Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The whining wingman

Several months after Jim Carpenter’s letter to Greg Hill, Ronnie Moore followed up with a letter to Stephen Brooks on November 30, 2011. The stated purpose of the letter is to provide ‘accurate information’ regarding ETJ authority related to the ‘CTA Green Corporate Center project’ but it quickly declines into blatant cheerleading for the project.

There is subtle guilt-tripping:

. . . if this project does not come to fruition as a result of inaccurate informaion, the biggest potential loser is Bastrop County and Elgin ISD; i.e. students in the Elgin School District”.

and a dig at the USACE for their thorough but time-consuming handling of the permitting process:

It is my understanding that the standard of practice for the USACE review of these types of permit applications is: the level of review of the project will be “commensurate to the level of impact to waters of the U.S.”. The permit application is to fill a small man-made stock pond . . .”

Then after a regurgitation of the promotional passages in the 381 Agreement, Mr. Moore plays the ‘wildfire disaster’ card:

“In order to assist in the recovery from this disaster, we should all be doing what we can to boost the ad valorem tax base of our County, and to create additional job opportunities for the residents of Bastrop County.

Projects that have a potential of creating job opportunities and adding value to the ad valorem tax base, create an opportunity for Bastrop County to recover economically from the recent wildfire disaster. Please keep that in mind as you consider any project, in Bastrop County, that comes before you for review and permitting.”

But all that is not the real story of this letter. It was sent not only to Mr. Brooks but copied to eleven other individuals including the those at the FAA (who had just denied the CTA’s request for an extension of the reservation of airspace), the TCEQ, Sen. Kirk Watson, Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, Rep. Glen Hegar in the Texas Legislature and in Washington D.C.,Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Michael McCaul and the mysterious Greg Hill who appears to be Rep.McCaul’s Chief of Staff. The cozy relationship that the developer seems to have with Greg Hill is disconcerting. Especially so considering that Rep. McCaul has received generous contributions from aviation related industries. In politics, just follow the money . . .

While it’s easy to fault Mr. Moore for this letter it does have one saving grace. If the project fails and the developer decides to extract revenge on Bastrop County, this letter would defend the County’s fulfillment of the Mutual Assistance requirement of the 381 Agreement.

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