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

December 22nd, 2009
Residents roused by range candidate

shooting

Hays County Grants Administrator Jeff Hauff (left) and Shooting Sports Task Force Vice Chair J.B. Kolodzey, right, at a recent Hays County Commissioners Court meeting. Photo by Sean Batura.

By SEAN BATURA
News Reporter

About 1,400 acres of land adjacent to the San Marcos Baptist Academy is among the 15 parcels being assessed by Hays County for suitability as a publicly-owned endangered bird habitat and shooting range, according to three insiders.

The Hays County Commissioners Court decided last week to keep the identities of the 15 properties – and the entities offering them – secret.

The Shooting Sports Task Force (SSTF), a citizens committee tasked by commissioners to find land suitable for a shooting sports complex, recommended the 1,400 acres to the court in a closed executive session meeting months ago.

“The reason I can tell you this is because I’m getting letters from the neighborhood, so obviously it’s not privileged information,” said Hays County Judge Liz Sumter (D-Wimberley) last week. “But what was proposed at one time from the shooting range group was a piece of property off of Ranch Road 12 behind the Baptist School Academy. They’re not very happy about having a shooting range so close to the neighborhoods.”

Sumter said she informed concerned residents who contacted her that the court would not give a green light to a shooting sports complex without holding public hearings. Sumter said had not looked at the 15 proposals, so she could not say whether the proposed 1,400 acre tract was among them.

“They need to get that piece of property for a shooting range out of their minds,” said San Marcos attorney Charles Soechting, ex-state trooper and former Texas Democratic Party chair, who lives in Fox Ridge neighborhood near the proposed 1,400 acres. “(They) would truly be out of their minds if they thought they could ever pull that off. It just won’t happen … There’s a bunch of neighborhoods that would be impacted, there are churches that would be impacted. There is a private school that would be impacted. It is irresponsible for any elected official who expects to be re-elected to support that proposition there.”

SSTF Vice Chair J.B. Kolodzey said resistance from the neighborhood near the 1,400 acres has resulted in that property being “pretty much off our list and off our radar now.”

County voters in May 2007 approved $30 million in bonds for parks and open space. The commissioners court has indicated a willingness use some or all of the $8.4 million in remaining bond money for the first parcel of land necessary to kickoff the Regional Habitat Conservation Plan (RHCP), which is currently under development.

The county needs a U.S Fish. and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved the RHCP in order to receive an incidental take permit, which the federal government requires of those whose otherwise lawful activities may cause significant harm to endangered species. The county’s incidental take permit would cover two endangered bird species: the Golden-Cheeked Warbler and the Black-Capped Vireo.

Private or public entities could use the county’s incidental take permit by buying mitigation credits from the county, which would use the money to buy more land or easements. The county plans to purchase or obtain conservation easements for between 10,000 and 15,000 acres of Golden-Cheeked Warbler or Black-Capped Vireo habitat in the next 30 years. The county received a $753,750 grant from USFWS to develop the RHCP, though the county is required to provide $251,250 in in-kind services and matching funds.

Because the court has already expressed its intention to use some or all of the remaining parks and open space bond funds for RHCP land, some proponents of the shooting sports complex hope to piggy-back land for the facility on the RHCP kickoff parcel.

Hays County Precinct 4 Commissioner Karen Ford (D-Dripping Springs) has expressed the most resistance to using parks and open space bond money for shooting sports complex land, though she has not said she would vote against such a proposal.

“I personally feel that our current parks and open space money should not be used for it because that’s not what the bond language said,” Ford said at a commissioners court meeting on Jan. 20.

Hays County Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley (R-San Marcos) and Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton (D-Kyle) have demonstrated the strongest support for co-locating a shooting sports complex with endangered bird habitat. They were also the only members of the court last week who supported publicizing information regarding the 15 proposed RHCP kickoff parcels.

“I have read all the proposals, and I didn’t see anything in there that couldn’t be shared with the public,” said Conley during the Dec. 15 commissioners court meeting. “Once we do our process of getting advice from the parks committee and the range committee, and working through these projects on our own, when we get down to a few projects where we have to get into personal negotiations with these folks, well, that’s an executive session issue.”

Last week, Conley called his colleagues’ calls for secrecy “silly,” and bristled at the idea that he should remain silent about the 15 proposals when his constituents might be able to provide valuable information regarding them, and when sharing information with potential partners – such as the City of San Marcos – might enable the county to acquire financial support to pay for the RHCP kickoff land. The Hays County Parks and Open Space Advisory Board (POSAB) is scoring the 15 proposals based on criteria it developed months ago. POSAB is the only entity other than the commissioners court and select county staff in the know about the 15 proposals.

At the Nov. 24 commissioners court meeting, Ford disclosed that Trust for Public Land (TPL) is one of the 15 entities that responded to the county’s call for RHCP proposals, though she did not say whether TPL is proposing a conservation easement or land for sale.

“I would probably release the prices, as well, but make it clear from the beginning that we consider all those beginning prices and then we’re going to enter into negotiations from that point forward,” Barton said last week. “When we get to land negotiations, it would be foolhardy to make that public, I agree wholeheartedly.”

Hays County Grants Administrator Jeff Hauff told court members last week that the county may wind up at a disadvantage if all 15 proposals are made public.

“I do feel that confidentiality is respectful to folks that have submitted the time and submitted proposals to the county, but it also preserves potential beneficial negotiating position for the county,” said Ford last week.

A nonprofit conservation organization, Texas Shooting Sports Complex (TSSC), has offered to foot the bill for the cost of construction, operation, and maintenance of a shooting sports complex, which the organization would lease from Hays County. TSSC proposes to build and maintain the shooting sports complex through the acquisition of grants and through user fees, range and course fees and special events.

TSSC’s proposed shooting sports complex includes ranges for archery, air rifle and pistol, bench rest, shotgun clay games, target and silhouette and muzzle-loaders both antique and modern. Kolodzey, who sits on TSSC’s board, said Monday that the shooting sports complex would require less than 10 acres for buildings and at least 350 acres for downrange safety purposes. Supporters of the facility say it would be an economic boon to the county, as some competitions can attract up to 1,000 out-of-county visitors in a three-day period.

According to the business plan TSSC presented to the commissioners court on June 23, total revenue generated by the facility could total $413,975 per year, and incur operating expenses amounting to $392,656. TSSC’s plans include an educational building for activities like hunters’ safety courses. The educational building must be at least 2,000 square feet in order for TSSC to qualify for a Pittman-Robertson Wildlife grant offered through the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife (TPW).

The county needs the green light from USFWS to receive grant money and mitigation credits for each parcel of land proposed for purchase or conservation easement coverage.

“Whether or not we support the proposal remains to be seen until we see the details of the proposal,” said USFWS Senior Conservation Planner Allison Arnold about co-locating habitat conservation land with a shooting range. “But it’s generally something we’re not going to support if it’s going to cause a lot of disturbance to the birds.”

Arnold said that noise primarily affects the Golden Cheeked Warbler.

“Gunshots and gunfire in general may affect the warbler depending on (the county’s) proposal,” Arnold said. “Noise in general – they are very sensitive to noise and human disturbance within a certain range, so until we see the details, we can’t determine that, but that is a big factor, because when you have nesting birds, you certainly don’t want to have a disturbance, and if there is a disturbance that causes take, there’s always mitigation requirements associated with that.”

The word “take” is broadly defined as harm to endangered species.

Kolodzey said TSSC intends to hire an acoustics specialist to determine how much noise the facility would generate before undertaking appropriate mitigation measures.

“We want to look at all 15 pieces of land that’s been turned in,” Kolodzey said last week. “We are not settled on any particular piece, period. We are totally open to anything we might fit on that’s going to be the most beneficial to the Hays County community. We are not locked into anything …  We are totally open-minded to anything that is going to benefit this community, including not having a shooting sports complex. We’d hate to see the economic development disappear, because Hays County parks only cost money, they do not generate money. This is an opportunity to have a county park that is going to generate money back to the county and to the community.”

The court has not yet allowed SSTF to see the 15 proposals. It was thought that Barton would sponsor an item on Tuesday’s agenda outlining the legal parameters under which the groups could gain access to the information, but he did not. Barton was not immediately available for comment. Kolodzey said Monday that his queries to Barton and Conley have gone unanswered, and he does not know why no such item appeared on the agenda.

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0 thoughts on “Residents roused by range candidate

  1. Well, so much for keeping these proposals “secret.” Guess the cat is out of the bag on more than one of them. The really ironic part of this is that the members of the court who voted to keep the proceedings secret are the ones who appear to be leaking information.

    I have an idea. Let’s just make the whole thing public!

  2. Why not build this thing out on the East side of IH-35, in a large cowfield, somewhere…

    and not over the “evironmentally sensitive” areas of the recharge zone.

    Everybody gets their way, and are therefore hopefully happy.

    I might even use it myself.

  3. This is absurd. There is no hue and cry from the public for a taxpayer funded shooting range. Just the opposite, there are plenty of folks concerned about mixing a shooting range with environmentally sensitive areas.

  4. Dave,

    The east side holds many historical sites where farms were the home to many families and sharecroppers from the area. While it MAY not be environmentally sensitive, that area still has value in other ways.

    Say NO to using taxpayer funding for this project.

  5. Over the years that I have been involved working with endangered species I have seen unimaginable scamming and scheming. The shooting range has to be the worst I have ever seen. The USFWS said they could concieve of no scenario where they would approve of such a thing. Is this just a gambit by some folks who want to sabotage the whole HCP effort ? it it a scheme where some guys want to get prior knowledge of the county’s mitigation tracts so that they can profit by flipping the land ? We dont need this. It will not be a positive economic benefit to the county. it is a horrible example of a small private group trying to profit from misuse of public funds. Where were these guys during all the years when citizens were working on the planning board for parks and open space ? These guys are johnnie-come – lately’s who are demanding special considerations that no one else is getting. If this was such a great economic idea why is there no private entity already doing this ? That the county is even entertaining this idea is absurd and it does endanger the implementation of the HCP.

  6. Saying NO is an option, as well….

    I did not mean to suggest that this area did not have value, because it certainly does. That entry was an approach at compromise,…. which will preserve the recharge zone in that direction.

    Then it will be left to discuss, just how much… or how little, would the taxpayer obligation be,….to fund this partially or not at all.

    Maybe we don’t want a gun range anywhere in the area, for noise or mentality reasons,….if nothing else.

    Lockhart has a shooting range,…and shooters can go over there.

    I did, for my CHL, and in five more years,…I can do it again.

    We are in a recession, and the tax funded expenditure may not be justified, at this time.

    It will undoubtedly,…. be discussed at length.

  7. Steve, there wasn’t any public outcry–including you–for the taxpayer funded tennis courts either (used by just as few people as a shooting range would be, maybe less). I hope you don’t oppose the shooting range just on the basis of “p.c.” crap because those people have just as much rights as the tennis court people or any other group seeking public funds (like artists, did you oppose that?).
    However, I agree that in this economy and dropping sales tax revenue any unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer funds is stupid. BTW, where were you when the city just posted and hired a “Beautifcation Coordinator” at over $3k per month in December??? Why is THAT job necessary, especially right now? (Even though the ‘beautifcation cmte’ was on the agenda to be disbanded this same month!).

  8. Commissioner’s Court, please make all 15 public. Strategic leaks have compromised any alleged benefits to privacy, and they are public dollars.

  9. Why is this “leak” being portrayed as news now? IIRC, this same location was the topic of debate when this story *first* surfaced over a month ago. Nothing new here.

    People who live in areas close to the planned site will continue to cry “Not in my back yard!”, leftist anti-gun types will continue to cry “No public funds for a shooting range!” and the rest of us will continue to wonder in whose world it makes sense to put a bird habitat on the same tract of land as a shooting range.

    For the record, I’m all for using park land for a shooting range. It’s as valid a use as tennis courts, walking trails, or any other such hobby. Plus, from what I read above, the cost of building and operating the range will fall on a private group – NOT the taxpayers.

  10. Adam, thanks for the dialog. I try to keep up with “current events” in San Marcos and the region as best possible. I had not heard of this “Beautification Coordinator” position until your post. I’d like to have a gun range in the area, just not subsidized with taxpayer dollars. I don’t play tennis, and I don’t know how many people use the public tennis courts (I hope it’s a bunch, based on the amount of taxpayer money that was spent there, too). You’re right, in this economy, it’s hard to understand why we aren’t “tightening the belt” on where and how we spend taxpayer money, both at the city and county level (and beyond, but that’s another topic altogether).

  11. Apologies for not including the following background information earlier, it provides a little context: The county closed its call for HCP kickoff land project proposals on Nov. 16. Therefore, the soonest anyone could have (legally) known the identities of the 15 proposals was Nov. 16.

  12. Sean,

    That may be the case, but still on October 7, Newstreamz ran an article called “Feds resist shooting range on habitat”. In the comments to that article, Charles Soechting and others clearly stated that one proposed site for the range was near his home and the Baptist Academy.

    If no one could have legally known the proposed locations until November 16, how were they able to argue the point on October 7? Is Charles still using his old Democratic party connections?

  13. Sean,
    I think you are leaving a lot out of your articles, such as this would be a Privately funded range leased from the county with entities such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife participating. It would be set up with tremendous safety planning and organization. Shotguns pellets only go about 100 yds,arrows and .22 bullets go into very safe backstops. NO, there would not be any shooting toward or into any BIRD habitat. AND please do not continue to misquote participants as I noticed that you did with J.B.Kolodzky in this article. Also, NOISE would not be an issue as you would discover if you visited the National Shotgun Range in San Antonio actually next to two large subdivisions. I suggest that some of the louder persons on this board should actually investigate the realities of the situation.
    There is a tremendous demand for a facility such as this from a level from 4H Clubs to Law Inforcements

  14. Pardon, it is more accurate to say that the soonest anyone could have known the identities of all 15 proposals would have been Nov. 16. Mark Kennedy said last week that future courts may modify the current court’s disclosure policy regarding HCP proposals during the life of the plan over the next few decades.

  15. Pardon me Dano, I didn’t see your earlier post. I see that the county’s call for RHCP projects went out Oct. 2, so your point is well taken that some people could have been aware that the 1,400 acres was being proposed as RHCP land even before the submission deadline. I gathered from my recent conversation with Mr. Soechting that residents living near the 1,400 acres got wind that that property was being looked at for an SSC some months ago, before the call for RHCP projects.

    Mr. Stallones,

    Mention of the proposed lease agreement is made in the 11th paragraph from the end, and I believe that aspect of the proposal has been mentioned before on this site.
    It has been communicated to me more than once that needless strife has arisen over the SSC issue due to miscommunication regarding exactly who is proposed to pay for what, and I would hate to be involved in perpetuating that. I will do what I can to prevent that point from being lost.

    Y’all’s feedback is much appreciated and can only serve to improve the content of this site. We are engaged in commerce as free agents in the free marketplace of ideas, something precious and unheard-of when considered in the broader context of a human history filled with tyranny and oppression. It’s a great time and place to be alive, and I will give thanks this holiday season. Merry Christmas.

  16. Mr. Stallones,

    Sorry for being a chatterbox today. I didn’t mention the following before because I assumed you might speak with J.B. at some future date, but for the benefit of other readers: Mr. Kolodzey did not express displeasure about the statements attributed to him during the two occasions I spoke with him today, but rather the reverse. I understand you are a professional shooter yourself – J.B. has spoken very highly of your skill – so I welcome your input on this issue. If you get a change, please ask anyone who believes they have been misquoted to contact me and we will issue the appropriate correction. I usually use an audio recorder for interviews so it’s not hard to verify. Alright, for real this time – take care, all.

  17. anyone who says that noise is not a issue with a shooting range obviously can not be trusted to tell the truth about it

  18. Sounds to me like this whole shooting range idea was hatched too early.

    Wasn’t this Commissioner Barton’s overblown response to the tragic shooting incident a few years ago in his district?

    Seems to me Jeff has promised too much to too many folks and now has his fingers caught in the door as it slams shut on his brainchild. Has Jeff raised some peoples’ expectations a bit too much?

    Who was Barton trying to please with this idea? Did he ask anyone at all or was this just something he came up with on his own?

    Now it seems that this whole shootin’ match has gone from a questionable use of the county parks bond to a public-private partnership with some people who are playing both sides of the deal by being on the shootin’ range committee and also on some board of directors that now wants to build and operate said shootin’ range.

    Does the term “conflict of interest” seem applicable here?

    And the privacy issue: Cost of land near a park or dedicated open space can go up 20% instantly when that becomes news. Is this the kind of bidding war/lobbying by landowners we want to see added to this mix of misguided mistakes?

  19. I like and support taxpayer funded and/or subsidized recreational facilities. Tennis courts, shooting ranges, skate parks, golf courses, swimming pools, and libraries, to name a few.
    I realize some of my fellow citizens do not share this opinion, but I believe access to these kinds of public activities make better communities.

  20. Actually Django, let me give you a little history lesson here. Barton tried to address the tragic death of a small boy by an accidental shooting (from target shooting in a back yard) by an ordinance that was crafted by a committee that studied the issue. Then it was shot down 3-2 by the Commissioners Court with only Barton and Ingalsbe voting for it.

    Some people try to actually solve problems. You appear to be just trying to smear Barton with innuendo and vague questions that lead no where and are largely irrelevant.

  21. Django, your latest attempt to provide cover for Sumter is as transparent as the rest. There are 15 proposals; adjacent land will not increase in value if there is a 1 in 15 chance it will be selected as open space and why does a rise in the price of adjacent land matter? Instead, it appears Sumter demanded secrecy so that she could selectively leak the identity of land she did not want selected. Sunlight is the best disinfectant in the process. Without knowing the identities of the properties we cannot be sure there isn’t an end game, or that one commissioner is not trashing one proposal for the benefit of another owned by a donor.

    At least for the sake of comedy, I think a Sumter/Barton primary race would be wonderful and really show everyone the best side of local politics…

  22. Gotcha Sean. Like most things when politicos become involved, there are wheels within wheels here…some confusion is bound to result. You guys are doing a great job with this site. Thanks for responding.

    Back on topic – I think John hit the nail on the head with what is happening here….this particular location was leaked on purpose. It was done so that plenty of time could be spent rousing opposition to this site…and the tactic appears to be working.

    The question is, which party with knowledge of the 15 proposed sites has the most direct interest in keeping it away from this particular site? Answer that question, and you’ve probably found the leak.

    Heck, I say they put it there just to spite the plans of whoever hatched this scheme…..

  23. Andy G doesn’t know what he is talking about. But it does not matter. Residents of this county don’t deserve to have a shooting sports complex, becaue they are allowing a special interest crew of about thirteen people demand that all county parks funds be spent on girly man sports like hike and tricycle trails, ten million soccer fields, and Frisbee Gold courses.

    The Commissioners have been pulling the legs of the citizens for almost a year now.
    They first claimed safety was important to them, and now the only thing they care about is this bogus bird “environmental bank” designed to allow the county to screw up land in one area (by allowing development on actual bird habitat) while selling bogus “habitat credits” from this scheme. The goal is to make the left wing tree huggers feel good, so they will vote in this crew once again. Can’t wait for the next election. Perhaps the county residents will wake up enough to elect new commissioners and a County Judge who will consider all citizens of the county, rather than just the twelve or thirteen left wing envirnmentalist wackos heading up these special interest environmental religious groups. Fact is, the birds aren’t affected by shooting ranges (as the Camp Bullis U.S. Fish and Wildlife Study shows)but they ARE affected by suburban development and sprawl. That is exactly what this crew will give us. Go ahead and kill off the birds with your “environmental banking” system. Who cares? The birds are endangered, because they are stupid enough to build their nests in brush that is coyote high. But facts are not important. Safety isn’t important either. Only the environmentalist wacko religion is important to the commissioners. Not one fact has been printed in this rag.

  24. the shooting range economics do not add up. 380 acres at 10,000/ acre = 3.8 million. If the range somehow made 10,000 in profit a month, after expenses, it would take more than 31 years to pay off. This does not include the costs of setting up the facilities. Seems obvious that this sort of land use should go out in a much more rural county where land prices are much less.

  25. Special interests are certainly at work here, but I don’t think it the environmentalist camp that benefits from any of this.

    If the assumption here is that the developers are behind this entire proposal, then that should certainly be looked into more closely. Might well be, but if this is the only way to preserve natural areas against rampant development, then let’s at least try it.

    Habitat trade-offs aside, there is an insider group of gun enthusiasts who have taken what was a simple plan for a simple gun range to begin plans for a world-class shooting facility with the ability to host events with tens of thousands of participants. And to think that what was begun as a “task force” to look into the notion of a shooting range has turned into a group that is poised to develop, build, operate and profit from said range is very troubling.

    I am not against the idea of a place for people without their own land to shoot their guns, but whether Hays County needs to set aside hundreds of acres of what could and should remain open space or parkland for the purpose of creating a hunting lodge/Olympic-style shooting environment is questionable at best. Is this anything more than simply another very special interest group now lobbying hard for a large piece of the parks bond pie?

    As for Barton, I just see him huffing and puffing at this windmill and that. He seems alwasy to be attempting to portray himself as someone the people will benefit from having in public office. I just don’t see it. The man is a pompous, self-promotional politician who is always looking for some way to appear necessary. He isn’t and this County will be better off when he realizes that politics really isn’t his strong suit and he gets himself into another line of work more suited to his talents and disposition.

    There is a different between public service and self-service.

  26. As to privacy vs. secrecy: Whether it is a 1 in 15 chance is debatable.

    There is no reason to assume that this habitat land would be purchased as one large parcel and in fact, purchasing several smaller tracts of land might be a better idea.

    I just do not look forward to watching as 15 different entities lobby the Commissioners Court for their parcel of land to be chosen.

    This indeed will lead to political contributions…..of the most cynical sort.

    I am not savvy in the ways of land speculation, but like art, I know it when I see it.

  27. Because of habitat fragmentation it is better to get large contiguous parcels of land for preserves. not small islands of habitat.

    one of the disturbing things about the shooters is that after we buy the land for them they want to be the ones running the facility. maybe if some other group was going to get the contract to run it they might not be so interested.

  28. Thanks for the heads up on the habitat issue. I am just learning about how all these puzzle pieces fit together.

    If only we had a picture of the completed puzzle on the box cover?

    The whole shooting range issue is beginning to smell very, very bad.

    Too bad so much of the parks bond money has been spent already. Scarce resources always makes for cranky people.

  29. One thing I am pretty sure about is that when the voters approved the parks bond, they had no idea that a world-class shooting facility was part of the deal.

    Because it wasn’t.

    This is a new wrinkle and a steroidal reaction to a very real lack of a place for people who would like to enjoy shooting pistols and rifles without bothering their neighbors or endangering anyone.

    This shooting range proposal seems to me to be something more appropriate for a private group to take on. And it appears that a private group (TSSC)has. They just want the county to buy the property for them. How nice of us.

    I would really like to know more about the genesis of this entire proposal, wouldn’t you?

    Could somebody show me the money/influence trail on this puppy? Inquiring minds and all that….

  30. Based on Andy G’s theory, no county parks should ever be purchased, as none ever pay for themselves.
    A baseball field, soccer field, etc. costs about 3K a year, just to cut the grass on it. So why don’t we sell those parks to private interests? Oh, wait. Nobody will pay to watch little Chaz or Caitlin kick a Brazilian ball around on the grass. That’s why.

    Their parents sure won’t pay to maintain those fields, because the soccer moms and dads believe the “community” owes it to them, because they are “environmentally sensitive Global thinkers”.

    The true facts are, the county would still own the land, and would gain the benefit from the improvements to the property, plus earn money, rather than pouring it down the drain.

    How much does each soccer field user pay the county for usage of a soccar field during a game Andy G?

    The answer is Zero. Could part of the environmental wacko opposition be that they feel the county has to be altruistic and LOSE money on each park so the environmental wackos can feel good about no profit being involved so the county can not run in the red on something? Is it somehow more “sensitive” to throw money down a well?

    And to claim that the shooting sports center should not be built because the bond proposal did not specifically mention shooting sports, would also mean that no other sports park can be built. So lets just have $8 Million bucks of land taken off the tax rolls, so (1) No human can ever use it or step foot on it, and (2) The Obama-like “environmental banking credits” can be used to destroy other warbler and vireo habitat owned by developers because they can bribe the county by giving them some money to “swap” warbler habitat, and then destroy it.

    The shooting sports center would preserve the habitat, but that isn’t really the goal is it?

  31. Django, give it up. You are clearly biased but just don’t have the courage to stand up and state who you support politically.

    You state that Barton “seems always to be attempting to portray himself as someone the people will benefit from having in public office.” Really? Then how do you explain Judge Sumter’s often quoted phrase, “My office may be in the County Courthouse, but the citizens own the building.” Do you really buy into that? How can you be so terribly naive? You must have been taking lessons at the feet of the O’Dellian Oracle.

  32. Who knew, when did they know, what did they knew etc. For many months, probably August of this year it was known that the 1,400 acre tract was being actively marketed by a developer (land usually is). At about that time I rec’d a call from my commissioner letting me know that the habitat proposal was being considered as was a shooting location. I like Wil a lot, he does a good job but I and other neighbors met and have let him know in no uncertain terms that we were united in our opposition to any shooting component to this proposal. There is no chicanery involved when you know that a call for proposal(s) has been issued to know that a realtor/developer is going to try and sell his land. Have I seen the proposals? No, but I want to. As for the shooting committee, I think that there ought to be a discussion at the next 4-H meeting because people keep wanting to involve them in this. My kids are in 4-H (horses primarily) and as sure as I am that no one wants to mislead anyone, in my conversations with the 4-H folks, this is not their fight. As to the safety issues, call and ask DPS Public Information office how many rounds got loose from their range over the years. 512-424-2000. Ask the barber down the road about the bullet through this window and that was with baffles, high walls etc. Better yet, have a meeting and I will bring the folks that know to talk facts, not studies. There is a San Marcos man who got shot a while back by someone shooting at a safe range (a little more than a half mile away) by either an NRA expert (his testimony) or by the other shooter (military firearms “expert”). Both said the other did it. The point is the neighbors around the 1,400 acres don’t want the exposure to the noise and the potential of the inadvertant and errant bullets. Good luck on finding a sight that you can afford with your own money. Merry Christmas, CES

  33. Let me first preface this with: I am not an enviromento-nut job/left-wing thing(whatever that means in our little county). I really have to wonder how many times Chuck Roast reads his posts. Probably over and over and again. I’ve got news for chuck roast: Your posts are ridiculous. You don’t seem to have enough guts to know what is right and wrong, but just enough thoughtfulness to spit out insults. You really don’t have much of a connection with this land below our feet do ya? We are so lucky to be able to live in a beautiful environment. But there you go taking things out of context and then making fun of nature. What an absurd thing to do. You discredit yourself. I will go ahead and state that I do hunt, I do fish, I do shoot rifles and pistols for recreation, I do mountain bike on our so-called “tricycle trails”, I do take my hunting dog out to our greenspaces for his sake, and I do pick up his poop. It is a wonder of mine if you will see me as a tough guy or a girly-man. Whatever the case, please judge me and all things with respect.

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