Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So not the news

On April 30, the Bastrop Advertiser printed a lengthy op ed by T. R. Reid, the infamous Carpenter & Associates spokesperson, extolling the wonders of the proposed CTA/Eco-Merge project. This blatant advertising spiel brought nothing new and was so NOT the news. The sheer size and intensity appears to be more an act of desperation than information as the sinking ship nosedives towards oblivion.

StopCTA was the first to respond. However, our comment languished in ‘moderation hell’ for days. Finally, this morning the comment was permanently removed. Here it is for your edification.

It is shameful that the Advertiser would print this misleading infomercial while continuing to ignore the real news about the proposed airport. But then, this paper has elevated social inanities and puff pieces to an art form . . .

As any good PR flack, Mr. Reid is quite skilled at his craft. And an uniformed and gullible public is likely to feed at the trough. How Orwellian!!

So is the Advertiser going to give the opposition equal time IN PRINT? This swill is over 1300 words – about 1000 more than we’ve ever been allowed. Or are you going to continue to keep the debate safely marginalized in these online comments?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Here’s MUD in your eye

Here’s MUD in your eye
By Cyndi Wright
Bastrop Advertiser
March 11, 2011

For Jim Carpenter, developer of the proposed Central Texas Airport, it seems like its been one stumbling block after another in his quest to establish a taxing district, or municipal utility district (MUD), to help pay for an airport, multi-renewable energy power plant and ‘green’ corporate center in western Bastrop County.

And now, because of Carpenter’s efforts to annex land in Bastrop County through an existing water control improvement district (WCID) 12 miles away in Travis County, Sens. Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) and Kirk Watson (D-Austin) filed S.B. 1257 on Tuesday, March 8 – just four days before this Legislative session’s bill filing deadline – to try and tighten up the legal standard of existing Texas law that allows a district to annex other property.

In his press release, Hegar says S.B. 1257 stems from an ongoing issue in Bastrop and Travis counties, where “an entity is exploring the idea of annexing land in Bastrop County for development of the Central Texas Airport project, despite the fact that the entirety of the existing district is located in Travis County and an estimated 12 miles from the proposed annexed property.” The release goes on to say the bill was filed in an attempt to protect landowners from developments encroaching into a community without first seeking local input and support.

“There is absolutely no reason why a district should have the authority to develop land in another county before first working with surrounding landowners and the county to make certain that all of their concerns are addressed,” Senator Hegar said.

[Read More…]

Monday, February 28, 2011

No response from developer

No response from developer
By Terry Hagerty
Bastrop Advertiser
February 27, 2011

City Manager Mike Talbot told the Bastrop City Council Tuesday night that James Carpenter, the developer for the proposed Central Texas Airport proposal in western Bastrop County, has gone nearly a month without responding to requests for further communication on the project

Talbot said that three weeks after he sent a Feb. 1 registered letter to Carpenter he has heard nothing back. In the letter, Talbot discussed the perception some citizens have expressed that the city is being obstructive in communications with Carpenter about the proposed airport project.

Talbot’s letter to Carpenter states, “The council and I have been disturbed to have heard complaints voiced, over the past several weeks, in various forums and directly by local citizens, to the effect that the City of Bastrop has been ‘non-responsive and /or obstructive’ to you and your team in your development of the project. In the City’s view, nothing could be further from the truth.”

Copies of the letter were also sent to Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt and Sen. Glenn Hegar.

But the city also “reaches out” in the letter, asking Carpenter for a follow-up meeting after Carpenter’s representatives appeared before the city council last November seeking support.

At that time, the council said they needed more information before deciding whether they might support a Municipal Utility District for the airport that would be within the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction.

Carpenter also did not respond to requests at that meeting.

Talbot also said in the letter that the city looked forward “to meeting with your team in a specially scheduled workshop session.” Talbot added the city cannot “perform a meaningful evaluation” of the airport project without such a meeting and better overall communication with Carpenter.

On Tuesday, when some council members quizzed Talbot if the city had an official position on the airport, he responded, “We are not opposed to any legislation right now,” but that more specifics from Carpenter need to be seen.

At press time, Carpenter had not returned a phone call from the Advertiser and had not contacted the city.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Opponents lob questions

It’s more than laughable that Judge McDonald has the nerve to say that he bases his decisions on ‘community input’ when there was ZERO opportunity for the public to participate in decisions regarding the CTA.

Airport opponents lob questions
By Cyndi Wright
Bastrop Advertiser
February 18, 2011

Opponents of the proposed Central Texas Airport project voiced their concerns in commissioners court on Monday, including one who pointed out that County Judge Ronnie McDonald accepted a campaign contribution from CTA developer Jim Carpenter and another who spoke of a 2009 lawsuit in which Carpenter and two businesses he was associated with were found guilty in a jury trial of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

In a prepared statement, Candace “Sister” Boheme called it “funny business” that, according to campaign records, McDonald’s campaign accepted $500 from Carpenter.

“Among the list of notable contributors is the one and only Jim Carpenter, who donated $500 to the cause,” she said during citizens comments at the meeting. “The question is, whose cause? Yours or his? Or are they the same?”

She also pointed out that from January 2008 to the end of June 2009, McDonald’s campaign received $1,700 and all of 2010 brought in roughly $2,000.

“But something very strange happened in the last six months of 2009,” Boheme said. “Nearly $12,000 worth of strange. Those contributions started flowing in just weeks after the 381 agreement had been delivered to the county.”

[Read More…]

Monday, February 7, 2011

‘Geenprint’ ignored

A truncated version of this article was published in the Bastrop Advertiser on February 4, 2009.

‘Geenprint’ ignored
By Phil Cook
February 2011

Jim Carpenter, the developer, claims that he intends to build a “green” airport and industrial park on land in far western Bastrop County bounded on the north by Hwy. 969, where it meets Hwy. 1704, and on the south by the Colorado River. Dismiss Carpenter’s “green” claim out of hand: airports are, by nature, highly polluting. The jet fuel, the lubricants and chemicals needed to service the aircraft, the exhaust from the planes, the noise, the runway and airport lighting, the increased traffic, all are polluting. The pollution and disruption caused by an airport are by no means limited to the site itself. Its effects will be felt well south of Hwy. 71, almost to Elgin to its north, into Travis County to its west, and at the Hyatt-Regency Resort and the McKinney Roughs Nature Park to its east and southeast. Although Carpenter has yet to indicate the position and orientation of the runway, almost any north-south orientation that would fit on the site would aim almost directly at the new Cedar Creek High School, about four miles away.

Carpenter claims that the airport will attract many clean industries and thousands of jobs, but he has produced nothing of substance to support his claims. For example, he claims that a cutting edge solar energy facility will be built there, and that Bluebonnet Electric Coop has agreed to buy the electricity produced. Although the solar facility has been discussed and explored, he has produced no contract for such a facility, and as we learned from Mark Rose, Bluebonnet’s General Manager, in his 1/15 letter in the Advertiser, Bluebonnet has not agreed to buy the electricity produced by such a facility.

The developer claims that “a need” exists for a general aviation airport, that Austin Bergstrom Airport lacks the facilities to store and service all of the private and corporate jets that would fly in and out of Austin if facilities were available. I know of no one in Bastrop County that uses private jets as a means of transportation. Certainly, some residents use small propeller planes for travel, business, and recreation, but the Smithville Airport and other existing facilities can easily handle these planes. As for the rest of us, when we fly, we use the commercial flights at Bergstrom. The folks who want to use private jets can well do the same; no “need” exists.

To my mind, the most disturbing aspect of the airport saga is the way in which the airport was negotiated and supported by some of our local elected officials, and what is says about their disregard for the democratic process. Democracy begins locally, through our school boards, city councils, and commissioners court. These bodies have direct and frequent contact with the public; their plans can and should reflect the considered advice of the citizenry. The Bastrop County Commissioners Court has consistently failed to do this in planning for the airport. The Court has not acted corruptly or selfishly; I think that some members of the Court are so convinced of the beneficial economic development that the airport will bring has led them to disregard the previous land use and development plans for the county that they, themselves played a large part in establishing, and to downplay the negative effects that the airport will bring. Consider the following.

[Read More…]

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