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Eight Gifts from the independent movement!

These surprise eight gifts from the independent movement are listed in random order. Y’all enjoy!

GIFT #1: Toy Giveaway and the new game — the Vista Ridge Spin – coming soon to you too! LIV volunteers had a blast at the Toy Giveaway put on by Sharrell and Rufus Kemp on Saturday, December 14 in San Antonio’s District 2. Adults played the new “The Vista Ridge Spin Game” winning a stuffed animal for the kiddos to choose. The main response we received was, “Why haven’t heard anything about this?” That’s what we’d like to know.

GIFT #2:  Big Reform for Open Government, HB 2840

South Texas State Rep. Terry Canales, led a bi-partisan coalition for passage HB 2840. According this Dallas Morning News article, “Under the new law, a person can speak to a government body at the start of the meeting, at the end, and most important, before a vote on every listed agenda item.”  Read about it here too at the Texas Monitor. In 2020, LIV will give you more tools on how to use this reform to forge transparency in local government.

GIFT #3 — Get It Right Address on Land Development Code

Austin resident and nationally recognized community planner, Jim Duncan, offers you this gift, his “Get-It-Right Address” about Austin Mayor Steve Adler and his allies mishandling of the land development code, leading to a legal challenge involving 8,000 Austin residents who don’t care to be being “upzoned.” More here at Community Not Commodity.

GIFT #4: Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape’s appointment

Judge Pape gave all citizens concerned about protection of groundwater resources, a lovely gift by appointing Phil Cook (in the photo), a longtime friend of our central Texas aquifers and the Colorado River, to the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Board LPGCD –Bastrop and Lee counties’ district, effective January 1. Phil is a scholar, a genuine “water wonk”, who even joined the group of 100-plus landowners who challenged the LCRA “water grab” — currently pending.

Gift #5: Unlikely Santa, Dennis Bonnen’s Gift through Appointment

The self-discredited Texas House Speaker, Dennis Bonnen, nevertheless made some excellent appointments to the Sunset Advisory Commission. Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) is now the chair of the powerful Commission. Rep. Canales (D-Edinburg) replaces also self-discredited, Rep. Nevarez. These are the agencies under review through the 2021 legislative session. Cyrier will serve through 2023! Congratulations, y’all! (This update from Quorum Report adds more intrigue to the Cyrier appointment.)

GIFT #6 — to the Hill Country

A gift to the Hill Country came from the private interest involved in the potential harm to Honey Creek. Our only question is when will state agencies step up for Texans? Thanks to environmental writer, Brendan Gibbons of the Rivard Report for the story!

GIFT #7: to food consumers and small farmers!

Thanks for the monumental gift to Texas’ small farmers by the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance for filing suit on Wednesday. After many and repeated efforts to be heard by the overly-friendly to Big Ag, Texas Department of Agriculture, FARFA filed suit to protect the interests of small farmers and consumers.

GIFT #8 — On Impeachment (and, for that matter, recalls)

LIV, a 501c4 non-profit, takes no position on the impeachment or on electing or recalling officials. But, we thought what longtime and reliably independent, Ralph Nader, had to say about the impeachment is so very enlightening, we’re linking to it here, as we let Mr. Nader, as always, speak for himself.


  1. LIV Interim Board Members – Ellen Berky, Jeff Harper, David Jones and Arlan Foster

  2. LIV Advisors: Michele Gangnes, Mark Miller, James Murphy, Calvin Tillman

  3. Volunteers: Bastrop volunteer, Charlotte Gilman, super-geek, Chris Hauboldt, San Antonio’s District 10 activist, Reinette King, SA’s District 9 activist, 88-year old, Stan Mitchell, SA conservative activist, Joe Caddell and Colleen Waring (Milam County) and others who probably wish to remain anonymous – we still thank you!

  4. Donors: Thank you to all, and especially those who do them more than once per year or give us free lunches, housing and sage advice. Thank you so much!

  5. Our biggest well wishes go out to Board Member, Arlan Foster, who lost his home and belongings as his house burned to the ground. We love you!

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Happy Chanukuh, Happy Kwanza and anything else you may celebrate this time of year.

We’ll see you next year, independent pals!

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