Monday, July 10, 2023

Millionaire Wins Millions from Pauper in Defamation Lawsuit

Respected businessman Lee Pfluger sued local citizen Zane White for defamation and won a $3.1 million judgment.  

I watched the City Council meetings on video and hope my page counts weren't used in assessing the fine as White's assertions made no impact on my regard for Mr. Pfluger.  

I'd hoped to read the four page judgment but the Tom Green County website indicated I lacked the appropriate permissions.  I did note an "affadavit of indigency" in the court record.

Pfluger indicated he sued in part to challenge the notion that the City of San Angelo is a corrupt institution.  He considers his victory vindication in that regard.  That may apply in this sad and tragic case but the city runs a vast operation.  

There are current and former city board members with questions about ethics and fairness (COSADC and TIRZ).  Fortunately, they have not been sued by influential local leaders.

Mr. White and several disability champions showed the public they can be demeaned by Council members and city managers for offering public comment.   Now there is a significant financial penalty for saying critical things on tape.

Congratulations to Mr. Pfluger on his win, although he never lost in my mind.

Update 7-11-23:  The TIRZ board recommended the city fund Mr. Pfluger's Angry Cactus expansion up to the maximum allowed ($75,000) should current funds allow.  Angry Cactus owner Tim Condon referred to Mr. Pfluger as his landlord.  The item will go to City Council for approval.

Update 8-5-23:  Council awarded Mr. Pfluger $72,294 minus the amount of accrued interest ($2,883).  Pfluger will receive $69,411.

 The charge to reduce the award was led by Mayor Gunter who owns a competing restaurant a block away.  The Mayor did not declare a conflict of interest and failed to recuse herself from discussing this agenda item.  The motion passed 7-0, including the Mayor's yes vote.

Sunday, July 09, 2023

Concho Valley PAWS Skips Spay Neuter Vouchers for July (add August)

For the third time in the last eight months Concho Valley PAWS will not be offering low cost spay neuter vouchers to the public.  PAWS indicated via Facebook it would not issue vouchers in July, having missed December 2022 and January 2023.  The program was relaunched in February after funding and contract agreements had been finalized.

PAWS dedicated veterinarian Dr. Victor Schulze recently left the organization.  PAWS SNIP Clinic is one of four sites accepting the vouchers.  It's not clear if his departure impacted the decision to not offer vouchers.

The City of San Angelo Animal Shelter contracts with PAWS for adoption and veterinary services.  The shelter has a separate contract with Dr. Schulze for state mandated services.  The city's website has no information about any changes in operations for shelter pets needing veterinary care.  

Shelter Chief Morgan Chegwidden and PAWS Executive Director Jenie Wilson have assured City Council multiple times that shelter pets are being spayed/neutered.  

Those assurances were called into question by a focused audit of unaltered shelter pets conducted by the City Attorney's office.  The city issued citations to adopters who'd failed to spay/neuter their shelter pet.  The results of that audit are yet to be presented to City Council or the public.

Pets Alive encourages shelters to be very forthcoming with information.  That has not been the case with the City Animal Shelter or its adoption/veterinary service contractor Concho Valley PAWS. 

City Council chose not to devote any funding to low cost spay neuter for the current fiscal year despite staff's recommendation to allocate $10,000.  The Animal Shelter Advisory Committee has requested Council consider devoting funds for this purpose but that has not yet made it on the agenda.

Update 8-3-23:  PAWS website currently states:

Vouchers are currently sold out.  Please check back in August for availability.

Update 8-16-23:  PAWS has not changed the information on their website.  It still states "check back in August for availability." 

Update 8-30-23:  PAWS provided no information on future low cost spay/neuter opportunities for citizens in their Concho Valley Homepage article.  Their website still says "check back in August."  There is one day left in the month.

The story is titled from "streets to loving homes."  Sadly, for some pets it's "streets to streets."  San Angelo has become third world in terms of loose animals, many unaltered, and some aggressive.  Councilman Tom Thompson's November 2022 direction that the shelter can cap the pet population turned a low response shelter into nearly a no response facility.

Update 9-4-23:  PAWS posted on their Facebook page that SNIP vouchers would again be available come September 10th.  This is the second two month period in the last nine months where PAWS provided no low cost spay/neuter vouchers.  I updated this post's title with (add August).

Update 9-20-23:  Concho Valley Homepage reported PAWS new facility, the Stephens Dog Dorms will open after it receives an occupancy permit.  In April 2021 CVH reported:

Currently under construction is the Stephens Dog Dorms which will house adoptable dogs awaiting adoption.