Q&A with new councilman
Editor’s note: Edwin Myers is the newest face on the Port Aransas City Council, elected in an uncontested race for Place 5 on May 14. Myers replaced Rick Pratt, who couldn’t run again due to term limits. Myers, 39, has lived in Port Aransas, on and off, since 1994, and he is the general manager of Kody’s Restaurant and Bar. He never has held elected office. What kind of councilman will he be? To get an idea of the answer, South Jetty reporter Dan Parker recently interviewed Myers on a variety of city issues.
South Jetty: What was it like for you to attend your first council meeting (May 19)?
Myers: Felt like the new guy on the first day of school. A lot of new responsibilities.
Myers: I like talking politics. Through the course of many discussions with people here I was encouraged to run. Even people who disagreed with me encouraged me to run, and that is because they know I will spend the time to try and come up with the best possible answer. I look at things in as many ways as I can. I felt I could contribute to providing the citizens of Port Aransas a good value from their city government. People expect to pay something, but returning the most value for every taxpayer dollar is a priority for me.
S.J.: Is there anything in Port Aransas that’s broken, that needs fixing, that you’d like to address as a council member?
Myers: There are things I would like to look at and get some answers (on) before I say anything is broken. There are ferry issues that many Port Aransans would like addressed, and I will do my best to stand up and make their voices heard. I know the airport is on the minds of some here and think there could be some cost-saving improvements made and some options to increase revenue. The airport now has a full board, and I look forward to hearing what they have to say. Definitely, seaweed is a problem for many. The hotels have expressed their guests’ displeasure about the seaweed, and (I) think we as a council will be able to nudge things in the right direction. Overall, I think things aren’t bad.
S.J.: What are some of your goals as a council member?
Myers: I believe my job is to be a good caretaker. That, overall, will guide me. Port Aransas isn’t mine. The people own it. People will tell me what they think is broken or not broken, and I will try to kick the tires and see if it’s broken and make or offer the best decision I can. I know a lot of people voted for me because I have shown them that I will do my very best to represent them passionately. See, not everyone who voted for me agrees with me on everything. They know I wouldn’t take lightly my responsibility to do the right thing for Port Aransas and I will strive to do the best that I can.
S.J.: What do you consider to be the most important issues in Port Aransas right now?
Myers: I certainly think that food vending on the beach is going to be a big issue. Its impact would change Port Aransas substantially. Our forefathers here in Port Aransas had the wisdom to set us on this path some 25 years ago. Take a look around, and I think you will agree it has served us well. Port Aransas for the last 25 years has spent lots of money marketing and crafting itself as being not commercialized. To commercialize the beach in such a way would be an about-face to 25 years of what seems to be damn good policy. We are as busy as ever, and it’s not because we have food vending on the beach. It’s because we don’t. People over the years have told me they moved or come here because we are not like Galveston or South Padre Island. What do we say to those people when we commercialize the beach? I could go on to 100 reasons not to do this. I only need to stop at the first one. Let the beach be just the beach.
S.J.: It could be a tough budget year. How should the city go about keeping a good local government operation running while keeping taxes as low as possible?
Myers: I am learning how tight things are at the city right now. I can say it might be having an effect on some of the services the city provides, like dealing with seaweed and mosquitoes, among other issues. Is it time to raise taxes some? I don’t know, but I will try to do my best to keep taxes low and get the very most from every dollar spent, then see if this current tax rate meets the goal of what Port Aransans want to pay and what they expect from city services.
S.J.: Seaweed is a perennial issue in Port Aransas. Do you think we should be handling the situation any differently?
Myers: That’s always a tough question. The current policy is to remove it and place it in the dune line. Some people think we shouldn’t clean any of the seaweed, and some think the city isn’t doing enough to clean it. It’s a tough issue, and don’t think there is any good answer that will make everyone happy. I am open to suggestions on how we can do it better.
Comments? Questions? Contact Dan Parker at (361) 749- 5131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.