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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The story that won't go away: Jacob's Well, the county and 5 million bucks


In 2010 the WVWA spent $48,317 on legal fees, but just $29,741 on environmental education 

Jacob's Well
Note: We had pretty much consigned digging any further into the county's generous contributions to the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association/Jacob's Well & Co. to the dead horse pile – until this e-mailed update arrived a few days ago. It is written by Mark Key of Dripping Springs, a member of the board of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District. Mr. Key told the RoundUp he spent considerable time doing his own research on the subject (and can vouch for his information) before sending his report and accompanying commentary to a handful of people and county officials. It seems this story just won't die. Over the years, commissioners court has approved expenditures of nearly $5 million for preservation and expansion of the Jacob's Well Natural Area. After the last $1.7 million grant in 2010, critics began to take notice. Questions were raised of possible contract fraud and sweetheart deals for the WVWA and others. Some questions have been answered, many remain unanswered. And we have yet to see an independent accounting of the county's transactions or the WVWA's use of the public funds. County Judge Bert Cobb rejected the idea of an independent investigation soon after he was elected to office. We welcome comments from any of the parties mentioned. 

Send your comments and questions to roundup.editor@gmail.com, Mr. Key at mkey72@gmail.com, Mr. Conley at will.conley@co.hays.tx.us, Judge Cobb at bert.cobb@co.hays.tx.us, Mr. Baker at mail@jacobswellspring.org or click on the "comments" at the bottom of the post 
  Mark Key, center
 
When all is said and done, it appears the Solyndra environmental scandal will cost every single resident of Hays County around $1.69. The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) led by Executive Director David Baker has cost every resident of Hays County $29.91.

While most Americans have struggled the last several years, Mr. Baker has enjoyed a 68% pay increase from 2007 to 2010.

Brief catch-up for those who have not followed this:

One of the last acts of the lame duck commissioners court in late 2010 was to spend $1.7 million of our tax dollars to buy 50 acres to stop development of a condo project near Jacob's Well. They then appointed the WVWA to be the manager for three years. WVWA then agreed to "give" the County 31 acres where the well is located.

Wow this sounds great!! But once you look a little deeper the deal is rotten.

First off, we already paid for the "donated" 31 acres – in 2008 the same commissioners court voted to give the WVWA $3 million dollars (Feb. 26, 2008 Court minutes) $2.6 million went directly to the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association to retire debt and $400,000 for future management. The $2.6 million was to bail WVWA out after they could not repay a private $2 million dollar loan on 46 acres (31 acres included in this amount) that included Jacob's Well and Baker's hotel, Dancing Waters Inn.

WVWA did give the land with the well on it to the County but kept access easements for guests of Dancing Waters Inn. The 15 acres that the County already paid for in 2008 they kept. Does this seem strange to anyone? WVWA gave up all the liability and maintenance of the well property, but kept the Inn where rooms rent for $200 to $225 per night. Dancing Waters Inn is considered a nonprofit and does not pay property tax.

The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association is a non profit, seems like someone forgot to tell David Baker. In 2010 the WVWA reported paying him $77,962. David Baker lists his residence as 1405 Mount Sharp road (according to 2010 voting records), which according to County records is owned by the WVWA. WVWA also pays electric service, trash service, and water and sewer service. I know this because WVWA submitted bills to the County to try and be reimbursed for these expenses.

There is also $10,027 for insurance, employee benefits $6,980 and travel expenses to the tune of $4,684, which is funny because he (Baker) claimed to live at the well site.

Before Baker discovered the "Non Profit" route to riches, he tried the above-mentioned Inn and at one point filed paper work to bottle and sell Jacob's Well spring water.

The reason the County had to step in and buy the 50 acres was because David Baker was once again in danger of losing the well  property, for making commitments he could not honor. Tax records show in 2010 WVWA paid $50,500 to the plantiffs (Condo developers) and $35,962.00 to lawyer Malcom Harris. Malcom Harris also sits on the board of WVWA.

Of particular concern is that while David Baker was making money as an employee of WVWA he was also vice president of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD). He consistently voted against projects that would compete with his employer.

By far the most controversial decision was when David voted against Wimberley Spring Partners (WSP) re-opening an existing golf course in Wood Creek. It was learned during the HTGCD meeting that WSP had been seeking a permit for 6 years and David was the one who killed it. After a majority of the HTGCD board approved the WSP permit, WVWA filed a petition to protest. When the HTGCD denied that petition for not filing in a timely manner according to district rules, Baker and Jack Hollon (WVWA board president and long time HTGCD director) decided to sue the Groundwater district (HTGCD).

Folks, I kid you not, they are suing the district because they could not follow rules they helped write.

The $1.7 million dollar land purchase isn't the first time the County has come to the rescue.  The County had to help mediate another lawsuit in July of 2008 by providing special counsel Mark Kennedy, a member of (county) Environmental Health Department, Commissioner Will Conley and County Judge Liz Sumter. This was done in Executive Session and I could find no results of the mediation.

In 2010 the WVWA spent $48,317 on legal fees, but just $29,741 on environmental education.

Why, you ask, does Baker and the WVWA protest so many things and seem so eager to sue? Simple: donations. When they are not receiving millions from the County, they solicit donations. When things are going great people don't donate, but when they create an "enemy" or a "crisis" they are able to raise more money.

Here is the truly sad part of this whole story. As has been shown, WVWA has gotten a lot of tax payer money, HTGCD also receives tax payer money, $125,000 from Commissioners Court last year.

So....The people of Hays County are paying to sue themselves.

Ladies and gentlemen, please call or write your County Commissioner and ask them not to give another penny to the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, and to remove them from managing Jacob's Well.

110 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just curious, has any legal action been taken or under consideration ?

Anonymous said...

Mark,

You obviously did a lot of research. Thanks for the effort.

Question: 81 acres were involved, I think. Can you tell us who holds title(s) to the various parcels? What "R" numbers are assigned to the parcels by Hays CAD?

The public needs to be able to know what land belongs to Hays County, what land belongs to WVWA, what land belongs to David Baker, etc.

Thanks!

Let Us Know said...

When Hays County bought land from Westridge (for the Jacob's Well area), didn't then-county judge Liz Sumter refuse to sign the contract because of some of the terms in it? Didn't Mark Kennedy sign instead? And isn't that illegal?

Editor Ochoa, can you please get a copy of the sales contract and post it? The public needs to know the cost and terms of the land it bought. Thank you.

??? said...

Did the purchase contract give David Baker a forever-easement through county-owned Jacob's Well Natural Area to his Dancing Waters Inn? Why is a commercial property allowed to be in a publicly-owned park area?

If Baker is making $200 per room per night at the Inn, why is his property exempt from property taxes? It isn't a non-profit establishment.

Anonymous said...

What part does the Nature Conservancy play in all this? Do
they hold title to any of the 81 acres involved? Do they have any sort of lien on some of the property?

Does Hays County have any further obligation to make payments on the land purchases -- or did park bonds buy all the land outright?

Anonymous said...

Lots of questions, no answers. Someone knows.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mark, for a Great Expose' of the inner workings of the corrupt WVWA and it's liar-in -chief! It seems that being non-profit can be very profitable indeed. I can't wait to hear some of the local Wimberley hippies and other pseudo environmentalists chime in.

I wonder what the Water Wasters and polluters on the Wimberley City Council will have to say? Blue Hole is just another non-profit/profit scam.

Millions for Blue Hole and not a thin dime for rebuilding the sewer system on the square the stop the crap from running into Cypress Creek and the Blanco River. Of course no one cares since the sewage enters the creek down stream from Blue Hole.

When Hays County bought land from Westridge ostensibly to save The Well and Bakers ass, I thought then and still believable now the fix was in. The developer was very likely in on the deal and never intended to build on the property. Baker conned everyone and everybody got what they wanted, except the taxpayers.

Do Not Donate to the WVWA!

Anonymous said...

Conley wants to fire Baker, so he had Key do his dirty work.

Conley has no friends when the heat gets turned up.

Anonymous said...

Legal action has been taken - but not by the Hays County DA just yet.

David Baker (via WVWA) and a bunch of other ne'er-do-wells sued the HTGCD when Baker was unsuccessful at thwarting the WSP while sitting on the HTGCD board. Baker receives more than 10% of his income from WVWA. WVWA claims to be particularly affected by the granting of the WSP permit.

If WVWA's claims of being particularly affected are borne out, Baker will have criminal culpability for i) failure to file a disclosure affidavit, and ii) failure to abstain from voting on the WSP permit. Baker colluded with other plaintiffs in the HTGCD litigation in an effort to thwart the WSP application. Although Baker may be subject to criminal liability for his actions, his co-conspirators could find themselves in hot water as well.

Incredibly, these individuals were not content with walking away from the failure of their co-conspirator (Baker). Instead they've brought attention to their actions and failures by filing suit and complaining of their failed efforts!

Don't be surprised if the plaintiffs in the HTGCD litigation suddenly decide they need to settle. Baker might have a sweetheart deal with Conley to get bailed out of self-created crises - but Baker's co-conspirators don't appear to have the same deal. Surely Conley wouldn't be so bold as to extend his taxpayer-funded sweetheart deals to these other characters in an election year.....

By the way, are the taxpayers paying for WVWA's legal actions too?

Anonymous said...

Why is WVWA allowed to retain title to property that the county taxpayers paid for?

Outraged! said...

Here's what adds insult to injury and galls a lot of Hays County people:

Not only did Westridge sell land above Jacob's Well to the county for a pretty price, but they sold it WITHOUT THE LUEs included. (LUE means "living unit equivalent.")

Hays County wanted to buy the Westridge land in the first place because Westridge was threatening to pile a bunch of condos on the property. So the County hastened to buy the land so that runoff from condo parking lots -- with oil, etc. -- wouldn't pollute Jacob's Well. THEN, for some truly inexplicable reason, the county bought the acreage without the LUEs attached, and so now Westridge is free to buy other land bordering Jacob's Well and use the LUEs on it, and possibly offer once more to sell land to the county at a highway-robbery price.

This is incompetence at its height! Mark Kennedy (who signed the contract), Judge Cobb, and all four commissioners should be tossed out of office for this travesty.

And the citizens had said they didn't want to fund parks by issuing more bond debt in the first place.

Our county officials do not represent us. They merely call for expensive polls and studies to see what we want (as if they care), and then blithely go ahead and do whatever they damn please.

Joe D said...

I'd bet the hair on my head that Conley sold WVWA out. Key is no Mensa member, he had to have help.

Open the Books said...

I'd like to echo the question asked by Anon 5:44 PM:

"Why is WVWA allowed to retain title to land that the county taxpayers paid for?"

If you go to the Hays CAD website, you'll see that at least the first 5 properties listed under "Wimberley Valley Watershed" as Owner are Jacob's Well Natural Area (JWNA) land.

Why aren't the properties listed as belonging to Hays County?

For WVWA to be able to manage the JWNA, the properties don't have to be in WVWA's name.

Is there something funny going on here? Is Hays County allowing WVWA to buy JWNA over a long period of time?

Let us see the contract whereby Hays County bought the JWNA lands from Westridge and others.

Anonymous said...

“From what I have seen here, justice is such a good thing that there is no doing without it, even among the thieves themselves.”

- Sancho, from Don Quixote

Anonymous said...

The publisher must have lost most of his liberal readers, otherwise why would he post this fake scandal dribble.

Now we see comments from the conspiracy nuts that Conley is behind the writer's pen.

With articles like this now in the Roundup, the publisher must be doing his imitation of Fox News.

Anonymous said...

@ Joe D,
Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

@ outrage!
Cobb had nothing to do with this. He wasn't even in office at the time this took place and his predecessor didn't support this either. You'll have to look to Barton (lost election), Ford (really lost election), Ingalsbe (?), and Conley(?). Ingalsbe and Conley are up for election now.

Anonymous said...

The Anonymous on April 3, 2012 11:43 PM said...

The publisher must have lost most of his liberal readers, otherwise why would he post this fake scandal dribble.

Now we see comments from the conspiracy nuts that Conley is behind the writer's pen.

With articles like this now in the Roundup, the publisher must be doing his imitation of Fox News.


Is this the best response we can expect from the Liberals? With them it is always, "Attack the Messenger". Mark Key states verifiable facts that many in the inner circle of the local environmentalists (WVWA, C.A.R.D.) have known for months but just keep on robbing the taxpayers to enrich themselves. Notice, they offer no defense or repudiation! The latest addition to the clan is the City of Wimberley and their Disney World park, Blue Hole and Friends.

These self appointed protectors of the Cypress Creek and Jacobs Well complex have had a plan all along and used it to suck in the "hippies and blue haired old ladies". The hippies show up at meetings and hearings of the various deliberative bodies to demonstrate against any WVWA competition (60s style) and the "blue hairs" donate to the "cause", in a feeble attempt to seek absolution before joining their Lord.

BTW, The RoundUp is more like CNN.

Anonymous said...

Idiot says:

"Is this the best response we can expect from the Liberals? With them it is always, "Attack the Messenger". Mark Key states verifiable facts that many in the inner circle of the local environmentalists (WVWA, C.A.R.D.) have known for months but just keep on robbing the taxpayers to enrich themselves. Notice, they offer no defense or repudiation! The latest addition to the clan is the City of Wimberley and their Disney World park, Blue Hole and Friends."

Mark Key must have written this. He is about "verifiable facts" as much as a right winger is about intelligence.

Outraged! said...

to Anon 1:53PM--

Cobb may not have been in office when the contract was signed to buy the various properties which now make up Jacob's Well Natural Area, BUT, when he got in office, he quashed the proposal of there being any investigation of the deal. He is complicit in the obfuscation and cover-up of this
project.

Anonymous said...

There are some strong allegations here. Can anyone tell me why the DA's office has not addressed this matter ?

Loves Cypress Creek said...

There is no way Mark Key wrote that article.

Bob, please verify that this was actually WRITTEN by Mark Key, because the man can barely speak in complete sentences.

Whoever ghost wrote this for Key sure has it out for Wimberley.

I would like to know why it is deemed okay by some to spend (borrow) hundreds of millions of dollars on roads that breed development along the I-35 Corridor and yet spending a fraction of that protecting Hays County's wild, watered areas is under such attack?

Stop villifying Cypress Creek, Blue Hole and Jacob's Well. These are all worthy projects and needed County financial support to make happen.

Why the County chose to fund these projects the way it did is not the fault of the projects themselves. This scrutiny should be directed at County officials, not at Wimberley environmentalists.

lo and beholden said...

Mark Key is an imbecile who hates David Baker because dealing with Baker, and the well-educated, hardworking environmental groups out of Wimberley has made him feel even more stupid.

Poor Mark Key, the guy who advocated 'drawing down the aquifer so the springs would stop flowing", because he saw that as a great way to conserve groundwater.

Key is a world class imbecile who has signed his name to a slanderous piece that somebody else wrote for him. I suspect someone with Wimberley Springs Partners put him up to this, since he (along with Conley) is likely being offered some personal benefit for consistently voting in their favor, to the detriment of Wimberley and Woodcreek's water supply.

I thought the HTGCD was supposed to be working FOR the citizens, not trying to get them charged with criminal offenses, accuse them of lying and theft.

Please, let's replace Mark Key with someone who truly wants to help conserve water, manage the aquifer sustainably and who will work WITH the environmental community to accomplish these goals.

When the groundwater board works against the very people trying to conserve water, there is something very, very wrong.

pegleg said...

Lo and Beholden,

I guess you just got your welfare check on the 3rd and were able to turn your internet back on.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Dont you all think it's time to quit snivelling AND prosecute someone ?

lo and beholden said...

Really, "pegleg", you lower yourself by trying to denigrate me by suggesting I am what, poor? On welfare? Unemployed?

As if.

Oh, how far we have stooped, you silly man.

no longer bemused said...

This whole Jacob's Well deal was Conley's idea and there is no reason to blame the folks over at WVWA for his questionable maneuvering.

They only wanted to make sure that Jacob's Well didn't get dried up or polluted and in comes a knight in shining armor to save the day (and keep them quiet at election time).

This deal, if there is anything amiss going on (and I don't think there is the fire Mark Key sees, much less the smoke), is the work of Will Conley and Mark Kennedy (another slick operator who will no doubt want to be District Attorney some day, so watch out). Jeff Barton helped out on this one in exchange for some favors as did Ingalsbe (the wise and prudent Commissioner who will do whatever it takes to serve her constituency).

Conley has already moved to sell out the WVWA by cancelling their management contract (but not before the primary, so he can keep them quiet a little longer), so you people who care about Wimberley water works better see the writing on the wall: Conley is and always has been little better than Winton Porterfield when it comes to the beauty of Wimberley and Woodcreek.

Wise up before it is too late. Vote in Sam Brannon, let the Commissioners Court lay off the two county employees assigned to the Well, let the WVWA keep taking care of it for the County and we all save money and save the Well at the same time.

Vote Brannon. Save Money and Water.

Anonymous said...

Conley is a snake who has put the WVWA and Blue Hole supporters in a bind by buying their silence about his spending spree with roads and that Taj Mahal government center in San Marcos.

I guess this is how politics works, right?

Conley is biting now, but you knew all along he was a snake.

It's just his nature.

Anonymous said...

To: Anonymous of April 4, 2012 8:08 PM who said...

Dont [sic] you all think it's time to quit snivelling[sic] AND prosecute someone ?


Answer: It might be difficult, since it seems that the local prosecutor may be involved up to his neck! It will have to be bumped to someone higher up in the chain of command. I think it warrants an AG investigation if the County Judge refuses to get involved or has to recuse himself.

Anonymous said...

@ lo and beholden who said...

I thought the HTGCD was supposed to be working FOR the citizens, not trying to get them charged with criminal offenses, accuse them of lying and theft.

AND @ no longer bemused who said...
This whole Jacob's Well deal was Conley's idea and there is no reason to blame the folks over at WVWA for his questionable maneuvering.

BS. The "environmentalists" are not relying up science. Instead, Baker makes misrepresentations to someone who publishes it and then Baker cites the person he shoveled his nonsense to as the authority for his continued misrepresentations.

The science establishes that the water providing "flow" for Jacobs Well is predominately due to rainwater. There is a "standpipe" effect due to groundwater but there will not be flow unless there has been at least intermittent rain. The rainwater contributing to Jacobs Well is collected up in another county. Even if you were "successful" at denying groundwater to all other residents of Hays County or even GMA 9, there will still be no flow when there is no rain.

The claims about Jacobs Well not flowing "for the first time" are nothing but poppycock. There have been many cycles of drought. It's simply a better fundraiser to make up stories and create a new crises.

As far as criminal prosecutions, you seem to forget that a number of the WVWA folks have been sitting directors on the HTGCD. The criminal culpability comes into play when a director of a local government entity (e.g., HTGCD) either fails to disclose a conflict or fails to abstain from voting on matters the director is conflicted in. The definition of conflict is set forth by statute, not the imagination of WVWA.

David Baker's foolish act of suing the HTGCD via WVWA has put the issue of criminal conduct by Baker in the spotlight. You can't have it both ways. You have the following elements:
a) Baker is the executive director of an organization that claims it is particularly harmed by approval of a permit that the HTGCD approved,
b) Baker receives more than 10% of his income from WVWA,
c) Baker failed to disclose the conflict on a disclosure affidavit, and
d) Baker interfered with applications for years when on the HTGCD board,

Now you have a prima facie case of several crimes committed by Baker just with respect to one permit. WVWA has no standing in the current civil litigation for other reasons. Aside from those reasons, however, either WVWA is not suffering a harm that is not common to other members of the public (in which case this is an additional reason why they would lose the civil suit) OR Baker committed multiple crimes with respect to at least the WSP permit. Which is it? You lose either way.

Now that Baker & WVWA are claiming that WVWA is particularly harmed we can look back to all the other permits that Baker surreptitiously interfered with.

As to the WVWA land purchase being all Conley's or the county's doings, who are you kidding?

David Baker was one of the initial appointees to the Parks and Open Spaces Committee that was to propose how the Parks and Open Spaces bond money would be used (2007). Within a year (2008), WVWA gets $2.6 million from the county plus a "management contract".

The taxpayer money paid Baker's creditors off on the 46 acres and Baker was allowed to retain title to the whole property PLUS got paid for "managing" the property.

Baker goes back to the trough about 18 months later to try to get another $1.7 million. So far, WVWA has been allowed to keep title to 15 acres of the 46 acres. The amount that WVWA kept is likely larger given statements WVWA has made elsewhere about the property they owned. Also this was rushed through by Conley without any surveying whatsoever on the property.

Hypocrisy Watch said...

The land and water gluttons wouldn't know science if it made their wives pregnant.

And what is the income level of you local rednecks? Mark Key says that Baker's "road to riches" is a travesty. He must be a welfare scammer if he thinks that's rich.

Road to riches? $60K to $70K a year is rich?. You WVWA haters are clearly the people who are white trash welfare recipients.

What a bunch of trailer trash whiners.

What about all the real estate developers who have Skipton and Key in their jockey shorts using your local tax money to get free subdivision infrastructure for their truly "rich" projects?

This is all just more reverse victimization anger from the locals who love being screwed by their own - but think they are now all of a sudden social justice advocates.

And Cobb is part of this VWWA scam - IF in fact their is a scam. Quit lying to yourselves.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 2:05 PM--

Can you post a copy of the sales contracts involving the Jacob's Well Natural Area (JWNA)?

How many total acres are in JWNA, and how many belong to each player?

Is JNWA or WVWA or Baker paying back Hays County for the properties?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Don Ferguson (Wimberley City Administrator) has stated that Jacob's Well is in Wimberley's ETJ.("Village takes on pollution," San Marcos Record, March 31, 2010)

Why doesn't Wimberley, rather than Hays County, have the right/duty to administer Jacob's Well?

Anonymous said...

TO: The Anonymous who said...
Don Ferguson (Wimberley City Administrator) has stated that Jacob's Well is in Wimberley's ETJ.("Village takes on pollution," San Marcos Record, March 31, 2010)

Why doesn't Wimberley, rather than Hays County, have the right/duty to administer Jacob's Well?


Short Answer: Because Jacob's Well is actually in The City of Woodcreek's ETJ. If Mr. Ferguson said that, he is just plain WRONG as he has been on other occasions such as claiming that St. Augustine grass is native to our area, particularly Blue Hole.

Anonymous said...

To Hypocrisy Watch,

Yes $78,000 per year is a lot of money when you don't pay for housing, electric, health insurance, etc. Baker has also sold several pieces of property to WVWA. Baker's whole package is worth well over $100K.

How much does the average County employee make? Do they get their housing paid for, or reimbursed for mileage?

So Hypo. go back to watching MSNBC and collecting your TEXACO retirement and cry to someone who cares.

Anonymous said...

Jacob's Well in not in Wimberley's ETJ and if it were I wouldn't allow Ferguson and his tribe of elected buffoons anywhere near it. They would probably install a "Water Slide" in keeping with their money making Disney World scheme like what they have done to Blue Hole. They couldn't manage a manure pile. Come to think of it they are managing or miss-managing the Wimberley Square which is the biggest manure polluter in the area.

We need to replace Mac McCullough with Tom Haley to help return honesty and competence to the City Council.

pegs said...

Lo and Beholden,

Sorry it took me so long to respond I just got home from work.

Oh I forgot.

WORK [wurk] noun, adjective, verb

Employment, as in some form of industry, especially as a means of earning one's livelihood.

Anonymous said...

Seriously Mark...
get a life!

What... your family won't talk to you anymore because of your anger issues, so this is what you do with your time? Grrrrr! Grrrrrr!

Was it that your mother didn't show you love? Aw....

Is it that you secretly have a crush on David Baker? Hmmmm?

Is it that you want to pave over everything you see because that is what was done to your soul?

Why can you not accept Jacob's Well is precious to Wimberley? That Cypress Creek is precious to Wimberley? That David is precious to Wimberley? Is it that you have nothing precious?

If you spent half as much time working on your personal issues, as you did spewing this crap... the world would indeed be a better place. Get to it boy!

Anonymous said...

Who is paying for WVWA's legal expenses in the suit filed by WVWA (Baker) against the HTGCD? The unwitting taxpayers via Conley? Has anyone been looking at the invoices and supporting documents submitted by WVWA to the county for payment?

Funny that Baker's buddies have their own necks on the line because they sued as plaintiffs. Baker on the other hand sues via the WVWA. When the HTGCD prevails, the losers pay the HTGCD's attorney fees according to statute (but not vice-versa). Wonder if they'll all be such buddies when they're coughing up the dough but Baker risks nothing personally and WVWA's assets consist primarily of property that the county already paid for.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hypocrisy Watch:

Mark Key says that Baker's "road to riches" is a travesty. He must be a welfare scammer if he thinks that's rich.

The income is greater than that and keep in mind that these are taxpayer dollars being funneled to Baker.


What about all the real estate developers who have Skipton and Key in their jockey shorts using your local tax money to get free subdivision infrastructure for their truly "rich" projects?

What have you been smoking? Skipton and Key (and the other board members) of HTGCD have no ability to route any tax money to any developers. First of all, HTGCD is not a taxing groundwater district. Second of all, HTGCD has no authority to dictate how the county spends tax dollars. Third of all, you are making zero sense. You've pointed out not one example of your claim.

The COUNTY (not HTGCD) may have paid for local subdivision infrastructure but so what if it did? Those homeowners are paying county taxes and the county is looking at them as a cash cow for future tax dollars. It is rare that the county actually pays for any subdivision infrastructure. Instead the county expects those residents to pay taxes for everyone else's infrastructure. Meanwhile the residents have to also deal with perpetual liens and perpetual assessments paid to abominable and worthless HOA corporations.

Anonymous said...

regarding Jacobs Well and Wimberley's ETJ.

First of all, Wimberley was incorporated based upon fraudulent representations.

Second of all, even if you ignore the fraud the statement was that Jacobs Well was in the ETJ - not the city limits.

Third of all, if your house is in Wimberley does the city have the authority/right to "administer" your house? No, the property does not belong to Wimberley. Likewise, Jacobs Well does not belong to Wimberley.


Finally, it is well established that you cannot have two political subdivisions of the state with the same management authority over the same territory at the same time. This is a fundamental constitutional principle and was pretty much the point that forced TCEQ to yield on trying to impose a "super groundwater district" over parts of Travis County, Comal County, and the territory that is presently HTGCD (much to the chagrin of the astroturfing environmental groups including a few now-former county commissioners.)

Although county and cities typically have different management authority, it's not clear how you would expect Wimberley's "management" to be any different than what the county does nor how Wimberley's "management" would be within the scope of what a city can do instead of outside its authority. Wimberley city council has routinely tried to step well outside their authority to impose their whims on residents of Wimberley. Let's not forget that the Jacobs Well property is not within city limits and it is actually OWNED by the county.

Sounds like you are a WVWA cult member who is concerned about Baker losing his credibility/windfall deals from the county and you're hoping to focus on more local pigeons liked the Wimberley city council. Think you'll lose that one too.

Anon, Apr 5, 4:16 PM said...

to Anon, April 6, 12:09 PM-

I'm not a WVWA cult member. In fact, I brought up the question about ETJ because I was thinking that maybe the county (which I know paid for --and should own -- the JWNA land) could turn over ownership to the City of Wimberley or City of Woodcreek. That would save county taxpayers because:

1) the 2 county employees could work elsewhere than at JWNA; and

2)expense to taxpayers would be monumentally decreased because neither City of Woodcreek nor City of Wimberley has deep enough pockets to offload mega-bucks onto JWNA.

Not a cost saver, but a title issue that needs to be cleared up is that WVWA currently has title to land that the county paid for. The title to that land should be switched to Hays County ownership immediately.

If David Baker still uses Dancing Waters Inn as his second home, that should stop. The county should not be paying for him to live there. The JWNA is for county residents to enjoy -- not a perch for Mr. Baker.

Anonymous said...

Jacob's Well is not located in Wimberley's ETJ; it is located in Woodcreek's ETJ and now owned by Hays County!

JWNA and WVWA said...

If Wimberley Valley Watershed Association's hope and intention is to keep the Jacob's Well area "natural," I fear they are shooting themselves in the foot.

Just like the spring itself, the area is fragile. Greatly increased traffic will run down the area. Even though visitors may be asked to stay on pathways, that will not happen. For one thing, Jacob's Well Natural Area (JWNA) does not/will not have enough volunteers to oversee all the rambunctious children who will stampede through there.

If WVWA tries to limit the number of visitors at any one time, they'll meet a hue and cry because:

1.out-of-towners will complain that they've "driven all the way from ________" (insert "Houston" or "Dallas" here). The county and the cities of Wimberley and Woodcreek want the revenue from visitors, and so the Chamber of Commerce and city fathers will protest the limiting of visitors

2. WVWA itself will need the entrance fees as revenue. (It seems Will Conley is about to spearhead a drive at Commissioners Court to cancel WVWA's lucrative management contract. But that won't be revealed until after the May 29 primaries because Will has belatedly been trying to present himself as an environmentalist.)

3. WVWA will try to promote use of Dancing Waters Inn (to be renamed "Dancing Waters Retreat") as some sort of conference center from which they collect revenue. Hays County owns the property, however, and it should be in county name rather than in WVWA's. And any revenue from county property should go to the county.

4. Venues like Old Glory and the many bed & breakfasts will complain that Dancing Waters Retreat is taking business from them.

In short, JWNA will turn out to be more like a theme park than a "natural area."

Natural said...

San Marcos has 5 "Natural Areas," and except for some trails, all 5 ARE left in natural condition. That means no buildings,no swing sets, no swimming pools.

To read about San Marcos' natural areas, go to

http://sanmarcostx.gov/departments/parks/naturalareas.htm.

Tattling said...

Mark Key has a huge crush on David Baker.

Absolutely obsessed.

Bromance is so sweet, even when it takes some scary turns like writing love/hate letters and publishing them for all the world to read.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous April 5, 2012 2:05 PM

You forget a couple of key points:

a) Baker is the executive director of an organization that claims it is particularly harmed by approval of a permit that the HTGCD approved,
b) Baker receives more than 10% of his income from WVWA,
bi) Baker was also a director on the HTGCD board at the time the WSP permit application was voted upon
c) Baker failed to disclose the conflict that his interest in WVWA created for any applicant in the Wimberley area* on a disclosure affidavit, and
d) Baker interfered with applications when on the HTGCD board
di) As an HTGCD director Baker voted against the WSP permit
dii) Then WVWA sued the HTGCD when Baker was unable to thwart the WSP application

I can't wait to see if these morons (WVWA) are actually going to go to trial. Should be fun to watch Baker get deposed.

*WVWA claims to be harmed by virtually any groundwater user in a 9 county area known as GMA 9.

Anonymous said...

If the WVWA and C.A.R.D. hadn't cut a deal with the City of Wimberley to help the City Council look like they cared about conserving ground water after wasting 700,000 gallons of drinking water on St. Augustine grass at Blue Hole last fall in the midst of the most severe drought in recent history, the WVWA would have raised Holy Hell over that waste. It would be in keeping with their constant whining about such things. Surprisingly, the WVWA said nothing.

Now that Wimberley is asking for a permit to pump 15 Acre feet per year at Blue Hole, WVWA and C.A.R.D. are quietly supporting the request. Wimberley is asking for this groundwater pumping despite the fact that they are served by Wimberley Water Supply Corp. as per their CCN. Of course the City is asking for special treatment from the HTGCD for that little tidbit to be overlooked. They have asked for 4 variances from the regulations. One other variance they asked for is to be exempted from an "Aquifer Test" to see if the pumping they are asking for will negatively effect nearby private wells. A test several years ago did cause nearby wells to drop a great deal. They steadfastly refuse to get the "needed water" out of the Creek. The WVWA is still silent!

The C.A.R.D. and WVWA sponsored Resolution supporting a Specific Groundwater Management Area (SGMA) was adopted by Wimberley City Council on February 28, 2012. The resolution was written by Jim McMeans' Group and read at the Council meeting by one of his members. This is what those two groups get in return from the City for keeping quiet about the groundwater pumping for a soccer field!

Don't tell me that no deal was made. The fix is in!

Anonymous said...

The publisher of this blog is part of the problem, not the solution.

He/she consistently allows words like "moron" and "white trash" to permeate the comments.

The Hays County Roundup seems like nothing more than a dumping ground for mean residents of Hays County who are given an easy and anonymous venue to spew extreme bias and hate for each other.

I assume the local commerce and tourists agencies wouldn't want prospective new residents to read this blog.

Who would want to live here with all this mean animosity?

Jake said...

One of many silly Anonymous comments says:

"Skipton and Key (and the other board members) of HTGCD have no ability to route any tax money to any developers. First of all, HTGCD is not a taxing groundwater district. Second of all, HTGCD has no authority to dictate how the county spends tax dollars."

Anyone who doesn't think the HTGCD Board - with their obvious "green light" influence and their majority extreme property rights and anti-environmental bias - doesn't indirectly and covertly foster the diversion of large amounts of taxpayer dollars for infrastructure projects, is lying to themselves.

If these entities had no power to not influence rubber stamping more developments, they wouldn't exist.

There are simply too many writers in this blog who are self-appointed "experts" on everything Hays County.

In fact, most are just blowhards with vicious uncompromising agendas.

Sadly, the Roundup continues of facilitate and encourage such anger. It's a major failing for this blog.

Not convinced said...

Speaking of animosity:

Why are these people trying to contribute to the destruction of Wimberley beloved water playgrounds?

I can understand why Dripping Springs might be jealous of swimming holes like Blue Hole or Jacob's Well, because, well, frankly there isn't anywhere to swim in DS, but why not just drive down the road and join us?

Anonymous said...

@ JWNA and WVWA said...
If Wimberley Valley Watershed Association's hope and intention is to keep the Jacob's Well area "natural," I fear they are shooting themselves in the foot...

Look, WVWA (like many other entities in Wimberley) is just trying to figure out how they can make a buck off of JW at taxpayer expense.


If WVWA tries to limit the number of visitors at any one time, they'll meet a hue and cry because:

1.out-of-towners will complain that they've "driven all the way from ________" (insert "Houston" or "Dallas" here). The county and the cities of Wimberley and Woodcreek want the revenue from visitors, and so the Chamber of Commerce and city fathers will protest the limiting of visitors


This was never about "sustaining" anything except Baker's paycheck from WVWA at taxpayer expense


2. WVWA itself will need the entrance fees as revenue. (It seems Will Conley is about to spearhead a drive at Commissioners Court to cancel WVWA's lucrative management contract. But that won't be revealed until after the May 29 primaries because Will has belatedly been trying to present himself as an environmentalist.)

Exactly why should WVWA be imposing "entrance fees" or keeping any such "entrance fees" on/from visitors? The property is county property and WVWA is already paid by the county.

3. WVWA will try to promote use of Dancing Waters Inn (to be renamed "Dancing Waters Retreat") as some sort of conference center from which they collect revenue. Hays County owns the property, however, and it should be in county name rather than in WVWA's. And any revenue from county property should go to the county.

Well Hays County taxpayers certainly paid for the property but it is presently titled to WVWA. You are right, the ownership records should be changed and revenues should be going to the county.

4. Venues like Old Glory and the many bed & breakfasts will complain that Dancing Waters Retreat is taking business from them.
Yeah, Baker wasn't too hip for having competition for his motel operation. Conley took care of that for Baker at taxpayer expense by buying out Westridge JV.

thinking out loud said...

When Mark Key says:

"Ladies and gentlemen, please call or write your County Commissioner and ask them not to give another penny to the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, and to remove them from managing Jacob's Well."

This is coming from a member of a group (the HTGCD) that is being sued by the WVWA and he is using his power to influence the outcome of that lawsuit in a public forum.

I am not certain of the legalities here, but something about his coming out publicly like this, using a local blog to try to influence the ability of an opponent in a lawsuit to continue their objection to his actions as an election official seems very inappropriate.

Mark Key is not acting as simply a citizen with an opinion. He is trying to use his position as an elected official to actually harm board members of a group that is funded by County government and is suing the board he is on, along with other private citizens.

Somebody needs to put Mark Key back on his leash and explain to him what an elected official can and cannot do.

Perhaps someone needs to sue Mark Key personally for slander and/or libel, along with gross misuse of the public trust.

This is not what Mark Key was elected to do and the sooner he is out of office the better.

Anonymous said...

Please Notice folks, that no one has offered any defense to the accusations in the original Article, just personal attacks against Mark Key and anyone that dare question the water scams of the Wimberley Valley. Mark is an honorable man with a fine family and is doing what our governmental representatives are elected to do. He receives no pay or any form of enrichment for his efforts at conservation. Compare that fact with how much Mr. Baker and others take home (out of this area) for their questionable efforts.

Wimberley and its surrounds exist mainly because of the tourist trade in the form of "Market Days", "Blue Hole" and "Jacob's Well". Other than that it is not much to see and it is not on a major route to anywhere and it is too far from the major cities to be a bedroom community. There are no activities or jobs for the young people in the area and property values are falling and in good times, stagnant. The only thing that the City and its businesses can do to maintain their goal of "Come Visit, Spend Your Money and Then Go Home" is to create more local venues to separate the Houstonians from their money.

Jacob's Well was just fine and natural the way it was and creating the "Natural Area" will not protect it since it will encourage more people (tourists) to come and trample it. The same goes for turning "Blue Hole" into a Disney World. Millions of Tax Dollars have been spent to enhance these venues for the benefit of local businesses and politicians.

Since the City of Wimberley has not grown since its illegal inception and has no property tax, all of its funding comes from sales tax, fines and franchise fees. Of course this is enhanced by Grants and Government spending.

Almost no one here is motivated toward Conservation of the environment unless there is money to be had. The loud voices you hear such as WVWA touting the saving of Our Natural Wonders, always have their hand out for donations and Grant money. The Film-Flam Artists such as Baker and most on the City Council have taken the true believers for a ride. Those few of us that want a real conservation effort are amazed by the amount of money (millions) that has been spent to turn this area into one giant theme park. Where did that money actually go, especially our tax money? How have we benefited?

Loves Cypress Creek said...

What is troubling to me about these uber-property rights folks who have decided to entrench themselves into the Hays County groundwater issue, is that some of them do not even live on property that depends on a well, nor have they ever visited or enjoyed swimming in Wimberley on a summer day.

Why you are getting involved in issues that for you are simply theoretical legal or ideological stances is one more indication that you really need to get a life. Those of you who are so concerned about the money being spent by the County to protect and preserve our parks and open space should pay more attention to how much money is being funneled to road companies and being used to enable massive in-migration into Hays County so that developers can make out like bandits, while our water is pumped to unsustainable levels. When the aquifer gets to a certain point, yes, the springs will stop flowing. And so will Cypress Creek. Surely, this isn’t something you would like to see happen. Or is it?

Those of us who not only depend on groundwater as our sole source of domestic water, but whose lives are profoundly enriched by the occasional dip into Blue Hole, the Blanco River or Jacob's Well, would truly like for you to stop trying to degrade our lives with your hateful gestures.

To Mark Key: Please stop dedicating your life to trying to bring down David Baker. David is an asset to his community, and to the environmental health and beauty of Wimberley, and his actions make other people's lives better. Can you claim any of this? What have YOU accomplished other than to jump around in public like a broken jack-in-the-box and spout half-baked teabagger platitudes and discredited science?

Mark Key, go back to your tract home in suburban Dripping Springs, turn on your tap and drink chlorinated Lake Travis water, gun up your heavy equipment, dig another big hole in the ground for your developer clients, and leave the good people of Wimberley, and their beloved watering holes, alone.

With "public servants" like Mark Key, we don't need enemies.

without a vision, we are all blind said...

Wimberley and the surrounding area is a sleepy little piece of heaven that has attracted people who love nature, beauty and a slower pace of life for decades.

Few come to live in Wimberley in order to make money. That is not to say that there are not some eyes who see Wimberley as a way to make money, but few of them actually live there.

Those people are the exploiters, not the people who love Wimberley for its peace and beauty. People who would destroy someone else's lives to make money do not deserve respect or legal protection.

The fact is, a fair number of people retire to Wimberley and bring their own money with them, earned elsewhere during successful careers. They contribute not only their money, but their time and expertise, to the community, which is why Wimberley has such a strong and well-informed environmental component, and a healthy economy in spite of their being few jobs available.

This unusually well-informed and motivated group of Wimberley citizens breathes new life into organized efforts to protect the Texas Hill Country's natural areas.

We really need for you folks who are rooting for the demise of Cypress Creek and the unsustainable drawdown of the Trinity Aquifer to back off and let us protect our water sources, our homes and our way of life.

Once the natural world is covered in concrete and buildings, once an aquifer is dried up or polluted, it is lost forever.

thinking out loud said...

Anonymous states:

"Almost no one here is motivated toward Conservation of the environment unless there is money to be had. "

I have no idea who you are talking about. I work with dozens of Wimberley and Dripping Springs citizens who spend long hours (and their own money) working on environmental issues.

We do this work because we love the beauty of the few remaining somewhat unblemished areas of the county. NONE of us is making money, in fact it costs us money to do this work. There are a few people whose actual job is involved in the environmental sphere, but the ones who make any money for their efforts are the exception, not the rule.

The money is made in the destruction, not in the conservation, of the environment.

The money is in residential and commercial development into natural areas. The money is made by those who do not care what happens to the woods, the prairies or the water. Most do not live here, and do not realize (or care) what their business plans will do to our land and water.

For those who do live here, and have decided to throw in the towel and make money off their lands at long last, I say: Shame on you. You are betraying both your neighbors and the land that has nurtured you all these years.

For those of us involved in environmental protection, this is a labor of love, but maybe you are simply refusing to see what is really going on here.

Obsession? said...

I think having these discussions online is far more productive in many ways that the similar conversations attempted in public meetings.

This is such an acrimonious topic that at least, via cyberspace, no one is shouting in anyone's actual face.

The problem with online conversations, though, is that people with no vested interest in this discussion are chiming in and muddying the waters with their strident ideological approaches to what are actually real problems requiring pragmatic, practical solutions.

Much as allowing the residents of the DS suburbs like Belterra, High Point or Ledgestone (who all depend on water from Lake Travis) to elect their unaffected citizens to the local groundwater CONSERVATION board, this discussion is not helped when these same people decide to inflict their suburban ideologies on semi-rural residents whose only source of water is their well.

fat cracker said...

No one who needs their well water to live would ever consider drawing it down the aquifer to unsustainable levels.

No one who has built something with their own hands would stand by and let it be destroyed.

No one who has ever spent a summer's afternoon in Cypress Creek would ever entertain the notion of letting it go dry.

Lilith said...

I also find it unfortunate that the only way money could be raised to protect Blue Hole was to frame its conservation in terms of being a "regional park."

This is the fault of the granting agencies themselves and the way policies are developed and enacted in terms of protection of public lands and recreational areas.

The only way to raise large amounts of money is to appeal to a very wide (and diverse) audience. This has meant that Blue Hole had to include such amenities as tennis courts ($15K was donated from a tennis org.), soccer fields and facilities for group gatherings.

Next thing you knew, it had to have something in the plan to please every element of society, especially those groups or individuals who donated funding.

I would have left Blue Hole essentially unchanged, built a better bathroom, aerated the grass a few times each summer and let it be. My plan would not have cost millions.

But no one asked me.

Bleu bell said...

To the anons who complain about the animosity and mean comments ... it's called free speech, honeys! If yuz were in charge, I imagine every story would be titled "Alice in Wonderland." That, dearies, is the problem, not mean comments.

Anonymous said...

@ thinking out loud 04/07/2012 10:09 PM you said...
When Mark Key says:

"Ladies and gentlemen, please call or write your County Commissioner and ask them not to give another penny to the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, and to remove them from managing Jacob's Well."

This is coming from a member of a group (the HTGCD) that is being sued by the WVWA and he is using his power to influence the outcome of that lawsuit in a public forum.


No director of HTGCD has been sued. Baker sued HTGCD via WVWA.

I am not certain of the legalities here, but something about his coming out publicly like this, using a local blog to try to influence the ability of an opponent in a lawsuit to continue their objection to his actions as an election official seems very inappropriate.

Nothing at all wrong here. The lawsuit will have no impact on the elected HTGCD board members at all. As far as legalities are concerned, if you are to believe WVWA's claims of particular harm then David Baker committed multiple crimes when he sat on the HTGCD board and tried to derail numerous permit applications for his personal gain.

Mark Key is not acting as simply a citizen with an opinion. He is trying to use his position as an elected official to actually harm board members of a group that is funded by County government and is suing the board he is on, along with other private citizens.

???? This is nonsense. You have heard of free speech, right? Has Mark Key made any false statements? Maybe the truth hurts a little too much? WVWA cried "wolf" one too many times? As far as continued funding for WVWA, putting the public on notice of David Baker and WVWA's unscrupulous conduct when Baker was on the HTGCD board might solve that county funding problem for WVWA. Voters should be aware that commissioner Conley has been gifting their hard-earned tax dollars to David Baker. Time for the gifting to end.


Somebody needs to put Mark Key back on his leash and explain to him what an elected official can and cannot do.

Think you have that backwards. Baker knew what he was doing was against the law.

Mark Key hasn't engaged in anything other than truthful speech - something he is perfectly entitled to do.

Perhaps someone needs to sue Mark Key personally for slander and/or libel, along with gross misuse of the public trust.

Well don't expect Baker or WVWA to sue. Truth is a defense to a claim of defamation. You can shout slander/libel all you want but you have yet to identify a single false statement. Baker on the other hand has made numerous false statements to applicants, other public officials, and his own cult members. He can't handle the truth - it might result in a reduction of income from the gullible and the stupid - or from the politicians that have gifted taxpayer money to WVWA in an attempt to buy votes.

Baker and WVWA and their scandalous land deals, active lobbying, and other activities have made them public figures and the issues involved are public issues. If someone tried to sue, it sure would be fun deposing Baker and Hollon.

This is not what Mark Key was elected to do and the sooner he is out of office the better.

Anonymous said...

We've learned from the Square disaster how bad a sewage disposal problem can be.

When Jacob's Well Natural Area encourages visitors, what method will be used for sewage treatment there?

Not surprised said...

Mark Key is using his position as an elected member of the HTGCD to denounce one of the the HTGCD's opponents in a lawsuit.

This action on his part may well influence the results of this lawsuit in ways Mr. Key may not have foreseen.

Mark should have waited and talked to the judge, not divulge his obsession with David Baker and Jacob's Well in this public forum.

Mark is going public with allegations that belong in a court of law, and is so busy blaming the WVWA, and David Baker, for everything that was done by Will Conley and the Hays County Commissioners Court, that he cannot see the forest for the trees.

Conley's quest to quiet the Wimberley environmental community and get them to support his road (and therefore
development)schemes,and his re-election, has been somewhat successful but as Conley shows himself for the fraud he always was, it is time for some clear thinking before it is too late.

I just hope the Wimberley environmental community comes to its senses before the Republican Primary and throws its support to Conley's opponent, Sam Brannon. It is time to get rid of Conley once and for all.

Conley has played you all for fools, isn't it time to admit you have been taken in and switch gears?

FYI said...

The current entrance to Jacob's Well Natural Area is at 221 Woodacre Drive in Woodcreek North. Their 8.181-acre HQ, with office (appraised $423,440, tax exempt), is on property where formerly there was an RV park. (Hays CAD
R14559)

The property is titled to Hays County, and the county acquired it from WVWA.

Both the land and the house are zoned "Commercial," and so I guess Jacob's Well Theme Park is set to go!

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous who said...
"We've learned from the Square disaster how bad a sewage disposal problem can be.

When Jacob's Well Natural Area encourages visitors, what method will be used for sewage treatment there?"

You bring up a good point! Swimming in creeks, rivers and ponds can be hazardous to your health. Yes, I know our ancestors used to do it all the time but they also contracted typhus cholera and other water borne diseases. The sewage disposal will definitely be a problem since no municipal transport or treatment is available to Jacob's Well or Blue Hole. I guess they will do it the 'Wimberley Way' and just dump it in the creek. Of course they will just ignore the problem as they have with the Square. What's that smell?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the sewage treatment...

Sewage? Don't you know that environmentalists don't need to deal with sewage?

One should look at the prohibitions imposed on the county property by SOS and WVWA. You can't build anything. (bathrooms?, septic system?) To the extent such a restriction is enforceable, there is another provision that requires a payout (county taxpayers again) to SOS and WVWA and possibly The Nature Conservancy if the county tries to void restrictions against building or subdivision that were put onto the property prior to the "purchase".


Part of the property originally had a "no subdivision" clause. However, this would have precluded David Baker from being able to keep 15+ acres that the county taxpayers paid for. So this clause was removed to allow subdivision into two parcels with Baker/WVWA keeping 15+ acres and the taxpayers paying for all of it but getting only about 31.

You can thank Conley for this lousy deal for taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

@ Not surprised

David Baker is not a party to the lawsuit. WVWA is party to the lawsuit that it filed as plaintiff.

Mark Key has every right to comment on David Baker as well as WVWA.

As far as "may well influence the results of this lawsuit" - really? Exactly what issue is relevant to the litigation?

Baker has cast himself as an environmentalist but many recognize him as simply an unscrupulous individual with no ethical rudder whatsoever. When permit applications were being considered for votes, Baker represented that he had no conflict by voting against the applications. Yet when the vote did not turn out the way he wanted, he complains that WVWA is particularly harmed seemingly forgetting that if this were true then his actions on the permit at issue and others were criminal in nature.

WVWA loves to portray themselves as "saving" or "protecting" Jacobs Well. They are doing nothing of the sort. They have made themselves a public figure and the water issue a public issue. Rebutting the falsehoods told by WVWA and pointing out how the taxpayers have been involuntarily supporting David Baker and to what extent is fair game.

WVWA likes to dish out lies. They have a real problem when confronted with the truth. As has been pointed out numerous times in this thread, not one of you has been able to identify a single untrue statement made by Mr. Key with respect to WVWA or David Baker. The only legal "outcome" that might be affected here is that David Baker may be facing criminal sanctions before this is all over with.

WVWA's complaint is that their paid agent (Baker) was unsuccessful despite engaging in what (if you believe WVWA's complaint) would be criminal activity designed to thwart permit applications. Now WVWA is suing because it's paid agent's crimes didn't pay off.

The depositions of Baker, et al. will be interesting. Baker can't "take the 5th" in the civil litigation that he provoked. WVWA is nothing more than a PAC being paid for by taxpayer dollars. Baker's actions should result in forfeiture of the 501(c)3 status and admissions constituting criminal culpability. The tax exempt status of WVWA should be revoked and WVWA should not be excused from paying property taxes on the property that appears to have been gifted to it at taxpayer expense. Moreover, that property should be re-titled to the county.

About the only thing we might agree upon is that it is time to get rid of the politician who has repeatedly thrown all the actual taxpayers under the bus to financially benefit David Baker and WVWA.

Tryin' to Help said...

If you are like me, you didn't pay much attention when land was being bought and "gifted" for the Jacob's Well area. I thought, "Well, the county is trying to preserve the area around the Well."

Now since all the info and mis-info being posted on this blog, I'm trying to learn details about the deal(s).


I found past articles and comments on this very blog to be helpful. On the RoundUp home page, look to the top left and write "Westridge" in the Search box. When the first result pops up, choose "Sort by date" and "Show all." You'll get info going back to 2010.

One thing that flabbergasted me was that Hays County bought the 51 acres from Westridge, but without the rights to the 6 MILLION gallons of water that Westridge had for the homes they were going to put on the acreage. SO,the county didn't save ANY groundwater, which had been one of its stated purposes in buying the 51 acres.

Read on.

Jacob's Well Circus said...

I rummaged around and found a glossy map of what WVWA said it would do with the Jacob's Well area if only the County and others would get some more of the land around the Well, to "protect" it.

So, if you think some of us who post here are exaggerating when we talk about Jacob's Well Theme Park, you might want to know that WVWA proposed to put in:

1."Jacob's Camp" - which looks to be 15 shelters and one larger building (bathhouse?). For camping?

2.Dancing Waters Inn will "expand Inn facilities to Eco-Tourism Haciendas with Gathering Spaces." (Bring on the tourists!)

3.Room for "aquifer friendly tents, cabins, and yurts."

4."Events Center"

5. "Manager's Residence"

6."Jacob's Well Stewardship Center"--this is a greatly expanded center incorporating some of the current building where people meet volunteer tour guides.

7. "Gathering Meadow- 500!! person occupancy.

8. "Natural Rainwater Swimming Ponds"--Ponds are standing water. So will chlorine be added to the ponds for when the kiddies pee in them? Chlorine isn't "natural."

9. "Events Stage Area."

I am astounded. All this construction and activity will make for anything BUT a "natural area."

Understand, I'm all for preserving Jacob's Well, but this will do anything but save it.

Anonymous said...

Mark,

You state that Wimberley Springs Partners wanted a permit for water for a second golf course. You and others on the HTGCD Board may pretend that's what the permit was for.

But WSP has no intention of opening yet another golf course. (The first one -- in the city of Woodcreek -- is losing money aplenty, thank you.)

But what really lets you know there won't be a second golf course is that BOTH the "golf courses" have as their real function NOT to afford recreation, but to serve as receptacles for treated wastewater effluent.

WSP really will use the added groundwater for the homes it will build just west and north of Jacob's Well Elementary School. A back-door way of getting more water for a subdivision, The Ridge at Wimberley Springs.

And you know it -- or should have.

Do you think that up yourself? said...

Will Conley and County Attorney Mark Kennedy were responsible for allowing the Westridge deal to go through without it including all the water tap privileges. If there is any malfeasance here, it was designed by County officials.

Will Conley is the culprit here and he did handstands to buy environmentalist votes by utilizing what appear to be hamfisted financial schemes on behalf of Jacob's Well.

Of course, now Conley wants "swingsets for his children to play on" right next to Jacob's Well and sees tarting up the property for a diverse audience (read: donations)as another opportunity to cast himself as a friend of Wimberley.

Conley is a friend of Conley and he uses whoever he thinks can buy him votes to stay in office long enough for someone outside of the County to take him seriously.

Hays County needs to stop allowing these ambitious young men fresh out of college to assume powerful roles in our community, then begin to see us as stepping stones to higher offices and more power.

We got rid of Patrick Rose before he ROSE any higher and suckered any more people, now let's stop Conley in his tracks.

VOTE Sam Brannon on May 29th in the Republican Primary.

Irony said...

It's ironic that Jacob's Well as envisioned by WVWA would have 500 people at a time on a Gathering Meadow, while possibly simultaneously hosting guests in the Dancing Waters Inn and at Jacob's Camp. Hopefully not also at the Events Stage and Jacob's Well Stewardship Center.

Because, the Westridge owners wanted to put 65 homes on 17 acres. If each home had 4 people in it (and U.S. average would be slightly less than 3), there would have been only 260 people on the land. MUCH less wearing on the land and depleting of the water.

If Hays County would give title to Jacob's Well Natural Area to the City of Woodcreek (in whose ETJ it is), then uber-development would not take place in the area. The City of Woodcreek wouldn't have the money --or want-- to develop the natural area.

The City of San Marcos has five very natural areas; Jacob's Well Natural Area/City of Woodcreek could take a page from their book.

Anonymous said...

If 65 homes on 17 acres sounds like small lots to you (= 1/4 acre per house), remember that most homes in the City of Woodcreek, Woodcreek North, and Wimberley Springs are on 1/4 acre lots.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous at April 9, 2012 7:49 PM, you said...
Mark,

You state that Wimberley Springs Partners wanted a permit for water for a second golf course. You and others on the HTGCD Board may pretend that's what the permit was for.

But WSP has no intention of opening yet another golf course. (The first one -- in the city of Woodcreek -- is losing money aplenty, thank you.)

But what really lets you know there won't be a second golf course is that BOTH the "golf courses" have as their real function NOT to afford recreation, but to serve as receptacles for treated wastewater effluent.


Doubt anyone here can speak to WSP's intentions, however, it's no secret that the areas were going to be used for wastewater effluent. Treating sewage is clearly a beneficial use, a much needed service in that area, and probably considerably more beneficial than a "golf course".

The purpose of the permit was stated at the time of application and during numerous public discussions. The groundwater is initially needed to "grow in" the grass at the golf courses to support effluent irrigation. The effluent would be mixed with groundwater as necessary to reduce it to a dilution level that could be safely disposed of on the golf course. The golf course irrigation was expected to be 80% effluent (and 20% groundwater) when things were up and running. In this case, the septic field can be dual-purposed as a golf course.

Most people don't want to say they live next to the septic field so the focus has been characterizing it as a golf course.

One might wonder why Baker's WVWA would promote unhealthy and unsanitary conditions in the area by opposing WSP's permit.

it gets worse said...

I pulled the 3rd amended MOU between Hays County and WVWA because I could not believe most of what Key reported.

It only got worse;

Page 3 section H.

"In the event that Hays County condemns the conservation easement on the 31-acre Tract, the 31-acre Tract shall revert in fee to WVWA."

Am I reading this right? Even if Jacob's Well becomes unsafe for the public, the County can not condemn it???

Page 3 section G.

"The County and WVWA mutually grant to each other rights of first refusal over their respective tracts described herein and the deed to the County conveying the 31 acres shall so reflect."

Page 3 Section F.

"The County shall dedicate its staff and other resources to grants development for the project, as needed."

We have to help WVWA raise money?

This deal is worse than has been reported to date.

Anonymous said...

In the event Hays County condemns the conservation easement. The conservation easement is not fee simple title, nor is it a building.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 4/10/2012 10:47 AM is correct however let's note that

The county taxpayers PAID off the note for the full 46+ acres which included the 31 acres. This cost the taxpayers $2.6 million. None of the land was transferred/titled to the county after this.

Subsequent this transaction was another transaction involving $1.7 million taxpayer dollars and an additional 50 acres of land belonging to Westridge JV. As part of the $1.7 million deal WVWA claimed to contribute by "donating" 31 acres that the taxpayers paid for to the county. Although the language of the deed is what controls, this "reverter" in the MOU illustrates just how overreaching Baker, et al. were when it came to taxpayer coffers. There is no basis for the property to "revert" to WVWA based on such a condition. (By the way, you should also read the provisions demanding a payout to SOS and/or WVWA for the same condition)

You can see what a lousy hand Conley dealt the taxpayers and what a real windfall Conley gave David Baker at taxpayer expense.

Oh Suzanna said...

If any more millions are at stake in the future for Jacob's Well, you can probably bet the farm that the WVWA crowd will be supporting Will Conley. The old saying, never look a gift horse in the mouth, works for all sides. Conley may be the last one laughing.

Saturation Point said...

Had Enough of Conley, yet?

I sure have.

Anonymous said...

I live next to one of WSP"s "septic fields". Most of the time they are OK but Mr Porterfield does not always keep the system working so we get sewerage smells. Try to sell your house when it smells like a sewer outside and the ground is boggy because even when it rains they have to spray the effluent out on to already wet grass.
One golf course in the area is enough. The current one is not making ends meet as it is. Two would just waste more ground water and encourage WSP to sell their lots to KB Homes sooner and for more money. This valley can not support many more people without running out of water within the next 20 years.

Anonymous said...

The commentors in this blog consistently overlook a very revealing fact:

Conley and WSP's Porterfield are platonic economic "gay" buddies.

"Gay" in that they are joyous over all the money they have made together manipulating the private property water extremists and their just plain dumb supporters.

It's amazing how people just love to be screwed - and then rationalize their screwing.

Porterfield and Conley together have much more money than David Baker ever will.

"Denial is a terrible thing to waste."

Did you think that up all by yourself? said...

I know, all this attention on David Baker, a man of modest means and ambitions, while Conley and Porterfield get richer (and help make their out-of-town financial backers richer) and make plans to bring lots more people into Wimberley.

They do this because building houses (and roads) is still a very profitable venture. For now, but not forever, because our economy is on the downslide and the oil to run those cars is running out and people will need to live near their jobs and no one is using their money to bring any real jobs to this area, have you noticed? Just houses and their ancillary industries like building supplies, realtors and roads.

In order to make money building houses, you need to encourage people to leave the homes they are in now, and often the towns they now live in, and get them to come to where you have bought up cheap land and want to build a new subdivision.

Only problem with this is that some of these places with relatively cheap land are that way because they have thin soil and scarce water. This kind of land is fragile and not very productive for anything else than resting a house on. You can't make money on it, you can only live there.

Somebody else already made all the money that land will ever produce by building that house and selling it to you...in an economy where there is no guarantee you will ever be able to sell your house for what you owe on it.

When roads stop being profitable and houses stop being profitable, greedy speculators like Conley and Porterfield will stop talking about the "inevitability of growth" and find some other way to amass fortunes.

We can have prosperity without growth.

Anonymous said...

Well at the HTGCD meeting this evening it became public that several of the "resolutions" promoting a "special groundwater management area" from random nearby political subdivisions were the result of lobbying by WVWA (David Baker).

Don't be surprised if a complaint is filed with the IRS which relies upon examples of Baker's lobbying with Woodcreek, Wimberley, HTGCD, state legislators, and other rulemaking entities. WVWA's ongoing lobbying activities are in direct violation of IRS regulations relating to 501(c)3 organizations. WVWA is really a for-profit PAC which has operated for years in direct violation of the prohibition against lobbying.

Hopefully the IRS will impose a 100% tax penalty on WVWA's donors.

JWNA Destroyed said...

Those of us who love the Jacob's Well area want to see it remain a natural setting. We're glad that surrounding property is now in public hands, but we decry the many "improvements" and attractions which are being planned or are already present in the Jacob's Well NATURAL Area.

The foot traffic of hordes of people visiting these attractions will destroy the natural character of JWNA. Instead of remaining a peaceful place in which people can walk and reflect, it will become a teeming venue of squealing children on playscapes, soccer competitions (with attendant squealing parents), and with a "Gathering Place" holding 500 people.

Leave the Well alone!

Jasper, come in here right now! said...

I think it is disgraceful to see these people try to bring down one of the best environmental efforts in the area.

What you call "lobbying", I would call education.

What you call people making money off Jacob's Well, I would call people trying to keep local efforts afloat with fundraising.

Are you people really wanting to see the source of Cypress Creek not be protected?

If there is some problem you have with clean, flowing water, why don't you go live in the desert.

Fiddling around said...

I agree.

Leave the Well alone.

Jacob's Well does not need to become a theme park or buy into too many people's ideas of what they want to do on a Sunday afternoon.

Look what needing too much money has done to Blue Hole. Every Tom, Dick and Donator has got their pet project going in there and it is already not the place I used to know and love.

Leave Jacob's Well a NATURAL AREA, limit access and protect it as the source of Cypress Creek, not as a hyped up public attraction or resort.

a lingering sense of regret said...

Jacob's Well should have gotten financed some other way than to let Will Conley and the County call the tune.

The City of Woodcreek should have taken this on, much like the City of Wimberley did with Blue Hole.

Only without the big ambitions and hiring a landscape architecture firm that specializes in big resorts all over the world.

Hiring Design Workshop to do Blue Hole was a mistake and hiring RVI to do Jacob's Well will end up with the same outsized design ideas.

These firms are all about big.

Wimberley and Woodcreek are all about small.

Anonymous said...

Hays County bought 50 acres above Jacob's Well from Westridge. One reason for the purchase is that WVWA feared that oil run-off from the parking lot of Westridge's proposed 60+ condo units would pollute the Well.

Question: How is run-off from cars bringing up to 500 people to the Gathering Place of JWNA better than run-off from cars of only 60+ condos?

Philanthropy? said...

Egyptian pharaohs had grand pyramids to keep their names alive throughout history. Wealthy Texans fund various parks and buildings to do the same. They do what is called "branding." And so we get the (Red) McCombs School of Business at UT and the Michael and Susan Dell this or that all over Austin. Seems no one can be philanthropic anymore without having his or her name emblazoned on something.

We have our own branding projects at Jacob's Well Natural area. There will be (and these are just starters) the Johnson Family Soccer Field, the Berman Wildflower Garden, Chris's Basketball Court, and the Jim Harper & Prince-Provost Trail (what a mouthful that last one is!).

Maybe someone will endow the (your name here) Memorial Restrooms.

Anonymous said...

I'll pay for JWNA restrooms on the condition that they be branded Conley Memorial Crappers!

Anonymous said...

I will vote for Conley Memorial Crappers! Sounds like a great name.

Fiddling around said...

Why not leave a real legacy and leave the Well a natural area?

Anonymous said...

Hey Jasper, come in here right now!, you said...
I think it is disgraceful to see these people try to bring down one of the best environmental efforts in the area.

Which effort would that be?

What you call "lobbying", I would call education.
Well perhaps you need more education so that you understand the difference or perhaps you are wholly unaware of the activities of Baker's WVWA cult.

A 501(c)(3) may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates. Yet nearly 100% of WVWA's activities are lobbying.

Direct lobbying is any attempt to influence legislation through a communication with any member or employee of a legislative body, or with any other governmental official who may participate in the formulation of legislation whether federal, state, or local.

These "resolutions" coming in from random political subdivisions of the state are from people who have no clue what is going on and who readily admit that they are sending in these resolutions only because Baker (WVWA) called and asked them to. Baker knows there is a prohibition against lobbying and he's using this "shadow" approach to conceal his lobbying activities. He was more open until folks started drawing attention to the fact that WVWA is NOT acting as a non-profit, the organization is operated for the personal benefit of David Baker, and most of its activities are directed towards attempting to affect legislation (lobbying).

What you call people making money off Jacob's Well, I would call people trying to keep local efforts afloat with fundraising.
Fundraising? Is that what all the other businesses in the area are doing is "fundraising"? Whose bank account do you think is benefitting the most from your "fundraising" activities?

Are you people really wanting to see the source of Cypress Creek not be protected?
The problem is that you promote taking the property of individual property owners for the putative benefit of the state (Cypress Creek belongs to the state of Texas, not the lineal landowners or city of Wimberley.) The WVWA cult's "educational" effort are mostly misrepresentations. The water feeding Jacobs Well is NOT groundwater - yet Baker is out there preaching otherwise. His legislative activities have all been directed at trying to deny property owners access to their own groundwater under the pretense that this would somehow "save" Jacobs Well. Telling the truth tends to eliminate the manufactured crises he needs for continued donations. Not only is he trying to avoid compensating the property owners but his legislative activities can't even achieve the pre-textual purpose because of the actual source of the water. He isn't looking to put an end to the money rolling in off of donations. If the "problem" was solved, he'd be out of a job.

If there is some problem you have with clean, flowing water, why don't you go live in the desert.
We already live in a desert. The problem is your ongoing attempts to take property that doesn't belong to you and doing so without compensation. All of your actions are directed at artificially creating a surface water amenity in the middle of this desert. The groundwater you are trying to take does not belong to you and neither does the surface water you think you are "saving".

There are lots of creeks, springs, and other surface water features in the area. Jacobs Well just happens to be the idol/altar chosen by the WVWA cult. If you want to give to the cult, give your own property. The property of others is not yours to give.

Anonymous said...

Soccer field AND basketball court AND swimming ponds AND playgrounds---Oh, my!

Just name the place "Kiddieland -- Originally Jacob's Well Natural Area" and be done with it. Truth in advertising.

No one who wants a quiet walk, in nature, will go to JWNA for that purpose.

R Garrison said...

There are several comments here regarding soccer fields, basketball courts, etc in the JWNA. The proposed Master Plan and the comments from the latest public meeting don't mention any of this. Please enlighten me as to where the proposed soccer fields, etc. are documented. Thanks.

Why No Survey? said...

Why has there been no survey of the Jacob's Well Natural Area? Judge Cobb and commissioners have been asked about this before, but they hem and haw and say they'll get around to it. Is a survey being delayed until after the May 29 primaries (mostly for Will Conley's benefit)?

It seems that a survey might reveal some issues that Comm Court, JWNA, or WVWA might not want to have to talk about -especially before voters decide whether to oust Will Conley.

Get Title to County said...

Hays County acquired 81 acres for Jacob's Well Natural Area. 50 acres were purchased from Westridge Joint Venture.

The other 31 acres are accounted for below. The R number accounts from Hays CAD show who has title to the parcel now, acquired from whom, and amount of acreage.

R14559 Hays County, from WVWA 8.81 acres
R17333 WVWA, from Eldswood Corp 0.20
R17334 WVWA, from Eldswood Corp 3.60
R17335 WVWA, from Eldswood Corp 1.93
R17336 Hays County, from WVWA 7.72
R17337 WVWA, from Eldswood Corp 2.51
R19000 WVWA, from Eldswood Corp 6.718.

Info from Hays County Appraisal District www.hayscad.com.

WHY ARE 5 OF THE PARCELS STILL IN WVWA'S NAME IF THEY BELONG TO A HAYS COUNTY PARK?

Anonymous said...

Turn over any rock in Wimberley and one of Conley's corrupt deals will crawl out.

JWNA Overview said...

Look for yourself at the latest Draft (Mar.28, 2012)of the Master Plan for JWNA. Go to www.co.hays.tx.us. Click on "Parks Department," then on "Jacob's Well Development Master Plan." The 23-page Draft will be refined to the Final Draft in mid-April, and so we should be seeing that any day now.

On pp.20-21 are the Cost Estimates for JWNA. Those are separated into costs for "North Tract"(p.20) and "South Tract" (p.21). They total $3,647,831. And that does not
include the many millions of dollars that Hays County paid for the land.

Parking accounts for $104,000 of the costs. Both Visitor Parking and Bus Parking are shown, and so you know that school buses and tour buses will disgorge people often.

The types of fencing and gates are shown on p.18.

P.5 says that "Commercial Development" will be limited to recreational, eco-tourism, or home business." "Eco-tourism" probably refers to David Baker's Dancing Waters Inn; he evidently gets to keep that business in JWNA. To what does "home business" refer?

There are many easement restrictions which the public has not seen and probably will not. A survey would show them, but Commissioners Court is balking on ordering a survey.

Aerial View said...

You can see an aerial view of JWNA at
http://jacobswellspring.org/documents/JWNA_Base_Map.pdf

Wha' happened? said...

A December 20, 2010 article in the Austin American-Statesman, entitled "50 acres added to Jacob's Well," says that the county--not WVWA -- will manage the Well area:

"Half the purchase money [$1.7 million] comes from open space bonds and half from a loan by the Nature Conservancy.

As part of the deal, the nonprofit Wimberley Valley Watershed Association will convey about 30 acres of its holdings --including the land containing Jacob's Well -- to Hays County, creating an 80-acre preserve THAT WILL BE MANAGED BY THE COUNTY."

Anonymous said...

The County recently approved up to $25,000 for a survey, on top of the $20,000 they approved earlier. I do not know if an actual survey exist. Most land deals require a survey before closing not over a year later.

Anonymous said...

A survey is not required unless either the seller or buyer demands one. In these JWNA land deals, JWNA had no reason to want the expense of a survey, and it looks as if Hays County didn't want a survey because of details that would have been revealed by one.

Anonymous said...

Yeah but Conley and Baker and the lame duck commissioners knew that the newly elected commissioners were not likely to support the deal that was primarily benefitting Baker, not the county taxpayers. Conley and Baker were desperate to get this "deal done" before the new commissioners came in.

These problems were pointed out at the November 2010 commissioners court meeting but Conley refused to address any of them. The "deal" represented in open court was not what the "deal" ended up being and the taxpayers got shafted even more behind closed doors after-the-fact.

Look, Conley doesn't mind spending the dollars of taxpayers that can't vote him out of office. He uses those dollars to benefit the deadbeats that don't pay the taxes but can decide whether he stays in office.

Anonymous said...

Let Hays County manage JWNA as it was meant to. (Are any other County parks managed by an outside entity?) I know, you may say that the County hired WVWA to do it instead. But Hays County seems to do a good job of keeping their books straight (judging by the recent County audit), and WVWA has never opened its books for scrutiny by anyone, to my knowledge.

I'm not suggesting that WVWA has done anything wrong, but they should be willing and able to show the County and their donors what they are doing/have done with the money the County (and donors) have poured onto them.

Don't renew WVWA's management contract for JWNA. Let the County manage it. WVWA has to cater to donors who give money with stipulations. If citizens want a "natural" JWNA, get it out of the clutches of WVWA.

Anonymous said...

Some of the land in JWNA is zoned commercial. The land where Dancing Waters Inn is located in JWNA is not. Yet the DW Inn takes in money from renting lodging to visitors, which is a commercial activity. That brings up at least three problems:

1. Why is a commercial activity allowed in JWNA at all? And to whom does the money from it go -- to David Baker, to WVWA, or to Hays County?

2. If the money from DW Inn goes to WVWA, then WVWA's 501(c)3 non-profit status should be revoked.

3. The entire area of JWNA is declared "Exempt" by Hays CAD. JWNA pays no property tax. Doesn't the commercial DW INN mean that "Exempt" status should be taken away from JWNA?

Keep all commercial activity and private residences out of JWNA!

Titles and Zoning said...

Jacob's Well Natural Area was created by cobbling together quite a few pieces of land. In early Nov. 2010, Commissioners Court (urged on by Will Conley) wanted to rush land acquisition through before the general election.

Consequently, neither the ownership on property deeds nor the zoning associated with the land parcels is consistent. Some land is titled to Hays County and some to WVWA. Zoning varies from "commercial" to "residential" to "farm/ranch single family" to "non-qualified ag land."

What a sloppy, rushed mess! Commissioners Court should see to it that all the lands are in the name of Hays County and that zoning throughout JWNA is for park land.

And do it now -- not after the November elections.

Easy to Fix said...

to Anon 1:34 PM-

Well, if the land where the Inn is located is not zoned for commercial, why don't the County Commissioners or the zoning inspectors close down Dancing Waters Inn?

Perks for David Baker said...

Some National and State Parks which are far removed from a town or city may have a home in them in which the park manager lives, but no such residence needs to be provided for Jacob's Well Natural Area. It's a stone's throw from the city of Wimberley.

So there is no reason for David Baker, or anyone else, to have a residence inside JWNA. Mr. Baker apparently lives in Austin now, anyway.

Neither should WVWA nor Hays County pay mileage for Mr. Baker to drive from Austin to JWNA and home again. Does the County pay mileage to workers who live outside San Marcos? Do school districts pay mileage to teachers who commute to teach? No. Such should be the case for Mr. Baker as well.

Hays County should not pay for utilities, trash pickup, or telephone bills for any JWNA house in which Mr. Baker -- or anyone else -- might live. (I believe there are several houses on JWNA property formerly owned by Mr. Baker.)

BTW, the Dancing Waters Inn is on property formerly owned by Mr. Baker, but somehow title to that property got transferred to WVWA instead of to Hays County. Could that be because Mr. Baker knew WVWA would let him continue to have a free weekend home in JWNA, while the County would not?

We really do need to see the contracts involving property sales among WVWA, David Baker, Westridge, and Hays County. No telling what giveaways the contracts contain.

It would be nice to look at a survey, too.

Show us the money! said...

In paragraph 4 of Mark Key's piece he states: "[Commissioners Court] then appointed the WVWA to be the manager [of JWNA] for three years. WVWA then agreed to 'give' the County 31 acres where the well is located."

Are those 31 acres part of the land that is still in title to WVWA? If so, maybe WVWA has some clause in the "gift" contract that, if their 3-year management contract is terminated before the 3 years are up, then the 31 acres revert to WVWA.

Meanwhile, as Key says, Hays County pays for liability insurance and other expenses of the 31 acres.

Again, why can't citizens see the contracts by which they purchased -- with millions of their tax dollars -- land for JWNA?