Posts Tagged ‘Rick Perry’

No Way Out But Independent

By Linda Curtis, just my independent opinion

George Washington, Father of Our Country

George Washington, Father of Our Country

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”  George Washington, Farewell Address, 1797

A funny thing happened on the way to the 2016 presidential election. Populism in America had George Washington turning in his grave.

Populism, the rising up of we commoners, is arguably the most powerful political tool on the planet. It’s also a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get. Millions sent in their small donations hoping and praying for the presidential candidate most in keeping with the history of American populism, Bernie Sanders. What we got was a big surprise — the European-style populist Donald Trump.

Trump President in the Twilight Zone

Trump President in the Twilight Zone

I understand fully why Donald Trump has angered millions of Americans. As a Texan, I had a “Twilight Zone” moment when he nominated Rick Perry as Energy Secretary. In 2006, rural Texans led an urban-rural electoral revolt behind Carole Strayhorn’s independent run for Governor defeating Perry’s legendary pay-to-play scheme — the $200 billion Trans-Texas Corridor. Now that Perry is Energy Secretary, would anyone like to wager a $1.1 million bet that he pushes another toxic special interest deal on rural Texas with nuclear waste in West Texas?

That said, I am urging that we all take a careful look into the box of chocolates being served up by populism, including Trump’s. That box is also full of real possibilities for positive change. Just this week, Trump refreshingly hit a nerve on the pathetic hypocrisy of Fox News pundit, Bill O’Reilly, goading him on how he could respect Putin — “a killer”. Trump’s response was, “What, you think our country is so innocent?” Personally, I love it. Politically, we have to understand the true value of having a President willing to spill the beans on people operating behind the curtains all these years and offing people in the name of the American people.

That is big stuff because after a 50-year decline in electoral competition, American voters are more than ready to get out of both parties. In this way, Trumpism has huge (to steal a word) benefits. He is doing more to bust up both parties and the two-party arrangement than anyone in my lifetime. I didn’t vote for him, I don’t like many of his policies and I don’t even like him as a person, but I must give him this credit as a self-respecting independent.

If anything is killing American democracy it is partisanship — the allegiance to party over the power of the citizenry to self-goverment. We, the American people, must seize the moment brought to us by Donald Trump himself and unite despite our disagreements for this one purpose — to dismantle two-partyism to bring about truly competitive elections.

Trump the Independent

Donald Trump is the first president that I recall to challenge members of the “military-industrial complex” that President Dwight Eisenhower warned about:

Read the famous excerpt below – or watch this 3-minute video:

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, 1961

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, 1961

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, 1961

Independent writer, Charles Hughes Smith, wrote about the differences that have emerged between the “Neo-con” security elites (he calls the “deep state”) in the CIA, NSA, FBI and the DNI and the more “progressive state” the working men and women of the U.S. military. These security elites together with the partisans in both parties are the “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men” that the father of our country warned about. Together they have created the mess in the Middle East.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t worry – a lot — about Trump and Steve Bannon’s foreign policy intentions. However, I do agree with AntiWar.com’s Justin Raimondo who called out progressives for failing to sufficiently challenge how President Barack Obama carried “our bipartisan foreign policy of perpetual war”.

I am no foreign policy expert, which is why I recommend these excellent news blogs. Caution: Please take off your ideological and party blinders. I find the differences of opinions in these sites most useful in developing the critical thinking so necessary in the Trump era.

A Win-Win for the American People…put this to Congress

What we, ordinary Americans, must do now is a united call on both parties in Congress to check the executive’s power to take the country to war. This would force the hand of the “limited government” Republicans and the “anti-war” Democrats who, have put party before country and made America – the world’s model democracy — into the world’s interventionist deadly police.

What is There are those who are already calling for Trump's impeachment.more likely to happen: Factions within the two parties in Congress will move for impeachment and keep rearranging between them the deckchairs on the Titanic. In fact, the narrative for this started long before the Trump inauguration and is now in play.

The Cure

Our country’s democratic process has been in decline for over 50 years as we have seen fewer and fewer people running for office and increased coronations of incumbents because of only ONE choice on the ballot.

I highly recommend this paper, “Death by a Thousand Signatures” by attorney Oliver Hall, Executive Director of the Center for Competitive Democracy who explains how we got here today.

Democracy is unraveling, folks. I believe there is simply no way out but independent. The 43% plurality of American voters and 50% of Millennial voters who identify as independents must self-organize an independent electoral revolt!

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Former TWDBers spill the beans on Prop 6

PRESS RELEASE FROM INDEPENDENT TEXANS

Nix Prop 6 Coalition Gets Big Boost
from Former Texas Water Development Board Appointees and Senior Staff

*  Former TWDBers tell Nix 6ers:  Prop 6 is a Trojan Horse for influence peddling, not water or drought.

*  Former TWDBers tell Nix 6ers:  Governor-appointed TWDB to pick winners and losers; special interests and political cronies win, taxpayers and ratepayers will pay the price.

*  Former TWDBers tell Nix 6ers:  Prop 6’s $2B down payment on State’s $27B-$30B share of $53B capital cost ($213B actual cost) of state water plan’s 500+ projects, indicates how much money is at stake and how much influence will be peddled.

*  Former TWDBers tell Nix 6ers:  Governor’s team and Legislature push Prop 6 funding from Rainy Day Fund because taxpayers would never approve astronomical cost of state water plan if State’s $27B-$30B share paid with general revenues instead.

*  Former TWDBers tell Nix 6ers:  No assurance Prop 6’s $2B will pay State’s share of state water plan; they will be back for more money.

*  Nix 6ers say:  As long as cronies control TWDB, massive state water plan projects will be built with Prop 6 subsidies, whether or not the projects make sense, economically or in human cost.

*  Nix 6ers say: Worthy, properly vetted projects should be subsidized the old fashioned way to make them affordable for borrowers who can’t finance on their own – either directly with general revenues, or with TWDB loans, like Prop 2 promised, with subsidies from general revenues.

*  Nix 6ers say:  Conservation and rural agricultural, especially agricultural conservation, should be prioritized, the money appropriated to subsidize them (except for cities that can afford on their own) and done yesterday.

*  Nix 6ers say:  Mammoth boondoggles for urban centers, like reservoirs, that throw off millions of dollars to special interests should have to prove their need for subsidies, after they prove they are affordable, and after intensive conservation is instituted, not before. _________________________________________________________________________________

October 24, 2013

The opposition to Prop 6 has begun to achieve the media attention it deserves, but the Nix Prop 6 cross-partisan coalition has received a big boost in its efforts to expose Prop 6’s true purposes and shortcomings. Members of the coalition were able to speak with former (volunteer) Board members and senior staff of the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). They were among those who abruptly lost their appointments or their jobs last August 31, as a direct result of House Bill 4 (HB 4), the enabling legislation for the Prop 6 constitutional amendment.

One such source described our concerns as “dead on accurate” that the genesis of Prop 6 was crony politics and special interest favoritism, not drought or water emergencies.  The cross-partisan coalition (from the more independent greens to tea partiers) has exposed the Prop 6-created State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT as a thinly disguised political slush fund of public money for the benefit of special interests. Prop 6 and HB4 will encourage campaign contributions for legislators who play ball, but do not assure SWIFT’s viability as the solution to our water needs. And Prop 6 probably means more State debt, rather than less, as some Prop 6 supporters argue.

Under HB4, political cronies at TWDB will take over prioritizing and financing the construction of projects included in the state water plan. “Many of these projects have not been adequately vetted and are hugely expensive, in both economic and human terms, but Rick Perry’s cronies will pick the winners and losers,” said Linda Curtis of Independent Texans. Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Senate Natural Resources Committee Chair, with the backing of the Governor and Lt. Governor, rewrote the original House legislation, to wipe out TWDB’s management structure and replace it with three salaried bureaucrats, serving at the Governor’s pleasure.

Linda Curtis is volunteer Director of Independent Texans, the Texas PAC that brought the Nix Prop 6 coalition together. “The August 31 bloodletting at TWDB, with more cuts being made as we speak, is accompanied by the cultural change of a volunteer state board of 6 members with a $50K expense account to 3 paid appointees with a $1.9 million budget.  The giddiness of the ‘new and improved’ Perry TWDB, as they order new furniture and redecorate the place, has the look and feel of a slush fund. This was a pre-requisite for Prop 6’s changes in financing for a reason. This board of career bureaucrats will determine which projects are built, which investment bankers, lawyers, engineers, construction firms and consultants are hired to work on them. Even if Prop 6 fails, with the TWDB now fully in bed with Rick Perry, we have sounded the alarm that ordinary Texans must ready themselves for a protracted battle over our most precious resource – Texas water – just as we did on Perry’s road cash-cow, the Trans-Texas Corridor.”

HB 4, as originally introduced by Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland), Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and many other sponsors, structured SWIFT as a revolving loan fund, limited to financing the projects included in the state water plan. It was designed to work in concert with other TWDB financing programs, including Prop 2 evergreen bonding authority voters gave TWDB in 2011. “Voters were sold on Prop 2’s $6B, unprecedented revolving “bond bank” in 2011 because they feared the effects of drought, including the threatened shortages in water supply that would result if we didn’t immediately start building water projects,” said Curtis.

To date, no bonds have been issued under Prop 2 and, to the knowledge of the coalition, no applications from borrowers are pending. It would seem that borrowers have shunned Prop 2 as the solution to our water crisis. And now Prop 6, the latest solution to our “water emergency”, will not be available to serve any water needs of thirsty Texas communities until March, 2015.

TWDB sources agree Prop 2 bonds could be issued, without the Prop 6 money, for any water project that qualifies. “Instead of getting started on potentially more sensible infrastructure projects two years ago, the massive reservoir and groundwater transfer projects in the state water plan will probably move to the head of the line now, as indicated by House Speaker Joe Straus in his op-ed in last Sunday’s San Antonio Express-News. The bottom line seems to be, borrowers are not opposed to bond financing, they are simply holding out for a better deal,” said Curtis.

Prop 2 was also sold to voters as a way to fund water projects with absolutely no cost to taxpayers – those who benefitted from a loan would have to pay it back, in sufficient amounts to pay the related State bonds. In actual fact, this was a half-truth. Prop 2 did in fact allow the issuance of bonds, so-called “non self-supporting bonds”, that probably would require some subsidies from the State, typically from general revenue. “However, the Legislature was boxed in by their Prop 2 campaign promises of ‘no taxpayer cost’,” said Curtis. “They had to find a way to avoid appropriations but also avoid asking borrowers to pay more of the costs for their projects. We believe there is no doubt that special interest donors demanded that the Legislature ante up another source of State subsidies, especially for hugely expensive projects.”

Massive projects like reservoirs, pipelines and groundwater transfers take a long time to be completed and to generate revenues from ratepayers, but, coincidentally, they make a lot of money for all the special interests that work for the  public entity borrowers, including their private for-profit partners, consultants, investment bankers, lawyers, engineers, construction firms and the list goes on. “The continuing drought only encouraged the chicanery,” said Curtis. The coalition’s sources revealed that, prior to the 2013 legislative session, TWDB staff proposed a revolving loan fund, for loans to borrowers that would help defray the costs of borrowing that would otherwise require State subsidies. “However, the initial funding assumption for the loan fund soon grew to an unprecedented $2B at the behest of the Legislature, which one of our sources described as a ‘jaw-dropping’ amount. The handwriting was on the wall that something new and different was afoot,” said Curtis.

Prop 6 supporters are now proclaiming SWIFT as the solution to Prop 2’s inability to provide “critical loan enhancements” for large, long-term projects. “Why should we trust them now to get it right?” said Curtis. “We see Prop 6 as the culmination of the Legislature’s need to satisfy the special interests with potentially “free money”, while depriving taxpayers of any say in who gets the money, or on what terms, for water boondoggles. That need existed in 2011, but they didn’t tell us,” said Curtis.

Under HB 4, the $2B of seed money is expected to grow through investment of SWIFT’s fund balances. TWDB applied financial modeling to the proposed SWIFT to determine its investment growth potential to pay the “State’s portion” of the estimated $53B capital cost of the water plan. However, the mid-session rewrite of HB 4 changed SWIFT from a revolving loan fund to a fund that provides “support or revenue” for other TWDB bond programs. “This is where it gets complicated, but a good rule of thumb is to follow the money,” said Curtis.

As one source commented, Prop 6 was not going to be “a hunk of actual cash” to be loaned out to borrowers, and repaid, despite some Prop 6 supporters who continue to say otherwise. “Instead, Texas will increase its debt by continuing to borrow money through State general obligation bonds issued in the public markets,,” said Michele Gangnes, a rural water activist and public finance attorney. “Bond proceeds will still be used to make low-interest, deferred-payment loans to borrowers. However, the State usually owes Wall Street payments on the bonds at a higher interest rate than the borrower loan rate, and on a faster repayment schedule than the loan. Prop 6 money (SWIFT) will be used to pay that interest rate differential and make up deferred loan payments to Wall Street, with no guarantee when, or if, SWIFT will be fully repaid (for example, interest rate subsidies are rarely recouped by TWDB on the borrower side). Bottom line, the State keeps both Wall Street and borrowers happy, without appropriating general revenues and free from pesky taxpayer oversight. The special interests cash in through lucrative service contracts for the projects, legislators receive their campaign contributions for making it happen, and the ratepayers have not yet received the bill for the true cost of the project.”

Whether SWIFT funds provide additional security for TWDB’s bond programs, or pay a portion of the debt service on the bonds, funds will be transferred out of SWIFT, and out of its investment portfolio, to accomplish the bond issues. TWDB sources confirmed the complicated structure of TWDB’s various financing programs would affect when, and if, both principal and interest, or even principal alone, would actually be returned to SWIFT or repaid by borrowers to SWIFT.

The sources also pointed out the potentially profound negative effects on SWIFT’s growth over time when the “revolving loan” feature is stripped out.  Coincidental with the rewrite of HB 4 and without explanation, the financial modeling of the new structure’s growth potential was suddenly removed from TWDB oversight and sent to Estrada-Hinojosa, an outside investment banking firm with an interest in lucrative underwriting contracts for TWDB bond issues.

“According to our sources, Estrada-Hinojosa’s models continued to show fund growth sufficient to satisfy the State’s portion of the capital cost of the state water plan, a minimum of $27B, even after HB 4 was restructured.  They recalled that TWDB’s models of the original legislation never exceeded $11B. Knowing how uncertain fund balances would be under the new structure, TWDB staff suspected that the Estrada-Hinojosa models had been reverse-engineered and were overly optimistic,” said Gangnes. Thus, the Trojan Horse had launched the myths that Prop 6 will pay the State’s full share of building the state water plan, and that at least principal disbursed from SWIFT, if not principal and interest, will always be repaid to SWIFT.

In fact, without careful management by virtually brand-new and unproven management at TWDB, the coalition’s sources fear SWIFT may actually do very little to pay the State’s share of the water plan. SWIFT could be depleted if the initial $2B is used too quickly, on too many expensive projects, and with slow return, or no return, of funds disbursed. The restructured fund could also be subjected to restrictions on its investment yield, under the effect of federal tax rules. “These issues could have been avoided. But for a too-clever manipulation of the structure of SWIFT in mid-session, the original straightforward model of a revolving loan fund would have grown more reliably, with a more predictable effect on water financing,” said Gangnes. “Instead, ‘business as usual,’ crony politics seems assured, while the positive effects of Prop 6 are uncertain and not worth a $2B gamble by taxpayers.”

“Whether or not they really understood the changes to HB4 is anyone’s guess, but the fact is, Prop 6 is supported by all but a handful of legislators. The Nix Prop 6 coalition fully expects them to eagerly ‘follow the money’ that will flow into their campaign coffers from special interests, as a reward for blind loyalty,” said Curtis.  Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano), a Harvard MBA and tenacious challenger of Prop 6, was credited by one TWDB source as perhaps the only House member, other than Chairman Ritter, who was able to figure out what was going on with the restructured SWIFT.

Prior to the House vote on the final version of HB4, Taylor twice queried  Ritter about how SWIFT would operate. When asked whether “money would be lent from the fund with the expectation that the principal would be returned,” Ritter answered, “[T]hat’s correct. It is a revolving [sic] – back to the SWIFT. Yes, sir.” Rep. Taylor carefully rephrased and asked, “Okay, it’s a revolving fund. The intention is that the money goes out —the principal goes out —and the principal comes back?” Rep. Ritter again answered “[T]hat’s correct.”  Rep. Taylor’s parting words were “Okay. That’s extremely important. I’m glad that you stated that.” Since SWIFT is in fact not a revolving loan fund of the type that assures principal comes back, the coalition wonders if Chairman Ritter is happy with his answers to those questions.

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Breaking News on the Water Front from Milano Hearing — be there this Wednesday again!

Frankie Limmer, always dreaming of the next self-deal.

Just some of the citizens who came to Milano for local water control.

Check out the players in the pictures above were in Milano on February 28 and some of us will be there again on Wednesday, March 7th.   Come on over, if you can make it! (Milano Civic Center, 600 Avenue E), same time (10-4) — bring your lunch!  (Note: we need a notary to attend the Milano hearing.  If you can help please reply with your phone number.)
Folks, if ES experts are right, not only is there not enough water for End Op’s 100-mile pipeline from Bastrop & Lee counties’ aquifer, the current water plan will damage more than just the junior water rights holders, like east Texas rice farmers, who are already going to have their water cut-off.  Even some of the “Senior Rights Holders” — those who have first dibs with the oldest claims to water in Texas — are going to be SOL.
If End Op gets away with such a massive transport of water (71 million gallons per day), no community’s water is safe in Texas from these bandito buds of the Governor, including Comptroller Susan Combs who wrote a deceptive piece in today’s San Antonio paper sucking up (pun intended) to the growth lobby dudes cozy with the Governor.
Unless we missed someone — NO elected officials on either side of the political aisle were there.  NO Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt (Republican), NO Bastrop County Judge Ronny McDonald (Democrat – who’s perhaps too busy eyeing a Congressional seat) and NO Lee County Judge Fisher (Democrat).  NOT even candidates were there except Victor Gonzales, who is running for Bastrop County Commission in the Democratic primary.
Read our full report below and make sure you go all the way down the page so you can click on the link at the end that takes you to an affidavit.  You can just send an email to Joe Reynolds at TWDB  –deadlines are March 19th for Environmental Stewardship.
And, remember, the filing deadline for this upcoming election is now March 9!

The Full Report

This week, Freddie Limmer’s End Op, L.P. argued to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) that the desired future conditions (DFCs are the parameters set by the water code for pumping our aquifers) set by GMA 12 (Groundwater Management Area 12: Bastrop, Brazos, Burleson, Falls, Fayette, Freestone, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Navarro, Robertson and Williamson counties) were flawed.  Therefore, End Op attorneys argued, there’s plenty of water for them to move 71 million gallons per day, through a 100-mile pipeline (we call it the Trans-Texas Water Highway), from Bastrop and Lee counties’s aquifer (the Simsboro portion of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer) to Hays and Bexar counties.  Limmer is infamous for self-dealing, like his friend Rick Perry, for whom Frankie pushed no bid contracts to questionable people for tolls on roads already paid for while serving as a Williamson County Commissioner.

End Op attorneys argued that the existing DFCs will not allow enough additional permitting to accommodate Frankie’s mega-million dollar water deal. We say our aquifers are already over-permitted throughout GMA 12, without the further disaster of 14 more wells pumping 56,000 acre feet per year (71 million gallons per day), to Frankie and Rick’s pals.

We might all agree the DFC’s were not set as rigorously as the science of hydrology allows. But no matter whether you think the projected drawdowns are too high (we do!) or too low (Frankie and Ricky do!), you would have been wholly unimpressed by End Op’s hydrologist who testified to things like, “there’s a whole lot of water down there,” and “there’s water available for more years than our country has been in existence.” The End Op attorney’s description of the hydrologist’s scientific [sic] work as “unprecedented” was downright hilarious. More to the point, we don’t agree with their self-serving conclusion — that End Op should get the 71 million gallons per day for which they will be paid handsomely under their contract with Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) (more on that below).  GBRA will in turn use bonds issued by TWDB to build a 100-mile pipeline from Bastrop and Lee counties to help continue driving development along the I-35 corridor.

Folks, this need not be about driving growth so that the likes of Limmer can make money.  It needs to be about making growth – and these high roller friends of the Governor – pay their share of the costs of growth. Under current conditions, water will not be assigned its true value until the day we have to buy it back, for unaffordable prices.

Our hunch as to End Op’s game plan:

This is an educated guess and no, we’re not conspiracy theorists even when it comes to the Perry machine, but we see End Op (probably assisted by GBRA) using the water code petition process to begin making their case against our local groundwater conservation district for a takings lawsuit. (So much for Rick’s “tort reform.”)

End Op and Environmental Stewardship, like all petitioners who challenge DFCs for their regions, are asking TWDB to find the DFCs unreasonable.  If TWDB finds the DFCs unreasonable, TWDB recommends revisions to the GMA for possible action by the GMA.  But the whole petition process is so poorly designed, at least for petitions filed in this 5-year cycle of state water planning, the ugly truth is that it is unlikely TWDB will find any region’s DFCs unreasonable. The TWDB ruling on March 1 for two petitions filed in GMA 9 are good examples of how low the bar has been set for GMAs to defend their DFC calculations – the Board ruled against the petitions, finding that the DFCs are reasonable. This article was written prior to the ruling, but explains the issues involved in GMA 9.

So, while it is not likely the DFCs will be set aside in its favor, End Op probably has a new game, based on its reading of the recent Texas Supreme Court ruling in the Day case. In her February 29 argument, End Op’s lawyer highlighted the Day ruling that landowners have an ownership interest in groundwater in place under their land, and that adequate compensation may be owed under the “takings clause” of the Texas Constitution if governmental regulation of their right to pump water goes too far.  She not so subtly dangled the prospect of a lawsuit over the heads of the GMA districts, especially Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, whom she described as “local control gone rogue.”  She rattled off LPGCD’s denial (by placing a moratorium on permitting) of End Op’s right to produce groundwater after End Op invested “millions of dollars in an historic project,” while invoking “fear in the community” about a trumped up water shortage.  She characterized LPGCD as arbitrarily and unreasonably preserving water for local use, which she claimed is “as absurd as denying Austin jobs to anyone other than Austin residents.”

End Op also claims that GBRA has cancelled its contract to buy water from End Op because End Op can’t get its permits. While End Op’s attorney described the DFCs as regulations covered by the Day ruling, thus making GMA 12 a target, we could not help but notice the argument by a lawyer representing other groundwater districts in GMA 12 to the effect End Op’s beef seems more appropriately aimed at LPGCD, rather than at the GMA or the DFC process. So much for solidarity among the groundwater districts who regulate our water!

Let it be noted that End Op’s beef is really with citizens of Bastrop and Lee counties, with whom they don’t dare pick a direct fight.  They should lay off the LPGCD, who, in our eyes, are heroes and doing the best they can with a broken water code and state officials (from Perry down to many state reps) who are on the water take.

End Op’s DFC challenge, just like Environmental Stewardship’s next week, will not be acted on by TWDB until June 21. While the TWDB is likely to affirm the GMA 12 DFCs, TWDB has already begun state-assisted funding of the GBRA pipeline from Lee and Bastrop County to I-35.  Whether or not the Perry-appointees on the TWDB directly give End Op what they want, the GBRA 100-mile pipeline is very much alive and a very serious threat.  It’s a threat to long-term responsible water stewardship not only for Bastrop and Lee counties, but for the whole state.  If they get away with such a massive export of water, with state backed bonds, you can bet your wading boots all Texas true landowners and true conservationists are up the creek.

If TWDB does find in End-Op’s favor, after denying other petitions, the “fix” will definitely be apparent.  If they deny End Op’s petition, End Op will probably springboard into litigation mode, hoping to force the permits out of LPGCD another way.

A wild political guess:

Just for fun (and we stand to be corrected if you can), we’re guessing that the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority broke their contract with End Op to purchase water for the Hays/Bexar/IH-35 growth corridor to actually help End Op get set for a court case against LPGCD.  End Op will claim the loss of their multi-million dollar contract as part of their damages. But will that really stop the GBRA project?  Not likely — remember, GBRA is wholly enmeshed in the Perry gravy train, which is precisely why their former Vice-Chair, Clifton Thomas gave $251,000 to Perry’s last gubernatorial campaign.  We fear they will either get the water from End Op after all, if End Op is able to force LPGCD into granting the permits through litigation, or they will get the water from some other marketers in our counties (Alcoa?  Sustainable Water, formerly Water Texas?)  Remember, GBRA has received a $2.5 million secured loan from TWDB to research the 100-mile pipeline from Bastrop and Lee counties to the I-35 corridor, a project the TWDB has prioritized for further funding, despite protests from citizens in Bastrop and Lee. In short, there is no way the End Op lawyer’s plea that I-35 is “desperate” for water will fall on deaf ears of the Perry machine.

Here’s another real kick in the pants:

While End Op owns some land, it holds the bulk of its 17,000-acre holdings in Lee and Bastrop County through leases of water rights. A not so noticed provision in SB 332 (the “ownership of groundwater” bill passed under the nose of our legislators last session, who are either clueless, don’t give a damn or have leased their water, like Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt who is supposed to represent Bastrop and Lee county citizens) now seems coldly calculated to skew the Day case in favor of water marketers. SB332 amended the Water Code to essentially give private water vendors who lease water rights the same rights to groundwater ownership as Joe Blow landowner. We expect the ruling in Day will more than likely be construed to extend the takings protection to lessees of groundwater.

Wanna help?  Come to Milano again on Wednesday, March 7, 10-4 pm — Milano Civic Center, 600 Avenue E and bring your lunch.  You can also, whether you can attend or not, fill out an affidavit — click on the link below.

Click here and fill out this Affidavit if you live in GMA 12:  Bastrop, Brazos, Burleson, Falls, Fayette, Freestone, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Navarro, Robertson and Williamson counties.

Are you ready yet to stand up local control and sustainability of water? 

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Stop Formula 1 Subsidies!

In the midst of budget cuts on ordinary citizens, the state legislature has not yet seen fit to cut the billionaires at Formula 1 racing, who do not need a subsidy.  (Comptroller Susan Combs continues to push this $290M ($25M per year for 10 years) tax dollar giveaway.  It must be matched by either the City of Austin or the County of Travis by $4M per year.  

You can watch this video of Susan Moffat's testimony to the Austin City Council on Thursday (who's husband co-owns South by Southwest Music and Film Festivals, that's brought hundreds of million of dollars to Austin without a handout) or read the article by Pulitzer Prizing winning journalist, David Cay Johntson, to see what a turkey this deal is.
 
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1.  Call your Texas House or Senate member and tell them to cut the billionaires at F1.
2.  Get active!  Join us on our conference call TOMORROW (Monday) night at 8 pm. Just hit reply and we'll send details.
 
Thank you to the many who have called to ask the Governor to veto SB 341.  The Governor's line, again, is 512-463-2000.  They're just tallying numbers now, so it's a very quick call.
 
Hope to "see" ya tomorrow night at 8 on the conference call line.  Send a note to us at:  ljcurtis@indytexans.org if you want to join the call.  Give us your name, zip and phone.
 
Agenda for the call:
1.  Upcoming Texas elections.  Where can we elect an independent?
2.  What should we be doing this summer to help grow the independent movement?
3.  Your suggestions/ideas/brainstorm!
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Letters to Editors

A water war is coming to a head in the race for State Representative in Texas House District 17 (Bastrop, Burleson, Colorado, Fayette, Lee and a portion of Brazos counties). Independents are backing Democratic Pati Jacobs, and to defeat the Republican incumbent State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt. 
Read the rest of this entry »

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