Courtesy of TURF -
More I-35 shenanigans...
One of our supporters who manned a table outside the I-35 workshop the week before Thanksgiving, was present the entire time and saw all of 4 ordinary citizens enter the meeting. When he asked one of the consultants how many people had attended, they said close to 30. When he inquired how that could be when he only saw 4 people enter, they said some folks had come around 4 PM to leave comments and go. He asked how that happened since the posted start time given to the general public wasn't until 5:30 PM, he was given double talk.
When it became clear that members of the San Antonio Mobility Coalition or SAMCo (made up of over 70 private contractors that do business with TxDOT) had been welcomed prior to the posted hours given to the general public, we submitted an Open Records request asking for the sign-in sheets and any correspondence sent to SAMCo about the I-35 meeting.
Records show a litany of government officials and road contractors attended and only a handful of ordinary citizens. Records also show that SAMCo members got a personal invitation in writing from TxDOT and the RMA on November 3, more than two weeks prior to the meetings, when the general public only received notice two days prior to the workshops. It explains why the road lobby showed up and the general public did not.
This is how TxDOT and toll entities rig the process by keeping the public in the dark and getting the road lobby to do their bidding -- show-up while they're still on the clock when they don't have to rub shoulders with those stingy taxpayers to leave pro-toll comments and get home at their regular time. The general public, by contrast, funds this whole operation with our hard-earned tax money, and we have to leave work early or come after hours on our OWN TIME and DIME taking time AWAY from our families to give input to corrupt public agencies that deliberately stack the deck against us.
State law now requires those who do business with TxDOT or who work for firms that could profit from the road project are supposed to disclose this on their comment forms. From what we have pieced together from the public records of the meeting, they did NOT comply with the law.