Bastrop County

Updates! Petition drives, sludge & the BIG news on the water defense front

Enjoy and share these updates from our website links on this page or from our Facebook page here.

Let us ask you a question. What’s holding you back from planning a meeting to organize in your area? We’re

Join the conference call!

Call us at 512-535-0989

here, waiting by the phone. ===>

►Bastrop Petition Drives: News hit the media big in the Statesman, Time Warner Cable News, and KLBJ. These two petition drives are to 1. set reasonable petition requirements in the City of Bastrop, and 2. recall Mayor Ken Kesslus. The letter detailing this effort and the petitions are on this page. Petitions must be signed on paper (not the internet) by city of Bastrop voters only. The petitions can be printed out and mailed or brought to us at the Bastrop City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 12th at 6:30 pm at 1311 Chestnut. Donations of funds are also needed to Independent Texans PAC for this effort — donation details are here

►Cedar Creek (Bastrop County) Area Sludge Update: This coming Monday morning, the Bastrop County Commissioners Court will consider passing a resolution opposing Denali Water Solutions LLC’s sewage sludge permit application. See the Court’s agenda here. See the resolution and additional information on pages 1-3 here of the backup for this meeting. A steering committee meeting will be called soon for those of you who want to be actively engaged on this issue in the Cedar Creek, Red Rock and Rockne area of Bastrop County. Please reply if you to want to get involved with the Steering Committee.

THE MOST IMPORTANT WATER NEWS YET FOR ALL CENTRAL TEXANS! A new 501(c)(3) water defense non-profit organization is organizing to protect and defend the coveted Simsboro and other formations of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer underlying Bastrop, Lee, Milam and Burleson counties and other central Texas counties, as well as the property rights of those who seek to preserve our aquifers for future generations — the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund. We encourage you to make a tax-deductible contribution to SAWDF after you read this post by Environmental Stewardship. If you want to get involved in this, please contact Michele Gangnes at this email address.

That’s it for now, folks. Ain’t that enough?

Share

The test case for disasters of all kinds: Bastrop

Bastrop seems to be the test case of all terrible things going on in Texas. Just this year, Bastrop has had three disasters declared from fires and floods, preceded by all manner of mega-water raids. Here’s our most current — and we think more easily stopped — disasters. Use this!

Disaster # 1:
A company is trying to secure a permit from the overly permissive TCEQ to dump sewage sludge (Class B Scan 7Biosolids) over 2,000 acres in the high growth Cedar Creek area — we kid you not. The site lies between Highways 71, 21, 20 and FM 535. Much is in the flood plain and it runs adjacent to Cedar Creek. We’re hosting a community meeting next Tuesday, June 28th, at the VFW in Rockne at 1503 Highway 20 from 6:30 to 8 pm. Share this flier  with your friends across Bastrop County, especially in the Cedar Creek, Rockne and the Red Rock area. (If you live in any of these areas or Bastrop County, we still need you to file comments too at the TCEQ — click here for instructions). You can share all of the above at this link here.

Disaster #2:
We made a huge mistake inadequately warning City of Bastrop voters during the May

Attorney Glenn Johnson confronts Bastrop Mayor Ken Kesselus at June 21 Specially Called Executive Session

Attorney Glenn Johnson confronts Bastrop Mayor Ken Kesselus at June 21 Specially Called Executive Session

election about the dangers of giving Mayor Ken Kesselus majority control of the Council. Despite not having done his homework and making a fool of himself last night, the term limited Mayor (May 2017) appears hellbent on axing management that won’t roll over for him, even if it means shredding open government. Read and share this:  Rogues, Raiders and Recall

Perhaps a Blessing in Austin:  It appears that City Manager Marc Ott, dubbed “Gentrifier-in-Chief” by Austin’s affordability watch-dogs, may be leaving. He was asked to by a wide array of citizens. (That’s a whole different kettle of fish than the Kesselus’ fiasco we witnessed last night at Bastrop City Hall.)

Even in politics Newton’s laws of physics apply. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Get ready for the fallout.

Did we can use more volunteers? We do.

Share

Wednesday’s Water Hearing – y’all come and bring some!

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 7.46.09 PMLost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Holds Hearing on End Op, L.P. Permit Demand for 46,000 acre-feet of groundwater from the Simsboro
Wednesday, June 15, 7 pm
Bastrop City Hall, 1311 Chestnut, Bastrop, Texas

►It’s been 3 years since End Op, L.P. filed its permit demand for 56,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year for 5 years. Meanwhile, the 50,000 acre-feet, 20 year permit demand for Vista Ridge (the San Antone Hose) and the Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group permit for 28,500 acre-feet per year have overshadowed the End Op permit.

All three permits threaten the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer underlying Lee, Bastrop, Milam and Burleson counties and constitute only half of the new demands coming after Simsboro water.

Conclusion:  The siege on the Simsboro is all too real and we better get ready.

A little background:  Three years ago Aqua Water Supply

Legal Team and Landowners fighting for a seat at the table on the End Op Permit

Legal Team and Landowners fighting for a seat at the table on the End Op Permit

Corporation contested the End Op permit and so did four landowners (Betz Brown, Darwyn Hanna, Andy Meyer and Environmental Stewardship). Lost Pines punted this dispute to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The SOAH judge granted Aqua Water party status, a seat at the table to contest and negotiate the permit. Landowners were denied a seat. That denial went back to the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District board and they too supported keeping the landowners out.

What happened at the SOAH hearings: It was poorly argued by the Lost Pines District lawyers. They botched the witness testimony after Aqua Water settled in advance of the hearing. Aqua simply defended their ratepayers resulting in a small reduction of the permit to 46,000 acre-feet. Aqua received $15 million to cover the costs of digging deeper wells. Landowners were hung out to dry with a token “mitigation agreement” thrown into the Aqua settlement for propaganda purposes. End Op got an unexamined hearing record that loaded the deck in favor of its massive demand.

Friends across the Simsboro — this is why landowners have a case in District Court disputing their denial of party status and are awaiting a decision by the Lost Pines GCD on the End Op permit. We told you to get ready, didn’t we?

The timeline: Lost Pines GCD will hear public testimony and take no action, but they will likely set a date soon to take action on the End Op permit. We assume Lost Pines will give End Op a permit. For how much and under what circumstances is the question. Will they do the science that will be asked of them to protect the aquifer? Will Lost Pines reverse course on their current tact to shut landowners out and make a clear move to protect our property rights and Simsboro communities own water futures? And there are plenty more questions likely to be asked of the courts.

Click here for Environmental Stewardship’s concerns about the science.

Landowners are fully expected to be in court soon. We ask you to support them. Their fight is our fight.

See you tomorrow night.

P.S. Bring your checkbooks for the legal fund and join us at La Hacienda following the hearing.

Share

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!

Share

Bastop Needs to Get this Election Right

April 25th Bastrop City Council Debate sponsored by Independent Texans PAC

April 25th Bastrop City Council Debate sponsored by Independent Texans PAC

As we see it, this election is about how the city of Bastrop is going to handle growth from the folks fleeing Austin’s affordability crisis. We don’t have to repeat Austin’s mistakes. Bastrop — the city and county — are also far more vulnerable to an affordability crisis, which is why it’s so important that everyone plays fair and by the same set of rules.

We thank the four candidates running in two contested Bastrop city council seat elections for their participation in our candidate forum on Monday night.

They are Place 1 candidates, Bill Peterson and Herb Goldsmith and Place 5 candidates, Kelly Gilleland and Deborah Jones.

Early voting is underway and continues through next Tuesday, May 3rd, Election Day is Saturday, May 7th.

To watch the forum click on the video window above, then scroll down to the second forum — April 25th.

Here’s a short article in the Statesman about the Place 5 race (Gilleland v. Jones).

Here’s a short articles in the Statesman about the Place 1 race (Goldsmith v. Peterson).

Please share this with your Bastrop voting friends by forwarding this message or through our Facebook page here.

We at Independent Texans are not endorsing in this race as we think the process for this election — so far — has been open and fair.

Moreover, we think you can figure this one out for yourselves, but DO watch the tape and talk to your neighbors.

Gracias, y’all.

PS We wish to sincerely thank the City of Bastrop for allowing us to use City Hall and their streaming facilities (BTXN.TV) for this event.

Share

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

Archives
Share