07.20.11

A Few Items

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Elections, Williamson County at 3:26 pm by wcnews

Changes coming to local elections, WilCo leaders discuss effects of Senate Bill 100 on local elections.

The Williamson County Commissioners Court considered possible effects of Senate Bill 100, passed by the 82nd state Legislature, at its July 19 meeting. The bill brings Texas into compliance with the 2009 federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, adding more time between March primaries and April runoffs to allow enough time for ballots to reach overseas and military voters.

SB100 requires ballots be mailed 45 days before elections. For primary elections, which are held on even-numbered years, any runoff elections would have to be moved back. For example, in 2012, the primary election will be held March 6. If there is a runoff, it would be held on May 22. That puts early voting for the runoff two days after the May uniform election day, which would be May 12.

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SB 100 allows entities to change election dates and the terms of elected officials if necessary. Home rule cities with two- or four-year staggered terms have four options if they currently use a May uniform election date. First, the city may un-stagger to hold elections for all city elected officials in odd-numbered years, when the election would not conflict with primaries. Another option would be to move to a November uniform date, which would allow for a joint election with the county each November. Option three would be to buy or lease voting machines—each polling place must have at least one voting machine to comply with federal election law—and conduct its own election. The final option would be to still conduct the May uniform election through the county, or have the county provide machines to the cities to conduct their own elections.

Texas public education funding is heading back to court, School lawsuit likely to focus on equity, adequacy and more.

The school funding lawsuit that educators and their lawyers are preparing this summer will likely involve school funding equity, adequate funding and school facilities.

The equity issue will probably be the hardest for the state to defend. Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, made the case late in the legislative session when he cited the vast funding disparity between the top and lowest funding school district in each of the 31 senatorial districts.

Adequate funding is a more difficult issue. What is adequate?

Cutting $4 billion from public education despite a projected enrollment increase of 170,000 students over the next two years will hurt the state’s defense that current spending levels are adequate, Northside ISD Superintendent John Folks says.

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State leaders often cite the multi-billion increase public education spending today compared to public education spending a decade ago. That is accurate. But left unsaid is the fact that Texas has 873,998 more students in public schools today than it did 10 years ago. The enrollment increase would cost about $7 billion extra – not including schools and classrooms to accommodate them.

Also, the number of children from low income families has increased by 913,000 over that same time period. Low income children are more expensive to educate. That factor is not mentioned in conjunction with spending increases for public education over the years.

Lisa Falkenberg points out Perry’s hypocrisies over the years, Perry’s act as crafted as his hair.

he latest breathless dispatch from the Rick Perry presidential watch beat is that the governor told the Des Moines Register he’s getting “more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do.”

Now, if Perry really believes he’s being called, I won’t blame the Lord, whom Perry has falsely accused before. Recall that unfortunate Gulf oil spill that Perry famously blamed on “an act of God.”

And there’s always a chance the governor didn’t hear quite right. It could have been a bad connection, like the time Perry prayed for rain and we got the worst drought since the 1950s.

That being said, it doesn’t surprise me one bit that Perry would suddenly become “more comfortable” with the idea of leading a country he once flirted with seceding from.

If our governor is consistent about anything (other than good hair days) it’s his penchant for changing his mind. Call it flip-flopping. Call it hypocrisy. But nobody does it better than our Perry.

It is, for me, the single most irritating thing about Texas’ longest serving governor. But it’s also one of his best weapons. While other candidates may be bound by silly, old-fashioned things like truth, and principle and vertebrae, Perry — the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Tea Party Darlin’ – is free to be whoever he needs to be in any given polling period.

He’s an anti-government crusader who’s a career politician who’s collected a government paycheck for nearly 20 years.

He’s a fiscal conservative who called on lawmakers to make up a budget shortfall in the tens of billions by living within our means. Yet, he’s charging taxpayers $10,000 a month for a 6,386-square-foot rental mansion in the West Austin hills with seven baths and $1,000 Neiman Marcus window coverings.

There are so many similarities between Perry and former Texas Senator Phil Gramm. They both used to be Democrats, and Perry like Gramm lived off the “gument teet” for much of their lives, then became free-market freaks. Perry, though, is missing one Gramm trait. As Molly Ivins said about Gramm, “He’s got a face for radio and a voice for print”. Pretty boy Perry and his hair, aren’t weighed-down, in that respect, as Gramm was.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » Bush on steroids said,

    August 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    [...] life for the better, all the while being in public office, and being paid in taxpayer money. Or asPeggy Fikac recently put it, “He’s an anti-government crusader who’s a career politician who’s collected a [...]

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