Cliff Zarbock, “Mr. Real Estate”, Receives Spotlight Award from FBBA

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page


Spotlight Business of the Month

     Cliff Zarbock, local realtor, received the Spotlight Business of the Month Award at the Flour Bluff Business Association regular monthly meeting on June 8, 2016.  As is posted on the FBBA website, “Cliff was born and raised here in Corpus Christi and graduated from Flour Bluff High School. Before getting into Real Estate, Cliff was a school teacher at a local private school. He jumped into Real Estate in 2011 and quickly became ranked in the TOP 5 PERCENT of all the local agents. On average Cliff currently sells 45 homes every year totaling over $6 Million in sales volume. He represents the seller on an average of 50% of those sales making him an expert at representing both sides of the transaction. Whether you’re wanting to buy or sell, Cliff has the experience you’re looking for.  He and his wife Ashley are currently raising 3 children, Zach(16), Ava(3) and Easton(2) with another on the way.”


     “I am happy to announce that I have moved my office into Flour Bluff at 10001 SPID.  The new name of it is Flour Bluff Realty.  It is a brokerage dedicated for Flour Bluff. If you have questions about Real Estate or need free advice, just come let me know.  I am excited to be part of the association, and I appreciate the board for acknowledging my presence with the Spotlight.  It’s kind of a pinnacle for me.  Growing up in the Bluff, I really have a fond passion for the area.  I feel like we are the heartbeat of the Bluff, and for me to be a part of that feels like I really made it to the top here,” said Zarbock upon receiving the award.

New Members

Six local businesses were accepted into the association this month.  Five are regular members, and one is an associate member.  They are as follows:

  • Awesome Apartments, Andy Taubman
  • Bookkeeping Plus, Crista Walton
  • Coastal Area Properties, James Skrobarczyk
  • Children’s Center, Monica Salazar
  • Sports Fitness Solutions, Jeff Paluseo
  • Better Weight Center, Dr. Lloyd Stegeman (Associate Member)

Contact information for all of the businesses can be found on the FBBA website.  (Click here.)

Other Business

  • Charlie Zahn, Chairman of the Port of Corpus Christi will address the FBBA at the July 13, 2016, regular meeting.
  • The FBBA by-laws have been updated and standardized.  Members are encouraged to read them at the FBBA website and submit comments to the board.  These will be voted on at the July 5, 2016, board meeting.  (Click here to read the by-laws.)
  • Jeff Craft was commended for his work on the Flour Bluff MessengerSusan Lawson gave an update on Parker Pool .  The opening is delayed due to ADA compliance issues.  $2000 is needed for the upgrade.
  • Dr. Lloyd Stegeman was recognized as a District 4 candidate for City Council
  • On May 12, 2016, Oso Mini Storage hosted a mixer for their grand opening.  Melanie Hambrick encouraged other new businesses that are hosting mixers to contact the FBBA so that all could attend.
  • As part of Beautifying the Bluff, four new trash cans have been installed by the City of Corpus Christi at Mud Bridge.  Melanie Hambrick thanked those who had a hand in the acquisition of the trash cans, including Councilwoman Coleen McIntyre.
  • Information was shared about the invasive plant, the Brazilian pepper tree.  It is changing the natural environment and creating a huge problem for property owners.  Various groups are working at eradicating the plant. For tips on doing this yourself, please click here.
  • The next general meeting will be held at Funtrackers on July 13, 2016, at noon.


Read more about this meeting at: FBBA Receives Funds from Chesney, Pusley, and Neal

Representative Todd Hunter Address FBBA

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Takin’ It to the Streets: Mystery Solved

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Opinion/Editorial

     When people attempt to solve a problem, they are either dealing with a puzzle or a mystery, two forms of deception.  Puzzles have a single answer; once that answer is apparent, the puzzle is solve.  Puzzles exist when there is not enough information.  Mysteries, on the other hand, have an abundance of information.  A mystery requires a skilled sleuth to collect the facts, sift through the plethora of data, make observations, question the relevant players, and arrive at a solution to the problem.
     Malcolm Gladwell, writer and journalist, said, “If things go wrong with a puzzle, identifying the culprit is easy: it’s the person who withheld information. Mysteries, though, are a lot murkier: sometimes the information we’ve been given is inadequate, and sometimes we aren’t very smart about making sense of what we’ve been given, and sometimes the question itself cannot be answered. Puzzles come to satisfying conclusions. Mysteries often don’t. Enter Andy Taubman and his team of street detectives, aka the Corpus Christi Ad Hoc Residential Street Infrastructure Advisory Committee.
     The Corpus Christi City Council empaneled the nine-member group to gather the facts and make recommendations to get the most out of every dollar spent on residential streets and to suggest the best way to go about fixing the problem.  This team of dedicated citizens spent over seven months digging into every aspect of street construction in Corpus Christi, including poring over the limited historical data, examining the current methods for tackling the streets, talking with contractors and analyzing current contracting methods used by the City, working with City Staff to collect information, exploring potential financing solutions, seeking alternative methods of street construction, and actually driving the streets of the city to identify the real problems. Then, they generated a 41-page document of these findings, which will be presented to the City Council in June.  They even included a really handy section devoted to defining the “street language” in the document.  The report focuses on 7 areas:
  1. Identification of the current residential street problem;
  2. Observation of what is good and bad about the current residential street reconstruction process;
  3. Creation of the TAR (The Targeted Area Reclamation), a proactive, intensive maintenance cycle applied throughout the City to extend the functional life of streets until reconstruction can occur through the Residential Street Rebuild (Rework & Reconstruction);
  4. Prioritization of street rebuilding according to a process that considers road condition, safety, maintenance history, proximity to schools, population density, utility coordination, transportation coordination, and road network connectivity;
  5. Explanation of funding scenarios of $10 million, $14 million, $15 million, $17 million, and $20 million per year;
  6. Identification of possible funding sources for the proposed new residential street programs, including RTA Funding of City Street Aspects,  Budget Savings and/or Reallocation of Existing Dollars, Dedicated General Fund and Industrial District Revenue, Re-purposed Whataburger Field Debt Service Funds, Charter Revision for Additional Dedicated Operations and Maintenance Property Tax Revenue, Dedicated Spending from Revenue Growth, and Ad Valorem Tax Increase.
     There will, no doubt, be questions about the findings, as there most certainly should be.  It’s part of the process.  However, the best part about this whole story is that the nine “detectives” will have answers, answers founded in good information.  The report they have generated leaves nothing to guesswork, so the council members will certainly be able to solve the mystery about what to do with our residential streets, something that has never been done and that many thought was not even possible.  Hats off to this dedicated and hard-working group of skilled citizens! They have been good and faithful servants of the people.



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Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page


James Skrobarczyk and Dan Hogan hosted a follow-up town hall meeting for Flour Bluff residents on February 10, 2016, at the Ethel Eyerly Community Center. Residents had the opportunity to speak with District 4 Councilwoman Colleen McIntyre, Chad Magill Council Member At-Large, and Chief of Police Mike Markle about homelessness, PlanCC 2035, and criminal activity in the Flour Bluff area.

The meeting started with a brief explanation of what services are available through the community center but quickly turned to the recent events in the Turtle Cove subdivision.  Some residents of that area expressed their concerns about what they perceived as retaliation from CCPD and Code Enforcement for requesting help with the criminal activity in and around their neighborhood.  Some of the residents received notices about fences that are too high, house numbers that are too small, and other violations of city property ordinances.  “Why did we need this show of force?” asked one resident at the meeting.

Commander Blackmon answered the question by saying, “Some code violations affect neighborhoods.  High grass and junk vehicles will affect crime.  When you have that, the pride’s not there.  The other things – like the fences that are too high – those are things that we need to look at.  If they were there when you moved in and are pre-existing conditions, we just need to look at them to be fair.  These notices were not intended to be punitive.  They are meant to be educational.”

Blackmon Town Hall Mtg 2
Cdr. Blackmon addresses Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting

A woman asked, “If it’s not a citation, then why does it say you have seven days to fix it, or it becomes a fine?”

Blackmon said, “It’s not going to a citation.  It’s not getting filed in court.  The ones that are quality of life issues – high grass or junk vehicles – we will be getting back to you.  Don’t worry about the dates.  And, I saw on the blogs about how ridiculous it is that house numbers have to be a certain size.  I’ll be honest with you.  When we re-wrote the property maintenance code last year, I actually put that in the new one.  Let me tell you why.  Being a police officer for 27 years, it’s very frustrating to look for an address when somebody calls 911.  Somebody needs help, and it takes extra time to find that address.  Oftentimes, we get out there, and we’re looking at the neighbors’ addresses to figure out where we need to be.  Seconds are lives, and that is important.  Again, these are not citations.   We are just trying to educate you.  Many of you didn’t know this rule.”  According to Blackmon the correct size is 4 inches or larger.

James Skrobarczyk said, “I am hearing your apology, and on my behalf, I accept that apology.  Just please don’t pick on the neighbors that are trying to make things better.”


“It’s not an apology.  I’m trying to explain what happened and what our intent was.  We are on board with you folks.  Where we could have done better is notifying you before we went out there.  The mission was to improve the aesthetics of your neighborhood,” replied Blackmon.

Later in the meeting, other Flour Bluff residents spoke about criminal activity in their neighborhoods.  Some shared how they use and Neighborhood Watch to help combat problems themselves.  Chief Markle said that a lot can be learned from Turtle Cove, that what they’re doing “should be the baseline” for what other neighborhoods can do.  “When we do assessments in neighborhoods, like the one we did in Turtle Cove, you wouldn’t believe how many garage doors we see open in the middle of the night or boats loaded with fishing gear at 4:00 in the morning.  You really have to go the extra mile to protect yourselves.  I hate to say that, but you do.  Take your valuables out of your cars and lock your doors.  Most burglars are opportunists.  If they see something, they’re going to take it.  There’s something called CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design).  You cut down shrubs around your house that provide good hiding places, have lighting in front and around your house so that people aren’t invisible at night.  Those are the kinds of things you need to do.  We provide crime prevention specialists to help you learn about ways to protect yourselves.  We’re happy to do that.  Just pick up the phone and call us.  We will come back in a couple of months and do a follow up meeting to let you know what we’ve been doing.  If you keep reaching out to us so that we can respond to your needs, perhaps we won’t have any more angst over some of the things we do as a police department.”  Chief Markle apologized for the lack of communication.

Chief Markle addresses Flour Bluff citizens

District 4 Councilwoman Colleen McIntyre reviewed the new city panhandling ordinance that takes effect in March.  She explained that panhandling is protected by freedom of speech, so a city-wide ban is not allowed.  “In looking at some of the panhandling ordinances that have been shut down in cities that have done them, the city legal department looked very carefully at what could be done within the panhandling ordinance that would probably stand up to the challenges in court.  No guarantees, but if there are challenges it will be dealt with in-house, at no additional cost and with possible issues that come forth on it.”

Council member Colleen McIntyre addresses homelessness

     McIntyre outlined the following panhandling laws that are part of a city-wide ordinance:

  • No panhandling within 25 feet of an ATM
  • No panhandling on private property unless owner has given permission
  • No aggressive panhandling
  • No panhandling within 25 feet of an outdoor dining area

The councilwoman also listed what the Advisory Council on Homelessness, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse is considering or already implementing:

  • Educating public to convince them to “Keep the Change” and donate their money to entities that serve the homeless, such as Timon’s, Salvation Army, and Metro Ministries
  • Getting the word out to the community to give something other than cash (i.e. food vouchers, gift cards, healthy packaged foods, water, Gatorade)
  • Possible day-labor program that matches homeless to day-labor jobs in lieu of giving them citations
  • Possible Permanent Supportive Housing for the homeless
  • Collection of data on homeless to better track and serve them, especially the homeless veterans

“The goal is to meet the needs of the homeless while preserving quality of life for the rest of us,” said McIntyre.

Chad Magill discussing PlanCC 2036 with Flour Bluff residents

Councilman Chad Magill opened his talk with a few words recognizing McIntyre’s efforts in working on the homeless initiative. He then explained the make-up of the city council and the role of the at-large council members. “What I believe – and this is my own philosophy – is that an at-large council member does everything possible to make sure each district council member succeeds in their district,” Magill said.

Magill then launched into his talk on PlanCC 2035.  “Every 30 years or so, we come up with what we call a comprehensive plan. What I want to give you is a common sense approach to what we as a city want to be when we grow up in the next twenty years,” said Magill. “Our city charter really determines who we are and what we do. In that charter, we have a section on comprehensive planning; it’s Article 5, Section 4. When we adopt a comprehensive plan, it becomes the rule of law, meaning it also affects and determines area development plans, including the Flour Bluff Development Plan – which, by the way, needs to be updated. It was adopted September 4, 1993. A comprehensive plan drives a message across the city, our region, and even our extraterritorial jurisdiction in how we grow, which follows the path downward toward area development plans.” Magill asked the audience to picture a pyramid with the comprehensive plan at the top and all other area plans falling below it.

Magill briefly described the 1955 and 1987 plans by giving examples in each. He said that the 1955 plan included a provision that addressed proper compaction of streets over utility cuts to prevent street deterioration. The 1987 plan called for the creation of bike lanes, support for the Port of Corpus Christi, help for growth of our military presence, and support for our public safety (i.e. fire, police, EMS, hurricane response). Magill said that these plans are what he refers to as “bricks and mortar” plans, which are engineering-driven and based on real-world scenarios.

“Plan CC 2035went through a long process, and I do want to respect the many people who worked on this plan. There’s a lot of good in that plan. I truly believe that,” said Magill. “There are lots of thoughts, dreams, and aspirations, as well, which – I believe – tie more to what you’d call a ‘vision plan’ rather than a ‘bricks and mortar plan’. PlanCC 2035, as complete as it may be, has no reference to supporting public safety, to supporting the military, to supporting our port. Just these three examples are enormously a part of who we are – as our heritage, as our culture, as our city. I certainly want those to continue from our existing plan that specifically states those three policies.”

Magill gave an example from the 1987 plan:  “Maintain a harmonious relationship with the military and encourage growth of all military facilities.”  He asked everyone if this is just as true today as it was 30 years ago.  Nods and responses of affirmation from the audience followed.  “That is really where you want your policies.  You want them to be something that is rounded, something that gives you a shape or a direction that shows you where to lead your area development plans and your utilities service plans.”  He gave the real-world example of running water to the base and explained that this action would be in keeping with the comprehensive plan and even shapes future conversations about supporting military growth.  “If it’s not in there, it’s left to be desired.  2035 is not bad, just incomplete.”


Magill said that contrary to what some people are saying, he did not re-write PlanCC 2035.  “The reality is I wanted to give clear direction to the planning commission and give them something to work from.”  He said that PlanCC 2036 brings together what he deems is good about the current plan and PlanCC 2035.  When Jeff Rank, local attorney and contributor to PlanCC 2035 raised concerns about the time and money spent on the plan being wasted if the plan is thrown out, Magill said that he voted to start the process, but he couldn’t vote for the final plan as it was proposed.  Magill encouraged audience members to go to his website,,  and read the plans, including 2036, so that they could learn what his thought processes were in submitting the plan.  All other comprehensive plans can be viewed there, as well.

Rank said, “I am glad to hear that PlanCC 2036 is not intended to replace 2035 but to correct perceived problems in it.”

Other questions and comments from the audience revolved around traffic issues, the harbor bridge, city debt, zero-based budgeting, EPA fines, and utility bills.




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Takin’ It to the Streets: A Highly Qualified Committee

Corpus Christi, Front Page



     On October 27, 2015, nine dedicated citizens set sail on the CC Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee, on a seven-month voyage through oceans of engineering, accountability, and information sharing documents as they celebrate the successes of the current program, identify areas in need of improvement, and develop a plan of action for moving forward.  This is the first of a series of articles that serves to log their progress and offer information and insights into the picture that is so much bigger than the pothole at the end of the street.

     The Corpus Christi Caller lists the members as:

  • Chris Duff, 43, is a  Realtor who views the streets through the eyes of prospective residents;
  • Toby Futrell, 61, is a retired city manager from Austin who hopes to offer a different perspective on an old problem;
  • Alan Guggenheim, 65, is a civil engineer and conservative thinker with an analytical mind who seeks to develop an improved plan that is cost-effective;
  • Javier Huerta, 44, is an architect and former Planning Commission chairman who wants a cost-effective plan that achieves good results and more accountability while creating more competition among contractors;
  • Kyle Pape, 41, is an engineering consultant who offers his project management skills to help find the lowest-cost solutions to the problem of residential streets;
  • Darrell Scanlan, 50, is a chemical engineer and lifetime resident who wants to make his hometown better by offering his expertise in the areas of business and construction;
  • James Skrobarczyk, 65, is a real estate broker who specializes in real estate development, construction, and sales in the Corpus Christi, Texas area, and whose love for the area motivates him to help find an answer to the street problems;
  • Richard Stracener, 59, is a heavy machinery salesman who has called Corpus Christi home for over 50 years wants to find ways to save money while increasing the longevity of the streets;
  • Andy Taubman, 48, a real estate investor and manager serves as the chairman of the committee and hopes to create public trust in the city government by implementing his Infrastructure Committee Plan  which outlines the role of the committee and was approved by City Council on October 20, 2015.

     The committee is subject to the Open Meetings Act and meets at City Hall on the first Monday and third Wednesday of every month at 4:00 p.m. As of this writing, the committee has had five meetings, the first two being organizational in nature.  Andy Taubman was elected chairman and Javier Juerta, vice-chairman.  The committee discussed its purpose and expectations, established subcommittees, and proposed dates for presentations from each subcommittee.  An online message board was set up to keep the public informed, and an account was created to accept public feedback.  Valerie Gray, Executive Director of Public Works, gave a presentation on Street Operations and the Street Improvement Plan Strategies.  Additional information was provided by Andy Leal, Interim Director of Street Operations, and Jeffrey Edmonds, Director of Engineering Services.


(This is the first of several articles covering the work of the residential street committee.)

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Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting Has Big Turnout

Flour Bluff, Front Page
Hogan and Skrobarczyk
Dan Hogan and James Skrobarczyk

Flour Bluff residents, Dan Hogan and James Skrobarczyk, organized the Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting held on January 12, 2016, at the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Innovation Center located at the corner of First National Drive and South Padre Island Drive.  A group of about 125 people showed up to hear from several community leaders.

Justice of the Peace Thelma Rodriguez started the meeting by fielding questions about the duties of her office and how she works with school officials to do what is best for the students.

State Representative Todd Hunter followed her with a presentation on the local implications of state legislation for windstorm insurance.  Hunter said that James Skrobarczyk accompanied him to Austin and stood with him as they battled the Department of Insurance.  “After 12 years, we got the bill passed.  Finally, Nueces County is going to be treated like human beings,” Hunter said.  He told the audience that insurance companies are already creating policies as they begin to compete for business in the coastal areas.  “They’re high, but they’re coming down.  You are going to see a rate reduction, but there will be a 12- to 14-month transition period.”

Todd Hunter Town Hall Meeting
Rep. Todd Hunter

Hunter also addressed the possibility of cruise lines in Corpus Christi.  He said that the problem is that Brownsville wants it, too.  “We’re going to bring travel tourism here.  We’re going to set up a local group – a resource group from my area – to back us up when we start having these State hearings,” Hunter added.  He encouraged interested parties to contact his office if they want to be part of that group.

Hunter ended his part of the meeting with information on the expansion of Hwy 361 and the safety issues related to the roadway leading from Port Aransas to Flour Bluff.



Sheriff Jim Kaelin, who has served 9 years as sheriff, said that nothing is as important to this community as a safe, sanitary, secure jail.  “People need to understand that inmates in the jail have been accused of crimes.  Any one of us could wind up there.  Penitentiary inmates have been convicted of crimes.”  Currently, 900 of the 1068 beds are filled.  Kaelin said that increasing capacity has been slow, but the bed count has grown by 50 since he took over.  He is currently working on adding 144 beds by opening two areas in the annex.  The construction plans have been approved and that renovation could get the county through the next 10 or 15 years without added expense to the taxpayers.

Sheriff Jim Kaelin
Sheriff Jim Kaelin

An audience member asked the sheriff to talk about the inmate commissary.  “Our ratio of officers to inmates is 1:48.”  Kaelin said that in order to get chronically non-compliant inmates to follow rules, certain privileges are offered:  use of pay phones, weekend visitation by family members, television in the day room, co-mingling with other inmates, and commissary privileges.  The inmates use their own money to purchase items at the “jail store.”  The 42 cents made from each dollar goes into an inmate benefit fund that pays for shoes, uniforms, mattresses, bedding, and cleaning supplies.  $400-$500 thousand per year goes into the account.  Currently the balance is around $800,000.  “This saves the taxpayer from footing the bill for these items,” Kaelin said.

Kaelin finished with offering advice to the attendees on using cell phones to take pictures of suspicious cars, people, and activities to help monitor what is happening in their neighborhoods.  Skrobarczyk added that the Next Door website is another way to connect with neighbors and look our for each other.

Cdr Todd Green
Cdr. Todd Green


Cdr. Todd Green with CCPD, addressed concerns raised by audience members on several topics, including stray dogs, ways to protect their own property, knowing their neighbors, and calling the police.  Green responded to questions and concerns about ongoing problems in the Turtle Cove neighborhood.  He encouraged all to call the police every time something occurred, which one man said they had already been doing.  Another officer suggested that citizens take advantage of the CCPD social media websites and form Neighborhood Watch groups.

Captain David McCarty
Captain David McCarty

Captain David McCarty introduced himself and said that he took over the Bravo District on January 11, 2016, and wanted everyone to be able to put a face with a name.  He said he looked forward to working with and getting to know the residents of Flour Bluff.

Andy Taubman, Chairman for the Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee for Corpus Christi, addressed the group on what the committee is finding as they research the SPMP (Street Preventative Maintenance Program) and the standard practices.  “The phase the City is in right now is truly reactive.  There’s not a lot of planning, record keeping, or accountability in the system.  The committee is trying to get the City to emerge from this reactive behavior to a proactive behavior,” said Taubman.  They are trying to convince the City to repair the streets in a neighborhood rather than addressing pot holes only as they are reported by residents.

Andy Taubman Speaker
Andy Taubman

Other problems include master plans that have not been digitized and have missing elements, such as a missing sewer in the plans for Flour Bluff Drive.  One man spoke of his street that has 47 houses and not a single fire hydrant, which is a problem with the master plan according to Taubman.  To report problems, Taubman suggested that residents use the City website  so that a work order can be made.  Questions were raised about various streets, including Caribbean and Purdue.  James Skrobarczyk, who also serves on the committee, said, “There’s a lot issues where Flour Bluff has just been left behind.”

Greg Smith, longtime resident of Flour Bluff and member of ISAC (Island Strategic Action Committee), said, “Several communities are putting together an Area Development Plan, which falls under the Comprehensive Development Plan.  It would be a good idea if Flour Bluff got a group together and met and NOT be left behind.  That would allow the people of Flour Bluff to come up with their own plan instead of the people from Massachusetts coming up with a plan.”

The final minutes of the meeting included Melanie Hambrick, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association, who spoke about the Homeless Commission and the concerns surrounding the new ordinance to ban panhandling downtown.  She said the concern of many residents and businesses is that enforcement of the new regulation could actually bring more homeless to Flour Bluff.

Melanie Hambrick

A representative from Brent Chesney’s office (Precinct 4 County Commissioner) was open for questions from the audience.  After several comments about people fishing from Mud Bridge on Yorktown in Flour Bluff, she offered to talk to them after the meeting.  She also volunteered to help create the Flour Bluff area development committee through Chesney’s office.

Chesney rep

Since many questions were left unanswered, Dan Hogan suggested later in the meeting that another gathering be held in February just to address concerns of crime with Chief Markle and to cover other city issues with the Council members Magill and McIntyre who were unable to attend.

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