Dear Lt. Governor:
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:
- Call for the Attorney General to investigate SAWS’ potential violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, now in litigation;
- 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
- 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?
Linda Curtis, Independent Texans