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.
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.
We applaud the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District’s decision yesterday to extend the comment period on the proposed settlement with Forestar Real Estate Group until December 16th.
They have also cancelled their meeting this Wednesday (tomorrow) and have yet to put out a notice of when the District will deliberate on the decision, but we believe the date will be December 21st -- so pencil that in.
Please come to our meeting instead tomorrow night (see more below).
We thank several local officials who quickly responded to our calls to slow this process down in order to fully understand the deal. Please note that neither we, nor any of these officials, have expressed any position on the Forestar deal…yet. We, at the League, are not opposed to it, though at this time we do have concerns so please come out tomorrow night to our (LIV) meeting:
Special Meeting on Proposed Forestar Settlement with Lost Pines -- Open Discussion Wednesday, Dec. 9, 6:30 – 8 pm , First National Bank of Bastrop 489 Highway 71 West, Bastrop, TX 78602
We will share our concerns about the Forestar settlement offer and open this up for discussion.
Feel free to bring friends, but please note that water marketers, and their allies, are not welcome at this private meeting.
Are you a local official? You are more than welcome to attend. We will in no way assume that because you are present you are adopting our position and will assume that you are present simply to understand our concerns.
Caldwell Commission Alfredo Muñoz, Mary and Fermin Islas (Chairman of Tejano Democrats of Caldwell County), Lou MacNaughton (EPICC board, Vice Chair of TDCC) and Wayne Lesser (EPICC member) and James Abshier (President of EPICC).
A SPECIAL CONGRATULATORY NOTE!
In our previous emails, we failed to congratulate EPICC (Environmental Protection in the Interest of Caldwell County) for their victory. We attended their wonderful fundraising event and took this picture. Click here for more details on their “Bump the Dump” victory.
Got questions? Call us or show up tomorrow night!
PS Don’t forget our Christmas Party on Saturday, December 19th, 2 – 4 pm at The Roadhouse in Paige to partake in celebration and to hear exciting announcements! More here.
PPS Our statewide conference calls are on hold for the moment. Keep an eye out in the next email.
San Antonio's Vista Ridge Project - click on it for a more detailed map
Rural and urban Texans will stand united on the steps of San Antonio City Hall next Tuesday, November 10th at noon. We will join in prayer, song and ceremony to deliver petitions to stop the Vista Ridge water grab. Rural Texans oppose this raid on their aquifer, San Antonians do not want to pay for it with 50%+ water rate hikes. San Antonio votes on their water rates on November 19th.
This is an important media event -- rural and urban Texans will join hands across the region to protect our resources and affordability.
We hope you will hop on the bus, get into one of the vans or drive with us in your own vehicle to meet our friends in San Antonio.
All Central Texans -- we REALLY need you in San Antonio at High Noon on Tuesday, November 10th. We have a bus coming from Burleson County and vans from other counties. Click here to reserve a seat.
If you're tired of SAWS (San Antonio Water System) trying to be the water warlords of central Texas at your expense, you must be at this event.
Conservative rural Texans will meet urban progressives -- in an unlikely coalition -- to join hands in prayer and across the 142-mile Vista Ridge pipeline. We will deliver thousands of signatures to the San Antonio City Council urging them to do the right thing and stop the SAWS horror show, otherwise known as Vista Ridge.
Happy Halloween, stay safe this weekend and please share our video and plans with your friends across Texas.
BASTROP COUNTY—Developers along the Interstate 35 corridor are still trying to get water rights from Bastrop and Lee County.
Area property owners oppose the deal, saying their aquifer would be depleted faster than it can recharge. The water would serve communities between San Antonio and Austin. The situation includes a company wanting approximately 50,000 acre-feet of water a year. One acre foot of water is roughly a foot of water covering a football field, including the end zones.
The Lost Pines Conservation District met in private Wednesday night. Board members say this is the same contract they've discussed for two years, but have not yet approved. Property owners worry this deal could compromise their future water supply.
"Everything from agricultural prosperity to the opportunity for other businesses, and everything from private endeavors all the way through any industrial endeavors that we might have out here. They all depend on water,” said Bastrop County resident Grant Crump.
This fight follows the approval of another water contract for the San Antonio area. That contract taps a different aquifer, but a study by a groundwater scientist found they're both connected.
"What is really unbelievable is that they are going to use our water in a slow recharge aquifer to go build over the Edwards Aquifer and its recharge zone,” said Linda Curtis, League of Independent Voters.
Property owners contested this case. On Friday, a judge will determine if they have a say in the deal.
A highlight of Burleson's meeting was when Nathan Ausley, President of the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District, admitted that he had leased his water to Metropolitan Water, Scott Carlson's company. This was not new information. What was new was Ausley's audacity in front of hundreds of landowners he supposedly represents to suggest that they could "check the map" to see if his lease was being used for Vista Ridge. (Watch the short video clip of the interchange.)
A follow up meeting is in the works as Burleson countians are on their way to organizing a local League of Independent Voters. How 'bout you?
► If you like the idea of draining aquifers, flooding farm and ranch land for wasteful and destructve reservoirs, or the continued government policies (at all levels) of driving affordability in our urban centers off a cliff as they wave the world to move to Texas, ignore us. If you think it's time for voters to unite across the partisan divide, then...
►Hundreds are signing this petition to Governor Abbott to stop Vista Ridge. And you? We need thousands. You can even print it out here.
►This Sunday at 6 pm, join our conference call. Reply for details.
Remember this Time Magazine piece from 2004 about the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC)? Three years later the TTC was dead.
Ten years later, we are faced with the Trans-Texas Water Highway. It's called Vista Ridge.
These guys still haven't given up on the dream of modeling central Texas after southern California -- to build out, pave over and leverage private land and water resources like it and we are their piggy bank.
We cannot let this happen.
What we have now, that we didn't have in 2004, is the League of Independent Voters of Texas. LIV has the capacity to unite voters across party lines, even as we head into a divisive election year.
►Donate to help us hold more of these events along the Vista Ridge pipeline. (Send a check to us at PO Box 651, Bastrop, Texas 78602 or give a secure online donation == see the donate button on the right ====>)
When we -- together -- defeat Vista Ridge, LIV will still be here and ready to build a positive vision for all our communities. You ain't seen nothin' yet! Promise.
Texas needs us more than ever now. Thank you, Texans!
Please sign this petition to Governor Greg Abbott, other statewide officials and San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor urging them to stop the Vista Ridge Water Project and to make growth pay for itself. Print out this petition on legal size paper here and on letter size paper here. We don't have a target deadline for delivery to the Governor and others state officials, which includes your state legislators. We need your participation over the coming months to bring this into the next legislative session.
Scott Carlson of Brenham, Texas, "pleaded guilty in a Houston courtroom to stealing $2.4 million from two oil companies he'd worked for as a land man." (San Antonio Express-News, Sunday, August 20, 2006, reprinted hereat TTC News Archives.)
Around the time that Carlson received probation, he was door knocking in Burleson and Milam Counties. He had a check in one hand and a water lease in the other on behalf of his company Metropolitan Water Company, aka MetWater.
According to this same Express-News article,"Carlson sold the leases to Layne Water Development of Texas, a subsidiary of a Kansas company, which later sold them to Ross Cummings, an Austin real estate investor who formed a company called Blue Water Systems. Cummings, who in April 2004 paid $500,000 in bond money to free Carlson from jail, said he believed the leases gave landowners a fair shake."
Do you think the vast majority of citizens in Burleson, Milam, Lee, Bastrop and Brazos
Ross Cummings, President, Blue Water Systems
counties, who rely on the same aquifer, got a "fair shake" when the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District granted Blue Water Systems a permit to pump 50,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year (over 44 million gallons per day) for Vista Ridge? What about the vast majority of citizens in Burleson and Milam who never signed a lease? Or what about communities who don't want to be over-built in dry areas? And what about hundreds of landowners who will face eminent domain for this 142-mile pipeline? Did they get a "fair shake", hmmm...Mr. Cummings?
Is it the job of the San Antonio real estate lobby to make San Antonio into the water warlords of central Texas? When San Antonio ratepayers finally learn the truth about their water rates and that this water is for developers outside their city, how do you think they're gonna feel?
We're going to get the answers on our Vista Ridge meetings tour, starting on August 18th at ground zero, Burleson County at the Caldwell Civic Center (6 pm to 8 pm). Then on to Elgin, Lockhart, San Marcos, Seguin, San Antonio, Bryan and more! See schedule here.
Isn't it time to ride these water hustlers outta town? Do this!
We have conference calls every other Sunday at 6 pm. Call us at 512-213-4511 or email usto join the next call.
Yesterday, we delivered these comments to the Texas Water Development Board at a hearing on new rules for resolution of regional water conflicts. Beware: the Governor-appointed TWDB may be under political pressure to establish rules that favor the "California plan" of mass movement of water to new developments in dry areas. Starting at about the 8-minute mark, you'll see some moving testimony from landowners who came from NE Texas, Region D, who are fighting the Marvin Nichols Reservoir -- video here. You can submit your own comments before the deadline on August 4th by 5 pm OR, you can wait to see our full comments coming to you before the Aug. 4th deadline.
Join our sign campaign and get an “I oppose the San Antone hose” yard sign (18" x 24" with bracket). They're free with a $10 membership. OR IF WE GET AT LEAST 100 ORDERS, you can get a 4' x 4' sign for $25 or a 4' by 8' sign for $50.