Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lajitas Shenanigans

There's been a brouhaha, well, brewing, out in Lajitas over the past few months. Or, according to some, since 2000, when Austin multimillionaire Steve Smith showed up, bought the remote outpost on the Rio Grande River, and set about creating his luxury getaway resort.

We told you a few months back that the golf course at Lajitas, The Ambush, is being converted from a lush, parkland design to a desert course. That's not the only construction going on at the "ultimate hideway," however. Beginning early next year, the State of Texas will re-route FM 170 so that it loops around Smith's swanky resort, rather than bypassing it.

Most of the locals - the hardy group of people who've lived in Lajitas since well before the entire town was purchased by Smith - aren't happy about it. They accuse Smith of using his money to peddle influence, and of various politicians and officials of being influenced. It's a boondoggle, a giveaway of taxpayer money to the local fatcat, according to critics.

The Austin American-Statesman has the latest roundup on the situation. Check it out. (If you're asked for login information and don't have any, try using

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