More than 450 turn out to OPPOSE tolls on Bandera!


RMA’s meeting “tactics” don’t fool the public
San Antonio, TX, July 27, 2006 – In a massive show of opposition to toll roads, more than 400 concerned citizens filled the auditorium at Marshall High School in Leon Valley. It was the first public meeting hosted by the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (ARMA) and the first meeting for the Bandera Road Toll project. The ARMA called their “work group” public meeting format “new,” but it’s really an old tactic to try to bore or anesthetize the public on an issue about which the public is clearly hostile.“They expect hundreds of people to sit through hours of presentations and ‘work sessions’ before they ever to have the opportunity to actually get their comments on the record. It’s offensive and an insult to people’s time. They love to claim paying tolls will save you time, well, why don’t they save us time and just give us the mic,” says Terri Hall, Regional Director of San Antonio Toll

After starting the meeting late and after a lengthy opening presentation, the moderator then had attendees break-up into work sessions to discuss ideas, alternatives, etc. for another 20 minutes. Then the public had to endure RJ Rivera and Associates “sharing” a summary of attendees’ thoughts rather than actually letting the public tell it themselves. By the time the public comment portion commenced, a full two hours had passed! A good half of the crowd of concerned citizens left midway through the meeting disgusted at the lack of consideration for folks’ time…but not before hundreds signed our petition to stop the toll roads, to make donations, and to sign-up to volunteer.

“This dog & pony show approach was designed to fatigue the public into submission, numbing the people with a 30 minute presentation and then work groups in order to peel them off in frustration. By the time the public comment portion came, it was a half-empty room! When you strip all the double talk out, it’s a hocus pocus show to cram something down the public’s throat without their consent,” notes Hall.

However, it back-fired. Many folks complained of the format, including State Representative David Leibowitz, and one called it a “sham” when they finally got their turn at the microphone.

“The public could see precisely what the RMA was trying to do, and that was to divide and conquer the opposition. They knew the turn out would be enormous and their mission was to break people up, wear folks down, and waste their time,” relates Hall. “When public comments come last, it was obvious to everyone what was happening. And, of course, they knew the media wouldn’t stick around to report on the litany of opposition.”

Once the public finally got to speak, there were still a good 200 people left in the room and many mentioned the need to vote out ALL politicians who support tolls or who voted to toll our roads, particularly Governor Perry. Some spoke to how there’s an awakening among the grassroots–that it’s time to take our government back. Several fantastic solutions were proposed including loud applause for and frequent reference to improved, expanded public transit options. There was actually a good portion of the audience that supported doing nothing. One hundred percent of the public comments were opposed to the tolls with the exception of Vic Boyer of the San Antonio Mobility Coalition (a lobby group on behalf of the highway special interests) who is ardently in favor of tolls.

The meeting finally ended at 10 PM!

This is a complete departure from the glory days of the Texas Department of Transportation. “They have descended into a process devoid of accountability to the public, using secret deals for the benefit of multi-national special interests, and for all intents and purposes are selling off Texas to the highest bidder, which is a far cry from providing safe, reliable, affordable transportation for all Texans,” observes a disappointed Hall.


0 Replies to “More than 450 turn out to OPPOSE tolls on Bandera!”

  1. Esteban Erik Stipnieks

    I was one of those that left. I had to be at work 0400…so I drove 1604 from Babcock to Southwest Military at the only time I know of when it is passable….3:20-3:45 in the monring. I got my barbs in the needs and concerns table. Sadly enough I did not get to add this to the public record

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate”(from the movie Coolhand Luke) there are some public officials who can be reached there are others that simply refuse to be reached. Before me lies a group that simply refused to reach. We do not want no stinkin TOLLS. Comprende Cabish I will say it slowly WWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEE DDDDOOOOO NOOOOT WAAANT BANDERA Road TOOOLLLLLLED. Terry Brechtel is so disengenious she wants our feedback…but since she is the head tolling authority she will ignore it all. For my call that I made in defense of her when she was city manager of San Antonio I will publically apologize. As some of you know I work at Sea World and we live in dread of the offended park guest. The park guests provide the money and we exist to serve them. Now this group of our employees people who we pay with toil and effort are hearing our complaints and ignoring them. Instead of scampering appeasing us putting their lips on appropirate parts of our body they are looking at us like we are the idiots. Tex DOT says it needs the money when their own audits say that have paid more then a few contractors twice for the same work. If they can not solve Banderra road without tolls maybe those engineers need to find an apporpirate level of employment for their skills like cleaning the bathrooms at Tex Dot offices instead of squandering our hard earned effort.

    Ex Mayor Thorton says this is mob rule. Their is a latin phrase Vox populi vox deii the voice of the peopple is the voice of God. The bible says fear of the Lord is the begining of all understanding since this body before use refuses to listen to us as we say NO TOLL ROAD it is clear that in addition to being deaf they clearly do not have the intelligence to work in private industry where customer service is of paramount importance.

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