San Antonio MPO pulls controversial bylaw provisions
San Antonio, TX, June 16, 2008 – Before TURF and concerned citizens had even arrived at today’s San Antonio Metropolitan Planning Organization (SAMPO) Board meeting where it was to vote on proposed changes to its bylaws, it had already responded to the overwhelming number of emails and public comment 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 (http://texasturf.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=271&Itemid=26) to force the re-composition of the Board to force out the majority of the appointees who are un-Constitutionally 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!
“We’re delighted the MPO finally listened to concerned citizens. It shouldn’t take a massive public outcry and threats of litigation to get government entities to listen to WE THE PEOPLE,” reflected Terri Hall, Texas TURF.org Founder.
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.
Bexar County 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 State 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.
CONTACT: Terri Hall, Founder/Director, (210) 275-0640, Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (or TURF)