Newbie walks in and wants to be Chair
Imagine a brand new State Rep walking into the Texas House of Representatives and demanding to be the Speaker his/her first day on the job. Well, that’s what Councilwoman Sheila McNeil did last month and she got her way this afternoon. A new appointee to the MPO walked in at her first meeting and demanded to be Chair…and challenged her own County Commissioner with 9 years experience for the position. What we witnessed was nothing short of STUNNING!
Cortez shows up
I knew we had lost the vote when I walked in and saw Councilman Phil Cortez (who ran as anti-toll) present when he was supposed to be absent (in order to not have to vote against Tommy and also not to get in trouble for voting against the City, but all bets were off). We knew a coup was about to take place and the other side had already lined-up their votes while ours flaked, abstained, or pontificated since our side requires a spine and to go up against the most powerful lobby in San Antonio. As always, the deck was stacked against us since the City has 6 appointees and the County only has 4 with other appointed members following the money, like Windcrest Mayor Jack Leonhardt. He apparently spent the weekend at the Texas Transportation Forum cozying up to the highway lobby not to mention how the City called him on his quid pro quo on the Windcrest Mall de-annexation.
Mayor Leonhardt, who chaired the meeting, stepped right into where Richard Perez left off and played political chicanery with the agenda and voting procedures. Out the gate he said some members may have to leave early so he threatened to call a vote for the Chair even without Commissioner Larson there (as he promised he wouldn’t, but a politician’s promise isn’t worth the paper it’s written on). But Larson did arrive in time for the vote. However, the chicanery resumed when Adkisson asked for a vote on having ONLY elected members vote for Chair. When Perez wanted to change the bylaws to illegally appoint himself an alternate to the MPO, they refused to use Robert Rules of Order as Adkisson requested back in May, but when Adkisson asked for accountability and to have ELECTED officials WHO ANSWER to the PEOPLE be the only voters, Leonhardt then called a vote to use Robert’s Rules which required a higher vote threshold, a two-thirds majority rather than a simple majority to pass. Leonhardt may as well have been Richard Perez at that point.
Then the City’s voting block lined-up and locked elbows to vote AGAINST ACCOUNTABILITY and to allow the UN-ELECTED members to vote! Five of the 10 who voted against the PEOPLE were appointees and NOT elected officials. The City couldn’t win without their appointees. Then came the vote for Chair. Leonhardt began his usual pontificating and gave a speech AGAINST Adkisson (showing an appalling bias from one who should have been an impartial parliamentarian overseeing the vote for a new Chair without taking sides), and then tried to call for an immediate vote just like Perez used to do (he wasn’t going to give anyone else a chance to chime in).
He had the audacity to actually state he feared our MPO would be labeled “anti-toll” if Adkisson were the Chair. What??? As if that’s a reason to vote against the most experienced candidate or YOUR OWN county commissioner who endorsed you. WE ARE ANTI-TOLL! At how many meetings and how many times and how many ways do the people need to say “NO!” When over 2,000 people have turned out against tolls on 281/1604 alone in the past two years and when another 900 people turned out to oppose the Trans Texas Corridor, and when another 450 people turned out to oppose tolls on Bandera Rd, and when Senator Jeff Wentworth admits he got calls 100 to 1 against the tolls during the session, there is NO doubt about where San Antonians stand on tolls!
If ever there was a great candidate for a Mayoral recall, it’s Jack Leonhardt. He was just re-elected and this is when they get to feeling rather untouchable. It’s time for him to go!
TxDOT, which is a STATE agency, voted against the MPO’s State Representative and State Senator, both of whom endorsed Commissioner Adkisson. They sure haven’t learned that it’s the Legislature who funds their budget and who will decide whether to gut that agency and whose heads will roll come 2009 when they’re up for Sunset Review (top to bottom review of their books).
THE CITY A FRONT FOR ZACHRY
So we lost all three votes 10-7 with Ariaga abstaining and Uresti ABSENT! Why? Because this City isn’t run by our elected officials but the highway lobby behind them. These politicians are puppets and those who dare to stand-up for the PEOPLE get a public flogging. Bartel Zachry stood next to Phil Hardberger when he announced he was running for Mayor. We busted Zachry’s multi-billion PRIVATE toll deal on 281/1604 and he ain’t happy. He wanted ready access to your wallet on roads you’ve already paid for in a 50 year monopoly with GUARANTEED returns. Wonder why even the PUBLIC toll deal that the tolling authority (the RMA) is now doing on 281/1604 went from $1.4 billion last year to $2.2 billion after the private toll moratorium passed? So that Zachry can make an extra BILLION on the construction contract for the toll roads.
FINAL VOTE COUNT
Those who voted AGAINST Tommy Adkisson –
Sheila McNeil – Councilwoman District 2
Phil Cortez – Councilman District 4
Justin Rodriguez – Councilman District 7
Diane Cibrian – Councilwoman District 8
Emil Moncivias – City Planning appointee
Tom Wendorf – City Public Works appointee
Jack Leonhardt – Mayor of Windcrest
Ruby Perez – City Via appointee
David Casteel – TxDOT
Clay Smith – TxDOT
Those who voted FOR Tommy Adkisson –
County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
County Commissioner Lyle Larson
County Commissioner Chico Rodriguez
State Representative David Leibowitz
Bill Weeper – Selma Councilman
Joe Acevas – County Infrastructure appointee
Melissa Castro-Killen – County Via appointee