Proposition 1 – The Least They Could Do

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Election 2014, Transportation, Uncategorized at 9:39 am by wcnews


The transportation issue over the last decade has always been a microcosm of what is wrong with the way Texas is currently governed.  Roads are something that effect almost every Texans’ life on a daily basis.  And for the most part they’ve been neglected and allowed to deteriorate.  Over that time it’s become apparent to anyone who lives and drives in Texas that we have a transportation problem.

The reason we can’t fix this issue is not because we lack resources, it’s because we lack leadership.  This did not just happen since Rick Perry took office, although he’s been a more than willing facilitator of the neglect.  It’s the Reagan-era narrative, the story too many believe, of how things work.  Government is the problem, and if  it would just get out of the way, then everything will flourish.  Obviously, that has not happened.

That mentality shows up in this statement from a WSJ article, In Texas, Toll Roads Proliferate—and a Backlash Builds.

“It’s almost impossible to get around without paying a toll now,” said Bobby Tillman, a 63-year-old web developer from Sachse, Texas, who spoke against the road at a public hearing last month that filled a 1,500-seat high-school auditorium. “We pay taxes for roads and bridges, and if that’s not enough, if you can’t afford it, don’t build it.”

The utter foolishness of his statement may not be clear until this reality sets in.  It’s not enough, that’s why they’re not building roads, and why toll roads, which you spoke against, are being built everywhere.

The toll boom is taking place in part because a primary source of highway-construction funding in the U.S., a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline, hasn’t changed since 1993. Many states also haven’t raised state gasoline taxes for decades, including Texas, which hasn’t increased its 20-cents- per-gallon tax since 1991.

I wonder how much food Mr. Sachse would be able to afford if he hadn’t had a rise in income since 1991? The cost of everything has gone up since 1991. Certainly the cost of road construction materials have gone up since 1991. For anyone to seriously believe that current/1991 tax levels are adequate to maintain and build new transportation infrastructure shows their ignorance.

But they’ve been lead to believe that the government is wasteful, ineffective, and can do nothing to bring positive change to their lives.  And the Texas GOP, since taking over control of Texas government, has been doing their best to prove them right.  How can anyone expect a political party that believes government is the problem to use government to solve problems?

But it’s worse then that.  The GOP is not just wrecking government, they’re using government to make themselves and their friends and donors rich.

“We can go through the list over and over, but at the end of every line is this: Republicans believe this country should work for those who are rich, those who are powerful, those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers,” she said Friday in Englewood, Colo. “I will tell you we can whimper about it, we can whine about it or we can fight back. I’m here with [Sen.] Mark Udall so we can fight back.”


Her grand theme is economic inequality and her critique, both populist and progressive, includes a searing indictment of Wall Street. Liberals eat it up.

The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it,” she said Saturday at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. The line drew a huge ovation — as did mention of legislation she has sponsored to allow students to refinance their student loans.


The centerpiece, though, is her progressive analysis of how bad decisions in Washington have allowed powerful interests to re-engineer the financial system so that it serves the wealthy and well-connected, not the middle class.


There once was consensus on the need for government investment in areas such as education and infrastructure that produced long-term dividends, she said. “Here’s the amazing thing: It worked. It absolutely, positively worked.”

That last part is the most important part of what Sen. Elizabeth Warren said. We know how to fix this problem, but far too few are telling the story in the way that Warren is telling it.

Now for proposition 1. At best it’s a “band aid” or will “build a flyover or two“. It will do little if anything to address the neglect of the last 20 plus years. Is it worth voting for? Probably not, but it’s likely to pass anyway. Because when something that’s needed is being held hostage the ransom gets paid.

Our GOP run state government did all it is capable of doing right now, the least they could do.


Statewide Endorsements

Posted in Around The State, Election 2014 at 3:39 pm by wcnews

Generally speaking in the biggest statewide races the Democratic candidates are raking in most of the editorial board endorsements.  Especially in the races for Lt. Gov., Attorney General, and Comptroller.  The governor’s race is close to even.

The GOP’s worst candidates are likely Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton.  Here’s one description of Patrick:

“.. potentially explosive, impact unclear.


His primary governing tools are fear and division.

Some of his ideas are singularly disruptive. Taken together, they could destabilize state government, the enemy of sound business practices. “

Dan Patrick’s governing style is likely to be unstable and frantic, like that of a radio shock jock – which he is.  EOW has often time referred to Patrick as  Texas Rush, meaning he’s Texas’ version of Rush Limbaugh.  Who would want someone like that in a position of real power?

This is not new territory for Texas.  We’ve elected folks like this in the past.

Paxton, on the other hand is literally running an invisible campaign.  And his candidacy would be comical if he didn’t have such a legitimate shot of actually winning.

Republican Ken Paxton should be disqualified from consideration because his compromised ethics are a matter of record. We’re disturbed that Republican voters didn’t do that in the primary or the runoff.

But the consensus worst endorsement is the DMN’s endorsement of Greg Abbott. Not that they did it, but their shoddy reasoning. I can’t remember where I read it but someone referred to it as similar to “Stockholm Syndrome”.

These two uphold Texas’ fighting spirit. When this newspaper weighs all the issues, however, Abbott tips the balance as the candidate most capable of sustaining the state’s economic success and holding in check growing extremism in the state GOP.

Texas Republicans’ hard-right swing in recent years is troubling. Too many Texans feel alienated by a ruling party that seems indifferent, for example, to the plight of the working poor, the uninsured or youths caught through no fault of their own in immigration limbo.

As governor, Abbott must be a moderating influence and guide a realignment of his party.

Yes, Abbott’s moderating influence of wanting to wake up and sue the federal government. Abbott’s as right wing as they come, and to think he’ll moderate is folly.  The best way to moderate the GOP would be to elect a Democrat.  Make that many Democrats.

For a score card on the endorsements go to here, Roundup: Newspaper endorsements in statewide races. Of just vote a straight Democratic ticket.


Williamson County Races On The 2014 Ballot

Posted in Election 2014, Williamson County at 8:22 am by wcnews


Anyone who lives in Williamson County can click here to access a sample ballot.

Below is a list of the races involving Democrats on the ballot in Williamson County in 2014.

US House of Representatives, District 31
Louie Minor – Democrat
John Carter (i) – Republican
Scott J. Ballard – Libertarian

Senate District 5:
Joel Shapiro – Democrat
Charles Schwertner (i) – Republican

Shapiro looks to be another candidate inspired to run by Wendy Davis.  Definitely a tough race against a well funded Republican incumbent, in a GOP drawn district.

House District 20:
Steve Wyman – Democrat
Marsha Farney (i) – Republican
Jarrod Weaver – Libertarian

Wyman is a perennial candidate.  Another uphill struggle in a GOP drawn district.

House District 52:
Chris Osborn – Democrat
Irene Johnson – Libertarian
Larry Gonzales (i) – Republican

Osborn is a former member of the Taylor City Council.  This was a swing district (Democrat Diana Maldonado won here in 2008), is it still? A race with a Libertarian where they could take 3 – 5% of the vote.

House District 136:
John Bucy – Democrat
Tony Dale (i) – Republican
Justin Billiot – Libertarian

Bucy is a first time candidate, but has been working very hard.  This is a race to watch, 136 is a district where a hard working Democrat could have a chance. Also a race where the Libertarian can make a difference. Dale appears scared since he’s been telling lies about his opponent.

County Judge:
Michael  Custer – Democrat
Dan A. Gattis (i) – Republican

Custer is a first time candidate, running against and entrenched establishment Republican.

County Commissioner, Precinct 2:
Eddie B. Hurst – Democrat
Cynthia Long (i) – Republican

Hurst has run for Mayor and City Council in Cedar Park previously.

County Commissioner, Precinct 4:
Tom Mowdy – Democrat
Ron Morrison (i) – Republican

Mowdy ran for Taylor City Council in 2013.  Many have thought in the past that Precinct 4 is winnable for a Democrat.

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1:
Nick Lealos – Democrat
Dain Johnson (i) – Republican

Lealos is a first time candidate.  A local attorney running in what has been a Democratic friendly precinct in the past.

Democrats in Williamson County in 2014 have fielded a great slate of candidates.  This along with the candidates Texas Democrats have running statewide leaves no excuse for Texas wanting change to stay home.  If issues like education, health care, investment in the future, equality, and fairness are important to you then you owe it to yourself and future generations to vote in 2014.

TPA Blog Round Up (October 20, 2014)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 7:50 am by wcnews

“Voting freshens your breath, whitens your teeth, and improves your sex life.” — Molly Ivins

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you that EARLY VOTING HAS BEGUN as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff published an interview with John Cook, the Democratic nominee for Land Commissioner.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and Daily Kos is sickened by the corporations are people Supreme Court of John Roberts for allowing Greg Abbott to disenfranchise 600,000 American citizens in Texas of their right to vote. TX GOP, Greg Abbott stand by Discrimination and Disenfranchisement.

Two special days in the blogosphere last week: Blog Action Day for inequality was a global initiative, and Texas blogs dropped a money bomb for Wendy Davis. PDiddie at Brains Eggs has details on both.

After this week’s big announcement, Texas Leftist is left to wonder… Did the Dallas Morning News editorial board incorporate facts into it’s Endorsed process for Governor? If so, maybe this week’s decision for Greg Abbott would have went the other way. Clearly DMN should’ve taken a few minutes to read their own paper.

Republican racism revealed in TWIA emails about storm damage to Brownsville ISD property. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme encourages everyone in South Texas to go vote. You can stop the racism. VOTE!

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Two campaign ads to check out, Must See TV – Great Ads From Mike Collier and Sam Houston.

Neil at All People Have Value wrote about things he is doing to make a difference in the 2014 elections in Texas. Neil says you can make a difference as well. APHV is one of many interesting things to see at NeilAquino.com.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Dan Solomon speaks from personal experience when he says that the Wendy Davis wheelchair ad shines a long-overdue light on the devastating effect tort “reform” has had on victims of medical malpractice.

The Lunch Tray keeps fighting the fight for healthier school lunches and snacks.

Grits for Breakfast calls on Texas jails to opt out of the Secure Communities program.

Texas Vox documents the big heat waves of 2013.

Socratic Gadfly was pleasantly surprised by the SCOTUS ruling that overturned the Fifth Circuit order allowing HB2 to go into effect pending appeals.

Helen Philpot would like for someone to explain to Greg Abbott where babies come from.

LGBTQ Insider compares Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott’s positions on LGBTQ issues.

Andrea Grimes has the GIF-based explanation of the HB2 timeline that you’ve been waiting for.

Early Voting Starts Today – Where To Early Vote In Williamson County

Posted in Election 2014, Williamson County at 5:00 am by wcnews


Early Voting Schedule General Election November 4, 2014                                                                                                                                                    

Williamson County Early Voting Schedule
Horario de la Votación Adelantada Del Condado de Williamson

Joint General and Special Elections– November 4, 2014
Elecciónes Generales y Especiales Conjuntas – 4 de noviembre del 2014

Dates for Full-Time Locations:
Fechas para localidades de tiempo completo

Monday, October 20 through Friday, October 31  
Del Lunes 20 de octubre al Viernes 31 octubre
7am to 7pm

Sunday, October 26
Domingo 26 de octubre
12pm to 6pm
Main Location: 
Localidad Central

Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown

Branch Locations:

Otras localidades

Anderson Mill Limited District, 11500 El Salido Pkwy, Austin

Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Blvd, Cedar Park

Cedar Park Randalls, 1400 Cypress Creek Rd, Cedar Park

Cowan Creek Amenity Center, 1433 Cool Springs Way, Georgetown

Georgetown Parks & Recreation Admin Bldg, 1101 N. College St, Georgetown

Hutto City Hall, 401 Front St, Hutto

Pat Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N Brushy St, Leander

Baca Senior Center, 301 W. Bagdad Ave, Round Rock

Brushy Creek Community Center, 16318 Great Oaks Dr, Round Rock

JB and Hallie Jester Annex, 1801 E. Old Settlers Blvd,Round Rock

Round Rock Randalls, 2051 Gattis School Rd, Round Rock

Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter St, Taylor

Mobile Temporary Locations, Dates & Times:
Fechas y horario de las Localidades móviles temporales:
Hours 10am -7pm
Horario 10am-7pm

Tuesday, October 21          Granger City Hall, 303 S Commerce St, Granger
Martes 21 de octubre

Wednesday, October 22     Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Trl, Austin
Miércoles 22 de octubre

Thursday, October 23         Jarrell Memorial Park, 1651 CR 305, Jarrell
Jueves 23 de octubre

Friday, October 24             Seton Medical Center, 201 Seton Pkwy, Round Rock
Viernes 24 de octubre

Saturday, October 25         Liberty Hill Annex, 3407 RR 1869, Liberty Hill
Sábado  25 de octubre

Monday, October 27          ACC Cypress Crk Campus, 1555 Cypress Crk Rd, Cedar Park
Lunes 27 de octubre

Tuesday, October 28         Southwestern Univ McCombs Campus Ctr, 1010 McKenzie Dr. Georgetown
Martes 28 de octubre

Wednesday, October 29    Clairmont Retirement Community, 12463 Los Indios Trl, Austin
Miércoles 29 de octubre

Thursday, October 30        ACC Round Rock Campus, 4400 College Park Dr, Round Rock
Jueves 30 de octubre

Sujeto a cambios


Money Bomb For Wendy Davis

Posted in Around The State, Election 2014 at 8:52 am by wcnews

give to wendy png

Early voting starts on Monday, October 20th. There is also news of a record number of registered voters in Texas this year, 14 million.

There are clear differences between the candidates for Texas Governor in 2014.  Dave McNeeley points them out in his most recent column.

She’s for a $10.10 minimum wage. He’s against it.

She’s for mandated equal pay for women for equal work. He’s against it.

She’s for Texas expanding Medicaid, which the feds would pay for, would insure more than a million additional people and create 300,000 jobs. He’s against it.

She believes a woman in the early stages of pregnancy should be able to decide with her doctor and family whether to terminate the pregnancy. Abbott thinks pregnancies should not be terminated, even in cases involving rape and incest.

Texans at least certainly have a choice.

It takes money to run for office and win. If you believe in Davis and her candidacy for governor give what you can.

As has been said here many times the only way Davis and many other Democrats can win in Texas is by changing who shows up to vote on election day. It looks like the work of registering new voters has been done. The next step is harder turning these new voters out, along with many who don’t usually vote, and those who don’t usually vote in the mid-term elections.

AN effective GOTV effort is not cheap, so please help out if you can.

Be sure and check out Kuff and PDiddie on the money bomb.  And use the hashtag #GiveToWendy.


Must See TV – Great Ads From Mike Collier and Sam Houston

Posted in Around The State, Election 2014 at 9:26 am by wcnews

Likely the best campaign ad of this election cycle is this one from Democratic candidate for Texas Comptroller Mike Collier.

Crooked Ken Paxton. In the race for between Democrat Sam Houston and Republican Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General this year, every Texan must know before they vote on November 4th that Ken Paxton Broke the Law.

It’s truly stunning that the Texas GOP is allowing him to stay on the ballot.


TPA Blog Round Up (October 13, 2014)

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 7:39 am by wcnews

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates the advance of marriage equality and looks forward to the day when it comes to our state as we bring you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff published his interview with Mike Collier, Democratic candidate for Comptroller.

Libby Shaw writing for Daily Kos wants to make sure Texas women voters remember in November. this ad about a guy in a wheelchair on teevee last week. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs thinks that people observing Texas politics that don’t live in Texas just don’t get it.

As crunch time arrives, Texas Leftist wants voters to know just how far out in the political fringe we have to put Republican Dan Patrick. So far out, this week he started running against Rick Perry. Plus, don’t miss my interview with the only sensible candidate in the Lt. Gov. race, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Of all the bad GOP statewide candidates, and there are many to choose from, Ken Paxton may be the worst, GOP AG Candidate Ken Paxton’s Legal Predicament, Will He Be indicted?

Vote this November with CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme if you want Latinas treated with dignity, people of African descent given life-saving efforts when ill, and Texas women to have proper health services.

Neil at Blog About Our Failing Money Owned Political System wrote about the two ebola cases in the United States. BAOFMOPS is one of many worthy pages to review at NeilAquino.com.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Unfair Park tallies the cost of assuaging irrational fears about Ebola.

Mark Phariss, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit seeking to overturn Texas’ ban on same sex marriage, urges the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to schedule oral arguments in that case already.

Nonsequiteuse reminds us that sneakers are made for blockwalking as well as filibustering. Pink is optional.

Christopher Hooks provides another example of Breitbart Texas being stark raving loony.

The Lunch Tray wrote a piece for the New York Times on the ongoing school lunch wars.

The TSTA Blog highlights another education cutter seeking to get back into office.

Greg Wythe teases his return with a promised look at how the early vote is going.

Mustafa Tameez condemns Dan Patrick’s “irresponsible” border ad.

Juanita speaks as a person with disabilities about that Wendy Davis ad.

Finally, the TPA congratulates Grits for Breakfast on its tenth anniversary of blogging.


The Davis Wheelchair Ad – Justice

Posted in Around The State, Election 2014, Uncategorized at 10:26 pm by wcnews

I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. This isn’t the first time Abbott has been attacked on this issue. It’s a pretty simple issue. Greg Abbott thought suing was fine when he was hurt, but pulled the rope up behind him so no one else could get the financial assistance he received. Via the Texas Tribune, Davis Pollster: Controversial Wheelchair Ad Working.

Davis pollster Joel Benenson, who advised Barack Obama in both of his presidential races, said the ad underscored the theme they’ve been hammering on for months: that Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott is an “insider” who sides with the rich and powerful over average Texans.

Asked about the use of the wheelchair in particular, Benenson noted that Abbott himself had “prominently featured himself in the wheelchair in his ads” in the Texas governor’s race.

“This ad is not about Greg Abbott in a wheelchair,” Benenson said. “This ad is about Greg Abbott’s behavior and actions with other victims after he had his opportunity and rightly sought justice and received a substantial amount of money.”

Abbott was injured in a freak accident while jogging in 1984. He was struck by a tree and left paralyzed from the waist down. Abbott later sued the homeowner and the tree company and received a multi-million dollar settlement.

The ad suggests Abbott is a hypocrite for seeking justice for himself in the court system while using his power as a judge and later attorney general to deny it to others, including a rape victim and a woman whose leg was amputated.

And all the pearl-clutching on the from the right wing is much ado about nothing. They’re just jealous they can’t do the same.  The ad is not making light of Abbott’s disability.  The ad points out that he is unwilling to show the same compassion for others that was shown to him.

The ad is called “Justice” and ends with the line “Greg Abbott, he’s not for you”.  Conservatism has always been a selfish ideology built on the premise that “I got mine, you get yours”.  That Abbott embodies that to a tee, is what the wheelchair ad is highlighting.

Further Reading:
Brains and Eggs, Wheelchair ads.


Voter ID Ruling Follow Up, Preclearance Bail-In

Posted in Around The State at 1:16 pm by wcnews

The discrimination was so blatant in the Texas Voter ID ruling that if could have a long lasting effect on Texas, The Biggest Aspect of the Texas Case: Texas To Be Covered Again by Section 5 (If Case Stands).

Justin noted a key aspect of the Texas id decision which I want to highlight: “Also extremely important: the court expressly finds intentional discrimination relevant to bail-in under the Voting Rights Act, and says it will consider a bail-in order in the days to come.  If the court indeed follows up with a bail-in order, Texas could become the first state brought back under a preclearance regime since Shelby County.”


If this works, it will be very important because it would mean that a variety of changes, such as voter id laws, registration laws, and redistricting, would again be subject to federal approval (either DOJ or a three judge court in DC).  Preclearance is a big stick for the federal government.

In Shelby County, 4 Justices said that preclearance had to be tied to current conditions to be constitutional. (Justice Thomas would have gotten rid of preclearance even for bail in). 4 Justices believe preclearance even under the old rules is ok. If the TX trial court has made credible findings that Texas has engaged in intentional racial discrimination in voting, even the conservative Justices could agree to preclearance. But that’s no sure bet, and you can be sure that Texas will litigate this question very, very hard.

The Texas GOP setting voting rights in Texas back 40 years.

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