Hip, hip hooray for the grassroots! Before we had even arrived at today’s MPO Board meeting where it was to vote on proposed changes to its bylaws, it had already responded to the overwhelming number of emails opposing many of the changes to the bylaws by striking the most controversial provisions. The MPO pulled the proposal to allow the Mayor and County Judge to unilaterally appoint an alternate member to the Board in the place of an elected official. Considering the MPO is the subject of a TURF lawsuit to force the recomposition of the Board to force out the majority of the appointees who are diluting the elected officials’ votes, the proposed bylaw changes added fuel to the fire and demonstrated the propensity of this body to stack the deck with as many appointees as possible.
The MPO also removed some of the changes to how projects are scored and prioritized (that would have made tolling easier) and even added a provision that the category at issue could NOT be used on toll projects! SCORE AGAIN!
However, the Board still voted to loosen what constitutes a quorum (allowing vacancies not to count toward a quorum almost guaranteeing appointees rather than elected officials will be making multi-billion tax decisions without the people’s elected representation), and to give the Chair unilateral discretion to direct the Executive and Finance Committees instead of that power being vested in the entire Board as a whole. It also approved language that paves the way to expand its boundaries to engulf the Hill Country in its jurisdiction, sure to cause a near riot once the citizens north of Bexar County catch wind of such a plan. You can’t get more anti-toll than Texas House District 73.
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson gave rousing and well-reasoned arguments for a distrust of the feds pushing a boundary expansion saying “you can’t trust anything coming down from the feds. Everything they touch is a mess! I say local control.” He and Representative David Leibowitz also objected to the changes to a quorum since it will only encourage elected officials to tarry in filling vacant seats when controversial votes (ie – toll roads vs no tolls) will likely be cast leaving these decisions to appointees whose jobs depend on towing the pro-toll line.
For those living in the 281/1604 area (Precinct 3) in the first round of toll tax assaults, your County Commissioner Lyle Larson, was a no show for today’s important bylaw battle. His pro-toll appointee to the tolling authority also sang the praises of tolling 281 at nearly 10 times the cost of the FREEway fix at last week’s 281 public hearing. Bob Thompson, Larson’s appointee and ex-City Councilman, is serving in an expired term. He should have been re-appointed or replaced last February. If you’re concerned, call Larson’s office: (210) 335-2613 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.