Letters – Landfill dominates local conversation
Reader questions ‘poverty mindset’
To the Editor:
The article from the Editor regarding financing the school bond program accuses Lockhart of having a “poverty mindset.” (Lockhart Post-Register, Feb 20, 2014)
If the bond election passes, my property taxes will increase over $600 a year based on the estimated increase! Property
taxes here are comparable to what I was paying in Austin. There are an unusually high number of abandoned homes in Lockhart. I would not be surprised if some of those were abandoned because the owners could not afford to pay the property tax.
If something isn’t done to lower property taxes in Lockhart, then some folks may lose their homes and be forced into poverty. Lockhart needs to attract new businesses to help offset the tax burden being placed on its citizens, but new businesses are not going to come here if there is not the population to support it – and the population is not going to grow if our taxes are unreasonably high – which they are.
Raising property taxes is the wrong way to go. As much as I want nice schools for my child I will vote against the bond package for the school improvements.
Resident researches, supports Host Agreement
To the Editor:
I have read through the drafted Host Agreement for the 130 Environmental Park and there are a few reasons why I believe it must be discussed as a viable option for this community.
I am comfortable with the project moving forward, because, for me, the benefits to the county outweigh the inconveniences. As a resident who lives within one mile of the proposed facility, I find the “Property Value Protection Program” very appealing. Also, having a place to properly dispose of waste, which saves money, is attractive.
The Host Agreement is presently a draft, meaning it can and should be tailored to benefit the city and county as a whole. This is a golden opportunity for us to ensure that our local needs are being met. Everyone has different reasons for why they support or oppose the project, and now is the time to work with Green Group Holdings so that both sides win in this deal. For example, the City of Lockhart holds a yearly hazards cleanup for its residents. This is something that could be negotiated countywide through the Host Agreement.
The city has proposed $7.5 million for new government offices, a high school proposal of $62 million, and is currently in the process of renovating the old Wal-Mart center. Our county roads are in dire need of maintenance. Additionally, most community members would agree that in the very near future a new elementary school is going to be needed. If Green Group Holdings can share a portion of these expenses, why, as taxpayers, would we not welcome this project?
Jobs created from 130 Environmental Park will pay above minimum wage. This is an opportunity to bring in much needed revenue to facilitate the future growth of the county.
I understand there are concerns by fellow residents, and I believe we should all have a say in what happens in our own backyard. However, growth is inevitable! Just like our children will grow and mature before our eyes, this town is growing and we will need proper infrastructure to see it through. I believe we must seize this opportunity, using Green Group Holdings as a catalyst for economic development.
Which growth is ‘good growth?
To the Editor:
Caldwell County residents should be concerned and take action to stop the train wreck that is coming our way. EPICC (Environmental Protection in the Interest of Caldwell County) is a grass roots organization of concerned citizens, not a “small pocket of dissidents,” as has been portrayed. Members have taken Green Group Holdings’ tour of their signature dump – Turkey Run in Georgia (owned and run by Waste Management). Members have visited residents at GGH’s Wagon Mound dump in New Mexico and Arrowhead dump in Alabama. EPICC met with residents near GGH’s other proposed Texas dump in Waller County, and our neighbors in Guadalupe County regarding the Post Oak dump. We have attended GGH’s informational meetings. These “dissidents” have spent thousands of hours researching traffic, fires, lightning strikes, flood damage, air, and water pollution both to surface water and aquifers, not to mention the long term economic and health impacts of dumps on other communities. Instead of spreading “rumors and fear,” EPICC is bringing up the very real impacts of what dumps are doing. Everything said is documented and is fact. I seriously doubt that most have educated themselves nor even heard the “other side of the story,” by attending any of EPICC’s meetings or presentations.
People need to be aware of what can happen to our county if we do not draw a line and make a stand. The proposed wastewater facility for Walton LP for instance, is at the intersection of SH130 and Hwy21, just north of Mendoza. Mendoza residents will have the “honor” of having a sewer to their north and a dump to their south. No matter which way the wind blows, they will be impacted. Who is to stand up for the residents in the area? Green Group? Walton? The TCEQ? Not hardly! All 38,700 residents of Caldwell County should join and fight the bad growth that is coming our way.
Presentations have cited examples of the type of growth that comes from a dump. One example is to drive IH 35 from Austin to Dallas. From Waxahatchie to Dallas, you see manufacturing , retail, and commercial growth (better known as jobs). And most importantly – people! Hotels, shopping centers, theaters, restaurants – with vibrant active neighborhoods where people live. Compare this to IH-45 driving south from Dallas to Houston . You see a prison, a Waste Treatment plant and a series of dumps. The area is sterile and certainly not the kind of vibrant, active community we would all envision for Caldwell County. The few businesses that are in that area are padlocked at 5:00. The section of SH130/US183 north of Lockhart is fast headed down that road with a sewer plant and a dump proposed.
San Antonio/Austin “dumped” their traffic on Caldwell County with SH130. Now San Antonio and Austin want to “dump” their garbage on Caldwell County. Are we going to let Caldwell County be ”dumped” on again, or will we stand up and say absolutely NO!
Decision will question campaign spending
To the Editor:
Soon SCOTUS will hand down their ruling on the McCutcheon v. FEC case. Shaun McCutcheon is an Alabama coal baron. He believes the cap on election spending is unfair. He wants to spend even more to get his candidates elected.
The present cap of $123,200 is a lot of money. It is nearly three times the median income for Caldwell County. If that limit is lifted, only the super-wealthy will be deciding who can run for office, and ultimately who is elected.
In 90 percent of races, the candidate with the most money wins. It’s not about policies or positions or a candidate’s voting record, it isn’t even about what is true. When McCutcheon drops his millions into a campaign, that candidate is going to win.
But it’s the voters who decide the winner, right? Several factors impact voter choice, and they all depend on money. The more resources available, the better the odds of a candidate connecting with the voter. Negative and deceitful ads about the opponent can have a devastating impact on elections.
Once elected, an official has the ability to shape public policy. There is often a correlation between the laws a politician supports and who his donors are. When laws are passed that oppose the will of the people it’s because the elected official is actually serving their donor.
McCutcheon is a well-known climate change denier. He has been spending money to muddy the water about the effect of fossil fuels on our planet. Recently he tweeted this: “Green Energy really means green losses for all of us.” Yeah, green losses for McCutcheon if we get our energy free from the sun or wind. There are reasons he wants to have more influence in elections.
Previously, regulations were put in place to limit the ability of the rich and powerful to hijack elections for their own purposes. But in the last 40 years those regulations have been chipped away by Supreme Court decisions and deregulation.
What can we do? Power comes from two sources, Money and People. It’ time for People to rise up against a system that doesn’t work for us. To overrule the Supreme Court, we must have an amendment to the US Constitution to establish that money is not speech and corporations do not have Constitutional rights of people. Sixteen states have called for an amendment. Texas can do it too. Sign up with TexansUnitedtoAmend.org. and Movetoamend.org. Democracy is not a spectator sport.