Image: The Hindenburg caught fire and exploded on May 6, 1937, resulting in 36 fatalities.
Conroe and Montgomery, September 11 – On September 11, 2018, seventeen years after the horrific 9/11 attacks by al Qaeda, the citizens of Montgomery County, Texas, face at least three immediate community disasters and several others that are looming.
Why? When money drives the thirst for power, the political establishment is willing to do almost anything to maintain control.
Immediate Disaster: Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors meeting, 10 a.m., Tuesday, September 11, 2018, and adoption of a “management plan” to regulate groundwater production from private property
The Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) posted an agenda for a meeting on Tuesday, September 11, 2018, at 10 a.m. in which the district proposes to adopt a new “management plan” to ratify the so-called “Desired Future Conditions” (DFC) that LSGCD agreed were not reasonable in a settlement with the City of Conroe on November 16, 2017, during a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The “management plan” ratifies the DFC to limit total Montgomery County groundwater withdrawals to 64,000 acre-feet per year, which would result in severe restrictions of private property owner use of groundwater throughout Montgomery County.
The meeting will take place at LSGCD’s palatial offices located at 655 Conroe Park North Drive, Conroe, Texas 77303.
The clear purpose of the “management plan” is to lock in high water bills Montgomery County residents must pay as a result of the severe groundwater regulations of LSGCD, which are forcing utilities, municipalities, and homeowners associations to purchase water from the San Jacinto River Authority’s surface water supply at grossly-inflated prices.
The LSGCD Board of Directors action is particularly shocking at this time, because all seats on the LSGCD Board of Directors are up for election by the voters of Montgomery County on November 6, 2018, in the General Election for the first time in history. There is no reason that LSGCD’s Board should take this action swiftly just before the citizens will replace the entire Board on January 1, 2019.
LSCGD, whose current Board is largely under the control and direction of the San Jacinto River Authority, has adopted restrictive groundwater production regulations to prevent private property owners from drawing their own groundwater ostensibly for conservation reasons. Numerous citizens, groundwater producers, and municipalities have challenged the reasonableness of those regulations, particularly in light of scientific studies which show that Montgomery County’s groundwater usage does not even come close to threatening the available groundwater aquifers.
What is particularly ridiculous about the proposed “management plan” and the DFC of 64,000 acre-feet that it proposes to adopt is that groundwater usage regulations in Montgomery County are far more restrictive with respect to the use of aquifers that cross between the geographic border of Montgomery County with its neighbors in Liberty, San Jacinto, Waller, and Grimes counties. Under the current regulations for the Texas Water Development Board’s Groundwater Management Area 14, of which LSGCD’s General Manager Kathy Jones is the President, Montgomery County must adopt regulations that will increase the level of the Evangeline aquifer by 4 feet over the next 61 years, only reduce the Chicot aquifer 26 feet during the same period, reduce the Jasper aquifer 34 feet, and increase the level of the Burkeville aquifer 4 feet. During the same time period, however, San Jacinto County may use groundwater to a degree to decrease the Evangeline aquifer 19 feet, the Chicot 28 feet, the Jasper 108 feet, and the Burkeville 19 feet. It is hydrologically impossible to draw down the same aquifer different degrees in geographically-adjacent areas!
Montgomery County’s groundwater usage is severely more restrictive than the three counties adjacent to it in the DFC which LSGCD intends to adopt on Tuesday. Of course, the severe restrictions would force water users to purchase surface water from the San Jacinto River Authority in this regulation-induced monopoly scheme.
Former Conroe Mayor Webb Melder, who currently sits on the LSGCD Board and is running for the Conroe seat on the new elected LSGCD Board in the November 6 election, added, “Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District already admitted the 64,000 acre-foot per year groundwater pumpage restriction is unreasonable. We certainly shouldn’t be adopting it inside the guise of a ‘management plan.’”
The LSGCD Board meeting is perfectly timed, however, to conflict with a previously-scheduled “water summit” at which Melder will speak and many other property rights activists will attend. Melder and the pro-citizen forces won’t even be able to attend the LSGCC Board meeting.
Immediate Disaster: City of Montgomery Police Chief Jim Napolitano fighting for his job
Jim Napolitano has been the most successful and popular Police Chief the City of Montgomery has ever enjoyed. He’s a highly experienced and serious peace office who places public safety and prevention of crime at the top of his priorities and his actions.
Sometimes, the Police Chief has to make decisions which might not comport with what an individual patrol officer might want. Napolitano made some decisions which one of his officers with political connections didn’t like.
Now, Mayor Sara Countryman and City Administrator Jack Yates have decided it’s time to get rid of the Police Chief.
Napolitano has had an illustrious career as a law enforcement officer at the federal, state, and local levels. He’s performed an enormous amount of community service, particular with respect to helping individuals and organizations better protect themselves from preventable crimes.
On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, at City Hall, 101 Plantersville Drive, Montgomery, Texas 77356, Napolitano will fight for his job during a City Council agenda item set for an executive session. If Napolitano is wise, he’ll ask for the discussion to occur in public.
If the City Council fires Napolitano, it’ll be raw politics and nothing else. Politics shouldn’t interfere with law enforcement, but it might on this occasion.
Immediate Disaster: Montgomery County Commissioners Court and Craig Doyal’s attempt to lock in capital projects for his engineering buddies before he leaves office as County Judge
On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, at 9:30 a.m., with the help of new Budget Office Director Amanda Carter who clearly takes her directions from outgoing “chief of staff” jim fredricks, Doyal plans to commit the County government to major capital spending projects for many years to come.
One of those spending projects that Doyal has placed on the agenda is to construct a brand new office for the Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector when it’s clear that she and her staff should make due with what they have or utilize the massive extra space inside the Sadler Administration Building instead.
What’s more frightening – and inappropriate – is Doyal’s placement of the following item on the agenda:
“CONSIDER AND DISCUSS 2019 CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PLAN.”
There’s no backup material for this item. Neither the public nor the members of the Commissioners Court will have any warning about what Doyal plans to impose upon the citizens of Montgomery County and future Commissioners Court.
But with Doyal only in office for another 111 days, there’s a major question: why would the Commissioners Court consider a 2019 capital improvement plan under a County Judge whom the voters have repudiated and who won’t even be in office during any of 2019?!
Doyal undoubtedly has strong loyalty to the engineering companies and other County vendors who have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his criminal legal defense fund, as Doyal remains under criminal indictment at the present time. Doyal undoubtedly remains loyal to Bobby Jack Adams, Doyal’s best friend and regional Vice President of Halff Ass., a major County vendor and Decimation of Hope Highway beneficiary. Doyal is extremely loyal to David Hamilton, the Binkley & Barfield engineer whose wedding Doyal attended with Adams.
Nevertheless, both Doyal and one member of the Commissioners Court won’t even be part of the Commissioners Court in less than four months. Hopefully, the Commissioners Court will have the sense and the ethics to table consideration of a 2019 Capital Improvement Plan and instruct Budget Office Director Amanda Carter that she should go and have a serious meeting with incoming Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough.
THERE ARE OTHER PERILS IN THE UPCOMING MEETING THAT A COMPANION ARTICLE ADDRESSES. Please see “September 11, 2018, Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting similar to snakes coming out of the head of Medusa, the Gordon monster,” The Golden Hammer, September 11, 2018.
Looming perils: pending criminal investigations involving Montgomery County Animal Shelter and Precinct 4 Constable’s Office
Since Todd “Boss” Hayden left as Montgomery County Animal Shelter (“MCAS”) Director in December, 2016, morale at the MCAS is at an all-time low. MCAS Director Aaron Johnson hiding in his office doesn’t help matters. The ongoing criminal investigation into whether Johnson or Assistant Director Mark Wysocki or both engaged in tampering of government documents doesn’t help matters.
On Monday, August 20, 2018, the Montgomery County Animal Shelter’s Director Aaron Johnson and Assistant Director Mark Wysocki ordered the euthanasia of over seventy-seven (77) animals whom Montgomery County Animal Control had brought in from the property of an elderly lady who hadn’t taken good care of the dogs and cats and who signed a request to euthanize them. Please see “Breaking News! Montgomery County Animal Shelter Euthanizes 27 Dogs, 50+ Kittens, Cats Monday Without Veterinary Evaluation: Is It Mercy Or Lebensraum?” The Golden Hammer, August 21, 2018.
Johnson and Wysocki ordered the euthanasia without veterinary evaluations of any of the animals. The Golden Hammer has confirmed that the two veterinary technicians whom Johnson and Wysocki ordered to perform the killings directly disobeyed orders with respect to several of the animals, which were in good health, not feral, and not aggressive. Ultimately sixty-eight (68) animals lost their lives at the Animal Shelter rather than the full group of animals whom Johnson and Wysocki had sought to euthanize.
Jordan Gentry, D.V.M., the senior Veterinary Medicine Doctor at the Animal Shelter openly objected to the euthanasia, particularly without medical evaluations, and left the Shelter in protest during the day on Monday, according to several Shelter employees who confirmed the incident. On Tuesday, August 21, however, Dr. Gentry returned to work in order to perform the veterinary surgeries he regularly does as the Senior Veterinarian.
Gentry discovered something which greatly disturbed him, according to the many employees who witnessed the incident. Johnson or Wysocki or someone else under their direction had placed Gentry’s named as the evaluating veterinarian on sixty-eight (68) pages of euthanasia records entered into the “Chameleon” software system at the Shelter, according to several Montgomery County Animal Shelter employees who spoke with The Golden Hammer on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs.
Gentry confronted Wysocki early Tuesday morning and told Wysocki words to the effect that the veterinary records were false and demanded that Wysocki remove Gentry’s name from them. Later in the afternoon, Wysocki removed Gentry’s name and left blank the evaluating veterinarian shown for making the veterinary medical determination that euthanasia was the appropriate procedure for the sixty-eight (68) animals.
Under the Texas Penal Code, Section 37.10, a person commits a Class A misdemeanor punishable up to 1 year in jail, if he
- Knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record;
- Makes, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and with intent that it be taken as a genuine governmental record; or
- Intentionally destroys, conceals, removes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of a governmental record.
Having the pending criminal investigation is bad enough for morale. Nevertheless, what makes it even worse is that Johnson wanted to skip the arduous step of examining each of the 77 animals before asking a veterinarian to determine whether euthanasia was appropriate, because, it appears, Johnson just didn’t want to work late that day.
Meanwhile, the criminal investigation into whether Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden and his Chief Deputy Barry Welch falsified documents submitted to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) is progressing under the direction of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who took the case over after Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon recused himself.
Investigators from TCOLE are scheduled to visit Welch and Hayden, as well as at least two Constable’s Deputies, this week over the additional allegation that Welch and possibly others attempted to interfere with the testimony and information provided to TCOLE during the investigation.
Three individuals who worked on Precinct 4 JP James Metts’ campaign have confirmed, on the condition of anonymity, that Metts is discussing the possibility of hiring Hayden as Metts’ Chief of Staff when Metts becomes Precinct 4 County Commissioner on January 1, 2019, in the event things are not progressing well for Hayden in his law enforcement career as a result of the TCOLE investigation.
Looming peril: billion dollar bond issue
Conroe Independent School District is contemplating a bond issue in late spring, 2019, that would exceed $1 billion in order to fund the construction of new schools and athletic facilities, according to four individuals inside of the CISD administration who requested anonymity. Passage of such a gigantic bond issue would likely necessitate a tax increase and possibly a tax hike referendum similar to the one voters in the Magnolia Independent School District just defeated.
While student enrollment is rising about 2% per year, administrative spending is rising much faster than that (around 3% per year) while debt service is growing by 10% per year. Spending on instruction per student is lagging, but the CISD bureaucracy continues to build a brick-mortar-and-real-estate empire.
Looming peril: County Republican Wilkerson withholds funds from General Election campaign
County Republican Chairman Wally Wilkerson is a dream come true for local democrats. Wilkerson has over $35,000 in an unencumbered money market account in the name of the Republican Party. Some of those funds the 88-year-old County Chairman wants to spend on his tenement office rent and on his private secretary who blocks use of the Party’s website by conservative Republicans running for political office.
Nothing would prevent Wilkerson from transferring those funds to the Montgomery County Republican Party Victory 2018 Committee for use in the November General Election campaign. Wilkerson has refused, however, to provide those funds to the Republican Party. Perhaps, that makes sense, since Wilkerson claims the organization of which he is Chairman is “not a part of the Republican Party.”