May 25, 2007
Anti-rail lawsuit details

After being denied the opportunity to break out the thumbscrews depose Metro executives without having to file a lawsuit, rail opponents went ahead and filed their lawsuit, as everyone and their dog knew they were going to do. Much of what's in this story is a rehash of what we already know, but there are a few pieces of new information:

The lawsuit, assigned to state District Judge Tad Halbach's court, was filed after state District Judge Levi Benton denied permission Tuesday for Scarborough's lawyers to take oral testimony from Metro officials to determine if there was basis for a lawsuit. Metro called that request a "fishing expedition."

The lawsuit says Taylor wants to question David Wolff, Metro board chairman; Frank Wilson, Metro president and CEO; and six high-level staffers of the agency.


Former Houston city attorney Gene Locke, representing Metro, said he also expects a "legal battle" but added that "the first round goes to Metro."

Although the suit says repeatedly that Metro should abide by 2003 resolution or "seek voter approval" of its current plans, Taylor also has said the resolution bars another such vote until November 2009.

Locke said that date applies only to a new bond referendum to fund the plan and not to the plan itself.

The lawsuit does not ask that the projects be halted until the matter is decided.

Locke said Metro is going "full steam ahead" on them.

The insistence on having another vote is both typical for this crowd, in the sense that they always want to have another vote because maybe the next one will finally go their way, and weird - if you follow their logic, what they're really demanding is a two-year moratorium on pretty much all current Metro activity. Given that, it's interesting that they haven't requested a temporary restraining order. I mean, by the time this sucker makes it to the Supreme Court, the entire 2012 plan could be built out. I'd guess they'll file for that once Metro makes its plans known for the Universities line. We'll see.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 25, 2007 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles