Press conference to announce Toll Party support of Balido

Link to article here.

It’s fascinating to me to watch politicians run from their voting records. For Joaquin Castro to say he’s consistently been against tolling existing roads is a joke. He voted for it then voted against the final bill. From what we can discern, the only difference in the bills he voted for and against was some authority was taken from the Railroad Commission and given to TxDOT. He clearly voted FOR the provisions that allowed the tolling of existing roads. Nice try to say it’s state legislation and that he didn’t know that would mean tolls on Bandera Rd. All of this is being handed down from on high by the state, so EVERY road in Texas is fair game.

Castro knows it since the Transportation Commission passed a Minute Order in 2003 that put all Texas roads on the table for tolls. You don’t open the floodgates to tolling Texas and then regret it when it hits your district. They let the monster out of the cage and these incumbents are running for cover to try and rein in an out of control agency (TxDOT) doing the bidding of the highway lobby. Too little too late.
Toll road critics blast Rep. Castro, endorse Balido
By Greg Jefferson
San Antonio Express-News
10/12/2006

The San Antonio Toll Party on Wednesday targeted state Rep. Joaquín Castro, accusing the two-term incumbent of siding with the “toll lobby.”

The toll critics endorsed his main challenger, Republican Nelson Balido, in the race for Texas House District 125.

The group cited six bills that the San Antonio Democrat voted for in 2003 and 2005 that it said would pave the way for toll projects — though none of them specified toll projects in San Antonio.

“He’s not representing his constituents,” said Terri Hall, regional director of the San Antonio Toll Party. “The Legislature, including Joaquín Castro, turned a deaf ear to the fierce opposition to toll road policies.”

But Castro says he has consistently opposed the tolling of any existing roadway, including Bandera Road — the only such project proposed for his district, which takes in portions of the West and Northwest sides. State and local officials are studying the possibility of adding toll lanes to Bandera Road.

“They’re talking about statewide policy,” Castro said. “There was never any indication that (officials) would propose a toll project for Bandera.”

Despite the organization’s support for Balido, Castro said: “I probably agree with them on 95 percent of the issues and he probably agrees with them on 95 percent.”

Libertarian Jeffrey C. Blunt also is competing in District 125.

Balido, who lost to Castro in 2002 when the legislative seat was open, opposes the proposed building of toll lanes over Bandera — a major, congested commercial thoroughfare passing through Leon Valley — and said he expects it to be a major issue in the election.

“I have block-walked thousands and thousands of homes, and I have not met a single person who supports toll roads,” Balido said. “This is something that may get people to vote as much as they do in a presidential election.”

The San Antonio Toll Party also endorsed: Democrat Joe Farias in Texas House District 118; Democratic incumbent David Leibowitz in Texas House District 117; Republican Nathan Macias in Texas House District 73; Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, a Democrat; Democrat John Courage in Congressional District 21; Democrat David Van Os for state attorney general; and independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn for governor.

A Leininger guy?
The same day Balido won the praise of Terri Hall, Castro chided him for his fundraising.

According to his latest campaign finance report, Balido brought in $68,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30, with the biggest amount — $25,000 — coming from San Antonio businessman James Leininger, a staunch advocate for school vouchers and a major contributor to pro-voucher candidates. His brother, Peter Leininger, gave $7,000 to Balido’s campaign.

“It’s clear that Nelson Balido is a Leininger guy,” Castro said.

Critics of school voucher programs say they would bleed funding from public schools by redirecting tax dollars to private institutions.

Balido said he hadn’t discussed school vouchers with Leininger. But he said he’d consider such a program to allow parents to remove their children from schools that consistently perform poorly.

“I think that is one alternative,” Balido said. “I think it’s very much a possibility for schools that can’t get their act together.”

Also among Balido’s contributions: $10,000 from Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, one of the state’s biggest GOP donors.

For his part, Castro raised $35,215 in the same reporting period. But he ended it with $34,500 in the bank, compared with Balido’s $21,600.

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