The Public light Campaign is now in month three and progress has been made with over 3,000 individual petitions signed, and other community groups and churches continuing to sign on their support.
LUPE leaders, along with members of ARISE, TOP, and START, have organized to increase support in our communities. In our 1,000 colonias lacking streetlights we continue to have unsafe conditions and unacceptable number of preventable fatal accidents. Because of this, members have met with county officials over the past month to bring close attention to this issue.
LUPE members, with support from ARISE, attended Commissioners Court April 23rd and for the first time addressed the campaign publicly in front of the commissioners. Much of the discussion was based on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that has funded solar lights in recent years. Our members feel that these funds can have a larger impact if invested in regular streetlights, given that they cost less and residents are willing to pay a small cost for maintenance.
Currently the solar lights are not providing sufficient light and are not maintained. House Bill 573 passed by Veronica Gonzalez allows for the installation of streetlights in colonias, and gives the county authority to sub-contract private or public entities to collect electric bills. Members have met with every county official needed, and are in discussion with electrical companies to discuss this and get this done.
As we move forward with our work to bring lights to all Valley colonias, we are asking our supporters outside of the colonias to help us call on the county commissioners to use CDBG funds to install regular streetlights in the colonias. If you are part of a church, or work for an employer that supports colonia residents, download the Petition for Organizations Public Light and ask them to sign!