10.31.08

Single-day in-person early voting record is set

Posted in Commentary, Election 2008, Good Stuff, Had Enough Yet?, Presidential Election, Take Action, Williamson County at 2:27 pm by dembones

More voters voted early yesterday than ever in a single day in Williamson County. The 12,659 who voted in person at the 15 early voting locations in operation sets a new record, surpassing the 11,801 who voted on Friday, October 29, 2004.

Another surprising result is the early voting location where most voters cast their ballots. In the past, the Sun City Recreation Center has long been the most popular early voting location, but as of now it is in fourth place with 8,936 voters.

Cedar Park Public Library has processed 13,025 voters to lead all early voting locations, followed by Brushy Creek Community Center (10,864 voters) and McConico Building (9,803).

The implication is that the center of Williamson county’s political gravity is shifting. Does that portend a shift in the county’s traditional Republican partisanship? It is likely.

On first glance, KXAN’s recent poll showing Sen. John McCain with a 22-point lead over Sen. Barack Obama in the Presidential race appears to reinforce the conventional thinking that Democrats would have a difficult time in this campaign. However, when compared to the 31-point lead by George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential campaign, 22 points doesn’t look too bad.

The high margin of error in the KXAN/SUSA poll, 4.43%, indicates a smaller sample size. SUSA is a well-respected pollster, currently ranking second in fivethirtyeight.com‘s pollster ratings. We can assume that they have balanced their sample based on party identification and screened using likely voter turnout models.

However, the current turnout profile breaks down when overall turnout reaches the 80 percent mark, which record early voting turnout in Williamson county seems to point toward. At that level of turnout, there really is not a significant difference between the “Registered Voter” and “Likely Voter” models. However, KXAN did not indicate which model the poll was employing. Furthermore, there are no internals to see how the numbers break down by gender, ethnicity and age.

Given these limitations, there is a significant probability that the actual result will lie near the extreme end of the margin of error. That might reduce the McCain lead to as little as 13 points county wide.  Realistic expectations of an Obama win in Williamson county are unfounded; however, some parts of the county are significantly more Democratic. Unpopularity of Republican incumbents in the local races could produce large numbers of split-ticket votes. 

The Democrats are still the underdogs in this campaign, but they’re fired up and making their biggest assault in 14 years. Quite a few incumbents are going to be up late Tuesday night anxious over their job security. We can put a few out of work, but it is going to take every single vote and massive amounts of volunteer hours.

What I’m reading today

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Election 2008 at 12:27 pm by wcnews

Mandate ’08: Reagan vs. FDR

But with the Bush era finely tuning America’s BS detector, repetition and revisionism can no longer cloak reality.

“As the Republican ticket continues to run against the very idea of progressive politics, they are sowing the seeds of the post-election realignment narrative,” writes The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, adding that a McCain loss in such an ideologically polarized contest means “Democrats can justifiably claim that conservatism itself has been rejected.”

That would be the very mandate for “direct, vigorous action” Roosevelt described in his 1933 inaugural address. Should a President Obama try to capitalize on it, he will have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Texas’ power struggle adds to election intrigue

With less than a week before the Tuesday election, energized Texas Democrats believe that they are within striking distance of reclaiming control of the Texas House of Representatives but are confronting a fierce push-back from besieged House Speaker Tom Craddick and Republican allies battling to retain their slim GOP majority

Tarrant County plays a key role in Tom Craddick clash

Austin is worried about how we’re going to vote.

We know the feeling here in Williamson County, it’s got to matter.

And a fun one for the future, FORWARD WITH FIBER: AN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT PLAN FOR THE NEW ADMINISTRATION

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson presided over the country’s first economic stimulus package: the Louisiana Purchase. For a sum of $23 million and change, the U.S. doubled its territory and became a world power.

Wouldn’t it be cool to do a deal like that today?

We can, through infrastructure investment — not just in roads, electrical service and water systems; but in fiber optic connections to nearly every home and office. Nothing could do more for the economy while costing less.

Today is the last day of early voting

Posted in Election 2008, Williamson County at 8:44 am by wcnews

Today is the last day to vote early for the November 4, 2008 general election. The polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the main and branch locations.

The main locations that will be open each day of early voting are:

  • Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown, TX
  • Parks & Recreation Admin. Bldg., 1101 N. College, Georgetown, TX
  • Sun City Social Center, 2 Texas Drive, Georgetown, TX
  • McConico Building, 301 W. Bagdad Street, Round Rock, TX
  • Kinningham Park, 1000 South Creek Drive, Round Rock, TX
  • Brushy Creek Community Center, 16318 Great Oaks Drive, Round Rock, TX
  • Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center, 5800 McNeil Drive, Austin, TX
  • Anderson Mill Municipal Utility District, 11500 El Salido Parkway, Austin, TX
  • Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Blvd., Cedar Park, TX
  • Pat Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N. Brushy, Leander, TX
  • Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter Street, Taylor, TX

News 8 reported yesterday that because of long lines the county has opened two other locations in Cedar Park to help ease congestion in that area.

One site is the Twin Lakes YMCA and the other is the Austin Community College Campus at Cypress Creek.

There are several part-time locations through Friday. (At all part-time locations voting is from 7a.m. to 7p.m.):

  • Georgetown ISD Admin. Bldg., 603 Lakeway Dr., Georgetown, TX
  • Wednesday, October 29 through Friday, October 31

  • Austin Community College Campus, 1555 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park, TX
  • Thursday, October 30 and Friday, October 31

  • Twin Lakes Family YMCA, 204 East Little Elm Trail, Cedar Park TX
  • Thursday, October 30 and Friday, October 31

  • Hutto City Hall, 401 W. Front St., Hutto, TX
  • Thursday, October 30 and Friday, October 31

The City of Taylor will have one special mobile location on Friday. (Hours for voting at the City of Taylor’s Special Mobiles Locations are from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.):

  • Taylor ISD Admin Bldg, 602 West 12th St., Taylor, TX Friday Oct 31

All of this infomration can be found at the Williamson County Elections page. Just a reminder that ALL early voting is done electronic voting machines, if you want to vote on a paper ballot you have to vote on election day. These dates and time in English and Spanish can be found here [.pdf], and a map of the locations can be found here [.pdf]. At this link you can see a sample ballot before voting. EOW encourages people to vote early because elections day promises to busy with high turnout.

10.30.08

WCGOP answering machine flap reveals deeper troubles in wingnut land

Posted in Commentary, Election 2008, Had Enough Yet?, Media, Right Wing Lies, Williamson County at 5:59 pm by dembones

Callers to the Williamson County Republican Party today were greeted with an answering machine message explaining that they aren’t able to come to the phone because they’re busy “fighting evil the forces of darkness.” KEYE-TV reporter Alexis Patterson missed the bigger story: Republicans have so few volunteers, there’s no one left to get the phone.

The evil the Republicans are battling is a lack of energy, money, volunteers and time. Reasonable Republicans and independents are defecting to the Democratic party in droves, leaving the wingnuts in charge at the WCGOP without even enough volunteers to answer their phone.

Republicans are working this election; but they’re doing it for Democratic candidates. They’re making phone calls and donating money to Democratic challengers. Republican groups have sprung up in opposition to incumbents. A former candidate for County Commissioner, Steve Laukhuf has endorsed Democrat Mike Grimes.

Moderate Republicans and independents are supporting Democratic candidates because they’re ready for change in Williamson county.

One way to measure the energy and enthusiasm behind a campaign is to look at the numbers of small, individual donors. Democratic candidate for Texas House district 52 Diana Maldonado, for example, has received financial support from 597 individual contributors, according the most recent campaign finance report. Republican candidate Bryan Daniel, on the other hand, has only 171 individual donors.

Republicans see this campaign as a battle of good and evil, and though they quickly back down from their answering machine message, dismissing it as an attempt at humor, there is a kernel of serious intent behind the jab. Pres. George W. Bush once promised to kill “evil doers.” The entire Republican strategy during the 2004 election was centered on scaring voters and portraying anyone who questioned Bush’s policies as a traitor.

The Republican scare tactic is alive and well during this campaign. A UT poll released today shows that 23 percent of Texans think Democratic Presidential candidate Obama is a Muslim:

Obama is a Christian who was embroiled in a controversy earlier this year about his two-decade membership in Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Yet just 45 percent of those polled identified the Illinois senator as a Protestant.

The Obama-is-a-Muslim confusion is caused by fallacious Internet rumors and radio talk-show gossip.

The WCGOP, staring into the abyss of electoral defeat, is snatching up the fright and running with it. Moderate Republicans and independent voters are rejecting the politics of division and fear and are looking to the Democratic candidates for unity and hope.

Ogden staff member/Georgetown City Council member makes untrue statements

Posted in Georgetown, Hutto, Landfill, SD 5, Williamson County at 12:24 pm by wcnews

From a recent letter [.pdf] from the Hutto Citizens Group (HCG) Texas State Senator Steve Ogden (R-Bryan).  A few excerpts below:

Our grass-roots organization for Hutto citizens writes to express its concern regarding information being disseminated in Hutto by a member of your staff.

On Thursday, September 4, following a candidate forum in Hutto conducted by the Hutto Economic Development Corporation, a member of your staff, Pat Berryman, engaged one of our long-time and prominent members, Mahlon Arnett, in conversation. According to Mr. Arnett, Ms. Berryman made several statements, including:

~ The Hutto Citizens Group (HCG) is a divisive organization and should not involve itself in the matter of the Williamson County landfill.
~ The HCG is a “front” for Texas Disposal Systems (TDS), a competitor with Waste Management, Inc., the county’s landfill contractor.
~ The HCG is “bankrolled” by Mr. Bob Gregory and TDS.

None of these representations is true.

[...]

To say the least, we are surprised and taken aback by Ms. Berryman’s actions. It is a natural question which asks whom she is representing when engaging a Hutto citizen in this way. Because her conversation with Mr. Arnett occurred within the context of a public event at which she appeared to be representing you, she apparently was at work as a paid member of your staff.  Is it accurate to assume that at the time she was making these comments to Mr. Arnett that she was on the state’s payroll?  If not, whom was she representing?  The city of Georgetown, perhaps?

Good questions all. It’ll be nice to finally hear Sen. Ogden’s opinion on something regarding the Williamson County Landfill.

HD-52: Diana Maldonado exposes Daniel’s “core values”

Posted in Around The State, Election 2008, Had Enough Yet?, HD-52, Williamson County at 12:23 pm by wcnews

(Excerpts from a Maldonado campaign email):

Diana Maldonado’s Opponent Bryan Daniel’s Current Market Price:
Tom Craddick – $225,000
Bob Perry – $90,000
Clayton Williams – $7,500

Daniel must have made some serious promises to go from $85,000 raised to $790,000 raised in only 30 days…

Diana Maldonado’s Opponent Said He Only Takes Contributions from People Whose “Core Values at Least Substantially Align with Mine” [1].

Friends,

“As long as it [rape] is inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” Words as shocking now as they were when the notorious Clayton Williams said them during his 1990 campaign for governor against Ann Richards.

More shocking: my opponent accepted Claytie’s financial support earlier this month [2].

Indeed, taking contributions from a man better known for his hateful and divisive comments than for his contributions to our state is a new low for Bryan Daniel.

[...]

We are in the homestretch of the campaign, and my opponent has resorted to mudslinging, half truths and SELLING OUT to special interest contributors. We all knew it was coming, and as we enter the last week of the campaign, my opponent is getting desperate.

But even I was surprised when I saw my opponent had accepted money from Clayton Williams. Especially after knowing my opponent said he only takes money from people whose “core values at least substantially align with [his].”[3] Earlier this year, even John McCain was forced to disavow Claytie’s support when these disgusting comments came to light – some people just never learn.

[...]

I am proud to be supported by teachers, small business owners, doctors, retirees, ranchers, and social workers. My opponent, however, had lagged in his fundraising until he got a huge infusion of cash from notorious Republican donors like Bob Perry, Speaker Craddick, and special interest groups in Austin.

[...]

My message of change is resonating in the district, and we are so close to victory. Working together, I know we can win on November 4th.

Your friend,

Diana Maldonado

[...]

P. S. This just in! Tom Craddick gave our opponent an additional $100,000 two days ago – making his total to date $225,000.

Tom Craddick has millions more to give – how much do you think Bryan Daniel is worth to Tom Craddick?

[1] Bryan Daniel on the Political Hope Radio Show, August 17, 2008, http://politicalhope.hismoralbanner.com/program.htm.
[2] Texas Ethics Commission. Campaign and Finance Reports. Robert Bryan Daniel. Report #39002 and #389885,

http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/filer.php?acct=00062670coh.

[3] Bryan Daniel on the Political Hope Radio Show, August 17, 2008.

Two days left to early vote

Posted in Election 2008, Take Action, Williamson County at 8:37 am by wcnews

Early voting continues today and tomorrow for the November 4, 2008 general is election. The times are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Weekdays and Saturday, and Noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday at the main and branch locations.

The main locations that will be open each day of early voting are:

  • Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown, TX
  • Parks & Recreation Admin. Bldg., 1101 N. College, Georgetown, TX
  • Sun City Social Center, 2 Texas Drive, Georgetown, TX
  • McConico Building, 301 W. Bagdad Street, Round Rock, TX
  • Kinningham Park, 1000 South Creek Drive, Round Rock, TX
  • Brushy Creek Community Center, 16318 Great Oaks Drive, Round Rock, TX
  • Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center, 5800 McNeil Drive, Austin, TX
  • Anderson Mill Municipal Utility District, 11500 El Salido Parkway, Austin, TX
  • Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Blvd., Cedar Park, TX
  • Pat Bryson Municipal Hall, 201 N. Brushy, Leander, TX
  • Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter Street, Taylor, TX

There are several part-time locations through Friday. (At all part-time locations voting is from 7a.m. to 7p.m.):

  • Georgetown ISD Admin. Bldg., 603 Lakeway Dr., Georgetown, TX
  • Wednesday, October 29 through Friday, October 31

  • Austin Community College Campus, 1555 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park, TX
  • Thursday, October 30 and Friday, October 31

  • Twin Lakes Family YMCA, 204 East Little Elm Trail, Cedar Park TX
  • Thursday, October 30 and Friday, October 31

  • Hutto City Hall, 401 W. Front St., Hutto, TX
  • Thursday, October 30 and Friday, October 31

The City of Taylor will have one special mobile location on Friday. (Hours for voting at the City of Taylor’s Special Mobiles Locations are from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.):

  • Taylor ISD Admin Bldg, 602 West 12th St., Taylor, TX Friday Oct 31

All of this infomration can be found at the Williamson County Elections page. Just a reminder that ALL early voting is done electronic voting machines, if you want to vote on a paper ballot you have to vote on election day. These dates and time in English and Spanish can be found here [.pdf], and a map of the locations can be found here [.pdf]. At this link you can see a sample ballot before voting. EOW encourages people to vote early because elections day promises to busy with high turnout.

10.29.08

HD-52: Diana Maldonad’s newest ad “Leadership”

Posted in Election 2008, Good Stuff, HD-52, Take Action, Williamson County at 4:12 pm by wcnews

The latest GOP schemes – don’t buy it

Posted in Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Central Texas, Commentary, Had Enough Yet?, Money In Politics, Privatization, Right Wing Lies at 3:41 pm by wcnews

There’s a reason for the public to be extremely skeptical when they see a headline like this,
State considers huge office complex near Texas 130.  Without getting too deep into the weeds on our state government’s latest scheme (see below), it’s key to first look at the latest privatization scheme that’s blown up, Governor calls for service review after data losses, server crashes.

Citing recent data losses and service problems, Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday ordered a halt to IBM Corp.’s massive data center consolidation involving dozens of state agencies while officials review the problems.

Perry’s move does not change the status of IBM’s seven-year $863 million contract, which began in March 2007.

But the governor’s intervention shines the spotlight on the agencies’ concerns about IBM’s service and the response by the Department of Information Resources , which is overseeing the contract.

“The problems that have been painfully documented over recent months, including state agency concerns about unreliable e-mail systems, administrative cost increases and other breakdowns, have resulted in a loss of confidence in DIR’s ability to provide Texas agencies with a proper level of service for technology services,” Perry wrote in a letter to the agency.

While it’s sad to see another Texas GOP privatization scheme working out bad, notice that since this affected the Attorney General’s office, and not poor people’s health care, that it’s seen as a serious problem by the governor. But seeing once again how inept our current elected officials are, this bungling should make the public extremely skeptical when learning about this new scheme, State considers huge office complex near Texas 130.

State officials are scouting land along the Texas 130 corridor in eastern Travis County to build a huge office complex that would house thousands of employees of state agencies.

The master-planned campus could save the state money, improve working conditions for about 9,000 employees and put valuable downtown Austin properties on the tax rolls for the city, county and school district, said Edward Johnson, executive director of the Texas Facilities Commission, who has been developing the plan for about 18 months.

If anyone actually believes this scheme will save the state money they are fooling themselves. Like most of these deals on the face of it, without digging to deep, it may not sound like it’s a bad idea. But with the crew we have in charge right now, we can be fairly certain that the good of state employees, saving money, and green buildings are not what this is really about. More than likely sweetheart deals for their buddies, on the current land, as well as on and around the future site, is what that deal is all about. Not to mention attempting to drive traffic to a toll road that’s not performing as forecast, (surprise!).

If there’s one thing we’ve learned since the Texas GOP took complete control of our state government, they proved the cliché true – if it sounds too good to be true it is!

Come see Rick Noriega in Round Rock tonight

Posted in Democratic Events, Election 2008, Good Stuff, Round Rock, Take Action, US Senate Race, Williamson County at 12:19 pm by wcnews

Williamson County Democratic Party

Invite you to

Meet and Greet

Williamson County Democratic Candidates

Wednesday

October 29, 2008

Honored Guest

Rick Noriega for US Senate

The event will start with a meal at 5:00 PM, ($10.00 Donation)

Old Settlers Association Hall at

3300 Palm Valley Blvd in Round Rock 78664

(next to Dell Diamond).

Space is limited: Please RSVP (512) 501-3574

Political ad paid for by the Williamson County Democratic Party, Marie Smith, and Treasurer

PO Box 1296, Georgetown, TX 78627

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