Years ago, a private foundation gave the Christmas Mountains to the state of Texas. The only thing they asked in return was a promise from the state that the land would not be sold to private interests. Texas made that promise.
But then the Republicans took over in Austin, and Jerry Patterson became the Texas Land Commissioner. Promises made by the state are suddenly no longer important -- not when Republicans can help their rich buddies out. Patterson decided he wanted to sell the land to a private entity.
When the people who donated the land objected, Patterson tried to lie to the citizens of Texas. He said his office could no longer afford to care for the land, even though it would cost next to nothing. Then he tried to tell Texans that neither the state Parks and Wildlife Service nor the National Park Service wanted the land.
That was also a lie. The National Park Service quickly said they wanted to add the land to the adjoining Big Bend National Park. This would keep the lands open to the public, and honor the promise made by Texas officials. Several weeks ago, they sent Patterson a proposal to add the land to Big Bend.
But Patterson still wants to sell the land to his buddies. The Land Commission has met three times since the National Park Service made its proposal, and Patterson has failed to put the proposal on their agenda any of those times. It is scheduled to meet again on March 18, and the proposal is still not scheduled to be heard.
When he was asked about it recently in Fort Worth, Patterson repeated that the Park Service didn't want the land. He obviously thinks the people of Texas are stupid, because that is a BLATANT LIE! The proposal is still pending, and waiting for consideration.
What is wrong with this man? Does he stand to make a bundle of money if the land is sold? How can he feel so free to break promises made by our state?
We must keep pressure on Patterson to honor Texas' promises and keep this land in the public domain. We must let him know that his stalling will not make us forget!