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LIV News, July 22, 2021

The elephant in the Texas voting booth that neither party wants to talk about is the suppression of a plurality of Texas voters.  Surprise! There are more non-aligned and independent Texans than Democrats or Republicans. We at LIV see the Texas GOP fighting the inevitable as Texas turns not blue but into a two-party competitive state. Competition is good, though we have big bones to pick with both parties.

Read our main course in this LIV News feast from Linda ‘for a little less corruption’ Curtis, chock full of surprises:  The Elephant in the Texas Voting Booth Neither Party Wants to Talk About.

The Big Squeeze Update! No, we won’t quit! (two non-profits: Environmental Stewardship and Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund) held a well-attended “happening” at the Paige Roadhouse Grill. Folks learned about the problems and solutions to “the California Water Model” through fun and games.

The games included this  water trivia quiz. Take it. You might learn something!

Two extraordinary women from across the Vista Ridge pipeline received awards — Michele Gangnes and Reinette King.

Michele Gangnes, a resident of Blue in Lee County, is a founder of the non-profit Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund (SAWDF). Michele was recognized by her peers at SAWDF as a champion (for over two decades) “for the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer and all who rely on its life-giving waters.” Gangnes, an attorney and landowner, plays a leading role in aquifer protection in the central Texas region and serves on LIV’s Advisory Board.

Reinette King of San Antonio received the first LIV “Homegrown Petition Award” issued in honor of petition king Barry Klein of Houston, who could not attend the event. Reinette’s outstanding efforts leading an all-volunteer petition drive in San Antonio resulted in 12,000 signatures amid COVID. Though the SAWS Accountability Act didn’t make it to the ballot (needing 20,000 to qualify), a near majority of the City Council signed on to some key provisions, including an audit of Vista Ridge. Will someone pick up the mantle to get the SA Council moving? We’re here to support anyone who wants to step up, including members of the San Antonio City Council.

The Big Freeze Update: One More Slap to Millions of Ratepayers by King Greg.

Barely in the news was the Governor’s profound, though totally legal in Texas, breach of ethics seen in a $1 million contribution for his reelection bid from Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer. That’s the same Energy Transfer that walked off with $2.4 billion in profits from the Big Freeze. What chaps our butt is the Governor’s refusal to put a real grid fix on the call for his Special Session. See the Wall Street Journal, “Energy Transfer Reaps $2.4 Billion Windfall from Texas Freeze.” LIV also found it in the reports filed at the Texas Ethics Commission.

Rodney Reed Case and Judicial Reform

Local news reports abound as an evidentiary hearing in the Rodney Reed case is underway for two weeks in Bastrop, Texas. Will 85th District Court Judge, JD Langley, grant a new trial? Will the case be dropped? Has the real murderer in the case been roaming free?

LIV’s question is why are we still here? Never-ending court cases are presided over by multiple judges who seem more interested in covering their tracks than in meting out justice. Do we not need judicial reform?

Former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Tom Phillips, became well known for beating the pavement for BIG reforms in how we choose our judiciary. Phillips, elected as a Republican, vigorously advocated for a non-partisan appointment-retention election method of choosing Texas judges. He also said at a forum of political independents in Austin held in the late 1990s that IF he couldn’t get a non-partisan process, he liked “fusion” — allowing judicial candidates to carry the endorsements of all parties.

What came of all of this? Ironically, Phillips got the same treatment as Reed — his pleas for sanity and justice were largely ignored…for now, anyway. Phillips had the good fortune to go back into private practice. Reed languishes in prison.

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Ben Franklin

This annual event is August 8 through 10th at Texas State University in San Marcos. It is a great opportunity to mix with some of the most hard-working and inventive people on planet earth. LIV will have an exhibit. If you have time to help out, let us know, or y’all join us there! 

Save the date! Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (Bastrop & Lee counties) Hearing on desired future conditions, Wed., Aug. 18, 6 pm, Bastrop Convention Center. See Event page here and spread the love.

Become a member of LIV here. Volunteer for LIV here.

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