Last November when Harris County elected Lina Hidalgo, a 28-year-old socialist with no political experience, to be our county judge, some people were concerned. What if she has no idea what she's doing? What if her inexperience and far-left politics are damaging to our community? What if there's a major disaster and she sits on her thumbs while everyone panics because she's not prepared to deal with any form of crisis?
Earlier this week "what if" became "welcome to reality".
If you live anywhere in Houston, America's fourth biggest city, you probably noticed the giant cloud of smoke emanating from ITC, a Deer Park petrochemical storage facility on Houston's east side. Should we be concerned that a giant black cloud can be seen from miles away?
No, said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Don't worry! Everything is fine. Your health isn't at any risk, she assured us, and you have nothing to worry about. A giant black cloud of smoke that can be seen from outerspace can't harm your health because a 28 year old socialist said it's okay.
She said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality data has already been made public and everything is just fine.
But according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality website, data was not made publicly available when Lina made this statement.
She either lied or she just didn't know the answer. Probably a little of both.
Joel Eisenbaum, a reporter from Click2Houston who's brave enough to do real journalism, asked Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to release the air quality data.
Hildalgo said the data has been released.
Again, it wasn't.
So Channel 2 Investigates called ITC to get the data. ITC told Channel 2 Investigates, “We have not released anything yet.”
Officials in the nearby town of La Porte indicated to Channel 2 Investigates that it has not received a copy of any electronic data. They’ve only been given verbal confirmation from the Harris County Pollution Center that they are in the all-clear.
At a 1 p.m. news conference, Channel 2 Investigates reporter Joel Eisenbaum questioned Bob Allen, of Harris County Pollution Control, about the lack of data at the Deer Park site. Allen indicated that the sensor may be down for maintenance. Eisenbaum also pointed out that the sensor at the Clinton site has also been down since 9 a.m.
There are three cases which involved a total of $38,300 in TCEQ levied fines since 2009.
Two of the cases involved air quality violations, one of the cases involved a water quality violation, with cyanide.
These fires are expected to burn for days and will directly reach the residential neighborhoods of tens of thousands of Houstonians.
Will it hurt us? Should we all buy gas masks and wear them when we commute to work? Lina Hidalgo has no answers. Just lies.
Maybe we should bring back Ed Emmett?