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Up until January, Jude Prather had never voted against a development, either on the city council or on the planning and zoning commission before that. Since Jan. 15, he hasn’t voted in favor of one.

He voted against student housing at Cape’s Camp, against low-income apartments on Hunter Road and — perhaps most surprisingly — against entitlements for the Lazy Oaks Ranch subdivision on Ranch Road 12. Even John Thomaides voted in favor of that last one.

Prather’s 180-degree turn is particularly interesting from someone who has put himself on the record as explicitly supporting a landowner’s right to do just about anything with his own property.

In March 2011, when a developer asked to rezone the Weatherford tract for what would become The Retreat at San Marcos, Prather said he didn’t care if the landowner wanted to build a parking lot there. The new Jude Prather sounds a lot like the old one:

“I hate that I’m up here on the dais [as] part of the nanny state, telling you this is how you can run your business. If you wanted to take your business and make it as a dog kennel, with dogs barking until 4 a.m., I wouldn’t like that but that’s still your right to do that,” he said on Feb. 19 in reference to the Zelick’s Icehouse-Crystal River Inn feud.

But his votes don’t square with the rhetoric. Prather says his sudden, recent change of heart is in response to the 2,000-plus citizens who signed a petition — more than a year ago —opposing the rezoning of single-family property to multi-family. The clamor has not subsided much since then and Prather says he is just trying to find common ground with the city council’s detractors.

“The development community is frustrated. Citizens in our community are frustrated. Their frustrations are similar. They’re frustrated about the development process and the lack of predictable outcomes with it,” he said on Sunday from Washington D.C. where he was attending a National League of Cities conference.

I pointed out that neither Cape’s Camp nor Lazy Oaks Ranch involved rezoning single-family property for apartments. He acknowledged as much.

Obviously, nothing Prather’s saying or doing in this area makes any sense. Since I’ve long been friends with Jude and Kathy, I’m quite sure there‘s something up here beside the requisite election year repositioning. It’s a sign of the foreign forces at work in San Marcos affairs.

A few weeks ago, Prather called me up and started talking about a forthcoming leadership vacuum in San Marcos. He said that “we” — meaning me and him and some of our mutual friends — would be the obvious ones to fill it. I honestly didn’t know what he was talking about at the time but now it is coming into focus.

To quote resident Jay Hiebert, in a much different context at a recent council meeting: “There is somebody behind the veil, kind of like the Wizard of Oz, who is pulling the strings.”

I think Hiebert’s right and I think they’ve gotten to Prather.

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20 thoughts on “Brad Rollins’ blog: Jude Prather’s change of heart

  1. Interesting take, although I always wonder about vague “foreing forces” comments, just like the vague “follow the money” comments on the no-growth side.

    Has he cast the *deciding vote* against any development?

  2. Also, will there be a follow-up, to bring the leadership vacuum comment into focus for the rest of us?

  3. It is time to unmask the Wizard, and bannish the wicked witch that has cursed our town for over 20 years now. Figure that one out! 🙂 In other “related” news, a thief was visually witnessed yesterday stealing ” Not Here, Not Now, Not Ever. Save Sessom Creek. No Zoning Change ” signs. Eyewitness accounts are being reviewed. This particular perp is a tall white male, sandy brown hair, large red 4 door Ford car. Potential charges (1) Civil Rights Violations(2)Trespassing(3) Theft of property. Anyone with information may contact the San MArcos Police Dept. or myself, if you choose to. It will be easier for this perp to ” fess up” now than face the “tune” later. Perhaps, if the villain is cooperative, some “leniency” may be offered by the authorities, if they choose to do so. Happy Trails!!! Let the games begin! 🙂 jlb

  4. FYI- As one who has opposed several projets here in San Marcos the past 16 months or so, let me make it very clear, those that I have associated with are not ” No Growth”, they are however ” NO STUPID GROWTH” Let the record be very clear on this. Oh, I do hope Judes change of heart is sincere, whether it will matter in Novemberis still not clear. 🙂 jlb

  5. The “low income” apartments mentioned pay no city property taxes. Could that be why he voted against them? And 75% of the people voted for the Capes Park proposition, is that why he voted against the apartments in that case?

  6. Simply Brad, a reasonable critic would NOT bridge the waters of ‘friendship’ with accusation & insinuation. Furthermore, the grandstand you point fingers from as majority owner of Mercury Media San Marcos-just might be carrying some degree of personal interest in selling journalism?
    Jude & Kathy love San Marcos, Texas more than any other people I know. Anyone that truly knows Jude will agree that he has a supreme confidence in his own ideas that can be mistaken for arrogance. It is fundamentally the soldier in him. He feels he knows what must be done and how to do it. He’s a collaborator and will often sort through opposing views-all the while keeping focus on what is BEST for San Marcos. Back-off Brad, it’s politics and I’m struggling to find public service positions you’ve been elected to serve in?

  7. I’ve never met Mr. Prather. I did request (veterans’) info from him one time and found him to be unhelpful. Just saying…

  8. Jude is a great person and makes what he feels are the right decisions. He is honest and puts others first, what more do you want in a councilmen?

  9. I don’t know Jude well but if I were him I would probably be more than a little aggravated and disappointed that someone would write of me as a friend and in the next breath accuse me of having sold out my values in the hopes of bettering my political standing. Let’s think that one through….. Cape’s Camp. Go against the old time San Marcos Establishment that wanted to let this project go forward. That’s not a good way to improve your political standing unless you are listening to the majority of the citizens you were elected to represent. Lazy Oaks. Not in the city, no voters that he will benefit from but an excellent opportunity to stop the potential spoiling of an environmentally sensitive project and not give developer welfare at the sometime. All in all, it sounds like he is doing a good job. Now, in closing regarding Zelick’s, I want to go on the record as saying that I was it’s neighbor in the Gilmore Building when it first opened. i was excited watching the renovation. My hopes were not realized as it wasn’t just a bad neighbor it was a terrible neighbor. In 60 years I had seldom ever experienced a filthier neighbor (our parking lot was littered nearly daily with beer bottles, cans, clothing covered with vomit, feces, panties, you name it and it was there. Finally, a sign was placed in our driveway prohibiting Zelick’s customers. Today as always, Palmer’s uses that same parking lot and is a wonderful neighbor and example of how a business can coexist and thrive.

  10. Matter not, time to filabuster the P7Z and City Council until they start listening to ALL of their constituents. STARTING 3-26-2013- PARKS BOARD IS TO HEAR DARREN CASEY YET AGAIN. NOT HERE, NOT NOW, NOT EVER! SAVE SESSOM CREEK! NO ZONING CHANGES! This area is ready to be taken by the city via legal aquisition. Darren Casey refuses to talk about cashing out and doing the right thing, it is time for us all to move on to other city business. Can you imagine how many resources have been squandered already? Time to act and make this a premier park and public facility for those that appreciate the magnitude of its significance.ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! 🙂 JLB

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