Activist’s fearful holiday

screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-7-18-43-pm

A court of record within its jurisdiction has power to declare rights, status, and other legal relations whether or not further relief is or could be claimed. – Chapter 37, Texas Civil Remedies and Practices Code

Hempstead – In Texas, when they start to argue about the legality of guns – who can have them, where and when they can carry them, and how – the knives come out. Sometimes, they use them to draw a line in the sand.

Waiting for a ruling from District Judge Albert McCaig is a double or nothing study in anxiety which – if the other shoe drops – “…it’s this times $350 per hour,” said Texas Carry Director Pastor Terry Holcomb, Sr., an open firearms carry activist who admitted from the witness stand his initial reaction was fear when he learned he’d been sued in this dispute over guns.

Judge McCaig ruled a week ago last Friday that he will have to pay reasonable attorney’s fees because he refused to dismiss a pre-emptive lawsuit filed against him by the District Attorney of Waller County. That leaves he and his family open to similar rulings in jurisdictions all across the state, his attorney T. Edwin Walker explained.

Holcomb sent complaints to 76 jurisdictions in Texas protesting their display of signs that prohibit visitors to public buildings from carrying firearms or other weapons, a practice he says is in defiance of an Attorney General’s opinion that under a law enacted by the Legislature in 2015 it’s okay to carry the items of personal defense or something as simple as a nail clippers or a small pocket knife with which to open the mail – as long as one sticks to areas that do not house courtrooms of the clerk’s offices that service them.

Holcomb received only the one reply, the lawsuit from Waller County. Quite simply, he cannot afford to answer an additional 75 lawsuits in district courts, where a defendant is prohibited from appearing without adequate legal counsel – that is, expensive legal counsel.

But there is another element to the hearing in which Judge McCaig reserved his judgment on a matter of equal importance, that of the requested relief of declaratory judgment, a uniform provision of civil law that “…is remedial; its purpose is to settle and to afford relief from uncertainty and insecurity with respect to rights, status, and other legal uncertainty and insecurity with respect to rights, status, and other legal relations; and it is to be liberally construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of those states that enact it and to harmonize, as far as possible, with federal laws and regulations on the subject of declaratory judgments and decrees…”

Because the law in question is to be interpreted by the Attorney General, Holcomb’s attorney argued, the court in this rural city on the coastal plain has no true jurisdiction.

He also argued that the Court has no jurisdiction in which to issue declaratory relief. That’s because only a Court in Travis County where the Attorney General representing an injured party, the people of the State of Texas, could receive binding declaratory judgment that would offer the protection of “collateral estoppel.”

That concept protects a litigant from repeated causes of civil action that could bleed his coffers dry over a relatively short period of time, as he answers suits in multiple courts equally without jurisdiction to put a final hammer on the allegation of complaint – once and for all.

In his motion, Holcomb requested the dismissal of the suit under Chapter 27 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code, in which he cited the lawsuit not only lacked proper jurisdiction in the District Court at Waller County, but sought to deny him “the right to free speech; the right to petition, and the right of association” guaranteed by the First Amendment.

In his concluding remarks, Walker told Judge McCaig, “Terry Holcomb does not have the ability to injure Waller County,” and that therefore, “a court does not have the jurisdiction to issue a declaratory judgment if it will not completely eliminate a controversy…”

If Holcomb is forced to appeal the secondary issue of declaratory judgment, he fears he will be facing attorney’s fees double those he now faces.

To add insult to the injury, any attorney representing any of an additional 75 political subdivisions throughout Texas could seek similar declaratory judgment, forcing additional legal expenses in hearings, depositions, and the legal writings of learned counsel necessary to answer petitions of suit in civil courts where Holcomb issued written complaints.

He’s sweating it out during a less than cheerful holiday season while the busy 506th District Court hears two extended criminal trials and tends to its dockets. The judge must rule within a certain amount of time.

The meaning of ‘premises’

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-12-42-23-pm

Hempstead – Within moments after court adjourned, spectators and advocates flooded the corridors of the Waller County Courthouse asking, “What’s the difference?”

The inquiry – echoed on social media throughout the state within the hour – refers to a ruling by District Judge Albert McCaig, who held in a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed preemptively against Texas Carry Director Terry Holcomb, Sr. that there is a difference in making a complaint, and demanding an action on the part of a government.

The decision came on the heels of an impassioned plea by Holcomb’s attorney T. Edwin Walker, who drew polite, but nervous laughter when he told the Court, “Americans love to complain.”

In the lawsuit, he argued against the policy of prohibiting guns, pocket knives and others items by seeking declaratory judgment against the actions of Open Carry in 76 jurisdictions to require the Attorney General to pursue a complaint that citizens are being denied the right guaranteed by a 2015 law to go armed in public buildings, except in areas occupied by courts or the administrative offices of courts.

During witness examination of Holcomb, Walker was repeatedly interrupted by objections by Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Dorsey, who complained that the questions he asked  called for an expert interpretation of the law by a person with no legal training or certification.

Judge McCaig allowed the questions to go forth if they were intended to develop how and why Holcomb came to take the actions he did.

The defense alleged in its answer that Holcomb’s zeal to exercise his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, association, and petition for redress of grievances has been “chilled” by the prospect of long and drawn-out litigation requiring legal fees, attorney’s pay.

Holcomb said “I have refused to file any further notices” with local officials throughout Texas. “We certainly can’t fight 76 lawsuits at one time.”

Asked about his initial reaction to the lawsuit, which was filed in August, he replied “It was actually one of fear. That was my initial reaction. He has been billed attorney’s fees of $350 per hour for Walker’s services and $200 per hour for those of his assistant.

In further testimony, when asked if he was aware of any statements made by any Waller County officials about his project, personally, the Judge overruled an objection when Walker argued, “I think it goes to the state of mind of County officials.”

Holcomb said he had seen a quote in a social media item, that “I stuck my nose in Waller County business.”

In another incident, he recalled, “The other was by the County Judge (Trey Duhon). He told me I was his huckleberry.” The packed courtroom erupted in titters on hearing the famous line from the motion picture, “Tombstone,” in which Doc Holliday challenges Johnny Ringo to a fatal gunfight in the denouement to the drama of the OK Corral.

Said Walker, “We believe this lawsuit was filed against Terry Holcomb purely because he filed a complaint against him.”

When Judge McCaig ruled, he said, “I acknowledge the right to complain…It’s a demand to take action. Therefore, I will deny your motion to dismiss.”

The Judge has taken under advisement a motion to dismiss declaratory motion on behalf of Waller County.

Attorneys for the State asserted that the law, an amendment to the Local Government Code linked to a subsection of the Penal Code, refers to an entire building where courts are in session or do business, while Open Carry share the opinion issued by the Attorney Genera. AG Ken Paxton takes a plain language approach to the interpretation.

It means only the portions where courts are in session or the clerical offices attached to them, he said in a recent opinion.

Walker argued that the District Court has no jurisdiction to issue declaratory judgment because “A Court does not have the jurisdiction to issue a declaratory judgment if it will not completely eliminate a controversy…there is no injury here…Terry Holcomb does not have the ability to injure Waller County…It does not affect anyone else in the State of Texas. This case is moot, and the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction to rule in a case that is moot.”

 

Money guru: Fed to launch new ‘virtual’ currency – FedCoin

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-11-54-33-am

Federal Reserve Will Likely Eliminate the Dollar – according to a financial services expert named Bob Irish, a classmate of former President Bill Clinton.

A dollar is worth 93 percent less than what it was prior to the formation of the private banking cartel that bosses the U.S. Treasury. As other nations dump dollars worth “I.O.U. Nothing” on the U.S. market, according to Irish, inflation will skyrocket and people will lose their savings.

In meetings with the Fed, he has learned their solution is to create a new virtual currency called FedCoin, which will “chip” a person’s entire financial profile on a device such as a SmartPhone, tablet, laptop, server, or chip…

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-12-01-25-pm

Pistol-packing preacher to confront hard-nose County Judge in Waller

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-1-26-03-pm

‘Tyrannical’ County Judge Trey Duhon filed suit against Pastor Terry Holcomb, Sr. over carrying guns inside the courthouse

Hemptstead – An aggressive open carry activist is looking to pack a Waller County District courtroom on Friday morning to test a 2015 law the Texas Attorney General says allows concealed carry licensees to carry handguns inside courthouses and city halls where judges hear cases.

Said Pastor Terry Holcombe, Sr., of the Waller County Judge, “He has attempted to bully and intimidate Texas citizens using the force of government to scare them into never complaining about their policies again. King Duhon sued me for exercising my right under the Texas Constitution by sending a letter redressing grievances of their no gun policy…If such behavior is allowed to go unchallenged, we as Texans will cease to have the right of redress of grievances of our own government due to fearing that very government will sue us.”

Equally aggressive Judge King Duhon pre-emptively filed suit on Pastor Holcombe  of Texas Concealed Carry when he challenged the policy of not allowing handgun licensees to carry their weapons in parts of the building other than where court is held or court clerks keep their records.

The District Court will hear a motion at 10:30 to dismiss the suit brought by Pastor Holcombe – among others – based on the allegation that Waller County has no standing to bring suit as a civil matter.

The law in question, according to Holcombe and his attorney, is a Penal Code provision prescribing punishment for a third degree felony for anyone who violates it by carrying a firearm inside the court or its administrative offices.

The County Judge and attorneys for Waller County have countered by filing suit for declaratory relief and reasonable attorney fees by seeking a holding that the law as passed by the Legislature is intended to ban firearms from buildings where courts hold sessions entirely, not just in parts of the building where there are no courtrooms or court clerk offices.

At the heart of the dispute is a recent opinion of Attorney General Ken Paxton which interprets the new law as having teeth sharp enough to make Waller County face a “fine of up to $1,500 a day for the first violation and $10,500 a day for the second or subsequent violations. Further, sovereign immunity for this conduct by this state agency or political subdivision has been abolished by Texas Government Code Subsection 411.209(h), subjecting it to possible litigation to collect any assessed fines, court costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, investigative costs, witness fees, and deposition costs,” according to a letter Holcombe sent Judge Duhon that touched the dispute off back in August.

Aroma of an OPERATION

man-with-gun-over-there

Man, with gun – over there – corner of New Rd. at Valley Mills, Waco

Six Shooter Junction – Didn’t get the interview, but that’s no surprise. Got blacklisted a long time ago.

Besides, it was Scandinavian Day at the corner of Valley Mills and New Road, out front of Pep Boys, where the open carry types parade infrequently with their assault rifles on Sunday afternoons.

First, Swedish Television Channel 4 had a crack at the flack, an Army-looking dude with the regulation Open Carry Texas polo shirt and an AR-15 on a two-point sling. The blonde with the microphone asked pretty good questions, but when they got to the part about automatic, the flack got all erudite and started with the lingo and all that jive.

The camera man listened for awhile, then he admonished him, at arm’s length, dude to dude, soldier to soldier. He said all that was unnecessary, just tell the girl whether the rifle – the firing piece – the weapon – is capable of full automatic fire.

No.

They agreed to call it a semi-automatic, something the guy behind the camera said is pretty much understood worldwide, at least, by now – and the flack said he would try to be more brief.

Sound byte city.

Later, she wanted to know who I am and who I work for, so I said, “I don’t think it’s any of your business, sister.” She said it didn’t hurt her feelings. Mine either. I’m used to derision.

That’s when the Danish National Radio outfit pulled up in a posh Mercedes Benz 12 passenger van, what they call a crummy in the lettuce fields of the valley and the conifer forests of the northwest. The buttoned-down, tuetonic version of the church bus.

You could see it wasn’t their first rodeo. They were out to get the goods, and they don’t take prisoners. Election time in flip city, the O-man’s “swamp of crazy,” Texas. Yowza!

The dude who drives the deal on the Danish bus, he snapped his head around and gave it the old raised eyebrow. Obviously, he’s seen it all before. Militia. Civil disobedience. An air of impending violence. NATO. UN. Occupation. Yeah. He’s been there. World-weary bureaucrat of the government airwaves. Hello.

Can’t help it. That’s what they told me four decades ago. Try to get the way it felt to be there, the expressions on people’s faces, the way it smelled in there.

It’s an op, and this First Shirt who shipped home from Iraq after he ran an intelligence cluster classifying, correlating and enumerating detainees for several tours with an – ah, well, attitude.

First Sgt. C.J. Grisham started blogging – somewhere, some time. He pulled bodacious numbers. It ran into trouble. Isn’t done. Military doesn’t inflict their written observations on the civilian world. Unprofessional. All that.

He got shipped around. Transferred. But he kept doing it. He’s good at it. Sees it for what it is.

Then he came home to Temple, Texas, his hometown, after the Army transferred him to The Hood – that great place. That’s where he confronted the Mayor and City Council, the police, and then he got busted for carrying his AR-15 and his 1911 model down a country road near the home place, some pretty cotton land out by the airport. Had his high school age son with him. Got turned in by a Child Protective Services social worker on a drive-by do-good mission from hell. They found him guilty, never gave back his weapons. But he’s got his kids. Squeaky clean. Family values. 

Good for him. Hate to see them take a man’s kids. Hard on mama.

That was then. Now it’s one little hassle after the next. This one is about how local officials are bound and determined to defy the Legislature’s insistence that it’s okay for law-abiding citizens with a license to carry a handgun concealed are equally authorized to carry it in the open – even unto the halls of justice – just so long as they don’t go into the courtrooms.

The local judges and judges all across the Lone Star State, what do they say?

We’ll see you in court.”

What else would they say? Gimme a break. That’s the office, where they do business. Just like Ft. Worth, where the west, it begins? 

Said an innocent bystander carrying an M1 carbine, an officer’s rifle from the World War Two and Korean eras, “It’s an exercise to see who will get on the train and who will be a problem, who has control issues, and who has to go through the metal detectors.”

The First Shirt? He had a confrontation with a particularly pesky little dude who works the security booth at the McLennan County Courthouse, downtown – one way in and one way out. It was about carrying his pocket knife into the rodeo, where the children come to play.

Said the head cowboy hat, “A decision has been made.” That’s all he would say. But he said it so belligerently, even the Duke himself, Rooster Cogburn – John Freakin’ Wayne – would have been proud of him, his stolid stance, his resolute inflection. Just like that Texas toilet paper. Ain’t takin’ any off anybody. Pilgrim!

Said our friend, yours and mine, “They keep making it about Charlie Manson and Charles Whitman and all the other killers. But that’s not who I am. I’m a law-abiding citizen.”

Yeah, a law-abiding citizen who is getting ready for – well, we won’t go there. The deal is, anyone else running around with all that load on the shoulder would be in the far back ward of the bide-a-wee, no cigarettes, no TV, and-definitely-no poker-with-the-boys-Cuckoo’s Nest. The nut house for – well, you know – observation and, ah, well, adjustment of the old medication.

Here’s looking at you, kid. See you in court.

Okay, the First Shirt, he went to see the Constable Walt Strickland, boss man of the belligerent little cat who has this thing about pocket knives and then lets the lawyers walk right through, by-passing the metal detectors, many of them carrying their concealed handguns.

Said he, Constable Strickland, when quizzed about the boys with briefcases wearing suits, the ones who don’t even slow down at the express lane by-pass of the metal detectors, “I guess they actually work there.”

We’ll see you in court.

Where else?

What was said in this epic meeting? The First Shirt asked Strickland why he couldn’t carry his pocket knife into the rodeo, or the courthouse, and Strickland said: “We aren’t going to go there.”

That’s the First Shirt. I’d hate to meet the whiskey-drinking, cigar-chewing, golf-playing, skirt-chasing General who really drives the deal. No telling what kind of cute little interior curves he’s got in his head. Swedish head? Danish head? German head? NATO head? UN head? Whatever.

It’s going to get real up in here. We are definitely expecting rain.

So mote it be.

sgt-cj-grisham

Retired First Sgt. C.J. Grisham, top kick who drives the deal…

Judge knows records “Don’t belong to me…”

court

66th Judicial District Judge Lee Harris will take the bench for a recount

Hillsboro –  An unusual moment of great symbolic importance will occur on November 9 at 10 am in the well of the District Courtroom in this pioneer prairie city.

Technicians from ESS, the electronic voting machine provider, will be on hand to conduct a recount of the March Primary voting results.

Judge Lee Harris will take the bench, the Court Reporter will be on hand to take down what is said, and summonses for the former Elections Coordinator and all election officials who served on election day have been served. The entire procedure will be recorded by both video and audio equipment.

An unusual if not unprecedented happening, the entire affair will be open to the public and copies will be made for the District Clerk, the Judge, the Secretary of State and Attorney General, and for any interested member of the public who cares to compare the new count with the former.

Said the Judge, “I know the records don’t belong to me…” His phrase hung in the air. The truth is, court records of the State of Texas belong to We The People, and because a Political Action Committee named Empower Texas caught the fact that the total number of ballots cast were exactly three times the tally of paper records made by election clerks and judges, the Secretary of State asked the Office of the Attorney General to do a full investigation.

Public officials are the Custodians of Record of all records pertaining to the business of The People Of The State Of Texas, according to the Texas Constitution, the Codes of Civil and Criminal Procedure, and the Texas Public Information Act.

Sgt. Boone Caldwell of the AG’s office discovered in his inquiry that the machines are prone to starting their count over only if the operator tells them to, according to Judge Harris.

The technician from the electronics company did not begin the count over, and so “Apparently those votes were counted three times,” said Judge Harris. “It looked like we had a whole lot of folks come to vote.” That makes sense, because there was a record turnout.

It wasn’t caught for some time.” Nevertheless, “We commenced a Court of Inquiry then and there,” he said, beginning with his order to impound all the election results, the machines, and the issuance of summonses for all parties involved. 

Will the results change the outcome of the Primary, and thus the General election?

I don’t know how much it will change things; some things will change. That much I do know,” said Judge Lee Harris.

Though the Attorney General’s Office has made a determination that the inquiry is not really of a criminal nature, extra care is being taken due to the unusual circumstances.

It’s so unusual both fellows with the AG’s Office told me they’ve never been involved with this before.” The same goes for the folks from ESS. There is one hand who works for the outfit who will be on hand because he has been present at just such a clam bake in the past.

It’s the symbolic importance of the public’s faith in the election process that is at stake, said the Judge.

There is nothing more important I know of.”

So mote it be.

– The Legendary

bonds-alley

The view from the nickel seats in Bond’s Alley, and words to that effect

‘It’s over!’ majority vote kills Valley Mills land buy

bickerstaff

Mayor Ray Bickerstaff announces, “It’s over!” after crucial vote…

Valley Mills – A hush fell over the council chamber following the roll call vote. People were confused by the semantics of the proposition. The majority voted “Yes,” which in the context of the question, meant no.

“What’s that mean?” several people asked in obvious confusion.

Mayor Ray Bickerstaff said, “It’s over!”

With that, the proposal for Valley Mills to acquire 259 acres of the Robert Hall estate at $3,500 per acre bit the dust.

Asked why the decision was made in executive session, behind closed doors, not to go through with the purchase, Bickerstaff said, “We intended to purchase the land, but the people who intended to develop the property would not make a commitment to buy it right away…We couldn’t go through with it.”

He explained that there would have been added costs to pipe water to the pasture land on the edge of town, or the expense of drilling a well, adding streets and lights, and it was just not feasible. People in the crowd standing outside during the half-hour the City Council and Mayor pondered the question pointed out that there is a rock quarry on the property, but no natural springs or artesian formations.

Asked the identity of the developers who wanted to make the second hand purchase, but only after the city administration bought the property, Bickerstaff responded by saying, “What difference does it make?”

We responded, saying, “It makes no difference.”

dscf1979

Mister Lion told the Signifying’ Monkey, “You better do what she say.”

‘Culture clash’ had to happen – former mayor

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-11-25-16-am

Kaffe klatschers, spit and whittlers and phone talkers refuse to let the facts get n the way of a good story. It’s got to be ‘Fixer Upper’

Valley Mills – Rumor has it that Chip and Joanna Gaines of multi-season television fame have already purchased the Robert Hall property on the outskirts of town.

They’re just negotiating for the level of city services they will be able to count on as they develop their property for custom homes.

Not everyone is all that happy about it.

Former Mayor Jerry V. Pierce said, “We need to have an evaluation of the current system before we spend a bunch of money on something new.”

He’s got a point. Valley Mills’ water is rusty, the city administration has been forced to issue boil orders due to ruptures in the primary water tank.

His question. How are you going to pay for all this?

Wait a minute. Here’s an out gay man, decidedly a liberal who supports politicians devoted to what any self-respecting rock-ribbed Republican Tea Partier would call the tax and spend mentality, and he’s interested in how you’re going to pay for this?

On the other hand, the conservative, ultra-religious right wingers who have taken center stage are go cat go swingers reminiscent of the northwest Houston mushroom city growth spasms of the late twentieth century, or the North Dallas Forty crowd who turned grain fields into McMansion cookies overnight, seemingly as far as the Canadian border. Or is it just the Canadian River?

Who cares?

Good question.

“They don’t care about $3 million in trust to the ban, but can’t be located. What they’re interested in is who I spend my private time with,” he said.

It’s a culture clash and it had to happen.

Race, growth, economic prosperity, fiscal responsibility – water – oh, yes, that perennial subject Texans just love to fight about – water.

“It’s a conversation that had to happen.”

Meanwhile, in the filling station, the bank, stores and churches – there are 11 in the neighborhood of Valley Mills – people are all abuzz about just who is behind all the fuss. Is it really the television remodelers? The Fixer Uppers of bed and breakfast, barndominium, silo and home place fame?

Stranger things have happened.

One way to find out is to be at the City Council chamber at 5:45 pm today, Tuesday, November 1 to find out about what Mayor Ray Bickerstaff says is such a “sensitive” subject.

Militia leaders foil hack

murdochjpg

Murdoch Pizgatti and activists from Dontcomply.com are known to flood the streets with militiamen and Oath Keepers bearing arms…

DFW Metroplex – The co-founder of a powerful group of media guerillas says he and his men were able to foil a sophisticated hack of their computer systems that threatened to incriminate the group for capital crimes. He termed the cyberattack as a “complete surveillance operation.”

According to Murdoch Pizgatti of Dontcomply.com, a “training manual file I previously saved to my desktop is the only file left. And all contents have been changed to a fictitious conversation string of emails between me, using an altered email, and people hiring someone to murder people. It uses every key word, like bomb, explosion, Asad, account numbers, payments murder…”

The DontComply group is able to flood city streets with Second Amendment activists with ease, in locations such as shopping areas, the state capitol grounds, and certain problematic places of business such as Starbucks and certain restaurant chains who will not allow concealed carry licensees to bring their sidearms into their locations. At one point, following the arrest of then Master Sergeant C.J. Grisham for violation of a Temple city ordinance by carrying an AR-15 down a rural road, Pizgatti and his band of activists put hundreds of people in a march around the block of the local police headquarters.

In another landmark event, DontComply helped persuade Land Commissiner and former State Senator Jerry Patterson, author of the Concealed Carry Handgun License law, to allow activists to rally on the grounds of the Alamo carrying long guns.

In both cases, city laws prohibit the practice, though the Texas Constitution guarantees the right to carry a firearm.

In cooperation with Brett Sanders, a radical film maker, Dontcomply has recently co-produced short films pointing up the fallacy of thinking that gun-free zones or other prohibitions against firearms will stop the bad folks from using their guns to kill their victims.

Pizgatti said he was able to counter the cyber attack on his computer system primarily because “Going public on their planted evidence before they were ready to use it messed them up. This was by no means a regular hack. It was done as a complete surveillance operation with intent to pin a crime on the DontComply founders. Their one file left on my desktop was a little warning to slow my roll against the Empire. But I am not scared. I stand on principle. Man shoud be free and I stand for Freedom. Come at me, bro!”

‘Wolf Ln.’ – code for trailers, not houses

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-5-54-01-am

Recovery from the crash of 2008 has been volatile in this community

Valley Mills – An ultra-mysterious proposal by city officials to acquire 259 acres of ranch property from the Robert Hall estate is headed for executive session in a called meeting today at 5:45 pm.

Mayor Ray Bickerstaff refuses to voice any details about how the city administration will participate in the development of what he has said will be custom home lots complete with fire protection, streets, and storm drainage. He says it’s up to developers – two groups of them, to give more facts to he and City Council members.

The proposal to go into executive session for discussion of the matter came to a fiery impasse when first mentioned at a stated meeting in October. Former Mayor Jerry V. Pierce, who was voted out of office in a landslide over his open practice of a gay lifestyle and the suspension of the City Judge and City Secretary over forensic audits that raised multiple questions about money objected so strenuously that Bickerstaff and the council sought a later meeting – behind closed doors.

Said Bickerstaff at the time, the Waco city limits are crowding Wolf Lane, just down Highway Six, a rural road that angles away from the main stem into a collection of trailer parks and undeveloped acreage with modular housing that city residents deem undesirable.

They kicked the can down the road a week or two, then backed out when extensive publicity aroused a renewed interest in the proposal.

Normally, cities first plait a subdivision based on a proposal from developers who have acquisition and development capital on-hand. Their next step is to approve the plan, with the proviso that they will reserve their acceptance of streets and roads for maintenance only if they come up to DOT standards.

But Bickerstaff and company won’t give any details of how they propose to proceed. It’s all up to the developers, and he won’t even say who they are.

Now, they’re back again with a closed-door meeting Bickerstaff said will probably clear up a lot of their questions.

The public can wait, he said. Their opinions will be welcome once the tribunal has made its decision.

Quite simply, people in this charming little city at the junction of a river valley, a railroad, and the County Line don’t have much confidence in something they cannot hear, see, or weigh in their collective experience.

Said a homeowner who lives in an unincorporated area called Buffalo Estates, adjacent to a new High School located on the city limits, “Well, I don’t want to be annexed. If they can’t take care of what they have, streets water and sewer, we won’t get anything but city taxes. And as for the land, I see trailer city…”

In the housing development of Buffalo Estates, there is a strong homeowners’ association that rides herd on all proposed development. Their concern is quality, home values, and getting their money’s worth out of what taxes they are obliged to pay.

“…If they don’t have good restrictions in their by-laws and a bank roll to back it up, they are dreaming. They will need streets, street lights, sewer, water and water meters. Thought they had a water mater shortage? That’s why the other land back there  didn’t develop…”

The person talking said it brought to mind a similar, ill-fated venture caught in the crippling crisis of 2008 when lenders and developers went belly-up throughout America.

“…If they get desperate, they won’t give a hoot who they sell to. It’s all about their tax base. We will look like Wolf Lane. And more kids on the free lunch program.”

Bickerstaff has big plans for economic development, a vision of bringing resorts, hotels, amusements to the area.

“…I can’t see where land development, housing (HOTELS), etc, belongs in City Hall.”

“But we really can’t do anything unless we are annexed.”