Have you ever had an argument with your spouse because he or she didn’t hear what you thought you said, or he or she heard something you didn’t say?
I get the feeling a simple miscommunication between Aransas County Navigation District (ACND) chairman Malcolm Dieckow and Rockport Mayor Pat Rios created a situation that probably never would have happened if the two entities communicated a little better in this particular situation.
The point of this column is not to point blame, because it doesn’t really matter. Dieckow and Rios, as well as ACND commissioners and members of the Rockport City Council are good people who serve well our community in their respective roles.
In a nutshell, to the best of my understanding, what happened is as follows. If I’m wrong, I apologize in advance, but the point is situations like this simply don’t arise if there is clear and open communication from both sides, in any given situation (entity to entity, friend to friend, husband to wife, parent to child).
It all started with the city applying for its usual permit for the wastewater treatment plant (WTP).
That coincided with the ACND receiving the report from a Little Bay study, which showed an elevated level of human markers (human poop) in the bay.
That concerned the ACND and they felt the report needed to be turned into the TCEQ during the comment period of the permit process.
Dieckow and Rios met and talked briefly about the report.
Rios didn’t have an issue with the report being given to the TCEQ.
That was the end of the discussion, as I understand it.
About a week before the Rockport City Council’s Dec. 10 meeting, the city received notice from the TCEQ it had received the ACND study report, along with a cover letter.
That obviously ticked off city officials because they didn’t know about the content of the cover letter, which can be interpreted, depending on how one looks at it, as pointing the blame for the “human markers” on the WTP.
At this point, it doesn’t matter where the human markers come from, because from my knowledge, that has never been determined.
The bottom line is the WTP permit, under which the city has always met discharge requirements, or performed better, is vitally important to the city, and to you and me, as well.
I think where the problem began was Dieckow and Rios talked about the report being sent to TCEQ, Rios thought that is all that would be sent to the TCEQ, and Dieckow and the ACND believed a cover letter, which was written the way it was written, was needed.
At any point along the way this whole mess of adults getting mad (at different levels), could have been avoided if there was no assuming and better communication.
I believe the ACND meant no intentional harm sending the report and cover letter as written. I also believe city officials thought the report would be sent basically as a stand-alone document.
The real bottom line is what the ACND and City of Rockport means to all residents of Aransas County can’t be undervalued.
It’s paramount the two entities work together and put aside any petty crap regarding past history with Rockport Beach, the Bay Education Center, etc.
The health of Little Bay is vitally important to our personal health and to our economy.
The same can be said in regard to the WTP.
The long-term health of Little Bay is important to both entities, and that has been shown through the actions taken individually and collectively through the years.
The water quality studies need to continue, and a long-term solution to the health of “man-made” Little Bay needs to be addressed.
These two entities, as well as all Aransas County entities, need to work together in the spirit of one, just like they did in the months after Hurricane Harvey.
Now, kiss and make up, and get back to work making Aransas County the best place anyone would want to live or visit.
Until next week, have a good week.
Mike Probst can be reached at email@example.com.