New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 30, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
H-Z readers sound off on river issues
GUEST COMMENTARYWhat kind of tourist do we want on the river?
By Dick HHfytr
Special to the Herald-Zeitung
I monitored the activity on the Comal River on Sunday, June 25. Our house is across from The Other Place, where you can see about 200 yards in a half-circle area 10 a m — about 30 tubers most of which are families with children (15). No boom boxes, and only one family with a cooler. Water clear — no police, and no police necessary Attitude of people — wonderful and peaceful General age of adults, 30 to 50 Noon — About 60 tubers and 25 children No boom boxes. Five coolers. Water clear. Two cans floating. No police and no police necessary Crowd attitude peaceful and calm. General age of adults, 30 to 50 I p.m. — 70 tubers and 25 children. One boom box barely audible. 10 coolers. Water not so clear. Five cans floating. No police; no police needed Crowd attitude good. General age of adults 20 to 50.
3 p.m. — 200 tubers and 15 children Two boom boxes very audible. 50 coolers. Water dirty. 20 cans floating. Police and needed. Crowd attitude boisterous. General age of adults. 20-50.
6 p.m. — 300 tubers with three children. Three very loud boom boxes, (one playing "my lady is a stripper" and the other a rap song with multiple F-words). 100 coolers. Water filthy — 30 cans floating among food and trash Police there and needed — when present the boom boxes silent. Crowd rowdy General age of adults, 20-40.
11:30 p.m. — They are still out there with boom boxes.
1. Families and children dominate the river in the morning up until I p.m. Few need coolers, none have boom boxes, there is little or no trash. It is peaceful and very much in control.
2. After I p.m., the crowd starts to turn into a singles group with boom boxes and coolers with alcohol to support their lifestyle. Like Mr. Flyde. the river activity starts a transformation.
3. After 5 p.m., they have tanked up on several trips and are really starting to feel it. It is party time with no holds barred. Forget the children, they are not there anyway so be as loud as you want, duel with your boom boxes, and by all means throw your trash in the river for it is too dirty to see it anyway.
Which group do you want to attract to our city and support?
The A.M. group with families who act rationally, cost the city nothing in cleanup, and police and EMS oversight, and who stay in our resorts and utilize our restaurants and shops?
Or the PM. group comprised of those that are here only for a day and require excessive city resources in extensive clean up, and police and EMS oversight due to their inappropriate behavior and the size of the crowds. Most of this group starts later in the day in that they are not early risers or it takes travel time from out of town for them to get on the river.
There is a long line on Commerce and Seguin Avenue in the evening as they depart for other places after their day trip.
We need to limit the number of people on the river at any given time, which will only affect those in the P.M. group. This can be through a limited number of daily wristbands issued by the city and sold at the park entrances and by the outfitters.
The size of the P.M. crowds will be reduced on Saturday and Sunday, but the outfitters can obtain additional revenue from a part of the price of the wristbands.
We need to limit alcohol consumption. This can be done by limiting the cooler size to six per person (as originally recommended by the River Activities Committee). This will only affect the P.M. group in that the vast majority of the A.M. group are not taking any beverages. Beverages should be limited to 12 oz. cans, which would exclude bottles of liquor and wine bags and wine coolers, yes, water is available in cans.
There should be only one tube per person (as originally recommended by the River Activities Committee) with double tubes excluded thereby eliminating the trouble in getting those tubes out of the river at the public exit. It will also minimize boom boxes.
But the City Council says, "Wait, we need an ad hoc focus group with stakeholders giving input."
HELLO We did this five years ago with extensive meetings lasting months with the stakeholders and hired a consultant to assist. Then the resulting recommendations from the River Activities Committee were watered down by the city council on the basis that the city police force could handle it. They said let's try something less stringent to see if it works.
The only thing that has changed is that the number of persons on the river has increased making the problems even greater, so we need to address crowd size.
As good as our police force is and as hard as they try, they cannot handle it and need help.
We cannot wait for another study group.
The answers are pretty simple and do not require a lot of additional study.
When the gates are all down and the signals are flashing and the whistle is blaring in vain. And you only study the facts and delay getting off the tracks, you can't blame the wreck on the train.
Dick Hillyer lives on the Comal River and is a member of the River Activities Committee.
.. LAURA McKENZIE | Herald Zeitung
Members of the New Braunfels Police Department escort a handcuffed man up the stairs at the Last Tubers Exit on SaturdayIndividual rights become obscure when individuals do not respect others
I am a 24 year old Texas A6M Untver sity graduate student and am staying with my parents this summer at our riv er home before I have to leave to finish my last year of graduate school I read Mr Kevin Smith s guest column on luesday and I commend him for tak mg personal responsibility for his actions I personally resist the onset of new regu lations, which decreases individual accountability The main problems that occur on the river are a direct result of lack of common sense and personal responsibility, which increases due to the presence of alcohol Mr Smith recalled how river homeowners used to let river floaters swing from the trees at their home. If a river floater used our trees to swing into the river and were injured, then this could result in litigation I have seen many floaters drink an entire bag of wine that has come from a wine box (alcohol content of 12 5 per cent) and energy drinks with alcohol (alcohol content of 6 percent) Both types of alcohol have higher content than beer (average alcohol content is 5 percent) I his is not being responsible If I had children. I would not bring them to the Comal River, which defeats the focus of the New Braunfels commu mty — to appeal to families and children Individual rights become obscure when individuals do not respect others and deem that their right to have fun is more precious than others I hat is the problem
Kendall Burr New BraunfelsAuthor exposed contempt for law, good behavior
Where do you start commenting on the irresponsible letter written by Kevin Smith, "a certified Texas teacher, who proposed anarchy on our rivers by turning them over to the worst element those abusing our rivers-'
You have to be embarrassed for Smith who shows his puerile contempt for the law, police and good behavior by writing about it on the editorial page Also, does he feel the same contempt for the Hous ton police that protect him and his fam ily? I don t think so A river visitor once was quoted in the Herald Zeitung expressed views similar to the Smith s, and gave his name and stat ed that he coached at Brownwood High I was astounded that a coac h who nor mally would be a responsible adult had such views, called the school s principal and read him the article The principal stated he didn’t know the man and thought the views were repugnant I sus pect the teacher also is less than ' cer
Whatever is done. I would hope it would include the New Braunfels city limits of the Guadalupe as well If there is a ban on the Comal. I can assure they will all move there next Any ban should include the city limits regardless of the river I can assure youLETTERS TO THE EDITOR
tified If Smith is a teacher." where does he teach7 Smith also is contemptuous of those who. did not grow up here" and feels that their views should be disregarded. Unfortunately, this view is common by a few in New Braunfels They feel that unless you are a native, your views should never be considered.
I suspect that Ive paid New Braunfels' taxes many more years than Smith. He lives in Houston and only returns to abuse the rivers Therefore, the mature views of the tax-paying citizens should certainly supersede those with immature views
John K. Landry, DDS New BraunfelsYou're getting a taste of what Guadalupe property owners see every year
Suck it up, Comal River residents and stop complaining about the terrible problems you're having this summer with the drunks and punks!
For many years, we have all heard from you how the Comal is a "family river" and the Guadalupe is the place to send the drunks and rowdies so they can generally behave like animals as they desire This summer, the tide has turned! With the low trickle of water out of Canyon Lake, the drunks can't reach us and have decided to go to the Comal to give you a taste of what we've been dealing with for years We are fortunate to live in a subdivision a mile or two upriver from Gruene and have a beautiful private riverfront park along the Guadalupe for our residents and their guests This summer is the first time I can remember when I can take my grandchildren to the river without worrying about drunks, punks, defecation, public fornication, nudity, discarded hypodermic syringes, loud music and cussing, and general trashing of our private river park by these valuable visitors and tourists who bring so much money into our community" that I should ignore their behavior and welcome them here every year What a joke! It is apparent that the river outfitters and beer merchants mean more to this community than the perma rient tax paying residents, so I say: "Come to the Comal and party down!" Maybe after ya’II get a taste of what we've been dealing with for so long, you might think twice about sending them to the Guadalupe How about Galveston instead?
Qary Odom Now BraunfelsWhat can be done to save the poor, prostituted river?
My sympathy to City Council (but very, very little) for the task of solving theKROM HERAKD-ZEITUNG.COM
that the problem will go away.
It happened in Galveston and can hap
Banning alcohol is not the solution. There needs to be harsher punishment
monster that they, prior city councils, city managers, and the Chamber of Commerce have created, promoted and condoned for many years on the once peaceful. beautiful Comal River.
It appears that the bubble has finally burst.
Reminiscent of earlier years when Wurstfest almost lost their beer license due to overmdulgence and ensuing problems, it is no secret what causes the chaos on the river. If you can't control or stop consumption on the river, what other alternatives are available? Whatever the outcome. I and 50,000 other taxpayers should not have to foot the bill of nearly $1 million. That's right — almost a million dollars to police, manage and clean that poor prostituted river
We did not and do not cause the problem and you should not spend our tax dollars to benefit those who do. The outfitters are the prime benefactors, and you (the City) are the reason for that. You charge them a mere $1.25 per passenger. They should be charged $5 or whatever amount it requires to pay for the costs the taxpayers now pay. If that lowers their profit, so be it. They only pass it on to their customers anyhow. You should also have some internal accounting controls to assure they remit correctly. You grew the problem by spending considerable funds on Hmman Island for a tubers entrance, and also at the Last Tubers Exit on Union Street. You provide the outfitters with prime restricted parking spots to unload tubers in Prince Solms Park. You provide outfitters with prime restricted spots on Union and Lincoln to pick up tubers. You even provide Felgers and Corner Tubes with two prime, restricted spots to park their buses on the city curb.
Do you do this for any other business, or type of business in New Braunfels? This is unheard of. Can I do the same in front of my residence? It is quite obvious what kind of people too many of our guests (yuk) are, when it requires in excess of $600,000 for Police and $150,000 to clean the river. Still, the litter is far more than is cleaned daily. I wonder if you are aware that you just spent $ 15,000 just to provide metal bins for can containers at the Last Tubers Exit7 I was not aware we were so plush with money.
Try walking across the Faust Street Bridge, but be careful not to fall into some of the rotten boards or get splinters from them. It seems we have money to cater to river activities, but not to our heritage
If there are legal issues that make it difficult or impossible to control the mobs and the alcohol, I think I have a solution for you. Take away the restricted parking spots in both locations Paint the curbs red and let those areas be traffic enforced like any other street curb in town, I don't think the outfitters can sue for that.
C. C. Schumann New Braunfels
for those that break the law — simple ; that. It is sad, but they will not rum rr fun
I have lived here my entire life and w continue to float and enjoy my beer o the river.