Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Principled Vote

Shortly after taking office for my second go-around as an elected official I voted “no” on a subject that was overwhelmingly supported by the other members of council. After the meeting a local reporter asked me if we could expect more "principled" votes.  I took the question to mean whether or not I vote no on something that I felt was morally or ethically wrong if there was some ancillary benefit to it. My answer was of course, "yes" you can absolutely expect more principled votes from me in the future. Frankly, too many elected officials hide behind the "do what's best" for blah blah blah mentality when they're voting on issues. 

First let’s define principle - a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.

After being in office for a year or so, I was publicly criticized by one of my peers in the local paper for voting on principles. This council member went on to say that he wanted to do what's best for Aubrey. He was using the "do what's best for Aubrey" defense for his non-principled votes. Of course if there was one council member who preaches his principles to get elected, it would be this guy. Under the "do what’s best" theory, it doesn't matter if what you vote for is illegal, unethical, or immoral, as long as it's "what's best" for something, it's ok to vote for it. This council member proudly exclaimed that he didn't vote on principles, all I have to say to that is, he said it, I didn't. 

The problem with officials who follow this philosophy is that there is no consistency in how they vote. It is much easier for their votes to be manipulated by someone who can make an argument that the city would benefit in some manner if their principles are a moving target. For the most part all small towns have some financial limitations, and often the draw of a potential increase in the revenue for the city coffers will make even those who started with principles to change their positions if they do not firmly vote with moral compass. However, in these instances the entirety of the project needs to be thought about, not just the money. There still is no such thing as a free lunch, if a small town gets a sudden windfall of money in the city coffers, there are usually consequences or responsibilities that the city will have to deal with.

One example in this part of Texas was the rise and fall of the Barnett Shale. When the gas money came roaring in, all the cities we spending like there was no tomorrow. However, overnight the gas price plummeted, and so did the revenue for the effected cities and they went from more cash than they could spend to huge deficits, literally overnight.  This led to large increases in taxes and cuts in services, and a big mess to clean up.  Trying to get an official at any level to see the future downside of anything, is difficult at best. They tend to look at things like this through rose colored glasses, and turn the common sense switch to the “off” position when potential downsides are presented. They have their minds made up and won't be confused with facts.  If you stand by a set of principles, then dreams of fortune and fame doesn’t play into your vote. 

To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage, or of principle. Confucius

Another thing that I see especially at the local level is voting on emotion, not principles.  Whether or not someone supported a certain person in the last election, has a direct impact on whether they will get a friendly reception at city hall.  That permit they want, may be influenced by whose sign was in their yard during the last election.  For those who can’t separate their personal life from city business, they have a broken moral compass and should not be serving in any elected position.  However, this is a vicious cycle, in which people know that there will be repercussions if they speak out against a candidate, and therefore they stay quiet and in most instances don’t even vote.  They get disgusted with the process and simple give up.  In cases like this, there is zero principles involved, and it happens all the time. 

As they say, you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.    If your officials don’t have some moral compass that they live and vote by, maybe it’s time for a change.  However, we need to pay more attention to how our officials act, and less about what they say.    It is our responsibility in a republic to not only vote, but to hold our public officials accountable to the principles they claim to have. If they do not vote on principles, then we must throw their butts out of office.  Perhaps we should think about our own principles and vote for people who share them.   

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. John Quincy Adams

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Another Update on Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro Tem, Aubrey TX

As I closed my last blog post related to Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro Tem Aubrey, TX, I indicated that he dishes things out, but can't take them. I also stated that I have done nothing to Jeff that he has not done to others, in reality he has actually done much worse to others. Jeff has made a desperate plea on social media complaining about me contacting his boss, and accused me of trying to get him fired. This has caused some to show Jeff sympathy on this issue.

As I explained in the previous posting, I have evidence to show that Jeff was storing information about me on his work computer. I am not trying to get Jeff fired, me contacting his employer is because he is a public official using his work computer to store items pertaining to me. I have every legal right to this information. As a public official, if Jeff is willing to jeopardize his employer by doing things related to his position on Aubrey City Council, that's on Jeff. Therefore, I have every right to ask for this information from Jeff's employer. If this impacts Jeff's career, that's Jeff doing, not mine. 

Jeff on the other hand has a history of going to the employers of political adversaries or others that have information that may negatively impact his political standing in the community and has truly tried to get others fired from their jobs. I was reminded of this after the last blog post. While Jeff has accused me of trying to get him fired, he has actually demanded the firing of those who opposed him.

During the last election, which admittedly was a messy one, Jeff went to the employer of his opponent and demanded that she be fired. His opponent disclosed this intimidation in a letter to the editor in the local paper during the election. Jeff's opponent was a cashier at the local grocery store and apparently mentioned to people that she was running for council. Therefore, Jeff and or some of his political henchman went to the manager of the store and demanded she be fired. I also have reason to believe that Jeff has threatened a local newspaper that was considering running an article that would put a negative light on him. 

In summary, the reason that I requested the information from his work computer has everything to do with his position on Aubrey City Council, and nothing to do with me trying to get him fired. And contrary to Jeff's believes, this is nothing personal. I informed his boss of what he was doing and, and asked for documents that pertained to me. Jeff on the other hand openly demanded at least one person be fired for opposing him, and possibly another. So it is pretty disappointing that Jeff would dramatize for sympathy my contacting his employer for information that I have a legal right to. Perhaps he should look in the mirror to figure out why this is happening. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Update on Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro Tem Aubrey, TX

For the last several months, I have noticed that Jeff Perry frequently visits my blog while he is supposed to be performing his duties as a Collin County Juvenile Probation Officer in McKinney, TX. This has happened so much that I labeled the IP address from Jeff’s work to easily identify when he visited this site. This was prior to the latest blogpost I published concerning Jeff's behavior. Perhaps, I should be glad to have adoring fans that would rather read my blog that do their work.  However, surfing the internet is not what he’s being paid to do. 

After the latest blogpost, Jeff was visiting my site several times a day while he was at work. However, it appears that he was saving items to a desktop folder, affectionately labeled "tillmancrap". This actually gave me quite a chuckle. However, it also disappoints me that he is doing all of this, when he is supposed to be helping children. When he is getting paid and using equipment owned by the taxpayers of Collin County. 

I am doubtful that Jeff understands that when he performs functions related to his position as an Aubrey City Councilman, it doesn't matter what computer he is using, it now becomes a matter of public record, and thus subject to the Public Information Act. So whether he is using a personal device or his work computer, or something provided by the city, it is all subject to the Public Information Act if it pertains to city business. 

It shocks me that there is such a lack of transparency in government, but local government especially.  People want to get the prestige and benefits or serving in a public position, but want nothing to do with the accountability side of the equation.  Some do not understand that being in a “public position” means that you work for the public, whether you get paid or not.  Unfortunately, on many occasions they win these battles because of the difficulty of fighting, or they don’t fully understand the process. So for example, a city will deny providing public information, and even if the public has a right to the information, but you may have to file an expensive lawsuit to get it.  However, in cases like Jeff’s, where I have clear evidence that the documents exist, he would have to provide it if I pushed the matter.  If he failed to provide public records or destroyed records that we could prove existed, we might get a fresh mugshot of him.  Not sure what Jeff’s boss might do if the Attorney General’s office gave them a call wanting this information.  Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, I suspect that Jeff is ignorant to all of this. 

When I was in DISH, every email I sent was requested through public information requests. I did not fight this, and I figured it was the public’s right to have this information.  Some of the messages that I provided through these public information requests was used against me, but oh well, I signed up for it.  It got to a point that every email I sent, I went ahead and printed and added to pile for the next request.  I gave up everything, probably things I didn’t have to, but no one can say that I was not transparent.  I certainly would never jeopardize my employer by doing city business on a work computer.  However, some don’t see it that way, they would prefer to live like roaches in secrecy. 

Another aspect of challenging big oil and gas, is that everything about my life was made public.  They hired people to do extensive research on me.  You can now find anything you want about me with a simple google search.  However, I am somewhat boring, I pay my bills, never been arrested, and am faithful to my wife; so there’s not much dirt there.  I have made mistakes, and I hope that I’ve owned them and learned from them.  So for the most part, anything that one might criticize me for, I will accept responsibility for it or be proud of the stand that I took. 

Based and the fact that Jeff was spending a significant amount of time on my blog and saving files pertaining to me on his work computer, I felt that this should be addressed with his employer, which also happens to be a public entity, and also subject to some of the provisions of the Public Information Act, although most of the information Jeff would deal with are court records.  A file pertaining to me on Jeff’s work computer is absolutely not a court record, and I’m certain a judge would confirm this if needed.    Therefore, I sent a letter along with evidence that Jeff was in fact storing information pertaining to me on his work computer.

You can see what I sent here: 

I am really not interested in putting Jeff’s supervisors through a messy situation.  However, I will be speaking with my attorney on this matter to see which direction would be the easiest resolution for everyone involved.

You might be thinking, that I am being kind of hard on Jeff, and that is exactly he’d like for you to think.  He does play a good victim, but I would encourage you to not jump to conclusions.  First of all, Jeff is a public official and I assure you that he is not the person you think he is.  As harsh as I have been in this matter, I have done nothing to Jeff that he has not done to others and he knows this.  It is fine when Jeff does these things to others, but it crosses the line when it is done to him; he dishes it out, but can’t take it.  I am sure he will continue to deny these things, but nothing I have said is false.  If it is, please notify me and I will remove anything proven to be false.  Jeff must remember he is a public officials and whether he likes it or not, people have a right to know who he really is.  

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Independent Texans News Letter

Lotta stuff going on, y'all!
If you live in Bastrop or Lee counties, we want to SEE you on Wednesday night at 6 pm at Bastrop City Hall. End Op, L.P. is close to getting its way. A movement of citizens and a new organization -- Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund -- have other ideas. PLEASE SHOW UP AND BRING NEIGHBORS! More below.
Last Tuesday, the first independent elected to the Texas House in 60 years, Laura Thompson, won in a special election runoff in House District 120, San Antonio's east side! Congratulations to Laura and the millions of independent Texans! More here.

The charter amendment via citizens petition for "More Reasonable Petition Requirements in the City of Bastrop" has been certified by the Bastrop City Secretary! Council will vote to place the measure on the ballot next Tuesday. Take a few minutes to read the news here in the Statesman/Bastrop Advertiser and this article by former Councilwoman Kelly Gilleland on why she supports this amendment. You can watch the Council meeting at starting at 6:30 pm. (PS If you haven't watched our slide show, please do and share it!)

Wednesday, 6 pm at Bastrop City Hall, the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District could, unfortunately, finalize its capitulation to End Op, L.P.‘s mega-permit demand for up to 46,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year (15 billion gallons) from the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer underlying Lee and Bastrop counties. Bring a check, cash or gold rings (that -- the rings -- is a joke). Seriously, money is needed to ramp up the fight! To understand the Seige on the Simsboro, review our slide show here -- slides 14-16.

Austin, Texas:  Developer whistle-blower, Brian Rodgers, a co-founder of PAC, filed a critically important Amended Petition in District Court on the Pilot Knob "affordable housing" and open government fiasco. Read it all right here -- powerful stuff!
We'll be planning conference calls and meetings soon -- keep an eye out for the independent movement!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Real Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro Tem, Aubrey, TX

When I first met Jeff Perry, he initially seemed like someone who you could trust with your deepest secrets. He touts his faith and his military service, and seems sincere with everything he says and does. His public image is extremely high, and you'd have no reason to believe anything different than what you see on the surface. There are very few people that I have met that I trust initially, frankly I'm just not that trustworthy. However, with Jeff, I trusted him right away.

I endorsed Jeff a couple of years ago when he ran for reelection to Aubrey city council. He also endorsed me, when I decided to run for office again. I had him and his family to my home a couple of times, our children played well together. He seemed to have a respectable career working as a juvenile probation officer.  Jeff also appeared to be closely aligned politically with me also, and our values seem to be similar. However, things are not always as they appear.

I won the election and serving with Jeff was a joy for the first few months. However, I noticed that there was not much discussion on key issues and everyone seemed to have their minds made up when they showed up for the meetings. Jeff seemed to basically support whatever was submitted by staff and the administration. He did not vote “no” on anything for the first six months and only voted “no” on one occasion in the first year of my term. To say the least, his voting record during this timeframe was very disappointing. He voted completely opposite of what I had expected on several occasions.  It also appeared that he was not prepared on any of the subjects that we were discussed.

During this most recent election, there were several things that came to light about Jeff that were extremely disappointing. It was clear at this point that Jeff was not who his public image said he was. When some of these items came up, his response to them were even more disappointing. He made some horrible mistakes in his past, and he has never admitted to or owned his mistakes.

One of the things that came to light was a domestic violence conviction from almost 20 years ago. Jeff physically assaulted his now ex-wife; they were still married at the time of the assault. He felt like he addressed this in a letter to the editor of the local paper and local news blog. However he never fully accepted responsibility for his actions or owned this mistake. He first blamed his ex-wife for lying about the incident, and the blamed his lawyer for giving him bad advice to accept a plea bargain. This would be fine if it were true, however, it is not.  You don’t plea out if you’re not guilty. 

A copy of the actual police report tells a much different story than Jeff did. This story told a sociopath, who was one move away from a much more serious crime. The police report states that Jeff's ex-wife tried to remove herself from a very dangerous situation. However, Jeff would have none of that, so he let the air out of her car tires, so she could not get away.  After he blocked her attempted escape, she tried to leave on foot. However, Jeff would have none of that either. He tried to block her escape again, and when she tried to go around him, the 250 lb Marine picked her up and threw her to the ground. The reporting officer stated that there were visible bruises from this assault.
Unfortunately, the abuse didn't stop there. After tossing her to the ground like a rag doll, she managed to get up and again attempted to leave. However, again Jeff would have no part of that, so the 250 lb man punched her in the jaw. Again this left a visible bruise on her jaw according to the reporting officer. One item that was not brought up was what Jeff was guilty of by forcing his ex-wife to not leave, he committed false imprisonment, which most certainly would have been charged today.

You can see a copy of the police report here:

This is not the story of a woman, who was trying to frame her husband of abuse. If that were the case, she would have had to flatten her own car tires, inflict enough force to leave bruises on her back and legs, and then manage to punch herself in the jaw hard enough to leave bruises. The fact of the matter is that Jeff agreed to a plea bargain, because he knows he would have lost in court, and likely ended up doing time in Denton County Jail. He also no doubt knew that if he went to county for domestic violence, someone would have done to him what he did to his wife. In actuality he was probably kissing his lawyer for getting him a deal that did not involve jail time.

If there is any truth to the manner in which Jeff was confronted about this by someone coming to his home, I absolutely do not support this. If someone is brave enough to knock on my door to confront me about something, they likely won't appreciate my response, but that's just me. However, Jeff's response to this confrontation was to immediately become the “victim” in this matter. He whined and cried and made this desperate plea on social media and in the local paper, he never stood up and faced this like a man. Not once did he accept responsibility for his actions, not once did he admit that he did anything wrong.  This isn't the actions of a Marine or a man of integrity, but rather that of a coward. This is not the action of someone who's remorseful of his actions, he’s remorseful that the story is out, not for what he did. Some may argue that this happened 20 years ago and people can change. However, I recently heard how he has treated people when he thinks no one is looking. That tiger hasn't changed his stripes.  Don’t forget the real victim in this was not the 250 lbs Marine, but his ex-wife who Jeff violently assaulted.

I know you might be wondering how Jeff could hold a job as a juvenile probation officer with a record like this. I have the same question. How can someone like this be responsible to oversee children when he has a violent past? How does someone who can never legally own a firearm testify in court when the outcome of his testimony could affect a child's life forever? How can someone who has made a train-wreck of their life, give advice to others or have power over anyone? I guess he does have experience with probation since that was part of his plea bargain.

If the domestic violence was not enough to turn your stomach at the sight of Jeff. He also has a problem paying his bills. On several occasions bill collectors have had to chase him down. He also brought this up in his letter to the editor. However, much like the domestic violence, he downplayed the issue. The documents show that he failed to pay his bills on several occasions. This happened much more recently than the domestic violence.

Recently Jeff has apparently followed the lead of another member of Aubrey City Council by referring to the Aubrey citizens that live in apartments as “shit people”.  Yes, you read that right, a sitting Aubrey City Councilman refers to the same Aubrey citizens he’s supposed to represent as “shit people”.  Yes, you read that right, someone with a domestic violence conviction, who has problems paying their bills is referring to others as “shit people”.  Yes, a man who hit a woman, is referring to others as “shit people”.  Yes, someone who cannot legally purchase a firearm, is calling others “shit people”.  Frankly, with Jeff’s violent past and credit history, he probably couldn’t pass the background and credit check to live in some of the apartments here in Aubrey, and yet he refers to “them” as “shit people”.  Perhaps Jeff should look in the mirror. 

Unfortunately, even with the above stated information, Jeff may have still won reelection. Our society loves to give second chances to those who don't deserve it. However, when selecting someone who will be creating laws that you have to live by, shouldn't we expect more than this? What do we expect when we knowingly vote for people like Jeff?  He is over 50 years old, and we somehow think he's going to wake up one morning and be able to make sound judgment decisions? How many times must we debunk this theory before we wake up?

He's a crook, but he's our crook. This seems to be how we look at our elected officials. We hate the system as a whole, but seem to defend “our” elected officials. If we started listening to the warning signs, and took action, we might be better off. If someone seems unfit to run their own lives, maybe we shouldn't let them run or influence ours.

Perhaps another perspective will help emphasize the problem. Would you want your daughter to date Jeff? If your daughter brought a man home that had inflicted this horrific abuse as outlined in Jeff's police report, would you feel comfortable leaving him alone with your daughter? Is this the man that you'd want your daughter to marry? If you would have concerns about your daughter dating somebody with a domestic violence conviction, why would you consider letting him represent you or influence your life? If the man doesn't have the integrity to admit his mistakes and come clean, why would you think he has enough integrity to hold an elected office?

After knowing that Jeff willingly doesn't pay his bills, would you let him be your financial adviser? Bill collectors have had to chase him down on numerous occasions, so this is not an oversight. Jeff knowingly and willfully made a decision to not pay his bills. With this knowledge would you trust him to make decisions with your tax dollars? If you're not sure you'd trust him with your finances, why would you trust him with the city's?

It is human to make errors, and I have made plenty of them myself.  However, when you make mistakes, you should accept responsibility for them and learn from them.  However, it is apparent that Jeff is never going to accept responsibility for his actions.  So what does all of this mean? Does this somehow exclude him from serving in public office? Unfortunately, it doesn't. However, all of these things do clearly indicate that Jeff has a history of making poor decisions. This reads more like the story of an 18 year old punk not a 50+ year old man. So the poor decision making is not going to change. Again, that tiger isn't going to change his stripes. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Our Aubrey, One Aubrey

When leaving DISH, we put significant amount of research into which area we moved to.  First and foremost, we wanted to get off of the Barnett Shale, which we did.  However, there were several other factors that played into this decision.  Our children had played sports many times in the small town of Aubrey, TX, which is referred to as “Horse Country”, due to several large horse ranches in the area.  It’s also a very interesting community, due to the world horse market, you may bump into someone from Australia or Brazil at the local cafĂ©.  Therefore, this is where we chose to move when leaving DISH.

Our home unexpectedly sold in DISH after being on the market for several months, so we had to find a home quickly.  We found the perfect home, but unfortunately it was in foreclosure and could not close quickly.  Therefore, we were living in a hotel for a while.  When we did finally move in, I stopped by city hall to get water, trash, etc. turned on, and was extremely impressed with how I was treated by the Aubrey City Staff.  They were kind, caring, considerate and very sympathetic of our situation.  The public works department went to my new home immediately to turn the water on.  That was service with a smile.  Shortly after moving in, I required a medical procedure and it required me to be in Fort Worth extremely early in the morning.  My wife contacted the school and one of my son’s teachers volunteered to come in early and watch both of our sons.  We did not know this teacher, I had never met her, and my wife had only spoken with her a couple of times.  She refused to take any compensation for helping us.  This community has been extremely accepting of my family; we made the right choice in moving here.

Since moving here, we have met many wonderful people and overall the people of Aubrey have been very friendly.  After spending five years here, this area is clearly where we would like to raise our children.  The love for this community is what led me to want to serve the people of Aubrey, which is why I chose to run for Aubrey City Council.  However, there are some here in Aubrey who refer to the “newer” people in the community as “outsiders”.  However, there seems to be a moving bar as to what designates someone as an “outsider”.  If you don’t have your own opinion, or ideas on how to improve the community, you probably won’t ever be referred to as an outsider.  However, any suggestions to improve the community and it doesn’t really matter your tenure, you’re an “outsider”.

This came to a head at a recent city council meeting, where there were several insults being thrown around at the “outsiders” over some misinformation.  It disappointed me how even the community leaders were supportive of this abusive activity.  I hope that we do not forget that this is not “My Aubrey”, and this is not “Your Aubrey”, this is “Our Aubrey”, and it’s time we start acting like it.  There is no such thing as an “outsider”, we all pay taxes, we’re all neighbors, and we’re all in this together.  This community is growing at a rapid pace, and if we look at every new citizen as an “outsider”, we’ll always be a fractured community, and pretty soon the “outsiders” will be the majority. 

This scenario, plays out in many areas of this nation, and I hope that people never feel like they should apologize for wanting to improve their community.  I hope that people will continue to get involved, and not be afraid to challenge the status quo, even if that means being an “outsider”.  Nothing great ever happens with going along to get along.  Nothing great ever happens without the courage to take a stand.    

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Outsiders

There was a recent article in a local paper that spoke of several area residents who were trying to get out of the Aubrey Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).  They were apparently trying to get a nearby city to allow them into their ETJ because of concerns with the Aubrey subdivision regulations.  The article went on to discuss how these ETJ members were treated at an Aubrey City Council meeting.  They stated that they were being “cursed” at and called “outsiders” by Aubrey citizens.  I was at this meeting, but was unable to hear any of these insults from my seat on council.  However, the way this meeting was orchestrated, it certainly added to the divide in our community. 

This was not the first time I had heard the term “outsider”, I have been called an “outsider” by some here in Aubrey.  The person who referred to me in this manner was the wife of a councilman who I thought prided himself as being not being part of the “insiders”.  However, I guess that line is blurrier than I thought.  When I ran for office, I ran on the platform of not being an “insider”.  One of the reasons for that is that the term reeks of the establishment, and “we’re going to do things the way we’ve always done things, even if it’s wrong”, and “don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up”.  This is not a group that I want to be a part of.    

There were two groups of people who showed up to that meeting.  The “insiders” and the “outsiders”, and one of these groups were not sure what they were there for, this group of course was the “insiders”.  They were apparently made to believe that we were on the verge of selling the municipal water system and the EJT members were there to make sure that happened.  This issue was discussed and discarded several months prior and was not an item on this agenda.  There was an item to approve an over 5 million dollar bond package, but the option of selling the system was not on the table. 

Why would rumors be spread about the intent of this vote?  It’s a simple deceptive political strategy called wagging the dog, or a diversion from the real problem.  It was portrayed to the “insiders” that the “outsiders” (ETJ members) were at the meeting to support the sale of the city’s water system; however, they were really there to voice their displeasure over the subdivision ordinance.  Most of those in the ETJ had no idea we were even taking action on the water bond, and this action has no effect on them.  Therefore, most of them had no interest in this item, they were there to discuss their property rights.

Normally, all of the public comments were taken at the beginning of the meeting.  However, in this meeting, all of the “insiders” were allowed to speak at the beginning.  However, the meeting was broken up into two sessions.  After all of the “insiders” got to speak on the false water crisis, we voted on the water bond.  However, before the ETJ members were allowed to speak, there was a long intermission.  Initially, they were told that they could elect a couple of ETJ members to speak for the group, but all of the members would not be allowed to speak.  However, the ETJ members were insistent and were eventually allowed to speak.  By the time they got to speak it was very late in the evening and all of “insiders” had left, which the plan all along. 

The real reason that the members of the ETJ showed up to this meeting was that Aubrey passed an overreaching subdivision ordinance.  You see Aubrey is a general law city, and has extremely limited authority in the ETJ.  However, the subdivision ordinance, which I do not support, is from a home rule city, which has more authority in the ETJ.  Therefore, the city gave themselves authority that they legally did not have.  Once, the folks in the ETJ realized this, they of course were upset.  You see, the city of Aubrey was trying to impose an ordinance on people who have no input on what happens in the city government.  It is a situation of regulation without representation. 

The ETJ members got organized and had a large meeting to discuss this ordinance, and at the last minute, I was an invited guest speaker.  However, the mayor of Aubrey showed up uninvited and was asked to leave.  This upset her, and was what prompted the manner in which the previously referred to meeting was laid out.  To put it simply, she was upset because she was thrown out of the ETJ member’s private meeting, and therefore retaliated against the people in the ETJ during the city’s public meeting.  She lied to the “insiders”, and then organized the meeting to cover the lie.  Unfortunately, the “insiders” took the bait, hook, line and sinker. 

Since the outcry over the subdivision ordinance, there has been some modification to make it less impactful.  There has been some public statements from councilmembers that they knew that there would have to be changes to the ordinance.  They said that we “had” to get something in place, and we would make modifications later.  I do not recall us having that discussion, perhaps it was at a meeting that I was not in attendance.  However, I doubt that any of the other members of council or the mayor had a clue that they were doing anything illegal, and probably don’t really know the difference between a general law city and a home rule city, they were just telling another lie to cover their ignorance. 

I was not at the meeting that the subdivision ordinance was passed.  I had some questions regarding the overreach, but was out of town.  From listening to the recording, there was very little discussion on this item before the vote.  Certainly there was no mention of anything that would lead you to believe that we “had to pass something” immediately.  There was also no discussion that would lead you to believe that anyone felt that we would need to roll back portions of the ordinance.  So why would they lie about this?  The ETJ members were very organized and making the administration look like a bunch of fools.  So they needed a diversion (the water issue) to divert attention from the real problem (the subdivision ordinance).  It is shocking how easily the Aubrey “insiders” were fooled into believing this lie. 

It is also disturbing how violent the “insiders” were against the “outsiders”.  The members of the ETJ showed up, because they had a legitimate concern about their property rights.  Yet they were literally attacked because the “insiders” were led to believe something completely different by public officials, in which the people in the ETJ were vilified.  This seems like a scene from a George Orwell book, not a small town in Texas.  With the ease that this vile hatred that was aimed at the “outsiders”, I am starting to understand how Adolph Hitler received almost 90% of the German vote in 1934. 

I can understand why the members of the ETJ are frantically trying to join other cities.  However, I hope that the city administration takes a deep look at themselves and attempts to treat everyone with dignity and respect, not just the “insiders”.  Under no circumstances should the local government overreach into areas that they are not legally allowed.  There has been a workgroup formed with ETJ members and city officials to go through this ordinance.  I hope that the city officials take the requests of the ETJ members seriously, because I for one will not support an ordinance that does not take all stakeholders into consideration, because I will never be an “insider”, and I believe everyone has rights and a voice.