EDITOR’s NOTE: Mean-spirited Dripping Springs-area curmudgeon CHARLES O’DELL is a retired grocer, a self-styled community activist and an erudite expert on economics, law, real estate development, environmental protection, urban planning, philosophy, acquatic biology, government, politics, fashion and oratory. Bravely battling a terminal case of Napoleonic Syndrome, O’Dell typically traffics in convoluted conspiracy theories like this one. Newstreamz runs his screeds for entertainment value and as a cautionary tale against growing bitter and batshit crazy in old age.
BY CHARLES O’DELL
Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton was caught red-handed at commissioners’ court using false and misleading information in his effort to gain approval for a septic system variance.
Barton’s motion failed 3 – 2 after HaysCAN President Charles O’Dell presented evidence showing most of the information Barton provided to the court was false and apparently intended to mislead court members. Only Barton and Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley voted for Barton’s motion.
Barton failed to include backup materials to support his claims of property location, ownership, previous county actions or current site conditions. Instead, he provided false information along with serious omissions that would mislead the court and prevent deliberation based on true facts. For a detailed account of Barton’s false information and omissions go to www.hayscan.org and click on Press Room.
Barton and Conley have both championed Nick Ramus of Precinct 1 who has a law suit pending against commissioners’ court for refusing to permit an illegal commercial septic system. Convincing the court to grant Barton’s variance request would have invited further litigation since the County does not have the legal authority to ignore or waive its rules except in very extreme circumstances that don’t apply here.
In Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Judge Liz Sumter asked Environmental Health Department staff members Tom Pope, Sandy Irvin and Jerry Borcherding for details about the project for which Barton was seeking a variance, and all of them became blind, deaf and dumb in defense of Commissioner Barton and themselves.
Tom Pope, as the county’s Environmental Health Department Program Manager, three years earlier denied unspecified “development permits” for this property but told Judge Sumter, that he “had never visited the site.” Department employee Sandy Irvin, who reviews subdivision plats for the county, admitted to meeting in Commissioner Barton’s Kyle office on this matter, but said she didn’t know any details either.
Borcherding, whose Road and Bridge Department was recently merged with retired Allen Walther’s Environmental Health Department through the efforts of Commissioner Barton, couldn’t help Judge Sumter with any details either.
Barton would not address the evidence presented against his false claims and instead began a diversionary description of family relations and need for public policy.
In an effort to save face, Barton only made matters worse by making a motion to approve a septic system for the property despite all EHD staff just having told Judge Sumter they didn’t know if the home had a septic system. The Martinez family has lived in their home for the past eight years. They have a septic system, and Barton and staff knew that.
If Barton deliberately put false information on the commissioners’ court agenda, as it appears he did, then I believe his actions warrant an investigation.