Passionate Partisan Arguments to Vote for the Props

RECEIVED Wed., May 3, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Even if we ignore the political timing of a "gift" given to make us forget Stratus Properties is the local name for Freeport-McMoRan, one of the worst corporate polluters on the planet, we have to understand this money will be used by the Hill Country Conservancy (where Freeport's old point man David Armbrust is chairman of the board) to create green zones that will increase the value of Stratus property on the aquifer. Is this a gift or the cost of doing business?
    Stratus sold the Lantana Tract to AMD, which is in a donating frenzy, too. But are these really gifts? Or a vast loss for the people of Austin – the loss of Barton Springs.
    If these "gifts" get us to defeat propositions 1 and 2, Austin will give hundreds of millions of dollars to corporations like Stratus Properties that lobbied (more "gifts") for the grandfathering bill that has enabled 119 projects in violation of current water ordinances.
    If we don't pass Prop. 1 we'll get more back room deals, like the new Clean Water Ordinance drafted by Council Member Leffingwell last week. A fraction of zero compared to Prop. 2, it goes before the Environmental Board Wednesday, May 3. Lee Leffingwell is a member of the EDUCATE PAC, founded by Mike Blizzard (paid by Stratus), who works to discredit propositions 1 and 2.
    The Leffingwell draft (sham) ordinance, the Green Water Treatment Plant/Guerrero Park debacle a few weeks ago, the court order requiring the city to clean up inaccurate and negative ballot language – aren't these arguments to vote for Open Government, Prop. 1?
    It is heartbreaking to see the devastation that's resulted from these developer "gifts," which represent vast loss to the environmental community and to state and local government.
Susan Bright
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