Robbins Did Not Publicly Oppose Prop. 6

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 12, 2013

Dear Editor,
    In the Chronicle's Nov. 8 election coverage of Proposition 6 to fund future Texas water projects, your story incorrectly stated that I was part of an active campaign to prevent the measure from passing [“Prop. 6: Rainy Day Flows Downhill,” News]. This is inaccurate. I was not part of the Nix Prop. 6 campaign, and never actually heard the name of the campaign until I read it in the story.
    I did state at a public forum in October that I would not vote for Prop. 6, but would not take an active role in opposition because I did not want to oppose other environmental groups like Sierra Club and Environment Texas. There might have been 50 people at this event.
    I have great respect for these environmental groups, who took a principled, though in my opinion, incorrect stand. This fall I was asked to join a press conference in opposition to this measure, but declined.
Paul Robbins
   [Richard Whittaker responds: Paul Robbins seems to argue that opposing Prop. 6 in a public forum does not mean he publicly opposed it. During the Oct. 17 League of Women Voters panel, he was presented as serving as a technical witness, filling in any evidentiary gaps between consultant and former Texas Environmental Quality Commission Water Utilities Division Director Steve Walden (pro-Prop. 6) and Save Our Springs Alliance Executive Director Bill Bunch (anti-Prop. 6). Instead, he gave a cursory introduction, and then thoroughly, categorically and at great length lambasted the proposition. What was supposed to be a balanced debate, with Robbins as the pivot point, quickly became a two-on-one handicap match. Whether he was a formal part of the Nix Prop. 6 campaign or not, the idea that he remained only silently opposed certainly did not apply that night – arguably the biggest and most public discussion of the proposal in Austin.]
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