Houston calls itself “the city with no limits” to convey the promise of boundless opportunity. But it also is the largest U.S. city to have no zoning laws, part of a hands-off approach to urban planning that may have contributed to catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey and left thousands of residents in harm’s way.

Continue reading:  How ‘Wild West’ growth may have contributed to devastating flood in Houston

14 thoughts on “How ‘Wild West’ growth may have contributed to devastating flood in Houston

  1. Robert, I have written several/many blog-posts about my very proud (arrogant?) Lone Star state, its politics and (little) government since at least 1995, and indeed its Wild Wild West mentality throughout most all its 254 counties, of which in 2016 only around 27 are traditionally non-Republican counties. See link below:


    Interesting that, from your MSN-Washington Post news article, Texas has “repeatedly turned to federal taxpayers to help rebuild,” Harris County (Houston) has received around $3-billion from Federal Disaster Relief ranking 3rd in the nation’s flood insurance program. YET, in our rainy day fund (i.e. Economic Stabilization Fund) we sit on $10.3-billion. We also consistently (since 1995) REFUSE any federal assistance/funding for teen sex-education of birth-control and contraception in most ALL of our public schools or related county or municipal agencies, while continually (proudly?) holding one of the HIGHEST rankings for teen pregnancies AND… yes, get this… REPEAT teen pregnancies! Would you also like to know here Texas public education ranks overall, nationally? It damn sure isn’t in the top-half of the 50 states, most of the time not even in the top two-thirds! Want to know how many Texans hold bachelor’s degrees? Please don’t embarrass me by saying yes. 😦

    But hey! We sure do have one of the fastest growing economies in the nation — oil, petroleum, and all those energy byproducts for sure! — along with some of the cheapest housing in the nation (please ignore whether your new home was properly built near a 100-year flood plain or smack in the middle of it; deepest part) and good luck being able to afford flood insurance. But YEE-HAW (spit chew in the spitoon and fire off an entire magazine of my semi-automatic assault rifle) we’re the PROUDEST bunch of sons a bitches and ain’t no one gonna take our howitzers or our State flag… that we can legally fly ABOVE the federal stars & stripes if we damn well choose!

    Here’s one of my latest “Texas” blog-series for anyone interested:


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    • Damn, that was FUNNY!!! But, I do feel your frustration. Texas, besides its religious insanity, is probably the most short-sided state in terms of its socioeconomic leadership. Their “day of reckoning” is right around the corner, however; and, it won’t be pleasant. The collapse of the oil economy is inevitable, and it will hit Texas especially hard despite its opportunistic development of wind power. Your proud state also occupies one of the regions where climate change impacts will be most severe, as evidenced now by this devastating hurricane.

      I hope that Harvey didn’t affect you badly, Prof. Please, stay safe.

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      • We were fortunate enough to be on the westside of the Eye — rotation from the northeast or north — so much less rain, winds, and tornados. However, the Texas Hill Country area (north of San Antonio, Austin and to the west) has received thousands of evacuees from Corpus Christi and those coastal towns down there. Cleanup and repairs/rebuilding will take months for most of these people.

        Nevertheless, thank you kindly for your sentiments Robert. We are managing well. 🙂

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