Friday, May 14, 2010

New neighborhood....same problems

I've moved within the same general neighborhood, about 5 blocks from my old residence...but some things in Midland don't seem to change. Like the condition of the streets. The photos above don't adequately capture the depth of this gulley between at the intersection of "J" and Princeton streets. I've driven thru this intersection for decades and the condition has not changed. Well, yes it has, it's gotten worse.

This is the type of street condition, that if one is driving even under the speed limit, the oil pan of the car will "bottom out" on this chasm. As you can see, the condition is so bad, that the asphalt is completely gone revealing the original coblestones I surmise are from the Roman period.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

When in doubt.....ask!

I've described the amazement that many of my neighbors and I have felt while watching extensive work being done on our street, at an intersection where we personally have never noticed a problem, including the civil engineer who lives right at the spot the work is being done. The work went on for a long time, but was completed several weeks ago....or so we thought.

Until today when crews were back out at the same intersection tearing it up once again. Several emails between we old timers on the block made me realize that others were wondering too. Stewing and cursing "them", those in charge, is always an option, but doesn't provide answers. So....I did something I had thought of doing many times during this construction; I went to City Hall.

I was directed to the Transportation Dept. which is responsible for all road maintenance and repairs. Luckily, many people were in the office and I got to describe our "concern" to several people who took the time to look the spot up on the city plats and were able to explain to me/us that although this was one of the first jobs in our area....they are in fact in the process of upgrading many corners in the neighborhood to concrete from the typical asphalt. And that crews were back today because a possible water leak had been detected. Fair enough and nice to know.

After the shouting and obscenities stopped [this didn't actually happen; it's added for effect] I had a chance to speak with Renee Franks, the city engineer, who spent some time further explaining the plans for "D" Street which is another sore point with the's in horrible shape. Renee admitted that they knew that it is and are waiting on funding to completely redo it and she added, "call or email anytime if you have any questions" Good news.

So the lessonn I learn again is that complaining over what "they" are doing or not doing is easy, but not wholly responsible unless you are willing to go down and talk to "them". In a town the size of Midland, that's easily done. I'd like to thank Renee and the staff for a nice visit....although I think it would have been nice for them to offer me some of the cake they were eating. Maybe next time

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Potholes....the rest of the story

Another day another pothole story...or actually the ultimate end of yesterdays story.

Last night I went to a party at a friends, upon leaving several hours later I discovered that I had a very flat tire....down on the rim. Luckily my friend the party host, Ferrell, is a car collector and has an amazing garage where he stores and works on his vehicles, equiped with a commercial air compressor. So we got my tire full up so I could make it home and change it the next morning.

I won't go into the trials of changing a tire with the "modern" type jacks provided, suffice it to say I called Manuel, who will fix your tire at your home. After about 15 minutes of work, Manuel called me out front to say that this tire, with only about 20K miles on it was kaput....he couldn't fix it. He described it as side wall failure, probably caused by running over something hard edged. "Like a pothole", I asked. "Yeah, exactly like a big pothole....that's the usual cause" Manuel opined. I then got the privelage of spending about $300 on two new tires. [Best to buy them in pairs], plus 45 bucks for Manuel to tell me he couldn't fix it!

So now you see why I write about potholes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We're Baaaaaaack!

It's back.......! Mean Street Kick Ass has awoken from a two year slumber. Several factors have contributed to this revival.

1] as I was driving on far north Garfield St. the other day, doing the 40 mph speed limit, I hit a pothole so pronounced that I thought I had blown my tire out.
2] after having complained for years to the city about the potholes near my home on "D" St. a repair crew showed up. However it was at the next street up where we, the neighbors, had no idea that any thing was wrong with this intersection or why it needed to be fixed.
3] perhaps you, as I have, have noticed whole areas of town where the street lights stay on 24 hours a day. Someone is paying for this.

Governing or managing a city is no easy task but we can do better than this. Do the city fathers, managment and workers drive around town and somehow miss all this? The staff at Mean Street Kick Ass intends to "gently" point some of these out from time to time. So...stay tuned for some famous long-term and glaring examples. We'll start with pot holes.

This is the corner of "G" St and Bedford where city crews of 4-5 men and much machinery labored for almost two weeks digging out the old asphalt and laying concrete....on the corner opposite also. Why, even the civil engineer who lives right here couldn't offer a clue. I'm all for maintenance, but when you consider what lies around the corner seems time could be better spent with...

This Bad Boy, caused mainly by irragation drainage from the adjacent home [which has been reported at least 6 times] is actually deeper than appears here. It is also in the shade all day making it harder to see. And....when there is water in "D" St. which there frequently is, it can't been seen until you hit it. Hit this at 35 mph and I can guarantee you'll lose a tire, if not a good part of your suspension system

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Perhaps a few more people in the neighborhood will agree with me that instead of dreaming of $65 million convention centers, that perhaps city leaders might think along the lines of spending a few dollars improving basic infrastructure; like investing in a modern drainage system. This is the "A" Street park a half a day after a 3 inch rain. More, much more is expected soon.....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Money for nuthin'....

In todays Midland Reporter-Telegram I was surprised to see that a company, BCCK of Midland, is to receive funds from the Midland Development Corporation. This is odd, I thought, I know these guys and they've always represented that they are doing very well in the nitrogen rejection business; a segment of the gas industry that has improved greatly with increased prices. If you read their project list I think you could see this for yourself. As I read the article, not learning much other than they want to expand, I did come upon the key statement from an employee. "We like doing business in Midland and would hate to leave". Or something to that effect.

I'm not begrudging the guys at BCCK their free money; on the contrary I'm wondering if this might not work for me....and you too. So I would propose to them:

"Dear Guys at the MDC, I have a small online business selling photographs. It costs almost nothing to run and takes very little time, but in some years we have grossed around $10,000. However, we think that with the help of a capital infusion we could grow the business dramatically. Especially if we are using other peoples money to fund our growth. We feel that $1 million in increased sales is possible. Using other people's money would dramatically effect our bottom line in a positive fashion! For this capital I pledge to increase our skilled employment base by three staff members when we reach the $1 million mark. Specifically these would be: an Italian girl to drive my Ferrari, a Norgweigan girl to process orders and a Swedish girl to provide exercise therapy to the other staff members. Truthfully, there is really not much we can do to expand, but if you will just give me a lot of money I'll go ahead and hire the girls and pay them from this windfall. Midland is our home and we are commited to the community, but do you know how fast I can move if I don't get any money. I would hate to relocate to Monahans."

If you, your company or your individual business has not threatened to move I urge you to think it over. And really it's for the economic good of the city. If everyone threatens to move and receives free money, think what the economic multiplier effect would be! I urge you to email the MDC and tell them that you've already had Bekins Moving and Storage out to give you a quote and how soon can you get your money.

Friday, June 29, 2007


What have I been thinking? I try to make gratitude a key to my everyday living. I'm afraid I've neglected that concept lately, so today I'm here to atone and make amends to the city fathers.

While I, and others, have been complaining about paying Mr. Menchaca almost a half a million dollars to not work, little did we know that behind the scenes the municipal government has been working in our behalf to save us $300,000. We learned today that Mr. Menchaca valued himself as a non worker to the tune of around $800,000, but the city leadership held firm and made him settle for almost half that or $480,000. I'm here to appologize publicly. Thanks for your diligent work!