Who We Are

We are an organization of dedicated Democrats. We join together to stay informed about state, county and local politics and to take action on our principals. We also get together sometimes just for fun. Member meetings and social events are free and open to the public. We encourage our 600+ members to contribute and volunteer for Democratic candidates. We have no membership dues, but gladly accept contributions. We also encourage our members to contribute and volunteer for Democratic candidates.

Report from the Annual Meeting

Here are the results of the Annual Meeting held on May 15th, 2019:


1) The changes to the Bylaws were unanimously ratified.


2) The following slate of candidates was unanimously elected:

  • Chair: Laura Ewing
  • Vice-Chair: Heiko Stang
  • Secretary: Sandra Solis
  • Treasurer: Mary Espinoza
  • At-large: Jimmy Alan Hall
  • At-large: Robert Smith
  • At-large: Chrys Grummert
  • At-large: Bonny Krahn

In addition to the elected members above, our local Democratic Precinct Chairs have seats on the Steering Committee:

  • 333: Mary Espinoza
  • 335: [Vacant]
  • 337: Nan Booth Simpson
  • 339: Claire Burke

Thank you to our three departing Committee members: Elaine Cardenas, Larry Calvert and Cyndi Jackson. Former Steering Committee members Noland Martin and Sandra Gieseler will continue in their roles as Phone Bank Coordinator and Speaker Coordinator, but they chose not to stand for Committee positions. And welcome to our new Committee members: Claire, Laura, Chrys and Bonny!


3) Special recognition was given to past Chair Nerissa Oden for her invaluable contributions over the years.


4) The winning logo was unveiled -- see Cynthia Jackson's design at the top of this page!


Thank you to everyone who joined us and to everyone who took the time to vote by email.

What's New

Recent newsletters and postings -- click here for the archives

No Permian Highway Pipeline in Hays County and the Hill Country

Heiko Stang

February 4, 2019

Opinions in this post are those of the author and do not reflect a position of the Wimberley Democrats.

The Wimberley Valley is renowned for its natural beauty. It is the main reason people choose to live here, and it is also a major source of income for many connected to the tourism sector. The proposed Permian Highway pipeline, a mega-sized 42-inch diameter tube, would damage the local environment, endanger the water supply, lower property values, and inflict local economic damage.

Companies building oil and gas infrastructure like pipelines have traditionally been given the status of “common carriers” (which entails the ability to use eminent domain) because they arguably served the broader public good by supplying indispensable energy. However, our knowledge about climate change and current developments in the Permian Basin should change this evaluation.

Climate change has become one of the major threats to our economy, safety, health, and environment. However, the recent surge in oil and gas production has made the US the global leader in the expansion of oil and gas production, with Texas at the forefront. New infrastructure like the Permian Highway pipeline will only exacerbate this development. Whereas Texas could lead the way tackling climate change and revamping the economy for the future with expanding renewable energy, increasing oil and gas production will instead harm the environment and have long-term disadvantages for the economic well-being of our state. On a local level, the National Climate Assessment 2018 suggests that climate change could have a major negative impact on the Edwards Aquifer, a karst aquifer more immediately subject to direct effects of droughts and floods. With climate change causing more and more serious weather events, the aquifer could suffer from rapid drawdown during frequent droughts and, during floods, from declining water quality because of run off in a rapidly developing area of Texas.

More immediately, there are grave concerns about the threat the pipeline poses to our water. Kinder Morgan has a less than stellar safety record. Possible spills and explosions could contaminate groundwater and creeks and rivers endangering residents of the area. Its route is proposed in the close proximity of Jacob’s Well. It would threaten this very significant ecological preserve in the Texas Hill Country that constitutes a major attraction of the Wimberley Valley and feeds Cypress Creek. Jacob’s Well is both an important ecological and economic resource.

While all this already suggests that new pipelines are not in the public interest, this is especially true in the case of the Permian Highway pipeline connecting the West Texas oil and gas fields with export terminals on the Gulf Coast. The gas (and later possibly crude oil or other hazardous products) this pipeline would carry will be almost exclusively used for export. It would serve overseas markets meeting demands in Asia or Europe. Although there is currently no shortage of supply of natural gas in the US and a new pipeline is not needed domestically, it would create new demands and intensify consumption elsewhere increasing the total of greenhouse gas emissions globally. While not supplying the American public with energy, the export of fossil fuels might hurt Americans in the long-term by decreasing local supply and raising prices for American consumers (as has been the case in Australia).

For all these reasons, giving a private company the power of eminent domain to build the Permian Highway pipeline is not appropriate. A pipeline would decrease property values and endanger people living close by. It would be a violation of property rights of Texans not for the public good but for the short-term profits of a few corporations while harming our environment and long-term economic progress both locally and on a state and national level.

While not building a new pipeline for the export of fossil fuels would be by far the best option, rerouting it away from environmentally sensitive areas like aquifer recharge zones would at least prevent the most immediate harm and enjoy overwhelming support from citizens. Eminent domain laws must also be reformed to bring the powers of the oil and gas sector in line with the common-sense regulations applied, for example, to electric utility companies. Using pipeline easements already existing elsewhere for a new pipeline would also lessen the impact on the environment and the rights of local property owners – while still endangering our planet’s future, of course.

Pipeline Update - More meetings and resources

February 7, 2019

In the last newsletter we asked you to tell us about other meetings and actions regarding the Permian Highway Pipeline project. Here is what we got back.


Kinder Morgan Open House Meetings

The January 29th meeting was held by Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell, and there was no presentation from Kinder Morgan. The following meetings are being held by Kinder Morgan to give the public the opportunity to “ask questions and learn more about the project.” The announcement says nothing about providing feedback to Kinder Morgan, but I imagine there will be some of that anyway.


All of the following meetings will occur from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 12, Wimberley Community Center 14068 Ranch Rd. 12, Wimberley
  • Wednesday, Feb. 13, Wallace Middle School 1500 West Center, Kyle
  • Wednesday, Feb. 20, Old Blanco Co. Courthouse 300 Main St., Blanco
  • Thursday, Feb. 21, Gillespie Co. Fairgrounds (Exhibition Hall) 530 Fair Drive, Fredericksburg

For additional information or questions: https://www.PHPproject.com, 833-626-0339, and [email protected]


Hays County Pipeline Information Page

The County has put up an excellent page on the pipeline project at https://www.co.hays.tx.us/kinder-morgan-permian-highway-pipeline.


Wimberley Valley Watershed Association Petition

Visit their web site at http://wimberleywatershed.org/ to sign a petition to reroute the pipeline.


- Robert Smith, Registrar

News and Events

February 12, 2019

________________________________________

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Erin Zwiener Introduces Bill That Would Protect Groundwater Resources

State Representative Zwiener (doesn't that sound great?) has introduced HB 1304, which would authorize the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District to collect production fees from certain commercial wells. (Household use and agricultural use are exempted.) This would provide the District a stable source of funding with which to protect our groundwater resources. Read more and sign a petition supporting this bill at the TESPA website.

Important Series of Programs on Voting Rights

The League of Women Voters of Hays County is presenting a series of three programs that spotlight voting and voter rights. If you are at all interested in voting rights, you should try to attend this series. Times, places and descriptions are below.

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EVENTS

________________________________________

Kinder Morgan Open House

Tuesday, February 12th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Wimberley Community Center

14068 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley

This meeting is being held by Kinder Morgan to give the public the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the Permian Highway Pipeline project.

________________________________________

Kinder Morgan Open House

Wednesday, February 13th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Wallace Middle School

1500 West Center, Kyle

This meeting is being held by Kinder Morgan to give the public the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the Permian Highway Pipeline project.

________________________________________

Expanding Voter Participation in Hays County

League of Women Voters - Hays County

Saturday, February 16th, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Sententia Vera Cultural Hub

4002 Highway 290 (at Sunset Canyon), Dripping Springs

Program 1 in a series of 3. This program focuses on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity as it relates to diverse populations in Hays County by examining significant data from the county and methodologies of inclusion and equity. Presenter: Teresa Carbajal Ravet, [email protected]

________________________________________

WimDems Social Saturday

Saturday, February 16th, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Milagro's Hill Country Tex Mex

9595 Ranch Rd 12, Wimberley (at junction with FM 32)

Social Saturdays are free of charge and open to all.

________________________________________

Kinder Morgan Open House

Wednesday, February 20th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Old Blanco County Courthouse

300 Main Street, Blanco

This meeting is being held by Kinder Morgan to give the public the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the Permian Highway Pipeline project.

________________________________________

Kinder Morgan Open House

Thursday, February 21st, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Gillespie County Fairgrounds (Exhibition Hall)

530 Fair Drive, Fredericksburg

This meeting is being held by Kinder Morgan to give the public the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the Permian Highway Pipeline project.

________________________________________

Supporting Voting Rights in Hays County

League of Women Voters - Hays County

Thursday, March 7th, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Wimberley Village Library

400 FM 2325, Wimberley

Program 2 in a series of 3. This program focuses on protecting the right to vote for all populations. It will include information and a discussion on the challenges to voting rights, proposed legislation to watch and systemic changes necessary to protect voting rights. Presented by a panel from the Texas Civil Rights Project, Common Cause, Fair Maps Texas and the League of Women Voters of Texas.

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Protecting Voting Rights in Hays County

League of Women Voters - Hays County

Thursday, April 4th, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

San Marcos Government Center

712 Stagecoach Trail, San Marcos

Program 3 in a series of 3. This program focuses on the challenges to voting rights in Hays County. Information about the process of voting from voter registration to conducting elections, including early voting and plans to implement new voting machines and voter centers. A panel of experts will include Elections Administrator Jennifer Anderson.

________________________________________

Candidates Debate

League of Women Voters of Hays County

Wednesday, April 17th, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Wimberley Community Center

14068 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley

https://m.facebook.com/events/233318690938511/


- Robert Smith, Registrar

News and Events

April 7th, 2019

Save the date for the Annual Meeting of the Wimberley Democrats! This year we will electing officers and Steering Committee members, and we will vote on several sets of changes to the Bylaws. Details to follow.

________________________________________

You probably noticed that this email came from the Wimberley Democrats, rather than "WIMDEMS." Article I of our Bylaws states that "The name of this organization shall be The WimDems, and may interchangeably be designated as the Wimberley Democrats." Several members have expressed the opinion that "WimDems" is a little too casual and lacks gravitas. We have started to use the longer form, but both are still correct ways to refer to our group.

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EVENTS

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Wimberley Democrats Social Saturday

Saturday, April 13th, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Milagro's Hill Country Tex Mex

9595 Ranch Rd 12, Wimberley (at junction with RM 32)

Note the change from the usual date! Due to the upcoming holidays, this social will be on the second Saturday in April.

This month there will be a meet-and-greet with City Council candidate Christine Byrne. (All candidates in this nonpartisan race have been given an opportunity to speak at our Social Saturdays.) Nan Booth Simpson will give a presentation on "What it means to be a Democrat." There will be a preview and explanation of the proposed bylaw amendments that will be voted on in May. Finally, there will be an open discussion about messaging, terminology and framing issues for the Wimberley Democrats. Social Saturdays are free of charge and open to all.

________________________________________

Wimberley Candidates Debate

League of Women Voters of Hays County

Wednesday, April 17th, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Wimberley Community Center

14068 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley

https://m.facebook.com/events/233318690938511/

________________________________________

Wimberley Democrats Adopt-a-Highway

Saturday, April 20th, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Meet in the parking lot of the Wimberley Medical Clinic

9670 Ranch Road 12 (just north of RM 32)

All volunteers work with a partner and are assigned an area. WimDems will provide safety training, reflective vests, gloves, a trash stick or grabber, garbage bags, bug spray, sunscreen and water. Please dress appropriately for weather. Don't forget sunglasses, a hat and maybe a hair tie.

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Wimberley Democrats Annual Meeting

Wednesday, May 15th, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Kate's Place Restaurant

600 FM 2325, Wimberley

Reports and elections, as well as some fun events. Light appetizers at 6:00, full dinner menu available.

________________________________________

Robert Smith, Registrar

News and Events

April 11th, 2019

Wimberley Democrats Social Saturday

Saturday, April 13th -- THIS SATURDAY

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Milagro's Hill Country Tex Mex

9595 Ranch Rd 12, Wimberley (at junction with RM 32)

Note the change from the usual date! Due to the upcoming holidays, we are holding this month's social a week early.

This month there will be a meet-and-greet with City Council candidate Christine Byrne. (All candidates in this nonpartisan race have been given an opportunity to speak at our Social Saturdays.) Nan Booth Simpson will give a presentation on "What it means to be a Democrat." There will be a preview and explanation of the proposed bylaw amendments that will be voted on in May. Finally, there will be an open discussion about messaging, terminology and framing issues for the Wimberley Democrats. Social Saturdays are free of charge and open to all.

________________________________________

Robert Smith, Registrar

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