Monday, September 27, 2010

What were they thinking!?

The county has played a pivotal role in setting the proposed Central Texas Airport project into motion. Just why they chose to do so eludes the thinking (wo)man on the street. Most likely they were presented with some great PR about how this would bring phenomenal economic growth to Bastrop County. And they fell for it.

In Suzannah Gonzales’ March 29, 2009 Statesman article “Plans for airport in Bastrop worry neighbors” Judge Ronnie McDonald is quoted as saying “. . . county officials are weighing the pros and cons of the project, making sure it’s not going to adversely affect the community, schools or residents.”

Just how is imposing an Airport Compatibility Zone on 20 established subdivisions NOT going to adversely affect residents of those communities who will be trading sounds of nature for jets thundering overhead? And how is an approaching 737 possibly flying as low as 900 ft. over Bastrop’s shiny new high school NOT going to affect students?

The good citizens of Bastrop county were not invited to the negotiation table or asked for any input into this project. Yet Carpenter & and Associates were granted an evening public forum in April 2009 to present their proposal. The public was invited but only as ’spectators’ not participants. One and a half years later, we are still waiting for the opportunity for public participation that the Commissioners Court promised at the Carpenter & Associates’ presentation.

The 381 Agreement was signed in June of this year without any public input. It seems that in Bastrop county money talks and ‘we the people’ don’t count for much.

All of which points to a double standard. When citizens approach the Commissioners Court for relief from one harm or another, they are frequently advised that “the court has very limited authority”. Obviously, that isn’t really true. When it comes to enabling corporate schemes that could negatively impact taxpaying citizens as they did through this 381 Agreement, the Court seems to have plenty of authority.

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