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#1 2012-03-06 22:26:11

Kevin
Administrator
From: Tanglewilde
Registered: 2004-09-08
Posts: 6,929

Management district pushback in The Woodlands

State pursues voter fraud charges against Woodlands residents who registered to motel - Steve Miller, Texas Watchdog

The case of eight Woodlands residents who sought to use a residency loophole in the state’s election law to gain representation in a utility district election in 2010 will go before a grand jury on Thursday in Montgomery County as the state pursues criminal voter fraud charges.

The eight, which included retirees, small business owners and trade workers, sought to elect some new members to the board of the Woodlands Road Utility District.

Because they didn’t live in the 2,400-acre district, they checked into a Residence Inn that was within its boundaries, claiming residency there. Three of their confederates placed their names on the ballot, and, thanks to the “new” residents, they ousted three incumbents who had fostered the district, which has the power to tax and issue debt.

The incumbents sued, and a judge ruled the votes were invalid, reversing the election. In October 2010, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office submitted information to the state Attorney General’s office.

Lesson for limited-government activists everywhere: Never, ever underestimate the extent to which those benefiting from these sorts of management districts will go to protect their sacred cows.

The state legislature really needs to step in and rein in these entities.



Link to post:  http://www.bloghouston.net/item/8907

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#2 2012-03-07 09:24:07

UHLawdog
Member
Registered: 2012-03-07
Posts: 1

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

Long-time lurker, first-time poster.  I understand that management districts slide towards the bad on the good/bad continuum, but I'm not sure that committing voter fraud is the right way for limited-government activists to attack the problem.

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#3 2012-03-07 09:29:01

Kevin
Administrator
From: Tanglewilde
Registered: 2004-09-08
Posts: 6,929

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

UHLawdog wrote:

Long-time lurker, first-time poster.  I understand that management districts slide towards the bad on the good/bad continuum, but I'm not sure that committing voter fraud is the right way for limited-government activists to attack the problem.

The point is well taken. If the activists thought they had no other recourse and had truly found a legitimate loophole, then that's one thing. But you'd best be darn sure about the legality of going about it this way! Because pushback is pretty much assured.

I hope Steve Miller keeps up with this and shares the final disposition.

And welcome aboard! It's good to have some new blood around here. After a hectic schedule first part of the year, we're hoping to get things cranked back up!

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#4 2012-03-08 06:50:09

Factotum
Member
From: Kingwood
Registered: 2007-11-27
Posts: 173

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

Oddly enough Texas law lets you register anywhere you might someday, sometime, maybe reside.  That's how our pols live in their downtown offices rather than the palatial homes in other jurisdictions.
Case dismissed!


If you can force me to pay your med expenses I bet you can make me pick your cotton too.

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#5 2012-03-08 19:58:01

Ross
Member
Registered: 2010-08-31
Posts: 61

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

If the businesses that pay the taxes are reasonably happy with how the district operates, why would anyone else care? From what I was able to find, the district isn't like the Montrose district that serves mainly as a means to transfer money from businesses to the pockets of politicians. The concept of these districts is fine, it's the implementation that often goes bad. I suspect many of the opponents are people who would be against fixing a 3 foot deep pothole on a street they seldom use, because, in the end, it's all about them and what they want, not what anyone else wants.

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#6 2012-03-11 22:20:51

rorschach
Member
From: Spring, Texas
Registered: 2005-01-05
Posts: 3,926
Website

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

Businesses don't pay taxes, their customers do, so in reality the local residents pay the taxes.


http://redinktexas.blogspot.com/
"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Samuel Adams

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#7 2012-03-11 22:56:56

Ross
Member
Registered: 2010-08-31
Posts: 61

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

So, we're all agreed now? Abolish the district, and let Woodlands based businesses hope that Montgomery County gets around to making road improvements at some point? Sometime after they fix the roads in Cut and Shoot, Conroe, Willis, and other far flung portions of the County?

The businesses apparently don't mind paying the taxes, because the improvements happen within the district and on roads feeding the district, which makes it easier for customers to reach the businesses. From everything I've read, this is one of the special purpose districts that seems to be doing what it's supposed to.

On the voting side, it's time to change the registration law to require you to register at the property you declare as a homestead for tax purposes, or at hte property where you usually spend the night. No business addresses that do not have permanent sleeping quarters. The voting address should also match your drivers license address.

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#8 2012-03-13 16:50:56

rorschach
Member
From: Spring, Texas
Registered: 2005-01-05
Posts: 3,926
Website

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

So you would disenfranchise anyone who rented Ross? How many nights must you spend at that address before you can claim it? So what of all of those voter registrations in CD18 where multiple people list vacant lots as their residence for voting purposes? And as far as whether the businesses are happy paying the tax goes, how would anyone know? Businesses can't vote, so how would they voice their displeasure at paying the tax?


http://redinktexas.blogspot.com/
"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Samuel Adams

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#9 2012-03-13 22:59:39

Ross
Member
Registered: 2010-08-31
Posts: 61

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

Did you see "the property where you usually spend the night"? Perhaps we oculd add "and where you pay your utilities, and have the address on your drivers license" .

I would deregister anyone who registered at a vacant lot.

I've never known of a business that had any difficulty at all voicing displeasure over taxes. Businesses tend to be much more effective at that than individuals.

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#10 2012-03-14 19:14:05

rorschach
Member
From: Spring, Texas
Registered: 2005-01-05
Posts: 3,926
Website

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

Except businesses in such a district have no leverage. What are they going to do? work to elect your opponent? What opponent? What election? With no voters there are no elections. Just ask the businesses in the Galleria area trying to shut down that district how effective they are.


http://redinktexas.blogspot.com/
"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Samuel Adams

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#11 2012-03-14 23:59:48

rorschach
Member
From: Spring, Texas
Registered: 2005-01-05
Posts: 3,926
Website

Re: Management district pushback in The Woodlands

So if they rented a room in the hotel within the district, which they did, how is that any different from renting an apartment? How long is long enough? How does that differ from H.w. bush "living" in the houstonian for a couple weeks a year if that?


http://redinktexas.blogspot.com/
"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Samuel Adams

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