Aug 20

How Many Voting Irregularities are Taking Place in Your County?

Dr. Laura Pressley filed an appeal of a district court decision on her contested District 4 Austin City Council runoff race against Greg Casar in December 2014.

Pressley, noticed numerous election irregularities such as more ballots than voter names as reported during early voting, and she identified repetitive mathematical patterns that called the results into question.

These red flags prompted her request for a recount in January. The ensuing process led to a disturbing revelation that the Travis County paperless electronic voting system may be operating in violation of Texas election law, and, according to court filed documents, it appeared that Travis County may not have employed some of the administrative safeguards designed by the Secretary of State to protect the integrity of the voting process.

Evidence Obtained from Court Records

Pressley, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry and a background in semiconductor engineering, noticed irregularities in the conduct of the Travis County election in December 2014. “The numbers didn’t add up and what we discovered was that our Legislature’s important system of checks and balances was not being followed regarding electronic voting systems,” Pressley said.

  • More Ballots than voters during Early Voting
  • Ballot by Mail voters appear to be recorded up to 3 times on different days
  • Systematic, repetitive mathematical patterns found in election results
  • Recount was conducted illegally with Cast Vote Records vs Ballot Images
  • Mandated election records are missing
  • Ballot Images are missing
  • Backup Results/Tally tapes are missing–judges were instructed to not print them
  • Computer “Corrupt” Errors during vote tabulation on election night
  • Security Seals improperly sealed and replaced

We must ensure our elections adhere to the rule of law and follow the checks and balance systems our Texas legislature intended.

Resources

a)  Buy Back Your Vote Announcement 
b)  BusinessWire Press Release
c)  Election Lawsuit Video

Please consider donating to this cause.  This case will have an impact on ALL Texans.

Laura Pressley Campaign
Laura Pressley, 512-762-3825

Mar 13

Doug Karr Addresses Storm Water Rates to Karen Gibson

Karen Gibson

Councilwoman, District 5

Lubbock, TX

Karen,

I just wanted to email you and express my gratitude for the town hall meetings and the forums you provided to address the issue of the storm water rate.  I attended the one on Monday evening and listened with interest to what you and the others in attendance had to say.  Since I am not a resident of your district, I thought it best just to listen and not take time away from others who are residents with my own personal thoughts and remarks.  I would, however, appreciate the opportunity to briefly share with you in this email my perspective on not only the storm water issue, but also the bigger related picture that I currently see within city government in Lubbock.

Unfortunately, the storm water issue is just one of several debacles that currently exist.  Those debacles include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  1. The NELCDC.  Before the alleged embezzlement charge surfaced, I asked Jim Gerlt if he thought that organization passed the “smell test.”  Well, it certainly seems to be emanating a pungent aroma now.  Even though the NELCDC does not produce budgets, audits, and most importantly results, the council has continued to provide them with big sums of taxpayer money.  Along with this debacle are others that from a financing and results perspective are seemingly very similar such as LEDA and Market Lubbock, Inc.  I recall the recent debacle where they created winners and losers among the printing businesses and with Beck Steel and Desert Tanks (I believe that was the name of the organization that took the incentive money, came to town, and then went away).
  2. The Mahon Revitalization Project which is seemingly related to the NELCDC.
  3. The City Debt which according to the comptroller is second per capita in the state and growing.
  4. The controversy and lack of transparency surrounding the Imagine Lubbock Together initiative.
  5. LP&L and its recent issues regarding governance, rate increases, and the issues facing the city in 2019.

Perhaps the biggest debacle and contributing factor to all of the debacles heretofore mentioned is a mayor and city council that cannot or will not come together for the common good of the city and the people they were elected to represent for whatever reason.  There is seemingly no statesmanship among this group of individuals, only dysfunction.

For me, there is at least one common denominator to all of these debacles, and I think that was somewhat demonstrated last night in the public forum.  There seems to be too much reliance on city staff and not enough analytical and critical evaluation of the facts by the elected officials.  I know the mayor and council receive much information on various topics from citizens and citizen groups which seems to be somewhat, if not totally ignored, until a crisis occurs; hence, leading to the meeting like the one last night.  For example and if my understanding is correct, the staff advised the council that the storm water rate change would be revenue neutral; whereas, information was also provided to the council that not only was it not revenue neutral, it would result in a 32% increase in revenue.  As you pointed out last night, there are public hearings provided on most, if not all, issues, but people generally cannot attend at the times those are scheduled and unless enough information is provided for each person to calculate the financial impact on their own situation, those meetings are pretty much useless.

You asked for solutions to resolve this issue.  Toward that end, there were a couple of suggestions offered last night that I do not feel represent a viable solution(s).  Shifting the storm water fee to an equivalent number of pennies on the tax rate is not an answer.  This proposition still takes disposable income out of the pockets of those who were speaking last night proposing this possibility.  Exempting churches is also not an option.  As a member of the finance committee at my church, I would very much like to see this exemption enacted, but I am enough of a realist to know that if it is, it will just put a greater financial burden on the individual rate payer because you said yourself, there must be a minimum of $24M raised each month.  As you also said, drainage is a collective issue; therefore, all entities and individuals should share in the cost.  However, requiring the churches to pay the same fee as Walmart is certainly not equitable.

Viable solutions for resolving this issue include:

  1. A possible storm water rate category for churches similar to the electric rate category that exists for churches.
  2. A sales tax increase as was suggested last night to include more payees, especially those from out of town who benefit from the drainage system but who do not own property.
  3. As a couple of gentlemen indicated last night, fiscal efficiency in city government needs to be improved.  Stop incurring debt, stop spending, reign in big over bloated department budgets and use the savings toward paying down the debt, and stop blaming and using previous city councils to justify the lack of fiscal management.

I think the one thing that rang out loud and clear last night from those who spoke was that the personal affordability standard in Lubbock has been exceeded.  People cannot continue to be hit with tax and fee increases and have money for the other necessities of life, especially when those tax and fee increases are unfair, inequitable, and I would contend mostly unnecessary if some fiscal management practices were implemented.  As I listened to many of the business owners that attended last night’s meeting,  I was reminded of what one council member was quoted as having recently said in regard to this issue that businesses could just pass on the increased cost.  That attitude and comment was cavalier and out of touch to say the least.  The city needs to start living within its financial means because it has exceeded the financial means of the citizenry.  If that is the case in your district as was verbalized last night, it must also be the case in other districts.  It’s no wonder that the state legislature is considering the imposition of some tax relief measures on municipal governments (which I understand the mayor opposes) in response to outcries all over the state to stop the current tax and spend practices.

Again, thank you and the mayor for providing these public forums, and thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share my thoughts with you.

Respectfully submitted,

Doug Karr

Feb 17

Roll Back Storm Water Rates and Hidden Taxes

Fellow concerned taxpayers, 

Many residents, businesses and non-profits are suffering sticker shock on utility bills from the new storm water rate calculations started in January.  Only a few with minimal impervious space saw a decrease.  Many residents with larger square footage homes saw an increase from $14 to almost $26 (almost double) and the largest non-residential properties with one meter saw their charges multiply by 7.3 times, going from $93 to $680 per month, which will be $8160 per year just for storm water fees.
Obviously, there has been a huge outcry from many affected by the huge hike.  Ratepayers should be even more outraged to know that the total storm water revenue increased by almost 1/3rd over 2013-14, from $19.3 million to $25.4 million, despite the City falsely claiming that the revised calculations are “revenue neutral”, meaning the same as last year.  Almost $3 million of the total are embedded taxes that escalated 29% and the “indirect cost allocation”, which is the department’s share of City administration, went up 81.5%. We protested by pointing out the inflated total and the future negative economic impact during several Council meetings, starting last August, but the Council never discussed it and passed this deceptive money grab on second reading last October. 

The total hidden taxes for all utility departments this year amounts to an unsustainable $32.1 million diverted to the General Fund to use for purposes unrelated to the utilitities.  This has become 1/5th of the total revenue of that fund, so the City would have to wean itself from this addiction that has allowed huge growth in total revenue, spending and borrowing every year without public awareness and consent.  This year, $135.4 million debt service on our over $1.1 billion  debt principal includes $49.6 million interest that could have been used to pay for essential projects instead. 

The Mayor has acknowledged that there is no fair way to assess storm water charges other than bringing this utility back into the General Fund. This is complicated because current storm water debt is over $114 million, with much more to come very soon.  Any long term remedy must include phasing out all hidden utility taxes (made up of 6% franchise fees on gross receipts plus full property taxes on the value of each utility department’s assets).  We must also demand that the City immediately list these taxes on our bills as LP&L has, so they are apparent and can be deducted from income taxes.


Action needed by everyone now includes checking the storm water charge on your LP&L bill, encourage your family and friends and businesses you frequent to do the same.  Then contact the City Council with your concerns.  E-mail them at first name initial, then last name@ mylubbock.us (example: grobertson@mylubbock.us   Also, you can protest to the storm water hotline: 775-3118.  If at all possible, attend the Mayor’s town hall meeting on storm water Wednesday, February 18th at Hillcrest Country Club at 6:30 p.m.  The Council will have a work session to finally discuss this mess on February 26th, probably at 1 p.m.  If you want more factual details prior to the Mayor’s meeting, our South Plains Advocates for Freedom group (SPAFF) will meet on Wednesday at Red Zone Restaurant at 3p.m.  Let me know if you need clarification.

Mikel Ward  795-8870

Oct 31

Monorail Madness in Lubbock: The Truth!

TO ALL DOWNTOWN BUSINESS/PROPERTY OWNERS, RESIDENTS, TAXPAYERS & OTHER AFFECTED PERSONS IN LUBBOCK, TEXAS DON’T BE FOOLED. . .DON’T BE CAUGHT UNAWARE!!!

WHAT THE ADVOCATES OF THE PROPOSED MONORAIL AREN’T TELLING YOU AND DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT

HOW THIS MAY PERSONALLY AFFECT YOU, YOUR BUSINESS, AND YOUR PROPERTY BY:

  • Taking your private property for public use by exercising the power of eminent domain
  • Limiting traffic access to downtown businesses
  • No direct access to downtown businesses from the monorail
  • Additional parking problems
  • Overall devaluation of downtown business property
  • Construction costs that may be imposed upon and/or passed-through to business & property owners
  • Cost per mile (8 total miles) could run as high as 85-150 Million dollars per mile according to estimates gathered by other communities
  • Noise pollution & trash (litter) along the proposed route
  • The overall destruction of Historic Broadway—No more Broadway Parades
  • Potential destruction of heritage trees
  • The potential negative impact to the downtown churches
  • The likelihood of increased costs and decreased income
  • Creating “winners and losers” among existing businesses
  • Closing of businesses during construction due to lack of access
  • Secretive cost/benefit or environmental analyses not made public
  • Sources and amounts of funding and maintenance remain a secret from public
  • Called “only a concept” by city leaders, the project keeps moving down the road with major lobbying efforts in Washington D. C.
  • Financial failures of rail systems in other cities not taken into consideration
  • State and Federal grants are STILL our tax dollars going to waste

 

DON’T BE FOOLED BY THE RHETORIC PROMOTING CITY DEVELOPMENT!!!!

SEE THIS FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS!!!

A COSTLY & FRIVOLOUS PROPOSAL THAT BENEFITS ONLY A FEW AT THE EXPENSE OF DOWNTOWN SMALL BUSINESS, PROPERTY OWNERS & TAXPAYERS!!!

Proposed 8 Mile Lubbock Monorail Route

Proposed Route

 

Who to Contact?

City Council

Mayor Glen Robertson grobertson@mylubbock.us 806-775-2011

Latrelle Joy ljoy@mylubbock.us 806-775-2031

Councilman Victor Hernandez vhernandez@mylubbock.us 806-775-2027

Councilman Floyd Price fprice@mylubbock.us 806-775-2007

Councilman Jeff Griffith JGriffith@mylubbock.us (806) 775-2023

Councilman Jim Gerlt jgerlt@mylubbock.us 806-775-2008

Councilwoman Karen Gibson kgibson@mylubbock.us 806-775-2011

Councilwoman Latrelle Joy ljoy@mylubbock.us 806-775-2031

County Judge and Commissioners

Judge Tom Head 806-775-1558 thead@co.lubbock.tx.us

Contact Number for all Commissioners is 806-775-1335

Bill McCay bmccay@co.lubbock.tx.us

Mark Heinrich mheinrich@co.lubbock.tx.us

Lorenzo Sedeno bsedeno@co.lubbock.tx.us

Patti Jones pjones@co.lubbock.tx.us

Other Important Contacts

Senator Charles Perry
11003 Quaker Ave.,
Suite 101 Lubbock, Texas  79424
806-783-9934

Representative John Frullo
7720 University Lubbock, Texas 79407
806-853-8275

US Congressman Randy Neugebauer
611 University Ave.,
Suite 220 Lubbock, Texas 79401
806-763-1611

US Senator Ted Cruz
Dirksen Senate Office Bldg. Suite 185
Washington D. C. 20510
202-224-5922

Chancellor Robert Duncan
Texas Tech University System
P. O. Box 42013 Lubbock, Texas 79409-2013
806-742-0012

Aug 19

UNFAIR CONCEALED CITY UTILITY TAXES ARE ROBBING YOUR FAMILY!

Hidden taxes on our utility bills have escalated $12.3 million since 2009-10 to a proposed $32.1 million in 2014-15.  This amount is now 1/5 of the City’s General Fund revenue and costs the average family of four an extra $500 over the actual cost of their utilities this year.  Obviously, those with modest incomes are least able to pay these “transfers” to the General Fund that are used for purposes totally unrelated to the utility departments.

The ways these taxes disguised as franchise and payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) are calculated differently for the LP&L electric utility and all other utility departments.  The franchise fee of 5% on gross receipts sends 3% to the General Fund and 2% to the Gateway Fund.  The PILOT fee (called an electric tax on the new bills) is based on 1% of gross receipts and also goes to the General Fund. The electric taxes are finally being itemized on your bills.

The City is charging us franchise fees of 6% (twice the 3% LP&L transfers to the General Fund) on Water, Wastewater, Solid Waste and Storm Water bills.  The PILOT fees on these are calculated by charging property taxes on the estimated property value of each department’s assets.  As projects are finished, these increased “valuations” generate a lot more revenue as will a proposed 2.3 cent increase in the property tax rate to 52.74 cents per hundred dollars on private property.  NONE of these are itemized on bills.

These calculations may seem complicated, but City leaders don’t want you to realize that every rate increase and property tax rate hike results in a huge utility tax windfall adding substantially more revenue to the General Fund without it showing up as a tax increase.

The total revenue from all sources this year is estimated to be $714.4 million. Total revenue has increased $394.3 million since 2003-04 (which averages over $39 million more each year).   This should have been more than enough to pay for basic City services and maintenance of facilities and streets and pay down our huge debt without adding even more hidden taxes and property taxes.

After checking with 5 Texas cities near our size, we found that none of them rip off their ratepayers like this at all.  Lubbock citizens must insist that these dishonest hidden taxes be phased out and be itemized until then on our utility bills so they can be deducted from income taxes.

Aug 15

Liz Padgett’s Public Comments to Lubbock Council in Regards to HUD Consolidated Plan and Grants

In studying about the consolidated plan and Community Development Block Grants along with the new plan, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, I understand the feds send us $2,000,000 of our own money, and in exchange, they get to come into our town and map our citizens according to race and income level, and tell us where we have to move people in order to have a more perfect balance—according to their standards. Is it really worth facing litigation if we don’t perform like a trained clown for the government, or could we possibly find the $2,000,000 somewhere else in the budget to take care of housing for those in need.

According to Investors Daily, U. S. mayors have asked HUD to scrap this housing regulation which leads to policing neighborhoods for racial diversity. What if a race of people prefers to live among their own kind?   Do we really believe that minorities cannot rise to the top unless they are tied to white neighborhoods? This is not the way to cure poverty. Everyone wants to help the needy, but this is not the way to do it. Go into those areas that are lacking and give them good schools and the essentials that all residents should enjoy. We don’t need HUD or the government taking over an area which belongs to local government. An amendment opposing the AFFH plan has passed the House of Rep. and now moves to the Senate, where it will be voted on in October.   There are two things that I would ask you as the Council and city leaders to do: First, read the material which is sent to you by interested citizens concerning the area of HUD funding. Don’t make a final judgment based on opinion of HUD representatives. You already know where they stand; they will make this plan seem totally innocuous.   I hesitate to ask how many of you knew previously about the AFFH plan or have read the Federal Register regarding the Consolidation Plan. You may find out that possible litigation by HUD makes the funding too expensive to incorporate in our budget. Second, please make any information on HUD funding available to the public before a final decision is made on accepting the money. This funding affects all Lubbock citizens, not just a few. Remember, Freedom is not free, and neither is federal funding.

Aug 13

HUD Grant Proposal: Letter to Council

Dear Mayor and Council Members,

Before you vote on a resolution to accept HUD grant money,  please allow time for more discussion and public input.  The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule is a move to take away local control and our sovereignty.  You cannot plead ignorance to the concern because it is being expressed nation-wide.  The amount of money that is to be received is miniscule in comparison to the legal ramifications which we will eventually face in Lubbock.  Be advised of the following:

HUD Proposal Slammed AS Fair Housing Act Overreach Investors’ Business Daily Article from Dec. 2013

  • The 33-page rule titled “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” gives a blunt instrument for social change in cities it identifies as segregated.
  • The AFFH rule takes away people’s choices of housing location and natural racial clustering.
  • HUD plans to map neighborhoods in the United States and publish geospatial data pinpointing racial imbalances.  Non-white populations of fifty percent or higher will be used as the threshold for classifying segregation.
  • Enforcement of zoning law changes in cities deemed overly segregated  will allow construction of multi-family and affordable housing into suburban and predominantly white neighborhoods whether minorities want this or not.
  • Many city officials do not agree that requiring recipients of HUD grants to examine data surrounding access to education, employment, transportation, and environmental health should be a part of the fair housing act.
  • Fair-housing compliance lawyers agree that HUD is essentially rewriting the 1968 Civil Rights Law.
  • Local housing decisions should be left to local communities instead of a federal agency making these decisions.  HUD should be looking at poverty through a color blind lens.

Fundamentally Transforming America Through HUD Grants

  • Article plus video and links at the bottom for reference.

Aug 09

SPAFF is Forming A Citizen’s Advisory Committee Regarding the Budget for 2014-2015

For those of you in Lubbock that would like to work on a Citizen’s Advisory Committee, please contact us at info@southplainsadvocatesforfreedom.com.  Please download the budgets below so that you can be prepared to discuss the budget and possible cuts to the record breaking $700,000,000 plus budget for the coming year.  This roughly amounts to $3,500 per Lubbockite or $14,000.00 per family of four.  Let’s put our two cents in this budget proposal before it is finalized.

Proposed Capital Program 2014-2015

Proposed Operating Budget 2014-2015

Aug 05

Letter to HPWD Board

 

We believe that the HPWD board has spread fear that if they do not restrict our water, then the state will step in and take it from us! TCEQ and the TWDB are overstepping their bounds, but we feel the HPWD board has been derelict in their duties of protecting us from these intrusive state agencies. These agencies have no authority over public water. As taxpayers, many of our viewers expect HPWD board to step in the gap between us and these state agencies. HPWD board has no authority over our private property and if you continue to seek these unconstitutional measures as solutions then we will no other recourse than to turn the board over again. The Texas State Supreme Court has fallen on the side of property rights and the right of capture so if these rules go into place, then the only people to blame are the people instilling fear and spreading lies that our water water rights will be taken away from us by some other means. Can you please explain to us what you think empowers you to have this authority over our property?

 

Justin Padgett

 

Aug 05

Urgent Action Requested: Resolution to Disallow Housing of Illegal Immigrants in Lubbock County

We are calling upon our county commissioners to bring forth a resolution to end illegal immigration and protect our county by not housing or harboring illegal aliens or “refugees”.  Please simply copy and paste the message below and send it to the following email addresses.  We need to forward this message far and wide and have as many people sending this to the commissioners and county judge as possible.
Dear Judge Head and County Commissioners:
I believe that we are seeing the unveiling of the President’s inaugural wishes of “fundamentally transforming America” with this invasion of illegal aliens.  We as a country, will descend into a democracy and not the Constitutional Republic it was founded to be by building a broad base of progressive voters for the rest our lifetimes by building the welfare state.  People have typically come to this country because of the opportunity America has to offer, but our country has become a vacuum to service the needs for those seeking a handout instead of a hand up.
With an overreaching federal government, we call upon you, our highest and closest representatives in our Constitutional Republic to do your duty that you were called upon to submit this resolution of support for ending illegal immigration through a vote by the County Commissioners of Lubbock, Texas.
In Liberty,
Your Name
Illegal Immigration Resolution to download and attach to email as a pdf.

 

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