Independent Texans

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.

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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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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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