Three On The Toll Schemes Around Texas

Posted in Privatization, HD-52, Had Enough Yet?, Road Issues, Central Texas, Williamson County at 10:23 am by wcnews

When I was growing up we called it “schooling” someone, “man, you schooled that dude”. We’ll we - Texas taxpayers - have been schooled into paying consultants to teach employees of TxDOT how to school us into thinking toll roads are the best thing since sliced bread, Court looking at state’s promotion of toll-road plan, (Tip to Sal).

When Texas transportation officials talk about bridges these days, they don’t necessarily mean steel spans and concrete girders. Instead, they are being taught how to “bridge” from off-message questions to their own talking points in a toll-road campaign.

“You will often be asked questions that don’t get to the points you wish to make or that you don’t wish to answer,” says a “radio interview techniques” section of Texas Department of Transportation documents released under the Public Information Act. “You can use bridging to turn the question to your points.”

One useful phrase, suggests the document — prepared by consultants who are to be paid $24,500 for talk-radio training for the campaign, and tweaked by the department — is this: ” … I think what you are really asking is … ”

The document also offers this timeless advice: “Keep calm. Leave wrestling to the pigs. They always end up looking like pigs.”

The training document is part of the multimillion-dollar Keep Texas Moving campaign, the subject of a court hearing today.

The hearing comes after activist Terri Hall of the San Antonio Toll Party and Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom filed a court petition to stop the agency from spending public funds on the campaign, projected to cost $7 million to $9 million in highway money.

Thank you Terri Hall, keep up the fight and the good work.

Next up San Antonio area driver learned earlier in the week just how expensive it will be to drive one of their new toll roads.

Noisy, anxious speculation over how much motorists will pay to use toll lanes on U.S. 281 has ended with a silent revelation.

Barring legal action and a dramatic turnaround in the courts, drivers in two- and three-axle vehicles could pay 17 cents a mile when the first four miles of U.S. 281 toll lanes open in 2012, according to documents posted on the Web without fanfare Monday.

Rates might increase 2.75 percent a year through 2017 and then 3 percent annually after that, about as fast as consumer inflation has been rising.

They may sound like too much to the people but don’t worry, “business is warm to it”.

Terri Hall, founder of San Antonio Toll Party and Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, said the fees, while comparable to Houston and Dallas, are higher than some other states — a claim borne out by a recent state audit.

“Texans have to be asking themselves, ‘Why do we have to pay so much?’” she said.

Vic Boyer, director of the public-private San Antonio Mobility Coalition, said business and road industry officials are so far warm to the rates.

“I think they feel fairly comfortable with what they’ve seen,” he said.

Rebuilding U.S. 281 into a tolled expressway with nontoll frontage ro

Some times EOW wonders if these people even want to hold elected office anymore. It’s like their purposefully trying to kill their political careers. Just a reminder that the gas tax is much cheaper than 17 cents a mile.

Last bur certainly not least, Sal has the scoop on TxDOT’s intentional silence on the overcharging issue, Internal emails record TxDOT deception.

As tens of thousands of Central Texas toll road drivers were being double charged for months, TxDOT and contractors discussed the problem via email, without telling the press or the public, according to e-mails released under the state’s Public Information Act. KXAN broke the story after a citizen contacted the TV news station in late September. But even then, emails prove that TxDOT was not forthcoming with the facts.

“A system issue was discovered in July, in which approximately 30,000 duplicate transactions were posted to customer accounts since January 2007.” PBS&J’s, Vivian Raines, wrote on July 19.


On September 19th, after KXAN contacted TxDOT about the over billing, Coby Chase, director of TxDOT’s Government and Public Affairs Division email states, “I take it we will get ahead of this and not let it look like we were caught right?”

A debate on whether they should or should not produce a press release is captured within the email records. As Coby Chase suggests a press release, Gabriela Garcia, TxDOT spokesperson, discusses a strategy to keep the story from spreading further.

Gabriela Garcia tells Coby, “There’s certainly a chance other interviews will follow KXAN, but not until Friday (after their story runs). Then we’re taking a chance that since one station already had it first, others won’t take it. With a news release, we’re inviting news coverage”.

When KXAN interviews the TxDOT spokesperson (click to see the video), Gabriela Garcia doesn’t share her knowledge of the 30,000 that have been double charged, instead she intentionally sets out to deceive the press and the public by says it’s only “150 a day”.

As underlings panic with the pressure of answering KXAN’s tough questions, Philip Russell, TxDOT Turnpike Division Director sent this sarcastic email. “sounds like I better look at my billing statement closer!”

Not surprising at all. They’ve knoww about it since July and said nothing until a customer showed up on KXAN in September. I wonder when were they going to say something? It’s been happening since January. That’s pretty much when the toll roads in the area started charging full price. Which means this has been happening from the beginning. I certainly thought, from what my state representative Mike Krusee has always said, that the private sector and the free market would be taking much better care of us than this.

Carter, GOP Scared Of SCHIP Because It Works

Posted in District 31, Health Care, Take Action, Had Enough Yet?, Commentary, Around The State, Around The Nation, Williamson County at 9:52 am by wcnews

For all the whining we’ve heard over the years from “conservatives” about government programs that don’t work it would seem that they’d be ecstatic about one that not only works, but works well. Not so, in the case of SCHIP. Working government does not fit into their view of government in general, which is to let the corporations that donate to them run everything. In this case, in which th private sector can’t do it better, they have no way to fight back against the middle class that wants more of a good thing. Which leads us to this excellent editorial in today’s HChron, No wonder Republicans are panicked over SCHIP.

The right does these issues on automatic pilot — and the left knows how to hit back — but the center feels conflicted. Megan McArdle, a blogger for The Atlantic magazine’s Website, worries about forcing families to sell assets to qualify for public health-care benefits. “On the other hand,” she writes, “many people, including me, don’t want to pay for the health care of someone so that they can stay in their Park Avenue mansion.”

Honey, you already do.

The taxpayers are footing the medical bills of many a Park Avenue swell over 65. There’s little means testing in Medicare, yet Bush pushed a drug benefit on top of the program’s already generous coverage. It will cost many times the price of SCHIP, even were it to cover the likes of Graeme Frost.

So let’s discuss what the panic is really about. Republicans know that once government health coverage seeps up into the middle class, there’s no stopping it.

Note how Bush does this big “compassionate conservative” thing about very much wanting SCHIP for poor people. Programs for the poor are fine, because you can always cut the living daylights out of them. Politicians who mess with middle class benefits find their heads in the return mail.

The happiest campers in American health care today are the people in Medicare, a government-run program that sets prices. Middle-class families who taste similar fruits will not say: “Please, oh, please. Send my health coverage back into the exciting free market.” And their neighbors will ask, “Where can I get some?”

As last stands go, issuing cries of injustice that an insured family making $40,000 might be asked to subsidize the health care of an uninsured family making $60,000 is neither heroic nor smart.

The more rational response would be to let the folks making $40,000 also join the program — and require employers to raise their paychecks by the amount previously taken out for health coverage. Both the family and the bosses would come out ahead.

Really, how did American workers become the last people in any industrialized democracy to be subject to such anxiety about paying for medical care? They already fund the health care of retirees, the poor, the disabled, convicts and government employees, including members of Congress. Their taxes pay for everyone’s health care except their own.

Republicans can’t possibly believe that today’s expensive and chaotic mess of a health-care “system” is a “conservative” approach.

They see their former business allies running into the arms of Democrats for deliverance from the unpredictable costs of insuring workers.

Right-wingers, give it up! You’re fighting a battle you shouldn’t want to win. A country without universal coverage isn’t conservative. It’s primitive.

Remember this bill is a bipartisan compromise, with only the president and the most extreme right of the GOP being against this bill. Congressman Carter will not “give it up” because he believes he’s in a safe district where his constituents won’t hold him accountable for a vote like this. We’ll see. Don’t forget to contact him.


Remember The Williamson County Landfill, It’s Back

Posted in Commissioners Court, Bad Government Republicans, Landfill, Had Enough Yet?, Williamson County at 10:46 pm by wcnews

When last EOW focused on the Williamson County Landfill the issue had had been put into kind of a holding pattern, as some other issues needed to be resolved, before continuing with the discussion of a new contract. As time rolls on, and deadlines approach, it’s time to start looking at the issues that were left pending concerning the landfill.

A quick review. The vote on a new contract for the landfill had been delayed pending the outcome a hearing regarding the expansion permit for the landfill. The Commissioners Court passed a resolution requesting that Waste Management, Inc.’s (WMI) name be removed from all permits regarding the landfill. The county also filed a lawsuit against WMI seeking a judgment regarding whether the landfill contract can be sent out for open bid/request for proposal (RFP). It was joined by the Hutto Citizens Group (HCG) whose help the county shunned.

Since that all of those developments, nothing has changed, unfortunately. The HCG has put out three newsletters since then - 10/1, 10/8, and 10/15 all [.PDF]. All speak to the fact that the overriding issue with the landfill, WMI’s name being on the expansion permit as an “Operator”, has not been resolved. Despite a motion passed by the Commissioners Court, 5 - 0 no less, WMI is still on the contract.

The county has three lawyers representing them in the permit expansion hearing. They are Mark Dietz, John Riley, and Bryan Moore. Riley and Moore work for Vinson and Elkins. Although they are representing Williamson County they also represent WMI, (see here page 3, column 2 [.PDF] and here). Dietz has been tasked, by a motion [.PDF] of the commissioners court, with drafting a letter to the TCEQ making sure that Williamson County is the “sole applicant” on the new permit. Notice the motion did not say to remove WMI from the application, as was asked for by Commissioner Covey, an important distinction.

Reading through the HCG newsletters it becomes clear that not only can WMI be removed from the permit, there’s no reason for them to be on the permit at all. For purposes of this discussion the county is the operator of the landfill - meaning they have overall responsibility for the operation of the landfill. WMI is the contract operator - they have say over day-to-day operations of the landfill, they are not considered an operator for the site, but the operator of the contract. All that being said the Executive Director of the TCEQ had this to say in closing arguments regarding this issue, (see 10/8 newsletter):

“there is no rule requirement that the name of the contract operator be put on the face of an MSW landfill permit” and that “the Executive Director would not object” if the operator were not listed on the permit. (MSW = Municipal Solid Waste).

In other words, there is no reason to keep WMI’s name on the permit. The county commissioners unanimously passed a motion that expressed where they stand, the people of the county don’t want it there, there’s no legal reason for it to be there, the TCEQ says is doesn’t need to be there, yet it’s still there. It appears the only reason it’s still there is because the county’s outside lawyers (Dietz, Riley and Moore), “stubbornly argue that WMI’s name could be included on the permit as an operator..”, (From 10/8 newsletter).

It’s extremely important that WMI not be listed as the “Operator”, here’s why (From 10/15 newsletter):

The risk is that the county could lose control of the landfill operation and clear ownership of the permit. And despite the clear intention expressed by the county in an official motion passed on August 28 and testimony given by County Judge Dan Gattis at the landfill permit expansion hearing at SOAH in August, the county’s attorneys have persisted in suggesting that WMI should be named as the “Operator” on the permit.

Which leads EOW to favor the HCG’s opinion as to why their name still remains (From 10/15 newsletter):

Two of the three lawyers representing the county in the SOAH case are being paid by WMI and historically have represented the interests of WMI, not Williamson County, even though in this SOAH case they are supposed to be representing the county’s interest and position.

Two more paragraphs from the 10/15 HCG newsletter (From 10/15 newsletter):

One of the truly troubling issues in this entire landfill permit expansion process is that the county essentially has been unresponsive to specific issues which have been raised by the Hutto Citizens Group and others. For example, the detailed analysis of this “Operator” question which was addressed in last week’s (Oct. 8) Newsletter has gone unanswered. No one from the county will say “we agree” or “we don’t agree.” All we get is silence on this very important question.

In light of the fact that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has stated clearly in the SOAH hearing that WMI doesn’t have to be named on the permit as “Operator”, and in light of the county commissioners’ motion passed on August 28 and Judge Dan Gattis’ testimony in the SOAH hearing, why do the county’s outside attorneys in this case continue to try to insert the county as the landfill “Operator”? Is it because two of the county’s attorneys in the SOAH case are being paid by WMI and historically have worked for WMI and not the county? It’s not a pleasant question to have to ask, but it’s necessary in the absence of any other explanation about why WMI is proposed to be on the permit as the “Operator”.

From all of this it appears that what stands in the way of WMI’s name being taken off the permit are the county’s outside attorneys, two of which work for Vinson and Elkins and also represent WMI. This seems to boil down to two questions. Why does a major Texas lobby and law firm, that has it’s hands deep into Republican politics all over the state of Texas, seem to care so much about a little ‘ol landfill in Williamson County? And why is the Commissioners Court in Williamson County allowing this to happen, when it’s something they apparently don’t want, the people of Williamson County, and only their outside lawyers do?

Tomorrow morning there will be a pre-trial hearing in the civil case of Williamson County v. Waste Management, Inc. It’s regarding whether the HCG can join the case, read the latest filing here [.PDF]. And so it goes.

Two Quick Ones

Posted in Health Care, Take Action, The War, District 31, Commentary, Around The State, Around The Nation, Williamson County at 9:40 am by wcnews

John Carter voted with 20 other extremists to keep secrets from the American people:

“We need answers to some very important questions: how corrupt is the Maliki government? Are top officials in Iraq stealing billions of dollars to fund insurgents for attacking and killing our troops? Is corruption undermining the chances for political reconciliation? Secretary of State Rice says she will answer these questions only on one condition- every Member of Congress who hears the answers has to keep the answers secret. Well, that’s an outrageous abuse of the classification system.”

Only 21 members of the US House voted against this. All were Republicans and Carter was one of them. That’s how far off the reservation he’s gone.

More on the president and the “wing nuts” despicable stand on SCHIP:

First, let’s look at what Bush said back in July about SCHIP:

The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans. I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room. The question is, will we be wise about how we pay for health care. I believe the best way to do so is to enable more people to have private insurance.

Well, the Frosts had access to an emergency room, but not to affordable private insurance. And SCHIP solved that problem.

Let Carter know how you feel about these issues.

Bad Poll Explanation Of The Day, More SCHIP Debunking

Posted in Health Care, Commentary, Around The Nation, Around The State at 9:11 am by wcnews

From a USA Today/Gallup Poll released yesterday:

A majority of Americans trust Democrats to handle the issue of children’s health insurance more than President Bush, but they agree with the president that government aid should be targeted to low-income families, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.

They either trust Democrats to handle children’s health care or they don’t. And if they do they can’t agree with anything the president says regarding children’s health care. Going through the article it seems from the questions asked and those polled a split decision is what was intended.

This question produced an obvious answer:

52% agree with Bush that most benefits should go to children in families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level — about $41,000 for a family of four. Only 40% say benefits should go to families earning up to $62,000, as the bill written by Democrats and some Republicans would allow.

Of course they do, and coincidentally that’s also what the program does. The higher income levels do not get funded until those at the lower level have already been funded. This question is a strawman argument because it’s asking about a problem that doesn’t exist. The higher income levels are not funded in place of lower income levels, and the decision to fund higher income levels are made at the state, aka local, level, and have to be signed off on by the federal government.

The next question is worse:

55% are very or somewhat concerned that the program would create an incentive for families to drop private insurance. Bush and Republican opponents have called that a step toward government-run health care.

The answer to this doesn’t matter because those two claims are either false or a minor issue.

[Crowding]..although it is not possible to extend SCHIP to all uninsured children without incidentally “crowding out” a some families who would otherwise buy private insurance, the effect is minor and is a small price to pay to achieve the goal of covering children. Extensive research shows that the rate of substitution of SCHIP for private insurance among lower-income working families is very low. Moreover, states have instituted measures to discourage such substitution, as by implementing waiting periods (during which the recipient must be uninsured) and charging premiums and cost sharing amounts similar to what recipients would face with private insurance.

[Government Run]..SCHIP does nothing to advance socialized medicine. This is a block grant program, under which states opting to receive federal funds run their own programs in compliance with federal rules. There is no “single payer,” and the program is not run by the federal government. The caregivers who actually provide the health care are generally private rather than government employees.

The most glaring weakness of this whole poll is the answer to the first question, nearly half (49%) are either following the issue Not Too Closely, or Not At All. That explains it.

for more debunking of “wing nut” attacks on the SCHIP bipartisan compromise see this series at Families USA.


Perry Names Crony To Head Texas Education Agency

Posted in Cronyism, Teachers, Public Schools, Education, Around The State at 1:25 pm by wcnews

It comes as no surprise that Gov. Perry today named Robert Scott, who has some contracting issues in his background, to head the Texas Education Agency.

“With an unmatched record of service and commitment to Texas’ students, Robert has the experience and dedication needed to raise the bar in classrooms and make sure students receive a top-notch education that prepares them for success in and out of school,” Mr. Perry said in making the announcement.

That’s obviously open for debate. EOW posted earlier in the year about Scott’s previous troubles here and here. Here are some of the highlights from back in June from this AAS article.

Associates and former employees of high-ranking officials at the Texas Education Agency have in recent years won pieces of contracts that were not competitively bid, according to a report from the agency’s inspector general.

The report, obtained by the American-Statesman on Wednesday, says that contracts went to education service centers, which serve as regional outposts for the state agency, and that the associates of agency officials received subcontracts.

The report does not explicitly state whether competitive bids should have been taken. Even when competitive bids are issued, agency staff members do not follow the agency’s contract policies, the report says.


One person cited frequently in the report is Chief Deputy Commissioner Robert Scott, who is widely considered a leading candidate to replace Neeley.

Scott denied wrongdoing Wednesday night and said the report includes “serious factual misstatements.”

“We’re going to take seriously whatever changes the inspector general recommends,” Scott said.

There’s more on this from this FWWeekly article from September, Don’t let education for Texas kids get lost in Austin’s dirty politics. The article is written by someone that lost a contract as a mediator with the TEA.

Gov. Perry’s web site touts his commitment to public education. So why is the governor considering, for the top spot in the Texas Education Agency, a guy who is under investigation on allegations that he improperly directed millions of taxpayer dollars — education dollars — to his friends?

Robert Scott, currently the acting commissioner of TEA, is under a cloud. On June 27, a report from the TEA inspector general cited then-Deputy Commissioner Scott as the prime suspect in steering “sweetheart deals” worth millions of dollars to insiders, via contracts for special education services.

Well that was June and now, three and a half months later, at least from initial media reports, Scott’s contracting issues appear to be mostly forgotten. The DMN mentions his earlier issues.

Mr. Scott’s appointment was sidetracked in June when an internal investigation by the TEA’s inspector general cited him and other officials for improperly steering state contracts to friends.

Mr. Scott called the accusation “absolutely false” and said he never urged the hiring of people cited in the report.

The independent State Auditor’s Office has undertaken a review of the allegation and that report is expected this fall.

Well I doubt many are expecting anything too detrimental to Scott coming from the investigation now that Perry has made this permanent. There may be a “Heckuva job Brownie” quality to Scott:

It will be interesting to see how much criticism, if any, Perry takes for hiring someone who is not a superintendent or former teacher. Scott’s resume is instead heavy on policymaking at the state level.

I wonder where he stands on the 65% Rule and whether he will try and push that policy? In the Bush/Perry Republican era in Texas this is just SOP.

The DPS Tapes Saga Has Cost You $165,000

Posted in Vouchers, Bad Government Republicans, Public Schools, Education, Around The State, The Lege at 12:57 pm by wcnews

The more than 2 year old court battle waged by DPS to protect Speaker Craddick’s back hall from the public’s eyes has cost taxpayers $165,000. A three judge panel will hear arguments on the case October 24th. Sen. John Carona (D-Dallas) has it on the agenda for the next meeting of the Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee in El Paso November 8th.

This case is all about the public’s right to know about what goes on in the “people’s house”. Whether “big daddie” James Leininger was prowling around in Craddick’s back hall, illegally twisting wobbly legislators arms, during a crucial vote on vouchers. The Texas Observer (Tip to Kuff) has all the details.

John Carter’s Reply On SCHIP

Posted in Health Care, Take Action, Bad Government Republicans, District 31, Congress, Commentary, Central Texas, Had Enough Yet?, Williamson County at 10:55 am by wcnews

Here is his response. It lays out his four excuses for why he “supports the President’s veto”. It’s a mix of untruths, half-truths, and obfuscation. His four main points are highlighted in an excerpt from his response below. They’re eerily similar to those in the shrill LTE in the RRL last week.

As you may know, I am a proponent of responsibly expanding SCHIP. However, I support the President’s veto of the recently passed SCHIP expansion, which would expand the program to families who make over $80,000 and allow adults up to age 21 to benefit from SCHIP. In addition, the vetoed legislation would have allowed illegal aliens access to federal health care funds. I strongly oppose providing incentives for illegal immigrants before we have provided health coverage to our own poor kids. I look forward to working with my colleagues to craft a plan that will sensibly provide coverage to as many American children as possible. Additionally, I cannot support a proposal that requires our children’s wellbeing to rely upon creating 22 million new smokers to finance the expansion.

Let the debunking begin.

  • Expand the program to families who make over $80,000
  • The program will not be “expanded” to ALL families making over $80,000 as that statement makes it seem. It’s possible it could happen. It would have to be sent from a state to the federal government, where a waiver would have to be granted, and a waiver like that has never been granted.

    However, that claim is patently misleading. The bill actually restricts SCHIP money to families earning no more than 300% of the federal poverty level, which means about $60,000 for a family of four. President Bush’s assertion is based on a waiver request by the State of New York that was in fact rejected by the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • SCHIP allows adults up to age 21 to benefit
  • That claim is true but without context is disingenuous. The adult coverage is allowed only in certain instances, is subject to a federal waiver, and covers adults that need coverage the most - the disabled and pregnant women.

    Some states have in the past obtained waivers from the federal government (yes, the Bush administration) to extend benefits to certain adults, usually adults who are disabled, pregnant, or parents of eligible children. New waivers to provide coverage of adults without children has been prohibited since passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006. The Bush administration likes to portray this as a major dimension of the program by emphasizing that about 600,000 adults are receiving benefits under SCHIP, but that is only a tenth of the six million recipients overall. This is fundamentally a program for uninsured children.

  • Allow(s) illegal aliens access to federal health care
  • That claim is false.

    SCHIP does not cover illegal immigrants. (Thanks to Republican objections during the negotiation of the House-Senate compromise version of the SCHIP bill, it doesn’t even cover legal immigrants.) The entire GOP attack on this basis is premised on a change in how the citizenship status of applicants is verified. States administering the program have determined that requiring documentation of citizenship in the form of birth certificates is impractical and harmful, since many applicants don’t have them. (This is notably true in rural areas.) Therefore, the new law is based on verification of social security numbers, which contrary to myth are not provided to illegal immigrants. While that system may not be perfect, the claim that SCHIP covers illegal immigrants is false, and the notion that legions of illegal immigrants will subvert the system and obtain benefits is patently absurd.

  • Creat(es) 22 million new smokers
  • That claim is false. Another false GOP talking point from a “wing nut” think tank.

    This is a common meme you’ll hear from Republican opponents of the bill. In order for a cigarette tax to work we’d need 22 million new smokers. Rep. Joe Knollenberg’s (R-MI) staffer Trent Wisecup blurted it out in that video with the protester and my Rep Judy Biggert (IL-13) said the same thing in one of her conference calls to constituents I had the displeasure to listen to the other day. This emanates from Heritage Foundation junk economics. Read on for a debunking of this phony argument.

Carter will stick with the President on this and will use phony GOP talking points to try and justify it. I’ve heard quite a few people in Williamson County lament that while they knew Carter was a Republican they thought he was a good man, gave him the benefit of the doubt, and thought he would do the right thing when called upon to do so. They never thought he would turn into the “far right” ideologue he has become since going to Congress. Don’t forget to let him know what you think.


S-CHIP Works

Posted in Take Action, Health Care, Congress, Had Enough Yet?, Around The Nation at 10:35 pm by wcnews

To contact John Carter and ask him not to uphold President Bush’s veto click “>here.

GOP Brand Is Losing It’s Luster In Williamson County

Posted in Take Action, Good Stuff, HD-52, Election 2008, Commentary, 2008 Primary, Williamson County at 4:44 pm by wcnews

Do you think splitting up families and imprisoning mothers and children, that have committed no crime, is something Williamson County should be making money from?

Do you think elected officials should run public meetings in accordance with the law that make if fair for everyone to participate?

Are you tired of elected officials that only represent the rich special interests that fund their campaigns and could care less about the people of Williamson County?

It’s these types of actions that are fueling the political change that is blowing in Williamson County. As the days roll on, and the discontent and tin ears of our elected county officials continues, the desire and need for a change in county leadership increases. Here at EOW we get considerable amounts of email regarding the need for Democrats to run for every position on the ballot - Sheriff, Constable, County Commissioner, just to name a few. And of that considerable amount of email a significant majority of it is from those who were previously Republican voters and lament their mistakes as say, “no more”. Those that aren’t former Republicans are Independents or are now “Democrats-again” who are tired of the status quo. As discussed before at EOW many people have been voting for the GOP in Williamson County because they were perceived as the only game in town. That’s changing, and faster then most people realize.

What that means is that there is a great opportunity to run and win in Williamson County as a Democrat. There may be a perception that Democrats still face long odds in Williamson County. But that perception is, if not gone, going. Especially in HD-52 and in Precinct 1 for the 2008 election cycle. Most everyone in both parties knows that Williamson County will soon no longer be a one-party county. Accountability will return to Williamson County in 2009.

The citizens of Williamson County are realizing what many Americans realized in 2006, if not sooner, the worthlessness of the bankrupt policies of the GOP. Profiting from imprisoning mothers and children, dismissing laws that keep fairness, and preferring special interest to the people is not what they promised us. And they’re supposed to be the moral and ethical party? Sounds like a great campaign slogan.

I haven’t even mentioned toll roads, health care, our crumbling infrastructure, education, and on, and on, and on. Here again is a list of offices, qualifications and salaries on the 2008 ballot. If you’re interested can contact the WCDP here. The filing deadline is January 2, 2008.

One more time:

My gut tells me there are many Democrats in Williamson County that have been voting Republican and working with the Republicans because that was the only game in town. Well, that’s changed and it’s time to come home. If that was the case, there’s no reason anymore to wait in line for someone to decide not to run again and continue to keep quiet and aid the other side. Your needed to run as a Democrat, run a campaign for a Democrat, fund raise for a Democrat, block walk for a Democrat, NOW. Opportunity is knocking with the Democratic Party in Williamson County.

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