Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Get off my lawn, I'm entitled to my tax breaks!

Speaker Straus:

Are you for or against capping the Over 65 Homestead exemption? It's my understanding that we cap property taxes for those 65+ because they're likely retired and less able to keep up with rising property taxes. We don't want them forced to sell because of the taxes. I would think there is broad support for this idea. But I would suggest this principle no longer applies when we're looking at highly appraised HS properties. Do we need to give a tax break on houses worth $1 million? $2 million? I don't know how much revenue would be recaptured if the Over 65 HS exemption were capped, but perhaps you could ask the Comptroller's office to figure that out. Please let me know whether you support capping the Over 65 Homestead exemption, and if so, how you would cap it. Thank you in advance for your candid response.


Monday, July 15, 2013


Hey Ezra Klein.  Your Instagram used to be cool.  But then you got those two dogs.  RESCUE DOGS I'm sure.  I don't have time for that.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Media Inquiry: Government Spending.

Dear [Lamar Smith's press staffer],

As you may recall, I have a blog called luridtransom. I have a couple of simple questions for Congressman Smith. (See the message below.) I hope the Congressman will be able to answer them. Thank you for your help!


Dear Congressman Smith,

Yesterday I recevied your glossy, color tri-fold mailer. I've attached some photos for your reference.

On the cover of this mailer, you tell your constituents that the "future of our country depends on our ability to stop spending money we don't have."

The mailer discusses your committee assignments and provides the address for your website. On your website, you have this to say about the budget: "In the past four years, the gross national debt ballooned from $8.67 trillion to $15.2 trillion. Debt of this level will stifle our economic growth. The solution for reviving our economy is straightforward: cut job-destroying government spending to allow employers to create jobs." (Emphasis added).

The address page of the mailer notes it was "prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense."

I have two questions:

(1) What was the total expense to taxpayers to prepare, publish and mail this mailer?

(2) Do you think sending out this mailer is an example of job-destroying government spending of money we don't have? Or do you think the cost is totally worth it for the taxpayer?

Thank you in advance for your candid, substantive answers.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Newspaper Clippings: People who live off Evans Road complaining about suburban sprawl causing shitty traffic.

Threats of a federal lawsuit did not delay Gordon Hartman's development on Evans Road, so neighbors are going to Bexar County Commissioners Court with one of San Antonio's universal concerns: traffic.

Today, county commissioners are expected to vote on two more plats of Hartman's 527-acre Century Oaks development, near the TPC Parkway.

The site, where 1,493 homes and two schools are proposed, has drawn the scorn of neighbors and environmental groups because it is denser than now would be allowed by city ordinance over the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer.

Because Hartman's subdivision takes advantage of grandfathered development rights from 1995, before the city started limiting development over its main water source, the city is allowing him to proceed.

Traffic studies, submitted to the county by Hartman, show that by 2019, Evans Road will have to support 15,059 vehicle trips a day coming from Century Oaks.

“When you are coming from Bulverde (Road), if you are turning left into the subdivision where these 15,000 extra cars per day will be entering and exiting, you can easily be rear-ended because of the curve in the road,” said Barbara Bailey, a member of Cibolo Creek Conservation Society. The group is made up of the neighbors to Century Oaks and all live on lots that are at least 10 acres.

In Hartman's development, the average lot size will be 0.3 acres.

After a successful career as a full-time developer, Hartman founded the San Antonio Scorpions pro soccer team and Morgan's Wonderland, an amusement park for special- needs children. He still focuses on those projects and does housing development on the side.

In November, CCCS announced its intention to sue Hartman, the city, the San Antonio Water System and the Judson Independent School District in federal court for not doing their part to protect endangered species and the aquifer. By federal law, the suit can't be filed until January. It is supported by the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance and the Aquifer Guardians of Urban Areas.

County Commissioner Kevin Wolff sympathizes with his constituents, but said there is not much he can do.

“This is one of those lovely no-win situations,” he said.

Bexar County development services engineer Robert Brach said Evans Road can handle the additional traffic. He also said the dense development was made possible years ago when the city decided to expand its sewer system.

“Based on the current traffic volumes, (Evans Road) should have that capacity,” he said. “The thing is, once the sewer line came there, you lose your rural developments.”

Brach said Hartman has agreed to pay for expanding Evans to add a turn lane and a traffic signal. He said the county would ask for those to be included when Hartman makes his request for approval of the next set of plats.