GCA Responds to Galveston County MOU for Rollover Pass

Ted Vega, President
Gilchrist Community Association
Rollover Pass is in the news again, this time commenting on GLO Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and Galveston County signing a MOU (memorandum of understanding); comments from Galveston County Commissioner Dennard.

This MOU agreement is a legal pact between a state agency and county to seize private property, giving the county 1.5 million to cover expenses in doing so. I must again remind you that Texans cherish their private property rights and will stand up against you, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, County Judge Mark Henry, and Pct. 1. Commissioner Ryan Dennard. Yes, I know Jerry Patterson and Mark Henry are 30 year friends, and Mark Henry and Ryan Dennard are friends, this makes all three of you very cozy, while you continue to scheme on how to take Rollover Pass away from Bolivar Peninsula, the Gilchrist Community, and the people of Texas and other states who enjoy what Rollover Pass has to offer. Why won’t you listen? The people have tried to tell you that they do not want a pier. We have and are always willing to work together and find a solution to the issues. Every time we bring this subject up, all we hear is we have done studies and nothing will work. Jerry Patterson told me, if we don’t close Rollover Pass the Peninsula will become an island and wash away. I say get real, Rollover Pass has been used during the pirate days, survived hurricane Ike, and is still there. Here is another point you should consider, the permit application, and other documents (including the MOU), state that Rollover Pass will be restored to its natural historic conditions. How can you develop this area, build a pier, make a park with parking and who knows what other amenities in an area that is historically low and floods water whenever high tides or flooding occurs? If you close the Pass where will the next pass open up due to flooding? You, by the way, will be responsible for your actions. Once again you are fooling with “mother nature”.

I, along with others, came to your Commissioner court and informed you that we are in the middle of an ongoing Federal Lawsuit against the GLO and the Corp of Engineers and asked you not to interfere and get involved. Did you take heed? No. Do you think a tactic such as taking private property and giving it to the GLO is not sneaky and dirty and will pass a smell test with a real Judge? Just because Galveston County receives coastal funding from the GLO is no reason to say that if the county gives the GLO a hard time it could damage the relationship with the GLO who administers grant funds. Is this the same agency that was giving the city of Galveston a hard time on some of their CBGF’s? These grants are given based on laws and needs, not the whim of an agency holding a device over our heads, if they are doing that which sounds illegal they need to go. As I have told you in the past the County needs to tell the GLO that if they want to take Rollover Pass then let the state legislature authorize a bill and pass a law to do so. This is something that should have been in SB2043 but was not, why, because legislatures don’t want to be associated with the taking of private property. Go ahead it is ok to tell Jerry Patterson where to go.

You mentioned the promised pier, well SB2043 requires the GLO Commissioner to mitigate the loss of fishing, and the best he could do was a pier, a promise that will probably never happen, there is no permit application for that pier, and all of this will take a couple of years, what about the community, and others. We don’t want a pier. A pier does not and will not provide fisherman, families, and handicapped persons the same access to fishing as Rollover Pass. If you ever close the Pass and stop the fish migration from the bay to the Gulf, guess what? No bait supply for the big fish who come to the opening of Rollover Pass. Why should you cut off their food supply? They will simply go somewhere else. What about the shrimpers that we see in the Gulf near Rollover Pass? You will affect their lively-hoods. What about all of the businesses on the peninsula, Galveston, and surrounding areas that enjoy the fruits of having people shop, eat, and stay? As you can see your action has a cause and effect and that is very tangible. I do agree that there are some issues with Rollover Pass at the ICW, and near the southwest corner of Rollover Pass (these can be mitigated with current new technology). The state of Texas is willing to spend over 10 million dollars to close the Pass and build a pier, just think what some of that money could do to the economy in Galveston if the Pass was brought up to date like Cedar Bayou.

Why did the GLO use an engineering company from Florida? Did you know we have some of the best educated scholars right here In Texas who know more about our coastal and bay issues? These people could provide a solution to any issues the GLO might have. I, personally, think if you want a study to come out a certain way you hire an engineering company, tell them what your goal is and get what you pay for (hint, hint). People have told me to follow the money, I am starting to believe some of it now.

Here is something you and anyone else that wants to close Rollover Pass should contemplate. The pass rejuvenates bay waters, which provides the estuaries of Galveston East Bay inward and outward flow of Gulf water necessary for maintaining rich and healthy estuary systems. Closing Rollover Pass will result in a lack of a quality flow of seawater, which will result in numerous adverse impacts, including decline in the health of the bay, wetlands and an overall reduction in the populations of fish, crab, and shrimp in this coastal area.

By the way, Commissioner Dennard, Rollover Pass was opened in 1955 for the very same reasons, now you support closing Rollover Pass. Rollover Pass has done nothing to you, but provide the county with good tourism by good people from all over the country. You have been a commissioner for less than a year, maybe politics are not your cup of tea? You were elected to represent the people of the peninsula, but so far, we haven’t felt your support. It seems you are having enough problems with politics that you should leave Mother Nature alone.

“Anytime you can open a pass between the Gulf and bay, you are creating a tremendous benefit for the bay and the anglers who enjoy it.,” Mark Ray, CCA Texas Chairman.

Here is another fact: Pass openings from the Gulf of Mexico to a bay are important. Here is a quote from Mark Ray, CCA Texas Chairman. “Anytime you can open a pass between the Gulf and bay, you are creating a tremendous benefit for the bay and the anglers who enjoy it.”

So, I ask you and all involved, why do you want to close something that is a tremendous benefit for the bay and anglers? What is the true reason Jerry Patterson is insisting that Rollover Pass be closed? As long as there are anglers fishing at Rollover Pass, the GCA will continue to represent them. You as the Galveston County Pct. 1 Commissioner, where Rollover Pass is located, should be representing us, the people, who voted you in and not supporting the bullying tactics of our Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who is now trying to run for Lt. Governor.

Since March 2013, we have collected signatures of people who don’t want the Pass closed. Over 10,000 people have paid a parking fee. This, along with donations, has funded the fight to keep the Pass open for all. These monies are going to our legal defense fund. This has gone well, another reason you should listen. Also, an online petition was initiated; all Galveston County Commissioners, County Judge and Jerry Patterson received an email from each signer. Once again, you have not listened, and while I am at it, you don’t listen to the people in your own precinct on issues that are important to them. This Peninsula will no longer have a JP system, there is no transportation, no medical clinics, and guess what, you require houses to be built higher, and you have no ladder truck to put out a high fire or rescue someone, are our fire hydrants in good order? Those are some things you should be working on. You need to do a better job or step down and go into another field that is better suited for your expertise.

I could go on and on, but you won’t listen.

For more information go to our webpage www.rolloverpasstexas.com sign the petition and share it with you Facebook friends. We have come a long way and still have a ways to go.

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6 Responses to “GCA Responds to Galveston County MOU for Rollover Pass”

  1. matt pace says:

    The more I contemplate this issue, I cannot at all understand why they don’t simply build rock groins on each side of Rollover Pass on the beachfront to fix this issue. The groins are much easier to build and much less expensive than closing the pass itself and then building an expensive beachfront fishing pier out into the gulf. Building rock groins about 100-200 yards long out into the gulf on each side of the pass at Rollover (similar to those along the Galveston Seawall) has the following benefits:
    1-stops beachfront erosion
    2-rebuilds the beach sand along the beachfront east of the pass
    3-greatly reduces the silt flowing through the pass into the ICW
    4-adds new fishing areas for the public to access along the two rock groins
    5 -continues the much-needed tidal flows into the bay system
    6-is much, much less expensive than either doing nothing or closing the pass would cost.

    I must be missing something here because this just sounds like a win-win deal to me.
    Why wouldn’t we just do this instead of closing Rollover Pass and building an expensive pier there?

  2. Beverly Mizell says:

    This issue regarding closure of Rollover Pass has been talked about for many years. This pass is manmade as everone knows that continues to cause severe erosion on Bolivar Beaches. It seems that the ones who are against this closure will not admit that this is detrimental to our beaches. It is the Fishermen/women who are the primary individuals who are fighting this battle. What is most important for Bolivar Peninsula is our beautiful beaches but 10 years or sooner there will be less and less beaches to enjoy. The Pier is the best answer for all concerned. The ones who are fighting for the closure should be using all the money and energy to make sure the State constructs a Outstanding Pier- An Example- Research the Folly Beach, SC Fishing pier. This pier is Handicap Friendly.

  3. Steve Thompson says:

    While to most it is common knowledge….to others it may not be. There was supposed to be a jetty installed on the gulf side of the pass to prevent this ‘erosion’….it was never installed. Just like the ‘new pier’ once they close the pass. Stop the closure.

  4. Zack Kuritz says:

    My Grandpa built a cabin at Caplen in 1958 the same year I was born where Salaparuta St is. Actually it was on Miami St. Needless to say Ike got it.
    We spent most our vacations there & I have many a good memory from those days. My daddy taught me how to wade fish at Rollover & out in front of our cabin.
    When I was a kid in front of our cabin after we passed the dunes it was probably 50 yards or more to the water. Now you can barely drive a truck down the beach on low tide.
    When I was a teenager we used to go flounder gigging on the bay side at night on a low tide at rollover. The water was knee deep. Now you can drive vehicles where we used to wade.
    I have memories that I would not trade for anything but as I look back I have to say Rollover Pass was a mistake

  5. Ron says:

    I too am for property rights, but not in this situation we are talking about a man-made cut that is taking beach sand and moving it to the bay. Yes, there is coastal erosion all along the coast but the studies have shown where the pass is taking much sand to the bay from the beach. The peninsula is getting narrower and the State is paying for the ICW sand removal, not GCA. Do you want HWY 87 washed off the map before you decide it needs to be closed? I want a pier! And I want a beach to drive on too, which we now have but is getting where there is no beach at high wind/tides. The Commissioner is representing all the peninsula including beach side folks who are watching the beach wash away. Please refute the surveys showing where the beach is not going into the bay, I’ve tried to get my boat from the ICW to the cut to no avail, 1-1/2′ of water. Mother Nature didn’t open the cut in ’55 and has been trying to fill it in ever since!

    • Have you lived on Bolivar peninsula? Are you a native to the Texas gulf coast area? Have you studied the HISTORY of Rollover Pass? The real issue according to my 83 year old brain is that Texas itself is at fault for the ongoing beach erosion along our entire coastline. Rock groins andbarrier islands could long ago saved beachfront property. Some landowners still claim to own property that has long been swallowed up by the Gulf of Mexico. Rollover could be a huge asset to the state of Texas if the proper people could see the whole picture. Something very unscrupulous is going on with the effort to close the pass, and I pray that the fighters keep fighting until someone listens to the REAL facts. There is big money at work to close the pass, I think, and I hope it can be exposed ! Texas may have its own “swamp” to drain.

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