We’re Scrooged again
Nobody attended the 11 a.m. Friday, December 23, meeting of the Bexar County Commmissioners Court, except the commissioners and a skeleton crew of court staffers.
The contingent of environmental activists and those who have consistently fought City and County politicians over the PGA Village giveaway were absent; apparently defeated in the face of dogged determination on the part of County Judge Nelson Wolff and real-estate developers who insisted over public protest that another golf course is needed over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.
It was the final public hearing on agreements related to PGA Tour and a special taxing district, in which homebuyers allegedly would pay for development of homes, hotels, and other golf-o-plex amenities over one of the most sensitive areas of the Recharge Zone.
It was the tax giveaway of Christmas Present, in which real-estate developers would reap the benefit of a 29-year city tax abatement for new homes and bulldozed trees near Highway 281 just north of Loop 1604.
Officially, though, it was known as the approval of the senior priority economic development agreement between Comal County Independent School District, Lumbermens Investment Corp., and Bexar County related to the Cibolo Canyons Special Improvement District ... Marriott International Inc. and Bexar County.
No bothersome details were forthcoming. No PowerPoint presentation outlined the tax giveaway in the name of property tax deferrals and a financing arrangement that involves “non-resort sales and use tax develoment financing agreement” between CCISD, Lumbermens, and Bexar County.
It’s a tired old cliché, but what we don’t know can’t hurt us.
“We’re getting finally to the end of this thing,” County Judge Wolff commented as he closed the public hearing to which nobody came.
What if they gave a war and everybody did the same?
‘Twas the day before Christmas Eve, and the perfect time to avoid confrontation with the troublesome little Citizen Elves who gathered nearly 80,000 signatures in a Christmas Past to let the taxpayers of San Antonio decide whether they thought that paying for another tree-killing and aquifer-polluting real-estate development was a good idea, or just another boondoggle cooked up by City and County government.
| Does anybody remember PGA Village pulling out of
the deal in the face of public disapproval, only to see
Wolff and other elected officials crawl to them on
hands and knees, begging for another chance to stick
the taxpayers with some-thing they didn’t want?
Does anybody remember the fight that ensued after City Council, led by Mayor Ed Garza and his puppetmasters who refused to allow citizens to vote in a referendum to decide whether they wanted to pay for a PGA-style development over the aquifer?
Does anybody remember PGA Village pulling out of the deal in the face of public disapproval, only to see Wolff and other elected officials crawl to them on hands and knees, begging for another chance to stick the taxpayers with something they didn’t want?
Although the County Commissioners did not vote last Friday to give the giveway to PGA and its neighbors in Cibolo Canyons Special Improvement District, the fix is in. The public hearing was only a formality, as they now have cleared the way (those pesky public hearings) to vote yes the next time they meet to serve their masters at Lumbermens Investment Corp.
What is Judge Wolff thinking about as he whizzes along in a high-speed train to Paris during his European holiday (no, that’s Christmas, you infidels) vacation?
A new football stadium to replace the old one that never attracted a team? A pro baseball diamond? A high-speed auto racetrack to replace those quaint little houses off Gembler Road on the East Side? A new basketball arena? Wait, we’ve already got that; thank you, Santa.
How about a replica of the Eiffel Tower to mark where water once flowed in Brackenridge Park?
Is it the delirium of Christmas spirit that’s fueling a feeling of dissonance between the voting public and its elected officials, such as Wolff and his cronies at Commissioners Court?
Should everyone just shut up and stay home the next time local government votes to pay for private development with public dollars?
The answer is yes, it’s a lost cause to fight City Hall, or the County Courthouse. They already know what’s best for the citizens, no need to interfere, or to speak out at a public hearing, as it is only a formality.
Dear Public Citizen, kindly keep quiet as a mouse.
PGA and Co. will have its way with its elaborate village over the aquifer recharge zone, and the taxpaying public in San Antonio and Bexar County are Scrooged again. •
By Michael Cary