Doesn't Like Toll Roads

RECEIVED Mon., June 13, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Dawnna Dukes and Karen Sonleitner have sold out their posts. As an avid environmentalist and human rights activist, I am outraged at the blatant disregard for public opinion and input regarding toll roads that these two "public servants" have for their own community. The CAMPO meeting on Monday, June 6, revealed to the public much about the forces that are relentlessly shoving tolls down the throats of all of us.
    Contrary to what some misinformed environmentalists think, toll roads will not reduce petroleum consumption. Just the opposite (if you don't believe it, drive to Houston sometime and witness the congestion, smog, and empty buses). Toll booths are not intended to produce cleaner air or enhance traffic flow. They are considered tax revenue collection sites, and for the police, surveillance posts, and (illegal) inspection mechanisms. And, oh yeah, a source for fat contracts for those with close ties to certain CAMPO board members.
    The last poll of Austinites lists a 94% opposition to toll roads that were amended to the 2030 plan. The Biscoe/McCracken (Rodriguez) amendment allowed a 12-month review process where the public may actually have an input to planning. This shows at least some of the elected officials are willing to pay attention to their constituency (especially when they are furious). But it became apparent who doesn't care about the public. I wouldn't have believed it unless I saw it for myself. Ms. Sonleitner didn't waste any time sabotaging the Biscoe/McCracken amendment by motioning that the 12-month review be taken out of the wording, essentially trying to strip the public of any input to the review. Fortunately, Chairman Sen. Barrientos saw through her contemptible maneuver (as many of us did in the moment) and kept the wording.
    Then came Ms. Dukes, who made sure that the amendment would receive no funding for the review, essentially ensuring toll roads for the tri-counties. But then, she would not just put her sister's lucrative toll booth contract in jeopardy.
    I have not seen this much disregard for public concern since Lord Bush took office ... and I don't see the difference! Watch out for these two traitors to ignore your concerns in the future.
Giovanni Angello
SOS Alliance member
Texas Democrats
   [Editor's note: The Chronicle has received several similar letters. We also wanted to point out that most people regard elected officials as courageous if they agree with them and cowardly or traitorious if they don't agree with them. Sometimes the most courageous do what they think is right even if many voters disagree with them.]
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