TheNewspaper.com: Texas Pushes to Add Tolls to Interstate Freeways

"This is an unacceptable double tax," Costello said. "The $700 million in tax dollars should be spent on new capacity freeways, not tollways."

The interstate highway tolling plan fits right in, Costello said. "Why toll only tax-funded freeways when you can toll tax-funded interstates as well?"

Read the whole article HERE.

"TxDOT Gone Wild"!

TxDOT plan would convert
some interstates to toll roads

Plan includes buying interstates and charging drivers a toll

Houston Chronicle
Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — The Texas Department of Transportation is pushing Congress to pass a federal law allowing the state to "buy back" parts of existing interstate highways and turn them into toll roads.

The 24-page plan, outlined in a "Forward Momentum" report that escaped widespread attention when published in February, drew prompt objections Thursday from state lawmakers and activists fighting the spread of privately run toll roads.

"I think it's a dreadful recommendation on the part of the transportation commissioners here in Texas," said Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee Chairman John Carona, R-Dallas.

"I feel confident that legislators in Austin would overwhelmingly be opposed to such an idea," he said. "The simple fact is that taxpayers have already paid for those roadways. To ask taxpayers to pay for them twice is untenable."

Read the rest of the article HERE.


TxDOT Ignores CAMPO Order To Get Into Your Pockets

TxDOT plays many games as it strives to become a taxing authority.

Last year, the CAMPO board unanimously voted to have TxDOT study a nontolled fix290.org parkway alternative for US 290(W)/SH 71(W) in South West Austin. (If you'd like to see the resolution - shoot me an email - I'll send it with no questions asked)

The parkway alternative is superior in a number of ways to TxDOT’s toll plan as it does not create tolls, it's faster to build and it costs less.
But the smarter solution means TxDOT can’t harvest money from our families by creating a toll road monopoly for drivers who demand an expressway (stop light free).

In a game of “chicken”, TxDOT has decided to ignore CAMPO’s order, and NOT do the study.

The resolution asking TxDOT to do the study was signed by Austin Mayor Will Wynn, and Council Members Betty Dunkerley and Jennifer Kim in September of 2006. The CAMPO unanimous vote took place in October, 2006

We were told months ago that both City of Austin and CAMPO staff started on the feasibility study, but TxDOT told them to wait until after new designs were done.

TxDOT unveiled six designs during the so-called neighborhood "mediation". Nine months later--one of which was a drawing mislabeled "parkway." (The CAMPO definition of a parkway is a freeway without frontage roads--less than 5 percent of TxDOT Option 5 labeled "parkway" was an actual parkway section).

So, no design, no study. TxDOT is now saying, "Time's up!!! Now you have to vote, CAMPO. No way to choose a parkway with out a study to show it's feasible."

So far, CAMPO board members are letting TxDOT get away with it, as the final CAMPO vote for tolling our freeways is fast approaching.


The big picture TxDOT plan for all of Austin - spends $700+ million of our tax dollars intended for free roads, on the toll road plan that shifts our public highways: 290, 71, 183 and more to toll roads. This is an unacceptable double tax. The $700 million tax dollars should be spent on new capacity freeways, NOT TOLLWAYS!

The elected officials who purport to work for us, are having one last public hearing on freeway tolls. Since 2004 we’ve stopped the freeway toll scheme by flooding the public hearings. We need everyone to attend the last CAMPO hearing on freeway tolls on Sept 10th at the Capitol at 6 pm. If you and others don't show up, be prepared to pay and pay and pay.

Plan to go to this most important meeting and tell the politicos that you don’t want $700+ million of our tax dollars (intended for free roads) to be used for monopolistic freeway tolls. The elected officials work for you, not the special interests who profit off the toll schemes.

Click HERE for a shocking FREE freeway toll guide -
“Everything You Need To Know About
Texas Freeway Tolls”.

WOAI news: Secret TxDOT Plan to Toll Existing Interstates

With the latest TxDOT con, your state tax money would 'buy back' interstate highways, like I-35 - that your federal tax money already paid for, so the state could charge you tolls to drive on that interstate highway. This is TxDOT's continued plan to become an unaccountable taxing authority.

Why toll only tax funded freeways when you can toll tax funded interstates as well? Please write a letter to your editor. - The Muckraker

By Jim Forsyth
KQXT FM (San Antonio)

At the same time local officials assure us that tolls will 'never' be charged for traveling on existing highway lanes, 1200 WOAI news has obtained a Texas Transportation Commission report in which TxDOT officials discuss ways to impose tolls on existing interstate highways.

The report, entitled 'Forward Momentum, a Report to the 110th Congress,' makes several recommendations to Congress on how best to upgrade the state's highway system.

One section, entitled "Tolling Authority EXPANSION" (the capital letters are included in the report), discusses strategies Congress could use to allow Texas to charge tolls on existing Interstate highways, including Interstates 10, 35, and 27.

Read the whole article HERE!

AAS Gives In On Tolls, Tell CAMPO Your Opinion (click here)


Letter from Gayle to the Crooks

CAMPO board,

I live on what used to be RM 620 which has been turned into the 45 toll road. I found out just today that the toll company left one narrow lane in each direction that they could call RM 620. Funny, but when I moved here 30 years ago, RM 620 was a narrow two lane road and now it's come full circle! Somehow, I don't think that qualifies as progress!! The real RM 620 has been turned into a toll road.

There are a lot of registered voters that are on to what you are doing, scamming the public. I for one will be sure to campaign and vote for your opponents in the next election if more toll roads are brought to Austin!

I especially dislike your attempts to make all the roads going to the airport toll roads. Do you really think the citizens of central Texas are that stupid?
Some of them probably are too stupid to notice, but there are plenty of us who aren't, and we are the ones who vote!!


The Muckraker asks YOU: Are you ready to fight for what is yours? I'll see you on T-Day, Sept 10th, at the Capitol at 6pm. Don't miss it.

Opposition to earlier tollways says it will
actively oppose this one as Oct. 8 vote nears

August 28, 2007
By Ben Wear, Austin American-Statesman

A scaled-back plan to expand and put tolls on four Austin highways and build a fifth tollway from scratch drew cautious support Monday from the board charged with making Central Texas transportation decisions.

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board will hold a public hearing Sept. 10 and then will make a final decision Oct. 8 on the five roads, which have been a source of controversy since 2004.

"We need to be continuously very forthright and upfront," said Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, a CAMPO board member who opposed the 2004 toll plan, which ultimately died. "We don't have the dollars to do this without tolls."

When the subject is tolls, recent history indicates that Texas politicians have reason to be cautious. The leader of Austin's anti-tollway faction, which sprang up in reaction to the 2004 tollway plan, said he and his compatriots plan a push in coming weeks to dash this plan as well....

Read the rest of the article, with quotes from myself HERE.


What would Hill Country News name 183A tollways? How about Extortion Highway?

SA Express News: Commish says of TxDOT, "It's like we're negotiating with snake-oil salesman."

HELP WANTED: Sound Transportation Policy


Sound Transportation Policy

August 24, 2007
by William Lutz, Lone Star Report

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says it needs to spend $9 million in taxpayer money to sell its vision of transportation policy to the public.

Maybe if TxDOT pursued rational transportation policies, the public support would follow, and it could spend that $9 million building and maintaining roads.

Listening to the state’s transportation officials, including Gov. Rick Perry and Commissioner of Transportation Ric Williamson, talk is like reading a cheap imitation of a George Orwell novel.

Borrowing money and deficit spending are called “innovative financing techniques.” The term “public-private partnerships” is used to describe mortgaging public property. Tax hikes are called “market-based” or “value-based” tolling or “market-valuations.”

Government-sanctioned monopolies are referred to as “introducing competition to transportation financing.”

Here's why Texans ought to be concerned.

  • Borrowing carries a price tag. The Texas Constitution has traditionally eschewed deficit spending and required existing revenue to pay for existing spending. Now, the state wants to build most of its roads by borrowing, either publicly or by getting a private firm to agree to borrow money, build a road, and collect tolls. There’s no such thing as free money, and often bond lawyers request concessions in exchange for the money fronted to the state. Many of these private financing arrangements prohibit the state from building free roads near a toll road, or require it to pay a stiff penalty if it builds a competing free road or wants out of the deal.
Read the rest of the article HERE.

Motorists Prove the Speed Camera Lied


Diana Maldonado Challenges Toller Mike Krusee

Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock) will challenge State Rep. Mike Krusee (R-Taylor) in House District 52. Maldonado has a bare bones temporary campaign website up today.

Maldonado has spent the past 13 years as head of the Tax Applications Section in the Texas Comptroller’s Office. I’ll bet she’s seen the Comptroller's in depth report that calls Krusee's scheme, "Double Taxation Without Accountability".

Maldonado has been elected president of the Round Rock ISD school board for 2006-2007. Maldonado was the first Hispanic woman to lead the board.

Krussee barely won his last general election to another Democrat with only 5 points to spare. It’s important to note that the Dem had only a couple thousand dollars compared to Krusee’s over $300k.

Diana could be a viable funded opponent - I’m checking into that. I’m also checking to see if she shares our hatred of Krusee's legislation and his schemes to shifting public highways to tollways.

I’ll have more for you soon!

Four Cities Form Commission to Stop the TTC


Bob Dacy, with his report Highway Robbery, exposes a
brand new TxDOT document called
“Forward Momentum”,
a formal TxDOT wish list for Congress to allow existing tax
funded interstates, such as I35, to be shifted to tollways.

Within the “Forward Momentum” publication (cover shown above), TxDOT asks Congress to allow “states to buy back or reimburse the federal government for its share of federal investment in interstate segments” so states can place a toll on tax funded roads originally built with a prohibition against tolling them.

TxDOT also asks Congress to exempt private investors in toll-road schemes from federal income taxation.

See the TxDOT Forward Momentum PDF document for yourself here:


New York Times says National Highway Traffic Safety Administration muzzles experts while safety takes a back seat.


Toll enthusiasts can hit the road

SA EXPRESS: TxDOT's 'outreach' plan reaches deep into taxpayers' pockets (click this headline)

"TxDOT spends millions of dollars of public money to make you feel better about the public information it fought to keep you away from 2 years ago."


Commissioner Places Profits Over Our Families Safety

I think I heard Austin Powers say,
"That ain't someone's gran-ma.
It's a double taxing MAN, baby!"

Today's article in the Statesman reports Travis County Commissioner and CAMPO board member Gerald Daugherty (above) voted to approve the development of 1,500 homes in the hill country. The kicker is - it's on a stretch of highway (71W) that everyone agrees is an already overburdened and a very dangerous road. This vote proves that Commish Gerald Daugherty cares more about his contributors profits, than the safety of our families.

But don't take my word for it, Commissioner Ron Davis had the common sense to vote 'no' and according to the statesman article today, said that:
"the county should turn down the subdivision because it presents a general threat to the safety and welfare of people living in southwestern Travis County."
Daugherty showed up late to the public hearing at Covington School last night to rub elbows with his special interest toll road profiteers - which always include greedy developers/real estate fat cats.

Daugherty has not only pushed for and voted for tolling Austin roads we've already paid for in 2005, but, after a citizens group was formed, called Fix290 (that presented a smart, very popular non-tolled parkway concept for the "Y" in Oak Hill - that costs less and does more than TxDOT's double decker magical money machine), Daugherty helped usher in a pro-toll group that masquerades as a grassroots group called Consensus290 to push for tolls. Take on Traffic is yet another toll lobby group - most probably the same cast of greedy characters.

Gerald Daugherty must be REMOVED in 2008. And, that's what I do best. If there's a viable opponent that signs up to run by the deadline in January - we'll be there with bells on.

Examples of oversized postcards, as part of our campaign programs
we’ve used, to remove stubborn incumbents. Yup, we get tollers fired!

We've got a proven recipe that removes these double tax tollers. We let voters know who voted to toll our public highways, and the incumbent is removed like a bad stain. We've already removed CAMPO tollers - such as CAMPO vice chair (Dwight Thompson) and Commish Karen Sonleitner and others.

Who else must be removed in 2008? That and real jaw dropping, bunkerbusting news will be revealed right here - on this blog very soon.

Share this article with others by
clicking the envelope icon below.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE KXAN'S POLL (middle of the page): Should TxDOT have spent $9M on ads or roads?


They're BAACKK! And they want ALL your money!

(from left to right) Sen. Kirk Watson, Council Member Brewster McCracken, Rep. Mike Krusee, Commissioner Gerald "Oak Hill Toller" Daugherty and Mayor Will Wynn are just some of the CAMPO board members seeking to implement the stealth toll tax on our Central Texas families. The hearings start Tuesday, Aug 21st!

SAVE $1,000’s A YEAR!

Stubborn, vampire like, tax hungry politicians are bringing Austin double tax tolls back up for a vote! Again!

Since 2004, with your help, we’ve been able to stop the special interest boondoggle of tolling roads we’ve already paid for. SADLY, WE NEED TO SPEAK UP AGAIN - or we’ll all pay $1,000’s of dollars a year more in double tax tolls, just to use Austin freeways. Beware, in some cases these slippery politicos have even started to use the word “managed lanes” instead of the dreaded “toll” word.

Greedy special interests, and their families, are now giving “YES, PLEASE TOLL ME” feedback - so they can make enormous profits. Shouldn’t your families feedback be counted as well?


1) This crucial vote will cost your family $1,000’s of dollars a year.

2) This bloated tax and debt scheme is the most expensive solution for our families - it could cost us 30 times more - and it doesn’t even address the biggest congestion problem! - which is found on I-35.

3) 93% of the public feedback in 2004 said NO TOLLS, but these sneaky politicos are trying to slip one by us yet again, to help their fat cat contributors profit off our families.

4) These roads were already promised as freeways, and politicians like Mayor Will Wynn and Commissioner Gerald Daugherty seek an unaccountable taxation scheme that doesn’t use the “tax” word.

5) You and your family shouldn’t be forced to pay a toll, if you want to drive on the express portion of a freeway to get to work, school or shop! Slow service roads with stop lights is not an alternative - that line of crap is for suckers.

6) These freeway tolls are nothing more than unaccountable taxation.
JUST SAY "NO TOLLS and NO MANAGED LANES!" (just another word for tolls) CAMPO Public Hearings on the Toll Tax starts tomorrow - TUESDAY, August 21! THE SPECIAL INTERESTS WILL BE THERE - WILL YOU?

Open House 4:00pm to 5:30pm
6:00 to 6:30
Questions & Answers 6:30 to 7:30
Public Comments 7:00 to 9:00

Tuesday, August 21st
Travis County Covington Middle School
3700 Convict Hill Road, Austin 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Public Comments 7:00 to 9:00

Thursday, August 23rd
Hays County Kyle City Council Chambers
100 West Center, Kyle 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Public Comments 7:00 to 9:00

Wednesday, August 29th
Travis County East Communities YMCA, 5315 US 183(S)
(Ed Bluestein), Austin 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Public Comments 7:00 to 9:00

Thursday, August 30th
Williamson County Allen R. Baca Center
301 West Bagdad, Round Rock 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Public Comments 7:00 to 9:00

Monday, Sept. 10th
Public Hearing Capitol Extension Auditorium, Room E1.004 6:00 p.m
Show up at these meetings and give your NO TOLLS feedback. WE NEED YOU AT THE MEETING ABOVE - But, if you can't attend - tell all the CAMPO board members (with this one email address) to vote NO TOLLS or you will help remove them in their next election:


Or/and call the CAMPO board members:
Chairman Kirk Watson
State Senator, District 14 (512) 463-0114

Will Wynn
City of Austin Mayor (512) 974-2250

Brewster McCracken (expected to run for Mayor in 2008)
City of Austin Council Member Place 5 (512) 974-2256

Gerald Daugherty (expected to run again in 2008)
Travis County Commissioner Precinct 3 (512) 854-9333

Betty Dunkerley
City of Austin Mayor Pro Tem (512) 974-2258

Sam Biscoe
Travis County Judge (512) 854-9555

Vice-Chair Cynthia Long
Williamson County Commissioner Precinct 2 (512) 260-4280

Jennifer Kim
City of Austin Council Member Place 3 (512) 974-2255

Mike Krusee (expected to run again in 2008)
State Representative, Williamson County (512) 463-0670

Eddie Rodriguez
State Representative, District 51 (512) 463-0674

Sarah Eckhardt
Travis County Commissioner Precinct 2 (512) 854-9222

Liz Sumter
Hays County Judge (512) 393-2205

Bob Lemon
City of Cedar Park Mayor (512) 401-5000

Nyle Maxwell
City of Round Rock Mayor (512) 218-5401

Gary L. Nelon
City of Georgetown Mayor (512) 930-3651

Jeff Mills
City of Sunset Valley, Councilmember (512) 892-1383

Miguel Gonzales
City of Kyle, Mayor (512) 262-2922

John Trevino
Capital Metro (512) 471-4266

Bob Daigh
TxDOT - District Engineer (512) 832-7022
The roads they have on their hit list are the same one’s every time, so far:
* US 290 W-west of RM 1826 to east of Williamson Creek;
* SH 71 W US 290 to 1.1 mile north of US 290;
* US 183 S at IH 35/US 183 S Interchange;
* US 183 S Springdale Rd.to N.Boggy Crk.& N. Boggy Creek to Patton Ave.;
* US 290 E east of US 183 to east SH 130; from SH 130 to FM 973 & eastward
* SH 71 E west of Riverside to Presidential Blvd;
* US183 S at IH 35; US 183 S at US 290 E; and
* FM 1431 East of US 183 to 183A
* SH 45 SW Loop 1 to FM 1626; Reference Data: http://www.campotexas.org/pdfs/item4AugA.pdf

Send this article to others by
clicking on the envelope icon below.

The Muckrakers EZ Healthy Breakfast

I love to cook. I recently invented this no-cook great breakfast. Enjoy.

1/2 cup of low fat granola
1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce

Add Granola and Applesauce and stir.

Your done. You have a tasty breakfast that is super healthy for you. I created this recipe one day when I got tired of using milk (Few adults can metabolize the principle protein in cow's milk- casein - properly. Eventually, the liver has to remove all the partially digested cow protein which in turn places a heavy burden on the entire excretory system, especially the liver.)

TxDOT'S run amok. (click to read)


Politicians the real threat to nation's bridges

As Published - San Antonio Express
by Terri Hall

Let's face it: We live in a quick-fix world.

Rather than thinking long term and genuinely planning for the nation's present and future, politicians have become an extension of the 24/7 sound-bite media and short-term gain addicts on Wall Street.

Those against the push to privatize and toll our freeways as a quick fix for America's aging infrastructure see the Minnesota bridge tragedy as a transportation wake-up call.

It's criminal for politicians in Congress to have passed a highway bill in 2005 that funded a $223 million "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska instead of retrofitting that Minneapolis-St. Paul bridge, located on heavily traveled Interstate 35. We have seriously misplaced priorities in this country, pointing to politicians who are derelict in their duties.

The 2005 federal highway bill had 6,000 earmarks for frivolous congressional pet projects pilfered from dedicated gas tax revenues at a time when the Bush administration was pushing the privatization and tolling of our highways, saying new toll taxes were necessary to address congestion and the aging infrastructure because of a shortfall in revenues.

By design, they want to double-tax us by tolling the traveling public to plug their own leaky boat.

Read the rest of it - HERE.


Mike Krusee plans to speak Tolls at DELL next week.

Well, folks are figuring it out.

With toll roads, comes the plan to force people on them.

I've got word that Mike Krusee will be going to Dell to speak next week. Aug 23, 1pm, Round Rock Dell Campus, Bldg 1. This is what one Dell employee said in an email to me today:

"People are pretty frustrated here, they gave us entrance and exit ramps to the Toll, but closed our Entrance Ramps to I-35 (how nice).

We have Dell (Largest employer in Round Rock, a Super Walmart, a Target, an HEB, and 3 large shopping centers at this I-35 intersection, and they took our entrance ramp ti I-35 away!!!! Now at 5pm we have at least 5,000 Dell employees all fighting through two access road intersections to get to an I-35 entrance ramp."

Toll roads will not solve Texas roadway woes, state Sen. Kevin Eltife

Toll roads will not solve Texas roadway woes, state Sen. Kevin Eltife tells Tyler paper today.

Click on youtube video to see Sen Eltife say "I think we've created a monster" in TxDOT - video from some months ago.


$5 T-Shirt Blowout!

$5 T-Shirt Blowout!
66% OFF!


They are going in the mail today.
And a special thank those who sent extra - all of which will go to pay for AustinTollParty.com and TexasTollParty.com web hosting and more.

Thank You folks!~
: )

"A sin tax on driving in Texas."


Tollers/Leeches sink in the Hooks

Dear Sal Costello,

I am sending this email because I just found out that the TX Tag will be charging a fee of $9.65 per tag in addition to paying for using the toll way. I just received a letter indicating this is coming so I called and spoke to a customer service person who told me that we are going to be charged for utilizing the tag. I told them that no one said anything about fee or else we would have thought twice about getting one.

Of course I was so upset that I told her that no one told us up front about the charge and she urged and said it was on the booklet I received and it was up to me to read it. Needless to say, I was upset with how these people want to suck you dry by nickel and dime you to death. We already spend around $60 dollars a month on toll fees in order to avoid traffic and to get around Austin without having to spend a great deal of gas especially it being so expensive.

I went looking in the internet to submit a complaint for the consumers of Texas that it is totally unacceptable. It is bad enough that we are paying twice for utilizing freeways - once from taxes that went to improve the roads and continue to expand for the greater good of transportation for the people in Austin . Now having to pay to utilize this road is getting pretty bad.

This is one voter that plans to see who is really representing us.


What Did Senator Carona Expect?

SA EXPRESS: TxDOT rides in hot seat as lawmakers fume

State and Fed Bullies now Fight Over Tolling of Dallas Freeway 121


Miami Herald reports another PBS&J top executive was sentenced Friday, this time for violating federal campaign-finance laws.

Does the violation of federal campaign-finance laws extend to Austin?

Well, a quick glance I did some months ago of a finance report for City of Austin Council member Brewster McCracken (two faced double tax toller positioning himself to run for mayor) shows contributions from some PBS&J employees. The interesting part - Brewster's finance report reveals some of the PBS&J employees actually use PBS&J's business address.



Email from reader:

Hello Sal:

On Sep 3, 2007, the Harris County Toll Road Authority is again increasing tolls.

I drive the Sam Houston Tollway to visit my mother in north Houston at least once a month. When I first used the tollway in the early 1990s, the tolls were $0.75. Now, the tolls will be $1.50--a 100% increase in 16 years!! The last increase was in Oct 2003, which means tolls are currently increasing more than 6% a year, much more rapidly than the rate of inflation.

Data on their website reveals the HCTRA's gross toll revenues were:

2003, $244,171,000
2004, $265, 913,000
2005, $317,712,000
2006, $349,341,000

HCTRA's gross toll revenues have increased 43% for the past four years. Yet, they want even more money!!!

I wish my income would have gone up 43% in that same period!

The facts debunk the HCTRAs assertions, in the article at the link, that the toll rate jump is a "small increase." Moreover, the HCTRA is disingenuous in their press release by asserting tolls are not tax dollars.

Tolls collected on HCTRA roadways are used to fund maintenance and upkeep of the existing toll roads and to meet future expansion needs-without using tax dollars.

There is no doubt that an agency with the authority to toll highways becomes a money-gobbling bureaucracy increasing their intake more and more each year.

Eugene Richardson
San Antonio TX

Letter to Dallas editor:

Dear Editor,

With fees, this (Toll) surprise cost me $1 per mile

Last month, I made a rare trip to D/FW Airport and took State Highway 121 from Interstate 35E in Lewisville. I saw signs informing me a toll road was ahead, but I never saw a tollbooth.

To my surprise, I received a bill from North Texas Tollway Authority this week. My total video toll charges were 60 cents. My invoice fee was $1. In addition, I will have to pay 41 cents to mail my payment, as the NTTA has gathered enough personal information about me already by videotaping me without notice and I will not be paying by credit card to its website.

My total toll for traveling about two miles on Highway 121 is $2.01, about a dollar a mile.

Taryn McColpin, Denton



Well folks, as I write this, there are 3 trucks in my cul-de-sac and a total of 5 people focusing on fixing my roof leak today. Barker Roofing, Hammond's/Meritage Homes, and Accent Plumbing are all working feverishly to fix my roof. For free of course.

This another 100% victory. This one happened within about 48 hrs from when I went to war.

You saw the blog article below, but that blog article is just the tip of the iceberg on how I really got it done. Over the years, I’ve developed and proven a sure fire creative recipe for success.

With this roof situation (a $400 plus repair including plumbing), I used the same behind the scenes creative techniques I used to stop TxDOT from shifting Mopac/William Cannon Bridge (an $8 million dollar freeway) into a toll road, as well as numerous other freeway to toll road conversions (a $2.2 Billion scheme) and more.

If you don’t know it, I am a Creative Director and I’ve owned my own business for about 14 years. I’ve won national marketing and design awards for my strategic creative work. I help my clients sell more of their products and services everyday.

I’ve been toying around with the idea of writing a book. Perhaps it might be called, “How to Beat City Hall” or “How to Beat the Man with Little or No Money”. But, that might be too much of a time investment. There are other ways I can share what I've learned...

I am now available as a consultant or speaker for organizations that might be interested in learning "How to Win" - for a minimal fee. Make sure you remind me to describe the inspirational "Hospital" incidents.

I am also thinking of holding a short seminar/workshop to share these important powerful techniques I’ve developed with individuals - if enough of you express interest and send me an email (sal@texastollparty.com).

Tempers flare at fifth 290/71 Summit meeting


- UPDATE - Barker Roofing points finger at Meritage Homes and Refuses to “Make it Right”.

Barker Roofing says they were
forced to install roof that leaks.

I've got to tell you about this unrelated sham I'm dealing with over the past month. Perhaps the fact that I get over 1,000 hits a week from Texans that read this blog could help educate others. SEE BELOW FOR UPDATE.

In 2001 my wife and I purchased a new home new from Hammond's Homes (now called Meritage Homes - Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE:MTH).

We have a Lifetime Warranty for our Spanish tile roof (concrete tile by Monier Life Tile). The warranty is administered through the Texas wide contractor who installed the roof, BARKER ROOFING.

We had no leaks, until just weeks ago.

(above pic) The misshapen lead boot where Barker Roofing says the leak is coming from - note there is no PVC pipe to be seen as in picture below. (below pic) Another example of Barker Roofing's shoddy workmanship on my roof - you can see the pvc pipe in this one but note the lead boot is too short to wrap over the top correctly - with hole exposed between boot and pvc pipe at 5 o'clock mark.

First off, it took weeks of phone calls to get Barker Roofing to respond. I’ve heard this same issue from a neighbor just 2 doors down. I’ve needed to contact them a few times a week, to get partial answers about the leak in my roof during almost daily rains here in Austin, Texas.

A nice gentleman of mexican decent with a heavy accent came to inspect the leak. It was difficult to understand him, but we did our best to communicate.

He told me the leak was caused by a pvc pipe that was installed as a vent, that protrudes from the tiles within a lead boot. The Barker Roofing representative told me the PVC pipe was much too short when the roof was built. He told me the tar used for flashing had cracked under the boot causing it to leak.

This seemed cut and dry to me - especially since we had a lifetime roof warranty - The roof was not installed correctly, and I figured they would take the responsibility and fix it for free.

But Barker said I’d need to pay them about $300 to fix it.

Barker Roofing told me that it’s Hammond's/Meritage fault. That they’ve told builders like Hammond's/Meritage about short pipes before, and the builder choose not to extend the pvc pipes, so Barker Roofing was forced to install the boot improperly.

That’s a sorry excuse for running a business.

Ah, the finger pointing game. Don’t you love it?

Barker Roofing installed the roof incorrectly. Barker Roofing needs to take the responsibility and fix it. Period.

On Barker Roofing’s website, the President, Keith Barker (kbarker@barkerroofing.com) states:
“...we get the job done right, or I'll make it RIGHT!”.
Bullshit Keith.

You didn’t do the job right Keith, and now you're trying to run away from your responsibility. Barker Roofing sucks.

UPDATE: email from Barker Roofing's President and my response:

Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 07:20:31 -0500
From: "Keith Barker"
To: "sal costello"
CC: "Kelley, Lance"

Mr. Costello you will have a written response this afternoon when I get back into Austin. I will clarify in detail what needs to be done along with the proper information on the warranty of a tile roof. But like my office said if a plumbing pipe is too low then the plumber has to raise it for us to flash.

Thank you,
Keith A. Barker
President, Barker Roofing
512-848-4687 Cell



Dear Mr. Barker,

I agree. You're workers should have never installed the lead boot if the plumbing pipe was too low.

I will be contacting FOX's news program "7 On Your Side", BBB and many others if you don't choose to take the responsibility and fix your poor workmanship by Monday.

On your website you said "...we get the job done right, or I'll make it RIGHT!”.

I'm waiting Keith.

You didn't do the job right - excuses don't cut it,
Sal Costello

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