San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 30th, 2008
Soechting quits party position over ‘fool’ running for commissioner

STAFF REPORT

One of Hays County’s most prominent Democrats, attorney and former state party chair Charles Soechting, has resigned as a precinct captain over his party’s nominee for Pct. 3 commissioner.

Former Wimberley Mayor Steve Klepfer is challenging incumbent Will Conley, the only Republican on the five-member county commissioners court.

“Until only recently [Klepfer] voted in the Republican primary and I am convinced that he is still a Republican and not a moderate one at that. He has fought progressive issues for no real reason and that is why I cannot support him. I am as stalwart a Democrat as there is but I have no stomach or conscience for supporting a fool like this,” Soechting wrote in an e-mail to Anna Martinez Boling, the county Democratic Party chair.

Soechting, the former Texas Democratic Party chair and general counsel, chaired the Texas delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. In February, he endorsed U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and was recognized by the presidential candidate during a campaign rally in San Marcos.

Full text of Soechting’s e-mail, obtained by The Mercury:

“Anna, this is Charles Soechting. I hope everything is well with you and your family. I got the note about the meeting but I will be in Dallas and unable to attend. Anna, I have to tell you that I have been extremely conflicted as to whether I would continue to serve as a precinct chair. The party rules are very specific that I am obligated to support every candidate running as a Democrat.

“For this reason I cannot continue to serve as a precinct chair. We (the Hays County Democratic Party) have a candidate running for county commissioner (in my precinct) who has been on the opposite side of almost every issue that I and most of my fellow Democratic friends have been on.

“On a personal and professional level I have had to deal with him and/or his surrogates on issues that were plainly undemocratic, things like using his position as Mayor to try and intimidate citizens who chose to display signs on their property for candidates who were not his “preferred replacements” in Wimberley, called TXDOT and caused signs to be illegally removed from private property, tried to restrict the free speech and freedom of association of an employee at City Hall in Wimberley, etc. I don’t like to get mixed up with local politics but this guy epitomizes all that is wrong with “local” politics.

“Anna, as an attorney, I was highly offended that anyone would hold the law of the land in such low regard. Further, until only recently he voted in the Republican primary and I am convinced that he is still a Republican and not a moderate one at that. He has fought progressive issues for no real reason and that is why I cannot support him. I am as stalwart a Democrat as there is but I have no stomach or conscience for supporting a fool like this. At public events I have been cussed on two occasions by his supporters, close supporters, vile people who hang around the county courthouse like they were employees.

“I don’t want him representing me or my family — it’s as simple as that. I am a longtime Hays County resident and more than anything I want this to be a great place to live and raise kids and hopefully I will die an old man here but I am not prepared to see this commissioners court go backwards just to see an alleged Democrat elected. I have been a Democratic county chair, party general counsel, state chair, member of the DNC, chair of the Texas delegation to a national convention but I am just not prepared to support someone that I know will actively work against the law and the best interests of the citizens of Hays County. This guy is just so wrong in so many ways.

I will submit my resignation of office under separate cover. Thanks for your hard work and I hope that this is a great November for Hays County except in Precinct 3.

Respectfully submitted,
Charles Soechting

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54 thoughts on “Soechting quits party position over ‘fool’ running for commissioner

  1. I don’t know who he’s referring to. The whole thing is kind of incoherent. I’m not sure who the fool is.

  2. Whoa, Charles. We Republicans don’t want Steve Klepfer, you can keep him. He’s too much of a tool of our run-amuck county judge and her wacky camp followers, such as Charles O’Dell. I’d bet the surrogates Todd inquired about fit into that group. And I think perhaps you’re confused about Mr. Klepfer’s voting history. Let’s take a closer look over the last ten years or so. During that time, he voted only once in a Republican primary, that being 2004. That hardly qualifies Mr. Klepfer as a stalwart party member. This year, he voted in the Democrat primary with you. Mr. Klepfer sat out the other four elections between 1998 and 2008. So right now he has to be considered a Democrat, at least for the next two years, since, as you know, that’s how we Texans establish political party membership. Appears to me he’s even up and an opportunist, with a slight edge at the moment going to the Democrats.

    Looks like all this should give us reason to reelect Commissioner Will Conley and allow Mr. Klepfer to slide back into limbo.

  3. I am afraid there is a lot of misinformation contained in Mr. Soechting’s statement. Steve Klepfer has not voted in any Republican primaries. I specifically researched that some months back because someone was concerned about a rumor she had heard. He has tended not to vote during primaries in non-Presidential years, but he voted in the Democratic primary in 2000 and in 2004.

    Those of us here in Wimberley know darn well that Klepfer is a good guy and a pragmatic, solid Democrat. Very responsive and responsible and certainly no fool. In Wimberley, only moderates and conservatives get elected. Klepfer is no conservative. But many of my moderate Republican friends like and respect him, and he has strong support from moderate Republicans as well as Democrats in Wimberley.

    My guess is Soechting would much rather have Conley, who is known to be pro-developer, than Klepfer, who is for managed growth and has a strong commitment to the environment and water issues. Soechting probably has lots of financial ties with developers.

  4. Let me be the first to say I stand corrected on the primary voting record. The research I did on past candidate voting history was for a different candidate running in a non-partisan race in Wimberley.

    Why does it really matter anyway? At the local level politics is rarely very partisan. After all, when a road needs a pothole fixed it usually is irrelevant whether the elected official is a Republican or a Democrat.

    But I stand by my greater point, that Steve Klepfer is a good guy and will be a great county commissioner. Klepfer ran for Wimberley’s city council (a non-partisan position) four times, and he won all four times. He served our community well, and has wide respect and affection here from across the political spectrum. He will serve the county just as well as he has served Wimberley.

  5. Susn, thank you for correcting yourself after you had so positively stated that I was wrong. My “information” was correct. My reason for doing what I did was consistent with the party rules that I oversaw for several years. My personal reason(s) for not supporting Mr. Klepfer are based upon what I and many of my friends feel like has been Klepfer’s wrongheaded thinking on issues that relate to all of pct. 3. It is much mre than just a road bond issue, it is basic respect for the rule of law. My concern has been how fellow Hays County citizens were and will be treated by Mayor Klepfer and his supporters. I am opposed to electing anyone to office who would use that office to run roughshod over the rights afforded to citizens in this country. Todd, if you want to know who I am referring to just go to Commissioners Court and it will take you about five minutes to figure it out. Charles Soechting

  6. OFF TO MANCHURIA!!!

    Have you noticed that the trash talk about the Dems is that their passports say Manchuria?

    Barack Obama is not an Islamic jihadist inserted as a Manchurian candidate to enact the jihadist agenda. So you can delete those e-mails.

    Steve Klepfer is not a Republican inserted as a Manchurian candidate to,,,,what? compete with another Republican?

    If Steve Klepfer is a Manchurian candidate he must have been inserted by Al Gore.

    Somebody get a peek at Charles Soechting’s passport. He seems to be having an identity crisis.

  7. Just a quick apology for not taking the time to spell check my previous post as there are several misspelled words. I was in a hurry. CES

  8. Well, if this guy is even remotely affiliated with Hays Can and all of Charles Odell’s shenaningans, he’s the wrong guy for the job.

  9. I’ve known Charles Soechting for a long time and find him to be thoughtful and experienced. If he says Klepfer’s not the man for the job then that’s all I need to hear. Personally I think adding Klepfer to the court tips the scales too far into the camp of the Wimberley/Dripping Springs contingent. Will Conley adds needed balance.

  10. No offense Apache, but while I agree that Conley adds balance, I don’t really put much weight behind an anonymous endorsement. For all we know, you are Will Conley, or Charles Soechting, or someone else with a vested interest.

  11. Sorry. My boss doesn’t know I’m wasting time on the internet like this so as long as anonymity is available I’ll take it. As for a vested interest, only that I live in San Marcos and was frustrated to see our road bond package killed by the Wimberley/Dripping Springs faction. I don’t believe Klepfer will represent south Hays County and the I-35 corridor when his heart lies in Wimberley. Conley at least has a business in Wimberley. I’ve known Conley too and he ain’t perfect but I think Klepfer’s position is well represented on the court as it is.

  12. Understood.

    I was discouraged by the outcome of the road bond package as well. I love Wimberley and can certainly understand their position. I can even understand the politically active folks in San Marcos who are hell-bent on shutting down any development. I don’t agree with them, but I understand where they are coming from.

    Development run amuck would be terrible for us, as would a total lack of development. There needs to be a balance, which can only come from diverse representation.

  13. I meant to say “Conley at least has a business in San Marcos”, not Wimberley. My concern is not so much with development. That’s coming on the I-35 corridor whether we want it or not. I want to be sure Pct 3 gets it’s share of transportation (TxDot) money and county money. At this time north Hays is where most of the growth is and it’s easy to push south Hays projects to the back burner. Hwy 21 is a death trap. We only have 2 RR overpasses, one of which doesn’t help anyone. Loop 110 would facilitate growth in the city’s prefered growth area (as per the “Horizons” master plan).

  14. If Charles Soechting does not like or support Klepfer, then I am sending Steve a campaign check right now.

  15. I agree with Dan. I need to send Klepfer a check. Does anyone know how to get in touch with Klepfer or where to mail the check?

    Come to think about it, maybe Conley can look up Klepfer’s address or phone number for us in the Wimberley phone book since Conley moved to Wimberley late last year.

  16. I do not trust his judgement. I have been dissapointed by CS as a Democrat. I think the better way for him to have handled this would have been to resign his position and keep his mouth shut. Vote for Conley and send him money but why try harm the Democrat in the race if you are a so called “party leader”? I question his motives and do not believe him. Just my opinion.

  17. I also feel there will be other Democratic Party voters who will feel the same way and be even more motivated to support Klepfer now.

  18. I see your point Dan. To django, Conley has a business in San Marcos. I don’t see where anyone said he lives in San Marcos. He married a woman from San Marcos and he used to live in San Marcos which in my mind gives him more roots here than Klepfer who was Mayor of Wimberley. I confess I don’t know too much about Klepfer.. he may be born and raised in SM.

  19. Bernice,

    I googled his website. His contributions go to PO Box 708 Wimberley, TX 78676. We should put the intials CS or Mercury in the memo so he knows we read this.

  20. Someone called me to say that Charles Soechting was sponsoring a fund raiser on this blog for Steve Klepfer, that Jim Green was taking my name in vain again, and that Apache Fog (Nick Ramus) was inviting Commissioner Conley and his wife to dine at his restaurant just as soon as Chef Apache can get that darn septic system working and talk Pope into giving him an illegal food establishment permit.

    Hold on, got an incoming call….Hi Commissioner Barton. Yes, I know you have done as much as Conley and Jim Green to clean up Chef Apache. Don’t worry, I know Chef Apache will extend the same dining invitation to you and your lovely wife but he has to get that septic system working first and get a food establishment permit. Would you call Pope about it? He listens to you.

    OK, I’m back. Where was I? Oh yes, it’s rumored that Randall Morris drove by Chef Apache’s place yesterday and called Commissioner Ingalsbe to ask her if she “Could make FM110 bend behind the high school to where my property is instead of going by Terry Gilmore’s tract?” Debbie is reported to have told Randall he will have to that matter up with Ruben Garza and Ruben will tell her how to align FM110.

    Gotta go. Aren’t blogs the greatest!

  21. Steve Klepfer would provide the kind of non-ideological, balanced representation we need to fill out the Hays County Commissioners Court. He would help us to preserve what is unique and worthwhile about our county before it becomes just another suburb of Austin. Hays County is a gem, we need to do all we can to protect its natural beauty and the welfare of its citizens.

    There are those in our midst who long to make money by allowing rampant development into our county, much as what has happened in Round Rock. Is this the vision you have for San Marcos and the smaller towns? Why does everywhere have to end up looking just like Dallas or Austin? This is not inevitable and requires intelligent planning by honest politicians who can stand up for their communities and the right to clean, plentiful water, fresh air and safe neighborhoods.

    Follow the money and you will find that Will Conley, Charles Soechting and their business partners stand to make money from their “political” decisions. Take the money OUT of governance and demand that our public officials work for us, not for themselves or for developers and road companies.

    Government should not be the place for making money and we citizens are too accustomed to allowing it to become just that. If public servants like Conley want to make more money, let them do something other than wash cars for a living and be honest about their ambitions, but don’t get into office and enable road companies and developers to ruin our countryside with oversized projects so you can leave office and go to work for those same companies. The Hays County Commissioners Court is not a job application for a development job.

  22. And here we go again…

    I personally am quite tired of the Ramus issue except his Texas Ethics Commission complaints against O’Dell which I think raise very relevant questions about O’Dell’s use of an ostensibly nonpolitical nonprofit as a political action committee. I’ve been working on that story for a while but let’s not delve into Texas Heritage Kitchen and the septic thing on this thread. I’ll start a blank one specifically for commenting if you gentlemen care to take that conversation there.

  23. Also, O’Dell, I dont know if you mean the comments about FM 110, the Morrises and Gilmores to be satirical or what but if you did — your satire needs sharpening or its not going to meet the legal standard to prevent your being sued for libel. If you did not, please peddle your delusions elsewhere. On the Web, all traffic is good traffic but your absolute disregard for facts turns my stomach some times and I honestly would prefer not keep company with you, even on the Internet.

  24. I was wondering why this thread had such a familiar ring to it.

    At least I now know to skip over it and move on to other stories.

  25. My feelings are hurt that my posts could be mistaken for Nick Ramus’. As the moderator I’m sure Brad could testify that I’m not though I don’t know what the prevailing etiquette is for something like that. Go ahead, if you’re so inclined Brad, I just ask that you don’t ID me. I don’t think I’ve used a single word out of context or made more than minor mispellings so I can’t be Ramus. It’s classic O’dell though to imagine that I am. How hilarious that O’dell is haunted by this spectre. Seriously though, this is an important story and I appreciate Mr. Rollins nudging it back in line. It’s the beginnings of the public debate over who should be our next Pct 3 commissioner.

  26. Personally, I didn’t think anyone was anyone. I did contemplate posting a comment, asking when we would start talking about some stupid septic tank debate and about the time I decided not to stir that pot, it stirred itself.

  27. It is not Charles Soechting. Charles Soechting comments under his own name which is how I think it should be done. But at a previous Web site, I learned that requiring people to use their real names is not the way to civility, nor is it enforceable, so I did not even attempt that here. I very rarely try to guess who is commenting on what but in this case I happen to know who Apache Fog is and it is not any of the people O’Dell has guessed or anyone associated with him, as far as I know.

  28. I was going to stay out of this but I can’t stand by as Charles attempts to elevate himself to some sort of noble position. Charles, your behavior is shameful, but not unusual. It’s this kind of typical behavior that probably provoked the excitement and applause that your resignation was met with last Thursday evening at the San Marcos Public Library during the executive committee meeting. If you had a concern or disagreement with the candidate that has been chosen, you should have shared it with your fellow democrats during the primaries. I know that you know what the purpose of a primary is; I know this because you are never slow to tell anyone, who will listen, about how you single handedly built the Texas Democratic Party. If you had an objection to Klepfer you should have put forward another democratic candidate. You’re the fool and an embarrassment to the party. In your name I’m sending Klepfer a check.

  29. Gas is $4.00 a gallon, there are children in Hays county without healthcare, the American dollar is being outpaced by the Euro, people in Hays County are losing their home, and hays county has one of the highest drop-out rates in the state as it relates to high school students. And all you want to talk about is Charles. You all need wake up. All this back and forth sounds like a bunch of selfish kids. Let us not forget about the issues. When Mr. Green and all of his posse did not give a damn about my child not having health care, and was telling me that I needed to get a better job, when I was working 60 hour s a week making just enough money to put food on the table there was one man who lead the charge to stand up to them and that was Charles Soechting. I was a Hillary supporter and Daniel I had a chance to meet you and if kissing ass to Hillary’s daughter constitutes being a good democrat then harelip the Governor. I am ashamed that someone your age has so quickly forgotten about the poor and snubs your nose not only at us, but good people who stand up for us. Shame on you Daniel. That is the problem with many of you democrats. What has happened to the poor of the party? Charles knew us and stood up for us. Since many of you have a lot of money, why don’t you start investing in libraries for our poor communities? All you all want to talk about are Hybrid Cars and rain water collection. Then you have the republicans talking about building new roads, hell build up a poor community. I am trying to feed my son. Charles you keep speaking up for the poor. You are right about the rule of law, because when the rich people who call themselves democrats begin to express their discretion, or own judgment the only thing left for my son and I will be the rule of law. However, I must point out I don’t think either candidate cares about poor people.

  30. We need more people like Single Mom speaking out! And how appropriate to post on the Fourth of July. Why aren’t you running for political office? I’ll back you and work my tail off for you. Finally, someone who gets it. Keep talking Single Mom.

  31. Single Mom: I applaud your hard work (60 hrs/wk), but your child’s health care is no one’s responsibility except yours. Don’t you realize how much money it will take off of my families table if the government starts providing universal health care? What about my family? If my taxes go up anymore, then I will not be able to care for my family and save for the future. Life was never intended to be fair, nor was our country founded so that wealth can be redistributed and people no longer had to have a sense of self-responsibility.

    Yes, gas is $4/gallon. But the far left has continually hampered America’s ability to explore and produce enough energy to kept this from happening.

    Yes, the dollar is falling compared to the Euro. But that means more American goods are going to be exported, creating more jobs for Americans.

    Sure, people are losing their homes. But many of them took ill-advised home loans. They shouldn’t have lived beyond their means.

    Once again, it all boils down to self-responsibility. That’s what made America great, and that’s the only thing that will keep us free.

  32. Being responsible for oneself is a good virtue. But I believe there is more to life than just looking after yourself and your own. While it is certainly a personal choice that everyone has to make for themselves, I was raised to believe that everyone has a responsibility to their community. I learned this in Church and it was reinforced at home through the actions of my parents. They were Republicans.

    This is one of the reasons I am a Democrat today. The Republican Party has changed a great deal since their time. And I am disappointed that my Party has not always lived up to my expectations.

    Not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy the kind of life that some of us do. Blaming the victim may make us feel better about not having done much to make the world a better place, but it doesn’t go very far in really making a difference. Mr. Scribner, I don’t expect you to give away your last dime to provide health care for someone else. But can you not find in your heart a little compassion ????? Shouldn’t we at least try to fix a broken system?

    Hasn’t greed been the true cause of $4 a gallon gas? (and to what extent has the war in Iraq played a role – how much gas is being used by our troops each day? Wasn’t the war supposed to solve our energy problems?) Wasn’t greed at the root of changes allowed to the mortgage regulations that allowed people to get sub-prime mortagages in the first place? Isn’t greed the cause of the high price of pharmaceuticals, insurance rates and health care?

    I’m glad things are going well for you and your family. And I hope that if life ever jerks the rug out from under you, you will find compassionate friends, family, community, and even state agencies there to help you through the hard times. But even though you spoke harshly and unkindly towards Single Mom, I would not wish hard times upon you and yours.

  33. Mr. O’Dell, since you used my name in this publication, I feel the need to respond. I have never met you. I have been sked as a public service to serve on the road transportation committee for the county as well as the bond committee.

    Commissioner pct one is a friend of mine, but I rarely speak to her regarding county issues, and county politics. I find county politics — because they involve people like you — repulsive. However, I am not above working for the good of the whole, and improving the environment in which we live. Therefore, I will serve on public commissions for the good and future of this county. I try these days to forgo the politics of assassination. However people like you thrive in this environment. You would lie, would use any tactic, to win your point.

    You too can sit on any road committee you choose since you email and talk to the Judge almost everyday. I would never presume to say that you run the county since you are in daily contact with the County Judge. I would never presume to say that people who want anything done in this County should speak to you in order to get anywhere with this County Judge.

    In closing let me just say this, I am proud of my friendship not with just Commissioner Pct.1, but with my many friendships of business people, elected officials, State officials, and just plain neighborhood people.

    I am proud to be a Hays County citizen, and the fact that there is an ongoing battle between several groups in Hays County to get what they want will not stop me from doing what I think is right as one person, in one place, who loves living here. Not one of us is more important then the other. Mr. O’Dell your opinion is not more important than mine or anybody else’s.

    I am sure the Judge takes yours with as much importance as commissioner pct 1 takes mine. By the way, for the record, I know Randall and I highly like him and respect him. Just because he is a developer does not make him evil. This is America and he has a right to make a living as does TP Gilmore. These gentleman have used their brains and hard work to make what they have of themselves. While you may not agree with what they want they have a right to want it.

    God Bless

    Ruben Garza

  34. Hi Ruben,

    I’m hurt that you don’t remember our several encounters in the course of your public service meetings and my attendance to observe in the public interest.

    Now let me get this straight. You posted that you “rarely speak to her (Pct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe) regarding county issues” but she appointed you to the county’s citizen transportation advisory group and the county’s citizen road bond advisory group?

    What’s wrong with this picture? It appears that either you are trying to downplay your influence with Commissioner Ingalsbe (let Ramus have his illegal OSSF and let county property owners pay for FM110 to help out Randall Morris who you “know and highly like and respect”), or Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe really needs to be more thoughtful in her appointments.

    Next you’ll be posting that you don’t know her daddy, Ralph Gonzales, and don’t “highly like and respect him.” Weren’t you anointed by Ralph to take his place at the Southside Center as Executive Director? Or that you don’t know former county judge Eddie Etheridge and Pct. 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton whose precinct you now live in and whose elected office you plan to run for in a couple of years? I heard that’s why you moved to Kyle.

    Don’t misunderstand me Ruben. You certainly have every right to live your life as you see fit, but please don’t try to fool readers by posting that you “find county politics repulsive” or that you “rarely speak with Commissioner Ingalsbe about county issues.”

    If you want to be elected Pct. 2 County Commissioner in 2010, you must learn to tell the truth. On second thought, maybe telling the truth isn’t a prerequisite for Pct. 2 Commissioner.

  35. let me make it official: I have no intention of seeking the Pct. 2 Commissioner post in 2010. Jeff Barton is also a friend of mine and I believe he is doing a great job. As for the former County Judge yes I know him as well, it might surprise you I also know several Judges, Senators, state Reps and Governors. I know this must come as a shock to you.

    I will never ever deny that I know Ralph Gonzales, and highly respect him. If you would spend less time trying to come up with story lines for your conspiratorial life you would accomplish more in life. Ralph Gonzales has accomplished more in his life helping poor people than you wish you could.

    As for meeting you, never have i met you. just because you attended one meeting I was at, does not make it so. No matter how important you think you are, I have never met you. I have observed your attendance at one meeting in which I attended.

    It is obvious that you are truly delusional, so this will be my last responce to you. As for Southside, I was hired by a board of 23 people almost 26 years ago, and Mr. Gonzales was not on that board. Mr. Gonzales has never been on the Southside board while I have been there.

    All I said about my influence with Commissioner Pct 1 is she is my friend and has been for 20 years. As for your influence with the County Judge, this I would never down play. I should have been clear so that you completely understand: when I said county politics are repulsive, I meant your type of county politics are repulsive to me. I think most people that read the response got that part of it.

    FM 110 has been decided by the Court in terms of putting it on the bond issue. So I have no influence in this area, again you would lie, and do anything to discredit individuals you are truly a sad sad human being.

    Get a life.

    God Bless

    Ruben Garza

  36. Dr. Charles O’Dell, contrary to what one might glean from his detractors on this blog, is an ardent advocate for the citizens of Hays County. His work on behalf of open and honest government and for various environmental causes is nothing short of amazing.

    Dr. O’Dell faithfully attends meetings most citizens are unable to witness. How can anyone with a typical work schedule ever attend a Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesdays at 9 am? Dr. O’Dell acts as the eyes and ears for many of us in this county who are concerned about what goes on in Commissioners Court but cannot be there ourselves.

    Dr. O’Dell’s watchful eye on County and local government officials and their various associations with business people provides invaluble insight into how money, power and the law intertwine to form the public/private partnerships that affect us all. Who has influence over how our laws are made and enforced is not always so clear. Dr. O’Dell tries very hard to connect the dots between money, power and government and is making some people very nervous in doing so.
    There are those who would rather not have these dots connected and displayed in the light of day. Some people prefer to do business with the government very quietly and we never know what is going on. We, the People, rarely benefit from this kind of secretive, money-driven influence on our government.

    Let the Light Shine In.

    Thank you, Dr. Charles O’Dell. Keep it up.

  37. You’ve got to be kidding django. Maybe if you spent a little more time thinking for yourself instead of being under the spell of your Dr. Svengali, you could connect the dots for yourself. Think about it! If you follow O’Dell in such a blind manner, are you really any different from the people who followed Bush without asking any questions at all?

    Yes please, let the light shine in – in to your own mind. Learn to think for yourself.

    Our government is not the enemy. Nor is O’Dell for that matter. We have good people working for us who try their best. Just because O’Dell doesn’t get his way all the time doesn’t mean they are bad human beings. Just because they have to negotiate doesn’t mean they are corrupt. I wish you could sit through a bunch of meetings and get to know some of these people one on one. Then you could begin to see for yourself who they really are. They are not much different from yourself.

    Start experiencing life through your own eyes. Don’t live it through someone else’s. It’s way too short for that. Besides, you’ll find its fun to have your very own opinion…

  38. I respectfully disagree with your assessment, django. I know a number of government watchdogs — journalists and otherwise — who are responsible, thoughtful observers of politics and power. O’Dell is not one of them.

    He is a poser on a major ego trip who has no qualms about spinning ludicrous tales, baselessly attacking low-level county employees and the “powers that be” with equal vitriol and venom. He is a friend of the little people who lives in a $400,000+ house with an Austin address and, for example, opposed a poor Mexican family living in a $28,000 shanty’s variance for a septic system to make the place habitable because doing so was convenient for his bizarre sewage-based conspiracy theories. He is an advocate for water conservation, a recipient of a citizen water warrior award, who not only maintains a swimming pool at his house but installed it after purchasing the property. He is a self-proclaimed ethics expert who operates in the shadows of back room dealings and uses a nonprofit organization for political gain. (If he denies this, I DARE him to sue me for libel. I’d love to get him under oath in a deposition).

    This is not speaking truth to power. It is empowering those who don’t know what truth is.

    The frustrating thing is that arguing with him is like wrestling with a pig. Everbody gets dirty and the pig loves it.

  39. Charles O’Dell really riles you guys up, doesn’t he?

    For the record, Lila, I have observed plenty of these public/private government shenanigans firsthand for years now and am glad that we have someone of Dr. O’Dell’s intellect working for the welfare of our citizens and for the stewardship of our natural resources.

    I watched as Jim Powers and his criminal enterprise held the County hostage to private development deals and sometimes it seemed that only Dr. Charles O’Dell was paying any attention to what was going on and who was greasing whose palms.

    Because of Dr. O’Dell’s tireless research into business connections to County money sources and making sure these facts were published, citizens county-wide stood up and said, “No more”, and we elected a new County Judge and replaced the Commissioner in Dripping Springs. The work of putting honest people into our County government has begun, but it is not finished.

    Problem is, some of these same money connections and friend circles are still involved in County business and are still bilking the taxpayers out of big money to feather their own and their associates’ nests.

    Make no mistake, this is not a Democrat/Republican partisan divide. It is more who is in a position to make money at County expense and who is not. When money is involved, values often go out the window. Although it is difficult to remain honest in the face of financial temptation, it is all the more important to do so when that money is not your own.

    The County’s money is the People’s money and it is right that we have a say in how it is spent and who makes these decisions. Our elected officials cast the votes, but who is telling them HOW to vote? Pay attention. Follow the money.

  40. Well, I think I believe that you believe what you’re saying is true and certainly the national atmosphere lends credence to the storyline. But it doesn’t make it so.

  41. Charles O’Dell said “…let county property owners pay for FM110 to help out Randall Morris…” FM 110 is the eastern loop around San Marcos. What Mr O’Dell doesn’t say is that other properties affected are those of his friends Reed Carr and Carolyn Logan who don’t want the road. So O’Dell throws out the red herring that evil developers are behind the scenes influencing the route of Loop 110. This is a project that has been in the transportation master plan for years if not decades. Yes, it benefits citizens of San Marcos who also happen to be tax paying citizens of Hays County. Implied in O’Dell’s comments is the polarization that dominates this court and is the reason Klepfer must not be elected. Any road is going to be a blessing to some and a curse to others. To imply that those who capitalize on the value a road adds are somehow criminal is suspect. In San Marcos we have real traffic congestion problems and Loop 110 will help us solve them. I want a commissioner who understands that and won’t leave the needs of San Marcos out of the decision making process.

  42. A word of advice from Nietsche for your Dr. Svengali:
    “The Man who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself.”

    It’s important to maintain an ability for self-criticism. And to realize the difference between made-up facts and ideological truth. Dr. Svengali guilt-trips you into thinking he has done sooo much for you. But he has his own political agenda just like any other stinking politician. He told me himself, with so much pride, that he was repsonsible for putting one individual into office. In fact, he hand-selected them. He wants to be a puppet-master. That’s why we don’t like him. We see him for what he is. You need to wake up and smell the coffee. No one is coming to your rescue. If you want to save the world, you’re going to have to do the hard work yourself.

    I heard the sad news tonight that Florinda Martinez’s husband died about a week ago.

    Your hero kept the Martinez family from living together under one roof for many months. You must be very proud of this achievement in stopping corruption in government. Nice going.

    Has anyone ever noticed that Django and the likes of Dr. Svengali never talk much about real people, only about taking care of the people’s tax money.

    You say its a non-partisan issue Django. What matters to you most. Tell me. Is it the environment? Is it the people? Or is it keeping the money in your pocket? Are you a Republican or a Democrat? Or are you going to sit on the fence like Klepfer and make everyone just wonder?

    For me, I’m a Yellow Dog Democrat and proud of it !!!
    And I’m not ashamed to put my real name to these blogs.

  43. I really hesitate to get into a wrestling match with you Lila, dear, because like Brad said, some people just enjoy it too much, but let me try to set a few things straight before somebody thinks I am a member of the Federalist Society.

    I am a lifelong Democrat, a member of numerous Democratic Party clubs, an anti-war activist, an environmentally-rational tree-hugger and a rural resident of Hays County.

    I am an unabashed Liberal, a card-carrying member of the ACLU, unrepentent and unwavering. I support civil rights, equal rights, gay rights, women’s rights, men’s rights, children’s rights, disability rights, Constitutional rights, property rights, gun ownership rights, water rights, you want “rights”, I will likely support your right to those rights. I think you get my drift. Liberal. Knee-jerk, bleeding heart Liberal.

    Okay, now that I have come out of the closet for you, let’s talk about having done work towards my goals: I have marched and voted and organized and campaigned and written and spoken publicly for various causes throughout my life, am still very involved in these causes and not simply someone you have chosen to mischaracterize as sitting on the sidelines allowing some “Svengali”to hypnotize me with his magic beans. I am an activist in this community, but cannot always attend every meeting I would like to attend. I simply appreciate Dr. O’Dell’s willingness to do so.

    I don’t have any money in my pocket, so please do not try to paint me as a rich or greedy person who is involved in politics to protect my pocketbook. I am involved in politics because I view it as a way to protect the rights of ordinary citizens from the overuse of power and money at the expense of the environment and of our Constitutionally-derived freedoms. When someone wants to put a septic tank in the wrong place or with an ill-conceived design, that isn’t an affront to the person putting in the bad septic system, it is an affront to the health and safety of all the citizens whose water and land are affected by this. No one has the “right” to pollute the water or to overbuild on land or in communities that cannot sustain this development.

    Water should be a limiting factor in development. A brick wall. The “right” to water should confer upon those currently living in an area before granting this right to new, imaginary populations who are lured to this area by unscrupulous real estate speculators working in collusion with road copanies and some of our elected officials who they financed into office for just this purpose.

    When there is not enough water, then no new development should proceed. I don’t care if this development makes money for your friends, your friends need to take their projects elsewhere or find new jobs that don’t degrade the environment or ruin the character of existing communities.

    We all stand to lose when money is the name of the game.
    Greed is a waste of soul.

    p.s. You give Dr. O’Dell too much credit, even I never attributed him with psychic powers, but I am sure he is highly amused that you think so.

  44. You delude yourself, and waste your time, by thinking that you can make the type of changes you are talking about at the county level. I agree with you. But those changes have to be made at the State Legislature. Texas is a private property rights state. Developers currently have the right to develop the land they buy. Counties have only the most limited ability to pass ordinances that restrict development. Period. Fact of Life in Texas. And the prospect of it changing under a Republican regime ain’t good.

    Join the Democratic Party and work hard for Democratic candidates to the State Legislature. Unless you think they are also corrupt.

    If you had lived here long enough, you would know that Barton, the man you see as the Great Enemy, was one of those who pushed hard for Hays County to pass a stricter ordinance for development and to push the envelope further than most people were comfortable with. He has also gone to the State Legislature on numerous occassions to try and get additional ordinance-making powers for counties.

    Those of us who have lived in this county for a number of years just don’t see things the same way as people who have just arrived. We know these people. We’ve known them for years. We know there is not some great conspiracy between some of our commissioners and road builders and developers. You waste a lot of time developing such conspiracies. Think how much further you might get if you worked along side of these people developing legislation that worked, rather than painting them as evil-doers. Hell, at least try to get to know them before you pass judgement.

    And worrying about one septic tank, on the east side of the county where polluting the watershed is not the big issue, is wasting your time. And the county’s time. And all of the taxpayer’s money on legal fees. That was clearly a personality conflict between warring neighbors. If you want to affect change, you need to do it in as broad a stroke as possible. The Ramus Affair has only resulted in making O’Dell look mean and vindictive. Which he is. And taking it even further and protesting a variance for a poor family under very different circumstances pushed it into the absurd. File it under “choose your battles wisely” and move on. There are so many more important issues to deal with.

    If you want people to take you seriously, then you need to chose your leadership wisely. Don’t let O’Dell speak for you exclusively. He does. And you have allowed this to happen. It’s unfortunate that he has lost all credibility. But that is what happens when one behaves as though there is a spook behind every nook and cranny.

    Did you look at water availability in Hays County before you moved here? Did you give any consideration to the impact you would have on the people already living here? Did you think that just because you were one household, that wouldn’t make any difference? Do you live over the aquifer? Do you have a septic tank? Even if you are doing everything you can to conserve water, you’re still using it. What are you doing to make certain that your septic is not failing?

    If you want to apply the doctrine of prior appropriation of water rights, then I’m guessing that you wouldn’t have any rights to water here in Hays County yourself. So, you might want to slow down there and think about it before you go talking about changing the way we determine who gets water. What you are talking about does not “go” with the land.

    I don’t live over the aquifer. But the downside to that is I have to live with a whole lot of suburban development. I don’t like looking at rooftops. But I know that its best that those rooftops stay over here in the eastern part of the County where we are not directly impacting the aquifer with a bunch of septics over it. And we are trying to find water sources outside of the BS/EA. We haven’t solved all the problems. But we are taking baby steps. And I hope eventually we will get there. Or at least to a better place.

    But you need to face reality. Developers will never go away. And there are good developers and bad developers. If you have to have development, do you want good developers or bad developers? And how are you going to encourage good development? Got any real ideas? Can you do anything positive?

    Hays County is not a Utopia. It never was. It never will be. If that was what you were looking for when you moved here, you were shit out of luck the day you arrived.

    “The newcomer should try to understand first — and criticize either never, or very late.”

  45. django has a concept I agree with and that is that generally speaking people should go where the water is. If you’ve ever seen the PBS series on William Mulholland and the LA water thievery you get a taste of the idea. Things are improving – per capita water consumption is about half of what it was in the 1950s. But it’s not a problem that developed overnight and we’re not going to solve it with sweeping legislation. The market is slowly solving it as water prices rise. Google diamonds-water paradox for an interesting read.

    As for “unscrupulous real estate speculators working in collusion with road copanies and some of our elected officials who they financed into office for just this purpose” I’ve never been one for conspiracy theories.

    The free market is the most elegant system in the world. With almost no management it inspires humans to invent and produce beyond compare. My mother’s oncologist lives in a $3 million house and I don’t begrudge him one square foot of it. He invested in a great education. He sacrificed when I was out partying and now he reaps his rewards. Same with Mr. Developer who studies the market and risks his capital to build me a house to live in.

  46. A lesson from economics:

    If you give each of five kids a 12 oz can of coke, some kids will drink it fast, some will drink it slow, some will save it for later, some will try to resell it to another kid. Each kid owns the rights to do with the coke as they see fit, and these rights are limited to the 12 oz. Equality and conservation are maximized.

    If you give five kids a single 64 oz coke and 5 straws, each kid will try to suck up as much as they can, as quickly as they can. Equality and conservation are impossible.

    This illustrates the tragedy of the commons problem. It works even better when each kid pays 10 cents for the coke, because some will value the 10 cents more than the coke and no exchange will take place.

    Similarly when five kids share one 64 oz bottle of coke, one kid may think of using the coke in their squirt gun, or spitting it out in some cute way to make people laugh. These are not efficient uses for the resource of coke, but since there is no cost of doing this, it will take place when tragedy of the commons is allowed to exist, human action is like that.

  47. I am Average Joe Citizen. I am not a literary genious and I do mispell words on occaision, especially when I am in a hurry and don’t wear my glasses. I am more honest than clever. I believe in growth. Withoiut growth there is death. You can’t have a little death and a little growth, complex systems like our societies either die or grow.

    Charles O’Dell, Elizabeth Sumter, Debbie Ingalsbe, Karen Ford, Steve Klepfer represent the death of growth. The represent arbitrary power and the loss of the rule of law.

    Charles O’Dell knows full well that my permits and constructions at Texas Heritage Kitchen are perfectly legal and above suspicion. I have three different letters directed to Hays County Commissioners Court from Texas Commission for Environmental Quality after specific queries by the Hays Commissioners Court. Hays County Commissioners Court described my property, the permitting process and constructions worded three different ways as if their wording would change the laws. Hays County gets its permitting authority as authorized agents of TCEQ.
    Hays County Commissioners Court recieved confirmation in three letters from TCEQ and one from their legal department stating that Hays County Environmental Health in its authority correctly administered the laws and rules governing my septic permit and that I properly constructed and was properly permitted my septic system. Point in fact there is absolutely no controversy of my systems nor my property. There is no public health issue.

    The county knew this when it acted in April of 2007 to illegally remove my septic permit. I received a letter in July of 2007, from Hays County Commissioners Court that my permit was returned to me before our case was completely heard by the judge.

    If I am elected in November. I will vote the law, I will vote my conscience. This is more than I can say for the current Precinct 1 Commissioner under the influence of Charles O’Dell, Elizabeth Sumter, Karen Ford and now possibly Steve Klepfer.

    I understand Charles Soechting sentiments over Steve Klepfer. Charles is making a political stand against the kind of cronyism Sumter/Klepfer/Ingalsbe/Ford represent. Under current leadership of Judge Elizabeth Sumter the court is not compelled by the laws of our Texas land. Sumter is attempting to grab legislative power with county government. County government has limited power for very specific reasons decided by the State Legislature. Sumter acts with power not granted County government and we will see many, many more lawsuits filed against the county. The rights this Commissioners Court is attempting to grab are our property rights granted by our Constitution and defined by State Legislature. See Http;//Stophayspowergrab.org.

    Through maneuvers of so called planning and needed road improvements, this new court will end proper county development and sieze property rights for itself.

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