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Posts from ‘October, 2012’

Endorsement watch: For Ann Johnson

I noted on Monday that the Chron listed Ann Johnson as one of its endorsed candidates. Yesterday they wrote the endorsement editorial to go along with that. The tea party turnout of 2010 gave Republican candidate Sarah Davis the narrow victory she needed to win in District 134, a prosperous swing district that covers areas […]

I-45 public forum tomorrow

From the inbox: I-45 Public Forum ~ October 24th! Many people who attended the TxDOT public meeting last week (October 9th or 11th ) left with more questions than answers! Why? It appears that TxDOT is listening & trying to come up with several alternatives to help the traffic on I-45 … in fact, they came up with 33 […]

Ticket splitters

For better or worse, we live in a polarized world. Often, knowing a candidate’s political party tells you most of what you need to know in a general election. But definitely not always, and this year in particular there are plenty of examples of candidates who aren’t worthy of the support of their partisan brethren […]

That Chron story on True The Vote

For a variety of reasons, I never got around to reading that Sunday Chron story about True The Vote, that self-styled “watchdog” group that claims to be interested in ferreting out all those instances of “vote fraud” that nobody else can find, mostly because they don’t exist. I just couldn’t bring myself to read it, […]

More on the microbrewers’ legislative strategy

The Statesman returns to our favorite subject. The small brewers, generally a young and passionate group, always have been better at creating hoppy and original brews than navigating the Legislature and the network of big-money lobbyists who are experts at quietly influencing politicians. The lack of political savvy among craft brewers has hampered their efforts […]

Endorsement watch: Three out of four ain’t bad

The Star-Telegram becomes the third of the four major papers to endorse Paul Sadler for Senate. Sadler can be aggressive, even abrasive, as he demonstrated in an early-October debate with Cruz. But Sadler has specific, practical notions about improving how the federal government functions for Texans. He also understands how policies translate into reality. For […]

All the interviews for 2012

As we begin early voting for the November election, here are all the interviews I conducted for candidates who are on the ballot as well as for the referenda. These include interviews that were done for the primary as well as the ones done after the primary. I hope you found them useful. Senate: Paul […]

School finance lawsuit starts today

Ready or not, the latest school finance lawsuit, which Judge John Dietz has called “the granddaddy of them all”, begins today in Travis County. The Statesman takes a look at the history of school finance and associated litigation, and how we got here. In a 2006 special legislative session, lawmakers reduced local school property tax […]

Early voting begins today

Shamelessly stolen from Greg, here’s a convenient Google map of the early voting locations in Harris County: For the more traditional view plus hours and other information, visit Harris Votes. I intend to bring the girls with me when I vote this year, so I may have to do it over the weekend or next […]

Endorsement watch: For Wendy Davis

Very nice. Two state legislators are running to represent a demographically changing senatorial District 10: the incumbent, Democrat Sen. Wendy Davis, and Republican state Rep. Mark Shelton. Davis, who defeated an entrenched incumbent four years ago, did not take long to make her mark on the Senate, enhancing the populist image she honed as a […]

Weekend link dump for October 21

“The Shikse’s Guide to Jewish Men”, published in 1978. Exactly as awesome as it sounds. “Now I’ll bet you didn’t wake up wondering today how turtles go pee. But that’s what I want to talk about.” If there wasn’t some kind of biblical prophecy about this kid, there should have been. RIP, Arlen Specter, former […]

Who doesn’t like parks?

The usual suspects – cranks, malcontents, and the Harris County GOP, that’s who. Proposition B on the Nov. 6 ballot asks you to pay for part of that plan, of course. Not with increased taxes, though, [Mayor Annise] Parker insists. The bond measure asks voters to authorize $166 million in borrowing that the city plans […]

Margins tax survives another challenge

Mighty quick ruling from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of Texas on Friday struck down a challenge by Nestle Inc. and two other businesses targeting the state’s franchise tax. Lawyers for Nestle and two Texas-based companies, Switchplace LLC and NSMBA, sued the state this year and argued that the tax violated the Texas Constitution’s […]

The Lege is going to have to spend some money

Whether they want to or not, there are a lot of issues that will be demanding attention and money from the Legislature when they convene in January. For example, there’s water. House Speaker Joe Straus said Friday the state’s water supply will be among his priorities after years of inaction by lawmakers. In the previous […]

Endorsement watch: HCDE and District E

The Chron endorses three Democrats for the Harris County Department of Education. At-Large Position 3: Democratic challenger Diane Trautman would bring expertise and professionalism to the job. As a professor of education at Stephen F. Austin State University, she taught courses in ethics and leadership – areas that would be useful on the county board, […]

Saturday video break: 20 years of “Smells Like Nirvana”

I’m a big fan of Weird Al Yankovic, and a big fan of his classic “Smells Like Nirvana”. After reading this story about how the video for that song got made, I’m an even bigger fan of each. I can’t watch that and not laugh. It’s just brilliant. Hope you enjoyed it as well. I’ll […]

Texas appeals DC Court redistricting decision

I suppose this was inevitable. Texas is appealing a federal court decision that denied preclearance to legislatively drawn redistricting maps, saying the court overstepped its authority under the federal Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Greg Abbott announced late Friday. That appeal won’t affect the current election. [...] Earlier this year — after the elections were […]

Presidential campaign contributions in Texas

I suspect there’s not much in this story that will surprise you. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign raised nearly twice as much money in the greater Houston area than that of President Barack Obama – most of it from wealthier upscale communities – but more people overall contributed to the president’s re-election, according to a […]

Amazon wine

You may soon be able to order wine from Amazon.com, depending on where you live. Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -0.88% is planning an online marketplace for wine sales directly to consumers, said executives for several California wineries, marking the Seattle Web giant’s second foray into the business in three years. Amazon hosted a workshop [last week] […]

Endorsement watch: DMN for Sadler

It’s a strange endorsement, at least from my perspective, but it’ll do. Texans face a decision in this election that has come before them only twice over the last four decades: How to fill a Senate seat that has carried with it a proud lineage of service to the state and nation. Republican Sen. Kay […]

Friday random ten: For the ladies, part 2

More songs named for ladies, from my binder full of Friday Random Ten lists. 1. Caroline – Georgetown Chimes 2. Cassidy – Suzanne Vega 3. Cecilia – Simon and Garfunkel 4. Cindy – The Chieftains 5. Claudette – Robert Johnson 6. Clementine – Tom Lehrer 7. Daria – CAKE 8. Darlene – Carolyn Wonderland 9. […]

YouGov: Romney 55, Obama 41

YouGov has an updated poll of Texas. Republican challenger Mitt Romney gets a solid majority of the votes of likely voters over Democratic President Barack Obama in Texas, 55% Romney to 41% Obama, in a YouGov poll of 958 likely voters from the Lone Star state (recontacted from an initial September poll). In the race […]

Maybe the fourth time will be the charm

The city of Houston is once again bidding for a Super Bowl. If everything goes according to an ambitious plan devised by city and county leaders, Houston will host its third Super Bowl in 2017. The NFL informed the Texans and the city on Tuesday that Houston will be one of two finalists for Super […]

Precinct 1 Constable overview

The Chron takes a look at the Constable race in Precinct 1, which will determine the successor to disgraced former Constable Jack Abercia. [Republican Joe] Danna, 59, and a Precinct 1 deputy for 18 years, pledged to reorganize an office top-heavy with administrators and move them from offices to patrol duty. He started the constable’s […]

Endorsement watch: For the city bonds

The Chron gives its approval to the city bond referenda. While all eyes seem to be on the presidential election, the upcoming city bond measures on the ballot this year may have more immediate impact on Houston than any federal changes. Broken down into five propositions, the bonds will fund much-needed repairs and construction projects […]

More on Sen. Gallegos

For better or worse, we must discuss the politics of Sen. Mario Gallegos’ death this week. The first question to address is what happens next? Rich Parsons, a spokesman for Secretary of State Hope Andrade, this morning clarified the timing of a special election in state Senate District 6 if the late Mario Gallegos Jr. […]

But was it worth it?

No doubt that traffic on the Katy Freeway moves a lot more smoothly now than it used to. But there’s a lot more to the question of whether the $2.8 billion that was spent to widen it was a good investment or not. Four years after the project was completed, a comparative analysis of drive-time […]

Strip clubs sue city over $5 fee

Remember the $5 per customer strip club fee that was added as a budget amendment by CM Ellen Cohen as a way to fund clearing HPD’s backlog of rape kits? The clubs threatened to sue the city at the time this was debated, and last Thursday they followed through on that threat. In the lawsuit […]

Texas blog roundup for October 15

The Texas Progressive Alliance and this week’s roundup are both certified 100% malarkey-free.

Interview with Ann Harris Bennett

To wrap up my interviews for 2012, today we have Ann Harris Bennett, the Democratic candidate for Harris County Tax Assessor. Bennett is a former Court Coordinator and was the Democratic candidate for Harris County Clerk in 2010 – you can see what I wrote about her, and listen to that interview here. Suffice it […]

The opposition to the bonds

Noted for the record. Longtime City Hall naysayer Dave Wilson and other anti-tax activists gathered on the grounds of an elementary school that was slated to get $3.7 million from the last Houston Independent School District bond measure but instead was closed for lack of enrollment. Their message was that politicians cannot be trusted to […]

Overview of the HCDE races

The Chron has an overview of the races for the Harris County Department of Education, and in describing the one At Large race between incumbent Michael Wolfe and Democratic challenger Diane Trautman they do the useful service of describing what the HCDE does. The department supports the county’s 26 independent school districts. It operates a […]

Which way for Hays?

I have two things to say about this. Two years after Republicans trounced Democrats in Hays County, the GOP again is aiming to win. Ten incumbents are running for re-election in Hays County races, but the six Republican candidates are all unopposed. All four Democratic incumbents, however, have drawn Republican challengers, including Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, […]

RIP, Sen. Mario Gallegos

Sad news. State Sen. Mario Gallegos, 62, a Democratic lawmaker whose 22-year career in the Texas Legislature was marked by courage, controversy and dogged commitment to issues of importance to the Hispanic community, died Tuesday afternoon at Methodist Hospital in Houston from complications of liver disease. Gallegos, the first Hispanic elected to the state Senate […]