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Reminder! The Texas gold rush on groundwater, your land and our elections are up for grabs! Can we grab it back? Join us tomorrow at Our Water, Our Land, Our Elections Lobby Day (Friday, March 24) anytime from 10-4 (preferably high noon) at the Capitol, room E2.002. And join us on Saturday at the Texas Populism Conference in Cedar Creek! (Read this overview before you come to either event -- it will be in your extensive packets).
Saturday's Texas Populism Conference in Cedar Creek
is going to be a doozy with these new additions!
Julie Nitsch, ACC Trusteenew speakers!
- Texas populist Democratic firebrand, David Van Os
- Houston Property Rights, Barry Klein
- Austin's 10-1 communications maven and daughter of East Texas, Jessica Ellison and
- Newly Elected ACC Trustee, Julie Nitsch ===►
Can we come together with a deep concern for the thing we at LIV cherish most -- civil and smart deliberation for the greater good? We shall see!
We link to this fascinating discussion on Jonathan Tilove's blog -- this interview with ABC commentator Matthew Dowd, now resident of Wimberley. His consideration to run as an independent against Ted Cruz is not actually the most interesting part of this --- he's talking about his deep concern for deliberative small "d" democracy -- our brand of populism!
►PS Don't forget a VERY critical Vista Ridge hearing next Tuesday night 6:30 pm in Milano for Milam and Burleson counties! See our events calendar, share it or call us.
You will be kicking yourself if you miss these events on Friday and Saturday.
Register now and please come to the Capitol on Friday to join us in our first Lobby Day -- Our Water, Our Land, Our Elections!
On Saturday, join us in Cedar Creek for the Texas Populism Conference: Building the Independent Rural-Urban Alliance! Please register by 3 tomorrow to get the best lunch on the menu.
With 50% of Millennial voters now self-declared independents, these events are most about the incoming generation. But be there, no
matter what your generation.
We're including this 3-minute video sent to us from West Texas landowner Kirby Franklin Warnock just in case you missed it a few days ago. It says it all about what we're fighting for -- with passion and humor.
We can at least promise you that we're not all talk and no hat.
Git' along you little dogies and register now!
Watch this extraordinary touching 3-minute video from West Texas filmmaker Kirby Franklin Warnock. ==►
Did you see who's helping water bully, Claytie Williams, in his quest to export water from Ft. Stockton, recently denied by a court? Why, it's "Mr. Balkanizer" who now chairs Texas House Natural Resources Committee. Be sure to watch that last frame -- it would be hilarious if if weren't too true.
Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Perry, who chairs Senate Ag, Water and Rural Affairs, suddenly sprang this bill (HB 1172) on food growers' local control to protect their crops and local citizens. Perry files it late, gives himself a quick hearing in HIS OWN Committee and he calls that fair? Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance wants you to take action on this bull.
Listen up, people.
We don't have to put up with this.
Do this, por favor!
- Call Senator Charles Perry (512-463-0128) and Rep. Lyle Larson (512-463-0646). Tell the staffer who answers the phone that you would appreciate it if Rep. Larson or Sen. Perry would please stop abusing their authority.
- Register for Our Water, Our Land, Our Elections Lobby Day now and come to the Capitol on Friday, March 24. We'll get you all set to visit your reps.
- Register for the Texas Populism Conference: Building the Independent Rural-Urban Alliance now for Saturday, March 25 in Cedar Creek!
Want to talk directly with your representatives? Find them here.
One more thing. Share this message, won't you?
PS Hey San Antonio, we're co-sponsoring an event about Vista Ridge on April 6. Check our events calendar and please share!
Keeping Texans divided into two parties and at each other's throats is a great way to further open the door to corporate lobbies and profiteers, especially after an election that gave us so little choice.
Wipe your eyes and take a look at who's blowing their cover in today's press release!: Texas Populists Building Independent Rural-Urban Alliance to Protect Water, Land and Elections.
Reserve a seat now to help grow a united Texas independent political movement -- no matter which candidate you voted for last November:
Yesterday's hearing to end "one-punch" straight ticket voting in Texas (HB 25) is a big sock in the kisser for the two-party monopoly! Watch the hearing. (LIV's Tom Glass testifies at 19:41). This top priority bill for LIV and Texans for Electoral Competition has a real shot, if we take it.
To do that, we need to see your kisser on March 24th & 25th.
For Immediate Release
Texas Populists Building Independent Rural-Urban Alliance
to Protect Water, Land and Elections
Bastrop, TX, 6:00 am: Leaders of the non-partisan, non-profit League of Independent Voters of Texas (LIV) put out the call for Texans to help disengage citizens from partisan warfare and to unite across urban and rural Texas to protect their common and vital interests -- water, land, and elections. They will be joining hands at the Texas Capital on Friday, March 24th for “Our Water, Our Land, Our Elections Lobby Day”, followed the next day by the “Texas Populism Conference: Building the Independent Rural-Urban Alliance” at McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Cedar Creek.
Samantha “Sam” Davis, a former senior staffer for the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign and new to the LIV Board, said, “The power of populism lies in our ability to unite people to take the power away from those who are set to do real and permanent harm to future generations. Protests are a show of people power, but chances are that you’re still going to have limited or no choice when you walk into the voting booth. That is what we need to change.”
Simsboro Aquifer activist and LIV Board member, Michele Gangnes, said, “The water grid that we called Gridzilla in the last session is back on steroids. At the same time opposition to mass transport of groundwater, also known as the California Water Model, is mounting among ordinary citizens. Landowners don’t want their water taken on the cheap for real estate deals and urbanites don’t want to be saddled with more and more costs of growth. It’s time to unite, regardless of who we voted for last November.”
Calvin Tillman, City Council member of the small town of Aubrey and LIV Board Member said, “Eminent domain for private gain has rural Texans fit to be tied with 9,000 entities that can seize private land. Though we strongly support the reforms carried in this session by Texans for Property Rights, they are not near enough to deal with the cronyism in state agencies that has put rural and urban citizens in the crosshairs of the war between the two parties.”
Both events will cover signature issues at the League of Independent Voters and Texans for Electoral Competition – an ad hoc coalition involving LIV, the Libertarian, Green and Constitution parties, Left Up to Us and Texans for Accountable Government dedicated to:
- Ending the water grabs,
- Stopping eminent domain for private gain, and
- Opening up our electoral process to competitive elections, thereby freeing the millions of Texans who call themselves simply "independent" to exercise their power as voters for change.
More information can be found at IndependentLeagueTX.org or by calling LIV at 512-213.4511.
Yesterday was the last day to file bills (other than local) to be considered in the 2017 Texas Legislative Session.
On the water front there's been a flood (pardon the pun) of bad bills from...you guessed it, from water BULLies on rural Texas and urban ratepayers. Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) who now chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, waited until late yesterday to file his omnibus water bill (HB 31). No doubt it will be comparable to the omnibus water bill (SB 1392) filed by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), chair of the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Committee.
There were some VERY good ones too from both urban and rural legislators. Here's a real doozy of a surprise:
House Bill (HB) 3996, filed by Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) also last minute, calls for Sunset Review of San Antonio Water System (SAWS)! Citizens across the region all know SAWS for its water bullying ways -- including, of course, the water boondoggle of the century Vista Ridge aka the "San Antone Hose".
Here's what you can do to take the bull by the horns:
►Join us this Wednesday, March 15, at 7 pm at Bastrop City Hall for the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Meeting to learn more about the bills.
►Register now for Our Water, Our Land, Our Elections Lobby Day on Friday, March 24th at the Capitol.
►Attend the Texas Populism Conference: Building the Independent Rural-Urban Alliance on March 25th at McKinney Roughs Nature Trail in Cedar Creek.
Make sure you've watched the 17-minute in-depth video, "I Oppose the San Antone Hose" and share it with your rural and urban friends. Tell your friends it's time to unite at these events!
The session ends on Memorial Day, May 29th. A whole lot can happen in between now and then.
We especially need more volunteers now. Call us or reply to lend a hand.
PS We will be testifying on Monday for HB 25 -- ending straight ticket voting in Texas -- and against a bad little petition bill, HB 907. Contact us for details.
We here at the League of Independent Voters are not willing to stand there and take what this guy is taking. Are you?
While the country appears irreversibly divided, many ordinary citizens are coming to us and asking "how can I become an independent?" Who knows, maybe there's a chance to save the republic before the two parties' war on each other destroys us and our system of government based on consensus.
What are Texas officials doing? They are locked in fake fight -- the "great potty political debate" (the bathroom bill) -- at the same time an immense and truly immoral transfer of wealth is happening right under their noses. That transfer is the mass movement by profiteers of groundwater (our most valuable Texas resource) to the growth corridors by abusing government condemnation of private property to make it happen. We call it eminent domain for private gain. Millions of people are facing unaffordability, aquifers we depend on face damage or depletion, and the next generation's future is stolen.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick's appointee, Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), will be rolling out his omnibus water bill, likely on the last day to file a bill -- March 10th. (UPDATE: the bill was released on March 7th -- more coming soon!) Perry held closed interim hearings throughout 2016 and is -- unbelievably -- keeping his bill secret. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has also appointed water grabbing Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) to chair the House Natural Resources Committee. He's the guy who wantonly calls landowners “Balkanizers” if they do not want to sell their water, as if they are wrong-headed rebels who just won’t get with the program. Larson just introduced a bill (HB 2948) to add yet another layer of bureaucracy to the convoluted water code, we suspect for the purpose of adding more opportunities to game it.
You're probably asking yourself, who do these people think they are? The real question is who do we think WE are?
Come join us to answer both those questions! We humbly request that you show up at these urgently important TWO events -- regardless of your party persuasion or who you voted for in the last election:
Please register NOW! Click on the links for each event below for March 24th & 25th
Come to this! Our Water, Our Land and Our Elections Lobby Day -- Friday, March 24th. Reserve a seat NOW for this FREE event at the Capitol. It's from 10 to 4, but show up at noon if you can. For details:
Come to this the next day, Saturday, March 25th:
Texas Populism Conference: Building the Independent Rural-Urban Alliance at McKinney Roughs Nature Trail in Cedar Creek. It's just $25, including lunch, or $15 and you can bring your own. For more info:
Both these events (on Friday, March 24th and Saturday, March 25th) are all about our signature issues here at the League of Independent Voters:
- Ending the water grabs,
- Ending eminent domain for private gain, and
- Opening up our electoral process to competitive elections, thereby freeing the millions of Texans who call themselves simply "independent" to exercise their power as voters for change. (Read about Texans for Electoral Competition here).
The March 25th conference will begin with this question:
►Can citizens from across partisan lines – rural and urban -- work together with both major parties increasingly at war? Or are we just beating our heads against the wall? Let's discuss, you decide.
The League is also establishing a writing team for the independent movement. If you're interested, give us a call or reply to this message.
Please share these events widely. Get a move on, you little dogies. United we stand, divided we fall, y'all.
Are UT Dell Medical School and State Senator Kirk Watson
Misspending Central Healthcare Hospital District Funds?
Austin, 2:30 pm: UT Dell Medical School appears to be misspending taxpayer dollars committed to the Central Healthcare Hospital District. If they are, this raises serious questions about potential violations of law and the public trust, so says longtime reform attorney, Fred Lewis and former State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos (D-Austin). Linda Curtis of Independent Texans is raising questions about her own State Senator, Kirk Watson’s law firm having benefited from it.
From UT's own financial records, the reports shows 84% of all UT Dell Medical School compensation is paid for with Central Health funds and the vast majority of these expenditures are going to personnel who do not provide any health care of any kind.
Linda Curtis of Independent Texans PAC said, “Everyone knows that Senator Watson has been the leading cheerleader for building the medical school, which is fine. However, when he failed to pass legislation in 2011 (SB 821) to authorize Central Health to help pay for medical education, I believe he continued to find ways to get his way. Senator Watson nor UT can now claim that in 2012, when Travis County voters gave the Health District the right to increase property taxes, they also gave them the power to do what SB 821, in its failure, did not do for them. Spending tens of millions of dollars per year -- for things other than health care -- is a rip off of low-income citizens, not to mention all who are paying for it.”
Lewis remarked that, “No other hospital district in Texas, to our knowledge, has funded a medical school’s non-health care services. Hospital districts typically contract with medical schools to provide health care for the poor, but no hospital district other than Central Health funds non-health care services of medical schools.”
Former longtime State Senator for the Austin area, Gonzalo Barrientos, helped draft the bill that passed in the 2003 legislative session to allow for the creation of the Central Healthcare Hospital District. Barrientos commented, “My intent in passing the law that we passed in the legislature was to create a district that medically treated poor people, not tomorrow, not next week, not next year but right now when they’re hurting.”
Senator Kirk Watson is a partner at Husch Blackwell LLP. The firm represents Central Healthcare Hospital District and has paid Watson's firm over $3 million.
For more details on matters contained in this release, see these 4 charts and the Fred Lewis report.
For More Information:
Linda Curtis, Independent Texans, PAC 512-657-2089
Texans for Electoral Competition
The signers of this letter represent an array of Texans across party lines and ideology that recently formed a coalition -- Texans for Electoral Competition. TEC intends to engage in supporting and opposing legislation in the 2017 legislative session to open up electoral competition for all Texans. You are receiving this letter to invite you to join our coalition.
Our broad concern -- one that grew out of what we all witnessed in this last election -- is that the major party machines have worked to shut down competition within their parties and from those outside the two-party duopoly. Yet, a clear plurality of voters since the 2002 Gallup poll have self-identified as “independent” and a majority of major party voters expressed clear support for “more choices”.
Our specific goals in the 2017 Texas Legislative Session are to:
* Win fair ballot access for independent candidates and other parties.
* End "one-punch" straight ticket voting thereby encouraging voters to learn more
about individual candidates, their platforms and qualifications.
* Protect petition rights, a right Texans have enjoyed in home rule cities since 1912.
* Protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that they are verifiable.
* Support real redistricting reform.
The coalition meets every Wednesday night for 1-hour conference calls from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. Please join us on the call and bring your questions. Contact one of us below to get call information.
We are planning a lobby day on Friday, March 24th at the Capitol to be followed by a panel at the “Texas Populism” conference on Saturday, March 25th in Cedar Creek. Mark your calendars and watch for event details.
Click here for a paper — Death By a Thousand Signatures — by attorney Oliver Hall, a founder and counsel to the Center for Competitive Democracy in Washington, D.C.. His paper lays out some important history about how, over the last 50 years, America’s political system has become a virtual monopoly by the major party machines.
Thank you for caring about our democracy and we look forward to speaking with you and your organization.
For now, please consider liking and sharing our Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/txelections.
TEXANS FOR ELECTORAL COMPETITION
Linda Curtis, League of Independent Voters, Volunteer Coordinator 512.213.4511
katija gruene, Secretary, Green Party of Texas, 210.471.1791
Mark Miller, Libertarian Party of Texas, Vice-Chair, 512.789.6957
Mike Lewis, Left Up to Us, 719.337.6635
The Texas Water Development Board heeded our insistence that their two-day conference starting tomorrow at UT’s AT&T Conference Center is a public meeting. That means the door is open (without the $525 charge!) so long as you do not eat or drink. We hear there are plenty of public water fountains!
If you’re going, just check in with the lovely people at the Registration Desk, get your badge and packet, and enjoy.
Click here to the Conference Page
We can use some help taping some of the sessions and have extra tape recorders.
Text us at 512.657.2089 or call the main number at 512.213.4511 and leave a message –- the message is then sent to us -- or reply to this email for more information.
We owe a huge thank you to the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, and one of their volunteer attorneys who happened to be on call that day, while on vacation mind you – Austin’s own open government watchdog, Bill Aleshire. No doubt, Aleshire’s finesse and knowledge of the law made a huge difference. FOIFT is a non-profit organization dedicated to transparency in Texas government.
Reminder! Join the Conference CALL this Wednesday night at 8 pm. We’ll report on the TWDB Conference – and LIV’s legislative agenda and tactics -- and give you a head start on the expected chaos at the 2017 Texas legislative session.
Call your Dial-In Number: (515) 739-1544
Enter your Access Code: 276555
LIV Board Member Jeff Harper will be in Arlington THIS Saturday with Linda Curtis of Independent Texans PAC. Linda will speak at 1:15 on “Petition Rights: The Source of Citizen Power to Take Back Their Towns”. More here
Here's today's Statesman story on the TWDB open government tussle.
Here's today's Austin Monitor story too!
Take back your towns and Texas, join the LIV and get involved!