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VICTORY #3 – CDA moratorium passes House!

Link to Express-News article on our victory here.

In what can only be the most unexpected turn of events this session…a totally underfunded group of ORDINARY concerned citizens managed to pull off one of the biggest upsets in House history. The CDA moratorium passed the House by a breathtaking 134 to 5 vote (the rest either didn’t vote or were absent) with the final heavily amended bill garnering a convincing 123 to 17 vote. All of the San Antonio reps voted FOR the moratorium, but some voted against the final bill…Ruth McClendon-Jones and Edmund Kuempel.This VICTORY is a total repudiation of Rick Perry, his Transportation Commission, and his cronies in the House, Mike Krusee, Fred Hill, and Larry Phillips. They lobbed “points of order” (parliamentary tricks to kill bills) and amendments (a total of 22 amendments were offered, not all bad) to no avail.

Most notably for San Antonio folks, Frank Corte huddled with the enemy prior to the debate of the bill in an apparent strategy session on how to keep the bill from coming to a vote. Remember his position prior to the floor debate today? He kept emphasizing that he’d only support the moratorium if it made it to the floor for a vote. Then on the floor, he was seen with those who worked tirelessly to kill the bill. You decide whose side he’s on. Actions speak louder than words. When scarcely a colleague would even speak to Krusee on the floor (he’s been totally marginalized due to his power trip, carrying the highway lobby’s water to the detriment of all Texans, and defending the indefensible), this “huddle” was VERY obvious.

Nonetheless, the moratorium was successfully attached to Rep. Wayne Smith’s bill and BYPASSED the Krusee bottleneck. Krusee and his cabal not only looked weak, they were severely weakened after the bruising they took on the floor tonight.

Powers stripped from TxDOT

All Texas counties got an enormous infusion of authority if the language of this bill survives. An amendment offered at the end of the debate moved to give ALL Texas counties with population of at least 2,000 the authority to acquire alignment, right of way, and access to the state highway system now under the control of a rogue agency…TxDOT, WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY TXDOT FOR IT. Read more about this attempted extortion by TxDOT here.

The original bill allows counties to negotiate their own CDAs, which is horrible public policy since CDAs cost 50% more than public toll projects and are rife with non-competes clauses, huge penalties and high tolls not to mention loss of public control over infrastructure. But since the moratorium is attached to it, this provision will not take effect for 30 months and only AFTER the good and bad aspects of CDAs will be revealed in the report to the Legislature. We can take comfort in the fact that at least county commissioners are elected and closer to the PEOPLE than the unelected, arrogant bureaucrats who currently pull the strings at TxDOT.

Perry, Williamson, and TxDOT got their teeth kicked in!

This MAJOR victory took place AFTER an amazing morning event. It may well be the first time a sitting Governor ever planted himself at a House Transportation Committee hearing. Yes, you read that correctly, Rick Perry, dubbed “the dictator” by many Texans these days, showed up at Krusee’s committee hearing, I suppose to give moral support to his battered Transportation Commission Chairman Ric Williamson as he spewed the tired ol’ “the sky is falling” threats and talking points.

Perry already trotted out Transportation Secretary Mary Peters last week to try to intimidate the Senate Transportation Committee into NOT passing the moratorium out of committee (which it did by a unanimous vote), and today all he had left was a feckless and weak “me, myself, and I.” There just isn’t anybody else for them to trot out in support of their corrupt scandalous toll deals, so the Governor had to do it himself. Their taxpayer funded lobbying is unethical and an abuse of office at best and illegal lobbying at worst.

It’s been a rough couple of months for this Governor and TxDOT, and when the moratorium becomes law, months will be years.

Who are the heroes?

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, the author of the original CDA moratorium bill is the real deal. She worked the floor of the chamber today and has fought tirelessly behind the scenes educating reps and getting this supermajority on board. It’s no small feat to bring 111 co-sponsors to a controversial bill under threat of heavy-handed repudiation from the Governor and TxDOT. This superceded party lines…this is a TEXAS issue!

Here’s a few of her outstanding comments:

On sending the toll revenues overseas and selling off our highway system…

“No one defends the free market more than I do, but I believe government has a basic commitment to build infrastructure.”

On how TxDOT cannot be trusted and has grossly mismanaged public funds…

“TxDOT has spent $19 million of $25 million from the Hwy 130 upfront payment by Cintra.” AND “Just a handful of CDA private toll deals are projected to net a half a trillion dollars and all this money comes from our citizens!”

On the suggestion that government not citizens know best…

“Some may think at times that we’re smarter than our citizens, but Texans know best.”

On the transfer of public assets to the private sector…

She quoted Fred Hill of all people who said, “You never sell a producing well.”

Other heroes were Nathan Macias and David Leibowitz who sprang into action when an amendment was accepted to the moratorium to allow managed lane projects to be excepted from the moratorium, ie – the CDA toll project for 281/1604 in San Antonio. They worked with the author of that amendment who then added an amendment to her prior amendment ensuring Bexar County projects ARE part of the moratorium. Leibowitz also made many good points to defend the bill from hostile amendments which helped other members vote to fend off some ridiculous attempts to overreach.
Also, our thanks to Joe Pickett, Linda Harper-Brown, and the bill’s author, Wayne Smith for carrying this bill to victory.

Thanks to the Grassroots!

We’ve proven this taxpayer revolt is no small nor fleeting movement. We’re not going to stand idly by and allow unelected bureaucracies to run roughshod over our elected officials forgetting who they work for, nor will we allow this sort of public fleecing to enrich a few shareholders. The taxpayers are the shareholders who count, and we NEED to be back in the driver’s seat! Thanks to your vigilant calls, emails, faxes, and overall relentless barrage of correspondence on this issue, we are now over the biggest hurdle in bringing this toll madness to a halt.

HOWEVER, it’s not law yet…never let up, and never give up until it’s law.

20 Responses to “VICTORY #3 – CDA moratorium passes House!”

  1. Henry A. Westrup Says:

    Good Job,

    Lets not give up until we know that we have beat them soundly.
    We need to take all of the power away from TxDOT.

    Henry A Westrup

  2. charlotte padilla Says:

    04-11-07

    Hurray!!!! Thanks for all of your endless work to bring this about! Keep us informed and we will support your efforts.

  3. Jimmy Lamberth Says:

    Boy, do I need to be tending to my chores around here, cutting and bailing hay (while the sun shines), mending fences, helping my wife, etc., while our “trusted elected officials” tend to the “matters of State”. ISN’T IT A PITY THAT IT IS NOT WORKING THAT WAY! FORTUNATELY, WE DO HAVE ENOUGH “TRUSTED OFFICIALS” LEFT TO RISE AND FIGHT AGAINST THE “UNTRUSTWORTHY” ” ELECTED OFFICIALS”. WE MUST REMEMBER THE NAMES AND KEEP THEM SORTED OUT SO WHEN IT COMES TIME TO “UNELECT” SOME AND “REELECT OTHERS” WE DO NOT FORGET WHO GOES IN EACH COLUMN.
    We have found that instead of “tending our chores” we have needed to spend too much of our time showing support to our “trusted officials” and exposing our “untrusted officials” with our phone calls, e-mails, faxes, marches up Congress Ave., going to meetings, etc.
    Unfortunately, election time is too far off to help us out of this mess. We will have to “continue to fight” with the “hand we have been delt”.
    The information above is proof that our “efforts have not been in vain”. This MUST give us the strength and will to continue the “fight” until the “complete war is won”. We, with the help of our “TRUSTED OFFICIALS” have “taken this hill”. This DOES give us a more strategic “position” to “continue the battle from”.
    It is so unfortunate that all this cannot be “laid out on the table” for all to see and “WHAT IS BEST FOR TEXAS AND TEXANS” be chosen as the “course to take” with no one trying to “promote their own agenda” or “butter their own bread at the expense of others”.
    I GUESS ALL I CAN SAY IS “WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF POLITICS”. GRAB A “HOLD” AND CLIMB ABOARD.
    THANKS TO ALL OF THOSE WHO HAVE “SUPPORTED TEXAS AND TEXANS”.
    Please over look my mispelled words, no spell checker!
    Jim Lamberth
    (210) 635-8010

  4. Kathy Hurst Says:

    Thank God for deligient people who work so hard to take time and make the effort to protect our constitutional freedoms. You are some of them. You are appreciated.

  5. Joe Skalski Says:

    HORRAY. THE MAJORITY RULES. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. I WILL ALWAYS BE THERE TO SUPPORT YOU. JOE SKALSKI

  6. Russ Wilson Says:

    This is incredible, considering where things seemed to be headed in recent months, hopefully the Senate will come to the plate and finish the job! Proof that democracy may still work after all and that politicians may actually be serving the people. Thanks for the insight into the goings-on behind the scenes at the capitol that we won’t see in the news.

  7. Arminda Says:

    Is it possible that those who didn’t vote, or the 5 who did vote against this, are planning to not run in their next election? The odds are that if they do run, and didn’t vote for this, they will have some “tough ‘splaining” to do. And those 5 who voted against it will probably be retired by their voters.

    We have to remember that the Texas public must exercise its power of the vote. And we can’t give up over the coming months to actually change TXDot from a malevent organization to one that is responsive to Texan’s needs.

  8. Kathy Gulley Says:

    THANKS to Terri Hall and the many others who have tirelessly kept up with all of this AND done so very much to keep the public informed. Without them it would have impossible for all of us to have stayed informed. Please continue the good work and we will stay on the bandwagon until this issue is law!!!

  9. Oscar Unger Says:

    Good Job Terri! We owe you a big thanks for all your efforts. However, it’s not over ’til it’s over. Keep informing us and we will keep up the pressure.
    Find out who is your Senator and let him/her know that you want this toll road garbage put in the can where it belongs.

  10. John Johnson Says:

    AMEN !

  11. John Johnson Says:

    REMEMBER THE ALAMO!

  12. Fred Kossow Says:

    Perry should be recalled. Recalls are expensive, but so is Perryand besides he has no balls, like the other 3 border governor’s. A successful recall, might wake is country up,

  13. Michael Draper Says:

    The State of Texas should not recognize NAFTA. Time to pull the plug on this unconstitutional treaty that was never properly ratified by the U.S. Senate. Reference the United Steelworkers of America lawsuit. Corrupt Judges would not do the right thing and declare it unconstitutional. Basically, they threw it back to Congress. There is not one reason for the 50 States of the Union to recognize this as law. Period!!! Throw NAFTA, Congress, Bush and the New World Order into the trash. Bush can take his new Amero’s and shove them up his blank…

    Time for Bush to sell his ranch and get the hell out of Texas. And take Perry with you…

    Start a new ranch in Mexico since you love them more than obeying your oath of office. By the way, Bush isn’t a Christian. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. All you pastors that keep on kissing him, you need to stop it. He is the Devil’s child. Judge him by his fruit. His fruit is rotten to the core.

  14. Robert Martin Jr Says:

    I live in virginia and thank all of the hero’s for me. it is very unheartining to see this country going down the crapper. All of the crooked politians should be removed from office espesially the unelected ones. Who the hell put them there, what did they do just show up and sit down at a desk and say this is my job now and you have to do what i say. All politicial officials should be elected not appointed.

  15. Leslie D. Klauka Says:

    I am gratefull for all your labors! I am encouraged by those who stand up to be counted.
    In this fight to restore our Constitution. May your efforts be rewarded.
    Leslie D. Klauka

  16. Mike Clark Says:

    Bush will leave Texas (we can only hope), for Paraguay where his family bought a 100,000 hectacre ranch in his daughter’s name (Barbara). Way to go George !

  17. Brad Lamberth Says:

    A “BIG” Thank You to those elected officials who are working for Texans and for the best interest of Texas. We the people have the attitude much of those who fought for this great State’s independence from Mexico had. Our first reaction was just as those who fought at Goliad…”Come and take it!”. Our next reaction much as those who fought at the Alamo…We will fight, no matter the cost, so that Texas may be free. We fight for the greater good and for this great State, not just our own self interests.

    I know those fathers and mothers of Texas Independence bleed and died for our right to have the lands we now have. In fact, many families still have those same lands since the days of the Spanish land grants, handed down from generation to generation.

    I am glad we do not have to take up arms against those who would oppress us in this State. I am also gald we still have elected representatives that will listen to the people of Texas, rather than to grafters, who would fill their pockets, no matter what the cost to others or this Great State of Texas.

    To those like Perry and his cronies who care not for anything save themselves, I sometimes wonder if they would not be more receptive if they had to stand and answer for their actions just as those who bleed and died for this State did as we won our independence. I’m fairly convienced, they would be labeled as “TRAITORS” and shot or hanged, rather than “Patriots” of honor.

  18. Deborah Fiore Says:

    Terri, thanks so much for being our advocate and helping us hold on to the democratic process, you’ve renewed my faith. America needs to wake up and fight for the liberties that made us a great nation but are insidiously being taken from us. I’m afraid the “axis of evil” is right here in our own corrupt government and special interests of big business. They need to be held accountable.

  19. Sally Smith Says:

    Thanks for all the information. I lost count of how many e-mails I sent. Please continue to keep us informed. Texans do have a voice! Thank you to all who used their’s.

  20. Waltraud Schwarzbek Says:

    CONGRATS.!!!!

    My hat is off to the TEXAS PATRIOTS.,fOR WINNING THIS ROUND FOR THE PEOPLE!!!!!.
    I hope we can winn here in Kansas the same way.All our representatives are in the pockets of Nasco etc. A lot of work has to be done yet,but you set a SHINING EXAMPEL.

    Thanks for helping to fight the NEW WORD ORDER

    W.v.Schwarzbek – Leawood Kansas

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