Saturday, September 30, 2006

“The fight for Texas independence continues..."

TTC protest

September 30, 2006

Waxahachie Daily Light
Copyright 2006

Supporters of independent gubernatorial candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn and opponents of the Trans-Texas Corridor staged a protest Saturday morning at the Ellis County Courthouse in downtown Waxahachie “to show how many people are against the TTC in its current form,” organizer Ron Langenheder said.

Langenheder, who is Ellis County Treasurer and an ardent Strayhorn supporter, noted the protest was staged to coincide with another occuring simultaneously in Gonzales, where Strayhorn reportedly delivered a speech against the corridor next to the “Come and Take It Cannon,” according to a release written by Langenheder.

“How appropriate it is for us to be standing together here today with people across the state to say to the governor that if he wants our land, and our tax dollars — because that’s what tolls are, particularly on roads we’ve already paid for —then he can try to come and take it!” he added.

“The fight for Texas independence continues today in this election to defeat this governor and his administration’s penchant for closed and secretive government, instead of open and inclusive government.”

As part of the protest, many of those present emptied containers of dirt into the courthouse’s flower beds, an act which was to symbolically inform Governor Rick Perry “that is all he is getting before he is rerouted in November.”

Langenheder exhorted those present to participate in the election, saying “you have to get out and vote.”

In an interview after the protest, Langenheder detailed the reasons for his opposition to the corridor, stating that he opposes:

The taking of private property by the government for the “betterment of a business”

The increase in noise, light, and air pollution

The not knowing the nature of tranported goods on the road, which he states could be hazardous

The lack of entry and exit ramps

The rerouting of fire and emergency personnel by the corridor

That there are no plans to continue the corridor into Oklahoma and other surrounding states.

“This corridor’s crazy,” said protester Jannay Valdez, who considers the issues of illegal immigration and the corridor linked.

Valdez stated that the corridor will negatively impact “overflowing” schools, hospitals, and welfare roles, adding that, “I love Mexico, but I want Mexico to be in Mexico.”

Valdez, whose Mexican-born father immigrated to the United States, also said that “as long as the U.S. is an enabler by letting it(self) be an escape hatch, Mexico will never deal with its own problems.”

“Why do we have to have foreigners come build our roads?” Valdez asked, speaking of Cintra-Zachry, LP, which is slated to build the road (this limited partnership is one in which Cintra, a Spanish-owned company, controls 85 percent of the partnership’s equity).

Valdez stated that instead of passing new legislation, he thinks the government “should uphold the laws already on the books.”

“I don’t have a problem with immigrants,” Valdez said, “I have a problem with illegals.”

Democratic Ellis County Judge candidate Charles “Chuck” Beatty and members of his campaign staff were present at the protest, as was Democratic Precinct Chairman Harold Rudd, who spoke out against what he characterized as a similar plan to build a Loop 9 toll road near Midlothian. The event coincided with several other, non-related events at the courthouse, so an exact count of those attending the protest was not feasible.

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