Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Texans For Government Transparency File Federal Lawsuit Against Tarrant Regional Water District

Incoming email from Mr. JAB informing me that "We filed the Federal lawsuit against TRWD this morning." The email came with two PDFs attached, with one of those PDFs being the Texans for Government Transparency Press Release, converted from PDF to text, which you can read below....

January 15, 2014

Citizens File Lawsuit Against
 Tarrant Regional Water District and Board
Cite Unconstitutional Practices in Election Process

(Fort Worth, Texas) ‐ Four concerned Tarrant County citizens have taken action against the Tarrant Regional Water District and its Board of Directors in regard to the unlawful extension of term limits. The Board is attempting to extend the terms of its elected Directors beyond the maximum four‐year term allowed by the Texas Constitution by refusing to hold elections in 2014.

“I filed this lawsuit because the Board has gone too far this time. They have a long history of unethical behavior and the fact is they are violating the Texas Constitution,” said Rev. Kyev P. Tatum, Sr.

The Tarrant Regional Water District Board (TRWD) currently includes elected‐officials Victor W. Henderson, Jack Stevens, Marty Leonard, Jim Lane and Mary Kelleher. Ms. Kelleher is not implicated in the actions giving rise to the lawsuit and has publically stated the TRWD is constitutionally required to hold an election in 2014.

The lawsuit contends that “Article XVI, Section 30 of the Texas Constitution plainly and unambiguously provides that no TRWD Director may serve a term in excess of four years. Thus, an election must be held at the end of each term, or the term limitation is rendered meaningless.”

The timing of the lawsuit is imperative due to the upcoming Uniform Election Date on May 10, 2014. At this time, the four‐year terms of Jim Lane and Marty Leonard will expire. According to Texas Election Code § 3.005(c)(2), February 28, 2014 is the last day to order an election on the Uniform Election Date on May 10, 2014 and the last date a candidate for TRWD may apply for a place on the ballot. The candidate filing period opens on January 29, 2014, a mere 14 days from now.

“It’s really quite simple. The ending of a term requires an election and TRWD’s refusal to call a required election deprives the Plaintiffs of their constitutional right to vote,” said attorney Matt Rinaldi. “The TRWD’s position is dangerous precedent. They can’t refuse to hold an election and establish an indefinite term for Directors any more than Congress can refuse to hold a presidential election to establish an indefinite term for the President,” continued Rinaldi.

“The right to vote is a fundamental political right. I’m doing this to protect the interests of all residents,taxpayers and voters of Tarrant County,” said Rev. Tatum, Sr.

Reverend Tatum is a member of Texans for Government Transparency, a watch‐dog group of volunteers dedicated to making government transparent and more efficient. The organization is an established non‐partisan group with broad support from concerned citizens whose priority in Ft. Worth is to clean up the water in the Trinity River.

Texans for Government Transparency is a non-profit human rights organization focused on bringing transparency and accountability to government, while protecting the privacy and civil rights of the citizens of Texas.

Texans for Government Transparency
8551 Boat Club Road Suite 121
Fort Worth, Texas 76179-3674

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