Golf Tricks

Tiger Woods is the reigning champion of pro golf, but when it comes to pulling off tricky shots, he's just another hacker compared to the Professional Golf Association itself. In San Antonio, Texas, the PGA has teamed up with a huge developer and a handful of local politicians to hit a trick shot that hooks, slices ... and siphons away local people's water, money, and rights.

The plan is to build a water-sucking, water-contaminating "PGA Village" on some 3,000 acres, including three golf courses, two massive luxury hotels, 4,000 residences, and more than two football fields worth of commercial space. This "Golfopolis," as one city councilman calls it, is to be placed right on top of the last few acres in the recharge zone of the underground aquifer that supplies the drinking water for all of San Antonio -- a city already experiencing water shortages and rationing. The deal exempts the golf course from the rationing, and it limits the developer's liability for any water contamination it causes.

This golfer's village is to be subsidized with an unprecedented $52 million of local taxpayers money. Indeed, thanks to a new state law written by the developer's lobbyists last year, PGA Village would, in essence, become its own corporate city, with the power to tax, govern itself, and expand its territory

The Powers That Be are trying to ram this through over the objection of the people, about two-thirds of whom say they oppose it. But a scrappy and diverse coalition called Save Our Aquifer has gone to the grassroots and, despite even more dirty tricks to stop them, has gotten more than 68,000 voter signatures to put the "Golfopolis" up for a public referendum.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... To follow their fight, and to see a good grassroots model for citizen agitation against such corporate developer scams, go to their Web site: www.nopga.com.

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