Archive for June, 2014

Conference Call, Urgent Updates & Tell Tex

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We apologize for not getting this out to you sooner, but we have a good excuse. We've been working night and day to bring the issues that unify urban and rural Texas out to the public with a big bang and this dude, Tex, VERY SOON!

We'll be reporting about it on this Saturday’s conference call at 9 am. (Remember, we now hold these calls every other Saturday at 9 am). If you do not yet have the call-in instructions, just reply to this message or call us.

Here’s a quick report from last week and leading up to this Saturday's call:

  • We are working on a total makeover of our website, and planning crowdfunding (reaching large numbers of people for small donations), to get Texas independents on the map, in the media and on the radar of legislators.
  • We are working on a statewide petition drive to unite urban and rural Texans to protect our property rights, water, air and political rights. We'll share this on Saturday before we launch it, to get your feedback.
  • We are tracking important interim legislative hearings on groundwater – a full day of hearings yesterday and another today. We're going to give you a 15-minute report by League board member and water rights ace, Michele Gangnes! (Note that the 'hide the ball' tactics of the oil and gas industry were there too.)
  • We are setting up forums in S. Ft. Worth (August 16th) geared towards younger urban voters and picking up chapters in E. Texas! What about you? We're looking for you to help us set up more in July, August and September.
  • We are planning a statewide meeting to hammer out our plan for the 2015 legislative session. We will discuss the date and place this Saturday and how our by-laws are set up for chapter development and election to our statewide board.

Here's how you can help right now!

  1. Get your friends to sign up for FREE to receive our emails right here.
  2. Give us your beefs! Go here to Tell TEX -- he will explain it. The more original content (your folksy comments) we have, the more we're easily were more to be found on the internet. See Tex be bowled over by the brilliance of your comments!
  3. If you have already paid your dues, get a friend to join us! Those dues fuel our efforts to beat the big money! Join here.

That's it for now. Hope to "see" ya on Saturday. Ride 'em high (the lobbies that is) Texans!

PS Do you know how to do a 1-2 minute video? Let's talk!

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Release: “Why is the Railroad Commission Hiding From the Public?” asks Calvin Tillman

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For Immediate Release                                                                            June 19, 2014

DishTX-Mayor_jpg_800x1000_q100Former Mayor of the small north Texas town of DISH, Calvin Tillman, filed an open records request today asking the Railroad Commission to provide all correspondence between Railroad Commission officials and staff, the Office of the Governor, other public officials, lobbyists and private enterprises doing business before the RRC, related to “the decision by the RRC to ban staff from doing media interviews.” Click here for the open records request.

Tillman said, “For years, many local officials like myself, together with thousands of citizens, have done all we could to get the Railroad Commission to listen to the concerns we have about the potential for groundwater contamination, air pollution and destruction of a whole way of life we have in rural Texas by the oil and gas industry's new practice of hydraulic fracturing. My kids got so seriously ill, it forced me to resign and leave my own community. The Railroad Commission continues to demonstrate what we have known for years -- they are captives of the industry."

Michele Gangnes, water rights activist from Lee County and fellow board member to Tillman with the new League of Independent Voters of Texas, said, "The no-interview policy was put in place a couple of years ago, about the same time the production from fracking ramped up in Texas. But now that fracking, which the Railroad Commission is supposed to regulate, is in the spotlight as a serious contamination risk to our state’s groundwater, citizens are wondering why claims of groundwater contamination have to be emailed to the agency for an ‘official’ but anonymous staff response. And they wonder why the Railroad Commission continues to hide behind the oil and gas industry’s claims that fracking is perfectly safe.“

A recent WFAA report shed light on the fact that fracking practices in Texas pose very serious contamination risks to our groundwater, regardless of how many scientists for hire have claimed it cannot be proven. "To his credit, Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) who co-chairs the Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination, asked in a hearing on Monday whether wastewater from fracking has already contaminated underground brackish water, a potential source of fresh water from new mega-dollar desalination projects under consideration. That the question is even being asked by a Republican State Senator speaks volumes," said Linda Curtis, Executive Director of the League of Independent Voters.

Tillman, a lifelong Republican and now an unaffiliated independent, has been working with hundreds of local officials throughout the state who want more local control to protect their citizens from eminent domain abuse by pipeline companies and contamination from the fracking industry. Tillman is featured in the popular Gasland and Gasland 2 film documentaries. Gangnes is an attorney and long-time independent voter who helped lead the successful battle to stop the City of San Antonio's "water grab" of Lee and Bastrop counties’ groundwater over ten years ago. She is currently assisting another citizens revolt in those counties to "Stop the Water Grab" by water marketers and some area officials in the IH-35 growth corridor.

Tillman, Gangnes and longtime independent organizer, Linda Curtis, are working together to build the new non-profit, non-partisan citizens lobby for the state’s millions of non-aligned independent voters and to unite them with those who vote in either party primary and who want reform. The League's purpose is to “unite voters across partisan lines to protect what is uniquely Texan – our land, our water, our clear blue skies and the democratic republic for which we are supposed to stand.” The group's legislative agenda includes ending the practice of straight ticket voting. See more here.

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For more information:
Linda Curtis
League of Independent Voters of Texas
PO Box 651 * Bastrop, TX 78602
512-213-4511* 512-535-0989 home office * 512-657-2089 cell

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Success! Now help us spread it!

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We're starting to hit pay dirt! Read this and, if you haven't yet, please join the League, get a yard sign and get active y'all! IMG_4143

Starting tomorrow morning, we will have bi-weekly Saturday morning conference calls at 9 am. These are planning and strategy discussions for building the independent movement, and our call for local control, across Texas.

Want to join us for the call tomorrow? Call us at 512-213-4511 or email us at info@IndependentLeagueTX.org.

  • Our first Regional Round Up was a smashing success with 70 attendees from 13 counties! Many attendees are now working to set up chapters, get out “Stop the Water Grab” yard signs and more. If you want a yard sign, call us or reply!
  • Did you hear that the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas mysteriously shut down? Federal “regulators” have failed to make TransCanada disclose what, in fact, is going on. Read the release here. If you live in East Texas and want to work with Texas Pipeline Watch, please let us know and we'll hook you up.
  • It appears that taxpayer subsidies in the City of Austin are on hold – for now – until the entire council is elected this November under the new 10-1 voting district system! (The 10-1 voter initiative via petition drive, passed in 2012, continues a voter revolt in Travis County.) After giving away the store to some of the wealthiest (Apple) and sleaziest (Formula 1) outfits in the world, Austinites have had enough. Read how lame duck Mayor Lee Leffingwell weeps.

We have some more exciting plans to share...so watch for more next week or join us tomorrow.

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Breaking! Fracking & contamination proof is in! Come to Bastrop or bring us to your community!

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In the face of the long term denial and interference by the Railroad Commission, there is finally proof that fracking is contaminating our groundwater. Our keynote speaker tomorrow night, former Mayor and League Board Member Calvin Tillman, will explain this to you -- and read this!

We really hope to see you tomorrow night from 6 to 8 pm at the American Legion Hall in Bastrop, next to Bastrop State Park. Details here. (Read on even if you can't make it).

A few days ago, we told you about this outrageous shell game that Hays County officials are playing with private water profiteers (Forestar Real Estate Group) with public money and how they're messing with rural Texans who live east of the IH-35 growth corridor.

Today we are telling you that this isn't a rural problem. It is a rural, urban and surburban problem. (The Trans-Texas Corridor wasn't just a rural problem either. But it took us years to build a unified rural-urban revolt.)

We don't have that much time now. We need to be ready for the 2015 legislative session with a full blown movement for local control that unites citizens across the state and across party lines.

Come tomororow night to learn more about what how we can do this, but NOT without YOU!

If you can't get here, watch for a report next week and get ready to bring us to your community.

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New Independent Citizens Lobby Responds to Times Square “Come to Texas” San Marcos Ad Campaign

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On February 19th, Lee County landowners, residents and business owners issued this warning to the growth lobby, especially with investments in Hays County.
Lee and Bastrop Countians issued this tongue-in-cheek warning to the central Texas growth lobby in February. Ads in Times Square began running this week luring more people to Hays County.

            Simultaneously with an ad campaign in Times Square intended to lure more people to Hays County and partially paid for with public money, a new non-profit, non-partisan citizens lobby – the League of Independent Voters of Texas -- is throwing down in Bastrop, Texas. Citizens from throughout central Texas are coming to Bastrop this Saturday evening to join forces to “Stop the Water Grab” and “Protect Our Land, Our Water and Our Homes with Local Control” at the League’s first “Regional Round Up” from 6 to 8 pm at the American Legion next to Bastrop State Park. Details here.

            Michele Gangnes, Lee County water activist and League interim board member, said, “It is the height of arrogance for the Greater San Marcos Partnership to waste taxpayer money on jumbotron ads in New York City, while back at home Hays County officials are busy grabbing groundwater from Lee and Bastrop counties and loading ever more debt on to Hays County residents to pay for what they call 'inevitable growth'. Do they think anyone is fooled by this con game?”

            Gangnes cited the refusal of the Texas Attorney General to bless Hays County’s multi-million dollar contract with Forestar Real Estate Group to reserve vast amounts of Lee County water that Forestar has so far failed to secure. She said, “Until now, Forestar’s latest brazen move against our counties was to sue not only our local Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, but also the individual volunteer members of the district’s board to get either a permit for the water or millions of dollars in damages. If there were any doubt the ‘growth lobby’ is calling the shots in how public dollars are spent in this state, the teamwork of Forestar, Hays County and now the GSMP leaves no doubt.”

            The keynote speaker in Bastrop on Saturday is former North Texas small town Mayor Calvin Tillman, another interim board member of the new League of Independent Voters. Tillman is known throughout Texas and nationally for his work to enact genuine eminent domain reform and other private property protections, to secure more local control over pipeline routing and to assure responsible and respectful operations by the natural gas industry. In so doing, Tillman has worked with hundreds of local Texas officials. Tillman said, “The State of Texas has taken away more and more rights from local governments, but small towns are the purest form of democracy and should have the power to protect their citizens’ land, water and air. Partisanship is not the answer, and citizens need to unite across party lines to join the battle for local control of their lives and property.”

            The League’s volunteer Executive Director is Linda Curtis, a Bastrop resident who in 2012 helped lead a cross-partisan voter revolt via citizens petition in the city of Austin for passage of a charter amendment known as “10-1” for district City Council elections and the first independent citizens redistricting commission in the state of Texas. Curtis said, “Austinites used the power of local control through the citizens petition process so effectively that this November Austin voters will have the opportunity to give the central Texas ‘growth machine’ a big swift kick in the pants by electing an entirely new Council to represent each area of the City. Texans must unite now across party lines and prepare to go into the 2015 legislative session with a statewide movement for local control." Click here for details on the costs of growth.

            Like Hays County officials, many Central Texas officials have claimed that they can do nothing to take the foot off the gas pedal of unfettered growth in the midst of historic drought. Meanwhile, public-private partnerships like the Greater San Marcos Partnership, the Governor, and many legislators and other officials, on both sides of the aisle, are doing the bidding of the large-scale real estate lobby. The oil and gas lobby, which is supposedly regulated by the Railroad Commission, continues to allow frackers to use potable water for fracking and to risk contamination of groundwater, including the same water from Lee and Bastrop counties that is so coveted by the real estate developers. Click here for more on fracking risks.

Also reporting at this meeting are: James Abshier on Caldwell County citizens’ efforts against a landfill and John Mikus of Texans for Responsible Water and Energy on efforts to protect land, air and water against coal and fracking activities in Fayette County. The remainder of this event is designed for citizens to strategize on what actions they can take to rein in the lobbies that are running roughshod over citizens and local communities.

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For more information:

Linda Curtis, Director
League of Independent Voters of Texas
512-213-4511 * info@IndependentLeagueTX.org

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