Read news article on the vote here.Commissioner Tommy Adkisson gets superhero status after today’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting. He with the help of Via’s Melissa Castro Killen and even some comments by Councilwoman Elena Guajardo tilted the vote in our favor to get our first REAL VICTORY at the MPO! Guess what did it, folks? Diligence, perseverance, and unrelenting public pressure…particularly the MASSIVE turnout at recent Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) hearings and the Bandera Rd. public meeting where all ordinary citizens were in 100% opposition to the proposed toll plans.
Here’s the scoop…
Commissioner Adkisson again requested that the Chair, Councilman Richard Perez, move citizens to be heard to the beginning of the meeting. One of our supporters, ardently opposed to the TTC, Jimmy Lamberth of Wilson County, spoke first with very sincere and passionate remarks against the corridor. Thank you, Jimmy, for traveling so far to come testify today.
Then, I gave my lengthy comments (thank you to all who came and donated their time so I could share my entire 20 minute statement uninterrupted) before the rest of the meeting commenced. When Item #8 came was addressed, Commissioner Adkisson really stuck his neck out there (and thensome) and expressed his discomfort with the Trans Texas Corridor even appearing in the San Antonio long-range plan since it’s technically outside their jurisdiction anyway. He said he attended the East Central High School Corridor hearings and heard the oppposition loud and clear and recognized that adopting this plan as is would be a political loser (trying to hint to fellow elected officials on the Board to follow suit; it’s the politicians on the Board, not the appointees who will hang for supporting this).
Perez and acting MPO Executive Director Syd Martinez tried to continually steer the Board back to accepting the plan without modifications trying to make it sound as if including toll lanes and the TTC in the plan didn’t mean an endorsement of it (think again Mr. Perez!). The duo opined about the inconvenience of including public input on projects (THAT WE PAY FOR), and the inconvenience of removing the TTC and toll lanes from the long range plan as Adkisson insisted upon.
Melissa Castro Killen also echoed Adkisson’s sentiments about the total opposition from the publlic on the toll lanes like Bandera Rd. She communicated how powerful the 450 people filling the room for the Bandera Rd public meeting was in and of itself, and again emphasized the universal opposition expressed by the public. She contended with Perez’ contention that including the tolls in the plan wasn’t an endorsement of it, she wisely stated anything in writing will be an endorsement of tolls in the public’s mind regardless of Perez’ opinion, and he knows it. It was just political manuvering to pass the vote before the opposition gained ground.
Commissioner Adkisson then put forth a motion (that did get a second) to remove the TTC and tolls on I-35 from the long range plan, period. I kept waiting for Commissioner Larson to chime in and ask that 281/1604 and Wurzbach in his precinct also be removed (though this TMMP Plan already assumed the current adopted toll roads would alreayd be built, this was $18 billion in ADDITIONAL “unmet needs”). But Perez didn’t take it to a vote. He and side kick Martinez started up again as to how “unrealistic” Adkisson’s request was to the region.
Then, Councilwoman Elena Guajardo, District 7, whose constituents live in the Bandera Rd proposed toll corridor pathway, brought up concerns that if she knew nothing about San Antonio, she would look at this document and not see one word of mention about the feelings and opposition of the populace. It gives the impression that “everything’s hunky dory” and that the public is on board, which is clearly NOT the case. Then Perez and Martinez tag teamed it again trying to complain how inconvenient it would get to go to the public for input on all of these projects (sounds like RMA Chair Bill Thornton). Excuse me, but federal law requires they do get public input on road projects from affected residents, that’s what the public hearing process is all about not to mention we, the TAXPAYERS, pay the bills! This is the attitude of an elected official toward the taxpayers of Bexar County!
Dr. Syd Ordway, who also represents Via, had apparently had enough of the constant stonewalling by Perez and blurted out with a very authoritative tone a motion to TABLE THE VOTE UNTIL THE CONCERNS OF THE BOARD MEMBERS WERE ADDRESSED and then he named them, Adkisson, Castro, Guajardo. Adkisson quickly gave a second and after yet more mumblings by Perez and Martinez about how TxDOT wouldn’t like this sort of delay (this is all being rushed through by an artificially imposed deadline from TxDOT, can you say, tyring to get it done prior to November 7…to that we say, who cares if TxDOT doesn’t like it?! TxDOT and the MPO work for us not the other way around!) he finally took it to a vote.
FOR tabling the TMMP Plan adoption:
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson (hero in chief)
Commissioner Lyle Larson
Commissioner Chico Rodriguez
Councilwoman Elena Guajardo (stepping out to represent her constituents’ interests)
Councilmen Richard Perez (you read that right, Perez, toller in chief on the MPO, could see he was losing the vote and jumped on the right side of the tracks)
Tom Wendorf (City Public Works)
Amy Madison (she, too, jumped on the right side when the outcome was inevitable)
Melissa Castro Killen (warrior princess, we mean that as a compliment!)
Dr. Syd Ordway
AGAINST tabling the TMMP Plan adoption:
Clay Smith (TxDOT)
Jack Leonhardt (Mayor of Windcrest), votes against the PEOPLE EVERY chace he gets, time to check his campaign records, they could explain his unwavering loyalty to the road lobby
Al Notzon (Bexar County appointee)
State Rep. Carlos Uresti (though he sent a staffer, but he couldn’t cast a vote)
State Rep. Joe Straus
Councilman Chip Haass
Councilman Art HallThat’s HALF of the elected officials who didn’t attend! These MAJOR decisions are largely being sloughed off onto politcial appointees, with NO ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE VOTERS!