Monday, March 10, 2014

Madame of the Toll Road -- Covey's 29 Reasons for Highway 29 Toll Road

It's with sincere trepidation that I begin this entry.
"Be careful what toes you dance on," my wise old friend said when I got into this fight. I can tell you now that this election is much bigger than just a Commissioners Race in Williamson County.
The rats in this race are ravenous, uncivil engineers of profit and plunder. This is the no-bid capitol of Texas and our cohort contracts abound.
I am going to list a who's who' of Political Contributors to the campaign of my opponent, Valerie Covey. I withheld listing donors that are residents of Precinct3. Ms Covey has many fine Americans from precinct 3 that gave their money to someone they believed would hold up the values of the Republican Party. Ms Covey received almost $50000 from interests and individuals outside of Precinct 3. She did not receive half that number from within her own precinct. It will be up to them, primarily, to determine if Valerie should remain in control of our precincts input on the county budget and road bonds. Voters in the precinct will determine if her voting record represents the citizens of precinct 3 or the developers and road engineers that fund her campaign. They can buy lots of signs, but folks that live on Lake Travis can't vote here.
Friends, neighbors, and residents of precinct 3. This isn't meant to be smear politics. These records are public domain. The names don't always tell the whole story. Sometimes there are faces and impressions behind the name that must be explained further. A brief attempt at the background of the donor and the relevance of the donation will be attempted. These are in no particular order.

1) I'll fill in this blank later in the campaign.

2) Steve Kallman - $1700 Toll Road Engineer No Bid Contract recipient of CTRMA..Lives on Lake Travis.

3) Carter and Burgess PAC $750 TRANS TEXAS CORRIDOR Engineers. Direct Connections to this PAC proves, without a doubt, that our commissioners are pro-TTC.

4) Bill Gunn III -- $1000 A director with TXDOT. Why would a state employee give so much money to a county candidate.? Stinks to high Heaven.

5) Chiang, Patel, Yerby -- $500 Trans Texas Corridor engineers that received a no-bid contract for millions to study and map the "possible" 29 Expansion, the Cross County Corridor. Big Donor of Rick Perry and toll road consultants.

6)Fullbright and Jaworski $750-- Houston Attorneys

7)Kenneth Graham HNTB Executive $1000--- HNTB engineers our road bond and is the LEAD CONSULTANT for the TRANS TEXAS CORRIDOR !!!!
Lives up in Wisconsin.. North of Precinct 3.

8)Munsch, Hardt, Kopf, and Harr $750-- Dallas Attorneys Not quite so far north.

9)Allen Watson (Cobb Fendley and Associates) Toll Road Utility engineers that received a No Bid contract from CTRMA for almost half a million dollars.

10) Mike Weaver --$1040 CEO PRIME STRATEGIES INC, Darth Vader or The Emperor, I can't decide which. Our County Road Bond Manager and creator of the CTRMA. This unduly created Authority is the bed of all corruption. .Weaver was the architect.

11) Smith, Robertson, Elliot, and Glen $1000 Austin attorneys

12)Unnamed Local Engineer $2000 Road and civil Engineers. Georgetown Firm. Still, is it OK for commissioners to receive contributions from firms or people they will be considering for million dollar projects?

13)Keith Young and TCB PAC $1250 Toll Road and Trans-Texas Corridor Engineers support Toll Road Val. See her here cutting the ribbon on her first toll road.

14)Don Bourn -- $500 Arizona Mega Developer. Many holdings in Williamson County

17) Kerry Russell $250 Attorney retained by Williamson County Commissioners to do the County Attorney's jobs. Billing thousands to the county monthly.

18) Sheets and Crossfield -- $1000 The Attorneys from Round Rock that handle land acquisition, eminent domain, and condemnation. Toll Road attorneys. Involved in all county business.

20) Rex Bohls- $1000 Developer Deluxe Dove Meadows, Bohls Palce

21) Bob Wunsch $1000 Developer. Waterstone Development. La Frontera

22) James Dannenbaum $1500 Toll Road Trans Texas Corridor Consultant One of Rick Perry's Longtime friends and supporters. Lives in a mansion in Houston.

23)Halff Associates $1500 Trans Texas Corridor Consultants and Engineers These guys are from Dallas.

24) Home Builders Association of Austin -- $500 Home Builders need roads to create Urban Sprawl.

25)Bill Pohl --$1000 Land Owner, Developer. Pohl, Brown. Broker and retain considerable property portfolio in Williamson County.

26) HDR PAC $500 Trans Texas Corridor Consultants These folks hail from the Cornhusker State.

29) Greg Hall $1500 Georgetown Developer. Lives in Precinct 1. Smells.

There it is. In black, white, and GREEN.

Now, who do you think Incumbent Republican County Commissioner Valerie Covey represents? And let's not forget Lisa Birkman. Ms Birkman's war chest is dotted with many of the same names.

Why do so many Trans Texas Corridor consulting, engineering, and construction firms give thousands and thousands of dollars to your county commissioners?
Ask the question. Do these women work for us, the citizens of Williamson County? Or does Valerie Covey and Lisa Birkman represent the road engineers, builders, and consultants of the toll roads and the Trans Texas corridor.?
Ask the people along Highway 29 or the residents of Liberty Hill.
Ask yourself on November 4th.
Please Donate to this campaign. You can do it from the PAYPAL button on the right. Unless your a Trans Texas Trick, of course.
I have included videos concerning the Trans Texas Corridor. Watch them. We have to stand our ground now. Right now. If we fail, it will be too late.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lady Justice Blindfolded in Wilco

Themis, the Greek Goddess of Divine Justice, is often depicted carrying scales and a sword and wearing a blindfold. The blindfold is intended to be an allegorical representation of objectivity. Justice demands impartiality and should be handed out equally without regard to race, money, power, or influence. Lady Justice wears and has always worn a blindfold in Williamson County as she sits perched atop the historic courthouse in Georgetown's downtown square. But never before has that blindfold taken on such significant meaning.
Michael Morton sat 25 years in a Texas prison after being maliciously prosecuted by a District Attorney's office. Ken Anderson claims he doesn't remember. Facts and testimony suggested there was reasonable doubt that Morton had committed the murder. The defense team was never given access to evidence that likely would have exonerated Michael Morton. Had Mr. Morton been freed, there is a possibility that another murder may have never been committed.

Our current district attorney fought hard to keep a blood soaked bandanna from having DNA tests performed at the request of Michael Morton and his attorneys. Was he protecting his mentor, Ken Anderson from a horrible discovery? It certainly seems more than speculative to assume so, since he has failed to investigate or prosecute a commissioners Court that has been charged with corruption by the stalwart County Attorney Jana Duty.

Lady Justice in Williamson county has been blindfolded by a blood soaked bandanna and now we must ensure our local legal heroine, Jana Duty, has the support of a public that demands Themis swing her sword.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Commissioners, Salamanders, and other Cave Bugs


I have lived in Williamson County since 1996. A native Texan, born in Austin and raised in Temple and Post, I have cherished the way of life I found in the Rockwellian little village of Georgetown. My wife Sara and I moved here because she was working at Scott and White Hospital in Temple and I was with the Attorney General's office down in Austin. It was a palatable drive for both of us. Georgetown offered a quality of life that was copacetic with our traditional values and hopes to raise our children in a small town atmosphere.
Georgetown Salamander

I saw promise in Georgetown. Williamson County is strategically located between Austin and Ft. Hood. In other words, it sits right smack dab in the middle of a HUGE state government and one of the largest military installations in the world. For a young man that liked to dabble in real estate, the location could not have been more prime. The area boomed over the next 12 years until 2008. Fueled by the success of DELL and a massive influx of California refugees, Williamson County growth skyrocketed to one of the fastest in the nation.

 But it went too far, too fast. Urban Sprawl has run roughshod through the county. Yet, water supplies are limited and the unbridled growth negatively impacts our natural resources putting us all at risk of disastrous results.  Low-density residential development in rural and undeveloped areas strains taxpayer burdens, requires infrastructure, and demands debt.  Cities could not expand fast enough and many of the new developments in the county were out of city jurisdictions and required new layers of government to be created like SUDs, MUDs, and ESDs. 

In 2007 I approached the owner of a 170 acre piece of land on the end of Twin Springs Road (where I live).  The owner said he would sell for $1 Million dollars.  Now, at the time, I thought $5800 an acre was too high considering the density of the cedars and the development difficulties associated with the topography.  Imagine how surprised I was to find out that the county bought the land.....for 2.3 million dollars just 2 years later and after the real estate bust.  $13500 per acre?  I was suffering from both taxpayer frustration and disgust that I had not bought and turned the property.  There's a sucker born every minute and then there's elected officials wasting our tax dollars.  

Why? The Commissioners of our county wanted to build roads faster and made a deal with the Feds to protect some land so that they may destroy the rest. But the plan backfired. A required study of the property uncovered a small new species since named the Georgetown Salamander. Along with the bone harvester spider and a little cave bug that were anticipated, these little creatures may help check the uncontrolled growth that has been so detrimental and expensive.  Most people in precinct 3 live here because it is not overly developed like the southern part of Williamson County.  If we had wanted to live in Pflugerville, we would. 

You can bet our current commissioner, a bought and paid for servant of the road lobby, is having nightmares about this little bug crawling through her campaign donors wallets.  I'm not so sad. If I have to ride a salamander in my crusade against Urban sprawl, saddle up Sally. 

I need your help in spreading the word about our commissioner's sprawl policies that have landed us $1.17 Billion dollars in debt (third most of any county in Texas).  Please donate to our campaign and help me stand our ground in Precinct 3.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Windham Announces Candidacy

For Immediate Release

Windham files for Re-match with Covey in Precinct 3 Commissioner's Race

The former Chairman of the Williamson County Democratic Party and former Democratic candidate announced today his filing for a place on the Republican ballot. Gregory Scott Windham, a proclaimed states-rights conservative, real estate broker and child advocate outlined a campaign to cap county debt and provide solid leadership in precinct 3. Mr. Windham filed for the position Monday with GOP Chairman Bill Fairbrother.

"In the year 2020, the percentage of the population over the ages of 65 is going to be greater, for the first time in history, than the population of people under the age of 15. And this is going to impact everything — from our health and human services, to how we deal with transportation, to our housing problems, to our workforce issues, to energy and the environment. The issues are clear; finances, roads, and jobs."

Windham says the current court has ballooned the county debt to over one billion dollars and that it will not be paid off anytime soon. "There was a time when conservative leaders believed we should invest in our children's future. Valerie Covey's policies have the children investing in us. Her sprawl initiatives have mortgaged our children's future for decades. We have the third highest debt service in the state. How do we have more debt than Dallas County? Travis County? Collin County? It's just failed leadership."

Windham is a lifelong central Texas resident and father of four young children. He lives with his wife Sara outside of Georgetown and operates real estate brokerages in Williamson and Tarrant counties.

"My experience in managing multi-million dollar property portfolios gives me ample experience working with municipalities and taxing authorities. Our debt is killing us. We spend considerably more each year on debt services than we do on law enforcement, jails, or indigent health care. I will work with all government entities to reduce and cap the debt now before we find ourselves bankrupted by this Court's spending spree."

Mr. Windham pledges to take no political donations from Political Action Committees. Individuals that donate can expect transparency and an open door policy.

"I will not be beholden to anyone for a campaign donation. If you want open, honest leadership then I appreciate your support."

Mr. Windham had been an outspoken critic of the Democratic party in the county, state, and national levels after being elected Chairman in 2010. He openly bashed the Texas Democratic party for parading their liberal agenda and ultimately resigned to endorse the Republican candidate for State Representative in District 52.

"The Democrats cannot win in Texas as long as they keep preaching gun control, abortion, and gay marriage. People want jobs, prosperity, and a government that will keep out of an individual's personal life. The Democrats convinced me that I am, indeed, a Conservative Republican," said Windham.

The Republican Primary will be held on the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, March 6. "It's time we 'Remember the Alamo' and take Williamson County, Texas back from the special interest forces that have invaded our government."

God Bless You and God Bless Texas


Thursday, October 27, 2011

2012 Commissioner's Race of Paramount Importance

Conservatives across the county are amazed to learn that our county is $1 Billion dollars in debt. Spending sprees have not helped our county become a better place to live and most people have a hard time believing that a county with such a conservative reputation would allow county debt to balloon beyond belief. Taxpayers and property owners can have faith that this debt is merely deferred taxes for decades in the future.
I pledge to resolve a debt cap on the county so that no more bond elections may be held to drive our county deeper into the drowning pool of debt. Our children's futures have been mortgaged away and it is our duty to pay off this debt instead of handing it down to the next generation.

As Thomas Jefferson said, "It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world."

Why have we spent so much money on roads on the peripheries of the county? Our current county commissioner appears unfazed by the amount of debt that she continues to issue. We have to wonder why a commissioner that claims to be a conservative would spend taxpayer dollars like a drunken co-ed in Cancun on Daddy's credit card. Just click here to follow the money trail and you will find a convincing argument that Valerie Covey is a representative of the Road Lobby first and a government official second.

I pledge to take no campaign donations from Political Action Committees that have any sort of business with the county. It may not be illegal in Texas, but in my opinion, government policy should not be for sale.

Our team will plan on smart growth in Precinct 3 by resisting new bond initiatives for more road building. We have roads in disrepair requiring immediate attention and crime enforcement issues that need to be addressed with any money we may have left.

  • Providing needed services for the 400,000+ residents.
  • Building essential public facilities only when absolutely necessary.
  • Keeping the tax burden at the minimum reasonable level for now and ... in the FUTURE.
  • Cap County Debt at a $1 Billion dollar limit .
  • Urge restraint in approving more residential development in Precinct 3 until the County can afford the necessary facilities and services required by new residents. Promote Urban Growth Limits and advocate for dense, New Urban development in Precincts 1, 2, and 4
  • Promote new business/commercial development county-wide.
  • Maintain the rural economy and character of Georgetown, the Town Square, and the phenomenal resources we have in Precinct 3.
  • Continuing to press the State to develop an adequate sustainable source of transportation funding.
  • Oppose the Highway 29 project and 10 lane Cross-County Corridor that will burden our taxpayers for many years to come.
  • Provide the hard working law enforcement and prosecutors of the county with a County Crime Lab so that our citizens are protected from criminals and over anxious prosecutors that destroy our citizen's faith in Government.
  • LISTEN to the advice of the elected County Attorney and stop spending millions of dollars on outside counsel and left-wing lobbyists.

I can assure you that our campaign for commissioner will be a fiscally conservative campaign. The economy is picking up but there is still little room for private political donations. I will try and win this race with truth and technology. You can help by donating money to the campaign or spreading the word via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or word of mouth. We can get this done together. We must or our out of control growth will ruin our way of life.

We Are Drowning in Debt

Campaign consultants usually tell candidates to keep it simple, but steering Williamson county back on track isn't simple. It requires smart choices and informed voters. That's why I am giving you all the facts about how we fell into a pool of debt and how we can swim back out, starting with the dollars and cents facts about how bad our problem really is.

Williamson County Is $1 Billion in Debt

· We don't have an easy way to discover basic facts: whether interest is fixed or variable or how long the repayment terms are.
· Where is the Williamson County taxpayer's Truth In Lending Notice?

Williamson County spent $65,816,130 last year on debt service to keep our creditors at bay, the county's largest single expense. That's:

· Over 3 times what we spent on roads and bridges

· Over 3 times what we spent on the jail

· Almost 5 times what we spent on the Sheriff's Department

· Over 5 times what we spent on EMS

· Almost 7 times what we spent on Juvenile Services

· 12 times what we spent on "non-departmental" expenditures (where commissioners hide stuff)

· 62 times what we spent on the Parks Department

· 82 times what we spent on "Professional Services" (including "emergency" consulting services)

· 159 times what we spent on "Miscellaneous" unspecified expenditures

· 300 times what we spend on Veterans Services

· 302 times what we spent on Child Welfare

· 634 times what we spent on Recycling

· 705 times what we spent on "Buildings Maintenance & Repair," keeping all those fine new buildings we went into debt for

· 954 times what we spent on "Facilities Maintenance & Repair," keeping up all those fine new facilities we went into debt for in tip top shape.

· 975 times what we spend on the Crisis Center.

· 1,045 times what we spend on MHMR.

· 1,750 times what we spent on Meals on Wheels.

· 219,387 times what we spent burying paupers.

Our Triple-A Credit Rating

Banks don't lend money to counties that need it. It's not just about the ability to make payments.

· As long as property values go up, Williamson County keeps its AAA rating.

· As long as Williamson County collects more taxes than it spends, it keeps its AAA rating.

· As long as most assessments are not appealed, Williamson County keeps its AAA rating.

· As long as the bond issuers can continue to make new fees by issuing new bonds, Williamson County keeps its AAA rating.

· The State of Texas encourages counties to enter "cooperatives" that determine how the tax money they collect and don't spend is invested to make sure bond holders stay happy. Williamson County is about to give up control of its money to such a cooperative.

What happens if Williamson County doesn't collect more tax money than it spends? Or if it doesn't collect more and more tax money every year? Or if that new county investment cooperative that holds your unspent tax dollars makes an oopsie? Credit rating goes down, interest cost goes up.

· About $24,000,000 if AAA becomes AA+.

· About $100,000,000 if AAA becomes A.

· And you don't even want to think about B or C. Municipal interest rates can go as high as 10% even in these record low interest-rate times, which would more than eat up the entire budget.

But our commissioners have an automatic way out.


Your commissioners didn't make promises to you about how high they can raise your taxes. They made promised to the bond issuers. Current tax rate is $0.46, can be raised to $0.80 under the terms of the bond agreements.



Or maybe we can spend money we have with a lot more common sense. First, let's take a look at how we got here.

Williamson County Commissioners Court has been proud of debt.

Debt covers up dumb budgeting. Let's look at some examples.

Budget Emergencies!!!

Recently Williamson County Commissioners declared an "emergency and grave necessity due to unforeseeable circumstances" and defunded Meals of Wheels, recouping 0.03% of the annual budget to cover the 0.006% of the annual budget the county will spend on subsidies for Home Depot next year. But budget emergencies can result in greater expenditures, too. Let's look at just the last few months.

· County Judge Dan Gattis proposed and County Commissioner Valerie Covey seconded a motion passing unanimously to declare an emergency to buy $64,000 worth of law books for the county law library (June 28, 2011).

· In May 2011, the Court approved an emergency expenditure of $77,000 for "miscellaneous" after conferring with the Budget Officer and her assistant.

· The county declared an emergency and grave necessity to pay workers $148,889.95 for overtime pay and payroll taxes for May 2011 (May 31, 2011).

· The county declared an emergency and grave necessity to pay workers $139,436.62 in unbudgeted overtime pay and payroll taxes for June 2011 (June 21, 2011).

· The county declared an emergency and grave necessity to pay workers another $130,489.24 in unbudgeted overtime pay and payroll taxes (FICA, workers comp) for June 2011 (August 2, 2011). You get the picture. We don't budget for decent salaries for all employees. We create emergencies to let some employees earn overtime.

· Other emergencies include $72,000 for autopsies for Precinct 4

There's also room for funny arithmetic (but not in the ha-ha sense):

· Our 2010 budget called for paying $35,862,899 in interest, just but by August 1 we had paid $37,400,838 in interest and the Commissioners budget for $33,896,902 for next year. If we are borrowing more, how does interest go down? Or why would we prepay interest but not pay down principal? Let's demand a Truth In Lending document for Williamson County!

· In 2010, we spent $7,548,992.42 on healthcare for indigents, but the Commissioner's didn't think that was important enough to budget for, so the line item was $0.

· The Emergency Services Department has $639,578.34 to transfer to the "RCS Fund." But all but $30K to $100K of the amount mysteriously carries over year after year. Do we keep it in a mattress?

And there is also just plain bad policy. Some of it you probably have heard about, and some you haven't yet.

· There is more than one consultant scandal, and the public is only hearing about the little one. The commissioners got the idea that you just never know when you might need a traffic engineer. Williamson County is committing itself to pay up to $300,000 a year to have a traffic engineer (Kimley-Horn) "on call."

· Instead of telling county employees they need to choose a primary care physician, saving the county $1,000,000 a year in ER charges, the county proposes to spend the $1,000,000 by hiring local doctors to run a clinic where county employees have to be seen. This doesn't save any money, but it does limit employee rights to see the doctors they choose.

· The Courthouse, which was remodeled in 2005, after being remodeled in the 1990's, is said to need $1,500,000 a year in additional maintenance work.

· Taylor got a show barn in 2003. A new one is proposed for 2012, at a cost of $8,000,000 for construction plus $800,000 for architect's fees.

· So the county won't have to pay $20,000 a year in rent for her offices, Commissioner Covey proposes building a $27,500,000 Precinct 3 annex. What?

So how do we get out of our budget mess while maintaining the services that make the county livable?

1. Let companies come to Williamson County because it's a great place to do business and a great place for their employees to live, not because they get bribes.

The Office Depot deal has Williamson County writing a check to Office Depot for $15,000 a year for 5 years. To cover this, the commissioners defunded $71,100 in social services right now. Office Depot has to invest at least $3,000,000 and hire at least 203 workers. The $15,000 per year subsidy is just a little more than the additional $13,800 per year the county will receive in property taxes. Corporate Welfare? Laissez-faire? Do small business owners get such radically left and liberal benefits from our County government?

Make economic incentives transparent, and make sure Williamson County benefits.

We give tax breaks to companies to move here. We don't give tax breaks to their employees to live and contribute here. Maybe we would get more growth in real estate values and more economic activity in Williamson county if we gave the tax breaks to the employees of new businesses rather than to the businesses themselves.

When businesses come to Williamson County, it's because the talent is here. Talent trumps tax breaks.

When businesses come to Williamson County, it's because the work ethic is here. Honesty trumps tax breaks.

When businesses come to Williamson County, it's because the schools are good and the medical care is good and the roads don't have potholes in them. Sure, businesses will take a tax break, but no business moves just because of a tax break. Laissez-Faire

2. Don't get sued. In particular, don't sue yourself.

Williamson County commissioners agree to pay legal fees for judge

By Claire Osborn | Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 05:25 PM

The Williamson County commissioners voted today to pay $12,860 in legal fees that County Judge Dan Gattis incurred after a lawsuit was filed against him by Williamson County Attorney Jana Duty.

Some of the commissioners said they approved the payment because it was in the best interests of the county but declined to provide further details.

3. When voters authorize debt to pay for one thing, don't use it to pay for something else.

4. Declare a 30-year moratorium on remodeling the Courthouse, which has been closed for renovations 5 of the last 20 years, remodeled in 2005-2007 after being remodeled in 1991 and 1992. And somehow it still needs repaired.

I can go on and on.
I can be reached at 512.656.7368 or if you would like to help me. I need your help.