January 21st, 2006

Browncoat party

Grass-Roots Activism

Last night I went to a meeting of CAFA - Citizens Against Forced Annexation. They're a political group trying to resist cities taking over rural areas to increase their tax base.

This meeting had several state representatives and candidates giving talks to gain support before the primaries coming up on March 7th. Anna Mowery led off. She's chairman of the Land & Resource Management committee, which controls the rules for annexation and related issues. She'd tried getting a strong restriction of the current rules passed but it didn't have the votes. She's clearly a favorite of this group, lots of them volunteer for her campaign. She's facing a primary challenge from a lawyer who thinks a 75-year-old is too tired to do the job. She's using Reagan's defense against that, and was rather snarky about the lawyer's repeated failure to vote in local elections.

We also had Bob Orr and his opponent Greg Kaufman there. They've both been active in annexation issues and seem like good guys, so if I actually lived in that district I'd have a tough choice.

Clyde Picht is someone I may get to vote for. He's a former Fort Worth city councilman who was quoted in a Reason piece on taxpayer-subsidized businesses. Now he's trying to get a seat on the Tarrant Regional Water District board. This is the organization that's supposed to give us drinking water and flood control, but they're branching out. In fact they're planning to put a lot of money into the Trinity River Vision project I've complained about before, as well as using eminent domain to take over a lot of property for new canals and flood plains. Clyde wants to stop that--he says if Fort Worth wants its downtown revitalized it should use its own money, instead of taking it from a multi-county water district. Hopefully he'll be running, right now he's fighting to meet the residence requirements (funny how that's always tougher for the anti-establishment types). A couple of interesting bits from his talk: The new water feature in the TRV should be called "Radio Shack Lake." And I'd thought I'd avoided the housing bubble by moving here, but apparently foreclosures are at a seventeen-year high in Fort Worth, so there's some strain in the system after all.

The next speaker was very interesting--she was from the campaign of Chris Hatley, who's running for state rep in my district. He's a retired Army Lt. Col. making his first run in politics. Sounds like a good guy, and I like his
priorities. The CAFA crew's comments focused on the incumbent, Charlie Geren. Apparently he'd sponsored the law allowing the water district to take that property, so from the property rights point of view anybody would have to be better than him. I talked to the campaigner afterward and got a bunch of pamphlets and bumperstickers.

I researched them when I got home. Hatley has a good set of priorities. Geren's "Issues" page is "under construction," which is mind-boggling for an incumbent. Geren also seems to come from career-politics family, which is a part of our political culture I've never liked. Hatley also has to be a little more interesting than the standard-issue career officer. The official campaign photo has him in front of a bookcase. I could make out a copy of Hackworth's About Face on the shelf. Any colonel who's keeping that around must be fun to talk to.

The last speaker was Ben Wickersham from a neighborhood fighting annexation by the city of Killeen.

If you want to know about future CAFA meetings, check their blog.
  • Current Mood
    impressed impressed