city of Bastrop

Breaking News in Bastrop!

The City of Bastrop just filed an amended agenda item for tomorrow’s

City of Bastrop, Texas

(Tuesday, August 15) meeting at 6:30 pm at City Hall.

THE Bastrop City Council will hold an Executive Session to deliberate on the possible reassignment, disciplinary action or dismissal of the City Attorney. Whether this has anything to do with the Ethics Ordinance changes is something that we do not know.

There is also a budget workshop tomorrow night. Bastropians need to pay attention to the possibility of a tax increase. The Bastrop Advertiser, in it’s August 10th edition, did this very helpful review of a long presentation by City Manager Lynda Humble.

Got questions? Call us or see you there tomorrow. You should also be able to watch the proceedings on the City of Bastrop’s Facebook page.

YOUR CALENDARS! The Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will hold a meeting about the proposed Transfer Station slated for Highways 21 and 812 in the Cedar Creek Area. We will be calling a community meeting soon to prepare for the TCEQ meeting. For more information, please call Steve Chamberlain at (817) 360-0678. You can also read more about this and sign a petition online here.

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Ethics: City of Bastrop Test Case

Ethics Reform, Not Deform

Our commentary below is in today’s Bastrop Advertiser and is an important update on the battles over the Ethics Ordinance in the City of Bastrop. Please read and share it, and post a comment if so moved.

We hereby urge your attendance at Tuesday’s City Council meeting starting at 6:30 pm at Bastrop City Hall, especially if you are a city resident.

The significance of the ethics battles in the City of Bastrop is beyond the city’s borders. It matters to everyone living in Bastrop County because what the city does impacts on the quality of life and cost of living of all.

The Bastrop Ethics Ordinance could also become a great test case for citizens working to rein in local government from the “good ole’ boys” — aka cronyism that taxpayers can no longer afford. This is especially true in cities and counties experiencing fast growth like Bastrop and struggling to meet the infrastructure demands (roads, water, schools, etc.) for new residents. Bastrop has the extra added asset (and pressure) of an aquifer currently under the eye of private marketers and municipalities as far away as San Antonio.

In 2012, to its credit, the city of Bastrop passed a very good ethics ordinance. It wasn’t perfect — no new ordinances are. Only one complaint has ever been filed under the ordinance. The complaint was  filed last October by then Council member Kay McAnally against two other members of the Council — Gary Schiff and Deborah Jones.

It seemed to us that McAnally’s complaint was a “no brainer” test of the ordinance. Anyone who follows any city hall in Texas knows that when members go into Executive Session to discuss litigation against the city, members are not to share that information with people who are suing the city. Both members did so claiming they had permission to do so. When the Ethics Commission deliberated it was presented with a dated Attorney General opinion and a set of facts. The Commission decided to call it a draw.

What happened after that is of most concern today as the Bastrop City Council proceeds with revamping the ordinance. Jones and Schiff have been quite vocal about weakening the ordinance, along with City Attorney David Bragg. Bragg has clear ties to the “good ole boys” in Bastrop who have been ethically challenged for years — some of them even attending Council meetings under the influence.

If you cannot make the meeting on Tuesday, please consider calling or emailing the Mayor and Council membersclick here for all their information. It’s a simple ask.  Ask them to please not weaken the ethics ordinance and to make sure that the Ethics Commission’s independent authority to police — and even to recommend removal of Council members — stays in place.

Here’s our commentary — enjoy:

Commentary: Bastrop Should Tread Cautiously in Rewriting Ethics Rules

Click here for the redlined comparison between the original Ethics Ordinance and the changes released earlier this week.

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Nip it in the Bud, Bastrop

Nip it in the bud, Bastrop!

Is the Bastrop City Council fast tracking a major revamp the city’s Ethics Ordinance?

We sure hope we’re wrong, but that is what it feels like to us. A  “final draft proposal” is on the agenda of the full Council meeting tomorrow night. It starts at 6:30 pm at Bastrop City Hall. You can also watch it on the city’s Facebook page.

At the last Council Ethics Workshop held on July 11th, City Attorney David Bragg brought up two important issues. In laying out one of them he said, “I’ve never encountered the ‘good ol’ boys’”. Mr. Bragg proceeded with a suggestion that the statute of limitations for filing an ethics complaint be reduced from 1 year to just 6 months.

We’re here to tell you that Mr. Bragg has apparently never looked in the mirror. Everyone in town knows he’s a poker buddy of former Mayor Ken Kesselus.

We’re considering bringing a very important proposal to be added to the Ethics Ordinance tomorrow night. Don’t you think that Council members who come drunk to meetings should be subject to ethics sanctions? Those of us who have witnessed this for the last few years know exactly what I’m writing about.

The remainder of this is background for you…and a little entertainment.

Soon the city is going to ask an attorney to rewrite the ordinance. We already asked that the city not spend money cutting up a perfectly good ordinance and only pay for review and “tweaks”.

The good news is this. Citizens still have the option to do a petition drive to put a citizen’s ethics ordinance before the voters. We here at Independent Texans will help make this happen, if necessary.

Unfortunately, we got an uncomfortable feeling about this at the Ethics Workshop held on June 13th when Councilmember Deborah Jones called the ethics complaint against her (the first in the city’s history) “a fiasco”. Excuse us, but when a member of the Council shares with the opposing side of litigation that the city is engaged in, information learned in an Executive Session, this is clear grounds for an ethics complaint. Moreover, the Ethics Commission ruled it a draw – nothing close to a “fiasco”. That the complainant was not present made Jones’ rant, in my mind at least, just one more ethical breach.

Then came Councilmember Gary Schiff who repeatedly complained about not being allowed to share information from Executive Session with others. Why would the City Council hold an Executive Session if not to protect the city when it is facing litigation? Folks, this is a no-brainer for anyone who observes any city hall in Texas. And, please do not forget that last September Schiff tried to access over $100,000 in Bastrop Economic Development Corporation funds, that was in our view a MAJOR ethics violation. He pulled it back due to citizen outcry.

You gotta hand it to the GOBN — at least they’re entertaining.

Nip it in the bud, Bastrop! Share this message and we’ll be back with a report soon.

Submitted by Linda Curtis

 

 

 

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Congrats to Lyle Nelson and all of Bastrop!

Tom & Kelly Dawson with newly elected Bastrop City Councilman, Lyle Nelson, all residents of Hunters Crossing

Yesterday’s historic runoff for the Bastrop City Council Place 3 seat resulted in a very decisive win for Lyle Nelson — 59%, 361 votes — over Lee Harle.  Congrats to Lyle, his family, his neighbors in Hunters Crossing and Riverside Grove, and to the entire Bastrop community!

This is a big win for the entire city of Bastrop community, a community that is still reeling from years of ‘good ol’ boy’ cronyism that seemed unchangeable. Bastrop city voters put their boots on in the first round of voting in May and elected the first woman mayor, Connie Schraeder, with a similar decisive lead.

This comment by “Texas Voter” in the Bastrop Advertiser article today about the race well captures the significance of Lyle’s triumph:

Nelson’s achievement here is historic in that he was able to marshal outlying voters to overcome the solid block of downtown votes consistently wielded by the handful of power brokers who control and exploit Bastrop. Congratulations to both Nelson and Bastrop.

Another way of saying it is this — the Good Ol’ Boy Network had its ears clipped in this city election — good for us all! Just don’t take your boots off yet…we still have some kickin’ to do.

There are still people on the Council who think it’s their task to serve themselves and their friends, not to mention similar characters on the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation. Both are handling YOUR money and still don’t know where the buck stops.

There are now ongoing discussions about the Ethics Ordinance. We are asking you to pay close attention to this. While we support any tightening up of the ordinance that is needed, we have already lodged a concern about what appears to be a complete rewrite of the ordinance. Not only do we not believe a costly and complete rewrite is necessary, we heard enough whining at last week’s Ethics Workshop from Council members Deborah Jones and Gary Schiff to signal that a rewrite could wind up doing more harm than good. Watch the video of June 13 and see for yourself.

We hope to see you at the next Ethics workshop at 5 pm on Tuesday, June 27. The Council meeting starts at 7 pm and will likely start with Lyle Nelson’s swearing in.

We’ll be calling our own meeting soon to lay out some ideas we’ve had cookin’ but were waiting to share with you until after the election.

Of course, always feel free to contact us any old time.

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Another dump in Cedar Creek? Vote for Lyle!

Reminder for you city of Bastrop Voters. Early voting in the historic Place 3 runoff for Bastrop City Council ended

Lyle and Jennifer Nelson & Family

on Tuesday. Election Day is this Saturday. Here is why we support Lyle Nelson. It’s pretty simple. Lyle is clearly committed to transparency at City Hall, a prerequisite for good government.

Cedar Creek (Bastrop County) Another Dump? This message is also being sent to our pals in Caldwell County who have been fighting a dump in Lockhart.

As Austin’s affordability crisis has made Bastrop County the 6th fastest growing county in Texas, we see yet another plan to put a dump on the westside of Bastrop County in the Cedar Creek area where growth is headed. It’s a 47-acre facility – though a “transfer station” — proposed for an area close to the junction of Highway 812 and Highway 21 for garbage, rubbish, ashes, street cleanings, abandoned automobiles; dead animals, drugs, contaminated foods, empty containers which have been used for pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or rodenticides; Class 2 industrial waste; and Class 3 industrial waste which includes rock, brick, glass, dirt, and certain plastics and rubber.

We don’t know yet what “transfer station” really means. Area residents are checking this out and getting in touch with County officials.

You can read the 75-page application right here.

A public meeting with TCEQ – Texas Commission for Environmental Quality – has already been called for by Sen. Kirk Watson. This meeting will happen sometime after the public comment period is over on July 31st.

Click here for the TCEQ notice and how to post a public comment
with the permit number 40291

If you want to work on this issue please contact us. We will assist you in every way we can.

Is it not yet clear to you that voters of all persuasions are going to have to work together to get things done? We vote for the person, not the party and we call ourselves small “i” independents!

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Austin is Not Developers’ Monopoly Board

Sign it, if you live in Austin

Austin is Not Developers' Monopoly Board

Dear Mayor Adler and Austin City Council Members:

[signature]

Why don't you share this with your friends, please:

Make Growth Pay for Itself

No Vista Ridge/San Antone Hose

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