Texas House District 73 Campaign
by Sonja Harris on May 17, 2016 at 1:46 PM
Texas House District 73 incumbent Doug Miller is facing a challenger, Kyle Biedermann, a hardware store owner with absolutely no legislative or community involvement experience. In fact, Biedermann in his debates claims to have NOT read the Texas Constitution but would like to have it condensed. Obviously he is not a reader friendly person. And since Texas lawmakers have plenty to read, Biedermann’s consultant should have advised him that reading was a critical part of his duties.
Comal County is struggling to keep up with all the land developers presently building new homes for people that are clamoring to live in this beautiful area of Texas. I’m afraid that this is only the beginning as Comal County is the 7th largest in the nation in population growth. So it would be a wise decision to have a representative in the legislature with knowledge and experience with what has emerged as the most critical issue of the day: WATER.
It seems to me that the people in HD73, especially in Comal County, should be interested in having an adequate supply of water, but water that is of good quality. We should be concerned with protection of our aquifers and protection from the number of sewage treatment plants that are coming with the newly developed subdivisions. Biedermann’s campaign has run on being a ‘Christian’, hardware store owner and what he plans to do in the future and nothing else. In a recent debate Biedermann was unaware of what Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, Groundwater Conservation District, and Emergency Service Districts do. Rep Miller is the one we should be voting for if we want to address our looming water crisis.
Representative Doug Miller:
“My water journey started about 32 years ago, simply as a community volunteer and concerned citizen. I was appointed Chair of the New Braunfels Chamber's Natural Resources committee. As a small business owner and former police officer, I was like a lot of folks that believed, if you turn the faucet on and water comes out, there's no worry. It quickly became apparent to me that water was extremely important to a community's well-being and more vulnerable than many people realize. After being elected to the New Braunfels City Council and becoming Mayor at the ripe old age of 33, I assumed the seat of city liaison on the New Braunfels Utility Board of Trustees. Our city's connectivity to water became much more relevant to me once I held this position.
I will explain my help to western Comal County. It began in May 1993 with SB 1492, the bill that created the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA). The entire focus of the legislation had been on water quantity because of the springs in New Braunfels and San Marcos. It wasn't until I interjected the need for protection of water quality that there was any mention of it in the bill. Early drafts will verify this. It came to me that the Edwards Recharge and Drainage area extended way beyond where water could be drawn and the boundaries of the new authority. If something toxic or harmful was allowed to enter the aquifer, then all the quantity in the world would not matter. Therefore a section to the bill was added which created a five mile buffer zone which 20 years later proved to be extremely helpful to western Comal County. I also was on a committee formed by former Comal County Attorney, Nathan Rheinlander that created special health and safety county ordinance, that still exists today, which restricts developers from over building and not protecting the aquifer. The method of lot density is still in use by Comal County Commissioners Court and the only one of its kind in Texas.
Currently, there are several subdivisions in the works that want wastewater discharge permits from the TCEQ. I have worked with Councilwomen Yvonne Chapman, to engage the EAA to use their authority to protect landowners and their aquifer from discharges that may be harmful. I have also been working to make sure that the TCEQ does not issue a permit to a developer that has not been fully vetted and where the developer can prove there is no harm to surrounding property owners. I am all for private property rights but not for one owner being able to damage another. This will be more and more important as western Comal County continues to populate.”
Now, I am not an expert in water issues but it’s definitely not a secret that we are having water problems.
The following is information from Bulverde Councilwoman Yvonne Chapman:
“The residents in Oak Village North, and Twin Creek’s subdivision petitioned TCEQ for a contested case hearing regarding an amended wastewater treatment plant application submitted by the 4S Ranch developer in which 450,000 gallons per day at build out of treated effluent would discharge down Lewis Creek. At issue what will make its way into the wells supplying water to the 2000+/- residents of Oak Village North. It is understood the discharge will be a mucky seep, like a stagnant pond perhaps.
The development community has lobbied Austin for great legislative benefit: Eminent Domain for MUDs...can you imagine a "corporate/taxing" entity having the same condemnation authority as the Federal, State, County, City governments do?
Development at any cost to people nearby:
~putting wastewater treatment plants in or adjoining flood plains like Lewis Creek;
~ being permitted by TCEQ standards to run a force main across a flood plain with all that raw sewage potentially being released in a storm event;
~TCEQ standards permitting treated sewage to drain along contributing/recharge areas even though it is not treated to a potable standard; in fact, studies cannot prove even the accepted TCEQ discharge of non-potable treated waste removes household chemicals. I am not sure about medications.
~TCEQ standards not taking into consideration most wells in the area are groundwater under the influence of surface water wells, so easily subject to contamination. TCEQ cites it is the responsibility of the well owner to monitor his well, (private or public), to ensure water quality is not compromised by wastewater treatment plants discharged product.”
Water is the number one issue in Comal County we should all embrace; this is the issue we should rally around. Instead this HD73 campaign has been littered with negative attacks. Attacks usually come from the inexperienced challenger and when an attack comes from the incumbent then it becomes a full blown battle ground because the challenger goes into an almost disastrous spin spewing mud in every direction.
It is tragic that people I respect and admire also seem to go into lethal mudslinging, attacking those that do not ‘side’ with them. I am not a shill for Rep Miller and definitely not for Biedermann. And if you follow my writings than you know that I worked on the Jeff Judson campaign AGAINST House Speaker Joe Straus. I also supported Chris Byrd against Miller. Neither candidate won, not because they did not work hard enough, but because:
1) There were two challengers to Straus in Bexar County. I might add that Sheila Bean used the same consultant as Biedermann.
2) People in Bexar County HD121 are satisfied with Straus and voted to keep him
3) Biedermann’s consultants live in Comal County giving the edge to Biedermann because of their personal influence.
Keep in mind that consultants get paid on both sides and have an interest only in winning and might not care so much about HD73. Apparently Biedermann’s consultant did not properly vet him and now HD73 has to decide if they want someone with no experience or the incumbent who is endorsed by Alliance for Life and the NRA. If we elect candidates who are not in the best interest of our community, we will doom our conservative cause. Comal County is my home and I care about our issues especially water, since there are so many new homes being built. BTW NO ONE PAYS ME for endorsing or supporting candidates! There are many factors that go into this horrendous battle for HD73 but the only issue should be finding the best candidate to represent HD73 and Rep Miller is the better of the two. Now would be a very good time to contact Representative Miller in HD73 and explain to him that our water issues are critical today and in the future.
This campaign should not focus on hate or revenge, but about who will do the best job for the constituents of HD73. Somehow, ‘getting even’ just does not work. It should be on merit alone and I find from Biedermann’s debates, lack of experience in any capacity, no substance to his words makes him an extremely poor choice for HD73. The voters in HD73 have a big responsibility to their community and above all, we really do deserve the officials we elect.