Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Corridor Watch and Mike Krusee

Earlier this week it was reported that the folks at CorridorWatch.org were going to hold a protest rally against the impending Trans-Texas Corridor. The article stated they were trying to get the Transportation Committee, of which Mike Krusee is the chair, to take action on HB 3363:
The bill would impose a two-year moratorium on further corridor developments and on tolls on existing roads.
A simple enough request. What is the response from Rep. Krusee you ask?
However, a spokesman for committee Chairman Mike Krusee of Round Rock says the panel doesn't plan to consider the bill. Tomorrow is the committee's final meeting this session to conduct hearings on bills.
Well, I understand that this is politics and Rep. Krusee doesn't want anything to get in the way of his and Gov. Perry's pet project - building toll roads all across the state. So if you didn't read the article from KLTV in Tyler-Longview you wouldn't know this. Today I'm looking around for news about the rally and what do I find? This article, Put brakes on transportation corridor; protesters say, from the Austin American Statesman. It mentions nothing about Krusee not allowing the bill to be heard in committee. But they give us this comment from Rep. Krusee:
Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Williamson County, the panel's chairman, noted that moratorium language was rejected 90-51 in House debate on the state budget.

Krusee said rally organizers failed to get foes to a morning hearing on transportation issues, adding: "Leaders want their picture in the paper. They're not interested in results."
Now you can go to the Transportation Committee's page for Past Notices, Minutes and Witness Lists like I did. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the meeting on Tuesday May 3rd. If you check out the notice - which tells you which bills will be discussed - and then check out the minutes you will notice that HB 3363 does not appear on either one. What purpose would it serve for these people to show up at a meeting where their bill won't even be heard? Of course Mr. Selby did not tell his readers that, now did he? That makes a big difference when you read Rep. Krusee's statement talking about how all these people wanted to do was get their "picture in the paper" and he wouldn't even allow this bill to be debated in his committee.

One last thing on this. The Houston Chronicle - or as my wife calls it, a real paper - has a story on this as well, Strayhorn sides with angry landowners: Rally against toll roads calls for Perry's removal. It seems interesting to me the way Republicans are starting to treat what have become their core constituencies. Mike Krusee wants to do what Republicans are never supposed to do, raise taxes. And now Krusee and Perry seem to be doing everything to make farmers mad. This is exactly the premise of Thomas Frank's book What's The Matter With Kansas?:
According to Frank, the conservative establishment has tricked Kansans, playing up the emotional touchstones of conservatism and perpetuating a sense of a vast liberal empire out to crush traditional values while barely ever discussing the Republicans' actual economic policies and what they mean to the working class. Thus the pro-life Kansas factory worker who listens to Rush Limbaugh will repeatedly vote for the party that is less likely to protect his safety, less likely to protect his job, and less likely to benefit him economically.
Also for Rick Perry's spokesman to be saying things like this is just idiotic, not to mention bad PR:
Perry spokesman Robert Black called rally attendees "good salt-of-the-earth folks who may have, frankly, some bad information."
Nothing will make a person madder than calling them stupid and ill informed. The moral to this story is: As long as the Republicans in Willamson County and in this state are immune from accountability they can do whatever they want without the fear of being voted out of office.

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