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February 2nd, 2012
Hays County activist O’Dell dies in motor scooter wreck


Hays County political gadfly Charles O’Dell died Wednesday after his motor scooter collided with a sports utility vehicle at Hopkins and North streets in San Marcos.

O’Dell, a 75-year-old Dripping Springs area retiree, was pronounced dead shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday after he was transported to Central Texas Medical Center.

Charles O’Dell

According to Sgt Brandon Winkenwerder, O’Dell was traveling east on Hopkins around 4:15 p.m, on a Kymco Grand Vista Motor Scooter behind another vehicle approaching the North Street intersection.

A westbound Dodge Durango driven by Joshua Matthew Eismann, 22, of New Braunfels, attempted to turn left on North Street and struck O’Dell’s motor scooter, knocking O’Dell off the cycle.

He was taken by ambulance to CTMC where he was pronounced dead by Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace JoAnn Prado shortly before 5 p.m.

As the self-appointed leader of an organization he called HaysCAN, O’Dell distinguished himself in his last decade as an activist in county politics, deploying an incendiary mix of accusation and innuendo in support of his chosen candidates, which included former County Judge Elizabeth Sumter and, for a time, County Judge Bert Cobb.

Casting himself in the role of kingmaker and spoiler, O’Dell was at the center of one local legal and political drama after another. His small cadre of supporters saw him as a fearless and dogged crusader against corruption but those he targeted thought he was a reckless provocateur without shame or scruples. Officials he aided politically, Sumter and Cobb included, later appeared to regret accepting his help after he turned on them with alarming swiftness.

In a 2007 lawsuit against the county’s commissioners court, San Marcos restauranteur Nicholas Ramus accused O’Dell of orchestrating an effort backed by Sumter to illegally revoke Ramus’ septic permit as a reward to political supporter Carolyn Logan, who has an ongoing feud with Ramus. The commissioners court later voted to settle the suit on undisclosed terms.

The saga of the neighbors on the Old Bastrop Highway warring over a septic tank continues to be a theme running through local politics even as the county urbanizes and the population pushes toward a quarter million. As his theories became ever wilder in recent years, O’Dell accused a county inspector caught up in the Ramus septic tank affair of plotting to murder an intruder at his home and other county officials of covering up the homicidal scheme.

In 2009, O’Dell won an action before the Texas Third Court of Appeals appealing his conviction in municipal and county courts of violating the city of Dripping Spring’s sign ordinance during a protest of the Belterra subdivision.

Amber Land, a Texas State sophomore, told the University Star that she witnessed the collision on Wednesday and attempted to render aid to the victim, who she said was breathing but unresponsive immediately following the accident.

Eismann was cited for failure to yield the right of way. The San Marcos fire department, San Marcos-Hays County EMS and SMPD Collision Investigation Team responded to the scene.

This is the second fatal accident in San Marcos in 2012. On Jan. 17, pedestrian Juan Gonzales, 67, was struck and killed while attempting to cross Texas 123.

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86 thoughts on “Hays County activist O’Dell dies in motor scooter wreck

  1. This disgraceful excuse for a newstory about the death of one of my friend, mentor and hero, Dr. Charles O’Dell is beyond the scope of objective journalism.

    Charles O’Dell was a man of principle, intellect and possessed the courage to stand up against corruption and cronyism in Hays County government, and for this he was vilified incessantly in this publication.

    When I man sees wrongdoing and has the cajones to say it out loud, he invites the wrath of the Powers That Be and their lackeys in the press, like Brad Rollins.

    Brad, you would been blessed to know Charles the way we did, as the thoughtful, funny, courageous, honest friend who called them as he saw them and called the out when they needed it.

    The world has lost a hero….a great man is gone.

  2. Shame on you, Mr. Rollins, for such an ugly, snide article. Charles was indeed a thorn in the side of anyone he believed to be involved in bad governance, and I can appreciate that some people didn’t like him. I had many arguments with Charles myself, but I always admired that he held himself and others to the same high standard. Maybe it was an impossibly high standard, but he didn’t cut friends any more slack than he did foes. We could “disagree without being disagreeable.”
    Charles believed passionately in transparent, open government, and when deals were done that didn’t fall in that definition, he diligently dug and dug. I may not have always agreed with him, but I admired his passion to stick true to his principles. I could have wished for some compromises sometimes from Charles, but he really was the “real deal.” No “astroturf” activism for him- he found the funding for HaysCan from other like-minded citizens and worked countless hours to force open government, or at least wake Hays County folks up to when it wasn’t happening.
    Even if you didn’t like him, you could at least realize that for his family and friends, this is a devastating loss, and a tacky article about his death does not show you to be anything good.
    He will be missed.

  3. I agree with the comments on the article. If someone cares about their community, who is anyone to judge them WHEN THEY HAVE PASSED from this planet. It would be nice if good vibrations were sent vs. nasty news articles from a po-dunk media outlet.

  4. Mr. Rollins, Because you evidently are unaware of the ordinary decencies, allow me to help. When someone dies tragically, it is generally considered uncivilized to take the occasion to bash them for holding political beliefs to which you do not subscribe. It inflicts pain on the friends, family and others who are grieving at their loss. The article you have written is particularly odious because the individual you have attacked is no longer able to defend himself. This goes so far beyond the common parlance of “kicking someone when they are down” that there is no phrase in English that I know of that adequately describes it. I fear that your article says a great deal more about you than it does about Dr.O’Dell.

  5. Ah, the dilemma of the press when a public figure passes away. I don’t envy the position the staff here finds themselves in right now.

    The article isn’t flattering, but it appears to be factually correct. So is it more important to relay the facts of the way O’Dell led his public life or to be sensitive to the fact that a man just lost his life and gloss over the proverbial warts?

    I think either way, someone’s going to be angry.

  6. Brad you must have been one of Charles targets….hell, you barely even mention that he got ran over by a 22 year old that will walk away with maybe $150 ticket for “failure to yield right of way”. (i.e. he KILLED somebody). You should apply at the Austin Statesman…as you show great promise in writing one sided articles, which they love.

  7. I don’t think anything in here is bashing O’Dell and certainly not for his political views. I’m just trying to explain what I knew about him. His supporters obviously are going to feel differently, but I’m not going to use any “ink” to lionize someone whose nonconstructive and self-serving influence I’ve witnessed repeatedly over the years.

  8. I don’t think it’s fair to demonize the young man who was driving the other car. He has enough emotional baggage to deal with right now.

    There are more complete (though not by much) descriptions of the accident on other sites, and there was nothing anywhere that makes this sound like anything more than a tragic accident.

    From the sound of it, the kid simply didn’t see O’Dell on his scooter as he started to make a left turn. Other accounts mention that O’Dell was riding “behind another vehicle” – perhaps it was a larger vehicle that hid him?

    Those little scooters are dangerous simply because they’re so hard to see. They must have some range though – O’Dell was listed as living in Dripping Springs, but he was riding his scooter in downtown San Marcos? That’s a heck of a scooter ride.

  9. I came across the blocked off road last night and went around on Hopkins St last night. I am saddened to hear that someone died there. It is of concern to me that this online newspaper chose to pump up the muckraking and brought up some of the more colorful facts at this time. Have you lost your minds there at the San Marcos Mercury? We like some of your reporting, but this is beyond any good taste…..

  10. What a tacky, politically-driven article.

    I know that Scott Gregson (see Hays County Democratic Party) is an owner of this newspaper; but what a terrible way to push an agenda.

  11. My condolences to the O’Dell Family. This is a tragedy and I am so sorry for your loss.

    If I understand correctly, the young man driving the vehicle that struck Mr. O’Dell would have been facing directly into the setting sun at the time he was in that spot on Hopkins St. Unfamiliarity with local streets and youthful driving habits may have become a deadly combination at that moment.

    I also agree that the wording of the story was a bit over the top, but the real story to me was the loss of life on a pleasant afternoon and why things like that happen.

  12. Brad, sorry, but your language was too harsh for a death notice/obituary. I didn’t know O’Dell, but even just skimming your article, you definitely portray him as a narcissistic trouble maker. I echo Bruce Renfro’s sentiments. Sorry.

  13. @San Martian,

    Scott Gregson has very little to do with the Mercury to my understanding, and nothing to do with this story. He started Newstreamz, which later was sold to the Mercury. Grow up.

  14. A tasteless display by Rollins and an equally tasteless reflection on Gregson if he keeps Rollins on the staff.

    All I can do is send a copy of Rollins’ story to every member of the Journalism faculty at Texas State so this moment of shame on the part of Rollins and Gregson might be turned into a teachable moment for students.

  15. Poor Scott gets blamed for everything on this site that people object to. I’ll be happy to take your arrows; Scott’s not to blame for this or anything else.

  16. I appreciate that Charles O’Dell stirred things up and created dialogue in life and in death. I will say that I never agreed with anything he said, but defended his right to say it. Yes, Hays County has lost a burr under its saddle (And indeed, we ALL need those burrs!) – and he will be missed.

    Today, as I read this story and all of the comments, I have to think that he would love to know that he has yet again stirred people up enough to step up and speak out. I venture to guess that if it had been a regular obituary (which this was not intended to be) in the local newspapers listing survivors and service times, dialogue would not have been this energetic, nor would it have crossed as many party lines as this thread does.

    So, while we may not all agree with all that was written, isn’t public outcry and response what Charles O’Dell was most passionate about?

    Good job, Brad.

  17. Rollin’s self defense in which he called Charles O’Dell self serving, vicious and non-constructive could not be further from the truth. I knew Charles for years, and I an assure you I do not know what his “political” views were…except that he was on the side of honesty and fair play and against the side of those who were taking advantage of their elected positions to improve their own situations. I can also assure you that there was no till in which he had his hand stuck.

    Those taking advantage of his tragic death to attack him are those who have hated being watched too closely. Watching was the job he was trying to do, and he did it well. I can only hope someone with Charles O’Dell’s honesty, courage and energy will step up to continue the work he was doing. The county needs it.

  18. I am sorry that someone lost their life in this fashion on Hopkins. Sometimes driving in SM is like bumper cars. Since I did not know the man, I do not find anything wrong with this article. I learned that he had his beliefs and they were very important to him. Reading the comments makes me think that several of you seem to be on the defensive. I think the press has a very hard job. They have to give an overview of the terrible accident and educate someone like me who did not know Mr. O’Dell.

  19. While I feel for the family and friends of Mr. O’Dell, I fear that negative comments about him – even during this time – are simply proof that you do indeed reap what you sow.

    Remember when John O’Quinn died a couple years back? Charles posted a comment on the story that was chock full of the exact sort of accusations and innuendo that Brad mentions in this article. Among his comments:

    “King O’Quinn is dead. Long live the king.”

    “The death of O’Quinn changes the dynamics of Hays County politics because (Charles)Soechting has lost his base of power to threaten others who disagree with him in his conquest for complete control.”

    “If regular citizens of Hays County want clean, open government that works for them, the outlook is brighter now.”

    Charles closed his post with “I wish no ill to any person, but I accept what fate offers up.”

    My response at the time was, ironically, “I hope for the sake of your family that no one offers a eulogy for you similar to the one you just posted for O’Quinn.”


  20. Very courageous and true article Mr. Rollins! Mr. O’Dell was a very twisted and miserable person who devoted his life to ruining others. If he couldn’t find a legitimate way to drag someone though the mud, he never hesitated making up his own story. It was a horrible way to die but hopefully he will be happier somewhere else.

  21. I’d wager that a big chunk of you came here looking for exactly what you claim to be so incensed about. Otherwise, what did you expect to find? What paper do you think you’re reading? Thanks Dano for digging out some typical past O’Dell posts. You could fill a book with the paranoid untrue accusations Mr. O’Dell made. I think Brad went easy on him.

  22. It did sound a little slanted, but O’Dell didn’t seem to make a lot of friends based on his history of pursuing evil windmills.

  23. I have to agree with some of the comments re: the tone of the article. Very tasteless. I had more than my fair share of run ins with Mr. O’Dell. I certainly wouldn’t take a time like this to get some final shots in.

    The reality is, we need more people who are as engaged and involved as he was, some of us would just prefer that those people held our same views.

    RIP Mr. O’Dell.

  24. Dano, I would extend your same wish to Brad, that, for his family’s sake, someone is not waiting in the wings to publish a similar obit one day.

  25. I have to agree with some of the comments re: the tone of the article. Very tasteless. I had more than my fair share of run ins with Mr. O’Dell. I certainly wouldn’t take a time like this to get some final shots in.

    The reality is, we need more people who are as engaged and involved as he was, some of us would just prefer that those people held our same views.

    RIP Mr. O’Dell.

  26. “The reality is, we need more people who are as engaged and involved as he was, some of us would just prefer that those people held our same views.”

    Well said Ted!

  27. I hope that the young woman Amber Land understands how comforting she must have been to the man as he lay injured on the ground.

  28. I am so sad to hear of Dr. O’Dell’s death. I was very fond of him, and also admired him. I find the tone of this article unconscionable. And there is a difference between what people might say in comments, and what a JOURNALIST says. RIP Charles, and my sympathies to Susan O’Dell and all who loved him.

  29. I disagree. I don’t think its any more acceptable for a poster to trash someone in commentary on an article than it is for the author to do so in the article itself. Either way, the spirit behind the attack is the same and either way it’s out there for everyone to read.

    The Internet is, after all, a breeding ground for impolite discourse. If you think this is bad, you should see what was said about Joe Paterno after his passing a couple weeks back….

  30. De mortuis nihil nisi bonum, because you too will be there one day, and unable to defend yourself. And karma is a big fat bit@h.

  31. Charles Odell was the most self serving individuals in Hays County! He took pleasure in bringing anyone down who he disliked, and would prove his point by lying. Does anyone wonder why his conspiracy theories were never taken up by a legitimate news source? It’s because they were ALL made up in his mind. Many say he was an evil man and evil energy comes back around to haunt you. Maybe that’s true, but maybe he was just mentally off kilter. Hopefully the latter is how a higher being will judge him.

  32. I personally think the article was pretty tasteless and said many unnecessary and inappropriate things, especially now, so soon after Mr. O’Dell’s tragic death. I did not know Mr. O’Dell. But I knew his wife, Susan – an incredible woman who loved him deeply. I can’t imagine the pain, shock and heartache that she and her family must be going through now. It is sad for me to think that she had to see a story like this less than 24 hours after losing her best friend and husband, especially after losing him in such a tragic way. Yes, Brad Rollins and everyone else is entitled to their own opinions. But have some consideration and compassion for the people that have to read it so soon after this truly sad event – especialy those people that are directly affected by it.

  33. Those of you posting tacky comments about Charles O’Dell really didn’t know Charles the way his friends and cohorts did, and that is too bad.

    Charles garnered the ire of local politicians precisely because he called them on the carpet when he saw them serving themselves at the public trough. Too many people get themselves into public office and then turn on their constituencies in favor of the people who show up with money in hand and this is what we have all seen happen time and again.

    Charles was not afraid of anyone and he never stopped trying to cajole our politicians, and the bureaucrats who actually do the day-to-day work of government, to stay honest in the face of financial temptation. He was (and still is) feared and disliked for the fact that he would get hold of public records (through Open Records requests) and show plainly what was going on behind the backs of the citizens.

    This particular blog, and its flawed sense of what journalism is supposed to be, was always on his case, because their political darlings, like the Bartons, were the worst offenders. Charles saw through this local charade and called it as he saw it.

    Charles O’Dell, for those of you who never met him, shared a beer or an afternoon with him, was a kind, compassionate, funny, caring, incredibly logical man whose intellect was beyond compare. His choice was to stay on a trail, despite the dangers to himself, and to track down malfeasance and outright corruption, which is rampant in this County. Now that he is not here to do this, others will need to step up and fill his shoes.

    Charles was my friend, as he was to countless citizens of this County and beyond and the pathetic attempts by Brad Rollins or Jeff Barton or the tacky posters on this blog to defame this man….will fail, because the Truth Will Out….and Charles would not have had it any other way.

  34. Reports from friends who saw the scene immidately after it happened say that mr o’dell was not wearing a helmet. He was also doing a lot of things that bike riders never do. Why ride on Hopkins when safer alternatives like San Antonio, or Belvin streets are available ? Helmets save lives. I am constantly gently chiding my younger friends to wear helmets, and to have proper lights when riding their bikes at nite. I love riding my bike to do a lot of daily errands here in San Marcos. I ride on main streets some, but take any safer alternative that exists. I always wear my helmet. A helmet saved my life on a caving expedition in Oaxaca in 1989.

    Tacky comments ? I guess it is repayment in kind. mr o’dell was never one to act properly , even when death was involved. Look up his comments after the chestnut street home invasion shootings or several other similar cases.

    but now all that is over it is the past it’s history….time to move on

  35. Although I have seen Mr. O’dell post some outright hateful and distasteful comments, I will tip my hat to Charles, someone who at least cared enough about what he believed in and ACTED on those beliefs, day in and day out.

    It is eerie that he and Mr. O Quinn both died in accidents that could have been easily prevented.

  36. I was in the vehicle immediately behind Dr. O’dell when he was struck and I can tell you without a doubt that he was wearing a helmet, gloves, a leather jacket and a fluorescent vest. I’d never met him but he has been in my prayers ever since. May God rest his soul and bless his family, friends and foes.

  37. Frank: you show respect for your fellow human being whether you know him or not. That’s honorable. It’s something that is going to be ingrained in your mind and will have an impact on your life forever.

  38. Charles was my friend. He hated corruption and in case you are still naive and not paying attention, Hays County and the players who run it for their gain need exposing. He knew how deep and how far astray from public input the politics of District 45 State Representation, Hays County, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda and Dripping Springs traveled. It has been more than a year since we spoke, and on Wednesday afternoon his name entered my mind and I thought I should call him and catch up. Wish I had. I am thinking of you Susan and your sons as well. A great American has passed.

  39. Rollins, the FACT that you don’t comprehend what you did in your article underscores your lack of respect and humanity. You did NOT merely put in “the facts” as you stated. The first half of your article is fine. The next several paragraphs are NOT all facts. The adjectives are your own many issues and ill feelings about Charles O’Dell.

    That 2nd part could have been written with some humanity, which obviously you lack as a person.

    When you die I wonder if your family would be happy to hear someone write a negative slant on what a weenie you were in life.

  40. No, this article was fine and barely touched the surface of the miserable man. I didn’t see any positive articles about Osama when he died. This is no different…except for scale. A book could be written about his atrocities. His followers and friends support him because they only saw his good side. I’m sure he was great with cocktail and conversation …so was Al Capone with his friends . Charles was a smooth dirty operator for sure. He really went too far when he put peoples lives in danger with his quests for vengeance and infamy

  41. Ms. Raleigh,

    I can only wonder what in the world did Charles ever do to you for you to say such things about him?

    Charles generally directed his attention to those in public office or in the employ of the government…or those who were using the government for their own ends.

    Are you in one of those categories or are you simply talking out of your tailpipe?

  42. Ms majorca Im not talking out of my ass. If you want to really find out the details of his evil side go talk individually with people he hurt and you find out.

  43. Charles O’Dell. He called others sociopaths. He said in open court that I should be disbarred. Just because you die I don’t think you should get a pass. I think he got what he deserved.

  44. I was directed to this website and received information that there are witnesses to this accident that we are not aware of. After reading one of these posts I see that might be true. If anyone witnessed the accident I ask you to contact the San Marcos Police Department and ask for one of the investigators assigned to the case they are Officer Sam Myers, Officer Chris Tankersley, and Sergeant Brandon Winkenwerder. Please understand that our duty hours are evenings and nights and that our days on duty rotate every few days. So the best way to contact one of us is by calling the nonemergency number at 512 753 2108 and telling the dispatcher that you would like to leave a voice mail message for one of us. We will contact you as soon as we can. If you saw the accident it is important that we get your statement recorded so that it can become part of investigation.

    Thank you,

    Sergeant Brandon Winkenwerder

  45. In his death, much like his life, COD has garnered more attention than he deserved, His death, while tragic for his family and the young man involved in the accident, has reminded this community just what a divisive person COD was. I intentionally did not refer to him as a figure. To recount alI the false, misleading and reprehensible things that COD said and did would require a special edition newspaper. The alleged investigative skills of COD were that of a bungling and mean spirited hack. I’ve been involved with politics for a long time and understand the the nature of it but just being on the other side of an issue from COD meant, in his mind, that you were a corrupt crook. I vividly remember when COD called Jacqueline dishonest without a shred, scintilla or iota of evidence. I remember when on the occasion of my friend/employer’s (John O’Quinn) death, COD gleefully and crazily wrote that I would no longer be able to control the local “state and district judges” (as if I ever had controlled a single decision). COD never quite got it that in law usually one side won and one side lost. Let’s see, then there was the County Judge and Commissioner’s Court that was engaged in ” illegal actions” with me (never quite understood that one), and the list went on and on and on. COD was no investigator seeking the truth but rather more like a bomb thrower and, IMHO, a couple of cowardly elected officials gave in to him out of fear. He was not much different than a modern day, small town Joe McCarthy.

    The saddest commentary that I have heard about the death of COD is the number of people who have questioned the fact that, not only did they not feel sad about COD’s death, but that they didn’t feel bad at all. I haven’t heard a single person say they were happy, wished him dead, or anything of the sort, but so many have said they just didn’t feel bad at all.

    In closing, we are lucky that this wasn’t a hit and run accident with no witnesses, otherwise it would be another chance for conspiratist to concoct a conspiracy and falsely accuse some innocent person of a crime. “After all, you know it happened right in front of Soechting’s office—explain that if you can!!!” Actually, I moved out of that building 2 months ago and was in Houston that day but COD was not one to let the truth get in the way of a good conspiracy. “You know that he was on his way to file an Open Records Request!” So what, he did that all the time.

    RIP COD and may your family have the peace that you seldom saw fit to give to others. As for Brad Rollins, Brad, you accurately reported the facts and the facts are the facts. You should be commended for writing the truth about the life and death of an unsavory character who routinely tested the beauty of the Right of Free Speech.

  46. Wow, sure see allot of sinners casting the first stone. Un-believable. I did not agree with much the Spirit who now RIP. However, do remember the story of Jesus, while being crucified, forgave two criminals who were to his left and right on their own crosses. To bad the newstreams readers sitting comfortably in front of their monitors cannot emulate the teachings of their Master. Instead they spout poison keyboard rhetoric. I hope you too are forgiven. Pray for compassion, forgive your enemies because you do NOT want to take such hate into your NEXT world.

  47. Charles Soechting… and how many people did YOU step on and antagonize during your own political endeavors? Of course you only used facts in your assaults and attacks as you climbed the political ladder, right? At best, you are a hypocrite. At worst…

  48. Soechting, talk about paranoid!

    To my knowledge, no one has accused you of having any involvement in the death of Dr. O’Dell, despite it having happened in front of your office.

    You are truly a piece of work, there Soechting. What a man…you should be ashamed of yourself.

  49. Vidaloca or whoever you really are. The answer to your question is I don’t think I stepped on anyone but I surely antagonized a bunch of people. Those that I antagonized were to the best of my recollection defeated in their races so I was apparently in a majority of like thinking people. I am pretty sure that those that I “antagonized” would just as soon leave those stories in the past.

    As to Majorca, you apparently missed my intent. I know it didn’t happen like that because I was relying on the facts about how the accident happened. I was referencing how COD often put 2 + 2 together and came up with a bizarre theory. Me. paranoid? Afraid not.

    You can debate, say whatever you want but none of that will change the facts about the life and death of Mr. O’Dell.

  50. Charles Soechting is right. Charles Soechting has been a true leader in our community for years. Charles O’Dell just showed up in 1999 and decided he was the savior.

    Charles O’Dell was damaged. Hitler was damaged too and he had supporters too. They drank beer with him at the Hauf Brau in Munich.

    Where is the funeral? I might want to exercise my free speech rights!!!!!

  51. Hitler? Really? Wow, get a grip (and maybe study a little history so you don’t get quite so hysterical).
    So many soul-less, vengeful, self-serving comments regarding a human being who died so tragically.
    Is this how all democrats are, or are just the Hays County democrats so crass towards a suffering family?

  52. Charles got too close to what was going on behind closed doors, which is difficult to do, since those walking quorums and private phone calls are hard to monitor. This County is like the Wild West, where small-time operators have escaped public scrutiny for far too long.

    Jacqueline (you used to be the attorney up at the CC, right?): I remember your being a real toady for Jim Powers and the rest of that cast of crony characters that Charles found helping themselves at public expense when he finally did get to Hays County. Besides, the fact that some people had been playing at this corrupt game for years doesn’t make me feel any better.

    Charles did this community an invaluable service to actually be witness to what was going on week after blessed week at the Hays County Commissioners Court, along with the DS City Council and some P&Z committees.

    The general public doesn’t have the time or the inclination to witness what goes on in their name and with their money, but Charles decided to spend his retirement years doing just this. What he found out was not pretty and the reaction he got (is still getting) from those whose behavior was suddenly made public was equally ugly.

    That he uncovered plenty of unsavory goings-on was understandably not to your liking, Mr. Soechting, Jacqueline, Judge Powers, Tom Pope, Jeff Barton and others, you all had been doing this stuff in private for years.

    Until Charles O’Dell showed up, out of nowhere it must have seemed, to shine a light into some of those questionable alliances and deals, you guys had been getting away with murder. In fact, one of you actually did.

    Charles had an uncanny knack for connecting the dots and this can be anathema to someone who hopes nobody is paying attention as they make a deal with this one or, hire that one or steer a lucrative contract here or there…and most of the time, nobody is the wiser.

    Well, for at least a decade, Hays County had somebody who was paying attention. I guess you guys can breathe a sigh of relief and go back to the back room deals knowing Charles will not be filing an Open Records request to find out who just screwed the public.

    Hays County citizens will now have to do this work themselves, but Charles showed us how and why it is important to keep an eye on those entrusted with our tax money and our governmental decisions.

    I wouldn’t completely relax, Soechting, Barton or the rest of you, Charles has started a new trend: Making Hays County government transparent and accountable.

  53. Charles and Jaqueline are spot on in their assements of COD. While his death was tragic, that does not dismiss the repeated lies and innuendo he spread about so many people. He was a very misguided individual.

  54. Agreed Majorca : Charles O created many villains during his time. He knew that he couldnt be convicted of perjury due to the fact that he didnt have to be sworn in at Hays County Commissioners Court or Dripping Springs City council (as if that would have mattered).
    He never earned the credibility to make it to a criminal court, as his accusations were always 100% baseless. (sorry Charles, your lies didnt get you far in a court of law)

    Look at his latest criminal accusation in which all 150-200 pages of Charles’ extensive research were actually published. Yes he probably spent months doing the research and it was quite a bundle of “proof”. The only problem was that not a shred of it had anything to do with what he was trying to prove. (I challenge any doubters to read the whole mumbo jumbo) Again, he could never let facts get in his way. And when no action was taken he could once again be able to scream a conspiracy.

    His frustration In trying to prove his side of the story, when there was no story, is probably what did him in. He was chasing windmills on his final day.
    Yes, he could connect the dots. He would sneak his (created) dots in when no one was looking. He had an excellent knack of convincing a few people, who believed him, and who didn’t have the time to look into the facts.

    In the end, all turned out well. He never killed anyone….His non defensive scooter riding skills are going to have a great impact on a young man, who should also have been more careful. And Lord hope there’s not a person in the world dishonest enough to fill his shoes.
    And BTW, the name, Hitler, written in the above comment is not out of line. I’ve heard the comparison many many times… Hitler also convinced many people in his quest for what was “Right”.

  55. Please, compare O’Dell with Jesus is a little way to much even for a conservative trouble maker like you Mrs. Coppoletta. Keep it real!
    Even-though the accident was unfortunate, San Marcos is better without him anyway.

  56. From Wikipedia –

    Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies[1][2]) is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990[2] that has become an Internet adage. It states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”[2][3] In other words, Godwin observed that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably criticizes some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs held by Hitler and the Nazis.

  57. SMsince95, thanks for sharing the Wikipedia description of Godwin’s law. I will take credit for the inclusion of Hitler into the discussion. It is the result of spending years not being able to defend myself as a public servant in the face of O’Dell’s malicious accusations.

    Majesta, I recall being called a toady previously, maybe by Erin Foster. It was my pleasure to be a toady for the Hays County Commissioners Court.

    Brad, I think your article needs to be expanded and distributed more widely. Maybe Texas Monthly.

  58. @ D. Deforth

    The Spirit, who is now RIP, was not compared to Jesus, but to the two men literally bearing their own crosses to the left and the right of the Master during His final moments. And, while HE exercised compassion, it is puzzling why some posting online cannot exercise compassion for a man who is now passed from this world.

    Keep casting those first stones to take with you in the next world when you are in the presence of the King of Kings.

  59. Lisa Marie,

    I never had the privilege of engaging with you when your husband was accusing my ex-husband of being a drug-dealer. I can tell you that Ruben is many things, a drug dealer is not one of them. You seem to speak so freely about Jesus. Where do you get your expertise?

  60. toad·y/ˈtōdē/
    A person who behaves obsequiously to someone important.

    Act in an obsequious way.


    noun. sycophant – bootlicker – lickspittle – groveller
    verb. fawn – adulate – flatter

  61. HI Jacqueline, EVERY SLAP (A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP)) filed in the 80s was dropped after evidence was submitted. Since you are an attorney, I don’t recall you ever filing a SLAP suit or any sort of suit against my husband on behalf of your husband.

    As far as my expertise on Spiritual matters, it appears that ALL major world religious preach compassion over hate. I’m embarrassed by some of the comments attacking a dead man. Go ahead and try to attack me. I’m still alive and can defend myself.

  62. Possibly because it may have been simply, and tragically, an accident?

    I’m not trying to be flip…this person will have to live with causing a man’s death for the rest of their life. This is no small thing. If no gross negligence was seen by the police, what else would you wish done to this person?

    I’m sure that every person who’s ever been behind the wheel has had a near miss (possibly unnoticed) that could have caused a similar tragedy. A millisecond’s inattention is all it takes.

    Let’s hope this serves as a reminder to all of us to slow down and pay attention when we’re traveling around, whether we’re on foot, bike, moped or car. Condolences to all those involved and their families.

  63. While not a fan of COD, in fact we disagreed often, I was shocked to learn of his death on this forum last week. More shocked by the tone of the “article” Poor taste at best.

    I found COD’s comments on the death of John O’Quinn in poor taste as well. So perhaps it is just karma.

    I did not buy into the vast majority of COD’s conspiracies. But reflecting now on how some have responded to the news of his death, perhaps I should have.

    I’ve found, that for me personally, taking pleasure in anothers misfortune is not good for my well being.

  64. +1

    It is remarkable, and sad, that people seem to have no trouble recognizing bad behavior in others, and then repeating it themselves.

  65. My goodness…
    What hath Charles O’Dell wrought?
    God bless him for stirring the political pot, because like it or not, it needs to be stirred, always… But credit where credit is due and realize that the few folks here posting the negative comments came forth not because of who Charles was or wasn’t, or because of what he did or didn’t, but rather because Brad Rollins is such a terrible, terrible writer. As the writer, Brad Rollins triggered this stream with his rant disguised as an article, not Charles with his life. (One really cannot use the term “journalist” here because it is obvious that with this, Mr. Rollins proves that he is not. It would be almost akin to calling Rush Limbaugh a journalist and for the record, I’ve not met Brad to my knowledge, nor ever even heard of until now, since I have not hardly even read the Mercury until tonight…)

    Sadly, while many thought Charles was merely connecting dots, (which I happen to know he often did and even accurately..but not every time at all and no doubt about this either), and while some thought he was chasing evil windmills or was evil chasing windmills, take your pick, and still others seemed to feel he was just out to drop a grenade under their knickers for the fun of it; the reality is that at this particular moment in time, Mr. Rollins had no business writing what he did and in the way he did. This applies to others here as well. It’s commonly called, “bad taste” Add to this the childish arguments from folks like Charles Soetching and Mr. Rollins that this is also just what Mr. O’Dell did, thus justifying their own rancid behavior in this blog is… well…childish. But to Mr. O’Dell’s post mortem credit it has belied the character of these authors in no uncertain terms. Bravo Charley O’Dell, even in passing on, you got others to reveal their truer selves, even more accurately than you could have in life, whether intended or not. No wonder you perhaps didn’t like them, nor they perhaps you, being the pretty savvy judge of character or lack thereof, that you often were. Rest in Peace Charley. You called them like you saw them, sometimes spot on, sometimes a little left (or right) of the dial, but at least you got up off your behind and did something. You will be missed.
    Rob Baxter

  66. Cori, Watson, Dano

    I think your answers to LMC and JM is spot on. It was a tragic accident for everyone involved. Accident being the key word.

    Had there been any malice or mind altering substances, there would be several appropriate, severe, charges that could be sought.

    The other driver will have to live with this the rest of his life AND could face damages in civil litigation. He is nowhere near being off easy. I dont know him, but I grieve for him as well. Call it the compassion I have learned from Jesus.

    Being out there after the fact a day later does have the sun in your eyes as you travel west on Hopkins as pointed out previously. Larger vehicles do mask smaller vehicles behind them. The front pillar of the windshields hide motorcylists and their riders, especially when at an angle like this accident must have been. These visibilty factors are a big part of the motorcycle safety courses that all riders should take to learn accident avoidance. Does this make COD at fault for not avoiding what could have been anticiapted? NOT AT ALL. Does this mean that you can never get injured riding smartly? NOT AT ALL.

    It is a tragic and sad ACCIDENT.

  67. Hey Coppoletta Troublemaker! This is the way people refer to you. Did you know that? Please calm down… as you can see,the people did not like “him” when he was alive. Why should they change their minds because he passed away. Many many people did not like him the same way they don’t like you because both of you guys are(were) troublemakers in San Marcos with a very bad reputation.

  68. By the way, that was an accident that could happen with you or anyone else. Calling that kid a killer just could came from someone that has never experienced have a baby and doesn’t know what is to be a parent, and never will. No more intolerance, please.

  69. Didn’t know Charles Odell, but I would hope in death he finds peace.

    A Farewell Prayer-
    For all we ought to have thought, and have not thought;
    All we ought to have said, and have not said;
    All we ought to have done, and have not done
    I pray thee God for forgiveness

  70. There is a Latin phrase that instructs one never to speak ill of the dead –“de mortuis nil nisi bonum.” The reason is that that the dead cannot defend themselves. Texas law also has the “Dead Man’s statute” that limits testimony regarding what the deceased may have said during his life. Unfortunately, this forum is not legally, nor apparently morally, obligated to obey either rule, but failing to do so displays the tabloid style Rollins’ is becoming known for—basing articles on innuendo and false statements.

    I am the attorney for the intervenor in the Ramus suit, and here are some of the facts in Ramus versus Hays County that Rollins got wrong. Rollins’ claims that the Commissioners agreed to settle the case for an undisclosed amount. As Mark Kennedy, the Commissioner’s counsel, stated quite specifically at the April 15, 2011, dismissal hearing, the County Commissioners have never approved a settlement, and in fact the case is still pending. Ramus sued the County almost five years ago, and after some initial activity, did nothing on the case for nearly three years. His attorney claimed at the dismissal hearing that they intentionally delayed the case hoping that the 2010 election would provide Commissioners likely to vote for a settlement. This is not the tactic of someone convinced of the merit of his case. The Judge’s letter ruling asked the County’s attorney to prepare an order vacating the previous orders and dismissing the lawsuit. Once signed, this order will finally end the case and effectively end Ramus’ claim that the revocation was illegal. By writing that this case was about an “illegal revocation,” Rollins pre-judges the result and displays his lack of objectivity.

    Rollins also attempts to inflate Ramus’ background from cook to “restauranteur .“ If he had read the testimony from the suit the ever litigious Ramus’ filed against his former employer, Rollins would have discovered that Ramus never ran a restaurant. Ramus cooked for the contractor that operated the Texas State University cafeterias, and when he was demoted and later fired, Ramus sued the company for discrimination. The basis for the discrimination has never been clear since Ramus has at different times described himself as Hispanic or Native American. The best we determined was that he is Greek.

    While exaggerating about Ramus, Rollins failed to mention Ramus’ multiple convictions for public nuisance and his recent conviction for deadly conduct. Every conviction and every citation of Ramus is easily documented by looking at the court file. Rollins either did not look or he knew the facts and is intentionally misleading his readers to bias them against Mr. O’Dell. Ramus is currently on probation for the deadly conduct charge.

    Finally, Rollins claims this is a “feud” as if the dispute is really a personal argument lacking merit instead of one about the health risk to Ms. Logan and her livestock by being downhill from a poorly designed septic. If you look at all of the issues Ms. Logan has complained about over the years, they all stem from the health risks posed by the lack of adequate septic or the vermin associated with junk he was dumping on his lot which is adjacent to the San Marcos High School. On March 14, 2002, Ramus was cited for raw sewage surfacing apparently from a mobile home he kept on the property after another of his neighbors slipped and fell on human feces while rescuing an animal. With respect to the current suit, two independent experts hired by the County wrote reports that conclude his new system will not work. Although people like Rollins try to demonize Mrs. Logan, her concern has always been about living downhill from this mess and her desire to protect her health and livestock.

    Rollins assertions regarding political favors is also laughable. Is he really implying that the big “political favor” Mrs. Logan cut was the enforcement of the septic rules? As favors go, this is pretty weak.

    It is unfortunate, that Texas law holds that the dead cannot be defamed because they can neither give offence nor be offended. Rollins defamatory and poorly investigated piece should at least embarrass his employer.

  71. Mr. Marcin,

    Mr Rollins stated and I quote “voted to settle the suit on undisclosed terms” That does not in anyway insinuate there was money involved. It could mean a multitude of different things. Doesn’t “undisclosed” mean “Not made known or revealed”?

    Everything that Mr. Rollins stated above is just an outline of O’Dell’s life and recent endeavors.

    I really think that you need to go back to the top and re-read the story with a more open mind and not be quite so biased.

    Mr O’Dell’s family are in my prayers.

  72. The COD haters (Jacqueline, Susan, Soechting) and those of their ilk would do well to read the obituary of Dr. O’Dell in today’s Daily Record. Any of you can only hope or pretend to live your life as fully as he did, and your sad contributions to the betterment of this world are figments of your inflated imaginations.
    The immaturity and vindictiveness of certain posters here are showing up under hijacked names in other stories. Please don’t think you are fooling anyone. But you are revealing volumes about yourself.
    I didn’t know Dr. O’Dell nor do I know Lisa Marie Coppaletta. But what you have done to them under cover of a keyboard is unconscionable, but so typical of a democrats character (or lack thereof).

  73. J Horton – My understanding of the Commissioners’ activities from both of its attorneys is that they never voted in favor of a settlement of any kind, money or otherwise. They certainly explored options, but the statements of the Commissioners’ counsel, Mark Kennedy, at the dismissal hearing were very explicit that they never agreed to any terms. I cannot see how Rollins’ statement is anything but false.

  74. I really don’t think there are any COD haters here.. I’ve not seen one thing untrue posted here by the so called “haters” who posted things that didn’t seem positive. I believe COD REALLY was convinced that he had the highest moral standards, and that he left this world not regretting a thing.
    He never gained credibility as he felt that he was the only chooser of who was good or bad..guilty or not guilty in this world. Narcissistic, perhaps? Oftentimes his choices seemed to be guided by those whom he was trying to help get elected… He obviously wanted his wisdom spread. He wasnt afraid of anyone, and was willing to do things that were not morally or ethically right to do harm to those people who he judged to be his enemies …but again…he thought that he was the best one to choose who was morally correct. He had his own brand of morality, free from the encumbrances of conventional religious, moral, ethical, and legal views.
    Is this bad? Or just a different point of view from what most think is responsible?
    He was a maverick for sure and kept people talking.

  75. There are a lot of petty people on this site with petty comments. O’Dell is dead and you still bicker about the person he was and what he did. I guess it shows that he succeeded in his efforts to motivate and jostle people, no matter how shallow and inconsequential they may be.

  76. To Petty: it’s not petty what Charles did to damage and try to discredit people. This is a release for the people who knew who he really was. He seemed to be a lost soul who was trying to find out the bounds of what was right and wrong, but had never found it.

  77. While I agree that some of the comments here have made me uncomfortable, I do have to disagree with “Petty” on his or her one main point….

    After we are dead, all we have is “the person we were and what we did”.

    Charles O’Dell made a career of sorts out of antagonizing people. Some believe he did so wrongly in many cases. So it should come as little surprise when those people don’t weep for his passing. Many of the harshest comments here have been by people who have personally felt the sting of his accusations….and have had to deal with the nuisance of having to defend themselves time and again over what repeatedly turned out to be false claims.

    I was never a target of Charles’ – I really only knew him by his online persona. But that persona was not one that endeared him to me either. As I said earlier, the comments on this thread really are ironic given his comments on the death of O’Quinn….

  78. No no no! People have the right to express their opinions. The truth that very few people liked him. There is nothing wrong with that. He and his political “partners” are the worse people I have ever encountered in my entire life. Why should we said anything good about those people. It does not matter if we are sinners or not because religion has nothing to do with that.

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