Updated: May 11, 2022
"No city can deal with the likes of the growth that's happening to Dripping Springs." A Vista Ridge Consultant.
The "g" word isn't greed or the Texas grid. It's growth. From environmentalists who actually still say inane things like "everyone is welcome" to conservatives who still think the GOP cares about rural people, and even the purveyors of "drain first, conserve later" projects like Vista Ridge -- they won't talk bad about growth.
But, we regular folks know that cancer is also a growth, and growth -- unfettered and subsidized by moving drinking water, the most precious resource on the planet -- can kill the organism. In this case the organism is our land, our water and our future.
Finally, some in media are starting to pick up on the BIG story!
“Despite the frequent boosterism among state leaders about people and businesses moving to Texas, there are signs that many Texans now perceive downsides to that growth,” said James Henson, executive director of UT Austin’s Texas Politics Project. More here at KVUE-TV
There are two Mr. Perry's, both Republicans, Who Brought Us Here -- along with their pals in the Democratic Party.
This lame 2013 radio ad by then Texas Governor Rick Perry for his "Come to Texas" campaign put in overdrive a massive subsidy program -- the Texas Enterprise Fund -- to bring companies, especially big water users, to Texas. Many believe they would have come anyway due to our already low taxes and little-to-no regulation, not to mention hugely generous tax subsidies.
One of the biggest wake up calls was revealed by the Texas Appraisal District Association when they released a study way back in 2006. The study showed how large-scale commercial properties in Texas are under-valued on average by 40%, resulting in a $4 billion loss in revenue to the state. Local Austin real estate investor, Brian Rodgers, blew this whistle again about it in 2010, despite knowing it could hurt his bottom line -- see Austin Bulldog story here. In today's market, how much might that loss be, we will not guess. Just know that the Lege has failed to bring home the bacon for homeowners and renters, just their donor pals in real estate.
Truth be told, the growth machine is a two-party sham with some leading
Democrats fully onboard. Former Austin Mayor and former State Senator, Kirk Watson, is a leader of the growth machine. Watson helped turn the Austin Chamber of Commerce into a servant of big real estate to the detriment of local Austin businesses. Meanwhile, the narcissistic Watson built a formidable donor list as Austin's affordability began to tank. And, the dude is running again for Austin Mayor.
Texas Monthly Weighs In
" Residential appraisals are up 15 to 30 percent in Harris County, 20 percent in Tarrant County, 24 percent in Dallas County, 25 percent in Bexar County, and 53 percent in Travis County, and I could go on." Texas Monthly, What the Bleep is Happening with Texas Property Taxes?, May 4, 2022.
The Texas growth machine is an unholy alliance of the worst of the Texas GOP with the worst of the Texas Democrats ensconced in large Texas municipalities where it's obvious that growth ain't paying for itself come hell or high-water, pardon the pun. Instead, the "machine" is creating unlivable places without reliable and affordable water and energy and taking rural Texas for a ride. Together with rural Republicans like Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), Texas is in trouble as people flood in from other states, pricing current residents out while those very same new residents feel betrayed. No one told them in a year's time, their property valuations would hit the roof and they'd be facing an unreliable energy grid. No one told them about water flooding due to hyper-development. And no one mentioned the scandalous water grabs if the water hustlers wanted to move your water somewhere else.
Tuesday Senate Water Hearing • May 10, 9 am click here for full hearing notice, including invited speakers
Interim hearings are held in between our bi-annual legislative sessions. The Interim Charges given to the Texas House by the Speaker of the House, Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), and to the Senate by the Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick (R-Harris Co.), lay out what the two leaders of their respective chambers want their committees to study in order to develop new laws for the 2023 legislative session.
See the Senate Charges here, see page 21 for Water.
See House Charges here, see page 23 for Natural Resources
Please note Charge No. 5 of the House Charges on Natural Resources. It suggests a look under the hood of Vista Ridge is in order:
The current chairman of House Natural Resources is Tracy King (D-Uvalde). King is known to shoot straight and understands SAWS' bullying ways. That's not to say SAWS hasn't done some good things. But as one keen San Antonio based observer who has tried to achieve ratepayer relief for San Antonio's beleaguered ratepayers recently said,
"SAWS has already grabbed the low-hanging fruit on conservation and Vista Ridge has made it more difficult for them to really go the distance on conservation so needed now."
By now we hope you're asking why is Vista Ridge such a hindrance to water conservation in San Antonio, the second largest city in Texas? As SAWS says in their own PR, they are "waterful." a made up spin word that translates to the very strange "problem" they have. They have too much water! Does anyone know where this "extra" water is and what they're doing with it? We don't trust SAWS to tell us, but maybe a Senate Committee can find out.
LIV has documented the long sorrowful story of the Vista Ridge "The San Antone Hose" on our Big Squeeze water page here. It will take you a while to get through it, but it's a great story, so get some popcorn.
We, the people, have 2-minutes @ Senate Water Hearing on Tuesday
For those who are testifying on Tuesday, you will have 2 minutes, or so we hope. The time- miserly chair of the Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Charles Perry has been known to cut citizens to 1-minute...or to none at all.
Know that Charles Perry has something in common with the famous (or is it infamous?) Rick Perry. They have both presided over the draining of the Ogallala Aquifer in West Texas. And Charles Perry, appointed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to chair the critically important Texas Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, has KILLED (by holding in committee and refusing to hold a hearing) many water bills in order to brow beat water bill authors into submission to support his flawed water agenda.
We promise you, it's not just us "radical" independents who have an issue with the Senator. Perry. He has ticked off a legion of people who, despite our many disagreements, are all suffering from the "growth machine's" planning -- or lack thereof. Even vultures have a pecking order, eh? (You might want to read Texas Monthly's "Worst Legislators" rating of Charles Perry in 2021.)
Don't Forget Perry's Pilfering Poodle Paws Addendum
Here's what Independent Texans PAC says about the two candidates -- water ally Paul Pape and Rick Perry poodle -- Stan Gerdes, running for the House District 17 GOP nomination. The runoff is May 24. Groundwater is THE issue in the new HD-17 -- Bastrop, Burleson, Caldwell, Lee and Milam counties.
Click on "Remember the Ogallala, Remember Vista Ridge" to view the flier: