Our Traditional Coastal Corridor Highway 181 South
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
May 1, 2001

Many of us remember our trips to the Coast taking Highway 181 to reach Corpus Christi , Rockport, Port Aransas, and other favorite beach destination.  An anonymous letter to my office encourages me to write about the importance of this great South Texas Highway.  The letter essentially asked why the Bexar County part of this Highway could not be nicer and more beautiful.

As many of you know, San Antonio is the number one tourism destination site in Texas.  Our role as host community to those who travel to the many coastal sites and South Texas cities is to receive them well.  This entails providing a pleasant visual experience as well as an appropriate appearance for those who call this home.

So just how do we do this?  At the County we are an arm of the State and as such are given only those powers specifically delegated to us by the Texas Legislature and the State Constitution of 1876, as amended over 390 times (compared with the U.S. Constitution of 1787, which has merely 27 amendments).  What does that have to do with the "price of tea in China?"  Everything.

The City of San Antonio is home rule and as such, the City Council had the power to merely pass ordinance to deal with vexing things such as details of how manufactured housing developments are planned.  This is done with no need to obtain State approval.  The County on the other hand must obtain specific authority form the State.  I mention this only to distinguish the difference between what one can reasonably expect from the County versus that City.

Still, under its authority though, the County has platting laws.  Platting consists of bearings and distances (a survey), locations of all street and roads, parks and easements, location of flood plain, drainage calculation and in the case of septic instances, soil analysis and classification, proof of water availabilities, delineation of utilities.  Also, ingress and egress to the subject lot or lots is required under the platting laws.

The County furthermore, has issued notices of violation for junk cars, grass over three feet, illegal dumping of hazardous substances, and the like.  In fact, the County has issued twenty-two notices of violations to individuals along the Bexar County part of Highway 181 South in the first quarter of 2001.

The maintenance of a nice stretch of Highway 181 though is ultimately in your hands.  A Commissioner can make a difference, as this Commissioner has endeavored and continues to do so.  However, no Commissioner or public official can accomplish the seemingly unlimited demands of the office.  A Commissioner´s or public official´s work is literally never done!

The solution lies with teamwork:  you and I working together:  You do make a huge difference in the quality of life in our community.  Your advice and critiques are not just welcome: they are necessary to the proper functioning of this office and for that matter, of a democracy!

Finally, should you need encouragement to keep the above article of civic faith I call citizen participation, please remember the words of Margaret Mead:  "Never doubt that a small group of dedicated, committed people can make a difference...Indeed, it is the only thing that, ever has."

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