Rick Noriega Wins Democracy For Texas Endorsement

Posted in Good Stuff, US Senate Race, Election 2008, 2008 Primary, Democratic Events at 9:04 am by wcnews

And the DFT Endorsement goes to…Rick Noriega!

You have spoken loud and clear. With overwhelming support from all over the State, Rick Noriega is the stand-out choice of the grassroots to face John Cornyn in the race for the U.S. Senate. The final results are:

Candidate // All Voters // DFT Members

Rick Noriega // 78.4% // 86.2%

Mikal Watts // 21.6% // 13.8%

Total votes cast: 1,931*

We’re excited that our first endorsement is for such a terrific candidate, one who drew comments such as these:

“I am extremely impressed with Rick Noriega’s clarity of thought and purpose as well as his passion and organization.”

“Rick is the right man at the right time.”

“Rick Noriega is the candidate supported by grassroots Texans all across our State because he is the candidate who has the integrity to represent all Texans…”

“…Rick is tough enough to stand toe to toe with any Republican…”

“Rick Noriega has “walked the walk” and has a progressive voting record to show for it!”

Over the coming months, we’ll give you ideas of how you can help Rick in his campaign. Right now, the best way you can help is to sign up on his website and make a contribution before the end of the quarter on September 30.

Join the Rick Noriega for Senate campaign here.

Click here to make a donation to Rick Noriega via ActBlue.

We appreciate the thoughtful answers of both candidates to our questionnaire, and we will leave a download on our website so you can spread the word. And many thanks to all of you who took the time to read their answers and vote, especially those who made a contribution to help us defray the cost of the poll.

We look forward to an exciting primary season and to sending John Cornyn home in November 2008!

P.S. Marla Camp, one of the founders of Democracy for Texas, is on sabbatical from the Steering Committee while she focuses on her successful new magazine, Edible Austin. Marla will continue to be involved in DFT, and we look forward to having her back in a leadership position as soon as possible.

* In order to address concerns expressed by some participants about the elimination of questionable votes, we have counted all votes (including those in question) except those that were clearly duplicates, those cast after the deadline, and a handful from out of state.


Why I’m Running

Posted in Election 2008, District 31, Congress, Central Texas, Commentary at 7:51 pm by bpruiz

(Welcome Brian P. Ruiz to Eye on Williamson. He’s running against John Carter in CD-31. Be sure and read more about him at his web site www.ruizforcongress.com. He’s started a blog a ruizforcongress.blogspot.com. Drop him a few bucks if you can at his Act Blue page.)

Think about the average American’s daily expenses: health care, childcare, student loans, high interest credit cards, high gasoline prices. The list goes on and on. We are told by our President that by helping citizens of other countries realize their dreams, we are promoting peace and security here at home. However, our own country’s lower and middle classes are currently not able to dream without taking a huge risk. Many Americans spend their time worrying that they may get sick and incur costly medical expenses or fall behind on credit card bills and ruin their credit. All of this is accumulating into a lifestyle that leaves little room for taking risks and dwindling chances for reaching the American Dream.

I confront the same concerns every day. I have chosen to take a huge risk because the middle class no longer has a voice in Congress. Many representatives in Congress do not relate to or understand the struggles that the middle class endures in their day-to-day lives. As a father of two, I now see this world starting to head in the wrong direction. This is why I have decided to declare my candidacy for United States Congress in District 31. I believe it is time for Congress to relinquish one of their seats for a true representative of District 31 and help get our nation back on track.

- Brian P. Ruiz

John Carter And FDR?

Posted in District 31, Commentary, Williamson County at 5:05 pm by wcnews

Rep. John Carter’s latest blog post is at the same time deplorable and hypocritical. He also has the temerity to invoke the name of FDR. Carter, someone who would love no more than to do away with what FDR created, Social Security included, has the gall to quote him in an effort to justify the right wing’s attempts to end earmarks now that they’re in the minority. Here’s the blog post and the quote, The Need for Earmark Reform is Now.

In 1938, Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered one of America’s first nation-wide radio addresses. In that historic address he said, “The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government.” These words of our past should serve as a reminder to every member of Congress. Our primary goal is to protect the interests of the American people, and keep them informed about where and how their tax dollars are being spent.

Yes, that’s right, now that Carter’s no longer in the majority he’s all against pork. Read about Rep. Carter’s own problems with pork and earmarks in the Pig Book of 2006. It is a classic quote, similar to Jefferson’s regarding ignorance and freedom. FDR’s quote though doesn’t say that Congress should inform the people, but that the people should make sure they are informed, be “..strong enough and well enough informed..” to continue governing themselves. That means citizens having the inner strength to educate themselves so they can make well informed decisions. Not a bunch of uninformed sheep watching Fox News Infotainment, which is what Carter would probably prefer. Because as the Carter’s blog post shows, if we all got our “information” from our member(s) of Congress, we wouldn’t be well enough informed to maintain our sovereignty.

Read the rest of this entry »

BREAKING: Judge Rules Against Texas TURF And For TxDOT

Posted in Privatization, Road Issues, Around The State at 1:07 pm by wcnews

Texas TURF’s attempt to stop TxDOT from spending taxpayer money to advertise the TTC to Texans has failed, Texas Politics is reporting.

State District Judge Orlinda Naranjo just ruled against activist Terri Hall’s effort to get a temporary restraining order against state transportation officials spending public funds to promote toll roads.

More to come when it becomes available.

Follow Up On Krusee, Ogden Posts From Friday

Posted in SD 5, HD-52, Congress, Central Texas, Williamson County, Commentary, The Lege at 11:41 am by wcnews

There’s no doubt it’s great news that Rep. Krusee would want to be seen campaigning with Gov. Rick Perry. Perry is not going to help him at all with Independents and anti-toll/TTC voters. Krusee already has about $325,000 CoH (as of June 30, 2007). He must think it’s going to take a ton of cash to brainwash voters in HD-52 into forgetting about all the bad things he’s done. Looking at the 2006 numbers for HD-52, Perry did even worse in 52 (38.8%) than he did statewide (39.3). [Many are looking to the Willett(R) - Moody (D) race for possible Democratic upsets in 2008, where in HD-52 it was W-52.2%, M-47.8%]. Krusee, of course, barely broke 50% against a candidate that had little money, but much heart. This time he won’t be so lucky and it’s doubtful cozying up to Perry and his TTC pland will help. Neither will the Craddick flip-flop, as one commenter said to the earlier post:

The only time that I have been the least proud of Krusee as my State Rep was when he gave that speech against Craddick.

It did look like Krusee did something right, even though at the time it was almost assured that Krusee had jumped off the sinking ship to try and save himself. Now we know he’s figured out his only chance at keeping this seat is to run way to the right, and amass as much money as he can however he can, in a district that’s becoming more Democratic by the day.

As for state Sen. Steve Ogden, Senate District 5, again pure speculation that he will run for Congress, but the numbers in CD-17 do favor a Republican. Rep. Chet Edwards has seriously outperformed all Democrats in this district since its creation in the DeLay redistricting scheme of 2003. Ogden carried 69.4% v Wyman (who didn’t even campaign) - which was less than KBH (70.5%) - in the part of CD-17 that overlapped SD 5. Ogden has, as of July 16, 2007, almost $700,000 CoH. That’s quite a bit of cash for a state Senator that’s not facing reelection for a while. Again the numbers may look good for a Republican but Edwards has been resilient, is a tireless campaigner, and is well-funded.

Texas Blog Round Up (September 24, 2007)

Posted in Commentary, Around The State at 8:55 am by wcnews

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for yet another edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance’s Weekly Blog Round-Up. This week’s installment is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

It’s about one thing. TXsharon at Bluedaze tells us why we have to make it about something else.

Bill Howell of StoutDemBlog, a new member of the Texas Progressive Alliance, takes a look at Kirk England’s recent party switch as well as other recent party switches in Dallas County in Rove’s Permanent Majority Collapses: Now What Do We Do With All These Defectors?

Boadicea at Texas Kaos wonders if MoveOn doesn’t owe John Cornyn a thank you note.

Musings discovers that the lead GOP presidential contenders are too busy for Black and Latino sponsored debates, while the local Harris County GOP claim they are home to Hispanics because of their once a year bike give away.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has word on Mayor Manlove of Pasadena entering the race to challenge Lampson for Congress and the mayor’s race it opens up He also has a short colorful digest of Naomi Klein promoting her book on Disaster Capitalism.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson posts on recent news that Gov. Perry and Speaker Craddick - who Krussee excoriated at the end of the legislative session-will appear at a fundraiser for him in Krusee Throws Reagan Over The Wall And Under The Bus.

Mayor McSleaze at McBlogger takes a look at some of the dumber things to come out of the right this week, like Bill O’Reilly’s trip to a Harlem hot spot where he discovered that it was just like a ‘real’ restaurant, you know, like Olive Garden.

Off the Kuff looks at the causes and effects of Kirk England’s party switch.

Refinish69 at Doing My Part For The Left looks at UT football and ask a simple question - UTLonghorns or UT Thugs.

Burnt Orange Report and its diarists are following the Kirk England switchover with enthusiasm. After breaking the story on Wednesday, the entirestaff, welcomes the newest Democrat to the House.

KT at Stop Cornyn shows how Junior Senator John Cornyn is wasting time again. Instead of getting funding for CHIP or getting our troops the armor they need, John Cornyn forced a vote condemning MoveOn.org. Yet another example of failed leadership and Junior John being out of touch with Texas needs.

at the Caucus Blog covered two major stories this week. First, after months of investigation, discussion, and debate, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus has decided to endorse the HISD bond proposal. Second, Evan has looked into the history of the fight for a federal Employment Non-discrimination Act in the post “ENDA Deja Vu.”

Bradley at North Texas Liberal discusses how Washington, D.C. almost had the vote, but lost it due to greedy Senate Republicans. Only eight Republicans could be bothered to vote for the legendary bill that would have allowed the District a voting member of Congress.

The marriage of the Republican party to theocracy is no accident. Right wing investors like Richard Mellon Scaife are molding US churches, notes CouldBeTrue at in “What does an El Paso Church have to do with the right wing” at South Texas Chisme.

It was quite a week for Senator Box Turtle; he led the Senate charge against free speech, voted against habeas corpus, and against adequate down time for our soldiers. As PDiddie at Brains and Eggs points out, he now owns the war on terror — in addition to the war on the Constitution and all Americans. But he did unwittingly sponsor a successful fundraiser for MoveOn.org, so he wasn’t a complete failure.

WhosPlayin joins a local Republican activist in opposing tax abatements for speculative real estate development in Lewisville.

Vince at Capitol Annex has been keeping tabs on the Texas Conservative Coalition and its town hall meetings across East Texas in which they propose to eliminate property taxes in favor of an expanded sales tax, and points out that at least one new candidate has already started drinking their Kool-Aid.

Hal at Half Empty was at a campaign kickoff fundraiser for Ron Reynolds who is running for State Rep in HD 27. He took videos and did a series. Links to the series is at his summary posting: Ron E. Reynolds is Running for State
Rep in HD 27

Blue 19th notes that Randy Neugebauer can’t hide his contempt for veterans from everyone. So which party was it that supported our troops? Oh yeah, the one that doesn’t start with “Republican”.

No? No! Yes? Yes! Texas Cloverleaf reports on Trinity Vote Trickery Confusing ballot language and campaign slogans cloud the upcoming Trinity Toll Road vote in Dallas.


Is Sen. Ogden Thinking About Running For Congress In CD 17?

Posted in SD 5, Election 2008, Congress, Central Texas, Williamson County, Commentary, The Lege at 4:07 pm by wcnews

When a state senator pens an Op-Ed regarding a national issue that his current position has little or nothing to do with it grabs my attention. In today’s AAS state Sen. Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) throws around GOP talking points and “strawman arguments” like they’re going out of style in an Op-Ed about why we should “stay the course” in war on terror (WOT). If Ogden was planning to stay in the legislature it would seem more fitting for him to be writing an Op-Ed about tuition deregulation, Community College funding, or trasnportation funding, issues he could do something about in his current position, and not the WOT.

Seeing a state senator pontificate on a national issue like this naturally leads those of us that are politically inclined to speculate as to why a state senator would do this. EOW’s first thought is ambition. What would be next in the pecking order, at the national level, for a state senator? That’s right, Congress. Well Bryan, Texas just happens to be part of CD 17, which is currently held by Democrat Chet Edwards who is always at or near the top of the GOP’s target list.

I haven’t looked at Ogden’s finances but he probably doesn’t need to worry too much about it, whoever wins the GOP nomination can count on money in this race. If he runs we’ll assume the GOP field will be cleared for him. One issue Ogden may have, if he runs, is that it’s been a while since he’s had to seriously campaign, if ever. Last I heard the GOP was trying to bring in a “ringer” right-winger from Virginia to challenge Edwards but that may have fallen through. Ogden already has name ID in the district, and maybe he’s ready to get out of the Austin and take a shot at Congress.

Of course if he did run it would mean big changes in Williamson County. I’m sure Dan Gattis, Jr. would look to move up from the house. Who would take his place? Word on the street is that current Precinct 3 County Commissioner Valerie Covey or Precinct 2 County Commissioner Cynthia Long could run in HD 20. Who takes her place? Well you’d have to ask the Republicans in Sun City. This is all just speculation at this point, but if it’s gonna happen the seat shuffle needs to start soon.

Krusee Throws Reagan Over The Wall And Under The Bus

Posted in HD-52, Election 2008, 2008 Primary, Williamson County at 3:37 pm by wcnews

If it wasn’t Rep. Mike Krusee (R-Hypocrite) this would be surprising. AAS reporting, Krusee and Craddick patching things up?

In early October, House Speaker Tom Craddick, along with Gov. Rick Perry, will appear at a fundraiser for state Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Williamson County.

This is interesting because Krusee used a personal privilege speech at the end of the legislative session to criticize the way Craddick had interpreted House rules to prevent a vote on his removal. He also signed on to a request for an attorney general’s opinion on whether Craddick had acted properly.

They’re referring to this personal privilege speech, Tear Down the Wall?

Absolute power to deny the right to question authority is not a principle of the Republican party, or any party. Not in this country.

Not in this country.

One of my heroes, Ronald Reagan, once said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. “The wall was physical and it was metaphorical. It was a barrier to freedom. It silenced people’s voices.

This interpretation of our rules has erected a wall between leadership and the membership. Mr. Speaker, we must tear it down.

Barrier’s to freedom are one thing but his own political survival is a completely different matter. Now we know why a primary challenger never came forward. Krusee’s in trouble and everyone knows it. This district is trending Democratic, big time, and it looks like the Texas GOP believes their only chance to save this seat is with a well-funded Krusee.

Issues With Congress

Posted in Congress, Commentary, Around The Nation at 3:14 pm by wcnews

[Much of what’s linked below can be understood much better by reading this first,
The Working Conservative (but not Republican) Majority]

Two from The Agonist:
Republicans More Happy With the “Democratic” Congress than Democrats.

..Congress is controlled by a conservative ruling majority. What’s not to like if you’re Republican? And what, exactly, have they done that independents and Democrats would like? I’m having a hard time coming up with much of anything.

MoveOn And the Kabuki Congress.

The US Senate voted 72 to 25 to condemn the Move-On ad which called General Petraeus “General Betray Us”. It’s hard to know where to start with this, because it’s an episode that says so much about the US and the US Congress, so I’m just going to work through it point by point.


The job now will be to support those few Dems who deserve it, to work on primaries and recruiting candidates and get ready for 2008. Working with the leadership is off the table - I personally will no longer be asking anyone to call on anything unless I believe the leadership will fight for the bill, rather than just make a token vote and let it go down easily. No fight - no support. I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

David Sirota’s column this week, Over The Dead Bodies … Again.

It is mere months after Democrats won the election on a promise to defend America’s middle class. The nation demands action to address burgeoning health care and environmental crises. But somehow, the first significant initiative the newly empowered Democratic Party is likely to pass into law is a lobbyist-written trade pact to help Big Business ship jobs overseas.

Quick: Am I talking about the early 1990s or the present day?



It all comes back to cash. Environmental, health care and war policies divide moneyed interests. But nothing unites them like trade pacts crafted to drive wages and public interest laws into the ground. Every corporate campaign donor rallies around that, especially when politicians and the media morph the trade debate into a caricatured contest between anachronistic protectionism and enlightened internationalism, rather than what it really is: a choice between pragmatic reform and selling out.

Thus, as America’s health care system fails, global warming intensifies and war in Iraq rages, the only initiative Congress seems willing to forge bipartisan consensus on is a new three-headed NAFTA, steamrolled “over the dead bodies” of voters.

A very good article on the overwhelming number of GOP filibusters in the Senate, Subverting Majority Rule.

Republicans are filibustering so many bills that the press has begun to cover this extreme tactic as business as usual. The front-page Washington Post story covering the Webb proposal is headlined “Senate bill short of sixty votes needed.” The article says the proposal “failed on a 56 to 44 vote, with 60 votes needed for passage.” The article never tells the reader that the reason majority rule was frustrated was because of a Republican filibuster that requires 60 votes to overcome.

The New York Times coverage – “GOP minority prevails” is the subtitle – was somewhat better. In its fourth paragraph, the article reports that the proposal “fell four votes short of the 60 needed to prevent a filibuster.” In fact, the 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster, not prevent it. Both papers reported the filibuster correctly on the habeas corpus legislation.

It is vital that the press get this right – and that the media expose the extraordinary scope of the Republican strategy of obstruction. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, has announced that Republicans will filibuster every “controversial measure.” They are making majority rule the exception rather than the routine in the Senate. Never has any party been so brazen or systematic in using the filibuster to block the majority.

It’s like a broken record.

Random Double Charges From TxTags

Posted in HD-52, Had Enough Yet?, Road Issues, Central Texas, Williamson County at 10:59 am by wcnews

KXAN is reporting, TxTag Glitch Charges Drivers Double, and Sal has the video. Here’s the gist of the story:

Thousands of drivers pay to use the new toll roads of Central Texas, but if they drive along sections of Loop 1 and state highways 130 and 45, they’re prone to pay double.

Here’s one driver’s story:

“I don’t use the toll roads all that much, but I use them occasionally,” said TxTag owner Marcus Davis. “And so I figured I knew I had a low balance, but it shouldn’t have been as low as it was.”

The low balance made Davis do a double take because of the double charge at the Lake Creek toll plaza.

“It may be a couple cents here or there, but it’s money that I worked hard for, and I’d like it,” said Davis.

Luckily, Davis caught the mistake after going through the westbound SH 45 toll booth, which was posted as Lake Creek plaza lane 10. He e-mailed TxTag and eventually got his money back.

Here’s TxDOT’s less than “oh well, these things happen” response:

The problem hasn’t affected drivers just along SH 45, however, and the Texas Department of Transportation doesn’t deny the problem.

“It’s not on every lane, not at every booth,” said Gabriela Garcia of TxDOT. “It does happen very randomly and sporadically, which is why we have a small number of customers that are being affected. It doesn’t happen every time.”

TxDOT said the glitch starts in the computer software.

“It’s a timing issue between the tag readers and the cameras that are in the lanes, so it’s that software that links the two together where we have a glitch in that software,” said Garcia.

According to TxDOT, the software charges about 150 accounts double the required amount daily. That’s out of about 192,000 recorded transactions.

There’s no mention of how TxDOT actually arrives at that number. I think most taxpayers/toll payers would prefer an independent audit to see how often this is really happening. Thre’s no mention about what they’re doing to fix the problem. Just a glitch, oh well, deal with it. The other thing that I didn’t find in this article was whose responsibility it is for finding who gets “tagged” by the glitch? If a driver gets double charged and never notices, does TxDOT get to keep the money? More than likely that was part of the fine print when acquiring a TxTag. Here’s Mr. Davis again.

Davis said he is glad his proactive eyes caught the mistake; he just wonders how many others haven’t caught the lack of cash in their account.

“If someone is busy, they’re just kind of skimming through, or they just don’t check it at all, especially if they travel this all the time, that’s a lot of money wasted,” said Davis.

Not wasted, scammed. 150 per day X 365 days in a year / .45¢ toll charge = $24,637.50/year. And that’s using the lowest possible TxTag charge.

« Previous entries · Next entries »