Landfill Vote Tuesday, Get Informed, Call Your Commissioner

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Commissioners Court, Take Action, Landfill, Williamson County, Uncategorized at 11:31 pm by wcnews

The Commissioners Court has moved the vote on the landfill again. This time they’ve made it a week earlier, it’s this Tuesday August, 21st and they will not allow any public comment. This is, more than likely, more shenanigans by Judge Gattis and his cohorts to confuse and make it harder for citizens to participate in this issue.

Two this to read in preparation for Tuesday’s vote:

This analysis [.PDF] on the significant flaws of the contract.

Next, this press release [.PDF] from the Hutto Citizens Group regarding a contract that’s still bad despite the revisions.

“In our opinion,” [Jeff Maurice, chairman of the HCG’s Landfill Committee] said, “this landfill mess reveals a level of government arrogance, indifference to local concerns, and corporate welfare that we have never experienced previously in this county. We hope that all citizens in Williamson County take note of what the county is doing to the Hutto area, one of the fastest-growing areas of the state. If the county will do this to Hutto, it will do it to you.”

The consensus appears to be that no matter how bad the 2003 contract is were better of with that than this new abomination. The county needs to open the landfill up for bidding and then, and only then, will the county get a deal worth signing.

Give them a call. Be polite, and assertive.

Dan Gattis, Sr., County Judge (943-1550)

Comm. Pct. 1 Lisa Birkman (733-5380)

Comm. Pct. 2 Cynthia Long (260-4280)

Comm. Pct. 3 Valerie Covey (943-3370)

Comm. Pct. 4 Ron Morrison (238-2111)


Update On Courthouse Delay, Some Furnishings Not Even Constructe Yet

Posted in Williamson County at 5:29 pm by wcnews

Via the TDP here’s the laundry list of why the courthouse isn’t ready.

Reasons for the delay include the fact that the county does not have a certificate of occupancy, the new stairwell is not completed, benches in commissioners courtroom are not installed, the commissioners bench in commissioners courtroom is not constructed or installed, chairs in the balcony of the district courtroom are not installed, and the landscaping is not completed.

That’s quite a bit of work left to do.

Judge Gatttis, Commissioners Court, Playing Games At Meeting

Posted in Commissioners Court, Bad Government Republicans, Landfill, T. Don Hutto, Williamson County at 12:56 pm by wcnews

I received this report via email:

Tuesday’s (Aug. 14) meeting of the Williamson County Commissioners Court was one of the most bizarre sessions ever witnessed:

After posting an initial agenda on the county’s website the previous Thursday which listed public comments and action on the landfill issue as the first item on the agenda after the uncontested items, the county distributed a hard-copy agenda on Tuesday morning which removed the landfill from its top spot and pushed it to the very end of the agenda. People planning to arrive at the 9:30 start time, make their comments and then leave (to go to work, for example) faced a difficult choice. The agenda item involving the T. Don Hutto prison controversy also was at the very end of the agenda, but Judge Dan Gattis moved that item to the very beginning—to the public comments section—so people who planned to arrive in mid-meeting to comment on the prison contract at the end of the meeting got there too late. (It gets worse.) As commissioners proceeded through the agenda, Gattis saw some landfill-interested citizens leave the hall to prepare comments for the landfill item at the end of the agenda, so at that point he moved the landfill item forward immediately, apparently hoping to get through it before the landfill-interested citizens could return. (He was unsuccessful—they returned in time to comment.) THEN, he announced that the previously-announced date for voting on the landfill contract (Aug. 28) was being changed to Aug. 21, and that on Aug. 21 he would allow NO PUBLIC COMMENT on the landfill.

On August 7, when people were signing the sheet to speak on the landfill, the sheet noted that they would each have three minutes to comment. After several had signed up, WilCo PIO Connie Watson pulled down that sheet and replaced it with a sheet that said people would have two minutes in which to make comments, and she asked everyone to start over and sign that sheet instead of the other one.

Who’s on first?

Very nice. Is this what Judge Gattis meant when he campaigned on his,”..dedication to always upholding the principles of honesty and integrity at each turn”?


“Good Stuff Going On In Williamson County”

Posted in Animal Shelter, Williamson County at 11:21 pm by wcnews

Many times, we focus too much on the problems in Williamson County and not the successes. Today we received and email at EOW that highlights on of those successes. The email is from the Humane Society of Williamson County. The email is below. Thank you for the information and we’re happy to pass it on.

I wanted to let you know that there is some good stuff going on in Williamson County- of course it is outside the happenings of the government but I wanted to let you know about it since you have taken an interest in the Williamson County Regional Shelter happenings.

For 15 years the government of Williamson County sub-contracted much of its animal sheltering responsibility to the Humane Society because it did not have a shelter of its own. When the Williamson County Regional Shelter opened its doors in March, the county discontinued its contract with the Humane Society. The Humane Society took advantage of this opportunity to “re-invent” itself as a no-kill shelter. We have no affiliation with the Regional Shelter organization!

The Humane Society of Williamson County is working to keep animals out of municipal shelters, either by taking in animals that citizens can no longer care for or by pulling animals out of shelters like the Regional Shelter if we belive they are at risk of being euthanized. We then take care of those animals until the animals find permanent homes. Our goals for this year are to adopt out 2,400 animals, perform 2,500 low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, and host 15 low-cost vaccination clinics. We are having a huge positive impact on Williamson County!

I want your readers to know that these shelters are two separate organizations and that they should tell their friends and family to come adopt a dog or cat from us. Thank you!

We also had an event this weekend to publicly announce our no-kill status, even if we have been no-kill for several months already. Here’s the press release.

Press release below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Dana Boehm, Interim WCRAS Director, Arrested For Theft Of Tax Refund Check

Posted in Commissioners Court, Bad Government Republicans, Animal Shelter, Williamson County at 4:45 pm by wcnews

It’s unrelated to her work at WCRAS. News 8 has the story, Wilco shelter director arrested for theft.

n the latest chapter in the embattled Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, the current shelter director, Dr. Dana Boehm, has been jailed for felony theft.

Boehm is accused of stealing an IRS refund check from her former employer, the Hutto Vet Clinic.

John Holmstrom, who owns the Hutto Vet Clinic, said he never received a tax refund for $3,270 from the 2005 tax year. He found out the check was cashed at a bank in Taylor with the stamp of his signature that he uses for prescriptions.

An affidavit states that Boehm admitted Aug. 3 to Holmstrom’s wife, Linda Welch, that she took the IRS check and cashed it.

Boehm is charged with felony theft over $1,500 but less than $20,000. If convicted, Boehm faces up to two years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

The “Mayberry Maciavelli’s” record of success continues. More from Shelter Concerns.

For what its worth, Dr. Boehm is former Precinct 4 County Commissioner Frankie Limmer’s niece.

Hypocrisy in Williamson County’s Sentencing of Phil Raije Rian

Posted in Criminal Justice, Commentary, Williamson County at 3:40 pm by wcnews

Not matter who you are. No matter what sex you are. Whether you mail or female, Don’t molest children in Williamson County - Williamson County District Attorney Phil Grant on KXAN last night.

That’s some pretty strong stuff from Mr. Grant. I wonder if her remembers the case of former Williamson County Constable Roger Dale Proctor who was able to plead and get 5 months probation, and maybe 30 DAYS in jail, for a years long relationship with a minor. It’s interesting that the county would allow a former peace officer to plead to solicitation and get off with little or not jail time. Maybe if Ms. Rian was a former law enforcement officer in the county she would have fared better. So much for that part about, “No matter who you are”.

Read the Williamson County Sun article about Constable Proctor here.

AusChron On Missing Dog At WCRAS

Posted in Animal Shelter, Williamson County at 12:13 pm by wcnews

Here’s the story, Animal Shelter Drops the Ball on Missing Dog. The family of the supposedly euthanized dog has gotten the run around and misinformation from the beginning. Now the family has hired a lawyer, Bill Aleshire, to help them get the truth. Here’s what’s happened so far.

The family’s saga began Monday, July 16, when Reba and Toby, a blue heeler mix, went missing at a Williamson Co. park. It wasn’t the first time the dogs had set out on their own, but they had always returned home in short order, the Angelles said. Two days later, the family posted a sign, and, within an hour, Cedar Park Animal Control Officer Charles Partridge notified the Angelles that the two dogs had been taken to the regional shelter. Partridge told them he would call in a “found-owner” report — standard procedure for halting euthanization — and provided them control numbers for both animals.

Since the shelter is usually closed on Thurs­days, the family waited until Friday to call, but shelter personnel “never answered the phone,” Mitzi said. A little after noon, Gilbert and daughter Sarah, 15, arrived at the shelter to retrieve their dogs but encountered “mass chaos.”

Shelter workers initially told them they didn’t have the dogs, Gilbert said. Then they were told the dogs were there but that he’d have to pay $220 in cash to reclaim them. When Gilbert returned that afternoon with the money, shelter personnel acted as though they’d never seen him before, he said.

Then, when a shelter employee punched in Reba’s control number, the digits pulled up an aging Lab matching Watson’s subsequent description of the deceased dog, Gilbert said. Finally, at about 5:30pm, a shelter worker informed the Angel­les that Reba had been euthanized but that they couldn’t view their dog’s body for legal reasons, Gilbert recalled. “I think they told me Reba was euthanized to get rid of me,” he said. “My daughter then fell to the floor and just cried and cried.” With only one of the Angelles’ dogs returned, the shelter also refunded the family the $110 that they would have paid for Reba’s retrieval. “But what puzzles me is that they collected it with the full intention of giving us the dog,” Gilbert said. “They had no idea [at the time] that she was dead either. They never indicated this the whole day.”

Meanwhile, Gilbert called the Williamson Co. Sheriff’s Office, hoping for assistance in retrieving Reba’s body. The three deputies who showed up seemed helpful at first, he said, but they eventually told him the shelter had followed policy and no crime had been committed. Angelle, understandably distraught, called his wife from the shelter to tell her that Reba was dead. The deputies, apparently taken aback by Gilbert’s display of emotion, gave him five minutes to leave the shelter. There are conflicting reports about whether Gilbert complied and left the premises without incident.

Nearly a month later, the Angelles remain unconvinced that Reba was euthanized. And, they say, until they see Reba’s body or incontrovertible documentation of her demise, they will continue to hope she is alive. Moreover, the family recently obtained documents that cast serious doubt on the county’s initial report of what happened, Aleshire said. “They show that the dog they killed had mange and calloused joints. That is not Reba.”

The county, as is there usual procedure, is non-responsive to it’s citizens. It seems like with most things their response is to lie and cover-up. They need to come clean and tell this family what they really did with their dog.

Excessive Punishment In Williamson County - UPDATED

Posted in Commentary, Williamson County at 10:13 am by wcnews

Williamson County, known for it’s image of “hanging judges” and excessive punishments, is continuing to live up to that image. Austin woman gets 23 years for sex with 16-year-old boy.

An Austin woman was sentenced to 23 years in prison Wednesday for having sex with a 16-year-old whom she lived near last year in Round Rock.

Phill Raije Rian, 41, shook vigorously as a Williamson County jury sentenced her. She was convicted Monday of three counts of sexual assault of a child.

The jury recommended 10 years for one count, 13 for the second and 10 years’ probation for the third.

Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield stacked the first two sentences, meaning she will serve 23 years in prison and 10 years’ probation.

She won’t be eligible for parole until she has served half the prison term.

23 years for a relationship that’s been reported as consensual is excessive. The judge could have, at least, let them run consecutive. Now the comments from the ADA and the kid’s parents.

“She needs serious help,” Assistant District Attorney Phil Grant said during Wednesday’s sentencing phase.

But during testimony on Tuesday, the victim’s mother said she “was sure” that Rian did not force her son into a sexual relationship.

“We told him, ‘You made a big-boy decision, so you need to face big-boy consequences,’ ”

the victim’s mother said.

If the woman needs help, psychological help we’ll assume is what he meant, prison is not the place to get it. From the mothers comments it would seem she’s having trouble letting go of her little boy. Yes he made a “big-boy” decision to let his naughty neighbor “take advantage” of him.

Ms. Rian broke the law, deserved to be punished, but the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. She’s been convicted by a jury of her peers, her nickname isn’t Scooter, so she’ll do the time. There’s been no word on whether this decision can be appealed, if it can it should be that’s for sure.

[UPDATE]: KXAN has video here. You can see her attorney. Richard “Racehorse” Haynes calling the verdict shocking, and saying people have gotten much less time for murder. I doubt they did in Williamson County.


Toll Road Items, Including Krusee Coming To Dell

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Privatization, Road Issues, Around The State at 11:04 pm by wcnews

I drove the western section of SH 45 today and the flashing portable signs made it clear, literally, that the free ride is over, August 24th is the last day to ride free.

With that work done, toll charges on the western part of Texas 45 North will begin Aug. 25. It will cost 75 cents at the main toll plaza west of Parmer, or 67.5 cents with a toll tag. There also will be several entrance and exit ramps with a 50-cent cash charge, or 45 cents for toll tag users.

Sal’s back and he has a couple of doozies. First he points us to this article in the Tyler Paper on what Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) had to say regarding toll roads and the gas tax.

Toll roads will not solve Texas’ roadway woes, state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, told the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors on Tuesday.

The state must take care of its infrastructure needs, and Eltife said he has always supported indexing the gasoline tax to inflation to ensure funding to handle those needs.

“I think we need to get back to the basics in this state and pay for road and bridge improvements,” he said.

“We ought to index the gas tax to inflation, we should build our own roads,” Eltife said. “The toll roads are a piece of the puzzle; without question they’re a piece of the transportation puzzle in the state of Texas. But 20 years ago we were the envy of the country because we paid cash for all our road improvements.”

Paying cash for roads and bridges is the “conservative thing to do,” he said. Borrowing money is not.

Texas has not raised the gasoline tax in nine or 10 years, and it is falling further behind on its infrastructure needs, Eltife said, adding politicians need to have the courage to say what the needs are and explain how the state will pay for them.

Until Texas does that, it will continue to fall behind in infrastructure, he said.

“You’re not going to get there when you only have 30 percent of the funding you need in TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) to fund it,” he said. “And the answer isn’t to hide behind toll roads and selling toll roads to private contractors.”

Eltife said this makes no sense.

“Toll roads are a huge cash cow for this state,” he said. “Why do you want to give that future cash to a private contractor? We are not a broke state; we have a lot of money. We can go borrow $3 billion to build those toll roads, and in 20 years when they’re paid for that cash stream will go to TxDOT for future road improvements.”

Eltife also mentioned a couple of disagreements with Gov. Rick Perry, one being his opposition to the Trans-Texas Corridor, which Perry supports.

Good stuff. Tolls can play a part but we the majority of our transportation infrastructure should be paid for by the gas tax. Keep it up Sen. Eltife.

Now to Rep. Krusee. Apparently the disastrous design of his toll road (SH 45) where it intersects IH 35 has made 5 o’clock rush hour worse than it was before. He’s coming to speak to Dell employees on August 23rd. This from and email Sal received.

“People are pretty frustrated here, they gave us entrance and exit ramps to the Toll, but closed our Entrance Ramps to I-35 (how nice).

We have Dell (Largest employer in Round Rock, a Super Walmart, a Target, an HEB, and 3 large shopping centers at this I-35 intersection, and they took our entrance ramp ti I-35 away!!!! Now at 5pm we have at least 5,000 Dell employees all fighting through two access road intersections to get to an I-35 entrance ramp.”

Should be interesting to hear Krusee rave about his toll roads to the drivers that have to suffer through them every day.


Oh, The Courthouse Is Still A Long Way From Being Finished

Posted in Commissioners Court, Bad Government Republicans, Williamson County at 11:16 pm by wcnews

Again via the AAS.

The opening of the historic Williamson County Courthouse will be delayed further, possibly for months, officials said Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the county expected to move in this week and hold a grand opening Sept. 8. Now, officials are unsure exactly when they will move in or how long the grand opening will be postponed.


At a sneak peek this month, “all of the contractors told me we were months away,” county Commissioner Lisa Birkman said.

Commissioners agreed Tuesday to hold off on setting a new date for the grand opening, which they said could be as late as December.

I’ll say that’s months away.

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