Monday, July 26, 2004

The Process of Elimination

List of those for whom the roads toll

July 26, 2004

Ben Wear
Austin American-Statesman
Copyright 2004

Sometimes just standing near a fire can get you singed.

Since the July 12 vote by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board to approve a $2.2 billion toll road plan, I've heard from quite a few people upset that, in the news story about it that ran the next morning, I didn't list the 16 members of the CAMPO board who supported creating seven more toll roads around here.

I did list the seven no-voters, figuring that if incensed toll opponents were readying tar and feathers (well, threatening to start circulating petitions to force recall elections, anyway), I should make it clear who needn't be on their hit list.

My assumption was that those with a bone to pick with the yes voters would be able by process of elimination to divine who they wanted to process for elimination.

And, in fact, the truly motivated had no trouble at all identifying their targets. A recall drive for Austin Mayor Will Wynn, for instance, was well into the research stage before the sun set July 13.

Nonetheless, more than one e-mailer noted that the American-Statesman editorial board endorsed the plan.

Obviously, they said, I too was a supporter of the toll road plan and was a foot soldier in a conspiracy of silence. They charged that I purposely suppressed the identity of those board members, almost all of them elected officials, to protect them from abuse or ouster from office.

Not so. Editor Rich Oppel, editorial page editor Arnold Garcia and the editorial board make their decisions without the advice or consent of beat reporters.

But those readers were right that the names should have been in the newspaper, given the importance of the vote.

So, two weeks late -- and with no inference that they deserve or don't deserve condemnation for their stance -- here are the board members who voted for the toll plan, listed in alphabetical order:

  • State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin
  • Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, a Democrat
  • Williamson County Commissioner Greg Boatright, a Republican
  • Hays County Commissioner Bill Burnett, a Republican
  • Round Rock City Council Member Gary Coe (sitting in for Round Rock Mayor Nyle Maxwell)
  • Bob Daigh, Austin district engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation
  • State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin
  • State Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown
  • State Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Round Rock
  • Austin City Council Member Brewster McCracken (council members are elected on a non-partisan basis)
  • State Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan
  • Travis County Commissioner Karen Sonleitner, a Democrat
  • Austin City Council Member Danny Thomas
  • West Lake Hills Mayor Dwight Thompson
  • Capital Metro board member John Trevio

  • and Wynn.

And for those of you of might want to recall those who voted against the plan, and don't have the July 13 American-Statesman sitting around, you can figure out their names through the process of elimination.

© 2004 Austin American-Statesman: