Misrepresented Council Meeting on WTP No. 4

RECEIVED Tue., Nov. 3, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Wells Dunbar in his piece "City Hall Hustle" ["City Hall Hustle," News, Oct. 30] does an excellent job misrepresenting the City Council meeting on the continuing debate on Water Treatment Plant No. 4 by shooting the messenger and misdirecting the message.
    You can review Council Member Bill Spelman's analysis on his website, why we don't need a billion-dollar water treatment plant. My opinion, the Real Estate Council and Chamber of Commerce want to have the taxpayers pony up so they can profit via State Highway 130 corridor sprawl!
    Rainwater harvesting provides an alternative that promotes conservation instead of "turn on the tap" wasteful practices.
    The Oct. 22 City Council meeting footage is on the Channel 6 archive site (www.cityofaustin.org/channel6 and click on the City Council green tab – Item 13, Parts 1-3): See which council members did their homework on this expensive, premature, taxpayer-funded boondoggle. Statements like Council Member Sheryl Cole's research that "Austin is the only city in U.S. without a criminal indictment of a council member" or Council Member Randi Shade's lengthy apology followed by a jab at the environmental community.
    Most egregious, Shade's front-page pronouncement the day before the "allowed" public hearing that her swing vote was in favor of WTP4: She said she would have liked to have seen Spelman's presentation before the time to vote; maybe it could have gone the other way.
    Irresponsible that the council, public-service officials, allowed this decision prior to the Water Conservation Task Force completing its report (see San Antonio Water System practices).
    If you had seen Lee Leffingwell's pompous, fear-based argument and ignorance of the facts, you would be furious at his cavalier hiking of your tax bill.
    Water is life: The question is how we teach/saddle our children – expensive infrastructure or realistic conservation first!
Bill Stout
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