These sorry excuses for elected representatives voted to limit ANY new roads or expansion of existing roads surrounding the the 281 tollway which undoubtedly includes, Stone Oak Pkwy, Bulverde Rd., Red Land Rd., and Blanco Rd. (up to a 4 mile area around the tollway by law, yep that counterfeit moratorium Perry rammed through allows it)!


Who voted to increase your taxes
Sheila McNeil,
Councilwoman, Dist. 2, called northsiders "those people" who can afford the tolls while taking thousands in campaign contributions from pro-toll interests like Zachry and Red McCombs
Diane Cibrian,
Councilwoman, Dist. 8, campaigned on lowering taxes but just voted FOR the largest tax increase in TX history!
Jack Leonhardt,
Windcrest Mayor, said he received 5,000 emails FOR and only a few hundred against (we confirmed that over 1,200 emails AGAINST were sent using our email alias) he lied!
Chico Rodriguez,
Bexar County Commissioner who has an opponent in the primary in March
William Weeper,
Claimed he received more emails in favor of tolls and was compelled to "do what the people want" and vote FOR a TAX INCREASE!
Joe Aceves,
county employee who did what pro-toll Judge Wolff told him to do even though 2 of the 3 commissioners on the MPO voted AGAINST and the county has twice passed a resolution AGAINST tolling existing freeways (which are smoke & mirrors and worthless apparently)

Two TxDOT votes (David Casteel & Clay Smith, one of the TxDOT employees seen walking into the Oct. 19 Valero meeting where the highway lobby strategized on how to win approval of the toll roads at today's mtg)
Two Via Votes (Ruby Perez, who's also chummy with Sheila McNeil, and Hank Brummet, who previously voted WITH us when he was on the MPO years ago...guess that proposed Park & Ride at Marshall Rd. was enough to co-opt them into voting FOR more highways against their own stated mission of mass transit)
Two City employees (one, Mark Webb, is the boss of a Via Board member Ruby Perez, and Jelynne Burley is the other)

The few heroic GOOD GUYS
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson (wait till you see his impassioned speech when we get it on YouTube, a true advocate of mass transit and simple solutions like contraflow lanes, etc.)
Rep. David Leibowitz (he's a fabulous litigator and got the RMA to admit to a non-compete and to tolling existing roads)
Senator Carlos Uresti (poked holes in the RMA's numbers, logic, determined their plan doesn't achieve congestion relief AT ALL for those who cannot afford tolls)

One Lone Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?
Lyle Larson, Bexar County Commissioner, who will soon be resigning from office to run for Congress, is on a collision course with the bizarre.

After years of SAYING he's against and also voting against tolls, today on KTSA 550 radio only hours before the MPO meeting, Larson threw cold water onto the MPO vote discouraging turnout by saying no matter how the MPO votes, TxDOT can still toll the roads if the RMA doesn't, which may be true, but that doesn't mean we give up the fight. Essentially, he said we're going to get toll roads no matter what the people want. Way to talk it down! Sounds like County Judge Nelson Wolff! Then, he came out and defended Sheila McNeil whose comments caused a firestorm of controversy for attacking LARSON'S OWN PRECINCT in a targeted tax grab. He did the same thing at today's MPO meeting going even farther by kissing up to the former dictator (change the bylaws on a whim to remain Chair of the MPO even after I'm out of office) and MPO Chair turned Greater Chamber President Richard Perez! Larson bragged he was a lone wolf (fond of firing off letters that have netted no real results in actually stopping the toll roads), and "wasn't a team player" content to be the steady lone vote against something rather than garner the votes to lead and to make things happen.


Many of your fellow citizens have spent countless hours handing out fliers, driving around mobile billboards, making phone calls, and helping turn out the show of force at today's meeting. We all owe them a debt of gratitude! It did make a difference, the highway lobby had to work their fingers to the bone to get these toll rates passed. They've never had to mount such a defense before, we're making progress and many of the pro-tollers, especially McNeil, took a MAJOR beating in today's meeting.

In an astonishing marathon 5 hour meeting, more than 200 people filled the room IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WORKDAY! That's BY FAR the most we've ever been able to muster during the workday! CONGRATULATIONS! The vast majority of those in attendance were against tolls. When the highway lobby was asked to stand in favor of tolls by the new SAMCO President Terrell McCombs, I didn't even count 40 of them. Many of the seat warmers that always seem to gravitate to the right side of the room are TxDOT staffers and City and County employees (all sitting there on the public's dime, of course). We had at least 150 people there, plus approximately 40 more outside who were initially turned away since the room hit capacity. There was standing room only in the back and around the edges of the room, but they eventually let our folks inside as people started to leave.

It was nearly 2 full ours before a single ordinary citizen was given the chance to speak. Of course, Chairwoman "Those People" McNeil, allowed the RMA to go up there and make some long-winded pointless "presentation" that was nothing more than tolling authority Chair and ex-Mayor Bill Thornton spinning all the reasons why a $475 million toll road is the best and ONLY option compared to the $170 million FREEway fix (when adjusted for inflation from 2004 dollars). They showed their fancy "simulation" of the proposed project which shows a completely inaccurate corridor with gobs of grassy, empty buffer between the toll lanes and the access roads. It also showed free flowing traffic on the frontage roads with no traffic stopped at the stop lights (it shows the sparse vehicles hitting all green lights).

Then TxDOT did it's jig just to try and outlast the public at the meeting on their lunch hours. The highway lobby and their puppet politicians orchestrated quite a dog & pony show, including a scripted exchange between Councilwoman Diane Cibrian (who is officially a DOUBLE tax toller even though she ran on lowering your taxes), RMA Director Terry Brechtel and her sidekick Pat Irwin (the engineer who brought you the 28/410 debacle). Cibrian took offense to the SA Toll Party doing automated calls in her district to alert them to her campaign promise and today's MPO vote to toll existing freeways. The call urged folks to call her to ask her vote NO on toll taxes. So rather than do what she told her district she would do, lower taxes, she equivocated and called tolls a "user fee" and tried to get Brechtel and Irwin to say they weren't tolling existing right of way or roadway already paid for. They threw in a totally preposterous contention that a 20 lane toll road is better for the aquifer than the current 4-6 freeway (ever heard of impervious cover, Councilwoman?)!

That is until Rep. David Leibowitz, a litigator by profession, finally pinned down Terry Brechtel and got her to admit they're tolling EXISTING right of way/roads ALREADY PAID FOR BY THE TAXPAYER!

A bus load of folks came in from Sheila McNeil's district to tell her they didn't want toll roads for ANYONE, northside or not. A very articulate college student chided the MPO for voting on the completely wrong issue....the price of gas will have far more to do with shaping future transportation than ANY road. What they're building will likely be obsolete by the time it's finished, because the energy crisis will force a change in vehicular travel unless our failed leadership acts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The Federal Highway Administration stats show vehicle miles travel in Texas is slowing and remaining flat, not increasing as the MPO and TxDOT aggressive traffic demand models project.

So I essentially said this: if all of their financial "assumptions" are based on a constantly changing set of variables that is more akin to trying to shoot at a moving target than accurately assessing the amount of growth on the northside, and the price of gas could impact those assumptions/projections very quickly with a steady rise in the price of oil. We have yet to see ANY reports that show the impact of high gas prices on toll viability.

It's absolutely UNBELIEVABLE that these officials carrying the water for the highway lobby voted for financial terms when they didn't even know what they were!

Senator Carlos Uresti, Rep. David Leibowitz, and Commissioner Tommy Adkisson grilled the RMA (who wouldn't answer a direct question for 6 of the 7 hour meeting) and Uresti poked so many holes in Terry Brechtel numbers you drive a truck through them! Those who witnessed the do-anything-but-answer-a-question-and-let-the-cat-out-of-the-bag dance by the RMA were incredulous at how corrupt and dishonest our government officials are from top to bottom. The highway lobby is in complete control of that MPO Board and our government. They've figured out how to exploit government power for their private interests. We live in a "corporatocracy."

Rep Nathan Macias, on the House Transportation Committee, addressed the Board and expressed his frustration that the MPO decisions to toll Bexar County adversely affect EVERY county he represents yet Dist. 73 HAS NO REPRESENTATION ON THE MPO! He's found 95% of the folks in Comal, Kendall, Gillespie, and Bandera counties OPPOSE TOLLS! Macias is a TRUE WARRIOR for our cause in the Texas Legislature. He mentioned his distaste for the propaganda TxDOT spews instead of having a meaningful dialogue and working toward genuine solutions.


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