Monday, October 31, 2011
October 31 seems like a fitting time to ponder the future of StopCTA. The recent events have understandably impacted the momentum that we had been gaining over the last year. We were hoping to carry on but in fact circumstances have drained the life-blood out of our efforts and brought things pretty much to a screeching halt.
The county and many of its residents will be occupied with recovery and putting their lives together for months if not years to come. Then there is the approach of the holiday season madness. On top of that there are the usual obstacles always vying for attention - family, work and other ‘important’ pursuits. No one seems to have the time, focus or commitment to carry on. It sucks . . .
It’s anyone’s guess when or if a transfusion will arrive. The good news is that the site with its abundant resources will still be available. Perhaps someone will wander in, get inspired and donate a pint or two to resuscitate our efforts and get things going again.
Until then . . . over and out.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
In August, just before the ‘Great Fire’, all four Commissioners were contacted individually for in-depth conversations about the proposed Central Texas Airport. One thing really came into focus as a result of those meetings.
When Jim Carpenter was selling the airport to the County, it seems the Commissioners were assured that there would be no large aircraft like 737s and that there would be no cargo traffic. Yeah, right . . .
Then came the bait-and-switch in the 381 Agreement. That troublesome document contains no limitation or exclusion of aircraft size and the word ‘cargo’ is nowhere to be found.
Anybody who’s ever watched Court TV knows enough to ‘get it in writing’. But the Commissioners and their attorneys, who were paid handsomely to broker and vet the deal, didn’t.
Here’s what they did get:
(a) All Agreements. All oral and written agreements between the Parties to this Agreement relating to the subject matter of this Agreement that were made prior to the execution of this Agreement have been reduced to writing and are contained in this Agreement.
So all those reassuring promises amount to absolutely nothing, nada, zip, zilch.
It’s impossible to point a finger in any one direction as the Commissioners voted in lock-step to approve the 381 Agreement on June 14, 2010. Perhaps it’s just lack of experience. The county only has one other 381 Agreement on the books - for Burleson Crossing - that was approved on October 5, 2007.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Here’s some interesting Bastrop county history from 1999 when Alcoa appeared on the scene to exercise their mineral rights to stripmine lignite in northern Bastrop county for their smelters in Rockdale. BCEN (Bastrop County Environmental Network) encouraged the Commissioners to stand up to Alcoa by passing a resolution opposing stripmining. There was a precedent from a similar action taken by the Central Texas Lignite Watch maybe a decade earlier. Judge McDonald, who had just taken office for the first time a few months earlier, was promised that if the Commissioners passed it, we would get support from the community. Well, they did and we did!
Three full-page community support statements were published in the summer of 1999 in Bastrop, Smithville and Elgin. More and more businesses and entities signed-on with each one. By the end of the project, all the City Councils, Bastrop and Elgin Chambers, Bastrop EDC etc. had joined the party with over 800 signing on. The ‘ads’ were all paid for by donations from those who participated.
Those were the days . . .
‘Neighbors vs. Neighbors’ by Michael King, Austin Chronicle, July 27, 2001
‘Coal Hard Cash’ by Nate Blakeslee, Austin Chronicle, September 3, 1999
‘Aluminum’s hidden costs’ by Tom Dureka and Ann Mesrobian, Earth Island Journal, Fall 1999