Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Down the Rabbit Hole

These comments were presented at the December 27th session of the Bastrop County Commissioners Court. FOX 7 News said they were going to be there but stood us up!! Maybe next time . . .

There’s a lot going on in Bastrop County these days and its becoming more and more surreal. It’s as though the County has fallen down the rabbit hole to another dimension where up is down, left is right and nothing is quite what is seems. Obviously we’re not in Mayberry anymore.

First we had the whole eco-merge, greeny goodness spin coming from Carpenter & Associates.

Now the County is trying it’s hand at the art of spin. Let’s take a look at the the newly penned ‘Mission, Values and Objectives’ statement that now graces the wall outside this courtroom. It’s right up there at the top of the the spin-o-meter chart. Just how do all those noble ideals line up with the reality of what’s gone on with regard to the Central Texas Airport? Let’s take a look.

The ‘MISSION’ statement opens with these words:

‘To promote the health, safety and welfare of our citizens . . .’ In light of the 381 Agreement with Carpenter & Associates for the Central Texas Airport, perhaps a better rendering would be ‘to promote the health, safety and welfare of our corporate financial partners’.

Then comes the treasure trove of spin titled ‘VALUES’:

‘ACCOUNTABILITY’ promises ‘. . . accepting responsibility for our actions . . .’ OK, Judge McDonald . . . if you practice what the Mission statement preaches, just when are we gonna have that public hearing?

‘STEWARDSHIP’ suggests ’striving to make the most efficient and effective use of our natural resources’. The focus on using rather than preserving is very telling and disturbing.

Onward to ‘COLLABORATION’, which’ extols ‘Actively seeking citizen participation . . .’ You have got to be kidding!! Not one ordinary taxpaying citizen was consulted or asked to participate in any part of the CTA approval process. Instead, this airport has been imposed on us unilaterally by this very Court via the 381 Agreement.

The ‘MISSION’ statement closes with a list of ‘PRIMARY OBJECTIVES’ which offers more unkept promises:

Just how does an airport located within a Wildlife Hazard Zone ‘Provide for the safety and security of our citizens’?

Just how do toxic chemicals, acres of tarmac, screaming jets, increased traffic, plummeting property values etc. ‘Protect the environment and our quality of life’?

The entire ‘Mission’ statement reeks of strategy from a corporate attorney or clever marketing consultant. Just who are you trying to convince? Well, we see right through all of it and we’re not buying what you’re selling. Actions do speak louder than words.

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 . . .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Airport fallout

Airport fallout: critics blast county leaders
By Davis McAuley
October 25th, 2010

Bastrop, Tx–A dozen-odd angry Bastrop County residents spent most of an hour Monday berating county commissioners and the judge for encouraging the development of a private general aviation airport and associated industrial projects on more than 1,000 acres west of Bastrop.

One after another they took the podium at a regular meeting of commissioners during a “citizens comment” section of the agenda. Some said they felt betrayed by the county signing a development pact for the project with veteran developer James Carpenter of Carpenter & Associates who has publicly pushed his plans for more than 18 months.

Others accused commissioners of “selling out” to developer interests. Many called for a public hearing on the airport and associated development projects. Some called for the development agreement to be scrapped outright.

Monday’s outpouring of anger was prompted in part by an announcement by Carpenter in Austin on Oct. 19 that four business ventures, including the conglomerate Toshiba,have made agreements to locate new facilities near the proposed airport.

In April 2009 Carpenter first laid out the project at a public meeting before commissioners and a hostile crowd which packed the meeting room. At the time County Judge Ronnie McDonald said residents would be able to pose questions about the plans at a future public session.

But no such session took place before commissioners approved a development agreement with Carpenter earlier this year, to the consternation of some critics. A key provision of the pact calls for Carpenter to invest a minimum of $150 million before the project is eligible for a rebate of 75 percent of county property taxes on the site and improvements for 30 years. Property taxes assessed by school districts and other taxing jurisdictions are not affected.

Commissioners did not respond to the critics during Monday’s meeting, nor did they offer any defense of the project or the deal with Carpenter.

Outside the meeting, however, some of them questioned whether Carpenter will be able to meet the $150 million investment threshold. At the Oct. 19 announcement in Austin, Carpenter said he hopes to begin construction later this year.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What ‘Green’ Is Not

The term ‘Green’ has been thrown around for the past three decades to describe objects, actions, and views that are supposed to be ‘friendly’ to nature.

However, certain industrial, manufacturing, and development sectors of the world economy have twisted the true meaning of these words to make their often ‘ungreen’ products acceptable to a more environmentally educated, but easily fooled group of elected officials and citizens. We call it ‘greenwashing’.

We’re here to tell you what ‘Green’ is NOT.

‘Green’ is not placing an airport in a suburban area that will then be subjected to unbearable noise pollution from large aircraft flying over homes and businesses at altitudes as low as 100’.

‘Green’ is not approving aircraft maintenance facilities that will static-test loud jet engines at all hours of the night and day near 20 subdivisions.

‘Green’ is not placing an airport in the basin of the Colorado River.

‘Green’ is not building an airport across the Colorado River from the McKinney Roughs Nature Preserve.

‘Green’ is not creating hundreds of acres of impermeable groundcover for aircraft and car parking.

‘Green’ is not polluting the Colorado River with runoff from these impermeable surfaces.

‘Green’ is not storing tens-of-thousands of gallons of jet and aviation fuel in or near flood plains of the Colorado River or its tributaries.

‘Green’ is not planning an industrial facility that will spray sewage and industrial effluent over hundreds of acres located less than 1/2 mile from the Colorado River.

‘Green’ is not putting the citizens of Bastrop County at risk from falling aircraft that are crippled from bird strikes because the airport is located in a ‘Wildlife Hazard Zone.’

‘Green’ is not choking local roads that are already dangerous, with thousands of commuting workers.

‘Green’ is not misleading gullible public officials with slick advertising that promises ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes and tax windfalls from ‘renewable’ energy while ‘business’ aircraft waste thousands of gallons of fuel to fly a handful of elites to golf and F1 dates.

Nope, this project has an entirely different color . . . the color of an old dried-out cow-patty.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I.E.D. In Bastrop County

Ya’ll know what an ‘I.E.D.’ is, don’t you?

It’s an ‘Improvised Explosive Device,’ a bomb that kills many American service-people every week in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have an ‘I.E.D.’ in Bastrop County that’s a little different.

It’s an ‘Intentional Environmental Disaster’ known as the Central Texas Airport.

Funny thing about the I.E.D. bombs in the Middle East is that soldiers try to disarm them to prevent injury to others.

This isn’t happening with the Bastrop ‘I.E.D.’ . . . no, in fact our ‘leaders’ keep trying to prevent US from disarming the damn thing.

Now why is that?

Maybe because they figure that sacrificing a few Bastrop County citizens for phantom tax and business revenues will be excused as “doing the right thing for Bastrop County”?


It also may be because our elected public officials starting with the United States Senate, and working down through the House of Representatives are afraid of making waves that may upset “States Rights and local control.”

That worked out really well prior to the Civil War, and the following debacle of Reconstruction.

No, any elected official that won’t stand up and provide protection for US citizens when local governance is ruled by corporate interests, isn’t worth the powder it takes to blow up a pissant.

Part of protecting the governed should be sticking their necks out and issuing an order for an Environmental Impact Study on the site of our very own aviation ‘I.E.D.’

But, no they’re too busy getting re-elected to notice the plight of people that don’t own a corporate jet.

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