Thursday, September 21, 2006

Traveling to Louisiana today

Anticipate limited bloggage ahead as we travel to Lake Charles, then the family cemetery in Grayson (nobody passed away, just a necessary pilgrimage) and then Monroe on Friday before returning on Saturday.

Here is your news:

George "Macaca" Allen finds out he's Jewish.

There are hundreds of child prostitutes in Houston.

And Greg Abbott is still running amok:

The Killeen-based company that promised to protect landowners – for a fee – from potential eminent domain proceedings in connection with the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor project agreed to the terms set in a temporary injunction Thursday during a hearing before the 345th District Court in Austin.

Attorney General Greg Abbott sought the temporary injunction to stop the business "You Can't Take It" from continuing activity on grounds that the defendants may have violated parts of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act. ...

Hale Stewart, a Houston attorney representing the company, said his clients have shut the company down and "are moving to the immediate settlement with the Texas attorney general." ...

The company claimed to have found a loophole in eminent domain procedures using the legal precedent established through the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Kelo vs. City of New London, to justify its business plan. The company and Killeen residents Douglas Lee Thayer, Lou Ann Reed and her daughter Nykee Jolene Murray of Austin are defendants in the lawsuit. ...

Stewart said the company has only been in business for a month and hasn't purchased any properties or done any other business.

"I frankly think it's a smear campaign from Abbott," he said. "I think Greg Abbott is playing dirty."

Based on the number of companies that open every day in Texas, he said he did not understand why his clients' company was singled out.

"Why is it this one company that hasn't done any business," he said. "The Texas attorney general has shown a remarkably strong interest in this company. I find that really fascinating."

Based on the Kelo decision, Thayer claimed a company could block the state from taking any land through eminent domain.

The decision says that if an economic development project would provide an economic benefit in the form of higher tax revenues to a city, then eminent domain could not override that project, Stewart said.

The Trans-Texas Corridor is intended to relieve congestion on Interstate 35. It will parallel I-35 and extend from Oklahoma to Mexico, with possible connections to the Gulf Coast. It would not only separate car and truck lanes, but it would also include railroads and underground utilities, such as telephone, water and gas pipelines.

"I don't think it is appropriate that the attorney general's office is used to protect the Trans-Texas Corridor," Thayer said on Thursday.

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