While county officials were busy directing resources to rescue stranded and flooded Houstonians during Hurricane Harvey, one area state representative was asking for those resources to be diverted to pick up his trash.

During a recent special meeting of the Harris County Commissioners Court, discussion came up about a local lawmaker who called several county officials to complain about why trash hadn’t been picked up. Radio host Chris Salcedo broke the story on his show and named State Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Humble) as the privilege-seeking lawmaker.

“When we were fishing people out of the water and had attempted to bring 400 people out of harm’s way, I had a state [representative] on that very morning call me and ask why it was that some people’s trash in the front of the neighborhood, where the water had already receded, had not been picked up,” said Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle, whose own home was flooded while he was out rescuing flood victims.

Others around the table, including County Judge Ed Emmett, said they also received calls from the same lawmaker.

“Picking up trash and saving lives, any elected official that wants to campaign on trash is more important than people can do so, but in Precinct 4 and by golly this body here, people come first,” said Cagle.

Although he said he didn’t want to say the lawmaker’s name, it came out after he laid out his four Ps for trash pickup: Patience, Placement, Parking, and Personally doing it if all else fails. One commissioner joked that the fifth P was “puberty,” then said it rhymes with the name of the representative who called them.

It would be out of touch for any area lawmaker to complain about trash service during one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit Texas. But even worse, is that parts of Huberty’s district received some of the worst damage in the region.

Kingwood was a part of the secondary flooding group that didn’t flood with the initial onset from Harvey, but did after intentional water releases. After Lake Conroe’s floodgates were opened – releasing water at 80,000 cubic feet per second – water rushed down stream so fast that some homes in Kingwood were literally ripped from their foundations.

The San Jacinto River Authority decided to release the water and, oddly, Huberty is the one calling for an investigation into them. “The San Jacinto River Authority are appointed,” said Huberty. “Someone needs to explain how we got here.” Yes, the state representative who demanded trash pickup during a catastrophe is simultaneously lobbing blame at another governmental entity.

Huberty’s behavior is hardly surprising. He has often ignored common decency, comforted by his “status” as an elected official. Understandably his constituents are focused on rebuilding their lives, but they must also be focused on holding elected officials accountable who find it appropriate to call for diverting life-saving resources to ensure their comfort.

Salcedo discussed the Huberty incident on his radio show in the Metroplex on WBAP, and will do so again today on his 4:00 p.m. show in Houston on KSEV.

Texas Scorecard attempted to reach Huberty for comment but did not receive a response at time of publication.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.