Monday, June 22, 2009

Rep. Debbie Riddle hosts townhall meeting

Just wanted to pass along word to SGO-readers that State Representative Debbie Riddle (who, along with her District Director Gail Gillien, was an absolute Amazon Warrior on fighting the Gosling Oaks--and other--tax-subsidized low-income apartment projects) will be having a town-hall meeting for constituents, and you are personally invited to attend.

DATE: Thursday, June 25th

WHERE: Brookside Funeral Home, near T.C. Jester and FM 1960
(click here for directions)

TIME: 6:30 p.m.

Be sure to attend to get an update on the recently concluded legislative session... and don't forget to THANK HER for her efforts on behalf of an issue you hold dear.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

First week of June update

Greetings All... wanted to give you an update on where things stand as of this afternoon.

One question we're getting a lot is "Is this project really dead?"

Like so much in life, the answer is "yes and no."

SGO has received official confirmation from TDHCA and the project developers that plans for the Gosling Oaks low income apartment complex have been withdrawn from consideration for the 2009 budget year.

But they could be submitted again for next year... and in any event, the developer has indicated a desire to pursue tax-credit "senior" housing at this site--and we don't exactly know what that means, in reality. (We're suspicious of bureaucratic definitions of what constitutes "senior" housing.)

Bottom Line: We remain wary and vigilant, and urge you to be so as well, by staying informed and continuing to spread the word about to your neighbors, friends, family and co-workers.

The second most asked question we get is "So now what?"

Trust us, there is no deficit in the "things to do" department... but right now our highest priorities are mostly behind the scenes tasks necessary to get better organized for the long-term, instead of having to continue to run-and-gun in crisis mode.


The SGO "founders council" (for lack of a better phrase) met last night and asked a particular community member to serve as our "campaign coordinator," responsible for keeping track of the trains and making certain they run on time. She agreed, but we're giving her 24-48 hours to come to her senses and decline. If she's still on-board this weekend, we'll make an an announcement next week. Suffice it to say, we are very excited about the prospect of having this individual bringing her intelligence, passion and skills to the cause.


We need to incorporate, for simple administrative purposes like being on the right side of the law, opening a bank account, registering with PayPal, making simple expenditures, etc. If you are a trustworthy, experienced hand at incorporating--especially civic/non-profit groups such as this--the best way you can make a contribution is by stepping up and agreeing to handle these responsibilities for us. Email to express your interest in filling this role.


At some point in the near future we're going to re-brand and develop an entirely new website; if you are a domain-registration, server-hosting, WordPress blog setting-up whiz who wants to be our official tech-monkey, please throw your name into the ring. Email to express your interest in filling this role.

Finally, folks are still wondering "How do I offer my input and ideas?"

That's simple--share your thoughts in comments below, or email us at

This a a genuinely volunteer, community effort... and we are listening to what you have to say.

Please let us know what you think.

Thanks again... and don't forget to spread the word!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Windrose HOA meeting 6/15

For those readers who are Windrose residents, this word from Ted Machicek.
I’m happy to announce your request to be on the next WCA agenda was heard by WCA board members that attended [Wednesday] night's meeting. They have agreed to have the SGO topic on the next WCA agenda (6/15, in the "Cottage/Meeting House" complex, 6:00 pm).

You should also note MUD 30 has their board meeting scheduled for 6/2, while MUD 32 is scheduled for 6/11. For times and meeting location, go to Although the current Gosling Oak project falls within Bridgestone MUD…future projects of this nature might impact MUD 30 or 32 (WindRose) and remember as the Bridgestone MUD board member highlighted, the MUDs have a powerful voice in this as well.
Those of you who attended this week's impromptu community meeting may recall Ted as the gentleman close to the front who expressed disappointment with the actions (or lack of action) taken so far by the Windrose HOA board on the Gosling Oaks issue.

As we said at the time, SGO's founders believe it is important that our effort not get pulled in too many directions, or take on ancillary issues that might divide our potential supports.

That said, there isn't always a bright line between where one issue ends and another begins, and we generally want to err on the side of keeping people informed.

So while taking no sides, we decided to pass this information along. If you feel strongly about it, whatever your stance, we encourage you to attend the Windrose HOA board meeting.

Comments to this post closed; talk about at the meeting on 6/15.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SGO kicks-butt, takes names, and buys a new pair of steel-tipped boots for future rounds

As noted in the post below, word has reached SGO Staff that the developer behind the Gosling Oaks Apartments complex has pulled their project for the 2009 budget year.

You did it!

(For now.)

Special credit and thanks go to the enormous efforts put forth by State Representative Debbie Riddle and State Senator Dan Patrick, especially their district directors Gail Gallien and Donna Bahorich, respectively. Both offices and staffs could not have been more responsive to our inquiries and requests, and have been steadfast in communicating our community's opposition to this project to the developer and the bureaucracy in Austin.

Kilday Realty's statement notwithstanding, until SGO receives official confirmation from TDHCA that the proposal has been withdrawn, we are proceeding under the assumption that this project is moving forward and nothing has changed.

Moreover, this has been a real wake up call, for all of us. SGO is committed to organizing and staying on top of these issues from this point forward, so we never again find ourselves in this sort of situation.

We need and want your input; email us at, and stay tuned to this site for further announcements as we move forward.

Statement from Gosling Oaks developers

The following statement from Kilday Realty--developers behind the proposed Gosling Oaks project--was received by SGO Staff Wednesday evening. In the interest of fairness and community discussion, we are posting it below, in full, without editorial comment.
To: Ladies and Gentlemen of Windrose Community and Other Area Citizens
From: Kilday Realty Corp, Les and Dick Kilday
Date: May 27, 2009

Kilday Realty Corp is the applicant for the proposed Gosling Oaks apartments. Kilday Realty Corp, based in Houston, is a quality, experienced and respected developer of affordable housing throughout Texas. We have developed rental communities in Houston, Dallas, Friendswood, Port Arthur, Freeport, Odessa, Fredericksburg, Kingsland (Horse Shoe Bay/Lake LBJ), The Woodlands and other Texas communities.

Thank you for your voice and concern for your neighborhood and the surrounding area. Although some of the information being disseminated is inaccurate, we hear your concerns. We were contacted by Senator Dan Patrick’s office this afternoon, asking us to withdraw our Gosling Oaks application in light of opposition in the area. In respect for Senator Patrick and the concerned citizens in the area, we want to let you know that we have contacted the TDHCA and formally withdrawn our application for Gosling Oaks.

The purpose of affordable housing (through the Tax Credit program) is to provide quality, safe and local housing in the area for retail workers, beginning firemen and policeman, school teachers, seniors and other citizens that may not be able to afford a single-family home. We endeavor to satisfy that need.

Also, a few facts about our developments: we pay local property taxes (no exemptions); we provide high quality housing similar to market rate communities; we are not supported in any way by local taxes and we own the developments long-term.

We would like to discuss with you the possibility of applying next year on the same site or another acceptable site in the area for a seniors-only (age 55+ and no children) development. At the appropriate time, we would like to meet with you, show you other senior communities that we have developed and discuss the advantages of having affordable housing for seniors in your area.


Les and Dick Kilday
Kilday Realty Corp.

Tonight's 8 pm community meeting is ON

Don't believe any rumors to the contrary; tonight's community meeting at the Windrose Meeting house is ON, and it is vital that you show up and bring a friend.

Unless you hear otherwise, from us, right here, it is ON.


Here comes the media!

Thanks to the initiative of SGO member and P.R. specialist Candace Runaas (yeah!), we've been contacted by both Adela Uchida of ABC-13 and Isiah Carey of FOX-26... both are prowling around the area as we type, looking for local residents to interview for stories they hope to broadcast tonight!

(Not clear yet if media will remain to tape 8 pm meeting, although they are welcome to. Also, if any of you are technically-savy enough to record the broadcasts and upload the coverage to YouTube, please do so and then send us the link, for posting here.)

So... if you are a reasonably-sane, semi-coherent opponent of the proposed Gosling Oaks low-income apartment complex who would like to be available for interview by the media, please forward your name, email, and phone number to Try to provide a brief summary of who you are and why you think you'd make a good interview. We will pass your contact information along to these and any other reporters that inquire.

And don't forget to tune in to ABC-13 and FOX-26 tonight to see their coverage!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Community meeting 8 pm Wednesday

SGO will be holding a community meeting on Wednesday, May 27, starting at 8 pm, at the Windrose Meeting House (just north of Pinelakes Blvd off of Kuykendahl).

The meeting is open to all concerned community members---Windrose residents, and just as equally any concerned homeowner in a surrounding subdivision.

We want to bring you up to speed with what we know, and solicit your input on how to proceed. We are working on having yard signs, fliers, and other materials for you to take away and distribute.

If there are any particular questions or concerns you'd like us to address, leave a comment and we'll try to prepare an answer.

Finally--right now, before you move on to your next task--take a moment to email at least one person you know, and tell them about Wednesday's meeting at this site,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Volunteers needed!

Plans for a community-wide meeting (Windrose and surrounding subdivisions) are coming together quickly; stay-tuned for an official announcement.

In the meantime, it is becoming obvious that this effort is going to require a variety of people to step forward and pitch in--people just like you!

And while we don't know right now everything that will be needed, we've already spotted some "volunteer categories" we'd like you to think about filling.
  • Email Word-Spreaders: The Internet allows us to connect with others, share information, and pool our collective wisdom, all from the air-conditioned comfort of our own homes.... but only if we bother to email people you know! So please, take a moment to think about the people who live around you (or who might have some sort of specialty in this area; more on that in a moment) and email them our address (, so they can stay informed and get active. Make sure to include our email address, so we know you sent something out.
  • Block-Walkers: The Internet is nice, but there is no substitute for foot-on-pavement, face-to-face block-walking. Don't wait for an assignment; download and print this one-page flier and start passing it out and putting it up everywhere you can think of! Make dozens (or hundreds) of copies and just start walking up and down the street, leaving it on doors or windshields. Tape to the side of community mailboxes. When you are done with your own neighborhood, move on to the next. The flier has been written to quickly and easily explain what is at stake, and to then drive people to the website... so if you aren't comfortable discussing the issue at length with strangers, just hand them the sheet and ask them to come visit us to learn more. If you have managed to blanket a certain neighborhood, email us so we can keep track and assign volunteer block-walkers to other areas. If you've got time and are willing to walk, but can't afford to print fliers, email us your contact info and dates/times you are available, and we'll get fliers to you.
  • Media-Producers: Building on bullet number two... we could really use the help of any individuals or companies who could donate their time, equipment and talents to producing low/no-cost fliers, yard-signs, bumper-stickers, posters, hanging-signs, web/computer-edited videos, computer graphics, etc. If you want credit, we'll be happy to promote your business... if you want anonymity, we'll honor that too.
  • Researchers: At a certain point soon, we will be fanning out to investigate this developer's other properties; if you are a stable and sane individual, capable of handling video/digital cameras, and have the time and the willingness to drive around the Houston metro area, let us know. Note--at least some properties are expected to be located in generally more-risky areas of town, so please factor that in when deciding if you want to accept or decline this role.
  • Development, land-use, and TDHCA experts--most likely attorneys: There is a mountain of bureaucratic nonsense to pour through, and we arrive at the party having to learn from scratch. So if you are a developer, land-use attorney, or have some sort of other practical experience working with TDHCA, we desperately need to hear from YOU! Even if you aren't one of these things... if you think you know someone like that, or know someone who knows someone like that, please take a moment to reach out to them and ask if they are willing to help. To be honest, identifying and assembling a top-flight team of legal & TDHCA-familiar advisors is almost certainly going to play a more important role in killing this project than all of our above mentioned research and public complaining combined. That's just the way the world works. So please, rack your brain to see if you know someone like this... and if you ARE someone like this, please, please step forward. As before, we are willing to give you as much credit or anonymity as you desire.
Thanks again... and remember, stay tuned for an announcement regarding a community-wide meeting.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Spread the word; download/print flier!

Much still going on behind the scenes, and we'll have more posts and information later today.

For now, however, we want to get this "one-sheet" out as quickly as possible.

Download this 1-page pdf, print out a slew of copies, and start putting them up and passing them out wherever and to whomever you can think of!

Killing this project is going to be a multi-stage campaign involving a variety of strategies... but for the moment, the key is raising awareness and networking concerned community members so that when it is time to act, we are prepared and ready to mobilize.

Don't wait for someone else to get the job done. We don't have enough time, and there are no magic heroes coming to your rescue. YOU are the cavalry... get on your horse and ride.

(And let us know in comments where you've posted signs, who/how many you've handed fliers to, and what kind of feedback you are getting so far.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Send us your tips and research

Many of you have been doing your own independent research into this project... thank you for taking the initiative, and keep up the hard work.

To better process what we've all gathered so far, nail down what we actually know and prioritize what we need to learn, please forward copies of your information to

Feel free to share whatever ideas you have for things to still look into... and as we process what we know, we'll feed "assignments" back out to all of you.

If you haven't done any research yet, but would like to, email us as well and let us know.

How to BEST register your opposition

We've gotten some very helpful feedback from "friends in Austin" on how to make your calls and emails to elected officials as effective as possible.

Here's the key--include your name, physical home address, and phone number.

This information will allow Rep. Riddle's and Senator Patrick's staffs to confirm that you are a constituent... and that will give their opinions much greater weight when communicating with the TDHCA board and bureaucracy. If you already contacted Riddle or Patrick and didn't include that information, contact them again and include the data they need.

Also, if you are emailing, include the phrase "Stop Gosling Oaks" in the subject line. These offices get hundreds of emails every day on all sorts of issues, and a clear-cut, uniform subject line will help staff quickly and easily register your opposition into their database.

We gave out contact information for some "district directors" earlier, but it turns out it is better for you to send emails directly to the "official" office-holder's account, as they are better set-up to handle/document (and not accidentally lose) your communication.

So again--these are the two elected officials in Austin you need to be contacting, asking them to help you "Stop Gosling Oaks."

State Representative Debbie Riddle

State Senator Dan Patrick

Already today we've learned much more information, which we are processing before revealing publicly... stay tuned to SGO for updates later today--and in the meantime, spread the word!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What you can be doing RIGHT NOW

Stop Gosling Oaks is working simultaneously on a number of short-term and long-term strategies, both public and private, to kill this project. Check back here ever day for updates as soon as they are available.

There are things you can be doing--you must be doing--right now.


Most importantly for the moment, contact your elected representatives in Austin and ask them to communicate your strong opposition to the Gosling Oaks apartment project proposal.

The relevant officials are State Representative Debbie Riddle, and State Senator Dan Patrick.

State Representative Debbie Riddle

State Senator Dan Patrick


When contacting elected officials, be certain to include your Name, physical home address, and telephone number. Their offices need to be able to document that you are an actual constituent, so that your emails will carry more weight.


Do not be rude in your emails or phone calls, especially to the hard-working staff on the other end of the line/modem. They are familiar with the issue, and sympathetic to your position.

Representative Riddle, who was made aware of this project months ago, has already submitted a letter to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), expressing her opposition.

Call and write Representative Riddle and THANK HER for her hard work and support. Let her know you will remember the strong stance she has taken in opposition come next election season. Encourage her to do everything she possibly can to kill this project.

Unfortunately, Senator Patrick's office was only recently made aware of this project, after the deadline for elected representatives to have their stance "officially" registered with TDHCA.

Nevertheless, the bureaucracy in Austin will be extremely reluctant to simply ignore Senator Patrick if he properly expresses our outrage to the relevant officials.

Senator Patrick is reportedly very open to doing so, but has asked that you contact his office so that he can DOCUMENT just how strongly his constituents feel.

Help him out; call, and write, and let him know you want this project killed.

Reason, logic, and maturity go a long way when communicating with elected officials. They didn't create this situation, they are simply trying to help their constitutes deal with it.

You will be more persuasive if you use your own words, but here are some suggested themes or messages you may want to consider including.
  • You are contacting them to express your strong opposition to the proposed "Gosling Oaks" apartment complex proposal currently under review by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
  • You are concerned about the effect this low-income housing project will have on your property values, personal safety, quality of schools, local infrastructure, and general quality of life.
  • You are especially outraged that your own, hard-earned tax-dollars ($2 million dollars worth!) will be used to subsidize this project.
  • When you moved to this area and purchased your home, your family did so in large part to enjoy a quality of life as it existed at the time; nearby low-income housing projects weren't what you had in mind.
  • You will remember their efforts (or lack thereof) come election season, and communicate your satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) to as many friends, neighbors, co-workers and co-religionists in the District as possible.
  • You are certain they will do everything within their power to kill this project, and thank them for their efforts.

Again, you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar, so when it comes to your elected officials (and their hard-working staff), please be nice.

Trust us--there will be opportunities to direct your anger and frustration at the appropriate targets in due time.

Spread the word. Time to derail this project is short, so we need to mobilize effectively NOW. Email our web-address-- everyone you can think of.

We need your ideas and support--contact us at to voice your opinion, offer your suggestions, provide us with information, or volunteer to help the cause.

What is Gosling Oaks? Why Should I Care?

Gosling Oaks is a proposed low-income apartment complex currently under administrative review by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).

This massive complex is expected to consist of 160 low-income apartment units in 20 separate buildings--completely inconsistent with all other surrounding residential and commercial property, on both FM 2920 & Gosling, and Kuykendahl & Pinelakes Blvd.

The developers behind this project--Les and Dick Kilday--are asking for $2 MILLION tax-payer dollars to subsidize their low-income apartment complex.

They don't live here. They won't have to deal with the consequences, once their corporate welfare check clears.

We will have much more to say about these individuals soon.

As local residents--who purchased our homes in this area based in large part on the quality of life we observed--we are outraged that our own government wants to spend our hard-earned money to lower our property values, increase the risk of crime, and add burdens to area schools, fire-districts, utilities, police, and infrastructure.

If this project is to be stopped, we need you to get involved TODAY.

See the posts above and below to learn how you can lend a hand.

About Us

"Stop Gosling Oaks" was founded to serve as a "clearing-house" of information in opposition to a taxpayer-subsidized low-income housing project, set to possibly win government approval on June 15th, 2009, to be built on property between Gosling/2920 and Pinelakes/Kuykendahl.

We need your ideas and support--contact us at to voice your opinion, offer your suggestions, provide us with information, or volunteer to help the cause.

Comments to posts are encouraged, and largely unmoderated; that said, we will exercise discretion as we see fit to edit or delete comments that are inappropriate or damaging to our efforts. Don't assume, however, that just because a comment appears on the site that it represents the views of anyone other than that individual author.

Spread the word. Time to derail this project is short, so we need to mobilize effectively NOW. Email our web-address-- everyone you can think of in effected subdivisions.

Check back with us everyday, perhaps even several times per day. Plans are rapidly coming together, and you will know about them first by following along here.