Local Government Problem Analysis and ePortfolio Projects

Professor: Dr. Bianca Easterly

Media focus on national politics often causes many of us to overlook the political events that occur locally. The goal of this assignment is to acquaint Reaud Honors students with the political landscape and the issues that currently dominate local city government in Southeast Texas. 

After observing a city council meeting, students identify a problem, provide background to the problem, examine three cities that addressed the same or similar problem, and advocate for a particular solution in the form of an argumentative thesis essay. They also highlight their work in their ePortfolios by considering an organizational and navigational structure that connects all the components and clearly demonstrates that all the pieces fit into a bigger strategy or approach.


Visual example of how Dakota Emerson presented this coursework in ePortfolio: Shows photos of Hostile Architecture in New York City

Alleviating the Homeless Situation

By: Dakota Emerson

With the passing of House Bill 1925, many cities have been spurred to take action against homeless encampments, including Beaumont, Texas. Beaumont has been experiencing a growing homeless population over the years that has been congregating across the city in a variety of places such as the underside of overpasses, within local parks, and generally throughout the city. This was addressed in a special meeting by the Beaumont City Council on September 2, 2021. The council decided that the primary solution that will be pursued by the city is the funding of local homeless shelters.

My project seeks to explore solutions that have been enacted by three different cities with the intention to get the homeless population off of public property.

ePortfolio Project: "Alleviating the Homeless Situation in Beaumont, TX"


Food Insecurity

By: Sergio Mendez

Nederland, Texas, received the "First Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund,” which is a part of the American Rescue Plan. This plan created funds for cities to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused revenue loss and an increase in food insecurity. Therefore, Nederland now has to figure out the best possible solution to combat food insecurity given this surplus of funds. Food access should be a necessity, not a privilege.

In my analysis, I focused on three sister cities that have created programs that attempt to solve food insecurity in their own communities. 

ePortfolio Project: "Food Insecurity in Nederland, TX"

Visual example of how Abby Hoffpauir presented this coursework in ePortfolio: Shows two graphics, one depicting "Annual 'On-Site' Air Pollution Emissions by Region" and a second depicting "Unemployment Rates in Texas MSAs - August 2020," accompanied by explanations tying the findings to the project.

Combating COVID-19 Health Disparities

By: Abby Hoffpauir

​I watched a Port Arthur city council meeting that took place on September 14, 2021, where council members discussed a proposition for a grant not exceeding $290,000 that would look at addressing disparities among the treatment of COVID-19 patients in ethnic, minority, and rural communities.

Project Conclusion: Port Arthur City Council consenting to a contract that would provide funding for COVID-19 disparities would provide protection for minority and rural communities as well as help vaccines become more accessible to communities that are most vulnerable to the threat of the pandemic. In the midst of the pandemic, there are many people in cities across the United States who are unfairly affected by these inequities. Funding to help battle disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic would help make communities safer and foster a healthier world. 

ePortfolio Project: "Combating COVID-19 Health Disparities in Port Arthur, TX"

Visual example of how Diana White presented this coursework in ePortfolio: Shows a graphic of a strategic housing blueprint from Austin, Texas, along with a description connecting the example to the project.

Affordable Housing Plan

By: Diana White

At Beaumont, Texas's, City Council Meeting on February 15, 2022, the city identified the need for more affordable housing. While there are currently 22 low-income housing apartment complexes in Beaumont, there is an extensive waiting list of roughly 8,000 people looking to rent affordable housing.

Due to this high demand for affordable housing, Beaumont is seeking to address this issue. Fortunately, two developers have proposed new affordable housing units in the city. While there are mixed opinions among the city council over the proposed  location and possible traffic, affordable housing is necessary for Beaumont.

Analysis: By looking to three cities that have addressed the need for affordable housing, such as Austin, Houston, and New York City, Beaumont could then follow in these solution cities’ footsteps and gain the ability to provide future low-income renters with affordable housing options by encouraging developers with building incentives, collaborating with housing organizations and encouraging innovative housing construction.

ePortfolio Project: "Beaumont's Affordable Housing Plan"

Reaud Honors College  •  P.O. Box 10968  •  Beaumont, TX 77710  •  ph (409) 880-2294
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