Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

First Advisor

Dr. Robert D. Wrinkle

Second Advisor

Dr. Jose R. Hinojosa

Third Advisor

Dr. Rudolph Gomez


In 1991, the American General Insurance Corporation desired to create a $2.5 billion ``ecotourism'' resort in Willacy County, Texas. Unfortunately, the land the Corporation owned was located within the Coastal Barrier Resource System which does not allow federal flood insurance for any construction in the area due to it's proximity to ``Hurricane Alley''. American General's plan to build hinged on a three-pronged attack at the federal, state, and county levels. At the federal level, AG was shut out except for some minor concessions. At the county level, a municipal utility district (MUD) was established to help with building the infrastructure necessary. Controversy plagued the development proposal at the state level with two individuals clashing in the Texas Senate chamber with different agendas. One was hoping to help raise the county out of financial straits, and the other arguing against the proposal along the environmental angle.

The attempts to change the policy currently in place to one that would help benefit the corporation is covered, along with an analysis of Harvey Molotch's theory of "growth machines" and local elites desiring to acquire more economic development. State and environmental elites are covered as well.


Copyright 1999 Rene De La Rosa. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American