Great Column By John Young

Posted in Commentary, Around The Nation at 5:12 pm by wcnews

via the WacoTrib, The business of oppression.

Hand over your civil liberties, because we don’t want Osama bin Laden to take them.

I think that’s what Cal Thomas said.

“How many civil libertarians exist in the type of society OBL wishes to impose on us?” Thomas hyperventilated in his column.

“If bin Laden succeeds, the ACLU will be among the first organizations crushed, after appropriate thanks for helping to make the takeover possible.”

Open brown paper bag, apply mouth, breathe deeply.

Terrorism being a crime of the information age, bin Laden has exceeded Bill Gates in his designs. By dispatching a few suicide bombers to our shores and a few cryptic videos, he has caused hysteria and geopolitical overreaching as never before seen.

If one man in his smelly cave can cause what we’ve seen policymakers and pundits do since 9/11, maybe he can just waltz in, brush our chief executive aside, put his sandals up on that Oval Office desk and rule our country. Ya think?

No, I don’t. But some Americans are absolutely frantic that we must yield any number of basic civil liberties to blunt Osama’s master plan. Habeaus corpus. Protections against illegal search and seizure.

And if you haven’t noticed the nomenclature since 9/11, it’s all in the interests of “freedom.” Our war in Iraq is to advance “freedom” around the world, says President Bush. But, says our leader, be advised that you can have too much of that around here.

There’s much, much more on the, we have to give up our freedom to keep it crowd.

KBH and Transportation Funding - UPDATED

Posted in Road Issues, Privatization, Around The Nation, Around The State, Williamson County, Uncategorized at 1:59 pm by wcnews

Despite Kay’s crowing about her amendment that was passed yesterday, her “paying twice for a highway” rhetoric, and her recent interest in transportation funding in Texas, it’s what hasn’t been done by the Senator that needs to be talked about. The end of today’s HChron article regarding her amendment has a pretty good synopsis. (See this DMN article too for TxDOT head Ric Williamson’s reaction to the senator, it hilarious).

Texas faces a triple whammy. It pays more in gas taxes into the federal highway trust fund than it receives back from Washington every year. The state bears heavy highway use because it is the conduit for 80 percent of all NAFTA-related truck traffic. And it is a high-growth state that adds 1,000 new residents a day.

“If our congressional delegation in D.C. wants to be constructive and helpful in addressing state transportation needs, they will work to get more of our gas tax dollars back to Texas,” said Black.

While EOW’s not used to agreeing with Mr. Black on this one he’s right. For all her crowing about how bad these double taxes are there’s no hint of what she would do to fix the problem. Will she be for raising the gas tax or, at the least, getting all of Texas’ gas tax money back from the federal government? Hutchison, like most every Republicans, has been the chief neglectors of our transportation infrastructure. She’s also pro-TTC. Here’s a little of what her opponent in 2006, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, pointed out about her record on this issue. From page 4 and 5 of her issues chart [.PDF].

Liberal spender: Working hard for Alaska and Mississippi

Opponent short-changed Texans by championing a transportation bill that was the most expensive public works legislation in U.S. history ($286.4 billion), setting a new record for pork barrel spending, earmarking for 6,376 pet projects. The 1,752-page bill was not available for the public to read and examine until just prior to voting, prompting newspapers to write “it is safe to bet that none of the lawmakers, not even the main authors, had read the entire package.” The bill gave away more Texas taxpayer dollars and continued opponent’s longstanding practice of donating Texas federal gas taxes to other states. The bill and its unpopular liberal spending provisions contained a million-dollar bus stop and a $200 million “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska. Opponent’s liberal spending guaranteed that Alaskans would receive about $1,500 per capita in highway benefits, while Texans would receive a meager $36. At the time of passage, opponent wrongly claimed that the bill eliminated Texas as a super donor, ignoring the fact that, according to her own figures, Texans will receive back only 91.3cents for every dollar they give to the country. Opponent’s claim that this was a new development was also false; she acknowledged in 2001 that Texas was receiving back a mere 91 cents for each dollar it contributed. In August of 2005, after the transportation bill had become law, she finally admitted that it “short-changed Texas.”

Opponent issued a press release in May, 2005, explaining why she was voting against the transportation bill: the gas tax reimbursement was unfair to Texans. After receiving a $5,000 contribution from Alaska senator Ted Stevens’s PAC, she changed her vote for the transportation bill, even though “no state has a worse rate of return from the federal highway trust fund, as Texans continue to pay far more in federal gasoline taxes than they get back.”

Opponent’s camp falsely claimed credit for increasing the Texas formula from 76 cents to its current rate. The Gramm-Byrd Amendment of 1998 was responsible for the increase from 77 cents to 90.5 cents, and was the result of hard work by senators Gramm and Byrd, not KBH.

Hutchison used the Katrina disaster as an excuse to vote for a $700 million giveaway to Mississippi to complete a railroad project and build a new highway that had nothing to do with Katrina.

It’s obvious that KBH sees this as nothing more than an easy opportunity to score political points againt her future opponent in her run for govrenor in 2010. She’s obviously not against toll roads, or for raising the gas tax. More blasts from the past on the senator here from Kuff, TxDOT’s lobby money.

[UPDATE]: More on Kay’s “giant pander” from the pro-toll TollRoadNews, Sen K B Hutchinson flip - says toll prohibition bills don’t really prohibit tolling.

Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Repub) has now issued a statement claiming that none of her “toll prohibition bills” really prohibit tolling! A statement of Sept 12 from her office says: “Efforts to toll newly constructed lanes or new highways would not be prohibited in Sen Hutchinson’s amendment (S AMDT 2825 to HR3074), or in S2109 or HR3510.”

“I’ve long believed that if local communities and the state want to come together and build a toll road, they should be able to do it,” she is quoted.

County Shuns Citizens Help With Landfill Petition

Posted in Commissioners Court, Bad Government Republicans, Landfill, Commentary, Williamson County at 12:17 pm by wcnews

The TDP has an article up regarding the Hutto Citizens Group and others joining the Williamson County petition against Waste Management, Inc., as interveners, and the county’s reaction, Locals file to join county’s landfill suit.

“We are trying to side with them [Williamson County] and give more weight to what they are doing and to make sure all the right questions are asked,” said Mahlon Arnett, who is listed with his wife Robbie as an intervener.

Arnett and the Hutto Citizens Group, which he is a member, have long requested the county stop contract negotiations with Waste Management and open up the process to competitive bidding.

Bob Gregory, owner of investment firm TJFA, LP, said in a previous interview that he believed the lack of a bidding process was an unfair playing field for competing companies. Gregory owns Travis County-based company Texas Disposal Systems.

While Arnett’s assistance, as well as that of others, is a welcomed occurrence, it appears the county is saying thanks, but no thanks.

However, Stephen Ackley with the County Attorney’s office said he suspects the county will ask the judge to keep the suit between just Williamson County and Waste Management.

“There are two parties in the contract, so there should really be two parties to the case,” he said.

But the county will ask the judge to allow the Hutto Citizens Group, among the other petitioning parties, to file briefs with the court, Ackley said. The county will not appeal any decision by the judge in the declaratory suit and either put the contract out to bid or stick with the 2003 agreement.

“At least this way we’ll have a definitive answer,” he said.

From the time this petition was filed EOW speculated that the county may be doing this as an attempt to get a court to side with them in their attempt not to send this contract out for competitive bid. In other words the county doesn’t want, much less need any help, if they want the contract negotiations to continue with WMI without competitive bidding. We’ll just have to wait and see how vigorously the county fights to for the citizens right to allow bids on this contract.

Mr. Ackley and the County Attorney’s office trying to exclude other’s from joining as interverners is a troublesome issue for a couple of reasons. Keeping the county as the sole plaintiff will exclude the interverners from pursuing discovery in this case. It also will exclude a major item from the scope of the case, namely, has Waste Management already defaulted on the 2003 contract by putting its own name on the landfill permit expansion application in an attempt to hijack the permit?

Trying to exclude citizen interveners is not a good move for the county. The county, it appears, is trying to do the right thing and the citizens want to help. To shun that support will just create more angst between the county and it’s citizens. The county is again trying to block the citizens from participating in this process, which could lead to suspicion that the county is trying to hide something. With the success the citizens have had thus far in the process, it’s baffling why the county would continue working against them. If the county’s motion not to allow the citizens to join the lawsuit is successful it will, most likely, be challenged.

Much of what has transpired with this landfill deal so far is inside baseball kind of stuff. This deal that was supposed to be done already and those who wanted this deal done are getting more frustrated every day. It’s being watched by the political insiders, locally and around the state, to see how and/or if this deal gets done. There’s much at stake in this deal for those county officials that may have aspirations for higher office or whose family members may have similar aspirations. This is politics and not about what’s right for the citizens of Hutto and Williamson County.


Duty Drops Her Request With Attorney General

Posted in Commissioners Court, Bad Government Republicans, Landfill, Election 2008, Williamson County at 10:35 pm by wcnews

Now that the landfill contract has been indefinitely postponed by the commissioners court County Attorney Jana Duty has decided to withdraw her request for opinion from the Attorney General (AAS). With the county now filing a petition to see if they can put the landfill contract out to bid, and WMI being put in a bind, Duty has decided to throw in the towel on her feud with the commissioners court. Cutting her loses.

Williamson County Attorney Jana Duty withdrew her request for an opinion from the Texas attorney general on whether county commissioners can hire outside legal counsel without her permission.

Previously, Duty said she felt so strongly about the issue that she would take it to court if the attorney general did not rule in her favor.

All the way to the supreme court she had previously said. From the AAS article on August 24th Duty had said this.

“I don’t want to battle with the court,” Duty said Thursday. But “this is the one battle I feel like I have to fight because I feel like it has to do with the (Texas) Constitution (and) the separation of powers of county government.”


Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is scheduled to rule in January, Duty said. If he rules against her, she will make it an issue for the Texas Supreme Court to decide.

“I would have to sue,” she said. “I don’t want to go that route.”

So why in the world would she go from such a principled constitutional stand (before the landfill vote), to dropping her request altogether (after the landfill vote)? Word on the street is her side lost (WMI/VE) and maybe after that she didn’t see much reason to fight for the constitution or principle anymore. Especially once that petition was filed and the outside counsel was brought in again.

Duty said Wednesday that the withdrawal was not a change in opinion and that the problem needs to be fixed in the Legislature.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to hire one of the law firms again to help with a suit that Williamson County brought against Waste Management last week to clarify whether the county’s no-bid contracts with the company over the past 20 years were approved illegally.

Bringing the suit was the advice of Austin law firm Potts & Reilly LLP, one of the firms commissioners hired, said Stephen Ackley, the county’s chief civil litigator, so the county will work with the firm on the suit.

County Judge Dan A. Gattis has said that he disagreed with Duty and that hiring outside counsel was the right of the commissioners court.

Gattis declined to comment Wednesday through an assistant.

Duty said she is reviewing her options but said she’d prefer not to elaborate.

“I really am just trying to make peace with the court right now,” she said.

Duty is up for reelection in 2008 and she looks ripe for the picking.

Fat Cats In White Hats

Posted in Privatization, Road Issues, Central Texas, Commentary at 1:52 pm by wcnews

Buried in the CENTRAL TEXAS DIGEST of the AAS article titled, Preliminary autopsies released in killing spree; city looking for ideas to rename park, there’s a blurb about TOT’s plants at the CAMPO meeting on Monday:


It’s their take on traffic

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, asked Tuesday how much money was raised for its pro-toll creation Take on Traffic and from whom, would divulge only generalities.

The year-old lobbying effort has had donations from 150 individuals, businesses and groups, said Sandy Hentges, senior vice president for public policy, raising “several hundred thousand dollars.”

Given that the advocacy is not occurring in conjunction with an election, the chamber has no legal obligation to divulge contributors or what they’ve given, election law expert Ed Shack said Tuesday.

Advocates for a $1.45 billion toll road plan showed up at Monday’s Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting sporting white Take on Traffic hats and buttons.

Many in the anti-toll faction dismissed the healthy turnout of toll supporters, noting that many of them were tied to real estate, banking or home-building groups that stand to gain from road construction.

One speaker described them as “fat cats in white hats.”

Bruce Byron, executive director of the Capital Area Transportation Coalition, is tall and lean but nonetheless would fall under the “fat cat” rubric given his steadfast support of this and other toll plans.

Byron said Tuesday that “in a capitalist system, who doesn’t make money off something.

“There’s just this predisposition,” he said, speaking of toll critics, “that if someone makes money off of something, it has to be corrupt and isn’t in the public interest.”

While we don’t know who did this, the article is attributed to “staff and wire reports”, it may be Ben trying to follow up to his non-mention of the TOT tricksters form his article yesterday.

A little further discussion of two things that Ben the author of the “Scuttlebut” points out. First, regarding TOT not getting specific about who funds them. if you want to see the specifics, check out the GACC’s 2006 annual report [.PDF], specifically the “investors” on pages 22 - 25. It’s full of like the blurb says, “..real estate, banking or home-building groups that stand to gain from road construction”.

Second just a comment to Mr. Bryon regarding his stating, “in a capitalist system, who doesn’t make money off something”. This issue should not be about profit. It should be about what’s best for “We The People”, remember them? The point being, let’s do what’s best for the tax paying citizens first, then worry about doing favors for corporations and businesses. It’s not the corruption so much, but the fact that there’s a better way to finance road building and it’s being completely ignored. It’s the public that’s going to have to pay for the roads, no matter how they’re financed. What enrages the public is when their wishes are pushed aside for the wished of the “fat cats in white hats”.

There’s No Denying Cornyn Is Bush’s Senator

Posted in Election 2008, US Senate Race, 2008 Primary, Congress, Around The State, Uncategorized at 1:00 pm by wcnews

Sen. John Cornyn (R - Texas) is a Bush lackey. There is nodoubt. I say this in relation to W’s piece yesterday about the Senator, Cornyn poised in re-election fight to stick by Bush on taxes, Iraq. While Cornyn’s flip-flopped on the border fence, he has oppposed Bush on a few, mostly minor, issues:

A Cornyn proposal to allow greater access to federal records has cleared the Senate without White House backing. Cornyn also is among senators at odds with the president by proposing to give states alternative ways of complying with the federal education accountability system that Bush started.

Also, he and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., are seeking to grant the Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over tobacco and ingredients including nicotine, a step yet to be endorsed by Bush.

This summer, Cornyn opposed the Bush-favored compromise on changes to immigration policy. The senator unsuccessfully offered an amendment barring felons and other offenders from legal residency.

But on the issues that matter most to regular Americans Cornyn will walk in lock-step with Bush - the war, health care, taxes, trade, and jobs.

W goes on to quote a poll later in the story.

Nationally, 52 percent of voters favored making the tax cuts permanent in a poll conducted this year by Moore Information, an Oregon-based research firm. Thirty-eight percent preferred to let the cuts expire, and 10 percent had no opinion

Here’s a link to Moore Information. They have quite a GOP bent. EOW’s not saying the poll is rigged, just making readers aware of who did the poll. W does attempt to balance it with some quotes from an economist at the Brookings Institute.

Jason Furman, an economist and senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, an independent research outfit, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee last week that extending the cuts would widen after-tax income gaps between Americans.

Furman said a best-case U.S. Treasury projection suggests an extremely slight impact on the economy, with extended cuts more likely increasing the national debt and reducing government savings.

As with any poll it’s all in how the question is asked. Maybe Moore Information should ask this in a poll, “Would you be for raising taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans, rescinding the Bush tax cuts, so all Americans could have health care?” I’ll be the numbers would be much different. More no the Bush tax cuts from the CBPP, Extending The President’s Tax Cuts And Amt Relief Would Cost $3.5 Trillion Through 2017 and the CTJ, Bush Tax Cuts Shows Growing Tilt to the Very Rich, (Tip to Vince).

Cronyn can try, and he will, but there’s no denying he’s Bush’s Senator.

Rick Noriega On Cornyn And The Surge

Posted in US Senate Race, Election 2008, 2008 Primary, Congress, Around The State at 12:25 pm by wcnews

Hutto Citizens Group Joins County’s Lawsuit Against WMI

Posted in Commissioners Court, Landfill, Williamson County at 11:26 am by wcnews

Last week Williamson County filed a petition [.PDF] seeking a “declaratory judgment” regarding whether or not the county can put the landfill contract out for competitive bid, request for proposal (RFP), without subjecting taxpayers to “damages in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars”. Scary? Yes. Overstating the actual threat? Yes, as well. Here’s my favorite part of the county’s petition.

[Items in ( ) added by EOW]

4.03 During the years 2006-7, Plaintiff (the county) and Defendant (WMI) have attempted to renegotiate Exhibit 1 (2003 Landfill Contract) in spite of public opposition, which in part has been driven by the fact that Plaintiff did not solicit bids form competitors to operate the Williamson County Landfill.

That’s an excellent description of why all of this is happening. The county and a corporation tried to sneak a contract past the citizens of the county and got caught. Therefore we wind up in court. The public opposition can be largely credited to the Hutto Citizens Group (HCG).

In what was an unsurprising development the HCG has joined the petition.

On September 10, a coalition of citizens and taxpayers, including the HCG, filed a petition to become intervenors in the case, essentially supporting the county in the effort to determine whether the landfill contract should be competitively bid.

The HCG has also presented a resolution to the Williamson County commissioners Court asking them to follow through with their motion to remove WMI as an “Operator” from the landfill expansion permit.

The Hutto Citizens Group (HCG) presented a resolution to the Williamson County Commissioners Court yesterday (Sept. 11) pointing out that WilCo’s attorneys in the contested case hearing regarding the landfill expansion application had not acted on the commissioners court’s instructions to seek the removal of Waste Management’s (WMI) name as “operator” on the draft permit, which is being processed through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. As noted in the resolution, the WilCo attorneys did just did the opposite in the case at the State Office of Administrative Hearings and sought to introduce a document which would keep WMI on the draft permit as “operator.” Mahlon Arnett, one of the HCG representatives addressing the issue, said, “If you gave an order to a county employee, and the next day he went out and did the exact opposite, you’d fire him on the spot.” The resolution calls on WilCo to cure the situation immediately and not wait for the contested case to proceed to final arguments before directing the attorneys to insure that the situation is fixed. The HCG points out that if the draft permit is perfected with WMI’s name continuing on the permit as “operator”, accountability will need to be applied in a number of places.

That’s all for now on the Landfill.


Rep. Carter, et al, On Petraeus

Posted in Congress, Around The Nation, Around The State at 2:00 pm by wcnews

From the KDH, Carter: Petraeus gave ‘honest assessment’ of progress in Iraq. Why does Carter have to say that Petraeus gave an honest report? Shouldn’t we be able to assume that a military man going before Congress will be honest?

U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, said he wasn’t surprised by most of what Gen. David Petraeus told Congress on Monday.


“He was making these assessments based on ground assessments – not political,” Carter said.

Although Carter sat in on most of Petraeus’ testimony at the Capitol and watched the remainder on television, he said he could not speak to specifics regarding troop withdrawal, noting it was difficult to see the lists and charts that Petraeus used in his presentation.

Carter sticking blindly to the party line is not new, or surprising. To read a more “reality based” assessment of yesterday’s testimony EOW recommends this article from McClathchy, What Crocker and Petraeus didn’t say.

The Bush administration’s top two officials in Iraq answered questions from Congress for more than six hours on Monday, but their testimony may have been as important for what they didn’t say as for what they did.

A chart displayed by Army Gen. David Petraeus that purported to show the decline in sectarian violence in Baghdad between December and August made no effort to show that the ethnic character of many of the neighborhoods had changed in that same period from majority Sunni Muslim or mixed to majority Shiite Muslim.

Neither Petraeus nor U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker talked about the fact that since the troop surge began the pace by which Iraqis were abandoning their homes in search of safety had increased. They didn’t mention that 86 percent of Iraqis who’ve fled their homes said they’d been targeted because of their sect, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Reaction from the Austin area Congressional delegation:

‘The president’s surge is as successful as his boast to capture Osama bin Laden “dead or alive.” Congress must respond to the president’s propaganda surge with a truth surge that reminds America of repeated false cries of “progress.” ‘

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin


‘We’ve seen many challenges in Iraq, made many mistakes and sacrificed many lives, but our goal of a stable Iraq which can be an ally in the global war on terrorism must never be diminished. We cannot walk away from our goal of a stable Iraq because of political expediency.’

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas

San Antonio area Congressional delegation here.

“How long will it take the Iraqi government to achieve enough progress so that a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces is feasible?” asked Rep. Solomon Ortiz, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“Congress is left asking this question over and over again — with no answer,” Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, said after Petraeus testified. “We are stuck there. We are spending $13 billion a month.”

Houston area delegation here:

Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican who represents western Harris County, said the drawdown — and the success of the surge — could buy the administration more time for its strategy in Iraq. “I think the results coming in have given the American people a sense of optimism that we can achieve our goals over there,” McCaul said.

Think again.

Last Night’s CAMPO Meeting - UPDATED

Posted in Take Action, Road Issues, Central Texas at 12:05 pm by wcnews

Sals’ got the report, Hundreds of anti-tollers locked out of Toll Road Hearing. Apparently the Chamber of Commerce mobilized for this meeting.

In today’s Statesman article, Ben Wear creates the impression of grand support of the freeway to tollway plan - as hundreds of anti tollers were locked out of the main auditorium.

It is important to note that Belinda Gaudet, General Manager of the Austin American-Statesman is a Vice Chair for the executive committee of the Austin Chamber of Commerce (also known as Take on Traffic - pro tollers).

The Statesman has continued to squelch the citizens who speak out against the freeway to tollway plan with it’s articles, pro toll editorials and by keeping hundreds, if not thousands of letter to the editor from being published on the subject in the past years.


The toll lobby profiteers (Developers, Bankers, Lawyers, Construction Industry people and their employees) arrived at the Capitol at 4:00 to 4:30 just to line up, to get on the sign up list to speak. The CAMPO sign up list was scheduled to begin at 5:00. This strategic plan for toll profiteers to arrive early worked very well in conjunction with Sen. Kirk Watson’s choice to hold the meeting in an undersized auditorium. This illusion in the auditorium gave some of the press the impression that the pro-tollers had a larger presence than they actually had. Our presence was clear, and we called out the profiteers over and over.

Toller continue to say there is not other choice, we must toll our freeways. The smart solutions are right HERE.

Ben is still shilling for the pro-tollers. He’s supposed to be a reporter. It’s hard to believe he wouldn’t have picked up on this trick. His failure to point it out shows his complicity.

This fight, like so many recently, has come down to the people versus the corporations and businesses. Of course, the corporations and businesses don’t mind toll roads, they’ll transfer their added costs onto the consumer. [Added after original post.] (The cost of the gas tax would be passed to consumers too. The difference here is that the business and corporate interests have their bottom line, of course, as their number on interest. That is their main objective, damn the cost to everyone else. Their main concern here is to get roads built as fast as possible so more strip malls, more residential property, more commercial property, etc.. can be built. They could care less if they’re sticking the people with a long range financial burden, that’s many times more expensive then building these roads with the gas tax.)

The lines have been drawn and these toll roads be headed for passage. It will be up to us to make sure these people are not reelected.

[UPDATE]: More From McBlogger as only McBlogger can:

Yes, I went to the CAMPO meeting last night. Then had to leave because I was LAUGHING too hard at the folks from the Chamber who did mob the meeting, yet still weren’t in the majority. One key for you Chamber folks… if you’re going to stack a meeting, cut back on the paid people and the buttons.

Specifically, I DIED laughing when some moron got up to speak and talked about the 242k people in Central Texas that have purchased TXTags basically supporting tolls. In fact, I wasn’t the only one laughing. Further, I have one of those tags. So do MANY of my friends. None of us like the tolls, but we have the tags because we’re going to use them and we’re not stopping at some stupid booth. There are a lot of people who don’t like the tolls who have the tags. These are the people who almost turned out Mike Krusee in 2006 and will succeed in 2008. Wanna talk about those voters, pal? They’re angry. Not happy.


Brewster, for those of you who have been living on Mars, is always free to talk to the press. He’s also running for Mayor. Now that he’s pissed up OHAN’s leg on Phase 2, wanna bet he doesn’t even make it into the runoff? I don’t know what else I expected from an opportunist like McCracken who’s only political conviction seems to be supporting what he perceives will help him, even if it means flip-flopping like a fish out of water.

I remain stunned at the Chamber’s support for the most expensive form of transportation financing we have at our disposal. These are smart people (I know some of them) and can’t believe they are really this clueless on this issue, from a financial and political perspective. Talking to some people at the meeting, I came away with the impression that they were ‘along for the ride’, that the Chamber’s leadership pushed the tolling issue and that the membership is more than a little angry. If I was running for office over the next few years, I would avoid the endorsement of the Chamber like the plague. It’ll be about as effective as the Statesman’s endorsement at driving voters FROM you.

The folks who talked in support of Phase 2 don’t know the political landscape or how things are going to change in 2009. All they see is an immediate need for roads. I see it, too… so did EVERYONE there. There was not a single person who said we DON’T need roads. The issue is how it’s financed and tolls are the worst option. Much like children, they’ve been uninvolved with this for a while and now are ready to jump at anything. It’s wiser to wait until the political situation changes and we get the legislation we need. Unless you like paying full price today for something you’ll get a discount on in a little over a year.

Here’s to hoping that the remaining CAMPO board members are a little smarter than Mr. Political Suicide, Brewster McCracken. Brewster, sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought an idiot rather than open it and remove all doubt.

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