Friday, February 10, 2012

Gas Drilling Is Not A Dead Issue In Flower Mound

People of Flower Mound.....

Flower Mound's new Oil and Gas Ordinance is in jeopardy. The very ordinance that may be the most protective of its citizens in the State of Texas AND the United States.

There is an important article in the Flower Mound Leader that residents should read.

Council clashes over Charter Review

After all the hard work that included walking neighborhoods, phone calls, and repeated trips to Town Hall, the controversy is happening again! Despite the citizen’s referendum on Gas Drilling, it appears that Councilmember Stephenson is trying to take away our right to vote on protecting the new Oil and Gas Ordinance in May.

During Monday’s Council meeting, Councilmember Stephenson failed to comply with meeting protocol. Councilmember Stephenson under the Item A Future Agenda, asked the council to postpone any further Charter Review meetings until her summons of the Charter Review Chairman could be fulfilled. When the Town Secretary informed her that the Chairman was not available due to a work schedule conflict, Councilmember Stephenson became angry and defiant and continued to ignore meeting protocol. It was somewhat confusing, but Mayor Northern was trying to explain to Councilmember Stephenson that since Stephenson did not have an item to put on the agenda, the Council could not discuss having a special meeting to satisfy Councilmember Stephenson’s demands at that point of the meeting.

It really is interesting to watch the video of the meeting on FMTV, because during the Item M Calendar Section, Mayor Northern and Councilmember Lyda were being very accommodating to make this happen per Councilmember Stephenson's request. It makes us wonder what is Councilmember Stephenson’s real agenda?  We allege that her goal may be postponement of the recommendations of the Charter review items be put on the May ballot.  At a cost of $10,000 to $30,000, why does Councilmember Stephenson want to burden the taxpayers of Flower Mound by paying for a special election in November?

At the February 2nd Charter Review meeting, the members reviewed, discussed, debated, and voted on all items that had been submitted to the committee by Staff, Council, and residents.  The residents in attendance were given an opportunity to make comments on each item as it was presented. In fact, the residents were allowed to speak as long as they wished and as many times as they wished. 

Only ONE recommendation was a 3 in Support and 2 in Opposition.  Surprise… the ONE was the recommendation made by the Oil and Gas Advisory Board in July of 2011 to protect the new Oil and Gas Ordinance via a Super Majority, or 4 to 1 Council vote to change, weaken, or repeal the new ordinance.  Why would the two CRC members be opposed to this item going to the voters of Flower Mound? 

We want to have a chance to vote on the Charter amendments in May.  If all the issues and recommendations have been addressed, why should the process take longer? The Charter Review Committee will present a 30-page document that will be reviewed by Council. THE RECOMMENDATION SURROUNDING THE SUPER MAJORITY VOTE TO AMEND and/or REPEAL THE 2011 OIL AND GAS ORDINANCE IS IMPORTANT! You can see how serious it is by the Council’s appointees:  a former Mayor and Planning and Zoning Commissioner; a former Councilmember; a current Planning and Zoning Commissioner and former Oil and Gas Advisory Board Chairman, another member of the former Oil and Gas Advisory Board, and two attorneys.  The majority of the committee had first-hand experience of this document and understood its importance. It took the last Charter Review Committee longer to understand the Town Charter and the rules that govern it. This is not the case with the current committee!

Per Councilmember Stephenson’s request, Council is having a special meeting on February 15th.  This is a public meeting and any resident can show up. You may speak during the public participation portion of this meeting or send emails to voice your concern. 

Simply ask the Flower Mound Town Council: do you support a charter amendment requiring a public hearing and a super-majority vote to amend the ordinance?

If their answer is no, then beware—an accommodation to the drillers may be in the works.

To contact the Mayor and all Town Council Members, please e-mail mayor/

The Charter Review Committee will have another meeting on February 16th.

Most importantly, let the citizens of Flower Mound vote on the items on May 12th. 
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