Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moore Is Less

The unfortunate debacle today (12/27/10) of Planning and Development Director Moore and Judge McDonald continuing the ’spin’ that the citizens and tax-payers of Bastrop do not deserve a public hearing on the CTA/Eco-Merge fiasco should be considered the low-point on the ‘Democratic’ process in our county.

They would have us believe that Texas Civil Statutes exist which differentiates on what subject matter may be discussed in a public hearing.

Show us, or shut up about it . . . period.

The argument is moot anyway, because when Director Moore placed a restrictive covenant within the 381 Agreement with Carpenter & Associates that will allow the facility to be built and operated in a unsafe manner, this disagreement is no longer about financial or utility concerns, it’s a public safety issue . . . period.

Just ask yourself this: Is a low-flying tax-abatement, water, or wastewater line going to impact your home at 200 MPH?

Of course not.

But a 737 that just sucked ducks or geese into its engines, and is now falling out of the sky will.

Now, when your Bastrop County Commissioners Court tells you that you may not question their decisions in a public hearing upon this issue, they are not acting in the public interest in any form, shape, or fashion, regardless of what their new ‘Mission (of Desperation)’ statement says.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Bastrop County legal team of Dewy, Cheatham, and Howe will come up with to justify the ’spin’ of that ‘August’ body to the public safety issue.

The truth would be nice. . . for a change.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mission spin: part 2

Let’s continue an examination of the ‘Bastrop County Mission, Values, and Objectives’ by considering the ‘Our Values’ section.

‘Integrity’, ‘Accountability’, and ‘Respect’ deserve special attention because without these three, the remaining five ‘Values’ are just window dressing.

INTEGRITY: ‘Practicing honesty and ethical behavior in our dealings with one another and with those who entrust us with the governance of the County’.

Webster’s definition of integrity is: ‘Being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity’. Now, would anybody who has followed the CTA/Eco-Merge fiasco, and read the Freedom of Information documents which have been made partially available to us, really believe that any ‘moral principle’ was followed when the Commissioners negotiated and approved the 381 Agreement behind closed doors? How does a decision made without any public input and which may ruin hundreds of people’s lives uphold the integrity that is professed?

ACCOUNTABILITY: ‘Accepting responsibility for one’s actions.’

Just how does that phrase square with the video evidence of Judge McDonald promising a public hearing for citizens on the CTA, and then, after repeated requests from citizens for him to honor the promise, he tries to convince the people that he was speaking about a MUD, and not the entire project?

RESPECT: ‘Treating others the way we would like to be treated.’

How respectful is it to leave those who would be most affected by the CTA project completely out of the negotiating equation? Why weren’t the people of this County treated with the same consideration as Carpenter & Associates? The Court has given citizens of this County zero respect and endangered the future of many in the process. If only the Court practiced what it preached.

Bastrop County, as the rest of the United States, should operate on a system of representative Democracy which mandates that our elected officials carry out the wishes of the electorate and seek their input on issues that may materially affect their existence. Attempts to undermine this system are usually prefaced by ’spin’ designed to make you think you’re getting exactly that, when you’re only getting a corporate sow’s ear dressed up like a silk purse.

Are the ‘Bastrop County Mission, Values, and Objectives’ spinning too fast for you to read?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mission spin: part 1

Bastrop County recently approved an official ‘Bastrop County Mission, Values, and Objectives’ statement. It is now posted near the entrance to the Bastrop County Commissioners Court.


View larger image

Let’s examine the first paragraph: ‘Our Mission’ as it relates to the Central Texas Airport/Eco-Merge fiasco.

‘To promote the health, safety and general welfare of our citizens, to preserve the history, culture and natural resources; and to serve as trusted stewards, providing County services in a professional, courteous, ethical, and fiscally responsible manner.’

Would siting an airport within a FAA-recognized Wildlife Hazard Zone that may bring down aircraft on a school or subdivision due to bird-strikes be considered promoting ‘the health, safety, and general welfare of our citizens?’

Would siting an airport in the middle of twenty established subdivisions be considered promoting ‘the health, safety and general welfare’, when many residents may suffer condemnation and vastly reduced property valuation?

Would the removal of safety and environmental regulations by Bastrop County’s ‘trusted stewards’ to facilitate airport construction and operations be considered ‘professional’, or ‘ethical’?

The answer to these three questions is no, no, and a resounding NO!

The performance of the Commissioners Court on these, and many other aspects of the Central Texas Airport/Eco-Merge fiasco, does not live up to the standards of the ‘Mission’ statement, and should be viewed for what it really is.


And we all know what ’spin’ used to be called.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Decibels of Deception

In a March 25, 2009 email to members of the Commissioners Court, James Carpenter indicated that:

“The 65 DNL noise level is the level at which land use is considered potentially affected.” Reading further, Mr. Carpenter indicates that “the 60 DNL level is considered safe for all uses,” and that “only a small area is included just outside the property boundary.”

This is patently untrue because the “noise study” that Carpenter & Associates are trumpeting was done at the Wiley Post Airport outside of Oklahoma City. This airport has been in existence for over fifty-years and the study was done to facilitate an expansion of the airport, as was the Addison airport near Dallas. The 65 DNL is fast becoming obsolete and may be replaced with 60 DNL as uninhabitable, with 50-55 DNL as the new minimum standard for habitability of structures.

Land elevation or “topography” makes a large difference in sound levels, as it will near the Central Texas Airport. The Wiley Post airport is on flat ground, but the CTA lies in the basin of the Colorado River with surrounds averaging 150 feet higher than the runway. A 737 flying at 500 feet above ground level (AGL) produces 115 Db. of sound, while the same aircraft at 650 AGL produces less.

Background noise is also a factor in urban areas, as the higher the background noise, the less apparent difference between a noisy aircraft and the traffic and other background noise. In the suburban areas surrounding the CTA, the background noise levels are much less, so a multi-engine 737 flying at 150’ AGL will seem orders of magnitude louder than in an area with more population.

Mr. Carpenter also plans to change the DNL contours as he states in this same letter, “Our actual noise contours will ultimately be remapped once we have signed up our based aircraft and establish our operating requirements and rules for utilizing CTA runway and airport facilities.”

The recognized standard for aviation noise-level contours in the FAA’s Integrated Noise Modeling program which should be used on this site and should include a complete list of the largest cargo-aircraft that may utilize this facility, and the expected frequency of flights, which Mr. Carpenter has pegged at 250 per day.

Anything less is a deception.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ozone Antics

The Commissioners Court ‘follies’ continue to get better and better.

On Monday, 10/25, the Courts agenda included a ‘Discussion and possible action,’ dealing with Bastrop County’s potential nonattainment designation for Ozone standards.

A letter from Judge McDonald addressed to Ms. Margie McAllister of the TCEQ, was touting Bastrop County’s participation in several voluntary pollution reduction programs, such as 1-Hour and 8-Hour Ozone Flex Plans, and The early Action Compact.

The letter continued on to say, “there are few additional things, if any, that Bastrop County could implement to control emissions sources. Reductions in Bastrop County’s Ozone levels will ultimately need to come from a cleaner fleet of cars in the United States and a reduction in transport emissions.”

Now wait a damn minute!

How does putting a huge airport and industrial complex in the Colorado River basin help with Bastrop County’s plans to “control” emissions?

It doesn’t.

It’ll make them worse, much, much worse.

Jet aircraft produce vast amounts of particulate and gas pollutants.

The “Green” industries planned for “Eco-Merge” may produce energy saving devices, but may produce much more pollution and emissions than products of older technology.

Once again, did the Court research what they were supporting before they gave their OK?

Doesn’t look like they did.

It’s obvious that one thing is missing in our Commissioners Court.

An ability to see the big picture and connect the dots of cause and effect . . .

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