01.31.10

Bill White is coming to Williamson County on Saturday February 6th

Posted in 2010 Primary, Democratic Events, Good Stuff, HD-52, Williamson County at 3:43 pm by wcnews

Via Williamson County for Bill White, they are hosting a “Kick Off” event:

Williamson County For Bill White Kick off WITH MAYOR BILL WHITE!!

Please join State Representative Diana Maldonado as she hosts Mayor Bill White for the Williamson County for Bill White Campaign Kickoff!

Date: Saturday, February 6, 2010
Time: 10:30am – 1:00pm
Location: Williamson County Democrats Office,  110 North Interstate 35, Suite 170, Round Rock [MAP]

Be sure and RSVP at the Williamson County for Bill White Facebook page.

HD-52 residency fight and more local GOP antics

Posted in 2010 Primary, District 31, HD-52, Williamson County at 6:00 am by wcnews

WCGOP residency fight in HD-52 primary will continue, exactly when no one knows, Residency dispute headed for jury trial.

Gordon and attorney Roy Minton, who is defending [Alyssa] Eacono in the lawsuit Gordon filed earlier this month, each confirmed Thursday that the third and possibly final round in this GOP slugfest will be played out in front of a jury.

“We decided we had to go to a jury trial,” Gordon said, recalling the unfavorable ruling he received Jan. 19 from visiting District Court Judge James Clawson. “We’d rather stand our chances in front of a jury of citizens.”

[...]

Gordon and Minton each said that due to scheduling and time needed for preparation, the case might not go to trial until after the primary has already been held.

How all this will affect primary election results remains to be seen.

Grits has a wrap-up of Friday’s Forensic Sciences Commission in Harlingen where Williamson County DA continued his delaying tactics in the Willingham case.

That was really quite a display. I’ll give him this. John Bradley came into Harlingen with an agenda; he was on his A-game when other commissioners were back on their heels and didn’t know what to expect; and as a result he got what he wanted out of the meeting: Delay discussing anything substantive about flawed forensic science and a new “process” in which he can bury the Willingham case in committee until after the November election.

It was a pretty brazen performance, but judging by minimalist MSM media coverage, the Williamson County DA clearly made a good bet that – by moving the meeting to the Rio Grande Valley on a Friday and waiting to produce the rules until the last minute – he would get away with such bold hectoring of the commission. It’s not a great start to Bradley’s relationship with his fellow commissioners, but he’s obviously not there to make friends. He’s there to delay the commission’s work and to impede the Willingham investigation by hook or by crook. And he’s succeeding.

And last Rep. John Carter is still running around taking credit for projects he voted against. From an LTE from The Cameron Herald.

Congressman John Carter ought to be ashamed of himself. He showed up in Rockdale last week brandishing one of those larger-than-life “checks” from the federal government, as if he personally made sure struggling and laid off Alcoa workers would be able to get the jobs training they need.

The funny thing is, Rep. Carter voted against the legislation that authorized the $2.5 million that funds the jobs package for our area. He actively campaigned against it and now the hypocrite wants to take credit for legislation he voted against.

01.30.10

The second debate

Posted in 2010 Primary, Commentary at 11:54 am by wcnews

If you didn’t see it and want to watch it can be viewed here.  Again this debate was hard to watch for a Democrat.  All of them are either proposing more of the same or worse.  None of them has a coherent plan for transportation, and they all seem to think all of our state’s woes can be blamed on illegal immigration. They spoke little about the issues that effect the struggling workers in Texas – education, health care, etc..

For analysis Burka thinks Perry won, Texas Tribune liveblogged it, and McBlogger has a more rational take.  Brains and Eggs has a full, link-filled wrap up.

PoliTex and TrailBlazers have are truth testing last night’s debate.

01.29.10

Guns at the Capitol

Posted in Around The State, Commentary at 11:57 am by wcnews

After shots were fired last week at the Texas Capitol building in Austin  it appears that security changes are afoot, Capitol security boost recommended. The sticking point in the new security recommendations appear to center around whether or not to still allow guns in the building.

While officials declined comment on the details of the recommendations citing security concerns, participants confirmed that security checkpoints at Capitol entrances could be on the way.

One possible sticking point: How to allow Texans with concealed-weapons permits to get through security with their guns.

[...]

In the past year, long before the shooting occurred, DPS officials that oversee Capitol security had ordered up a security review by the U.S. Secret Service, a report that is said to have recommended major increases in staffing, the installation of package scanners and metal detectors at entrances and loads of added surveillance cameras.

There was more on the issues of concealed weapons later in the article.

Earlier this week, Patrick — who holds a state concealed-handgun permit, as do a number of Texas lawmakers — sent his colleagues a letter advocating increased Capitol security. “However … I do not want to see those who have a legal right to carry a gun denied their constitutional right.

“Whatever new measures we may adopt, I would not want to stop law-abiding CHL holders from carrying their guns in the Capitol,” he stated in the latter. “The goal is to stop those who bring illegal weapons into the Capitol, not those who have a legal right to do so.”

[...]

Reached by phone, Patrick said today that Texans with concealed-handgun licenses might “put their gun in a tray, go through the detector, pick it up and go” or perhaps they could show their state-issued license and walk around security-screening devices.

[...]

Why not make the Capitol a gun-free zone altogether, like schools and businesses and other places are already?

“If you continue to restrict more and more places where CHL holders can carry their weapons, you’re tearing away at the intent of the legislation that established this program,” he said.

Despite remaining issues, Patrick, Whitmire and others said they hope the review of enhanced security can move ahead quickly.

“(The shooting) brings on a fear of copy-cats,” Patrick said. “We don’t want to have a fortress mentality when it comes to Capitol security, because we should keep it as public as possible, but we need to address the situation sooner rather than later.”

It would seem that the two main goals of security at the Capitol would be to make it as secure as possible in the least burdensome way possible. After that’s done then worry about how or if to allow guns in the building. Certainly, as mentioned in the article, having an expedited entry for employees, media, and frequent visitors, as well as large tourist groups makes sense too. All of that being said, being able to walk into the building without being searched or forced through a metal detector is something that will be missed if changes occur.

01.28.10

Voting precinct changes in Williamson County for 2010

Posted in 2010 Primary, Cedar Park, Commissioners Court, Election 2010, Hutto, Precinct 2, Precinct 4, Williamson County at 2:08 pm by wcnews

There have been three new voting precincts created, and several more adjusted, in Williamson County for 2010.  The changes occur only in commissioner precincts 2 and 4, Cedar Park and Hutto respectively. From the Elections page on the county web site.

January 1, 2010 Redistricting changes are effective. Early in 2009 we identified three voter precincts that had over 5000 registered voters to reduce the number of voters we began the redistricting process. Three new precincts were created 201, 402 and 403 additionally boundary adjustments were made to precincts 254, 273, 277 and 293. [Emphasis added].

They have links to the new maps and orders of the changes too, [All links are .pdf files].

More on this from the Round Rock Leader, Changes to election precincts approved.

According to Rick Barreon, Williamson County Elections administrator, changes to precincts were made as a result of Precinct 426′s violation of Texas Election Code because it contained more than 5,000 registered voters as of May 12, 2009, when the changes were adopted by Hutto.

The document states that after consultations with Precinct 4 County Commissioner Ron Morrison, and the chairs of the Republican and Democratic parties, Bill Fairbrother and Richard Torres, recommendation was made to adjust the boundaries to election precincts 420, 424, and 426 to create precincts 402 and 403.

The county states that new voter registration cards were mailed late last year reflecting these changes. There is a conflicting message regarding a mailed notice to all affected voters. The county web site states, ” voters will also be mailed a notice the first week of January notifying them of the change and their polling place”. While Candi Zaccheus, county Elections Geographic Information System analyst, in the RRL article above states that “..a notification would be sent out to residents about precinct changes”.

It’s highly recommended that anyone that lives in the Cedar Park, or Hutto areas double check their precinct and voting location if they plan to vote on election day. These changes have no effect on where or when anyone can early vote.

Carter cosponsored resolution praising man who attempted bugging Senators office

Posted in Around The Nation, District 31, Media at 10:24 am by wcnews

Congressman John Carter (R-Round Rock) was one of 31 House Republicans who cosponsored a resolution praising the the ringleader of a plot to bug US Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-Louisiana) office.   The resolution went so faras to say that he was “owed a debt of gratitude by the people of the United States”. If you’re not familiar with this latest “tea party” debacle Brains and Eggs has all the information, TeaBuggin’.

(O’Keefe and three other men) were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses and attempting to gain access to (Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu)’s office by posing as telephone repairmen, according to a copy of an FBI affidavit unsealed Tuesday.

[BTW, anyone wanting to read about how the tea party's quickly became a profit-making scam, this long post from someone who was there at the beginning, is highly recommended - , On the Backs of Tennessee’s Middle Class (or, The Story Behind Tea Party Nation’s Dishonest Beginnings)].  Those involved now face up to 10 years in federal prison.

01.27.10

County Commissioners unanimously approve new 5 year deal with CCA, Inc.

Posted in Commentary, Commissioners Court, T. Don Hutto, Williamson County at 4:31 pm by wcnews

Via the Taylor Daily Press, Wilco, ICE renew agreements.

The Williamson County Commissioner’s Court renewed agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) pertaining to the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor Tuesday. This center is a 490-bed facility run by CCA to house immigrants awaiting hearings and decisions on their immigration status.

County Judge Dan Gattis motioned to pass an agenda item that approves an inter-governmental services agreement between ICE and Williamson County. The following agenda item was also passed unanimously and will approve an agreement between CCA and the county regarding management and operation of the facility.

CCA provides the services detainees require and the agreement was set to expire on Monday. After ICE signs the agreement, it will be complete.

Click below to read the extended entry for the comments of Jane Van Praag who was in attendance and sent an LTE for publication:
Read the rest of this entry �

Perry’s corporate welfare not paying off for Texas

Posted in Around The State, Taxes, The Economy at 7:00 am by wcnews

Via a new report from Texans for Public Justice (TPJ), Governor Perry’s Pet Jobs Program Suffers Its Own Recession.

Many projects receiving millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies through Governor Rick Perry’s high-profile Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) failed to meet their contractual job-creation targets as the recession took hold in 2008.

An analysis of 45 TEF projects that received a total of $363 million in tax subsidies finds that a growing number of TEF recipients defaulted on their job-creation pledges in 2008, with even more defaults expected for 2009.

Key findings of TPJ’s analysis reveal:

* The Governor’s Office has awarded $363 million to 45 TEF recipients to create or maintain 47,735 jobs. These projects claimed 31,319 jobs in compliance reports covering 2008.

* Just 13 of the 45 job-related projects reviewed were performing well.

*As of October 2009 the Governor has penalized 11 TEF grantees for defaulting on their job creation commitments. These penalties, totaling $647,100, amount to just 1 percent of the $64 million in TEF funding that they received.

* The Governor has imposed the “death penalty” on just two TEF projects despite the fact that many other TEF recipients have qualified for termination.

* In February 2009, Perry declared that the TEF program had created 54,000 jobs since 2003. More than one-third of these jobs are pledges that have yet to materialize.

Read the full report, Recession Pounds Perry’s Jobs Fund. Which includes this nugget:

Unemployment Insurance Has Funded the Enterprise Fund

Texas’ Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund is running out of money to pay benefits to all the state’s laid-off workers, including those laid off by companies subsidized by the Texas Enterprise Fund. The irony here is that the state unemployment fund has transferred $161.5 million to Governor Perry’s job fund since the legislature authorized such funding in 2005. The Texas Workforce Commission recently announced that the unemployment-insurance taxes paid by most employers will almost triple in 2010 to cover shortfalls. In other funding, the legislature has appropriated $577 million for TEF since 2003 (though it snubbed Governor Perry’s request for $261 million more in 2009).

Oh the joys of corporate welfare.

The TTC is alive

Posted in 2010 Primary, Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Privatization, Road Issues, Transportation at 6:00 am by wcnews

DMN political writer Wayne Slater wrote an article yesterday about Kay Bailey Hutchison’s campaign donations from a corporation that builds toll roads.

Kay Bailey Hutchison has railed against the Trans-Texas Corridor, but she counts one of the state’s premiere toll-road builders among her major financial contributors.

Bartell Zachry, whose San Antonio-based construction company partnered with the Spanish company Cintra to develop the multi-billion transportation project, gave Hutchison $25,000, according to a campaign finance report filed with the state.

Hutchison campaign spokeswoman Jen Baker said the senator was happy to accept money from the toll-road builder, even though she has denounced the Trans-Texas Corridor as a land grab and has pledged to curb toll-road construction if she’s elected governor. [Emphasis added].

Notice it says “curb”, not end toll road construction. But the most illuminating analysis of this article are competing GOP’er blogs on this.

First a pro-KBH blog shows where Perry stands, Watch Your Tenses.

Rick’s spokesman responded to this development with a disturbing choice of words:

Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner said Hutchison is being hypocritical.

“The senator criticizes the project, yet she has no hesitation taking money from the company building the project,” Miner said.

“Building the project”?

Don’t you mean “that was going to build the project”?

Because the Trans-Texas Corridor is “dead”… Right?

RIGHT????

And here’s the pro-Rick take on the Kay’s corporate cash.

Here is my theory on what happened here… Rick’s TTC already got shot down… so the company that was to have built the TTC is thinking the only way to get it built is with a different governor who also believes in the project… but the new governor will be able to roll it out better than Rick did in terms of public relations. Let’s face it, Rick’s peeps did as bad a job on that as anyone could ever do…

Zanchry though is thinking Kay is a blank slate and she will be able to get it through because they will be much quieter about it and just build it in pieces without a lot of fanfare… that’s why the company responsible for the Trans Texas Corridor is giving Kay such a large sum of money.

I wonder if this big donation has anything to do with Kay pulling down her advertisements about toll roads and replacing them with her border security commercials…

Ah, corporate toll roads repackaged and sold to us by KBH.  All of this goes to show, that no matter which one of these two wins the GOP Primary in March, the TTC is still very much alive.

01.26.10

Wake up Call? Obama’s pressing the snooze button

Posted in Around The Nation, Commentary at 3:57 pm by wcnews

It was EOW’s hope that after the Democrats latest special election loss, (a seat that was held by a Democrat since 1953), that the President and elected Democrats in Washington would see the light.  It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

I love Rachel Maddow, (via TP, FLASHBACK: Obama Criticized Spending Freeze As ‘Using A Hatchet Where You Need A Scalpel’):

Bob Herbert, Obama’s Credibility Gap.

Mr. Obama may be personally very appealing, but he has positioned himself all over the political map: the anti-Iraq war candidate who escalated the war in Afghanistan; the opponent of health insurance mandates who made a mandate to buy insurance the centerpiece of his plan; the president who stocked his administration with Wall Street insiders and went to the mat for the banks and big corporations, but who is now trying to present himself as a born-again populist.

Mr. Obama is in danger of being perceived as someone whose rhetoric, however skillful, cannot always be trusted. He is creating a credibility gap for himself, and if it widens much more he won’t be able to close it.

[...]

The president who has been aloof and remote and a pushover for the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, who has been locked in the troubling embrace of the Geithners and Summers and Ben Bernankes of the world, all of a sudden is a man of the people. But even as he is promising to fight for jobs, a very expensive proposition, he’s proposing a spending freeze that can only hurt job-creating efforts.

Mr. Obama will deliver his State of the Union address Wednesday night. The word is that he will offer some small bore assistance to the middle class. But more important than the content of this speech will be whether the president really means what he says. Americans want to know what he stands for, where his line in the sand is, what he’ll really fight for, and where he wants to lead this nation.

While the President and elected Democrats deserve much derision for their lack of action, we all have to ask ourselves, what are we doing?

And Krugman is calling the new “freeze” plan a disaster, Obama Liquidates Himself.

A spending freeze? That’s the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback?

It’s appalling on every level.

It’s bad economics, depressing demand when the economy is still suffering from mass unemployment. Jonathan Zasloff writes that Obama seems to have decided to fire Tim Geithner and replace him with “the rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon” (Mellon was Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary, who according to Hoover told him to “liquidate the workers, liquidate the farmers, purge the rottenness”.)

It’s bad long-run fiscal policy, shifting attention away from the essential need to reform health care and focusing on small change instead.

And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, “I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.”

Now, I still cling to a fantasy: maybe, just possibly, Obama is going to tie his spending freeze to something that would actually help the economy, like an employment tax credit. (No, trivial tax breaks don’t count). There has, however, been no hint of anything like that in the reports so far. Right now, this looks like pure disaster.

It looks like they’ll have to hit rock bottom before they change course. Perhaps once we have a Speaker Boehner and a Leader McConnell, Obama will realize that abandoning his base in search of approbation from the right was a mistake.

� Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »