Mr. Prouty, your question for me in last Sunday's Tyler Paper was an excellent question and deserves a response. My list of priorities for my second term as a city councilman for District 5 may have appeared global in scope. However, each issue is extremely relevant to all constituents in the district. Here is a sample of projects I support that are currently underway:
Two infrastructure projects under construction are the Golden Road Freshwater Treatment Plant and the "Courtney/Miller" storm-water drainage project. The Golden Road Freshwater Treatment Plant is undergoing major renovations to freshwater storage, recirculating and filter systems that will improve water quality for all. The "Courtney/Miller" storm water drainage project will help prevent future flooding in the area along Golden Road.
One infrastructure project I also support that is on the one-half cent capital improvement list, but not under construction as of yet, is the Shiloh Road extension from Troup Highway to Old Omen Road. This project will provide a thoroughfare that will meet the needs of increased commercial traffic, a safer thoroughfare for emergency vehicles and an alternate route to the University of Texas at Tyler. A new water service line is also part of the overall scope of this project.
I recently have secured a partnership with UT Tyler's Engineering Department to perform a water flow study of The Woods subdivision watershed.
Of course, there are many other issues to address in District 5, such as road maintenance, signal light synchronization, increased number of hike and bike trails, sidewalks, etc. For a complete list and a personal exchange of ideas or concerns, please join me for "Coffee with a Councilman" on Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at Fire station No. 8, at 3131 Shiloh Road (across from Walmart). I am currently the only city councilman that meets with constituents monthly.
Bob Westbrook Tyler City Council District 5
HOPE, TRAINING, SUPPORT
In the Oct. 10, 2018, issue of the Texas Observer, Michael Barajas included in his article about the inhumane practice of extended isolation Federal Judge William Wayne Justice's conclusion. "The extreme deprivation of solitary confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice caused 'profound and obvious psychological pain and suffering.'"
Yet in 2019 prisoners are still given another layer of punishment through "administrative housing" or solitary confinement.
Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries tells how gang members taught him the value of everything. In a speech he told his audience how "strangers can return a thug to himself while at the same time returning themselves to themselves."
How? By "standing with the demonized so that demonizing will stop. Stand with the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away. Stand with those whose dignity has been denied. Stand with those whose burdens are more than they can bear. Stand with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless and make those voices heard."
Everyone needs hope, training and support. In Smith County, former gang members and ex-cons learn to redirect their lives through various organizations. They then become contributing members of their community.
What about the hardest criminal behind bars? He or she needs hope, training and support. Not demoralizing isolation. Rather, give inmates books, tutoring, education so that upon release they are productive citizens.
Anna Russell Tyler