Today — Tuesday, February 17 — is Election Day in important runoffs in House Districts 13 & 17. The candidate we’ve worked hardest for — Brent Golemon in HD 17 (Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes and Lee counties) — has a very good shot to win despite the fundraising odds. Why? Because of our five years of hard work defending our aquifers and landowner’s water rights.
Early voting has been UP in HD 17 counties of Lee and Bastrop counties, home of the “water wars”. Keep it up, y’all — get your people out today!
Carolyn Bilski in HD 13 (Austin, Burleson, Colorado, Fayette, Grimes, Lavaca & Washington counties) already started with a good lead on her opponent, but we should not be at all complacent.
What is at stake for us is local control over groundwater and the right of rural Texas not to be a dumping ground.
Bastrop County officials have engaged in voter suppression by severely limiting the numbers of poll sites. Their purpose seems pretty clear — to harm Brent Golemon, who lives in Bastrop County, and to help John Cyrier, who lives in Caldwell County. Cyrier has received well over $100,000 from real estate related donors and PACs who have an interest in moving our groundwater to the I-35 corridor.
Don’t let them get away with it!
IF you do not know where to vote or need a ride to the polls please reply or call us at 512-535-0989.
Use these web pages to help folks find their poll sites:
House District 13 – click here for polls & more on Carolyn Bilski
Brent & Cynthia Golemon have invited us to their Election Night Party
Starting 7 pm at Bassano’s Restaurant
141 Tahitian Drive, Bastrop, Texas
PS The guy in the picture is one of our stalwart volunteers in Lee County, Henry Urban. Thank you, Henry for all you have done.
PSS We hope to see many of you tomorrow night, Feb. 18, at the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District meeting starting at 7 pm at Giddings City Hall.
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
8:00 am, February 6, 2015
CONTACT: Linda Curtis, Director of Independent Texans, (512) 657-2089, firstname.lastname@example.org
HEAD: Why John Cyrier is Attacking the Golemon-Curtis Alliance in HD-17
(Austin, Feb. 6th, 2015) Many allies of Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, including prominent leaders in central Texas real estate circles, sponsored a fundraiser last Tuesday at the exclusive Headliner’s Club in Austin for House District 17 runoff candidate, John Cyrier. That same day, a Cyrier mailer arrived in GOP voters’ mailboxes in HD 17 warning, “CONSERVATIVE VOTER ALERT: In recent days, Brent Golemon teamed up with a liberal activist-for-hire to launch false, last-minute attacks against conservative John Cyrier.”
Linda Curtis, a longtime independent burr under the saddle of the central Texas real estate lobby, ran in the first round of the district’s special election, placing a strong third place as an independent in a field of five candidates. Curtis and Independent Texans, the PAC she chairs, recently threw their full support behind conservative Republican, Brent Golemon, who is in the runoff with Cyrier. Early voting begins on Monday, February 9.
About the mailer, Curtis said, “Though Mr. Cyrier didn’t have the courtesy to name me, it’s clear that he is upset about the Golemon-Curtis alliance. His polling is likely telling him that our cross-partisan effort has traction. If our independent effort to unite with independent-minded Democrats and Republicans succeeds at electing Golemon, it’s game on with the central Texas real estate lobby and Joe Straus’s plans to mine our aquifer.”
Cyrier may also be trying to shift voters’ focus away from Bastrop County. Curtis continues to claim that Bastrop County officials are suppressing the vote in Bastrop County by limiting the numbers of poll sites to four — 1 for every 10,000 voters while all other counties in HD 17 (Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes and Lee) will have 1 poll for approximately every 2,000 voters. Golemon is from Bastrop County. Cyrier is from Caldwell County but has received the backing of Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape and Commissioner Clara Beckett, both Republicans.
In an article in Thursday’s Austin American-Statesman written by Judge Pape, he defended Bastrop County’s decision to continue to use the same poll site plan in Bastrop County for the runoff. Pape wrote, “Our Election Department’s recommendation to have four polling places for these elections is sound. There are no reports of long waiting times to vote. As always, we have made voting convenient and accessible.”
Former Republican Bastrop County Commissioner, Don Loucks, responded to Pape, stating that, “Pape knows full well that no one was complaining about long lines. He also knows that the problem was that most of the poll sites were, unbeknownst to voters, closed on Election Day and nine of them had no signs redirecting voters. He also knows that many Paige area residents were forced to drive as many as 34 miles round trip to vote. I see the new independent-Republican alliance in HD 17 as a necessary alliance for honesty in government.”
Gary Gerdes, the coordinator for Independent Texans’ efforts for Golemon in Lee County and a former 30-year board member of the Bluebonnet Electric Coop Board, said, “We will see on February 17 that voters fully understand how dangerous a moment we are in. Lee County shares a water district with Bastrop County. Judge Pape has been a trusted ally on water issues, but we have been concerned that he has remained silent while Mark Rose, CEO of Bluebonnet Electric and a leading Democrat, has been working behind the scenes to gain support from our elected officials for the Forestar Real Estate Group’s massive water grab in Lee County, and San Antonio’s Vista Ridge water grab in Burleson and Milam counties. Those kinds of alliances are of genuine concern.”
Curtis filed a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct claiming that Judge Pape violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct by allowing his photograph and endorsement of Cyrier to appear in a mailer paid for by the Cyrier campaign. The Commission has not yet rendered a ruling. She also filed a complaint with the Secretary of State. In a January 21 letter, that they informed her that they “lack investigative authority”, and suggested that she file a lawsuit in district court instead.
In Thursday’s Statesman article, Judge Pape claimed a county judge’s engagement in “duties which relate to a judge’s role in the administration of the county” is an exception to the prohibition on endorsement of candidates. The Judge stated, “I am exempt from the prohibition…when I believe, as county judge and administrator of the county, that [Cyrier’s] election is in the best interest of Bastrop County and her citizens”.
For more information:
PO Box 651 * Bastrop, TX 78602
512-535-0989 home office * 512-657-2089 cell
Early voting in four special election runoffs is Feb. 9 – 13. Election Day is on Tuesday, February 17th. These runoffs are in House District 17 (Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes and Lee counties) and House District 13 (Austin, Burleson, Colorado, Fayette, Grimes, Lavaca, Washington), House District 123 (San Antonio) and Senate District 26 (San Antonio).
Donate to us here for HD 17!
We have endorsed Brent Golemon in HD 17 and Carolyn Bilski in HD 13. Both have answered affirmatively our questionnaire on water. HD 17 candidate, John Cyrier, has repeatedly refused to answer it.
The election fiasco in Bastrop County continues. On Monday, the Bastrop County Commissioners Court, led by Judge Pape (pronounced “poppy”), who scolded us worse than Judge Judy, unanimously decided to limit the Election Day Poll sites — again — to only 4 (1 poll for 10,000 voters). Any average person can see that this is a problem (see chart in Curtis’ testimony here on January 6th).
We need YOUR help NOW!
- Independent Texans has a donor who will match your contribution — dollar for dollar — to help us win HD 17.
- Donate now! (via credit card, send a check or bring it to us on Saturday…!)
- We start our phone bank THIS Saturday in the back of Big Dog Hobbies at 117 Loop 150 W, across from the Sugar Shack in Bastrop. We have trainings at 10, 1 and 4. (Pick up some fliers and/or bring us a check there too.)
- Join us at upcoming events. Keep checking our calendar here. Note, we’ll be in Elgin next Wednesday and more are coming…Bastrop is trying to catch up to Lee County — thank you Gary and Dorothey Gerdes and all y’all in Lee.
We have a webpage dedicated to the HD 17 and HD 13 elections right here. We’re working on getting all the poll site information up soon, but we can use your help.
I attended the Bluebonnet Electric Coop membership meeting in Giddings yesterday and was frankly appalled.
Just to be clear, we have no beef with Bluebonnet employees, or their fine service both during the historic fire or otherwise — they’re doing a great job!
The sick feeling I had in my stomach was not because Dick Peterson and George Kehler were not elected to the board, or even that all three incumbents (one who has served for 30 years!) were reelected. It was the arrogance of Bluebonnet’s CEO, Mark Rose, who deigned to interfere with our right to support these two fine people. I asked for a simple apology. What I got was a refusal by Rose to admit that he lost his temper and abused his authority.
We supported Dick and George because we thought they would be great additions to Bluebonnet. We also wanted to test Bluebonnet’s electoral system. Bluebonnet failed on this count, pretty miserably. We reported to you recently about the ads placed in the newspapers implying we had done something wrong — when we were operating perfectly within our rights to engage in electoral campaigning.
We just learned that another organization supporting Dick and George was issued an intimidating “cease and desist” letter by Bluebonnet’s attorney, for simply gathering proxies for the two candidates — something completely legal and proper under Bluebonnet by-laws. Rose claimed that he had bonafide reports that Clean Water Action canvassers were posing as Bluebonnet employees. We very seriously doubt that.
We will be back in touch with you after we gather more information and hear from all parties involved in what took place this week. This may take some time, but I assure you that we will not let this go down without a fight to bring Bluebonnet’s governance in line with what the ratepayers deserve. This includes holding meetings at a time and place that is convenient for the most members to attend, non-interferance in the elections process, ending the proxy system which is a set up for manipulation, allowing candidates the opportunity to speak to the membership about what they want to see changed and more.
Thanks for your participation. At least the movement for reform at Bluebonnet is in the air and we hope to spirit moves towards reform at other coops.
I’m told that the reforms implemented at Pedernales Electric Coop have indeed made a big difference!
Most of you receiving this message are in Bluebonnet Electric Coop’s service area. If not, we apologize for the unnecessary email.
The rumor that Bluebonnet Electric is considering a rate hike is FALSE! In fact, the coop has invested in some new technologies that are likely to help keep rates low.
Our primary concern about Bluebonnet is the “proxy system”. We would prefer to simply allow ratepayers to mail in their ballots and vote for themselves. Also, we hope Bluebonnet will start having their meetings on Saturdays so that members can more easily attend.
The membership meeting and final vote for the Bluebonnet Electric Coop Board is this Tuesday, May 8th, with registration starting at 1:30 pm at the Sons of Hermann Hall, 1031 CR 223 in Giddings. Please consider attending to hear directly from the board about this as well as other plans for the coop that are of great interest, including conservation efforts.
Independent Texans endorsed two candidates running for the board — Dick Peterson and George Kehler. An ad paid for by Bluebonnet, with your membership dollars appeared in area papers this week that seemed to call our efforts into question. We believe this was an inappropriate way to spend coop member’s money as it was inaccurate, confusing and unnecessary. These are two viable, highly qualified candidates put forth by Bluebonnet for your consideration!
It now seems our utility would like you to think otherwise. Is it because Peterson and Kehler have generated broad-based support from both members and organizations interested in the difficult issues facing us in the future?
Please join us in Giddings on Tuesday to ask questions and learn more. Bluebonnet need not fear its own members!