Americans have suffered memory loss of Memorial Day at a moment when it's urgently important for us all to remember.
In this issue:
► The Origins of Memorial Day: Why do so few of us know the origins of Memorial Day? The answer is seen in this uniquely American story at Snopes.
► Kinder Morgan punctures Vista Ridge Pipeline! Thanks to Saturday’s Rivard Report we learned about Kinder Morgan’s “puncture” of the VR pipeline in Caldwell County! Check out the comments. One of them is by the very astute Board President of the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District, Milan Michalec. Other comments posted today are important to see how “what me worry” SAWS has minimized this breach.
Meanwhile, we missed this May 6 Rivard Report piece by ace reporter Brendan Gibbons covering the April 15th start of Vista Ridge pumping (at 1/3 of the full bore puming planned to start in July) conducted “without fanfare” — no press. Gibbons covered the May 4 SAWS meeting dust-up with SAWS watchdogs complaining about the resolution giving SAWS General Manager, Robert Puente, the right to execute contracts WITHOUT limitation, during the COVID-19 crisis. The watchdogs pointed out that the 30-year financing terms (the Fifth Amendment to Vista Ridge) have been left unsigned due to financial market instability. SAWS has gone from it’s usual transparency transgressions to a much darker place. We are making plans to drag them out into the light of day when petitioning starts for the SAWS Accountability Act (at SAWSAct.org).
As other plans are cookin’, be sure to join the conference call on July 17th.
► Help push the PRIME Act across the finish line! See the updated letter to Congress here. In just two weeks, the PRIME Act has gained 20 new co-sponsors in the House and Senate! Combined, there are 46 sponsors and co-sponsors, including members from both parties, two of three independents (not yet Bernie Sanders, y’all call him!) and 24 states! Remember, this federal legislation requires no government funding, just government fairness to lift unnecessary restrictions on small-scale, local processors so that we can develop a more resilient local food system, already! Call your Congressional Representatives—details here at Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.
· Is political scientist, Lee Drutman, right that America is in the midst of a 'two-party doom loop'? With independents having long been the plurality of American voters (see Gallup Poll), could it be that the doom loop of hyper-partisanship is making it apparent there’s no way out without a sustained effort to directed at, “Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop”? That’s the title of Drutman’s new book, about which LIV is forming a study group. Let us know if you’re interested. Or, just read it and send us your review.
· Senate District 14’s Oh-So-Special Election Update: The Texas Tribune has so far interviewed 2 of the 6 candidates in this race -- Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and former Travis County Judge, Sarah Eckhardt. We link to those interviews with lots more at: LIVTexas.org/sd-14.
Austin’s Land Development Code Battle: Apologies for last week’s broken link to the story about Austin’s CodeNEXT land development code battles. The article is on Community Not Commodity’s blog here.
· Vote by mail UPDATE: The ball is still up in the air on vote by mail as outlined in this Texas Tribune article. You certainly can still ask your County elections folks for an absentee ballot. The primary runoffs and one special election (that we’re aware of) in Senate District 14 will take place on July 14; early voting will start on June 29.
VERY Important Events!
Thursday, June 4, 2 pm: Save the date for a one-hour Freedom of Information Foundation webinar on examining transparency during the coronavirus pandemic. Details coming soon!
Wednesday, June 17, 6:30-7:30 pm, LIV joins with a regional coalition to discuss the next steps in seeking SAWS accountability, and audit of Vista Ridge (the San Antone Hose) and possibly more surprises. To be held via conference call - making it easy for rural and old timers. Visit this event page.
Saturday, June 20, the Poor People’s Coalition holds a national digital march. Lots more here.
That's all we wrote for now folks. Please do share from this page.