There is excitement in the air around Mason. Last weekend was the Fourth of July and the annual fireworks north of town was as fun as ever and the weather finally cleared up for the picnics around town and fun at the river. This next weekend is the annual Round-up parade, crafts fair and rodeo and it seems that everyone I talk with is looking forward to some activity during the busy weekend. The rains during the past several days were slow and widespread so that everywhere you look is green, and the dry mid-July heat is being pushed back a little further. The community of Mason is enjoying this summer better than ever, and this is a great time to be part of a hometown that knows how to have clean fun and a good time.
There is also some excitement in our community that is not so pleasing. In just three weeks, LCRA will present to the Public Utilities Commission their "preferred" route for the proposed transmission line that might come through Mason County. Just ten months ago we were assured that this transmission line would not affect our community in any way, and then some strings got pulled and suddenly Mason is involved in a problem we neither created nor will we benefit from in any way. For the past nine months your elected officials and many concerned citizens have struggled to understand the issues and process involved and to very actively work and make the decision makers aware of our unwavering opposition to this route through Mason. I have participated in numerous meetings with a wide variety of experts and governmental officials as well as many representatives of LCRA, and after all of the many hours we have tried to examine this issue from all directions we can see, I do not see any value to our community in having this blight in our county in order to satisfy a few bureaucrats in a distant city. Two weeks ago Judge Bearden and I, along with a couple of other Mason representatives met quietly over lunch with representatives from LCRA in another town, and when that meeting was over I was convinced that the "big bureaucracy" had not and would not be influenced by the practical concerns of a small rural community.
Our community needs to be very aware that the issues and actions in opposing this transmission line route are not over, but are continuing and the next couple of months will be some of the most important in this entire fight. Judge Bearden and I have diligently worked with the assistance of many of you to make LCRA aware of the concerns we have about this routing, and we have taken actions and stands that have not always been well received. We have formed the Mason Sub-Regional Planning Commission to address this problem, utilizing a section of the Texas Local Government Code, and yet the governmental agencies and LCRA would prefer to ignore our attempts to coordinate planning for our community and just do as they wish. The Texas Hill Country Heritage Association has formed to represent the individuals directly affected, and their actions will be most important in the coming months to represent our citizens directly and with legal assistance in the hearings of the PUC, and they need your continued support and financial contributions. And the letters and influence of individuals from our community continue to pour into the files of the decision makers and I hope that they will take the time to read and appreciate the vast concern our local population has for this project. I am convinced that we as a community and as your elected officials have taken wise and numerous steps to make our opinions and information known, and we will continue to work through every avenue we find to prevent our historic and scenic heritage from being destroyed by "big bureaucracy" decisions that have no benefit to us.
A line "has been drawn in the sand" and I pledge that we will continue to do all we can to protect our cultural and economic treasure of a clean and "unlittered" landscape so that we can hand to our children and grandchildren the beauty and peacefulness that our parents and grandparents protected for us. Mason is no doubt one of the very best hometowns in Texas and we will continue to fight to preserve all that we treasure and the community we hold dear. There has been a great deal of talk and printed material about this transmission line during the past few months, but the next few weeks and months we will continue to be alert and careful to do all we can to prevent any harm coming to our community and county.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley