Oct 132016

In the wake of the Brexit vote to determine of England should leave the EU, a young Brit said we are now living in a “post-factual age.” The longer the campaign to rebuild Cape’s Dam goes on, the more I am willing to agree that we have somehow entered a post-truth era, where blatant misrepresentation masquerades as fact.

What is sadly true is that many well-meaning people, who want to see the health of the river enhanced, have been misled into believing that an unnatural structure such as the dam supports and improves the natural environment of the river. They have been led by constant repetition to believe the attacks on science and scientists, rather than the science. Truth has always been a tool for solving our issues, and science has been for centuries a way to determine truth. It is under attack right here in our own little town.

What would lead anyone to mount and maintain such an attack? We cannot look into the hearts and minds of those that wage wars against truth and science. We can guess what may motivate them, but we will never know. We can, however, see who would benefit from a successful campaign to rebuild Cape’s Dam.

A look at the Hays County Appraisal District, http://esearch.hayscad.com/ , is most illuminating. Begin with property id R143800. No surprise here, if you are familiar with the area. It is where The Woods Apartments are. The owner is The Woodlands of San Marcos, LLC, a company out of Athens, Georgia. Who owns the bank opposite the corporate property of Woodlands of San Marcos, LLC? Go back to http://esearch.hayscad.com/ , and enter property id R141838. The answer is The Woodlands of San Marcos, LLC. One could step off the corporate property of The Woodlands of San Marcos, LLC, right on to Cape’s Dam.

We don’t need to find a trail of dollars from Athens, Georgia, to San Marcos to see now why The Woodlands of San Marcos, LLC, would love to see an amenity built with public money at this point in the river. Even if you don’t care about the environmental health of the river, you should be concerned about public money for private gain.

Make no mistake, rebuilding Cape’s Dam would be public money for private gain. The clients of the corporate owners of R143800 and R141838, whether they remain The Woodlands of San Marcos, LLC, have privileged access to this part of the river. For those of us not living in The Woods apartments, we can’t see the dam, and it is a long walk from non-corporate property. To get to it, the rest of us have to park on River Road, in one of the few parking spaces on Cape’s Road, or in the Blanco Gardens neighborhood. We then have to walk around The Woods Apartments either in the direction of the frontage road of IH 35 or from Capes Road. After looping around the apartments in either direction, you will still have roughly a 1/3 mile walk to find the dam. From The Woodlands of San Marcos, LLC, it is maybe 600 feet.

A rebuilt dam would be little more than an amenity for the residents of The Woods apartments, and whatever gets built on the opposite bank. It would greatly enhance the property values of The Woodlands of San Marcos, LLC. We will never know what motivates the local leaders of the misleading effort to rebuild the dam. It is enough to know that private interests will gain the most benefit from the expenditure of public money. We should all stand against public money for private gain.

Paul Murray

 Posted by at 8:47 pm
Oct 252015

As you all know this is a critical election for our city. Please vote early. Protect San Marcos has endorsed Scott Gregson for Place 5 and Melissa Derrick for Place 6. The Hays County Government Center is the place for early voting. Otherwise, vote on November 3 at your designated polling place (see links below). Early voting can be done at Hays County Government Center at the following address:

Government Center
Conference Room
712 S. Stagecoach Trail
San Marcos, TX

Remaining times for early voting are as follows:
Sunday October 25
1 pm to 6 pm
Monday through Friday, October 26 – 30
7 am to 7 pm

Full schedule and other early voting sites are at this link:

Voting on November 3? Here is a link to polling locations:

Precinct maps are here:

 Posted by at 4:31 pm
Oct 202015

In the San Marcos City Council race for Place 6, the incumbent, Shane Scott is being challenged by Melissa Derrick. Like the race between Lisa Prewitt and Bill Taylor in the previous election, the line has been drawn between developer/real estate interests and neighborhood preservation/environmental interests in the current election. This becomes apparent simply by looking where campaign signs are placed around town. Many of the signs for the developer candidates are placed in empty lots that also contain real estate office “For Sale” signs. The same locations have been reserved for real estate/developer candidates during local elections going back many years. If you knew nothing about the candidates, you could get a good indication of their affiliations simply by observing where their election signs are placed. On the other hand, the signs for the neighborhood preservation/environmental protection candidates are predominantly placed in family neighborhoods and in front of single-family homes.

Insight into who is backing each candidate is more precisely shown in the finance reports filed 30 days before the election. These Finance reports can be viewed on the City of San Marcos website at the following link: http://www.sanmarcostx.gov/index.aspx?page=69.

Research was done on the affiliation of each donor and presented here for the Scott and Derrick finance reports. Affiliation was determined by an internet search of the name of the donor and by determining the person’s association with a particular industry, job, connection to a nonprofit organization or professional organization, etc. That said, my conclusions are my own. I encourage voters to examine the candidate’s financial reports for themselves in order to draw their own conclusions. I know that the more educated voters become, the better it is for the candidates Protect San Marcos supports.

The affiliations of donors are shown in the graphical summation shown below.

In addition, addresses for each donor are also given in the finance reports. The data on this metric is summarized graphically below by “In San Marcos “ donations vs. “Out-of-Town” donations.

Graphs For Shane Scott:


Graphs For Melissa Derrick:

In conclusion, it is obvious that the bulk of donations for Shane Scott’s campaign comes from out- of-town developers. The remainder comes from real estate-related businesses and others in San Marcos. Donors contributing to Melissa Derrick’s campaign, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly people living in San Marcos who work in a variety of industries.

The 30-day financial report showed total contributions for Melissa Derrick to be $4,458. Shane Scott reported $14,848.00. Shane Scott reported zero contributions of $50 or less, while Melissa Derrick reported contributions of $1007 in $50 or less.

The bad news is that developer/real estate candidates can afford lots of big signs in prime locations and postage for several slick mailers going to every potential voter. The good news is that out-of-town developers cannot vote in the San Marcos city council election– but you can, and so can your neighbor. As we saw in the election rout of Bill Taylor, money is not always the deciding factor in our city elections. The winner is determined by informed citizens exercising their right to vote.


 Posted by at 6:21 pm
Sep 212015

Last week, Protect San Marcos announced our endorsement of Candidate Scott Gregson for Place 5. Today we announce our endorsement for Place 6. Primary issues for Protect San Marcos include preservation of the unique character and culture of our city, defense of family neighborhoods, and protection of the San Marcos River. With this in mind, there is a very clear and obvious choice for San Marcos City Council Place 6. Protect San Marcos enthusiastically endorses Melissa Derrick for Place 6.

The following statement from Melissa was sent to us for publication today:

I am an active volunteer in this community we all call home. I am a member of the San Marcos River Foundation, and a Neighborhood Commissioner for Sector 2, while also acting as the Treasurer for the Board of Advisors at Katherine Anne Porter School in Wimberley. I also served on our City Charter Review Committee. I received a B.A. in Journalism from Texas State University. I have worked at the university for twenty years in budget management, a job that requires strict adherence to budgetary guidelines. I’ve raised my children in San Marcos and it is here that my husband and I built a computer repair and resale business. I will work to maintain, strengthen, and expand our vibrant economic and cultural elements.

It is time for me to use the knowledge I have gained to serve my community and let citizen’s voices be heard with my vote as a council member. I have studied our city’s codes, I regularly meet with citizens and speak at city meetings. I do so to express concerns in our community. This year’s election is key to the future of San Marcos, as we continue a remarkable period of growth. When elected, I will focus on preserving our river and natural resources, protecting our neighborhood integrity, while at the same time promoting responsibly-managed growth.

I will work diligently to ensure that our new Master Plan is followed as our Land Development Code continues to be updated. Following the Master Plan increases predictability in the development of San Marcos. Predictability instills the trust vital for our prosperity and will prevent San Marcos from becoming just another bedroom community along the I-35 corridor. Our neighborhoods are the backbone of our city and our small town sensibility – derived in large part from families who have lived here for generations. I plan to push hard to bring decent paying jobs with benefits to San Marcos, while maintaining strict fiscal responsibility. The impact on current citizens and existing business’ will be prioritized in every vote I cast.

I will promote the ongoing effort to create a dynamic downtown, alive with the arts, music, entertainment, and unique local businesses. I will help cultivate a prosperous economy while setting high standards for employers, developers, and businesses that we invite to join in shaping our city’s future.

Flood plain management and support of engineering efforts towards long term solutions are of paramount importance. I will not suffer from flood amnesia. I will support efforts for flood recovery and reducing the costs of rebuilding.

I will prove myself a worthy asset to City Council, because I will endeavor to find balance between growth and preservation, city and university needs, while keeping an eye on the future, knowing decisions made today will create the San Marcos inherited by future generations.

~ Melissa
Please share!

 Posted by at 5:59 pm
Sep 132015

Protect San Marcos will endorse two candidates for city council. In the upcoming city council elections, there are two clear choices if you are for the preservation of family neighborhoods and protection of the San Marcos River. Protect San Marcos proudly endorses Scott Gregson for Place 5.

The following statement from Scott was sent to us for publication on our website:

I’m running for City Council to make certain you have a voice at City Hall. A voice that respects what you have to say and with the experience to lead our city forward while preserving and defending our unique character, vision and charm. I believe that we must protect and respect the San Marcos River, defend our neighborhoods from continued irresponsible development, demand transparency and openness in government, work to create meaningful jobs that will employ every citizen at or above a living wage, and provide necessary benefits like healthcare.

My record of working to protect neighborhoods is clear. I am against rent by the bedroom apartment projects in or near existing single-family neighborhoods. I advocated to local business leaders that Capes Camp be a park, showcasing our most cherished natural asset. I opposed other apartment projects such as Sessom Canyon, The Retreat, and the Buie Tract (Capstone).

In stark contrast, my opponent has supported those on Council who voted for Capes Camp and has also spoken on behalf of organizations whose leadership spoke in favor of Sessom Canyon and continues to promote these very types of development.

Who we elect to City Council has lasting consequences. Bad decisions regarding development haunt us for generations. Bad development doesn’t equate to good economic development. Some in our business community don’t seem to realize that there are many of us who live in San Marcos because of the life-style we enjoy, not just the money to be made from irresponsible developments that litter our landscape.

If asked, I won’t vote for projects like this, EVER!

I believe in encouraging a vibrant downtown by promoting office and residential options, as well as more choices for dining and entertainment, not just more bars. Additionally, I am for diversity in available housing options to include affordable housing and the pursuit of long-term water supplies to ensure the security of our community for generations to come.

I earned a degree in Finance from Texas A&M and an MBA from Harvard. With this education I have a career in managing companies and their finances in the private sector. With this experience, I will bring to our City Council an analytical background to make certain when companies come asking for our tax dollars, we get the win, not simply give them a windfall.

As a local business owner for the past 20 years and a 15-year resident of San Marcos area, I have served and currently volunteer on numerous boards and commissions including the vice-Chair of the Citizen’s Utility Advisory Board.

I love this city and invest my time, talent and passion for San Marcos out of respect to a great community and I ask for your vote to allow me the opportunity to serve you on City Council.

 Posted by at 4:00 pm
Apr 012015

GREAT NEWS!  There will indeed be a LIVE score performance accompanying the Yakona movie April 11th on the bank of the River at Sewall Park as the finale to the daylong Texas Wild Rice Festival.   This means the composer of the award-winning movie score will be there with his musicians and vocalist, to give you quite an experience!  Don’t miss this, and help us spread the word on Facebook and to all your friends and family. It will give you a new appreciation for movie scores, plus you get to see the beautiful movie on a huge screen.  Yakona is being shown at 9 p.m., at dark on the 11th.  Bring a chair or blanket and park at the nearby stadium parking lot on Aquarena Springs Drive or behind Strahan.  Or safer yet, park at City Park near the Lions tube rental and walk over without having to cross a street.

 Posted by at 3:02 pm
Mar 162015

“Our mission is to promote sustainable and comprehensive economic development in the greater San Marcos region by implementing a five-year economic development strategic plan.”

That is the Mission statement for the “Greater San Marcos Partnership”: (http://www.greatersanmarcostx.com/about-us/about-us-2).

Sustainable is defined by Webster as:

“Able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed.
Involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources.
Able to last or continue for a long time.”

I think “sustainable” is a nice “buzz word” for them and they should really take its meaning to heart when implementing their strategic plan.

Maybe they should include the words “inclusive” and “transparent” in their mission statement, as well, so that the citizens of San Marcos could be more empowered to contribute to, and influence their efforts. This would foster greater trust and promote the citizens understanding and participation in their processes and insure that GSMP’s efforts, on behalf of the citizens of San Marcos, are truly a benefit to those citizens while preserving the environment and our quality of life.

 Posted by at 10:19 am
Jan 132015

The Request by Campus Village Communities for a Preferred Scenario Amendment to change an Area of Stability – Neighborhood Area Protection  / Conservation  to an Area of Stability – Redevelopment / Infill was denied tonight with a vote of 8 to 1 at P&Z. The only vote against the denial was that of Brian Olson. This is the property located at the intersection of Sessom Drive and Academy street between Orchard and Alamo street.

 Posted by at 8:47 pm