Divided we fall
For the first time since the Regional Transportation Authority was a yearand a-half old, Port Aransas has no voice on the RTA board of directors.
Mayor Claude Brown, in a meeting of the Small City Mayors Committee of the RTA, did not cast his vote for former Mayor Glenn Martin, who has represented Port Aransas on the RTA board of directors since October 2005. Instead, he voted for Robstown businessman Ricardo Ramon of Calallen in a unanimous vote of the four mayors present and voting.
Brown told the South Jetty his vote would not have made any difference, and that Martin's failure to attend the meeting hurt his chances of being reappointed. Martin said he was not invited to attend. The appointees, Ramon and Sara Salzide of Corpus Christi, who was reappointed, were at the meeting that was posted and open to the public.
Port Aransas collects half a cent per sales tax dollar that goes to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that funds the RTA. That amounted to $351,688 last year and, through the end of August this year, $371,369.
Small cities besides Port Aransas in the RTA are Robstown, Bishop, Gregory, Driscoll, Agua Dulce and San Patricio. It is highly likely, and this could not be confirmed by press time, that, among those cities, Port Aransas is the major contributor to the fund given the revenue stream that flows because of our resort status.
Through the RTA, Port Aransas is served by a circulating trolley, the Flex-B bus that offers service to and from Corpus Christi, a seasonal bus route that accommodates workers from Corpus Christi up State Hwy. 361, and more recently, a ferry shuttle service that accommodates the off-island work force so vital to our economy.
The ferry shuttle service is a pilot program that is, so far, under-utilized. Plans are to continue it through the end of October and make a decision about whether to resume the service for Spring Break and summer at a later date.
Port Aransas has gone to great lengths to see that our community was represented on the RTA. Former Mayor Jim Sherrill left his ill wife's bedside to cast a vote for yet another former mayor, Dale Bietendorf, as the small cities representative.
Former Mayor Georgia Neblett, a former RTA board member and RTA chair, worked to see that Port Aransas was represented, first by Wayland Simmons, then John Corder and most recently by Martin.
Martin, still recovering from his service as mayor, made still more personal sacrifices of time and talent to diligently serve the best interests of Port Aransas. That alone should have warranted a vote cast in his favor by our current mayor.
Failure by the mayor of Port Aransas to vote for a Port Aransas representative on the RTA board, no matter how futile, is an affront to Port Aransas.