EDITOR’S NOTE: The San Marcos Mercury asked city council candidates to answer a few questions about their positions on issues. We are publishing them as they come in. First up is Mayor Daniel Guerrero and his challenger Thomas Prentice. Early voting starts Oct. 22. Election Day is Nov. 6.
Thomas Prenctice, 60
Occupation/employer: Retired/disabled former teacher and assistant professor; 12-year cancer survivor
How long have you lived in San Marcos? Two years
Where in San Marcos do you live? Blanco River Village
The city’s Capital Improvements Program has identified tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure investments that city officials say need to be made in coming years. Many of these projects are underway but every year many more are deferred for lack of money. Do you have anything concrete to offer in terms of special skills or ideas that will help the city identify more funding so streets and public works projects can be completed sooner?
The Toxification of the Atmosphere is the most ominous and sobering reality that we face. We have only one Atmosphere. There is no spare Atmosphere in the trunk or the bed of the pick-up truck. It is easy to dismiss the Atmosphere when one walks outside and looks up and considers that the Atmosphere looks really BIG. But from Earth orbit about 160 kilometers high (100m), the Atmosphere appears on the curvature of the Earth as thin, fragile, even delicate and impossibly small.
Climate Change/Global Warming is scientifically indisputable fact – not “belief”. That Climate Change/Global Warming and the continued Toxification of the Atmosphere is Human-induced — since the Industrialization and Financialization of what used to be Capitalism — is also scientifically indisputable fact – not “belief. The Atmosphere is the only place where we permit tonnes of raw sewage to be dumped – and dumped with impunity by the oil, fracking and coal industries and others.
Humans and millions of other species are at tipping points of peak oil, massive overpopulation, extinctions of species, and Toxification of the Atmosphere/Climate Change/Global Warming and all of our thinking and conversations should now be informed by these realities as should our hopes and dreams. Take a look at the book “ICE: A Portrait of Vanishing Glaciers” by photographer James Balog and try to think of some non-scientific – magical or fabulist – reasons for all these glaciers to be in full melt retreat. Perhaps the time has come for new social, cultural, technological, economic and governmental social relationships to address this Authentic Existential Globalized Crisis of a Deteriorating Atmosphere and Planet.
We could start to try to think and converse about Carbon Sequestration (like planting trees and stuff) to sequester the carbon as Homo sapiens sapiens continues to allow the Toxification of the Atmosphere and destruction of Rain Forests and other areas of naturally-occurring Carbon Sequestration such as in the Amazon and Central Africa or the former American forests. The TransCanada pipelines (plural) can be stopped and so can the Keystone XL pipelines. If not, the Alberta Tar Sands and pipelines will seal the fate of the Earth, as well as millions of species, including Homo sapiens sapiens. Us. What happened to the “survival instinct” that species are hard-wired for – apparently except perhaps for Homo sapiens sapiens? Please understand, survival of our own species is at stake. Is it about time to find that species survival instinct in each of us?
Regarding infrastructure, my initial question is why haven’t these infrastructure improvements been made continuously over the years by the City Council and voters? It would seem that fake austerity doesn’t work anywhere mostly because it just kicks the can down the road and here we are – the can has been kicked and San Marcos taxpayers and voters are facing “tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure” improvements, NOT investments. (Perhaps “investments” ought to be left to Goldman-Sachs. MF Global and J. P. Morgan Chase since they all seem to be so good at it.) One new revenue source for San Marcos, could be to cease giving blank cheques to every corporation/developer/bank that comes along bringing flowers and candy and (also) wants tax abatements (Walton), or demands that San Marcos pay for improvements to grade crossings (Union Pacific). San Marcos is the entity that should be making demands on corporations – NOT vice versa.
Indeed, this no-train-whistle-and-improving-grade-crossings thing is palliative, beside the point and ignores the real problem/question which is: Why, after all these decades, is San Marcos still afflicted with multiple crisscrossing railroad tracks and multiple trains blockading the streets and roads all day long. Maybe the time has come for San Marcos to just tell the railroads that, except for a spur to the Amtrak station, they need to build trestles or bridges or re-route their tracks far, far around the City of San Marcos. And sooner rather than later.
There is no “right to make a profit” for Banksters and Corporations in Adam Smith’s book “The Wealth of Nations” and neither is there any such right in the U. S. or Texas Constitutions or Bills of Rights. So why does San Marcos always just “cave” – punt on first down and surrender in the third quarter — whenever any corporation or developer comes busting down the door? This is the same mentality which I dislike in the current administration and among most Congressional Democrats. Democracy should rule Capitalism but Capitalism should not rule Democracy. More Democracy — like more good quality drinking water and more breathable air – would seem to be a “good thing”.
Another avenue of additional funding would be to end the drone bombing, end all the wars and end the state of permanent war by The United States. That would leave trillions for other, domestic uses – education, solar power, assistance to the poor, internal job creation, wind power, infrastructure, maybe even debt reduction and revenue sharing with cities like San Marcos for infrastructure improvement. Cutting the military/surveillance/homeland security industrial complex by 75% would certainly free up funding at the federal level. Perhaps we should consider withdrawing to the Aleutians, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin islands – that would save even more. The era of the American Global Capitalist Military Colonial Empire is be over. And while we are at it, the Defense Department – which is NOT a department of defense – should be retro-named for what it truly is: The War Department.
You are sharing the ballot with a nonbinding referendum on whether the city should step in to buy property along the San Marcos River known locally as Cape’s Camp. At the same time, a developer is proposing an apartment complex that would include giving 20 acres of riverfront property to the city for a park. Do you think the city should buy Cape’s Camp and adjoining property upfront or take the developer’s donation offer?
Yes to Cape’s Camp. Not only ‘NO’ to the developer, but “Hell, NO!”.
Acquisition of Cape’s Camp would be an example of (perhaps unintentional) Carbon Sequestration and maybe the people of San Marcos could think less about obscene profits-fueled, corporate-imposed growth and think and talk about more about ways to implement Carbon Sequestration.
Would it not be prudent to also think and talk about implementing solar and wind power? Why not require residential developers – and commercial developers for that matter – to put solar cells on the roofs? Why not use eminent domain to acquire and annex the proposed Walton “Cotton Center” out US 80 and turn it into a solar and wind farm and let the vegetation go natural as another way to implement renewable energy and Carbon Sequestration? In what other ways could San Marcos reduce its carbon footprint?
I have been aware of the Sciences of Atmosphere for a long time but have not paid close attention to them until recent years. Anyone can learn more about it. Just use of a search engine for “Climate Change/Global Warming” as well as “Toxification of the Atmosphere” and “Carbon Sequestration” will bring dozens of websites. Wikipaedia is also a useful first source. One who hates Al Gore should just not go to Al Gore’s site. Instead, go to NASA’s climate science website and see what Dr. James Hansen of has to say. Or any of the other Authentic climate science sites. Caution: this does require open-mindedness and your mileage may vary.
This year, the San Marcos City Council voted to outlaw the display or consumption of alcohol in any city-owned park, including those along the San Marcos River. The alcohol ban goes into effect Jan. 1. New park rules approved by the city council also increase littering fines and ban tobacco, Styrofoam and spearfishing. Did the council gets the new rules package right? Please explain your answer. Did the Council get it right?
No. This is yet one more example of Big-Government-Paternalistic- Nanny-State-Meddling-by-Local-Government in Human Lifeworlds. This is a problem in search of a solution. A victim in search of a villain. It is an example of what one fellow told the pastor after a sermon: “Now you’ve gone from preaching and went to meddling.”
Tom Cruise recently did a film called “Minority Report” about the “future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, and an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder” (imdb) and this discourse about “preventing altercations” regarding this “no-but-maybe-but-yes-with—wink-and-a-nod-six-pack-at-the-river” prompted me to think of the film.
Films like that are supposed to be warnings, NOT prescriptions. Law enforcement should arrest the branch managers of the Big Banksters and let accountability “tsunami up”.
Moreover, the Council has placed an unConstitutional delegation of executive, legislative and judicial power to unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats who happen to wear a blue uniform. One question might be “what about doobies?” Or “What about bare boobs and butts?” Or nursing mothers? It is not a big leap to wonder how long it would have taken law enforcement to forbid Jews from bringing “six-packs-to-the-rivers Rhine, Elbe and Danube” but give an “A-OK” to the Aryan river rats to so do. Why not de-regulate living and life and legalize “The Pursuit of Happiness”? (Note that Jefferson did NOT say “happiness” is the goal; rather he said that the “Pursuit of Happiness” is the goal.)
Pursuit of Happiness is a way to Keep Hometown San Marcos Hometown San Marcos.
Will you vote to further restrict smoking in public places or put the measure on the ballot for a citywide vote?
Why should there be a city-wide vote?
The City Council is already precipitating an unnecessary city-wide vote by refusing to enact an ordinance amending the abandoned vehicle ordinance that would permit, say, Planet K to keep its “wrecked-car-turned-into-a-planter-and-art” and avoid further reckless expenditure of law enforcement time and money Orange-Tagging such art/planter objects and then having them towed away. The Planning and Zoning Commission meddling with Zelick’s is another example of unconscionable meddling.
But I guess the more, the merrier. More democracy – including more direct democracy — like more good drinking water, breathable air, and healthy soil would seem to be a good thing.
But why is the Cape’s Camp proposition only advisory rather than mandatory? Can the voters and taxpayers of San Marcos not be trusted by the City Council to make a decision? More democracy is needed in San Marcos. Besides, it seems really obsessive/compulsive if not Stalinist/Fascist to want to just stamp smoking out damned near everywhere.
I don’t smoke anymore. I did. It contributed to my multiple cancer diagnoses. I do not recommend it. Smoking is appropriately banned where other people are around. However, reckless Big-Government-Paternalistic-Nanny-State-Meddling-by-Local-Government in Human Lifeworlds through legislation to stamp smoking out just about everywhere will only make tobacco smokers go even more underground than marijuana smokers are right now.
Moreover, what should be illegal is for any corporation or Bankster to manufacture any poisonous product and inflict it on humans and other wildlife for profit as Big Tobacco, Big Pesticide and Big Monsanto do without first demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that the product will harm neither Humans nor wildlife. That would include all the other stuff we don’t know about that goes into processed food at the grocery as well as Genetically Modified Organisms – (GMOs.)
The anti-biotic resistant bacteria thing is scary, and is a a result of anti-biotics being recklessly and profusely injected into cattle or added to the cattle feed as but one example. The real problem lies in our “For-Obscene-Profits-Mutant-Monopoly-Crony-Corrupt-Casino-Closed-Market- Capitalism” instead of Authentic Adam Smith Capitalism. The elite ruling class obsession these days of relentlessly trampling Humans, animals, plants, soil and atmosphere by obsessive-compulsive over-reaching for perverse, obscene profits instead of caring for people as Jesus said we should in Matthew 25: 31-46 is a big part of our problem today – in San Marcos, Texas, The United States and on the Planet.
Perhaps the questions are these: “The people or the powerful? The 99 Per Cent or the One Per Cent?” For the people for a change?” Continued obscene wealth inequalities are “just not nice” to Homo sapiens sapiens and they massively destabilize any societal structure, let alone this dictatorial, anonymous corporate state. What Franklin Roosevelt really did was to “save Capitalism” — but the Monopoly Capitalists just couldn’t take “yes” for an answer. The Monopoly Capitalists couldn’t stand success. The Monopoly Capitalists tried for 70 and more years to undo the New Deal and now that they have succeeded, just look at the economic mess and multiple instabilities and dangers the nation and the planet are dealing with — particularly from the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999.
People’s government should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Let us turn these auctions back into elections. The proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution which would reverse Citizens United (and other anti-McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulation decisions by the Supreme Court) as well as repeal the stupid fiction that corporations are “persons” would be several steps in the right direction. However, expect a corporate blitzkrieg against the proposal in D.C. and at every legislature and City Council. That fight will not be easy. Hurray for Montana for challenging the Citizens United decision in court on behalf of their (state’s rights?) law banning corporate campaign contributions. We can invent a new Authentic Democracy with new checks and balances for a new millennium.
Under current law, the city can issue only about a dozen conditional use permits to operate a bar in the Central Business District. All the allotted permits were claimed years ago. The current system does allow entrepreneurs to serve alcohol at restaurants but the legal definition of “restaurant” has been in a constant state of flux under city law for the last decade. Do you support changes to the city’s CUP system for bars? If so, what changes do you suggest? If not, please explain why you think the current ordinance is good policy?
This is a dangerous time with the equivalent of a Real, Authentic National Security Threat but on the Planetary and Atmospheric Level. If space aliens came and Toxified the Atmosphere as Humans have, Humans would be fighting the space aliens with all we got – as in the films “War of the Worlds” and “Independence Day”. But it’s NOT space aliens threatening us, WE are threatening us. As the comic strip character Pogo said in the late 1960s, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” So this is no time for “business as usual, continuity, do-the-same-thing-over-and-over-again-but-expect-a-different-result” thinking. Indeed, it is also no time for “doing-the-same-thing-over-and-over-again-without-asking-why-why-why?”
Regarding alcohol permits, the first question might be: “Why were there so few permits in the first place?” And “Why haven’t additional permits been added? While I don’t like the current Quantitative Easing (QE3) by the Federal Reserve Bank, perhaps a “quantitative easing” might make sense in San Marcos for conditional use permits. Let’s think and converse about it.
I wonder what the point was in allowing so few permits in the first place? Were so few permits allotted in the first place because of Big-Government-Paternalistic-Nanny-State-Meddling by Local Government in Human Lifeworlds – that is to “frown” upon drinking alcohol? Prohibition didn’t work and it appears to not be working in San Marcos regarding this matter. Besides, if Scotch and Bourbon and Beer are legal, then marijuana should be legal too. (That is, ‘if one does not inhale’ ; )
Do you support forgiving property tax over a set period as a way to encourage companies to relocate or expand in San Marcos? If so, what kind of companies do you support giving economic development incentives to?
No. Corporations should pay up-front and continuing Costs-of-Doing-Business (CDB) as provided for in Authentic Adam Smith Capitalism, bite the bullet, man-up, and accept personal responsibility for a change while demonstrating what they can do for San Marcos rather than asking what San Marcos can do for the corporations and its obscene profit-seeking investors. No more welfare for Banksters, for Gi-Normous Malignant Transnational Corporations and not only break up the Big Banksters, break up the Big Corpsters – like Walton, Monsanto, General Electric, Exxon-Mobil, Facebook. Halliburton, Microsoft, Google, as well as the entire military/surveillance/technological industrial complex – about which Eisenhower first warned us. And why does OUR Navy have to protect the ocean trade routes when those who benefit – the corporations and the One Per Center Mitt Romneys of the world – pay little or nothing in taxes to PAY for that Navy?
The clearest source of our globalized economic problems lies in the fact that we do NOT have Authentic Adam Smith Capitalism any more – except for locally-owned small businesses, entrepreneurs, family farmers and ranchers, artists, musicians and artisans, the self-employed, and the like. Adam Smith wrote that “The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state” and I think Smith is spot-on. We do not follow Adam Smith’s prescription today with the Big Banksters, Big Corpsters and the One Per Centers. Adam Smith also said that “The rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion”. Hmmmm.
While I haven’t given up on Authentic Adam Smith Capitalism, by which I mean an Authentic Open Market Economy coupled with the Social Contract first proposed by Jean Jacques Rousseau, what we have now is a monopoly, crony, casino, corrupt, crooked, closed market Capitalism. No “open markets,” except for farmer’s markets and such — just “closed markets”. It’s the Big Corp’s way or Big Bankster’s way or the highway. We need a different kind of thinking here in San Marcos, Texas, because as Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.
Besides, what kind of freedom of choice do we have with everything made in China by slave labor – including iPhones! Damned little is manufactured in The United States because the Mitt Romneys of the world exported all the jobs – first to Mexico as Ross Perot once warned — and then to China. And why do the buildings in which Apple products are manufactured in China have “suicide nets” to catch the slave laborers who are so traumatized that the slave laborers choose to hurl themselves out of windows to death. But, luckily, the beneficent corporation “catches them” now. How humane.
Adam Smith also wrote that that Capitalism involves risk. What risk does Goldman-Sachs or J. P. Morgan have? They were bailed out. By us. Adam Smith wrote that Capitalism includes an Invisible Hand that benefits society. In The United States, that Invisible Hand is, well, invisible mostly because it isn’t there anymore if it ever was. Adam Smith wrote that bankruptcy was an appropriate consequence in Capitalism, yet we have menacing Too Big To Fail Banksters and Gi-Normous Transnational Big Corps.
In a cynical view of human nature, Smith also wrote that the butcher doesn’t sell bad meat because it is in the butcher’s self-interest for you to come back and buy more meat. But Smith also left out the possibility that the butcher could also put his thumb on the scale. In effect, we have “Thumb-On-The-Scale-Capitalism-in-The-United-States” – only now it is blatant, shameless flaunted and brazen — without accountability, restriction, regulation and with impunity.
I have agreed to spend and raise less than $500 in this campaign and I am spending it $20 here and $10 there. (Be sure to remember me when you do NOT see my signs cluttering the landscape. One might also take note of whose signs are on what property.) Perhaps it would be a good idea to limit all Council candidates to spending or raising less than $500 to get the money out of local politics. Or we could think about public financing of Council campaigns. Whatever, the money needs to be taken out of politics so that Democracy rules Capitalism but Capitalism does not rule Democracy. More Democracy – like more quality drinking water, breathable air and healthy soil – is a good thing.
Adam Smith further wrote that Capitalism includes (gasp) authentic competition, but where is the competition? Consider ABC/NBC/CBS/FOX/MSNBC/CNN — there is no competition. Smith assumed existence of a free marketplace of ideas and discourse along with a free capitalist market economy. Yet Capitalism seems intrinsically structured to produce monopoly. And monopoly ain’t good. Monopoly Capitalism is what we have now and it is a far worse tyranny inflicted on The United States than King George ever dreamed of. Let’s focus our attention on developing local businesses, and encouraging Big Corps to come in only when they bring jobs for the people who are already here and don’t require massive suburban sprawl out in the country and can provide value if not added value for the people of San Marcos. Keep Hometown San Marcos Hometown San Marcos.
The poverty rate in San Marcos is 38 Per Cent which is an astonishingly high figure. Adam Smith wrote, “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable”. John F. Kennedy put it a little more bluntly: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who re rich.” I myself am a member of the 38 Per Cent, the 47 Per Cent and the 99 Per Cent. It is time for government for the people, the Atmosphere and The Planet for a change.
I support economic development incentives for locally-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, start-ups, artists and musicians, family ranches and farms, and shopkeepers, “incubators” and would seriously consider them for companies which bring real actual jobs to San Marcos for the 38 Per Cent. We do NOT need corporations here which bring jobs and bring employees already working those jobs to have them settle in an atrocious monster development out highway 80 in order to help Walton, a Transnational corporation make obscene profits – this one from Calgary, Alberta which has branches in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Toronto and holdings in Europe. Local small and medium-sized businesses are what San Marcos should subsidize, enable, encourage, and promote. It is hard for me to find it credible that the Transnational Corporation Walton, it’s CEO, executives and stockholders give much of a tinker’s dam about San Marcos or the quality of life of the people of San Marcos…or Carbon Sequestration, drinkable water, breathable air, or healthy soil. Or Democracy.
By far the most serious impediment to Authentic Democracy in San Marcos is the Berlin Wall which keeps ordinary folk from becoming members of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Unlike most cities of its size up and down IH 35 and as far afield as Tyler and San Angelo, San Marcos ALONE requires ownership of real estate as a qualification for membership on the Planning and Zoning Commission. And not only owning real estate – owning it for THREE YEARS! This is blatantly unconscionable, unConstitutional, anti-democratic, undemocratic and dys-democratic. Talk about Instant One Per Cent! This is like J. P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon sitting on the board of the Federal Reserve so he can vote on whether his own bank gets a bailout! (Actual Fact.) The onerous and elitist ruling class real estate requirement for membership on the Planning and Zoning Commission should be immediately abolished and replaced with a simple and democratic requirement: be a resident and a registered voter.
Moreover, perhaps we should consider a vigorous, robust. Multiple-parties “Westminster-style” parliamentary system at the federal, state and local levels and simultaneously de-regulate voting instead of deregulating Banksters. (A Prime Minister sharing power with a President would also do a lot to reduce the out-of-control coercive power of the executive branch in Washington.) This would be a multi-party “Westminster-style” parliamentary system with no districts to be gerrymandered as Democrats do in California, Illinois and New York, and as Republicans continually do here in Texas. And what about enlarging the U. S. House of Representatives and adding one more senator per state for every 500,000 or 1,000,000 in population – but elected from each Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area? Controlling the unchecked power of Wall Street is as important today as getting rid of the King was in 1776.
And please remember: we have only one Atmosphere and there is no Planet B. Toxification of the Atmosphere worsens every single hour. Quality drinking water, breathable air, healthy soil and more democracy — are good things. Let’s Keep Hometown San Marcos Hometown San Marcos.