The QueQue: Southtown's un-friendlies, Scientology case ends with a whimper, Awkward timing for a bond ruling
Published: May 2, 2012
The River Road Neighborhood Association and the Headwaters Coalition, angered by the plan, took the city to court, saying it broke the contract with voters when it changed the voter-approved plan. They claim the revised plan doesn't move nearby properties out of the 100-year floodplain, and that it kills the Coalition's plans to build a "spiritual" reach of the river linking trails from Brackenridge up to the river's source at the Blue Hole.
Bebb Fancis, the attorney representing both plaintiffs, called last week's appeals court ruling "a devastating blow to public trust," saying it could have long-term effects on how locals look at future bond issues. In her 17-page opinion, Justice Sandee Bryan Marion said the word "permanent" wasn't used in the bond's drainage proposition, and that the city could change the project as long as it achieves the same goal stated in the proposal before voters — in this case, fixing flooding. Still, she wrote, voters should have "confidence that City officials have done their 'homework' when planning public improvements … prior to asking citizens to pay for the improvements. Otherwise, a loss of voter confidence may translate into a vote 'against' public expenditures."
The 2012 bond language is a little looser, listing instead improvements like "Goliad Road Drainage (from SE Military Drive to Loop 410, generally)." Emphasis on "generally." •
Photo by Michael Barajas
Sal Garay, a former worker with C.H. Guenther & Sons Inc., demonstrates outside the company's flour mill. Workers with Teamsters Local 657 entered the second year of their strike against Guenther last week, seeking higher wages to offset more expensive medical coverage.