Independent Texans

Register Now or forever hold your land, water and peace!

First things first.

Have you REGISTERED YET to attend the Independent Texans Convention, on Saturday, September 21st?  If not, please do NOW!!  Click here to register:  www.indytexans.com/convention/registration

         Click here for the latest agenda:  www.indytexans.com/convention

         Click here for the bios of most of the presenters:  www.indytexans.com/convention/Bios

         Click here for places to stay (though this is a one-day event):  www.indytexans.com/convention/PlacesToStayInBastrop

This event:  “Building Cross-Partisan Coalitions” is the place to be if you’re concerned about water, land and your political rights.

Also, if you’re near enough to volunteer, join us THIS coming Saturday, September 7, 4 pm, at the Bastrop Library, 1100 Church Street — map here.  We’ll be discussing the convention and how you can help before or during this first-ever Independent Texans’ convention.   

Read our report on what happened yesterday at the Hays County Commissioners Court.  They’re joining up with Forestar Real Estate to take their neighbors’ water without their consent and with little understanding:  http://www.indytexans.com/2013/09/04/hays-county-commission-in-cahoots-with-forestar/

Many thanks to the residents of Hays County who are beginning to urge the Hays County Commissioners to stay out of the Lost Pines battle with Forestar (not to mention EndOp).  We hope to see some of these good friends at the Convention.

Watch for our white paper on Proposition 6 — the “Water Heist Amendment” — on the statewide ballot this November.  It will be a big topic at the convention.

Did we ask you to  REGISTER NOW for the convention or forever hold your peace!  🙂  Click here to to register: www.indytexans.com/convention/registration

Do you want a table at this event?  It’s $50 for non-profits and $100 for political organizations.  If you want to sponsor this event, it’s $300-500, based on what you can afford.  Contact Lea at 512-718-5288 or email her at silvernaillea@yahoo.com.

PS  Here’s a convention flier (two per page) you can print, share or post around town.  We’ have copies at the Bastrop meeting this Saturday:  http://www.indytexans.com/wp-content/uploads/FlierTwo-IndyConvention.pdf

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Independent Texans First Convention Ever – Sept. 21st!

Since this post, we have added a whole new area of our website for the Convention click here.

Independent Texans Convention Agenda
Theme: Building Cross-Partisan Coalitions
Location:  Bastrop Convention Center, Bastrop, Texas
Date:  Saturday, September 21, 2013
Time:  9 am Registration, Adjourns 9 pm

Convention Suggested Donation:  $10 before September 1, $15 at the door.  You can give online under the donate button on our home page, or send a check to Independent Texans, PO Box 651, Bastrop, Texas 78602.

Purpose of this event:  To further coalesce a cross-partisan effort for eminent domain reform, water conservation/protection and redistricting reform; to inform citizens about the $2B Constitutional Water Amendment on the November 2013 ballot; to encourage candidates for 2014 elections (regardless of party) to run on these issues; and to provide some foundational skills for potential candidates and campaign organizers.

Please note that we have invited both Attorney General Greg Abbott, running for the Republican nomination for Governor, and Wendy Davis, who appears to be likely running to for the Democratic nomination for Governor, to come speak to us on these issues.

Caterer:  Comfort Café, Continental Breakfast starts at 9 am when the hall opens, lunch will be available from 11 to 2 pm., please bring $10-12 for food.

Exhibitors:  Political organizations $100, non-profits $50 information tables.  Limited numbers, so these will go fast!  Email or call Lea at silvernaillea@yahoo.com, 512-718-5288.

9:00        Registration

10:00      Welcome:  Building Cross-Partisan Coalitions   

Linda Curtis, Independent Texans

10:15       How can we tame eminent domain?  

Background:  All three speakers have been deeply involved in efforts to reform eminent domain laws through legislative and court action.  This includes closing  the “T4 loophole”, which currently allows pipeline companies to simply check a box on a Railroad Commission form and receive eminent domain power to seize your land.

Julia Trigg Crawford, NE Texas farmer fighting TransCanada
Debra Medina, We Texans    
Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) tentative

11:30      Proposition 6:  Statewide Water Amendment, Good or Bad for Texas?

Texas Legislators who both support and oppose the amendment have been invited to come state their cases.  You will be asked to cast a straw poll vote after you hear the arguments.

12:30      Lunch Break

1:00       How do we – citizens – win the Texas Water War?

Background:  All three speakers have been intimately involved in a variety of efforts, both in the courts and in the legislature, seeking protection of our water resources.  Michele and Malcolm will hone in on the Bastrop/Lee County groundwater war as the potential source of the next landmark cases on groundwater protection.  Alyssa travels the state speaking about drought and a variety of challenges to water protection, including fracking. Her broad exposure also includes the regional clashes over the Marvin Nichols Reservoir in NE Texas.

Alyssa Burgin, Texas Drought Project, Drought & the Fracking/Water Debate
Michele Gangnes, Esq., The Lost Pines Water War
Malcolm Harris, Esq., Wimberley Valley Watershed Association

2:15       Disarming Politicians…of their redistricting pens.

Those who led the campaign for passage of the first independent citizens redistricting commission passed in the state of Texas!  (City of Austin, November 2012)

3:00      Breakout Sessions

These sessions will be one hour and will be run twice between 3 and 5 pm.

•    How to organize a public hearing on eminent domain, public safety and water protection in your community.  Linda Curtis, Independent Texans
•    Groundwater & Surface Water 101.  Steve Box, Environmental Stewardship, Phil Cook, Sierra Club
•    Making Growth Pay for Itself.  CostofGrowth.com
•    The Fracking and Water Debate.  TBA
•    One Day Petition Drives to Change Your City Charters:  Barry Klein, Houston Property Rights Association
•    Eminent Domain Reform – really.  Calvin Tilman, former mayor of DISH, Texas
•    Gerrymandering, the documentary.
•    So they contaminated your water.  Case Study of Galveston.  Texans Together

5:00 – 6:30  Celebration/Dinner/Mingling

6:30 — 8:30  Campaign Mega-Workshop

Are you considering running for office or trying to persuade others to do so?  Do you want to build a cross-partisan effort in your community?  Want to get a bill passed in the next legislative session?  This is a joint session.  It’s all done at the same time – by people with experience, soon to be announced.

•    How to get the press to pay attention.
•    Running an issue or candidate campaign – the basics.
•    Fundraising and the campaign finance laws.
•    Know thy enemy: Opposition Research.
•    Citizen Lobbying the Legislature.
•    Internet tools, even for baby boomers.

Please note that the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Conference is starts the day after this event in the same facility!  We hope you will consider staying over and attending this great conference, especially you farmers and ranchers. Click here for more information.

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Lost Pines Aquifer Protectors Heard

The Aquifer Protectors!  From L to R, Eric Allmon (attorney for Environmental Stewardship), Michele Gangnes (pro bono attorney for landowners Meyer, Hanna and Brown), Andy Meyer (Paige landowner), Darwyn Hanna (Bastrop landowner), Ernie Bogart (pro bono attorney for landowners Meyer, Hanna and Brown), Betz Brown       
(Lee County landowner), Don Grissom (pro bono attorney for landowners Meyer, Hanna and Brown), Steve Box (Executive Director Environmental Stewardship)

Folks, yesterday’s hearing to determine whether landowners seeking party status (a voice) in the fight between Aqua Water Supply and EndOp, over EndOp’s 56,000-acre feet/year permit application for water from the Simsboro aquifer formation beneath us, was both fascinating and telling.  EndOp attorneys, Russell Johnson (notorious gun-for-hire by the water speculators) and Stacy Reese, held us up ALL DAY with a “throw the kitchen sink” strategy in seeming attempt to rattle landowners.  It didn’t work.

EndOp’s barrage of questions and miles of paperwork sought to narrow the parameters to granting party status to no one.

We won’t even try to guess how the Judge (Michael O’Malley) is going to rule.  He stated that he hoped to rule  by mid-September.  He also guessed that the full hearing between Aqua Water and EndOp (hopefully to include those seeking party status) will likely be sometime in February.  Once that hearing is held, SOAH will make a recommendation to the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District.  It will be up to the Lost Pines GCD to decide whether to adopt the recommendation, reject it, or alter it.

We’ll let you know what happens — but make sure you get set to come to the first Independent Texans’ convention ever.  It will be held at the Bastrop Convention Center on Saturday, September 21.  Look for details in another article on this blog.

Stay tuned y’all!

PS  A little birdie told us that Russ Johnson charges $450 per hour.  With all that paper work, we can’t imagine what EndOp paid for the attempted robbery — robbing landowners and their heirs of what is rightfully their land and the water beneath them.

Comments and questions below are welcome!

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We have a hearing! August 12, 10 a.m., Bastrop Convention Center — y’all Bastrop and Lee County Folks Come!

Remember when Aqua Water Supply filed a “contested case” challenge to the groundwater permit for 56,000 acre feet/year by EndOp, LC?  Remember when a number of landowners in Bastrop and Lee counties, as well as Environmental Stewardship, asked the Lost Pines Groundwater District Board to allow them a voice in these proceedings?

         That’s what the hearing is about on Monday, August 12, 10 am at the Bastrop Convention Center.

We need YOU there, along with your family, friends and neighbors.

The Lost Pines Water Defense Fund is also raising approximately $1200-1500 to pay for an expert witness to explain to the Administrative Hearing Officer presiding at this hearing why these landowners will be adversely affected if this permit is given.

         These landowners are a voice for the rest of us.  

If you can give to the fund — whatever your means are — please do!

Checks are made out to the Lost Pines Water Defense Fund and mailed to PO Box 690, Elgin, TX 78621.  More about the fund below.

Got questions?  Feel free to reply to this message, or to call Linda Curtis, numbers below.

Got comments?  Feel free to share them at the bottom of this blog entry.

         SAVE THE DATE!  

         SATURDAY, September 21, 10 am – 8 pm, “Building Cross-Partisan Coalitions”, Independent Texans Convention —  Bastrop Convention Center.  Main topics — defeating the statewide water amendment on the November 2013 ballot and  Taming Eminent         Domain.  More coming real soon!

Thank y’all!

PS  Not to give you high blood pressure, but here’s the tape of EndOp’s presentation at the big hearing in Giddings in June:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g54mhvUBxOw.  If you go to our YouTube site, you’ll also see lots of great folks testifying at the hearings — so enjoy!

Click here for the Lost Pines Water Defense Fund information sheet:  http://www.indytexans.com/wp-content/uploads/Lost-Pines-Fund.pdf

 

 

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Abortion: what really happened last night, for true indepedents that is

With due respect to both sides of the truly out-of-control scene last night on the floor of the Texas Senate, we wonder why no one on either side bothered to ask this question:  Can we agree on the abortion issue?  We all know that we cannot.  Moreover, we independents know the reason we cannot is because it’s none of the government’s business!

So why did the Governor and Lt. Governor agree that abortion should be the subject of a Special Session?  To state the obvious, it’s about the 2014 mid-term election where all statewide offices, all Texas House members, many Texas Senate seats and County Commission seats, and more, will be up for grabs.*

The Texas abortion brouhaha took place on the very same day of the US Supreme Court decision to dismantle the “preclearance” provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  (That means that voting system changes no longer have to be pre-approved, prior to their implementation, by the US Justice Department in areas of the country with a history of discriminatory voting practices.)  The Court’s ruling, together with the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s abortion antics, underscore the need to get the parties out of the business of determining our voting systems.  This is especially true of redistricting – hello!

The only solution is to have a citizens takeover of the electoral system, starting with the redistricting process, like the one Austin voters won at the ballot last November.  (More here at TrustAustin.org).

Yes, obviously, each side is revving up their partisans to do battle with the other party.  It’s not a conspiracy (other than the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s perhaps), it’s just what parties do.  Note:  Terri Hall of Texas TURF, wisely pointed out that in the midst of all the bedlam over abortion, what didn’t get to the table in the Special Session that ended at midnight last night was an actual solution to our road funding problem! After ten years of fighting about it, this is a big deal, folks. Read this piece by Terri Hall here.

The press reported there was more collegiality and consensus building that took place in the regular session..  We do not doubt that.  But we would ask for what purpose?  They did not resolve the state’s water and land crisis.  Throwing $2B at the water problem, for projects set to squander water (through reservoirs and moving groundwater to the growth corridors) is will crush already fragile independent agriculture and landowners.  Luckily, we get a chance to vote on it in November.

The TransCanadian pipeline, carrying toxic tar sands that will traverse critical water supply and towns not yet prepared for potential spills, is set to be up and running in early 2014.  Fracking is using potable water in areas of the state where there is no water.  Texas towns are running out of water.  Growth (500 people are moving to Texas per day) and the dominance of the real estate industry are killing affordability in our big cities and pitting urban against rural for our resources.

Now we have another session with abortion at the top of the Call, and the parties are getting set for another deadly battle where there’s no winning for ordinary citizens — pro-choice, pro-life or whatever your beliefs.  Now ain’t that special?  The Republican majority will ram a likely unconstitutional new abortion law on Texas.  They will beat their chests and tie up the courts (there’s your “tort reform”) and use it to refocus as many voters as they can swindle away from the impending crisis of land, water and growing poverty.

The bottom line:  Job creation in Texas cannot keep up with the crisis underway because the costs of our unnatural growth will never catch up.  (If you want to understand this in just one Texas city, go to CostofGrowth.com, a site created by a whistle-blower real estate develper, Brian Rodgers.)

We must come together — as a people — to bring this agenda into the upcoming election.  We can start by defeating the constitutional water amendment that will be on this November’s statewide ballot.

You can help by volunteering some time and sending us those nickels and dimes to help us put on a conference about all of the above in Bastrop in the fall.  Thank you so much to those who contributed last week.

We’d really like to know what you think.  Share your thoughts in the comments section below, please and thank you!

  * Independent Texans does not engage in Congressional races, though all will be up or reelection, because the districts are so gerrymandered (and therefore, uncompetitive), so far it’s been mostly a waste of our limited time and resources.

 

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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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