Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Board begins to lean to flushing public dollars, supports groundwater regulation at February 12 meeting

Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Board begins to lean to flushing public dollars, supports groundwater regulation at February 12 meeting

Image: Aren’t you proud that the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District is flushing your money, which you paid through high water bills, into programs to make themselves feel good?

Conroe, February 18 – 88 days into office, the newly-elected Board of Directors of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD), which came into office with an anti-regulation, pro-property rights, anti-government-spending mandate, has begun to lean towards liberal bureaucratic programs. The Board has done some good. At the February 12, 2019, meeting, however, they passed two agenda items which made a mockery of the citizens, while another sought to continue the practices of the previously-appointed Board with a third agenda item, which, fortunately, failed.

It is extraordinarily important for citizens to attend the LSGCD meetings in order to show support for the Board members to vote against groundwater regulation and against spending.

The seven-person Board of Directors came into office after the November 6, 2018, General Election with a strong mandate to end groundwater regulation, restore property rights, lower water bills, and reduce government spending. The seven Directors – Webb Melder, Harry Hardman, Stuart Taylor, Jim Spigener, Jon Bouche, Jonathan Prykryl, and Larry Rogers – took the oath of office on November 16, 2019.

They’ve gotten some things accomplished. They brought an end to the lawsuit on which the LSGCD had spent millions of dollars in legal fees only to lose. After a citizen uproar over a Board member’s proposal to hire a taxpayer-funded lobbyist, the Board rejected that anti-citizen initiative twice.

At least five major reform items remain untouched:

  • LSGCD still imposes restrictive groundwater regulations and charges unnecessary permitting fees;
  • LSGCD’s General Manager, Kathy Turner Jones, remains on the job, despite her obvious treachery towards the citizens and towards the efforts of the Board in favor of deregulation;
  • The Board has taken no action to sell the monstrously-expensive building, which houses LSGCD, which ought to be in a tiny office costing taxpayers a few thousand dollars per month;
  • LSGCD continues to waste money on public relations;
  • The Board has done nothing to reduce spending or water bills, even though Rogers has begun to ask some good questions which mostly fall on deaf ears.

The February 12 meeting may explain why the Board has moved so much like a frozen jar of molasses. Clearly, some of the Board members enjoy the trappings of power. They’re treating public money as though it’s their own. They’re acting foolishly at the behest of the bureaucracy inside of LSGCD, which pushes the Board towards regulation and towards spending “other people’s money” as though it’s their own.

Three resolutions at the February 12 meeting should give readers serious pause.

National Groundwater Awareness Week

All seven of the LSGCD Board members came into office in the November 6, 2018, General Election on a platform against groundwater regulation and in favor of property rights of the citizens. Several of the candidates, but most particularly Precinct 2 representative Jim Spigener, explained during the campaign that Montgomery County is the “Saudi Arabia of groundwater” because of the massive amount of groundwater resources this community enjoys.

Jones and the bureaucracy of LSGCD placed on the agenda a proposal to declare March 10 to 16 “National Groundwater Awareness Week.” The website of the proposed “national…week” makes clear that one of the “Top Groundwater Myths…[is] Groundwater is abundantly available, therefore does not need to be conserved.”

Sadly, the Board fell for the ruse. They voted 6 to 1 in favor of drowning Montgomery County in the “National…Week” to commemorate the need for regulations to enforce conservation of groundwater, even though the citizens sent them into office on a mandate against such regulation.

Before they voted, Rogers insisted on removing two “whereas” clauses, which were:

“WHEREAS, management of the Gulf Coast Aquifer is essential to the further economic development of Montgomery County and, further, such protection requires reduction of aquifer use to a sustainable level by means of conservation of water resources and use of alternative water supplies and;

“WHEREAS, public understanding and support for alternative water supplies and robust conservation measures are prerequisites for effective action by water suppliers…”

Nevertheless, the Board left in a previous recital which supported groundwater regulation of the Gulf Coast Aquifer, the precise platform on which the citizens elected the entire Board to stand in opposition.

The proper vote should have been “NO.” Only one Board member voted correctly. This vote should frighten citizens into raising with their elected representatives whether those elected servants remember why the citizens put them into office. Here’s the vote:

HARRY HARDMAN, AT-LARGE voted YES.

WEBB MELDER, CITY OF CONROE voted YES.

LARRY ROGERS, WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP voted YES.

STUART TRAYLOR, COMMISSIONERS PRECINCT 1 voted YES.

JIM SPIGENER, COMMISSIONERS PRECINCT 2 voted YES.

JON BOUCHE, COMMISSIONERS PRECINCT 3 voted NO.

JONATHAN PRYKRYL, COMMISSIONERS PRECINCT 4 voted YES.

Giving away public money for 4-H

What is 4-H? On their national website, the organization explains,

“4‑H is delivered by Cooperative Extension—a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provides experiences where young people learn by doing. For more than 100 years, 4‑H has welcomed young people of all beliefs and backgrounds, giving kids a voice to express who they are and how they make their lives and communities better. Through life-changing 4‑H programs, nearly six million kids have taken on critical societal issues, such as addressing community health inequities, engaging in civil discourse and advocating for equity and inclusion for all.”

The local 4-H program makes clear that its “Ambassador Program” indoctrinates children to teach other children and adults the need for groundwater conservation through government regulation.

Government doesn’t exist to redistribute public money to nonprofit organizations. The citizens are entirely capable of making those decisions themselves.

Hardman was a strong advocate for this program and urged the LSGCD Board to give away public money, so the Board could take the credit for supporting this indoctrination program.

The Board’s motion was to give $2,500 of public dollars away to 4-H, a private nonprofit organization, for the “Ambassador Program.” The Board sought no public input but instead acted entirely on the recommendation of the bureaucratic staff of LSGCD. The four Board members who voted for the contribution should each have written checks for $625 rather than forcing the public to engage in making the contribution.

The vote was 4 to 3 in favor of giving away the public money. The proper vote should have been “NO.”

Here’s the vote:

HARRY HARDMAN, AT-LARGE voted YES.

WEBB MELDER, CITY OF CONROE voted YES.

LARRY ROGERS, WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP voted NO.

STUART TRAYLOR, COMMISSIONERS PRECINCT 1 voted YES.

JIM SPIGENER, COMMISSIONERS PRECINCT 2 voted YES.

JON BOUCHE, COMMISSIONERS PRECINCT 3 voted NO.

JONATHAN PRYKRYL, COMMISSIONERS PRECINCT 4 voted NO.

Giving away a LOT of public money for “public education”

The LSGCD’s bureaucracy wanted the Board to give away money for Resource Action Programs for “public education.”

Franklin Energy is a for-profit company based in Port Washington, Wisconsin, which sells devices which allegedly save energy and other natural resources. They developed a “Resource Action Program” which is an affiliated non-profit entity which raises money to sell their devices by developing school curricula for children from kindergarten to high school seniors to encourage adults to purchase the Franklin Energy products.

In the past, the LSGCD Board fell for this ruse by spending as much as $46,000 in public dollars for the program.

This year, the LSGCD bureaucracy proposed spending $1,450 in public dollars to support public indoctrination to cause children and their adult parents to purchase the products of Franklin Energy.

Rogers made the motion to give away public dollars, although he did express concerns about the program. Fortunately, it died for lack of a second. In other words, everyone on the LSGCD Board turned away this liberal program to give public tax dollars to a private company with the exception of one Board member. For some reason, Melder called for a vote anyway. At that point, everyone on the Board voted against giving further money to the Resource Action Program.

The lesson the LSGCD Board should learn?

There’s a lesson the LSGCD Board should learn: they absolutely cannot and should not trust the LSGCD staff ever or at all, especially as they fearfully continue to employ the Wicked Witch of the Water, Kathy Turner Jones, who is anti-citizen, pro-regulation, and pro-Big-Government.

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