Thursday, November 30, 2006

Giving it to the anti-tollers

I've talked about the silliness of the San Antonio Toll Party before. Specifically:
In short, Ms. Hall and the San Antonio Toll Party seem to be low on reason and acumen and high on raw passion and invective. The debate is heated (check this link to Pat Driscoll's blog to see some of the arguments on both sides), but Ms. Hall's approach is blowtorch hot. I don't see her winning over many undecided citizens with that approach, but I don't think that's her ultimate goal. She just wants zero toll roads, no matter what anyone else may think.
Now, Pat Driscoll from the San Antonio Express-News takes on the Toll Party's tortured logic on his blog with "Myth vs. Reality".

Once again, Terri Hall of San Antonio Toll Party is spouting homespun fallacies and misrepresentations in her effort to shoot down toll roads.

For more than a year I've explained to Hall at different times why some of her so-called facts don't see the light of day in the Express-News, yet she keeps marching on with the same wrong information.

It's a shame, because legitimate concerns and questions about toll roads are being couched in a cardboard argument.

He goes on to pick apart her assertions made in a statement released by the Toll Party November 29, whipping her back to reality in a manner usually reserved for dishonest politicians. This woman is not seeking office, but she is being dishonest. And she's using scare tactics to bully people to her point of view.

Those tactics, however, are backfiring, and people are blaming her and the Toll Party for holding up much-needed road improvements in San Antonio. For a taste of the heated opinions on toll roads in the Alamo City, check out the comment thread to this post on Driscoll's blog.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Could Truck Stop Deaths Be Related?"

OK, this is getting really weird. Five mysterious deaths have occurred at local truck stops, and police still don't know why.

From KSAT:

SAN ANTONIO -- San Antonio police said Tuesday that they are looking into the possibility that foul play may be involved in the deaths of five people at three local truck stops.

Police spokesman Gabe Trevino said that someone may be giving truckers bad drugs and there could be a possibility that more bodies will be discovered. ...

The latest victim was found Monday afternoon at the Flying J Truck Stop at Interstate 10 and Foster Road.

The other bodies were found at truck stops at Interstate 10 and Ackerman Road and at Interstate 35 and Fischer Road.

Be careful, truckers.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Third Body Found At San Antonio Truck Stop"

This is weird.

SAN ANTONIO -- Police were investigating the death of a truck driver at the same truck stop where two people were found dead earlier this month.

A friend found the body of Byron Gonzales inside his big rig Thursday morning, the Bexar County medical examiner's office said. ...

On Nov. 1, fellow truckers found the bodies of Michelle McLean and Harry Edward Ackroyd inside the cab of an 18-wheeler parked at the same truck stop. The rig's engine was running, and the bodies were partly clothed.

None of the three bodies had any signs of obvious trauma.

The medical examiner is still trying to determine what killed the first two people, but, if this death is related, that truck stop is going to start getting an unwanted reputation.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"Accused Killer Claims Evil Forces Control Him"

And, apparently, they want him to outdo all other evil people.

Vincent Seard is accused of killing a man and a woman at a ranch in Comfort back in 2003. Several doctors told a judge they don't believe Seard is competent to stand trial right now.

They've diagnosed Seard as chronic paranoid schizophrenic. Doctors say Seard's multiple personality disorder has him believing there is a force in his life causing him to be the "evilest in existence."

Someone to keep an eye on, for sure.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Police: Man Shoots Self During Standoff"

From time to time, police officers must deal with very stressful situations. And I'm sure they don't relish scenarios that end in "suicide by cop", where a suspect threatens officers to provoke them into firing their weapons, thereby ending his life at someone else's hands.

That's strange enough, but I wonder how often the person actually announces his intent, as in this story from KSAT-TV:

SAN ANTONIO -- A 56-year-old Fair Oaks Ranch man suffered a self-inflicted wound during a police standoff Monday, Fair Oaks police said.

According to Fair Oaks Ranch Police Chief Scott Rubin, the man called the police department at 6 p.m. Sunday and told the dispatcher that he wanted to commit suicide by cop. ...

After police tried to persuade to surrender [sic] peacefully, several shots were fired from the home around 6 a.m., Rubin said. Police then made a tactical entry into the home and found the man with a self-inflicted wound to his hand.

Poor guy. He needs help. Let's just hope he gets it before he seriously hurts someone.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Pig Stands close


Initial plans to keep the restaurant once labeled the "World's Fastest Drive-in" open have been shelved -- at least for now.

Officials with locally based Texas Pig Stands Inc. said that the company's remaining Pig Stand restaurants in San Antonio and in Houston have been closed until further notice. The stores were closed by order of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Robber foiled by hair stylists

If you are looking for an easy place to rob, don't try to hold up the Hair Express on Marbach Road. The people who work there won't stand for it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The six flags over Texas

There haven't been too many strange things catching my eye lately, but I wanted to put something up here to show that I'm still around. So, here is a picture of a docent at the Alamo giving a little history of the place. The flags he is standing in front of are the Six Flags over Texas.

The flags represent the six nations that have claimed sovereignty over the area of land now known as the state of Texas. From left to right, the nations represented are:

The United States of America (1845-1861 and 1865-present)
The Republic of Texas (1835-1845)
The Confederate States of America (1861-1865)
Mexico (1821-1835)
France (1685-1689)
Spain (1690-1821)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Claiming victory in the face of defeat

Critics of toll roads have been very vocal and very passionate about making sure those roads never get built in San Antonio. As I've said before:
In short, Ms. [Terri] Hall and the San Antonio Toll Party seem to be low on reason and acumen and high on raw passion and invective. The debate is heated (check this link to Pat Driscoll's blog to see some of the arguments on both sides), but Ms. Hall's approach is blowtorch hot. I don't see her winning over many undecided citizens with that approach, but I don't think that's her ultimate goal. She just wants zero toll roads, no matter what anyone else may think.
With the recent election, though, many of the people the toll road critics supported for their anti-toll stances were defeated. Yet, the San Antonio Toll Party is still claiming victory. Here's their press release on the topic, and Ms. Halls direct words: “Our preferred candidates may not have won, but their opponents, with the exception of Perry who didn’t win a majority, said they were anti-toll.”

So, their candidates lost, but the Toll Party still won.

And here's Pat Driscoll's take on it.

It also helps to not count a list of "good guys/gals" as endorsements — a distinction the Texas Toll Party didn't make — which cuts the local endorsements by half. Of eight left, four won, which doesn't sound so bad.

Then, let's see, assume that all the people who voted for Kinky Friedman would have voted for the Toll Party's horse in the governor's race, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, had Friedman not run. Though Strayhorn still would have lost by a large margin statewide, she would have carried Bexar County, a "major accomplishment."

The Toll Party is going to great lengths to make it seem like they had a big impact on the election in Texas, when it seems that their influence was negligible at best. It's strange to think your cause prevailed at the polls when the candidates you supported didn't get enough votes to win.

But, it's important to remember the Toll Party seems intent on doing whatever they can to prevent the construction of toll roads, no matter what form they might take or where they might be built. Now that the election is over, it will be interesting to see what the Toll Party does next.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Car crashes into house

OK, so it's really an SUV. And it crashed into a church, not a house. But it's still strange.

From WOAI:

Church leaders were cleaning up after an SUV slammed into the wall of building [sic] early Sunday morning, officials told News 4 WOAI.

The SUV collided with a car on Wurzbach and Ironside close to 3 a.m. Sunday, and the SUV ended up crashing into House of Prayer Lutheran Church, police said. ...

"I'm very shocked they could travel this far and cause this much damage," church member Doyle Griffin said. "It's a long way from the highway."

More from KSAT


Sunday, November 05, 2006

"Man's Bullet-Riddled Body Run Over By Train"

Initially, it seemed that this was an accident, and then the police thought it was a suicide. But, now it looks like someone tried to cover up a murder.

From KSAT:

SAN ANTONIO -- The bullet-riddled body of a 23-year-old man was placed on some railroad tracks in south Bexar County where he was run over by a train, sheriff's officials said. ...

A railroad conductor told law enforcement authorities that he saw a dark sport utility vehicle turn off its lights prior to running over Garza's body.