eminent domain

Open Letter to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick from Independent Texans

Dear Lt. Governor:

Linda Curtis

Linda Curtis

I believe you are entitled to your opinions about any variety of issues facing Texas.

However, I do not believe that you are entitled to use the power of your office to commit the same kind of government overreach that we see at the federal level.

I believe in local control. I thought you did too. I believe that the individuals and institutions closest to the issue, in this case, students, educators and school administrators, are best suited to identifying the issues and making the decisions.

I also thought you supported limited government — minimal government intervention into personal liberties, property rights and the economy. Your actions, especially this week as much of the state is facing disaster declarations, have us scratching our heads.

I am urging you to divert your attention from the “bathroom crisis” and to intervene into a crisis where I believe you would not be in violation of the principles of local control and limited government. For the last two years, the city of San Antonio and its water utility (SAWS) have pursued a course of action to benefit private partners and special interests in water and real estate, forcing ratepayers to pay for the unnecessary and over-priced $3.4 billion Vista Ridge Water Project.

The vast majority of landowners living over the “donor” (unwilling) Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer are beside themselves over the abuse of eminent domain for private gain and the potential depletion of their aquifer for the 142-mile pipeline they call “The San Antone Hose”. SAWS just reported a plan to offload almost 5 billion gallons a year to the I-35 corridor signaling disastrous urban sprawl over the sensitive zones of the Edwards Aquifer – San Antonio’s own drinking water supply.

Mr. Patrick, I am urging you to use the power of your office to:

  1. Call for the Attorney General to investigate SAWS’ potential violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, now in litigation;
  1. Direct your appointee, Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs, to resign from participation in H204Texas, largely a treasure trove of water special interests who continue to push for “Gridzilla” – a statewide grid for mass movement of groundwater to development in dry areas – already a proven disaster in California; and
  1. Signal the Texas Senate that you want them to look at the issues of private property rights infringement, eminent domain abuse and consumer protection in groundwater leasing in the next session related to Vista Ridge. This will also signal to the City of San Antonio and SAWS that you have little appreciation for their efforts to force 50% rate hikes on their citizens at the very moment SAWS’ is moving to disqualify a petition signed by 6,000 ratepayers simply asking for a rate review by the Public Utility Commission.

To be fair, Lt. Governor, Texans are beginning to grasp the depth of the misplaced priorities of government at all levels, and the true meaning and imperative of “self-government”.  A remarkable example is the “Hidden Pines fire” in Bastrop County in October of 2015, not 4 years after the massive Bastrop fire in 2011. A group of 20 citizens recently produced this outstanding report — and without pointing fingers — provided a clear path for the cooperation of local and state government to prevent future unnecessary fire disasters. Read “Too Little, Too Late: Lessons Learned from the Hidden Pines Fire“.

I believe that you have made plain that you have not simply misplaced priorities, but you are driven by what you believe to be a just cause – “school choice”. That is also your prerogative. But, I believe it is an abuse of power to use a hot-button issue about transgender children to herald in what you have so far been unable to accomplish through the legislative process – school vouchers.

I can only conclude that at this moment you are failing we Texans far more than the students and educators of this state, most of whom are trying their best to do their jobs. Now, will you?

With respect,

Linda Curtis, Independent Texans

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Independent Texans PAC Endorses Ernest Bailes

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

8:00 am, May 11, 2016  Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 7.37.55 AM

CONTACT: Linda Curtis, Director of Independent Texans, (512) 657-2089, ljcurtis@indytexans.org

HEAD:  Independent Texans PAC Endorses Ernest Bailes for Texas House of Representatives District 18 (for details about the HD 18, click here)

(Dayton, Texas) Independent Texans proudly endorses Ernest Bailes in the Republican Party primary runoff for State Representative House District 18. HD 18 covers Liberty, San Jacinto and Walker counties. Independent Texans PAC, founded in 2001, is the only political action committee for non-aligned independent voters, of which there are millions in Texas.

Arlan Foster of Liberty County served as President of the Correctional Employees Union AFSCME Council 7 in 2006 when Council 7 bolted from the Texas AFL-CIO union establishment by endorsing Carole Strayhorn in her independent run for Governor. Foster said, “Mr. Bailes made it clear to us that he gets what is most important to rural Texans — defending our property rights against eminent domain abuse and protecting our water resources. His opponent didn’t even return our many calls to reach him. The job description is in the job title, State ‘Representative’. Independents want office holders that will at least return our call.”

Linda Curtis, the Director of Independent Texans and a resident of House District 17 (Lee, Bastrop, Gonzales, Caldwell and Karnes counties), remarked, “Non-aligned independents are the change agents in the national election. What does it say to HD 18 voters when one of the candidates snubs us? Strahan is a Trojan horse for the minority faction within the Republican Party – funded by Empower Texans — that has an axe to grind against the powerful Speaker of the Texas House, Joe Straus. Electing Strahan will get HD 18 voters exactly what he gave us – zip.”

The contest in this race is only in the Republican primary runoff. There is no Democrat running in November. The runoff is expected to be close. Those who voted in the Democratic primary may not vote in this runoff, but those who either voted in the Republican primary or did not vote in either party primary in March are now eligible to vote in this runoff.

Foster is building an affiliate of Independent Texans in Liberty County. Curtis and Independent Texans recently helped settle a heated primary for House District 17. They hope to make the margin of difference in HD 18 as well.

Early voting in the upcoming runoff elections is May 16th through May 20th. Election Day is Tuesday, May 24th.

More information can be found in the News section at IndyTexans.org.

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Reading the Tea Leaves…Happy Mother’s Day

We will be discussing what follows or anything else you want to talk about tomorrow night at 8 pm Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 7.55.45 AMon our monthly conference call. Call us at 512-535-0989 or email us at info@indytexans.org for conference call instructions.

The BIG news is about Laura Thompson — see the report below.

Is a watershed – pun intended – moment upon we Texans of all political stripes? We think so, as politics-as-usual is imploding. This situation carries both opportunity and risks. One big risk is to the economic stability afforded us by a seemingly impenetrable two-party system. The opportunities are boundless, as new solutions to our many problems can move onto the main stage.

Those in power, one would think, must be trying like hell to read tea leaves – another pun intended. But the hogs at the public trough will likely continue their feeding frenzy risking economic collapse…the collapse that is intimately tied to how they continue squandering the public purse and our natural resources — particularly land and water.

Perhaps they haven’t figured out yet that there are no tea leaves. Conservatism and liberalism are both dead and populism (Trump’s right and Bernie’s left) is showing up at the wake. Could anyone keep a straight face when hearing that the very same Rick Perry who called Donald Trump a “cancer on conservatism”, is now willing to be Trump’s running mate?

Seriously folks, it’s getting rich out there – rich with absurdity and rich with opportunities that have broken out at the national level. It’s our job as Texas independents (notice the small “i”) to figure out how to use it at the local level.

Hoping to “see ya” on tomorrow night’s call at 8 pm.

Don’t give up…we just got started!

*  An extraordinary situation is developing in Texas House District 120 in San Antonio. Yesterday, local businesswoman, Laura Thompson, an unaffiliated independent, came out at the top of the heap of 4 candidates running to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Ruth McClendon who had to step down due to illness. Thompson received 33% and Lou Miller received 28%, (with a little over 2000 votes cast.) Thompson will soon move to complete her petition drive to be on the November ballot as an independent, as she heads into the runoff for this special election sometime in July. If she wins in July, she would then be the incumbent running in November against one of the two Democrats from the Democratic primary runoff on May 24th. Yes, it’s confusing! But this could be a history maker – the first independent elected to the Texas House! Prediction: Texas voters are ready to go independent. Wanna help? Contact us! More on Thompson here.

*  The entire Oppose the Hose (NoVistaRidge.org) coalition that continues to grow across central Texas awaits a May 11th deadline to see the application for $127 million that San Antonio Water System is expected to file with the Texas Water Development Board for state water funds (SWIFT) for Vista Ridge. We also await a May 27th deadline for SAWS to challenge the ratepayer petition asking the Public Utility Commission to review the rates associated with Vista Ridge. Watch your email closely for action you can take…very soon!

*  Ethics whistle-blowers and fiscal accountability watchdogs, Kelly Gilleland and Herb Goldsmith, lost their bids for the Bastrop City Council last night. Incumbent Gilleland lost by just 40 votes. We wish the incoming members – Deborah Jones and Bill Peterson – good luck as they are going to need it. We know for sure that tough times are ahead for Bastrop residents as Austin’s affordability crisis is overflowing into Bastrop. We call upon Bastrop residents to get involved with us and soon we can share some exciting plans.

*  We attended an impressive 17th annual meeting of the Medina County Environmental Action Association recently. The very good news is that the association is raising the funds to engage in the legal battles of landowners who are challenging what appears to be a clear abuse of eminent domain. Landowner Richard Fourier had a very strong hearing on Monday in which the review board increased the condemnation award from $30K to $80K. Still, Fournier is appealing because he believes that the company in question is not a common carrier and therefore has no right to exercise condemnation powers on his land. Like their Facebook page and follow this important effort. More here.

*  It should not go unnoticed that Proposition 1, Uber and Lyft’s ordinance they put on the Austin city ballot via petition, was soundly defeated yesterday by 12 points. Austin voters don’t much like the deep pockets trying to buy elections — to the tune of $8 million compared to $200K spent by their opponents. That’s our best guess anyway. Congrats Austin!

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Indies Switch Horses to John Cyrier for State Representative

On rare occasions Independent Texans -- a political action committee founded in 2001 for non-aligned independent voters -- endorses or opposes candidates and ballot measures. In the case of House District 17 -- "home of the water wars" -- we are switching horses! Read the rest of this entry »

The Big News! Citizens and Candidates Defy the Lobbies!

Many of you have been asking us, “What can I do to help.” Read this update, then please vote for these candidates, depending on where you live. Then get on the phone or on the computer and get your friends out! These are tight races where your vote will count extra!

Early voting ends this Friday, Feb. 28. Election Day is Tuesday, March 4th.

Debra has always been there, standing with the grassroots to protect our land, our water and… our rights!

THE BIG NEWS FOR STATEWIDE RACES IS THIS…
DEBRA MEDINA stands to come in first in a crowded race for Texas Comptroller!
Read the rest of this entry »

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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:

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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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