these funds. These condemned and rundown homes are just safe havens for drug addicts, criminals, etc. Before we allocate money toward building on to Brownwood, maybe we first need to spend money “cleaning up Brownwood.”