Originally posted May 22, 2006, see update below.
In the election last week, Austin Toll Party’s campaign helped to remove another one of the stubborn representatives that ignored the super majority of the public and voted to toll roads we’ve already paid for.
This time it was WestLake Hills Mayor Dwight Thompson, Vice Chair of CAMPO, who paid the toll.
Dwight Thompson had a vote on CAMPO because he was the representative of a group called the "Alliance of Cities". I am told the Alliance is made up of 23 Mayors within Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties. I'm also told this organization was formed by representatives within Williamson County.
After many hours of research, I’ve found that the “Alliances of Cities” has NO website, almost nothing can be found out about the organization via google, it is NOT registered with the Texas Secretary of State, it is NOT registered with Travis County, it has never posted a meeting with the Texas Registry as most government organizations must to follow the Texas Open Meetings Act.
After calls into CAMPO and the City of Austin, I’ve found only one lead.
Peggy Croslin is the administrator of "Alliance of Cities".
After the City of Austin gave me Peggy Croslin's phone numbers, 338-1777 and 799-8759, I left respectful phone messages asking her to call me back so I could learn more about “Alliances of Cities”. Peggy Croslin has not called me back and, as I was told, will not call me back.
Since she failed to respond to my phone calls, I figured she had something to hide. So I started digging.
I've found that Peggy Croslin was listed as a vehicle and traffic lobbyist in past years with the Texas Ethics Commission.
Peggy "Peg" Croslin (also known as Peggy Smith Croslin) and her husband Charles "Chuck" W. Croslin have interests in Croslin and Associates, which turns out to be a pre certified contractor for TxDOT. Croslin and Associates also has a business partnership with PBS & J, a major contractor with TxDOT.
Peggy Croslin also worked for Mike Weaver’s Prime Strategies, who was hired to help Williamson County with road bonds. More importantly, Prime Strategies helped create the toll authority (CTRMA). Prime Strategies was the CTRMA’s 1st contractor, and had numerous NO BID contracts with the Williamson County heavy toll authority.
If "Alliance of Cities" is allowed to send a representative to vote to toll our Austin freeways I think we have a right to know what and who they are.
I'd like to know who is on the Alliance, have they kept minutes, are the meetings open to the public and if the public can speak. How are these Alliance Mayors supposed to get balanced information from a closed organization run by those who profit off working with the people that want to toll our freeways?
I spoke to Peggy's husband Chuck Croslin on Friday morning. I asked him if he knew what the "Alliance of Cities" was. He told me "Yes, I do." I asked him if he could tell me about the Alliance, and he told me, "I don't want to talk with you."
Who has been paying Peggy Croslin for her work to administer the "Alliance of Cities"?
The Comptroller's investigative report refers to the tight knit group of Williamson County special interests, with the strangle hold on tolling our Austin Freeways as "The Circle". The Circle is tight, and the robin hood toll plan is under their secretive grasp.
Read "Austin Toll Roads to fund Williamson County Freeways".
I've received documents from a City of Round Rock information request. "Legislative Consultant" is listed at the top of all Invoices from Peggy Smith Croslin to RR in 2000 and 2001. My request was only for 2000 to 2006. "Big 4 Toll Road Projects" is listed as some of the lobby work she did. Most of the 2001 invoces mention 130 ROW as her focus of lobby work as well as toll road discussions with Mike Weaver (use the search engine at the top of this blog for more about Mike Weaver).
I was also surprised to see invoices from Croslin & Associates. Round Rock hired and paid Croslin & Associates over $95,000 for the design of Fire Station #2 in 2004.
So who pays Peggy Croslin today for the administrative work for "Alliance of Cities"? If you know, email me at Sal@TexasTollParty.com.
The Circle sure takes care of it's own.