November 07, 2017 Travis County Texas Voters Guide

As always, these are my notes for myself.  If you don’t know how to vote, I encourage you to not vote, or to do your own research before voting.

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2017 Texas Propositions
Proposition 1
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization for less than the market value of the residence homestead and harmonizing certain related provisions of the Texas Constitution.

I am voting AGAINST it, but this will pass. It continues to erode the tax base . . . a little. So I care, but only a little.. It would suck to have a house donated at minimal cost and then be whacked with a huge tax bill. Then again the number of times this happens can probably be counted on one hand per year so the total loss of tax revenue is probably pretty small.

Proposition 2
The constitutional amendment to establish a lower amount for expenses that can be charged to a borrower and removing certain financing expense limitations for a home equity loan, establishing certain authorized lenders to make a home equity loan, changing certain options for the refinancing of home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.

This is a bad idea for lots of people. I’ll vote FOR it. The way the lending laws are written now, it is probably preventing some people from making bad financial decisions. It is keeping some people in their homes and on their land, right now, no doubt. And it is their right to make bad decisions. Allow the people to ruin themselves financially, if they so choose.

Proposition 3
The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate after the expiration of the person’s term of office.

I’m voting FOR this. This means (approximately) that an office will be unfilled, when a person’s term expires, if the office hasn’t been filled. I like that. No excessive-duration appointees if the governor “oopsy” can’t quite get them filled, and hopefully a vacant seat will be a motivation to the legislature to go ahead and get an office filled.

Proposition 4
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to require a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute and authorizing the legislature to prescribe a waiting period before the court may enter a judgment holding the statute unconstitutional.

This introduces a 45-day delay in what could be a vital relief process for people who are suffering under a bad law. I don’t like it and I’ll go AGAINST it, but I think it will probably pass.

Proposition 5
The constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles.

There are already raffles from sports teams, but only the bigly biggest sports teams in the State can do them. This opens it up to smaller teams. If you are against gambling, then you are AGAINST this proposition. If you want people to be able to gamble if they choose, then you should be FOR this proposition.

Proposition 6
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.

As with Proposition 1, this will pass even though I go AGAINST it. The same reasons apply except that there are a few more of this kind of case every year than the kind in prop. 1.

Proposition 7
The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.

If you are against gambling then you are against this proposition. If you are ambivalent on gambling then this single-industry special carve-out is not as objectionable. If you are against single-industry for-profit raffles in particular, then you should be against this.

TRAVIS COUNTY BOND ELECTION

Both of these are stupid. We are going to borrow money to build paths and shit that is going to be worn out and require rebuilding before the bonds are paid back. Then we’ll issue bonds to pay for those repairs. I say we are going to/we will because ofc both of these are going to pass. The way to get bonds approved for in Travis County is to get them on the ballot. The only exception is when the bonds are for light rail, but that never stops the top-down bureaucratic government types from trying to get it back on the ballot.

PROPOSITION A, TRAVIS COUNTY

The issuance of $93,445,000 of Road Bonds for the purpose of the construction, maintenance and operation of macadamized, graveled or paved roads and turnpikes, or in aid thereof, including acquiring land and rights-of-way therefor, road drainage, bike lanes, sidewalks and shared use paths, and replacement and improvement of road bridges and culverts, and the levying of the tax in payment thereof

Vote AGAINST Proposition A

PROPOSITION B, TRAVIS COUNTY

The issuance of $91,495,000 of Bonds for the purposes of constructing and improving County parks and the acquisition of land and interests in land in connection therewith, including the acquisition of open space park land, and acquiring conservation easements on land for any authorized purposes, including, without limitation, to retain or protect natural, scenic, or open-space values of real property or assure its availability for agricultural, recreational, or open-space use, protect natural resources, maintain or enhance air or water quality, or conserve water quantity or quality, and the levying of the tax in payment thereof

Vote AGAINST Proposition B

CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE GENERAL ELECTION

PLACE 2, COUNCIL MEMBER, CITY
OF PFLUGERVILLE
Jeff Marsh – Has been doing a decent job for the short time he’s been in office.  Keep him there.
Adeline Bui – Strike one, she’s divorced from her family.  Strike two, she doesn’t maintain a homestead here. Strike three, she hasn’t been on this council doing a decent job already.  Sorry lady, you’ve struck out!  Oh and strike four, she’s just barely registered to vote.  ZERO hecks given about politics and then suddenly she wants to run for city council? Oh and she’s a 1st generation immigrant (read: hasn’t spent her life here) which means she can’t have the same feeling for this place as the locals. Sorry lady, you’re disqualified.

PLACE 4, COUNCIL MEMBER, CITY
OF PFLUGERVILLE
George Lueck – I’m not super enthusiastic about him, but I’d rather have him over Rudy.  I don’t much like his talk about taking federal dollars for local projects.
Rudy Metayer – I’ve voted against this guy before and I’ll do it again.  There’s something wrong with him and I can’t put my finger on it but I trust my instincts more than this guy.

PLACE 6, COUNCIL MEMBER, CITY
OF PFLUGERVILLE – both of these seem like good candidates.  Oddly, both belong to different black-specific community groups, and neither is black.  Without a strong preference either way I think I am leaning more toward McDonald.
Jim McDonald – I like the noises he was making about not giving tax abatements and he sounds like he’s up on things in a way that I like.
Victor Johnson – recommended by Jeff Marsh, and (now this is important) this guy came to my house and was distinctly lacking in “creep” vibes.  But he definitely gives an “old white guy” air.

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November 8, 2016 Travis County and City of Pflugerville, Texas Voter’s Guide

I’ve compiled this guide, like the others I’ve posted here before, for my benefit.  These are the notes I made for myself, for the races where I live
http://www.votetravis.com/vexpress/display.do

November 8, 2016, Joint General and Special Elections

Straight Party  – Only vote straight ticket if you are a fool.This should not be a thing that voters can do.

President
Donald J. Trump/Mike Pence, Republican – Please hold your nose and vote for Donald Trump for President. I know he’s a jerk and not a great person, but the next POTUS will be appointing *at least* half of the supreme Court. The list of people Trump is thinking of appointing is a list of good judges. Based on her track record, Mrs. Clinton is as likely as not to *sell* her nominations. Besides which, Trump is less likely to throw us into WAR with Russia and/or China. He ran a mostly-successful business to become personally wealthy, which used to be something we looked up to in the USA. Question why you don’t, if you think Trump = rich = bad.
Hillary clinton/Tim Kaine, Democratic – This is arguably the most-wicked person who has ever come this close to the Presidency. If you are thinking about voting for Hillary Clinton, you are either an ignoramus or a fool. Do the rest of us a favor and look into the merits of the accusations against her. You will find she has been deeply wicked since before William became the governor of Arkansas, and accomplished nothing of any public benefit along the way. She did become personally wealthy though, so she’s got that going for her, which is nice. What’s not nice is she got rich by selling influence as a public official.
Gary Johnson/William Weld, Libertarian – a very Libertarian. If you’re a Libertarian who doesn’t mind Hillary Clinton being the President, or a Republican who doesn’t mind Hillary Clinton being the President, or a Republican who just can’t stand the thought of someone coming from outside the party to be the head Republican, vote for Gary Johnson. Otherwise vote for Trump.
Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka, Green – the Green party ticket is, as always, a radical left-wing ticket. If you are that sort of person and you don’t mind seeing Hillary Clinton become the next President, then vote for Jill Stein. Otherwise, vote for Trump.
Write-in – this is going to be extra popular this year, I think. I encourage people who are considering writing in someone who is 100% guaranteed to not be elected, to instead consider that a candidate who gets over 5% of the vote this time, will get public funding for their party for the next election. If you want to see more parties with a shot at winning elections, then this should probably be the year you vote Losertarian. The Green party is polling very poorly indeed (as it should) but the Libertarian party maybe just maybe might maybe break 5% and get some funding for a legitimate 3rd party for *next time*

Just be aware that every vote that isn’t cast for Donald Trump is half a vote cast for Hillary Clinton.

District 17, U.S. Representativethis is a tough call for me. Flores has continued to be a dependable (R) voter and attempted to nibble at the edges of the problems our country is facing. Patterson, as a Libertarian, *sounds* like he’s ready to come in with a scythe and chop out waste left and right. He has no legislative background. How many times have you said you wanted to see all the Congressmen replaced? If it’s more than zero, maybe vote for Patterson. If it’s zero, vote for Flores. In the end, this is probably going to be an easy win for Flores, which is okay with me.
Bill Flores (R) – An easy choice for Conservatives and Republicans alike. He isn’t shaking the world up with his bold new policy initiatives, but he’s on the right side of enough issues to catch a vote.
William Matta (D) – Is for universal health care and increased minimum wage. Those are enough to disqualify him as a person who doesn’t understand that *free stuff* doesn’t come from nowhere.
Clark Patterson (L) – Check out this: http://votesmart.org/candidate/political-courage-test/139603/clark-patterson/ – he might agree with you on more than you think. I disagree with him on several points that are important-enough for me to not vote for him, but it wouldn’t really hurt my feelings if he were to win.

Railroad Commissioner
Wayne Christian (R) – will win, by a lot, which is unfortunate. Christian is an okay second choice for me in this race. It’s unsettling that he doesn’t seem too keen on implementing the Sunset recommendations, especially since Miller seems all about getting *all* the recommendations put into practice. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess he hasn’t improved very much as a person since he was put on the Texas worst Legislators list (twice) for being a jerk.
Grady Yarbrough (D) – gives the impression of not knowing what is the purpose of the Commmission. That’s bad, especially compared with the two other men running who seem to have a decent grasp on the concept.
Mark Miller (L) – Please vote for Mark Miller for Railroad Commissioner. He seems like a reasonable person, intelligent to be sure and thoughtful. A degree from a hard college in a related field is nice, but his campaign showing a man who understands the industry, the Commission, and what ought to be done, is even nicer. Last time he was running for a seat on this Commission, the Republican candidate was a better choice. That’s not the case this time.
Martina Salinas (G) fracking/injection = earthquakes and (I quote) “we need to stop it.” I don’t think you get to be on the oil and gas regulatory commission in Texas on a platform of “stop producing the lifeblood of our economy” Also, and possibly even more of a concern, she sometimes stumbles *very* badly behind a microphone. Like her brain freezes up or something (?) not as bad as H. Clinton but it’s not a great thing in somebody so young seeking high public office!

Place 3, Justice, Supreme Court
Debra Lehrmann (R) – Please re-elect Justice Lehrmann. Aside from keeping an incumbent which means keeping the in-process cases in process instead of having to be re-learnt, she appears to be far-and-away the most qualified person for this position.
Mike Westergren (D) – every response to the Dallas Morning News questionnaire was less-impressive than the one given by Lehrmann, but the one that concerned me the most was that he *hasn’t written any opinions* and would rely heavily on his *clerks* to write for him! In addition, I don’t think someone who said he wanted to “out-Bernie Bernie Sanders is going to be a good fit for traditionally-conservative Texans.
Kathie Glass (L) – appears to be running against a corrupt system that I somehow didn’t know was a problem, with just a touch of cognitive dissonance. This is similar to her attempt to become Governor in 2014
Rodolfo Rivera Munoz (G) – surprisingly, the Green party candidate does NOT appear to be an environmentalism-first whacko. No, this guy is SUPER butthurt about the fraudulent annexation of Texas into the United States and his rambling rants about his perceived racist mistreatment are not exactly the sort of thing I want from my candidates trying to take positions on an *impartial* court!

Place 5, Justice, Supreme court
Paul Green (R) – In the absence of any compelling arguement *against* keeping him, please RE-elect Justice Paul Green!
Dori Contreras Garza (D) – She may be a good judge, but she can keep being a judge in her current position. Argues that the *elected* judges on the supreme court don’t reflect the opinion of the people – falling into the (not-unusual) Democrat position that a bunch of white men can’t do right by a racially-diverse populace.
Tom Oxford (L) – has ZERO previous experience as a judge! This is not the place I want my judges to be trained in judgin’! Fortunately the people of Texas have rejected his attempts to get on this court for the last FOUR elections in a row.
Charles E. Waterbury (G) – also not a Judge. Oddly, appears to be trying to campaign against the insurance industry instead of his opponents in this race.

Place 9, Justice, Supreme Court
Eva Guzman (R) – Please RE-elect Justice Guzman to the supreme court! She has been active in causes that need attention, in addition to being an uncontroversial Justice on the court.
Savannah Robinson (D) – has never run for anything before, and her campaign consists of “be a Democrat on the ballot”. Sorry sweety, you gotta want it enough to actually reach for the brass ring.
Don Fulton (L) – Another candidate for the most-important kind of judgeship who has never been a judge. And this one is indiscreet enough to take strong stands on positions that might conflict with interests which might appear before the court!
Jim Chisolm (G) – Here’s hoping he loses for a third time in his attempts to get onto this court. Yet another not-a-judge seeking to jump right into the most important kind of bench. No thanks.

Place 2, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Mary Lou Keel (R) – Please vote for Mary Lou Keel – she’s just what you want: A highly-regarded criminal judge with loads of experience.
Lawrence “Larry” Meyers (D) – currently on the court, and recommends Mary Lou Keel. What more could I say? http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2016/09/18/recommend-mary-lou-keel-texas-court-criminal-appeals-place-2
Mark Ash (L) – on the ballot again, without running any sort of a campaign, again – and still not a judge. Next.
Adam King Blackwell Reposa (G) – possibly an insane person, also not a judge – so, no, let’s NOT elect him to one of our highest courts kthanks. According to one questionnaire I saw, he’s running as a Green because they called and asked, and it affords him the opportunity to advertise for his private practice without running afoul of lawyer-advertising rules.

Place 5, Judge, court of Criminal Appeals
Scott Walker (R) – Vote for Scott Walker.  His campaign website of course paints him in a good light, but so does thishttp://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2016/09/18/recommend-scott-walker-fortexas-court-criminal-appeals-place-5 and that also speaks poorly of Betsy Johnson.
Betsy Johnson (D) – As far as I can tell, she has even less of a campaign going than William Strange, and that’s really saying something.
William Bryan strange, III (L) – to quote myself from a couple of years ago, after searching online for anything about him again this year: “I am not entirely sure this guy even exists and/or is still alive”. Dude, seriously, you have to do more than get on the ballot, to be elected!
Judith Sanders-Castro (G) – To say that I found out more about her than about Strange online is both true and not saying much. Both of these seem to be token candidates 😦

Place 6, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Michael E. Keasler (R) – As I said in my Voter’s Guide in 2010: “Re-elect Judge Keasler. He knows and is doing the job. Why interrupt his cases in progress?” He is set to run into our age-based mandatory retirement during this term, and his replacement would be appointed by the (elected) Governor of Texas to serve out the rest of his term. Keasler’s stated preference for putting judges in place is appointment followed by election, so this campaign for re-election makes sense for him.
Robert Burns (D) – Appears to be a good second choice. If Keasler weren’t on the ballot I would be for Burns
Mark W. Bennett (L) – As I said in my Voter’s Guide in 2012: “Spouts off personal opinions on matters about which he might have to issue court opinions. Horrible judgement for a JUDGE candidate.”

District 10, Member, State Board of Education
Tom Maynard (R) Please RE-elect Member Maynard. In 2010 I said “Please vote for Tom Maynard for SBOE District 10. He puts time, time, and time into children to train them in more than just the core subjects. A country boy with good sense who made it big in the national FFA leadership, he has a breadth of experience that goes beyond the classroom. A teacher AND a leader and then some is the impression I get. Add on top of that his expiring term on this Board, and all the knowledge and experience he’s gained there.
Judy Jennings (D) – here’s hoping she fails to get on the Board of Education again (for the THIRD time) this year. These days, a doctorate in Education is a red flag for someone who shouldn’t be trusted with our children. Throw in a desire to NOT teach different theories about unproven theoretical science, and you’ve got a recipe for someone to vote *against* in my book. It doesn’t commend her to me, when I see her endorsed by an organization that hopes ‘the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken’.

District 46, State Rep.
I will be abstaining from this ballot. Nobody here is worth a vote and there’s no villain doing exceptionally well in the polls to vote against.
Gabriel Nilla (R) His position statements read like those of a modern Democrat. No thanks.
Dawnna Dukes (D) This woman is retiring “for health reasons” and to “spend more time with family” (ahem) in JANUARY. She’ll work long enough to be sworn in, and then the Republican governor *may* call a special election – or he might appoint somebody to the post. Seriously, Democratic party? THIS is how you serve your voters?
Kevin Ludlow (L) Doesn’t like the idea of a Child Protective Services program AND corporal punishment? Has supported “homosexual marriage” and is pro-abortion. That, and the traditional Libertarian desire for open borders and to legalize drugs, will hopefully sink his campaign.
Adam Michael Greeley (G) It’s nice when autistic persons are able to participate in society, but I’m not sure I’m ready to elect one to congress. Especially one who wants to abolish private schools and who has only been in Texas for a couple of years!

Place 2 and 4 on the 34d Court of Appeals, several Judicial Districts have no competition :/

District Attorney, 53rd Judicial District
This one is almost a toss-up for me. Here we have two women who both appear qualified and who have even both worked in associated government attorneys’ offices. But one has a vision and the other only has qualifications. Check out the videos here: http://www.mauraphelan.com/2016/10/25/video-candidate-platforms-2016/ and/or flip a coin, but I will be voting for Maura Phelan in this election.
Maura Phelan (R)
Margaret Moore (D)

A few judges and an attorney are also without opposition <:(

Sheriff
It really is too bad Sheriff Hamilton is retiring. What we’re left with is a few people who start up front claiming they won’t obey federal immigration law, and one who will. Note: the D, L, and G candidates ALL say they won’t hold a person **for a few hours** until ICE can come and pick them up. What. The. Fuck.
Joe G. Martinez (R) – by default, you have to go with Martinez. Everyone else is hoping to *start* their career at the head of Travis County law enforcement by announcing their intentions toward lawlessness!
Sally Hernandez (D)
Eric Guerra (L)
debbie Russell (G)

County Tax Assessor-collector
Bruce Elfant (D) Please re-elect Tax Assessor-collector Elfant. He is the incumbent and I haven’t really heard about the terrible job he’s been doing. Actually it could be argued he’s doing a decent job. And in this race, he is up against:
Steven Haskett (L) a programmer/petroleum engineer who thinks Taxation is Theft wants to be our tax collector. Ooookay no.

Precinct 1, County Commissioner
Pat McCord (R) – Please vote for Pat McCord. A veteran, small business owner, career employee at a magor manufacturer, and formerly a member of a local city council. Standing for: Sherriff department equipment and staffing, Fire and EMS resources to reduce response times, including badly needed fire stations in the eastern reaches of the county, and road and water infrastructure improvements.
Jeff Travillion (D) – Standing to remove tolls from Hwy 130, increase mass transit options, expand access to community clinics, to give families access to parks, clean water and open space building community policing relationships as an alternative to juvenile justice. Formerly president of the local chapter of the NAACP, which is as good as a racist organization in my book. Also he was vice-president of a government employee union, and former President of Black Austin Democrats.
Ashley “Flashe” gordon (G) a left-winger if ever there was one. Standing for (among other things): sustainable food options, control and modification of transportation options to reduce carbon footprint and automobile-related deaths, special competitive tax programs/tax breaks for local businesses, Multiple-language accessibility, closure of detention centers for undocumented persons, diverse [skin color] representation in local government, transient population support services, preservation of cultural monuments, dual and triple language education…and she rubs elbows with the Nation of Islam and other “it’s not racist when we hang out with our own color” groups. No. Thanks.

Precinct 2, Constable
Deke Pierce (R) – Please vote for Deke Pierce for Constable. He seems like a decent human being. This impression was reinforced for me when I learned that he was endorsed by the (Democrat) Travis County Sheriff (whom I know to be a Good People) AND by the (Republican) Bastrop County Sheriff.
Adan Ballesteros (D) in 2012 I said “Almost anyone would be a better candidate than this guy.” and the (D) voters re-elected him anyway. This year, I found this: http://www.precinct263.com/adan/Ballesteros_vs_DPS_Dismissed_with_Prejudice_Appeal%20Denied.pdf where we read that Ballesteros was fired from DPS because he allowed an informant to import 2,000kg of cocaine to the country, accepted cash gifts ($18,000 at least) from an informant, and (surprise) didn’t tell his supervisors what he was doing – then he filed a frivolous lawsuit trying to make other cops look bad in an attempt to get his job back. Tell me again why he deserved to be allowed back into law enforcement? http://www.precinct263.com/adan-ballesteros/

Mayor, City of Pflugerville
Phil Osars-Emia dude. You’ve been here how many decades and you can barely speak the language well enough to be mostly-understood. What the actual fuck how are you going to conduct business if people can’t even understand the words that are coming out of your mouth?
Victor Gonzales – campaigning for the blue-hair voters. He wants to increase transit options for the old people and wants to start a Veterans services office (as if there weren’t already great ones all over the region).  That said, he’s far-and-away a better choice than Emia and probably would also be a good Mayor.
Brad Marshall – Please vote for Brad Marshall for Mayor. He’s already been on the City Council helping to lower our property tax rates. He’s campaigning to stay ahead of growth through smart infrastructure planning while not neglecting the other issues. http://bradmarshall4mayor.com/issues

Place 1, Council Member, City of Pflugerville
Doug Weiss – I’ll be voting for Doug Weiss this time around. He has lots of experience in the City and his time on the Community Development Corp. Board will probably help him when it comes time to consider important city government-related stuff as a Council Member.
Victor To – I wish him all the best and maybe in a few years he’ll be ready – but this man is 20 years old. Two zero. He may have a bright future ahead of him, but I think 20 is just too young.

City of Pflugerville charter Amendment Election
Prop. 1, city of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to change the structure of the City Council from six to seven members, allow the Mayor to vote on all matters and remove the preparation of City council agendas from the Mayor’s rights and responsibilities?
YES I like all 3 of these changes

Prop. 2, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its charger to clarify that the Municipal Judge does not have to be a resident of the City?
NO

Prop. 3, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to require the Municipal Judge to be a resident of the City?
NO

Propositions 2 and 3 work against each other and it will be sad and amusing if they both pass. Right now we don’t say whether a municipal judge has to live here or not. I like the idea that judges should sleep in the beds they make, but I also like the idea that people should be allowed to live where they want (and where they can afford to buy a house). We live in a metro area. It’s all one big city from here to there. As long as a judge can do their deal I think it’s probably ok for them to not live inside city limits. In addition to that, this sort of requirement is being struck down by courts all over the country these days. If the proposal was a requirement that a judge has to live within (e.g.) 15 or 20 miles, I would be all over it. But just “in the city” may be too restrictive. Not that I would be a fan of a non-resident judge, but living on the wrong side of an imaginary line shouldn’t be a disqualification IMO.

Prop. 4, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to change the Parks and Recreation Commission to a project specific advisory board which reports to the City Manager and provide for a process to appoint seven regular board members?
YES. This makes city government a little more efficient, I think.

Prop. 5, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its charter to provide that an affirmative vote of a majority of the voting members of the city council shall be required to terminate a city manager?
YES. You shouldn’t be able to piss off a couple of dudes and be fired. You should have to actually suck, so the majority want to see you gone.

Prop. 6, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its charter to provide that a violation of the prohibition to interfere with the Administration by a City council member be grounds for removal from office?
YES. This means the city council members can’t go meddling (personally, directly) in city administration – the city employees work under the City Manager and the council members need to deal with the Manager instead of mucking about in daily city work.

Prop. 7, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to add as grounds from removal from office as a City Coucilmember violation of the nepotism provision of the Charter?
YES. Networking is good. Nepotism is bad. I don’t mind hiring family but only if the new hire is *also* qualified for the job!

Prop. 8, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to specify a hearing process and procedure for removal from office as a City Council member?
YES. There is currently -no- process for formally removing a council member. God forbid we should need one but we should have one if we need to get rid of a terrible member.

Prop. 9, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to change the prohibition on holding other compensated appointive city office or employment to prohibit all other compensated and/or contracted services and extend the prohibition time period from one year to two years after the expiration of a term of office?
YES. Not that it’s a huge problem, but in theory it’s a really bad thing for a city employee to leave work at the City and hey look I just landed a cush job at a firm I was just approving this fat contract for! I think 5 years would be better but 2 is better than none, which is the current (non-)limit.

Prop. 10, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to change the requirement of how often it meets with boards and commissions from “at least once a year” to an “as needed basis”
NO, get together and get on the same page.

Prop. 11, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to clarify its process whereby the City Council may approve an ordinance without the need to consider and vote to approve the ordinance at two separate meetings, as provided by the City Charter?
NO. This is gobbledygook. I’ve read it a bunch of times and it doesn’t make sense. Re-word it and ask me again next year.

Prop. 12, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to clarify that an emergency ordinance can be considered for adoption, amendment, and rejection at the same meeting?
NO I don’t think so. I’ve been in enough rushed meetings to know something is always being forgotten or accidentally left out. If it’s a bleeding/exploding kind of emergency, I’m pretty sure the city will be run by the doers and the Council’s “emergency” is going to be more of what I would consider an *exigency*.

Prop. 13, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to require the City Manager to become a resident of the city within 180 days after appointment?
NO. See my comments for propositions 2 & 3, above – this should be “within a few miles” if we want to be able to win a legal challenge. Sometimes City Managers come from other *States* but I don’t see how they could do their job and still live in another State.

Prop. 14, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to provide that Acting City Managers are appointed by the city manager rather than the City Council?
YES I think this seems okay. If it becomes a problem, we can change it back again.

Prop. 15, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to provide that the City Manager shall annually submit a five-year capital improvement plan to the city council at least one hundred and twenty days before the beginning of the budget year listing projects in order of preference and with a recommendation of the year of construction for each project?
YES, a deadline is fine.

Prop. 16, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to reduce the required number of petition signatures for initiatives, referendums and nonbinding referendums from 20% to 15% of qualified voters of the City?
YES. On the one hand, if you can’t get that extra 5% then your cause probably isn’t that important to the people or you aren’t trying hard enough. On the other hand, this is just to get something considered – you’re not getting an election *result* with a petition, you’re just getting an election.

Prop. 17, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to allow a signatory to a petition to provide their date of birth or their voter registration number?
NO. Right now you have to go ALL THE WAY to your filing cabinet and find your voter rigeistration card, *OR* you can go to votetravis.com (which is also linked from the county clerk’s website) and fill in your name and birthdate, and it will tell you your voter ID number right on your phone. There should be some minimal effort required to participate in government. Knowing a random person’s name and date of birth is NOT enough. You should demand that your scamming petition-riggers come up with matching names and voter registration numbers, at a bare minimum! But sadly I think this probably passes.

Prop. 18, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to extend the response time of the City Secretary to issue petition certificate copies from immediately to the next business day?
YES, this sounds reasonable and “immediately” can be anything from impracticable to just vague. Get the vague out.

Prop. 19, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to change the powers of the planning commission to include zoning proposals in its recommendations to City Council; to revise meeting requirements; and to include parks, transportation and utilities in its five year capital improvement plan?
I’m ambivalent on this one but i’ll go with the recommendation of the Committee and vote YES.

Prop. 20, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to reduce the number of alternates for the zoning board of adjustment from four to two?
I’m voting YES on this one.The Charter Review Commission thinks this is enough alternates, and it was suggested by city staff. I’m okay with this but if it becomes a problem we might increase the number again later.

Prop. 21, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to reduce the required number of meetings of the zoning board of adjustment from each quarter to one annually?
I’ll vote NO on this one just because I like the idea of not having to wait A YEAR to have an issue heard.

Prop. 22, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to require the City Manager to meet quarterly with the representatives of the police association regarding working conditions and compensation?
I’m going with NO on this one. Yes the Police should be meeting with the City Manager. NO, they don’t have to meet *every quarter* to talk about how much the cops get paid. The wording is unclear to me, but this smacks of unions muscling their way in. In case you missed it, public employee union-negotiated benefits packages are the reason why many big cities in our country are going BANKRUPT. If there is a need, surely the relevant people will meet often enough to get the work of the people done with no need to amend the city charter.

Prop. 23, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to change the Charter Review Commission to hold a minimum of six (6) and a maximum of eight (8) meetings, two (2) of which shall be held jointly with the City Council?
YES, this seems fine. This time, the Committee met 6 times on a monthly basis. Involving the City Council directly in the meetings would probably make the process longer, so 2 more meetings is okay. I’m not sure why they want a maximum number of meetings, but it will probably be enough if that’s what the people who do this recommend.

Prop. 24, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville strike portions of the Charter due to repetitiveness with Texas law regarding general powers of the city; eminent domain; zoning; actions which require an ordiance, and city elections?

Prop. 25, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to allow for annexation and disannexation consistent with Texas law?

Prop. 26, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to provide a process for filling a vacancy on the City Council consistent with the Texas Constitution?
YES on all three of these, it seems like good sense to have our charter match up with State law.

Prop. 27, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to provide that the City Council determines by resolution the uniform election date for city elections instead of the date closest to the second Saturday in My as allowed by Texas Law?
YES finally. This is something that I’ve wanted for a while. City elections aligned with State election dates.

Prop. 28, City of Pflugerville
Shall the City of Pflugerville amend its Charter to be consistent with Texas law as to who may request alternates to attend a zoning board of adjustment meeting?
YES on this as well, it seems like good sense to have our charter match up with State law.

March 1, 2016 Travis County, Texas Primary Election Voter Guide

The usual preface: These are my notes, published for your benefit in case you want to see what a fellow voter is thinking. I have put in many, many hours trying to decide where to cast my vote and these are the very short version of my thinking process in most cases.

********

Preference for Presidential Nominee
Jeb Bush – dropped out already. This campaign was doomed from the start, and currently he has zero chance.
Rand Paul -dropped out already
Lindsey Graham – dropped out already. A real jerk, this guy.
Mike Huckabee – dropped out already.
Donald J. Trump – Swears up and down that he’s turned into a for-real Conservative in the last few years when he spent the previous many decades as either an agnostic or a Democrat-ish businessman. You can hardly hold it against a big businessman to have associated with the Clintons, but that he praised Hillary shows a gaping hole in his judgement.  If he’s converted then I’m super happy for him. But I don’t trust him. If he continues to be a solid conservative in private life for the next 8 years of President Cruz’ tenure, I’d be happy to support him as our next President after Cruz. But he’s too new to the Red side of the aisle to be trusted, in my opinion
Marco Rubio – flipped the biggest flop on immigration, which was The Big Deal when he was running for Senator.  He was elected because he would never ever be for amnesty for illegals, then tried (as part of the “Gang of 8”) to get modified amnesty passed into law.  Notably, it was T. Cruz who was at the head of the resistance to the Gang of 8 Bill, and got it shot down in flames.  M. Rubio would be better than H. Clinton by a mile, but not as better as T. Cruz.
John R. Kasich – who? He’s done some good where he came from. Let him go back there and do some more.
Ted Cruz – PLEASE vote for Ted Cruz. I have supported him since he was “just” a local guy and his (solid conservative) positions have been the same since the beginning of his public life. He was an activist for conservative causes at an age when most people don’t give a damn for politics.  If you want someone with a track record of standing up against the status quo and even the leadership of his own party in Washington, D.C. you need look no further than T. Cruz.
Chris Christie -dropped out already
Carly Fiorina -dropped out already
Ben Carson -maybe the nicest person here. Arguably a cultist. Does not have the money or the votes to keep campaigning, and so he will lose.
Rick Santorum – dropped out already
Elizabeth Gray – who? No really, who? – nevermind anyway, she dropped out already. She can say she was a candidate for President forevermore, but that and a few dozen (hundred?) votes are all she’ll get from this election.
Uncommitted – I think Uncommitted will get more votes than E. Gray, and I am okay with this.

District 17, US Representative
Kaleb Sims – Please vote for K. Sims in this primary. Do you want change toward the more stalwart flavor of Conservative? So does he.  A private citizen who sees the need to do what he thought would be done for us in 2010 and following. His website could use some help but his heart is in the right place. Read this: http://kalebsims.com/why-kaleb-sims-for-congress/
Ralph Patterson – a solid second choice. Here is an interesting interview.
Bill Flores – A conservative, which is good to have in Congress, but he’s been going along to get along, which is not what i want. K. Sims sounds enough like a fire brand compared to Flores.

Railroad Commissioner – This very powerful 3-person commission currently has oil and gas lawyer Christi Craddick, the chairwoman, and Ryan Sitton, founder and operator of an engineering and technology firm that serves oil and gas industry, sitting on it. I think a scientist would be a good addition to round out the backgrounds of the people on this commission that has nothing to do with railroads. This pick was a tough call for me because it looks like several of the candidates would be good choices to serve in a statewide elected office.
Ron Hale Oil Worker, Engineer – runs an anti-terrorism security firm for oil and gas producers – I could vote for him in the general, but his campaign needs work. Like a school project that got merely okay grades, not amazingly impressive to me.  He *also* didn’t win a bid for state senator during the 2014 election cycle.  I’m for letting him keep doing what he does now.
Doug Jeffrey Businessman, USAF Veteran – seems like a good guy, not sure what qualifications he has specifically to serve on railroad commission though. In looking through his facebook page, there is a disturbing amount of meetings he has had with *just* women. It’s a little creepy, I’m not gonna lie. He has a hefty list of endorsements from organizations with conservative-soundig names.
.Gary Gates wealthy real estate investor and cattle rancher  – His campaign has an actual website, but it’s one bullet point deep. As I don’t understand what they all would entail in practice and some of them sound a little sketchy, Imma keep looking.  He looks like a nice guy though. If it makes a statement about his personality to you, be aware he has THIRTEEN children, some of which are adopted – he’s past middle age and if he can support them, more power to the family. He’s lost several races for election to high public office before, none of which were for railroad commission.
.Wayne ChristianEx-State Representative, Financial Advisor – I didn’t remember the name, but I knew I didn’t like something about the look of him.  Then I checked the VFD archives. In 2014, I said “Made the Texas Worst Legislators list – twice – for being a jerk when he doesnt have to be.  No”
.Weston Martinez Republican activist, on the Texas Real Estate Commission – also a hefty list of endorsements from solid-sounding organizations. Not impressive as a candidate for the Railroad Commission – let him stay on the TREC if he wants, for now.
.John Greytok –  longtime Austin attorney and lobbyist, GOP Activist – I like the look of this man. He seems like someone I would like to have in government in any position, but I think I would rather round out the commission with a scientist if we can, which leads us to…
.Lance N. Christian – I’ll be voting for L. Christian this time – He’s a geological scientist who works with the Railroad Commission currently. His campaign is pretty severely limited by having to work a full-time job where the law says he is forbidden to campaign during work hours. Despite that, he has managed to get quite a few endorsements for himself. Here, read this.

Place 3, Justice, Supreme Court
Debra Lehrmann – please re-elect Justice Lehrmann.  Even her opponent acknowledges she is doing a good job (last papragraph)
Michael Massengale – This man has crazyeyes. It may not mean much to you, but it has been fairly a reliable sign for me. My impression is that he’s a good judge who wants to be on the Supreme Court, but not that he thinks he is drastically better than D. Lehrmann. He wants the job, is all.

Place 5, Justice, Supreme Court
Paul Green – Please re-elect PAUL green to this position.
Rick GreenYou can remember who not to vote for here, because you don’t want to be RICK rolled.  YGTBFKM this guy isn’t even a judge, and he wants onto the court in place of the guy who is currently sitting in the position? Not just no!

Place 9, Justice, Supreme Court
Eva Guzman – Please re-elect Justice Guzman to this position. She would be a solid candidate even if she had a legitimate primary opponent, but this isn’t the case. Pool is a tool and needs to be defeated in a big-numbers loss. This race by itself is worth showing up to vote in this primary election!
Joe Pool – what the hell? Why do we have TWO people who aren’t even judges trying to get onto the supreme court? And this one appears to be at least suspiciously RINO-ish to boot:

Place 2, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Ray Wheless – both his opponents say they would rather see the other person take this seat than see Wheless elected. His background (civil law) would seem to suggest this is not the right kind of court (criminal law) for him.
Chris Oldner – I’ll be voting for Oldner. Zero reversals in over a decade is nice. The onliest real argument I could find against him is that he received the complaint against K. Paxton, which has been branded as a “railroading”…Oldner then recused himself, saying it was just another suit and he was just applying the law.
Mary Lou Keel – I could vote for her over a Democrat, depending on the Democrat – the main complaint against Keel is that she presided over the grand jury that let the Planned Parenthood butchers walk and indicted the messengers in that case. I’m not sure about this one but I’m going for Oldner here.

Place 5, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Scott Walker – can’t be bothered to campaign for office, so I can’t be bothered to vote for him
Brent Webster – he cares, which is nice, but I’m not sure his campaign matches being a judge more than his current career. He’s a defense lawyer who wants to defend your rights – which is nice, but it’s not exactly what a judge does.
Steve Smith – keeps running for office after office and keeps not winning. He was on a court for a couple years following an appointment, then lost his election. One more to lose, sorry Steve!
Sid Harle – Please vote for S. Harle. Everybody heaps praise upon Harle as a good judge and competent in the forensic sciences that are so important in cases he might hear on this court.

Place 6, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Michael E. Keasler – I’m voting for M. Keasler again – in 2010 I said “Re-elect Judge Keasler. He knows and is doing the job. Why interrupt his cases in progress?” He’s been on this court for a while, and there are several new justices there who might benefit from his experience as well. Keep him one more time.
Richard Davis – May be a fine lawyer and might make a fine judge, but his campaign seems to be about 50% “Keasler will be forced to retire in 4 years” at which time the Governor will appoint his replacement. I’d rather have the benefit of four more years of Keasler’s experience, than to see a non-judge elected to this high court.

~There are a number of uncontested seats in this primary. Vote for them. If nothing else, it shows you cared enough to show up for your party at the primary.~

County Chairman
Robert Morrow – His tin-foil hat may be screwed on too tightly for him to run a campaign. All I could find in his support was a blogspot blog that is a bit closer to the kooky fringe than I like!
James Dickey – Please help me re-elect Chairman Dickey

Republican Propositions – these tend to be red meat issues and are agreed-to by a majority of the party. I expect this year will be no different.

Proposition 1 – Please vote FOR Prop. 1
“Texas should replace the property tax system with an alternative other than an income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden”

Translation: We want some kind of a state-wide sales tax to replace the current system. The alternatives are an income tax to penalize work, and a property tax which steals your land if you can’t pay enough to live there. I prefer the Fair Tax proposal, so Prop. 1 is a step in the right direction for me.

Proposition 2 – Please vote FOR Prop. 2
“Texas cities and counties should be required to comply with federal immigration laws or be penalized by loss of state funds”

– In other words, no more “sanctuary cities” where illegal immigrants are not turned over to the feds in accordance with existing federal immigration law.

Proposition 3 – Please vote FOR Prop. 3
“Texas should prohibit governmental entities from collecting dues for labor unions through deductions from public employee paychecks”

-That is to say, the people who pay the dues will be the union members. This sounds like a great idea. If people realize how much they are paying to their unions, hopefully they will want more than *membership status* from their unions.

Proposition 4 – Please vote FOR Prop. 4 – this should be a no-brainer for most Texans.
“Texas and its citizens should strongly assert 10th Amendment Rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution withch states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.””

-this sounds like red meat propaganda to stir up the base, but I like it, anyway.

Travis County, Texas November 3, 2015 Joint, General, and Special Elections Voter Guide

The following text of these ballot measures was copied verbatim from files found at the website of the Clerk of Travis County: http://traviscountyclerk.org/ As always, the un-American foreign language parts have been deleted to make the text easier to read.  The formatting is pretty much how it was when I copy/pasted it, and this is a bit of a rush job since the Hot Rod has been demanding lots of attention to keep me driving.

Travis County Clerk Elections Division
November 3, 2015 Joint General and Special Elections

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ELECTION All precincts

PROPOSITION 1, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ELECTION
“The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $15,000 to $25,000, providing for a reduction of the limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for those purposes on the homestead of an elderly or disabled person to reflect the increased exemption amount, authorizing the legislature to prohibit a political subdivision that has adopted an optional residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation from reducing the amount of or repealing the exemption, and prohibiting the enactment of a law that imposes a transfer tax on a transaction that conveys fee simple title to real property.”

Vote For Proposition 1.  Prevent future taxation being imposed today.

The ONLY downside to this is in the minds of people who think you can improve government schools by throwing money at them. Prop. 1 is only good . . . except that it will make real estate cheaper for the people bringing liberalism here from Kalifornia

PROPOSITION 2, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ELECTION
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran who died before the law authorizing a residence homestead exemption for such a veteran took effect.”

Vote For Proposition 2.

This is a small number of people and it takes a lot to be 100% disabled. The tax dollars involved are few, and the cause (getting out of peoples’ wallets who are already hard up) is decent.

PROPOSITION 3, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ELECTION
“The constitutional amendment repealing the requirement that state officers elected by voters statewide reside in the state capital.”

Vote AGAINST Proposition 3.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think people should have to show up to work.  Telecommuting, blah blah. When the shit hits the fan, I want my Elected Heroes *here* in town, so their heads can be put together when the Internet goes down. Or have you never experienced an Internet and Cell service outage in a time of emergency?

PROPOSITION 4, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
ELECTION
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles.”

Vote For Proposition 4.

I’m for letting private organizations do whatever sane thing they can, to raise money “for charity” or “for profit.” Let’s get out of the way on this and vote For.

PROPOSITION 5, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ELECTION
“The constitutional amendment to authorize counties with a population of 7,500 or less to perform private road construction and maintenance.”

Vote For Proposition 5.

The current law says 5,000. This increases it to 7,500.  The deal is, sometimes you can’t GET a private company to do private roadwork in the middle of nowhere, or else it’s very expensive because of transport costs.  Small counties could recoup some of their investment in publicly-owned road making equipment by charging “a reasonable charge” to a private person to do private road work. I’d be against this in a highly populous area. 7,500 in a county is not populous enough to object to this sort of thing, in my opinion.

PROPOSITION 6, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
ELECTION
“The constitutional amendment recognizing the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation.”

Vote For Proposition 6.

Without the right to gather wild food, you lack the most basic means of providing for your life. I support the right to gather wild food subject to reasonable restriction, so I’m for this amendment 100%.

PROPOSITION 7, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
ELECTION
“The constitutional amendment dedicating certain sales and use tax revenue and motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax revenue to the state highway fund to provide funding for nontolled roads and the reduction of certain transportation-related debt.”

Vote For Proposition 7.

This is a no-brainer. Taxes on transportation-related stuffs should go to building public roadways. Duh? Yes.

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TRAVIS COUNTY BOND ELECTION: All precincts

TRAVIS COUNTY BOND PROPOSITION
The issuance of $287,275,000 of bonds for the purpose of constructing, improving and equipping civil and family courts facilities and the levying of the tax in payment thereof

PLEASE vote AGAINST this bond proposal!

This proposal to build “facilities” includes a shopping center. On the public dime, on public land. No. It has been said by people who should know, that you could build the necessary court facilities for closer to $100M than $300M.  I am certain it doesn’t take a quarter of a BILLION dollars to build a courthouse. I’m also certain it will end up costing a half-billion, knowing how dollars tend to go around local government here. I’m against this amount, not the main thing they are proposing to do with the money.

Travis County Clerk Elections Division
November 3, 2015
Joint General and Special Elections

Cedar Park is asking the citizens to put close enough as makes no difference to $100 Million on the credit card. Ouch.

CITY OF LAGO VISTA PROPOSITION 3
Shall Article III, Section 3.17, Publication of Ordinances, be amended to require that all ordinances that shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation shall also be posted to the City’s website prior to being enrolled and codified into the City’s Code of Ordinances as well as the posting of Resolutions, Proclamations, and Official Notices.
For

I love this idea all to pieces. I wish it would specify for how long before they were enrolled and codified, but almost anything (within reason) that lets interested citizens know what’s about to hit them between the eyes (or in the wallet) before it happens, I’m for it.

CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE GENERAL ELECTION
COUNCIL MEMBER, PLACE 3

Please vote for (the incumbent) Omar Peña.  They’re doing a good job, and he’s part of they.  Except that he wanted to NOT increase our taxes and push off hiring new city staff.  If someone is doing a decent job, keep em in place.

His opponent, Phil Osars Emia seems to be stretching for issues on which to campaign. He’s trying to ride the tide of “cops b hard on de minoritees” and … oh, the water is kinda icky. Plus we need to pour money like water down a bottomless hole and start a BUS system… so don’t elect someone who already knows what he’s doing, go for me, I’ll improve your TAP water? And good GOD why can’t you speak English intelligibly after being here for a decade and a half?! His nearly-impenetrable accent also speaks to his character – not in a good way.
________________________________________________________________________
COUNCIL MEMBER, PLACE 5
Please vote for Mike Heath

Mike Heath is an engineer, and wants to talk to companies to see what they think we need, to bring them here. Infrastructure, not incentives.  And in the PFCONA event I saw, it looked like he has really done his homework and knows what things the council needs to be doing

Rudy Metayer -also wants buses, which (as a taxpayer) is almost enough to kill his candidacy IMO. As I pointed out last election cycle when he LOST the race for a seat on this City Council, he is also a member of racist organizations.   I’ll pass right there, thanks.
_________________________________________________________________________
CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE BOND ELECTION

PROP. 1, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
The issuance of $10,700,000 tax Bonds for a new City Animal Shelter.

Vote Against Proposition 1!

$10 Million is a LOT of [deleted] money to build a kennel. [deleted] no. Do it for cheaper. Yes, the current facility is rather … poor, to be euphemistic. But $10M is WAY too much.
________________________________________________________________________
PROP. 2, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
The issuance of $9,500,000 tax bonds for street improvements to Weiss Lane.

I’m (somewhat hesitantly) voting For Proposition 2.  Weiss lane is already crowded with traffic to the new subdivisions and the (rather nice) Lake Pflugerville facilities.  This is only going to get worse. Let’s not be like Austin and be gobsmacked by traffic AFTER the demand is there.

November 4, 2014 Travis County, Texas Election Voter Guide

 “Sometimes, the only responsible vote is an abstention”

~or: “No wonder voter turnout is low, these candidates suck!”~

If you don’t know your own politics click here.

******Text in (parenthesis) are where I copy/pasted my notes on the same candidates from a previous election.  The opinions on this page are mine alone, feel free to disagree with them.  As always, remember Democrats vote on November 7th!  ******

Straight Party it is irresponsible to vote a straight party ballot.  This shouldn’t even be a thing.

United States Senator
John Cornyn (R) – Will win, but it will be over my objection.  (no.  He’s a republican and a moderate conservative one at that, but he’s also a squishy wobbly.  If there are better alternatives (and there are) he needs to go.  Don’t let his high-dollar “I’m just like you, vote for me” ad campaign fool you.)
David M. Alameel (D) – Like the rest of the modern Democrat party, favors policies that will crush the economy and liberties of the USA if allowed to fester.  We need to root this type of person OUT of public life.  I am glad he is spending lots of his own money in this race, so he won’t have those dollars to spend in a race he has a chance of winning.
Rebecca Paddock (L) – Please vote for Paddock for Senate.  We need more liberty from washington and Cornyn is too much of a wobbly.
Emily “Spicybrown” Sanchez (G) – if you are on the Green ticket, you are not a serious person.  If you can’t even match your nickname to your party’s color, you doublefaild.  Come back when you are no longer spouting phrases like “I am the 99%” and have paid off your student loan debt.  And grown up enough not to use a nickname on the ballot.

District 17, US Representative
Bill Flores (R) Vote for Bill Flores.  He may not be the leader of every charge up Ideology Mountain, but he’s a solid conservative when we need as many of those as we can get.
Nick Haynes (D) – not the worst Democrat in the party, but still a solid Democrat – and their party is ruining our country faster than the other party.
Shawn Michael Hamilton (L)  – he actually has a website, which is rare for a Libertarian candidate.  It’s pretty barren and extremely slow, but it’s there.  I’d vote for him over Haynes, but Flores is in this race and Flores wins.

Governor – not that it matters.  The “dead girl or live boy” proverb applies.  The shock would be if Abbott didn’t win by at least a solid majority.
Greg Abbott (R) Please vote for Greg Abbott for Governor of Texas!  I have some differences of opinion with him, but not nearly as many as the other candidates and it is not close. (The people that don’t like him, don’t like him for the reasons I do like him.  There is lots of criticism of Abbott out there, but most of it is for doing things that I would like to see done.)
Wendy R. Davis (D) – a.k.a. “Abortion Barbie”.  A conniving, gold-digging bitch who blatantly lies about her personal history and will stomp on your face if it helps her climb the ladder.  No, I am not exaggerating.
Kathie Glass (L) – has crazyeyes.  This single metric has never yet steered me wrong.  Plus, she seems to be running against Washington, D.C. instead of the other people in this race.  If Abbott weren’t running I would look past her eyes and vote for Glass.
Brandon Parmer (G) – a Green party candidate with no website and two brief Facebook posts from February.  The most one can learn about him online is he was crushed in a recent Texas Congressional election (0.8%) but for a Green this counts as a pretty strong showing.  Next!

Lieutenant Governor
Dan Patrick (R) – Please help elect Dan Patrick as Lieutenant Governor. He gives every appearance of being a solid ‘Movement Conservative’ – of which we can hardly have too many.
Leticia Van de Putte (D) – if you like what Democrats stand for, vote for her.  Better yet, don’t vote at all.
Robert D. Butler (L) – I’m with him on school funding following the student and probably a few other L-party issues.  I can’t go with them on the ‘gay marriage’ issue though.  Plus: it says something very bad about a person who allows themselves to be a huge lardass.  Srsly look at the man.
Chandrakantha Courtney (G) – I have no problem with Indians.  I have no problem with people from India.  I have no problem with Indian music or Indian music teachers.  I have a problem with a dam’ furriner spending the first few decades of their lives being not-American and not-Texan, then trying to come here and tell us how to run our Texas.  no.  Ban.

Attorney General
Ken Paxton (R) Please vote for Paxton for AG.
Sam Houston (D) – not terrible as Democrats go, but still a Democrat.  I think we need someone who leans to the R side to stick up for us, especially against the current President and his vendetta against the biggest Conservative State in the nation (that’s us)
Jamie Balagia (L) was a policeman and popped positive for drugs.  Now he’s a lawyer.  Here’s to his continued success as a private citizen.
Jamar Osborne (G) – Committed the grave crime of not living in Texas long enough.  Plus he’s not ready for this – maybe or even lawyering in general (?), AND would someone please tell the Green party to get their candidates to put up informative websites?

Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar (R)  -is running for office.  Not this office so much as any office where you will be happy to elect the Conservative Republican™ candidate.  He seems proud of his record as a legislator, how about we let him try to keep that job.
Mike Collier (D) – It gives me the willies, but I think I have to vote for the Democrat in this race.  He is an accountant (CPA), not a career politician.  He supports collecting sales tax on all internet transactions but otherwise seems like a decent candidate.  Sales tax on internet transactions isn’t something he could affect from the Comptroller’s office.
Ben Sanders (L) – we should not be surprised to see a Libertarian support your right to be a Freemason.  But finding a Libertarian who IS a Freemason is a bit of a surprise to me.  Here is one.  Still I’d go for him over Shafto any day of the week, and even over Hegar if I had to choose between them.  Fortunately, Collier is running.
Deb Shafto (G) If you have a ten-foot pole, please join me in using it to keep people like this out of elected offices everywhere.

Commissioner of the General Land Office I will abstain from this ballot for lack of a good candidate for whom to vote.  The two major candidates don’t seem to care to hold the office (one is running to build a resume, the other to get El Pasoans in the history books.  Neither is a good reason to seek office.  You ought to run for an office because you are passionate about being the best person for that job.
George P. Bush (R) No.  Not another Bush from Texas.  Bushes are banned from elected office in America.  I’ll abstain first.  We’ll “just see where it goes” when asked if he’d seek higher office later.  Right.  Let me guess.
John Cook (D) – doesn’t seem like a horrible candidate, for a Democrat especially.  Still seems a bit thin on details and hasn’t given me a suitable reason to vote FOR him.
Justin Knight (L)– Does not appear to have a campaign but forevermore can honestly say he was a candidate for the office.  For what it’s worth.
Valerie Alessi (G) – Does not appear to have a campaign but forevermore can honestly say she was a candidate for the office.  For what it’s worth.

Commissioner of Agriculture I will abstain from this ballot for lack of a good candidate for whom to vote.
Sid Miller (R) Previous comment: (was so impressive I didn’t even comment on him for the primary race.  Who else?)
Jim Hogan (D) – He’s on the ballot but not running a campaign.  He’s not even walking a campaign.  This guy is one step removed from the proverbial “pick a name from the phone book” candidate.  It’s a sad state of affairs that he is on the ballot but here we are.
David (Rocky) Palmquist (L) – again with the nicknames.  It’s puerile. Use your given name on a ballot, people!  He does at least have a campaign website, which you will only find if you search using his nickname.  The “on the issues” page is blank, but it’s there.
Kenneth Kendrick (G) – at least he’s passionate about food safety.  He’s not a career anything, and the website with his name has a legit hand-to-a-future-employer resume and dead links.  I don’t think, from his previous employment history, that his whistle blowing was the reason he can’t find a steady job.  I think he just keeps bouncing from job to job his whole life because that’s who he is.

Railroad Commissioner
Ryan Sitton (R) Vote for Ryan Sitton– I was prepared to abstain from this ballot, until I saw he had eliminated his potential conflict of interest.  It is well and good if YOU know you can operate with potential conflicts of interest and maintain your integrity.  It quite another thing to try to get elected with a big fat glaring conflict of interest right in front of us all.  He said he’d put his energy industry-related company in a blind trust if elected, and that’s closenough.  Now I can vote for him.  He might be young and there is something wrong with his face but you can’t hold those against a guy who seems otherwise qualified.
Steve Brown (D) – a politician in charge of energy, and a politician in the party that is against energy production.  His self-published resume reads like he is a party hack, not an energy industry-knowledgeable engineer type like Sitton.  No thanks.
Mark A. Miller (L) – I like him, but Sitton is running.  If Sitton were not in this race, I’d be voting for Miller.
Martina Salinas (G) – as a GP candidate, she seems ready to live up to the stereotype.  Big-time leftist.  No website, a few local political events, signs, and speeches, and MAYBE if you are looking for a while you will find her responses to A political questionnaire.

Chief Justice, Supreme Court
Nathan Hecht (R) – Vote for Judge Hecht! I stand by my previous comment: (This guy.  What they said: https://www.texaspatriotspac.com/election-breakdown-2014-chief-justice-texas-supreme-court)
William Moody (D) – if you want the fundamental laws to change at the whim of a judge, go with this guy.  If you want your legislators to make law and the judges to decide on what is legislated, don’t go with this guy. (Continues to try to gain one judgeship while holding another. Let him keep his current job.)
Tom Oxford (L) – Note to the Libertarian Party: an e-mail and a phone number are not sufficiently informative to voters looking to inform themselves about your candidates.  I like this guy right where he is: a Lawyer sticking up for the Little Guy.  You don’t get to go from lawyer to Chief Justice though, sorry.  (His heart may be in the right place, but he definitely is . . . another who can keep his current position. )

Place 6, Justice, Supreme Court, Unexpired Term
Jeff Brown (R) Vote for Jeff Brown – not only is he currently on this job, with no notable complaints, he’s also the only candidate with any Supreme Court judgin’ experience at all.  (This guy.  http://www.texaspatriotspac.com/election-breakdown-2014-texas-supreme-court-justice-place-6)
Lawrence Edward Meyers (D) – That he wants the position is no reason to give it to him.  Flipped party affiliation right at the filing deadline – this may be a fatal  error in Texas.  Sorry you got swept out of office, but we don’t need to replace a decent incumbent judge with you, solely because you want us to.
Mark Ash (L) – has one of the more extensive Libertarian candidate websites out there.  And by “extensive” I mean “2 pages and a promise of updates in the coming weeks, from months ago, and no further updates”  At least the one-sentence blurb (and that’s all there is) on the front page sounds nice.

Place 7, Justice, Supreme Court – if you don’t vote in any of the down-ballot races, do at least vote in this one; I can see it might be relatively close and every vote actually DOES count.
Jeff Boyd (R)Please keep Jeff Boyd on the Court.  None of the other candidates even come close to being worth removing a solid incumbent judge.
Gina Benavides (D) – Wants to skip four years of her six year term in the post to which she was only re-elected in 2012.  This sucks for everybody involved except her – for her it would be a step up.  While she appears to be a qualified judge, she also is active in racist (read: hispanic) and blasphemous (read: Catholic) causes.
Don Fulton (L) – oh surprise! A Libertarian candidate with no discernible campaign online!  No thanks.  Plus, he looks like George Costanza, not that you can hold it against him 🙂
Charles E Waterbury (G)  -oh surprise!  A Green candidate with no discernible campaign online!  I was able to discern he’s a lawyer, but that’s all.

Place 8, Justice, Supreme Court
Phil Johnson (R) – PLEASE vote for Judge Johnson (This guy.  What they said http://amarillo.com/opinion/editorial/2014-02-20/editorial-no-supreme-reason-change)
RS Roberto Koelsch (L) ( another Libertarian not taking campaign contributions is another libertarian who will lose.)
Jim Chisolm (G) –  “Spectacularly unqualified” – quote of the day, and said about none other than our man Jim here and his good buddy RS Roberto.

Place 3, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Bert Richardson (R) This is almost a toss-up, so I will defer to someone I trust (me).  My comments from previous Voter Guides provide guidance for me, which is actually the reason for typing all these words in the first place: ( him.  He wants judgin’ to keep pace with newfangled technology thingies.)
John Granberg (D) – just plain lacks the experience for this post.  Too soon, Junior!
Mark W. Bennett (L) Would be far-and-away my choice if Richardson were not running for Place 3.  Before, I said: (Spouts off personal opinions on matters about which he might have to issue court opinions.  Horrible judgement for a JUDGE candidate.) But having read some of his writing, his spoutings-off (the ones I read, at least) are pretty good stuff.  Plus he’s qualified for the position, unlike Granberg

Place 4, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
Kevin Patrick Yeary (R) This time I’ll vote for Yeary.  If he weren’t a Catholic I wouldn’t have a reservation.  He is but seems otherwise like a solid candidate for the position.  Note to other candidates: THIS is what a campaign website for a judge looks like.
Quanah Parker (L) – A libertarian without a campaign website, how surprising.  Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t a fat black lady, it’s a fat white dude!  That, plus that he does some pro-bono work in addition to his regular lawyerin’ job, is all I could find out with a bit of googlin’.  If you WANT to be elected, at least hang out a shingle, people!
Judith Sanders-Castro (G) – She wants to be a judge, and LIED to a court to get her daughter special treatment.  That was easier to find than anything related to her campaign for Judge, which I didn’t.  This one I didn’t have to look into (but I did anyway).  If you encounter a woman with a hyphenated last name in America, she is a bitch.  Yes, Mexicans conjoin last names and yes we are close to Mexico.  Mexicans don’t name their daughters Judith or Sanders.  That, plus the Green party affiliation (read: environmentalist nutjob whacko by default) should tell you all you need to know.  Plus she worked a long time for (racist organization) MALDEF.

Place 9, Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals
David Newell (R)This guy, by a mile, and not just because he’s the only one with something resembling a campaign.  His campaign website says what I want a man seeking the position to say.  From last time he ran: (this guy.  We could use someone on the CCA who said that when he worked on appeals in the past he *started* from a place where he assumed the defendant had been done wrong in previous trials.  It is also a plus for me that he has been paying close attention to what the CCA has been doing recently so he will have a shorter transition period when getting to know his case load.)
William Bryan Strange III (L) – I don’t think I should have to try this hard.  After a few minutes of trying to find any trace of him or his positions online, I am not entirely sure this guy even exists and/or is still alive.  WTH Bill – fine, keep your day job then!
George Joseph Altgelt (G) – A Green party candidate without a website.  How surprising.

District 14, State Senator I will abstain from this ballot for lack of a good candidate for whom to vote.
Kirk Watson (D) As I said last time: “not the worst Democrat out there, but still somewhat typical.  I’m not a Democrat”  He is a moderate-left with typical Democrat policy positions with which I disagree.
James Arthur Strohm (L) – Hey, a Libertarian with a website!  A cursory website, from his 2010 campaign for Congress, but it’s a website.  Fail, Strohm.  Fail, and lose.
srsly R, nobody?  What happened to being a major party?

District 46, State Representative I will abstain from this ballot for lack of a good candidate for whom to vote.
Dawnna Dukes (D) (not the worst Democrat out there but still a Democrat.  As long as Democrat = “social justice” and leftist policies in general, we need fewer of these.)
Kevin Ludlow (L) – Supports abortion.  I am not a single-issue voter, but there are some issues that are deal killers for me.  Endorsing homosexual “marriage” and LGBTQEIEIO rights in general are one.  That he is against the TSA and War On Drugs is nice, but these don’t overcome the queer-friendliness of someone trying to get in place to make new laws for my Texas. Plus he’s anti-life and (biologists, try to not laugh) thinks abortion is NOT the taking of a human life!

Chief Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals District
Jeff Rose (R) Please RE-elect Judge Rose.  A good judge on any court should be kept in place, if for no other reason than to avoid the huge delay it causes when a new judge has to look at a case already in progress.  He’s a good judge.  The Statesman, Police AND ranchers all endorse him.  Keep Jeff Rose on the 3rd Court!
Diane Henson (D) She left a bench on this court in 2012 to work in private law practice.  Let’s keep her there.  (listening to her makes me a little sick to my stomach.  Looking at her doesn’t make it any better. ) Looking at her, it is NO surprise she is proud to be endorsed by the leftist environmentalist whacko group Sierra Club.

Unfortunately, the Rs can’t seem to run anyone for District Judge either, but then this is the San Francisco of the Central Time Zone so . . .

County Judge
Mike McNamara (R) PLEASE elect McNamara to run the Commissioner’s Court! Proud to be a Texan and Austinite, a person with private business experience as well as military experience.  Active in politics and local community organizations.   Wants to build roads but with no mention of a choo-choo to nowhere, and wants to lower taxes.  Read, heed, then vote!
Sarah Eckhardt (D) Last time she was running, my comment was: “Social Justice: low on my priority list, high on hers”.  This time I note from her claimed experience that she is what’s wrong with Austin and Travis county.  If it’s not swinging too hard left for you and you wish your tax dollars were being less wisely spent, vote for her.  Otherwise, vote otherwhom.
Richard Perkins (L) Oh boy what a dog cat this guy is.  Claiming to be a Libertarian and for smaller government, his main deal is he wants to spend gozillions of tax dollars on mass transit run by the government.  His next biggest issue is personal freedom – one supposes aside from the freedom to choose where to stop the bus and get off.  Speaking of getting off, his campaign has a Libertarian slogan that is a mild sex joke related to a former L-party candidate.  You stay classy, Dick.

District ClerkI will abstain from this ballot for lack of a good candidate for which to vote.
Velva L. Price (D) a democrat with the backing of socialists labor unions, just what we need MORE of in this country!  Her website reminds you to vote in the March 4th Primary election. Her facebook page, updated as recently as last year that she was “proud” to be running unopposed in this election.
Kevin Pick (L) – Shockingly, here is a Libertarian candidate without a campaign website.  He is on Facebook, however, and goes to L-party meetings (and supports NORML).  He appears to be running so that he can make sure jurors know about the concept of Jury Nullification, with a secondary goal of increasing jury pay.  I could get the conspiracy theorists wound up about how the first will guarantee his defeat at the hands of international banking interests, but I’ll leave off trolling and mention that low jury pay is a GOOD thing because it ensures only people who can afford it can serve on juries – either welfare slobs who would avoid it anyway, or people with enough sense to have a worthwhile job.  Low juror pay is a PITA but not necessarily a Bad Thing.

County Clerk
Dana Debeauvoir (D) as I said last time, “In light of the alternative, re-elect Clerk DeBeauvoir.” I don’t understand why we have to wait until AFTER 2016 to have a paper trail on our voting machines, but this still appears to be a woman who is passionate about doing a good job – let her do it.
Michael M. Holt (L) -surprisingly, here we have a Libertarian candidate for office who has no website for his campaign.  Not even a free do-it-yourself Weebly.com website!  Fail, L-party.
William E. Stout, Jr. (G) – is it a purity thing, to be in the idealistic minor party and not have a website?

County Treasurer
Dolores Ortega Carter (D) – I will be voting Democrat this year.  Ms. Carter is currently doing the job and I haven’t heard anything about her for bad (or good) but she knows what she’s doing at least, unlike the guy currently NOT doing the job.  Plus (call me “sexist”) I like having frumpy old women tending the checkbook.
Mike Burris (L) New for this election cycle: a website!  This is a weebly.com website but it is an upgrade from last election, when he was still using the same web pages from his previous unsuccessful attempt to be elected Treasurer.

Precinct 2, Justice of the Peace
Glenn Bass (R)Please re-elect Justice Bass.  He is doing a good job, and (after requesting a lower budget) more efficiently than his predecessor.  I asked you to help me elect him the last time, and I ask you to do it again. Vote for Bass for Justice.)
Randall Slagle (D) – the front page of his campaign website assumes that you have no faith in the justice system.  This is typical of self-hating white people who assume racism is going on, and rhymes with the current trend of leftists telling people who didn’t know any better that they don’t trust their own government.  Stick it where the sun doesn’t shine, Randy.  He’s a lawyer voted “best qualified” by: other lawyers wheeee! derp.  He’s also had more jobs than he’s had years of experience since he got a law degree.  He’s had more jobs than your dad and grampy had put together.  Plus there’s something wrong in his eyes when you look at him.
Daniel Martin Ruble (L) – How surprising, a Losertarian candidate with no visible campaign or website.  Also: really Danny, you had to put Martin in there?  Were you afraid you’d be confused with all the other Dan Rubles on the ticket?

Proposed Constitutional Amendment
“The constitutional amendment providing for the use and dedication of certain money transferred to the state highway fund to assist in the completion of transportation, construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects, not to include toll roads”
Please vote FOR this Amendment.  I think this should be a state Law, not part of the supreme Law of the State – but for whatever reason the TX constitution covers a lot of similarly small-time stuff.  As long as we have the option, let’s take some of the taxes we are already collecting and spend them where we need them.

Place 2, Council Member, City of Pflugerville
Brad MarshallPlease re-elect Councilman Marshall!
Rudy Metayer -Three strikes, you’re out!  (1) he’s too young. To run a city, you need the perspective age and experience bring.  (2) he’s member of TWO racist organizations (3) he’s not the incumbent who has been doing a good job for pflugerville since winning the last election.  Also, not that you can really hold it against him (or her) he has the same dead eyes and forehead as Michelle Obama.

Prop. 1, city of Pflugerville
“The issuance of $28,000,000 tax bonds for City street improvements, including for E. Pecan Street, Pflugerville Parkway, Heatherwilde Boulevard, Weiss lane, Rowe Lane, Pfennig Lane, Cactus Blossom Drive, Columbine Street, Ardisia Drive, Blackhorn drive, Thackeray Lane, Gravesbend Road, Isle of Man Road, Isle of man Court, Gower Street and Langland Road”
I will vote FOR this bond proposition.  These streets are seriously [deleted] up.  Lots of heavy equipment rolling through for the construction of the surrounding neighborhoods really did a number on streets that were already built on shifty clay soil.  If you have a bad back, driving through this section of town is literally painful because it’s SO bumpy everywhere!

Prop. 2, City of Pflugerville
“The issuance of $25,000,000 tax bonds for City park and recreational purposes, including development of parks and hike and bike trails, a City Sports Complex and parks and recreational improvements at Lake Pflugerville”
Please vote AGAINST this bond issue.  We don’t need a City Sports Complex.  Break out the trails and recreational improvements at the lake and I could maybe go for that.

Unfortunately the trend is almost unbroken that the way to get a tax bond measure passed is to have it on the ballot in Travis County.  I really would prefer a government that set money aside for building roads and parks, but that is not the world in which I live.  What I can do is to say “we don’t need a stadium in a city of 40,000 inhabitants, and you people are stupid if you vote for TWO of them” yes two, because they just approved a regional football stadium for the local religion favored sport.  [deleted] a stadium.

Austin Proposition – The issuance of $600,000,000 bonds and notes for …
This is an election to spend $1.2 BILLION (later to balloon to an “unexpectedly” $2 Billion or more) for NINE miles of low-capacity passenger rail from downtown to downtown and zero additional miles of road that would actually relieve congestion.  This is as stupid as it gets.
Please vote NO against this proposition!

In other news, this is the election when Austin finally shakes off the former city council system where the people in the heart of Northern Downtown Austin got their way and F the car, truck and anybody outside the city core.  There are scores of candidates for 11 positions.  With 5% or so turnout, actual representation isn’t happening, but I think at least the council meetings will be more colorful going forward.  Not smarter,mind you (it’s still Austin) but definitely probably different maybe.

May 10, 2014 Travis County Joint Election Voter Guide, Pflugerville Edition

Two issues, and both pretty big ones, are going to be decided by shamefully few of us who live here.  This is how I wish we would vote:

The school bond package:
Against.
Generally, I am against bonds for all the school stuff.  How about we *don’t* charge up the credit card for stuff we arguably don’t need (yet).  Specifically I am AGAINST this quarter-billion dollar bond package for Pflugerville ISD.  You know who needs a new football stadium?  Not us.  I expect to lose on this one because football is one of the local gods and they sacrifice LOTS of money to it around here.

Travis County Emergency Services District No. 2 Proposition 1:
For.
Shockingly I am going to vote myself a tax increase but there is reason in my madness.  Basically they want to double local sales taxes to fund firemen being trained to provide medical care.  MOST of our firemen-pls-help 911 calls are medical emergencies and they have to sit on their thumbs and wait for ambulances because we don’t have money to train a proper set of fireman/EMT types to stick on fire trucks.  The alternative to voting to give the firemen this tax money is to leave it on the table for a future election where the Community Development Corporation will surely try to take it, and blow all our tax dollars on luring other people into town in some amorphous future so they will give town more tax dollars.  I’d rather spend the money on something we can actually use.  You may guess that the slick ad campaign against this tax is funded by local business interests.  Growth is coming to Pflugerville whether or not we advertise and promote the city, like it or not – and we’ll need the ESD’s EMT services when it gets here.

Central Texas Local Elections, May 11, 2013

The retiring head of the Pflugerville, Texas ISD decided to offer benefits to queers in an attempt to find the best teachers because what you do with your genitals affects your teaching (?).  The current board voted to keep that policy.  That included Carol Fletcher and Mario Acosta.  Both seem to be otherwise good school board people to have around. . . but they stood up for what God Himself called an abomination.

Two other people are running in the upcoming board election.  They could be yella’ dogs and be against giving special benefits to homersexuals, and stand a decent chance of being elected in non-Austin Texas.

One commenter at the local newspaper website said, “Is this really about same sex benefits and insurance? We should not hold our children’s education hostage to a simple insurance decision.”  Yes, it is.  For some of us, it doesn’t matter how otherwise-awesome you are if you stand in bald opposition to the creator God.  One of the unspeakable reasons Mittens Rominey lost his election for President was that there are single-issue voters out there.  He was on the wrong side of all of us at one time or another, and that plus believing in a blasphemous religion (which was the big Single Issue for yours truly) kept millions of people home.

The choice in this election for PISD School Board is being framed in the press as:

1) Vote for new guys to be against same-sex insurance benefits, you hater
2) Vote the other guys back in if you don’t care about the insurance

Nevermind that neither newguy candidate has come right out on their o-fisshul website and said he’d try to get the policy reversed.  Both are making appropriate-sounding noises about how they just make the rules to follow the laws.  Sandlin’s website goes so far as to say he wouldn’t have supported [the new benefits], and Hanson’s only goes so far as to say he doesn’t want to exclude people.

As far as I can tell, you have two unknowns with business experience trying to replace people who have done a decent job except that they need to be punished for agreeing to do that which is immoral.  If this sounds like a decent basis for your vote, or if it doesn’t (either way) this should be a pretty easy ballot for everybody to cast.

********
Oh, and if you are wondering, my take on the Austin ISD almost-a-Billion-dollar bond proposals, that’s easy too: these people continue to pour money into education and expect it to get better results without saying a peep about the broken culture in America keeping the children from learning.  If you don’t mind paying ANOTHER “only” $100/year in taxes to Austin, go ahead and piss your money down the educrats’ rathole.  Otherwise, for those who are not simple-minded, vote AGAINST all the school bonds that come up until they are clearly presented and trimmed down to the bare necessities.  Unlike these.

But, of course, they will pass.  The way to get a bond issue passed in Austin is to get it on the ballot.  A few thousand people from Terrytown will show up and vote, and the rest of you will ho-hum it and then bitch and moan about the high taxes in Austin.

Democracy: None for Me.

Yesterday, my Darling Wife and I were trying to have a nap, and #3 and #4 were succeeding in having their naps.  #1 and #2 were watching a movie and generally staying quiet.  Then there was a knock at the door.  Fortunately it was a soft knock, because the Zoo goes off like an end-of-the-world barking alarm for most callers at the door.

I threw some pants on and went to the door, shoo’ing the older children back from my glidepath.  As I came to the door, I saw it was some dumpy hausfrau with a prepubescent child in tow, wearing political-season colors with signs on their shirts endorsing some local school board candidate.  I don’t have kids in this district.  I don’t know who you are endorsing, and I don’t care.  I also don’t want to waste either of our time explaining none-of-your-business to this woman. I want to sleep.

I unbolted the door, opened it a few inches, and she started in on her sales pitch.  Without so much as a howdy-do, I said “Go away” and shut and re-bolted the door, turned around and went back to bed.

********

I am very encouraging of people who believe in their chosen candidates enough to go pound sand and knock doors for them.  I really wish more people would do it.  Just remember: not everybody wants to hear your spiel, including the guy who keeps telling you to go out there and spin it!

Texas Constitutional Election November 8, 2011 Voter’s Guide (with Travis County & Pflugerville)

Yes kiddies, it’s election time again. Once again I am putting my notes online in the hopes some of you will agree with me and vote my way. Once again I anticipate the voters in Austin will vote themselves tax hikes for no good reason. We’ll see. This time we have TEN amendments to the basic law of Texas (the Constitution) because the legislators don’t think they can get away with this stuff on their own, but maybe if they ask you . . .

The ballots are written so you are either FOR a measure or AGAINST it.

Proposed Texas Constitutional Amendments:

PROP. 1, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote FOR Proposition 1
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.

This is a question?

Dear Mrs. Widowofaveteran,

We are ever so sorry to hear about the loss of your recently deceased fully-disabled-veteran husband. Enclosed you will find a tax bill for $6,000 which you will have to pay every year from now on because he died.

Sucks to be you, eh?

Love,

Texas

PROP. 2, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 2!
The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $6 billion at any time outstanding.

Because we don’t owe enough money already, and your taxes for stuff you already have is too low? How about, stop spending so much on stuff we shouldn’t be doing as a State anyhow, and then use the savings to pay for the projects they want to fund through the water development board.

PROP. 3, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 3 (and not just no!)
The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of general obligation bonds of the State of Texas to finance educational loans to students.

You know why college is so expensive? Because the students can all get loans to pay for it. If everyone can get the money, then the supply of money is unlimited, and the cost skyrockets precisely because everyone can pay. They can already get loans from friends, family, pell grants, and other public and private student loan granting or guaranteeing bodies. This is one more thing Texas doesn’t need to spend money doing, AND it will further increase the cost of higher education!

PROP. 4, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 4
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit a county to issue bonds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area and to pledge for repayment of the bonds or notes increases in ad valorem taxes imposed by the county on property in the area. The amendment does not provide authority for increasing ad valorem tax rates.

Non-lawyer speak: we want to allow counties to declare your old house on a prime piece of land to be blighted, then they can issue bonds to develop it to get more property tax revenues . . . AND jack up EVERYONE’s taxes to pay back the bonds!

PROP. 5, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 5
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to allow cities or counties to enter into interlocal contracts with other cities or counties without the imposition of a tax or the provision of a sinking fund.

They want to make it easier for cities and counties to incur long-term debt, in the middle of an economic crisis caused by excessive long-term debt. Hello?

PROP. 6, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 6
The constitutional amendment clarifying references to the permanent school fund, allowing the General Land Office to distribute revenue from permanent school fund land or other properties to the available school fund to provide additional funding for public education, and providing for an increase in the market value of the permanent school fund for the purpose of allowing increased distributions from the available school fund.

Unless someone can convince me otherwise, this sounds like a feel-good “Do Something” measure. I am almost ambivalent on this topic, but then I remember that the men of two hundred years ago were generally intellectually superior to modern government-school educated professional politicians, and I say “stick with the old way.”

PROP. 7, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 7
The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities.

Why, exactly, is the State and/or El Paso County in the business of developing recreational facilities? Especially why now, when one of the things crushing our economy is too much tax money being taken for too many non-government-related expenditures?

PROP. 8, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 8
The constitutional amendment providing for the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water-stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.

They want to tax you based on what your land COULD do. IF you can’t afford the higher taxes, you might have to lose your land. Then someone else will develop your land and pay the higher taxes. It doesn’t matter that your father sweated for 60 years on your land. This sort of proposition is evil. It is couched in terms of “just another option for the landowner” . . . yeah, right.

PROP. 9, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 9
The constitutional amendment authorizing the governor to grant a pardon to a person who successfully completes a term of deferred adjudication community supervision.

To clarify: somebody does something StrongBad enough to be arrested and thrown in prison, but a soft-headed leftist judge gives them deferred adjudication. They keep their nose clean for a little while, and they get their crime pardoned. Then the next time they are arresetd, they are first offenders instead of repeat offenders. You know who doesn’t benefit from this in any way? Law-abiding citizens, that’s who.

PROP. 10, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
Please vote FOR Proposition 10
The constitutional amendment to change the length of the unexpired term that causes the automatic resignation of certain elected county or district officeholders if they become candidates for another office.

The law that this proposition affects was changed by a few days so there is a gap requiring resignation from one office to run for another. THAT law should be changed, maybe, but one month more or less in office is not going to make a huge difference, especially not so much that we should force people to resign for the sake of one month of what could turn out to be a failed run for elected office.

Travis county bond election

PROP. 1, TRAVIS COUNTY BOND
Please vote AGAINST Travis County Bond Proposition #1!
The issuance of $132,840,000 of road bonds, including, without limitation, related road drainage, bike lanes and sidewalks, and replacement and improvement of road bridges, and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.

They want to build bike lanes downtown and tax you for it. Do you use bike lanes in Downtown Austin?

PROP. 2, TRAVIS COUNTY BOND
Please vote AGAINST on Travis County Bond Proposition 2
The issuance of $82,105,000 of bonds for the purposes of constructing and improving county parks and the acquisition of land and interests in land in connection therewith, including, without limitation, the acquisition of open space park land; and acquiring conservation easements on land for any authorized purposes, including, without limitation, to retain or protect natural, scenic, or open-space values of real property or assure its availability for agricultural, recreational, or open-space use, protect natural resources, maintain or enhance air or water quality, or conserve water quantity or quality, and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.

They want to tax YOU $82 MILLION to be able to buy land for parks, and then not develop it. This is not what you want to spend your money on.

City of Pflugerville Charter Amendment Election
Pflugerville is trying to join the 20th century. I say let’s go for it. When was the last time you looked at the official notices section of the Official Newspaper?

PROP. 1, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote FOR City of Pflugerville Proposition 1
AMENDING SECTION 3.15 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS: Sec. 3.15(d). Effective date.
Shall the City Charter be amended to require that no ordinance imposing a penalty, fine or forfeiture shall become effective until the caption of the ordinance summarizing the purpose of the ordinance and penalty for violation has been published on the city’s official website or other electronic media that is readily available to the public in lieu of publishing one time in the city’s official newspaper?

PROP. 2, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Plesae vote FOR COP Prop 2. Unless you think office workers need to have access to special appeals processes you don’t.
AMENDING SECTION 4.05 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS:Sec. 4.05(d).Personnel Appeal Board.
Shall the City Charter be amended so that only commissioned peace officers that are regular, full time employees or regular, part-time employees of the City (excluding all other City employees, contract employees and any other commissioned peace officers that do not report to the Police Chief) may appeal suspensions, demotions or terminations to the Personnel Appeal Board?

PROP. 3, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 3
AMENDING SECTION 5.01 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS: Sec. 5.01(c). Registered voters list.
Shall the City Charter be amended so that a list of voters registered in the city shall be made available to the public by the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and the Williamson County Elections Administrator in lieu of the City Secretary?

This appears to be change for the sake of change, so NO.

PROP. 4, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote AGAINST Proposition 4
AMENDING SECTION 5.04 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS:Sec. 5.04. Canvassing.
Shall the Charter be amended to eliminate the requirement that the returns of any municipal election shall be delivered from the Election Judges to the City Secretary and the Mayor not later than twelve hours after the polls are closed?

We use electronic voting machines. There is no excuse for delay. Note that this used to say FOR but that was only because I had typed it up at ohlord-thirty in the morning.

PROP. 5, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote FOR Proposition 5
AMENDING SECTION 7.06 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS: Sec. 7.06(c). Publication of proposed or referred ordinance.
Shall the Charter be amended to require that a copy of any proposed or referred ordinance be published on the city’s official website or other electronic media that is readily available to the public in lieu of publishing one time in the city’s official newspaper and requiring that the caption of the proposed or referred ordinance be posted at City Hall at least fifteen days preceding the election?

PROP. 6, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote FOR Proposition 6
AMENDING SECTION 8.07 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS: Sec. 8.07(d). Texas Open Meetings Act.
Shall the Charter be amended to require that the City conduct all its meetings in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act?

PROP. 7, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote FOR Proposition 7
AMENDING SECTION 9.03 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS: Sec. 9.03(a). Annual Budget. Content.
Shall the Charter be amended to require that except in the event of an emergency under Section 9.04(b), the adopted budget must include an unencumbered general fund balance that is at least sufficient to cover three months of the city’s budgeted general fund operation and maintenance expense

I generally like reserve funds. You never know what might happen. Now, if they start trying to raid the cookie jar we will need to slap their hands, but this might be a good idea for just-in-case cash flow interruptions.

PROP. 8, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote FOR Proposition 8
AMENDING SECTION 9.03 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS: Sec. 9.03(c). Public notice and hearing.
Shall the Charter be amended to require that council post a summary of the proposed budget and a notice stating the times and places where copies of the message and budget are available for inspection by the public and the time and place for a public hearing on the budget in City Hall and publish the same on the city’s official website or other electronic media that is readily available to the public in lieu of publishing one time in the city’s official newspaper?

PROP. 9, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote FOR Proposition 9
AMENDING SECTION 9.04 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS:Sec. 9.04(b). Amendments After Adoption. Emergency appropriations.
Shall the Charter be amended to allow the City Council to suspend the three-month general fund operating reserve requirement in the event of an emergency by resolution and requiring the resolution to reference the emergency and provide a process and timeline for rebuilding the reserve?

PROP. 10, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote FOR Proposition 10
AMENDING SECTION 10.03 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS:Sec. 10.03. Enacting Franchise Ordinances.
Shall the Charter be amended to require that an ordinance granting, renewing, extending, or amending a public utility franchise be published on the city’s official website or other electronic media that is readily available to the public in lieu of publishing one time in the city’s official newspaper?

PROP. 11, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE
Please vote FOR Proposition 11
AMENDING SECTION 11.02 OF THE CHARTER AS FOLLOWS:Sec. 11.02. Official Newspaper.
Shall the Charter be amended to replace the Official Newspaper with an Official Notice requiring that ordinances, notices and other matters required to be published by this charter, city ordinances, or State constitution or laws shall be published on the city’s official website or other electronic media that is readily available to the public in lieu of publishing one time in the city’s official newspaper?