eminent domain

Nix Prop 6, We got in some licks! Bastrop/Lee/Hays Water War Escalates, East Texas Hearings!

Things are happening across Texas!  If they’re not happening where you are, we’ll help you make it happen.

Join us this Saturday, 9 a.m. on a statewide conference call if you want to help defeat Proposition 6, the “Water Heist Amendment” on the November ballot.  Just reply to this message.  We’ll send out the conference call line tomorrow or call us if you need to.


On Tuesday, Texas House Speaker Straus was with the big shots at the Dallas Chamber of Commerce touting Prop 6 to some of the state’s biggest water hogs.  The Speaker might be a little miffed at reporter, Gordon Dickson (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram), who decided to do a balanced piece on Prop 6. Yours truly got in some good licks! Check it out here:  http://www.indytexans.com/wp-content/uploads/Support-flows-opposition-simmers-for-water-funding-Local-Star-Telegram.com_.pdf

Did you know there are three pipelines carrying highly toxic substances across East Texas?  A new independent outfit — the League of Independent Voters of Texas — is working with landowners and residents to push for public hearings on eminent domain abuse, public safety and protection of water resources in connection with three pipelines (the Keystone XL, Pegasus and Seaway) carrying diluted bitumen (aka “tar sands”).  If you live in East Texas or want to help from wherever you are, sign in at the Texas Pipeline Watch website here: TexasPipelineWatch.org 


The Hays County Commissioners Court, led by Hays County Judge Bert Cobb, pulled a fast one on Tuesday, getting into bed with Forestar Real Estate Group so they can — together — covet their neighbor’s water (Bastrop and Lee County). Cobb even had the temerity to proclaim that he’s for local control!  He must mean his local control over Lee and Bastrop counties’ water.  The 5-0 vote of the Commission was followed by a genuinely cowardly move to ask Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to cover their behinds with a ruling that they’re doing this legally.  Read it here:  http://www.indytexans.com/2013/09/26/hays-county-commission-covets-thy-neighbors-water-with-a-little-bit-of-help-from-their-tricky-friends-in-bastroplee-counties/ 

Meanwhile, we hope to see you lovely Hays County folks, regardless of your party affiliation or lack thereof, at the Hays Constitutional Republican meeting next Wednesday.  Michele Gangnes and I are coming down from Bastrop. We speak just after Republican primary candidate for Governor, Tom Pauken.

Hays Constitutional Republicans Meeting, Wednesday, October 2
Wimberley VFW Post 6551
401 Jacob’s Well Road
Curtis and Gangnes speak on Prop 6 at 7:30 pm (meeting starts at 6)


Landowners lost a skirmish in the water war by being denied a voice in the proceedings by the State Office of Administrative Hearings Judge, who is presiding over the hearing for Aqua Water’s challenge to the  EndOp permit application for 56K acre-feet/year from the Simsboro aquifer.  Just understand that even if Aqua and EndOp settle, which some observers are predicting, it will then go back to the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Board for their decision on the permit itself.  We thoroughly expect the good folks on the Lost Pines GCD to stand tall against EndOp, as they did with Forestar and LCRA. We — the people — need to continue to step up and organize to protect our water as we speak the truth about who is selling us out. We need to start naming names, Y’all.  We’re starting that real soon so pay attention!

“We have just begun to fight!”  John Paul Jones


Release: Left and Right Put Squeeze on Politics As Usual at Independent Texans Convention

Independent Texans, a citizen’s political action committee founded in 2001, is holding the first political convention for Texas independents.  The group is calling together an unlikely coalition, from tea party to green party and from all political parties, for their “Building Cross-Partisan Coalitions” convention to be held in Bastrop on Saturday, September 21st at the Bastrop Convention Center. The event is co-sponsored by ChangeAustin.org, Texas TURF, Texans for Accountable Government and Texas Pipeline Watch.

Linda Curtis, founder of Independent Texans, is known as a cross-partisan coalition builder that gets results. Independent Texans helped coordinate the electoral efforts to defeat the Trans-Texas Coordinator. Curtis, through ChangeAustin.org (co-founded by real estate developer and whistle-blower, Brian Rodgers) coordinated a broad coalition that won the recent monumental change in the City of Austin’s governance to single-member districts and the first citizen’s redistricting commission in Texas.

Curtis said, “This event is really about the guts and true grit of ordinary Texans who are standing up to the stampede of officials, from city to state, who refuse to lead the fight to protect our most precious resources — land and water — and our political rights to honest representation. Can we tame growing eminent domain abuse by pipelines, especially the three carrying tar sands in East Texas? Can we build a coalition to defeat Constitutional Amendment 6 — a water slush fund? Happy trails to Bastrop to all those who care to get some answers.”

The convention line up begins with Debra Medina. Medina rocked the Republican establishment in 2010 running against Perry and Hutchison in the primary and receiving 20% of the vote. Medina, now running for Comptroller in the Republican primary, will share the stage with her friend and tea party Republican Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview).  Simpson’s first name — David — is true to his spirit, having also taken on the Republican establishment, running against Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio). On the same panel is nationally known TransCanada/Keystone XL opponent and NE Texas farmer, Julia Trigg Crawford. Tom “Smitty” Smith, longtime leader of Public Citizen, rounds out the panel in a left-right coalition uniting for eminent domain reform and pipeline safety.

Independent Texans recently sent a letter to Lt. Governor Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus asking them to heed the call by Debra Medina, Julia Trigg Crawford and former Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Jim Hightower, urging an Interim Study and public hearings related to the dangers posed by three pipelines carrying diluted bitumen (tar sands) in East Texas. Dewhurst’s office response was that he is “very busy.”  Straus has had no response.

See letter to Dewhurst and Straus here:  http://www.indytexans.com/wp-content/uploads/Letter-Dewhurst-Straus.pd

The water issue will be prominent at this event and a key reason why the event is being held in Bastrop.  Bastrop is becoming known as the home of the Texas water wars on plans to move groundwater from rural counties to growth corridors. A debate will take place between proponents and opponents of Constitutional Amendment 6, the water amendment on the November ballot, after which a straw poll will be taken. Additional speakers are Calvin Tillman, former mayor of DISH, Alyssa Burgin, Texas Drought Project, Malcolm Harris, Esq. of Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, Michele Gangnes, Esq. of Neighbors for Neighbors and the Lost Pines Water Defense Fund, Rita Beving of Public Citizen, Barry Klein of the Houston Property Rights Association, Steve Box of Environmental Stewardship, Phil Cook of Sierra Club, Heather Fazio, Texans for Accountable Government, and leading members of Austinites for Geographic Representation.

See the convention agenda and most bios are here:  http://www.indytexans.com/convention/

Independent Texans will release a white paper on Constitutional Amendment 6 in the coming days.

For more information, call Linda Curtis at 512-535-0989 or email her at:  ljcurtis@indytexans.org.


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.


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




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.



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:


Why don't you share this with your friends, please:

Make Growth Pay for Itself

No Vista Ridge/San Antone Hose