Monday, July 25, 2011
These comments were presented during the citizen’s comment period of the July 25th Commissioners Court session.
At the last Court session, I mentioned several reasons why more people aren’t coming on Monday mornings to voice their opposition to the proposed Central Texas Airport. But one very important item was omitted from that list. One that doesn’t stem from personal circumstances but rather from a perception that local government is indifferent to the voice of ‘the people’.
Here’s a court-appropriate version of what some of your constituents have had to say regarding the effectiveness of engaging local officials about the proposed airport. Consider this an ear-to-the-ground performance evaluation and please take note:
That sense of hopelessness and lack of confidence that local government is working for ‘the people’ should trouble you. I know it troubles me. But although their sense frustration is understandable, is inaction an appropriate response? I think not. if ‘we the people’ don’t step up to try to right the ship, who will?
The citizens’ comments are usually prefaced with an explanation from you, Judge McDonald, that although the Court won’t respond to our comments or questions at that time, the Court does listen and take everything we say into account.
If indeed you ARE listening, there has not been much evidence of it. You have yet to engage the public in an open forum or acknowledge in any way the facts and positions that have been presented to you week after week. Instead, the county’s most notable response to date has been damage control.
The local press has been all too willing to regurgitate ad nauseum the County’s well-worn positions, chapter and verse. And last December, after months of very public criticism a rather Orwellian Mission Statement appeared in the lobby outside this very courtroom. Oh . . . and then there was the impromptu gathering also outside this courtroom last December to explain the circumstances under which the County WOULD hold a public forum.
So all in all, it seems the lack of confidence in this Court is not unfounded. And the divide will only increase if the Court continues its impassive status quo. How will you regain the trust of those who have been alienated by the County’s unilateral decisions regarding the Central Texas Airport? Or are those who feel disconnected and abandoned just not politically relevant enough for you to bother? That would be so very sad.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
At StopCTA’s request, pierovdfn, one of the very talented developers working on FlatPress, has written a plugin that creates a chronological list of all the entries in a FlatPress blog on a static page. This addition provides another research tool for accessing older material. Note that links to these pages are also listed under the ‘Archives’ category of the year you want to explore. Enjoy!!
Monday, July 11, 2011
These comments were presented during the citizen’s comment period of the July 11th Commissioners Court session.
We’ve been traveling together down a long and winding road every second and fourth Monday for the last nine months. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
Initially there were other Monday morning travelers that over time have mostly disappeared. But even though I’ve often been the lone voice opposing the proposed Central Texas Airport, don’t think for a minute that the opposition to the project has evaporated.
Coming to this courtroom week after week takes a commitment and tenacity which many folks have neither the temperament nor circumstances to sustain. It might be family or job obligations that get in the way. Or maybe it’s the entertainments and other distractions that follow us wherever we go. Or perhaps as is all to often the case in our ‘me’ culture, it’s just easier to sit back and let someone else do the work.
Exploring the genesis of the proposed airport and projecting its potential consequences has been a journey in itself and remains an ongoing process. There are always more things to discover. More dots to connect. Another rock to look under.
I often wonder if anything that has been presented during the citizen’s comments has been helpful to the Court or possibly provided previously unknown information about this controversial project which you have unilaterally imposed on our County. If you knew then what you know now, would there even be a 381 Agreement or would it have been written with more public safeguards and consideration? Has anyone on this Court ever had second thoughts or considered remedying the flaws in the 381 or better yet, pulling the plug? But I digress . . .
At first, the press actually paid attention to what was being said on these Monday mornings. But as the numbers dwindled, so did media interest. Perhaps a lone voice just isn’t considered newsworthy. Or maybe poking into the dark corners of the County’s business is now considered off-limits for public consumption in the local media.
In recent months some rather disturbing news concerning the proposed airport has not been given one drop of ink and that’s a real shame. The people have a right to know! And as is so often the case when institutions fail us, it’s up to ordinary citizens.
Fortunately, the internet is the great equalizer that has made the job much easier. Documents, research and editorials about the proposed Central Texas Airport project that aren’t available anywhere else are posted regularly on the StopCTA.info website.
When this airport and industrial fantasy finally collapses, that’s where an unsanitized version of the story will break.
This morning the Bastrop County Commissioners chose Plan 2 as their preferred redistricting option. In this Plan, the area south of the river and North of Hwy 71 is now in Precinct 1. A big thank you to all who participated in the process.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Kudos to Shelley Cartier for bringing the proposed CTA into the redistricting debate at the public hearing. Here’s an excerpt from Commissioners hold hearings on redistricting in the Bastrop Advertiser:
“The way the first plan is set up, everyone who owns property negatively affected by the CTA would be in one precinct,” Cartier said, adding she didn’t think it was fair for only one commissioner to have to answer to constituents about the airport.
It’s unfortunate that more people affected by the redistricting, especially those at the end of the runway south of the river, didn’t take the opportunity to weigh in on the plans.