Community Vision

by Kevin Henning, KCDP Chair
for the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, January 4, 2019

Flag and gazebo in Boerne Main Plaza
Photo credit: Leah Rosenberger. Used by permission.

Creating a Community Vision would be an excellent step for Kendall County to help address many of the concerns and answer many of the questions that are now being asked by residents of the county. Articles in this newspaper continue to demonstrate that officials also have many questions and concerns. Judge Lux has concerns about the effect of development on infrastructure. Commissioner Durden worries that citizens have to subsidize development. Commissioner Elkins tells us it will be a tough road to change because we will have to fight powerful business lobbyists.

Developing a Vision could be a catalyst to tackle the difficult process in the state legislature. All stakeholders would need to be involved not just our officials. The Vision would be our long-term planning tool. We must have more local control to address quality of life issues, water issues, sustainability issues, and transportation issues that threaten the character of our community. We are one of the fastest growing places in the country. This is wonderful place, in an ideal location for development so growth has and will continue to happen but our citizens need to be heard not just the powerful business interests. Development Rules and Regulations need to be updated and negative impacts reduced. Much credit goes to the community leaders who have stepped up to raise issues about concrete batch plants, developments in the city and county and the Gateway Loop to name a few. While commendable and courageous these ad-hoc groups should not have to fight these battles alone. Time to come together and tackle this problem as a community.

The root of my concern is based on the disparity of power that exists in State government. Wealthy and powerful business interests and other large lobby groups control the legislature. They have the money for contributions and often use their power to the detriment of people and communities. Balance must be restored. Commissioner Durdan has submitted language to Representative Biedermann to give the County some voice in development. Biedermann is not encouraging, saying it is a heavy lift. Commissioner Elkins tells us that “it is going to take everyone in this county and the rest of counties to address this issue.”

In 2017, Richard Caldwell and I met with Representative Biedermann when he had office hours at the Chamber. Two of the main topics we discussed were Water Control and Improvement Districts and uncontrolled development in the County which can cause unplanned and costly infrastructure requirements.  Same story then, gaining more local control would be very tough to do. Biedermann did note that nothing will ever be done unless we all step up and make it happen.

 I remain concerned that the Austin game is rigged. I remember calling Doug Miller after Governor Perry vetoed 24 Republican bills many on ethics. I wanted to know why he vetoed Republican bills.  Doug’s response was that Perry didn’t veto any of his Bills. I pressed but never got a straight forward answer. So, my conclusion is that it was a shame. The legislators would go home and tell their constituents that they had supported ethics reform. The outgoing Governor was ready and able to preserve the status quo to the benefit of the legislators.

I wonder where Senator Campbell stands. I note that she did support increasing setbacks from schools for concrete batch plants but often she has taken money and the side of business interests over the folks who elect her. I note that both Biedermann and Campbell have sponsored or supported legislation establishing Water Control and Improvement Districts(WCID) in the Kendall County without properly consulting the community and Commissioners Court.

Time to begin the process of change. Creating a Community Vision would be a great place to start. I want to thank Ben Eldredge for promoting the idea of a Community Vision. I find his views and perspective enlightening. Let’s do it.

The Democratic Party of Kendall County stands for justice, respect, compassion and diversity.

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