Updated: May 2
If you just got to Texas, you might wonder why Rick Perry's poodle is cute but will not get off the couch. That is, not for anyone other than his master.
Perry's poodle is Stan Gerdes, Perry's apparently not-too-swift former scheduler who, along with his boss, got played in a prank by The Jerky Boys of Russia at the Department of Energy.
Gerdes is running against Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape in the runoff Republican Primary for Texas House District 17 on May 24. HD-17 is Bastrop, Burleson, Caldwell, Lee, and Milam counties, home of the water wars.
We know the Judge. Paul Pape (pronounced "poppy") has worked with his constituents for 10 years. We've had some differences, but he gets it on the big-ticket items affecting us. In Bastrop County, property taxes and groundwater are key.
On groundwater, he said at an event we held on April 4th "groundwater is not limitless and everyone, given how fast we're growing, is going to have to conserve, everyone will have to take a haircut." That was music to our ears and likely not to those who just want what they want.
Kleptocracy Runs Deep in the Heart of Texas
Pape's opponent is getting big support from Perry's gravy train of donors for a reason. Perry's profiteering escapades are legendary. They involve hundreds of billions of dollars in projects like the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) -- involving the largest eminent domain land grab in Texas history. Texans united across the partisan and ideological divide -- from the John Birch Society to the Environmental Defense Fund -- to defeat the 1/4 mile wide public-private partnership $200 billion toll road through the richest farmland in the world.
It was Rick Perry's idea to poach businesses in California, especially high-tech big water users, to move to "business friendly" Texas. With low taxes, 40% on-average property tax undervaluations for commercial properties and plenty of corporate subsidies, Perry cared less that moving employees here with more spending power would displace current residents. And with the costs of growth for new roads, new public safety and other new infrastructure demanded by new residents placed on the backs of current residents to pay for the needs of those not here yet, we have a perfect storm of a failed state.
Rick Perry got us here in too many ways to count. Let us never forget the years of cross-partisan organizing it took to end Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor. The TTC's largest eminent domain land seizures in the history of Texas never happened because we worked across party lines. Now, we must elect more folks with a brain, a heart and some real courage to take us home -- protection of our natural resources.
Central Texas Water Highway?
It seems more than obvious that Perry's donor pals have their eyes on a "Trans-Texas Water Highway" fueled by HD-17's precious groundwater. Vista Ridge, the "San Antone Hose," is already wreaking havoc with the future of HD-17, San Antonio ratepayers and the unwilling recipients in the Hill Country.
But there is never an end to greed in these times, now is there? A well-placed rumor has it that landowners in Bastrop County are targeted for a water pipeline to the growth corridor that “picks up” water all along the way to the northern Central Texas Growth corridor. The rumor also says there are plans to dam the Colorado in Fayette County. We hope the rumors are wrong. But we don't intend to sit around waiting to find out.
The Poodle's Patrons
Gerdes is not just Perry's poodle. He is beholden to donors who ponied up $200,000 for the first round in the Republican primary. They're probably good for as much in the second runoff on May 24th. Not more than 10% of Gerdes' money comes from people who live in HD-17. And, how do you like the Energy Transfer PAC donation? They were reportedly the largest profiteer ($2.4 billion) off the grid collapse last year.
Now look at the two fundraising fliers below for Gerdes. This is what the "Austin Lobby" looks like, folks. We're talking big real estate, big energy and a who's who in the industry of getting people elected to the Legislature who will answer to them, not their constituents.
A prime example is Mike Toomey, longtime lobbyist and trough feeder and former Perry chief of staff. NBC News reported that Toomey, between 2005 and 2010, was paid between $260,000 and $535,000 in lobby fees by pharmaceutical giant MERCK. In 2007 Perry made Texas the first state to mandate that girls, starting at 11-12 years old, be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer issued by MERCK. It was also Toomey who bundled the money to pay for the hugely expensive petition drive to get the Green Party back on the statewide ballot to mess with Democrats. That's not the kind of clean competition we, independents, want to see in our electoral system.
Deirdre Delisi is a former Perry staffer, lobbyist and Perry appointee. She was a prime mover of the $200B+ Trans-Texas Corridor (read: land grabber) while serving as Perry's appointee on the Texas Transportation Commission. Delisi served as Perry's chief of staff giving MERCK access to get their vaccine mandate.
How is Paul Pape funding his campaign? He's self-funding and accepting contributions of HD-17 residents.
And now a third fundraiser for Gerdes is scheduled in downtown Austin.
The League of Independent Voters published a piece about Gerdes and Perry on January 30th. Enjoy the photo-shopped picture of an American Eagle giving Perry the true justice he deserves. What's Rick Pery up to in HD-17?"
Now, take the HD-17 IndyTexans Survey here.