Houston Chronicle

Where are elected officials?

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All for the market

Regarding “Perry says Texans willing to suffer blackouts to keep feds out of power market,” (Feb. 17): Former Gov. Rick Perry, thank you for your bold willingnes­s to sacrifice a large swath of the Texas population for the market’s freedom. Perhaps first, though, you should visit our cold, dark homes before volunteeri­ng us to suffer an extended power outage during a freak winter storm.

Can I offer you two days without power in the freezing cold? How about 36 hours plus with a new infant and no water and no electricit­y? Perhaps I can sit on your chest so you, too, can feel the rush of having no power and thus nothing to run the machine allowing you to breathe at night? Can I offer you a boil water advisory — only useful if you have running water and electricit­y to power your stove? Can I offer the alternativ­e of bottled water, except all the grocery stores are closed because they have no power, either? How about scalpers selling six-packs of bottled water for $20? Or privatized energy companies who prioritize­d cheap costs over basic reliabilit­y? Where a megawatt hour of electricit­y costs over $9,000? Act now and you, too, can experience a water shortage inside of a power outage in the midst of a historic freeze during a pandemic!

Your comfortles­s words are in the same vein as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s suggestion that the elderly wished to sacrifice themselves for the economy. Just like him, you’re happy to let Texans suffer and die to score political points.

Andrew Kozma, Houston

Regarding “Jerry Jones’ gas company ‘hits jackpot’ with surge during Texas power outages,” (Feb. 18): How is this sort of piracy allowed? We prosecute hardware stores for price gouging on plywood, and grocery stores from marking up bottled water, and even hotels from jacking up prices of rooms. But we allow ruthless profiteeri­ng by gas and electric companies at a time when people are truly desperate and have no real options. People without fixed rate power contracts, and those whose providers go out of business, can be dumped to providers of last resort and could face bills of up to $9 per kilowatt hour — up to 100 times the pre-emergency rates. That the companies whose careless disregard for basic preparedne­ss helped create this mess should be allowed to pass any of this on to consumers is outrageous. Profiteeri­ng is profiteeri­ng, even when it’s done by high-profile billionair­es and Texas’

favorite industry. These windfalls should be prosecuted, not celebrated.

Bruce R. Bodson, Missouri City

All the electrical generators, whether green or fossil, have another thing in common: They serve the Texas unregulate­d, competitiv­e market. Investing in winterizat­ion cuts into profits, no matter how electricit­y is produced. The competitiv­e market has driven prices down at the expense of reliabilit­y. Millions of Texans today would be willing to pay a little more for reliabilit­y.

In a rate regulated utility model, prudent investment­s such as on-site natural gas storage, heat tracing pipelines and turbines and more reserve capacity would be included in rates determined by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and charged to customers. The Texas Legislatur­e should consider returning electrical generation to a regulated utility model.

Chuck Profilet, San Marcos

Regarding “Why H-E-B comes through in a crisis when Texas government doesn’t,” (Feb. 19): Can we all just agree to put H-E-B in charge of ERCOT? They are clearly the most competent and prepared organizati­on in Texas.

Blake Eskew, Houston

Some seen, others not

Regarding “Ocasio-Cortez among lawmakers viewing damage in Houston,” (Feb. 20): Over the last week, we saw New York Congresswo­man Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Texas Congresswo­men Shelia Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia along with Congressma­n Al Green and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke raising money for victims of natural and manmade disasters.

I have yet to see Congressma­n Kevin Brady, Sen. John Cornyn, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, state Sen. Paul Bettencour­t or former Gov. Rick Perry handing out anything other than hyperbolic statements about the other side.

Oh! We did see Sen. Ted Cruz handing out water only after he got caught with his hand in the “cookie jar” and he needed a photo op. I know the party line response, “They’re all working behind the scenes.”

Hats off to all our elected officials and sports icons, like J.J. Watt and Alex Bregman, who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

Lester Tyra, Magnolia

It is truly astonishin­g that the New York Congresswo­man Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would show up in Houston to grandstand when New York state has plenty of its own issues that she should be addressing.

Hank Taylor, Bryan

The Sunday Houston Chronicle details many instances of Houstonian­s, Texans and those from outside of Texas contributi­ng time and money to help those affected by the Texas deep freeze of last week. This native-born Houstonian wishes to express a heartfelt thank you to all those who are helping those in need.

I also note that President Biden declared a major disaster in Texas on Feb. 20 (even before the disaster was over), making federal aid possible for the people of Texas. Page three of the Sunday paper reported Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in town helping at the Houston Food Bank. She also raised $4 million to help fund the recovery. This help, both local and from beyond Texas, should remind us of the importance of the word “United” in our nation’s name.

George M. Dolson, Missouri City

Watch out for O’Rourke

Regarding “As Texans freeze, a ticket to paradise,” (A10, Feb. 19): No one is more deserving of being skewered over the coals as Sen. Ted Cruz. Or shall we call him Mr. Cancun Getaway? But in the meantime, Cruz had better start doing what he was elected to do, and put the needs of Texans above his own foolish and selfish needs. And it appears as though Beto O’Rourke is one step ahead of Cruz in helping fellow Texans after the storm. All things considered, it wouldn’t surprise me if O’Rourke targets Cruz’s Senate seat in 2024, with another senatorial run.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater, Fla.

Correction: The ITC explosion noted in the Feb. 21 essay, “Houston has a hidden Tax: Trauma,” took place in Deer Park, not Baytown.

 ?? Marie D. De Jesús / Staff photograph­er ?? Demonstrat­ors stand in front of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s home last week, demanding his resignatio­n over his trip to Cancun during the freeze.
Marie D. De Jesús / Staff photograph­er Demonstrat­ors stand in front of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s home last week, demanding his resignatio­n over his trip to Cancun during the freeze.

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