Friday, April 30, 2010

Jennifer Shockley-Daniels on RRISD Issues

I had more time to visit with Jennifer Shockley-Daniels, candidate for Round Rock Independent School District Board of Trustees, Place 5, and found her a candidate worth my vote, as she has several significant ideas about education and our district.

Her platform has centered around open/honest communication between the Board, administration, and district parents and residents. Unfortunately, many parents in the community feel that the Board is not open enough, and largely rubber-stamps everything the administration desires. Shockley-Daniels advocates changing the boundary process to allow for a standardized set of data (and the formulas used to create data) to be distributed before the process, so that ALL neighborhoods will have the same access. She would also like to review each school's policies to make sure issues are properly addressed without creating unnecessary bureaucracy or new issues.

Jennifer Shockley Daniels is also concerned that our district, although stating otherwise, is not actually providing a challenging education for all students. Students at, or above grade level are not always being challenged. Students challenged at appropriate levels are good for the district as well as the students. Test scores, college readiness, etc., would be improved. Currently, RRISD does not have an accelerated learning program. In fact, our district spends half of the state average on accelerated learning.

Round Rock Independent School District Superintendent Jesus Chavez responds that the intent was for the regular classroom to be rigorous enough for all learners, and cites teacher enrichment as the answer for achieving this rigor. With the number of students per class and the various ability levels of all those students, asking teachers to also be responsible for enrichment seems a bit much, and Shockley-Daniels wants to implement plans used by other successful districts.

Finally, Jennifer Shockley-Daniels is smart and well-informed, AND a stay-at-home Mom with children in the district schools. We do not agree on every issue, but I do think she will have time and energy to focus on making the best decisions for the Round Rock Independent School District, and has an attitude of openness and honesty that will make it easy for us to work with her.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Terri Romere for Round Rock ISD Board

One of the most important and most ignored local elections is that for School Board. I reside in the Round Rock Independent School District, which manages a whopping budget of $292 Million. The district is considered to be highly ranked (Recognized), and has some good schools, so residents don't pay much attention, but there are some issues for both parents and taxpayers, and we would do well to take a closer look.

One area of concern is always the educational/instructional quality of the district. The district has improved ratings with the state, and has no academically unacceptable schools. Parental concerns stem from educational content and a perceived lack of responsiveness from some board members.

Since Williamson County pays some of the highest property tax rates in the nation, with the bulk of those taxes going to the school districts, even residents without children in the system should be concerned about spending. RRISD has bond debts of about $9.6 million (total payment; principle is about $6 million) and especially egregious to taxpayers has been the superintendent's salary. Hired in 2006 under contract for $204, 600 per year, Superintendent Chavez has been given annual increases bringing his salary to a whopping $252,875, more than any governor in the United States. Some year's increase was as much as 9%, although in the Obama economy, the poor fellow only received 1% in 2010.

Enough background, here are our choices:

In RRISD Place 4, local businesswoman and mother Terri Romere is challenging incumbent Linelle Clark Brown. While the usual benign campaign slogans for school boards are rampant, Romere is including fiscal responsibility issues in her platform. This is helpful, since most school board campaign rhetoric is dominated by emotional appeals 'for the children,' (click Brown's name above to see her enigmatic campaign website,) and we are supposed to dismiss any pleas for fiscal restraint. Romere's approach is balanced between fiscal responsibility and concern for educational quality (her own children are RRISD students). Voting history shows Romere to be a Republican voter, and she has a very impressive resume. The incumbent is a staunch Democrat. I am endorsing Romere.

In Place 5, the differences are not as clear. With incumbent Sherry Johnson stepping down, Jennifer Shockley-Daniels and Catherine Lore Hanna are the candidates. Both are Democrats, but Shockley Daniels seems the more reasonable of the two and pledges to be a voice for the community. Interestingly, RRISD Board President Diane Cox allegedly called Shockley-Daniels to tell her not to run, since Cox had already 'chosen' Hanna as the new board member. Unfortunately, this has been the Maldonado/Cox legacy; selecting candidates who will march in lockstep with the board and not ask too many questions. Even Democrat leaning former trustee Elizabeth Elleson was demonized for asking too many budgetary questions. While I am not actually endorsing Shockley-Daniels, I will be voting for her.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Citizins United

Eddie Hurst, candidate for Cedar Park City Council/Counsel sent this postcard out.

I just really don't know what to say...

Another Allegedly Non-Partisan Race: Cedar Park City Council

Of the many municipal elections in Williamson County, the race for Cedar Park City Council, Place 6 is proving to be one of the more interesting. There are four candidates vying for this seat, (a fifth, Terry Ryan, will appear on the ballot, but has officially dropped out,) and voters should look at each closely.

Previously I blogged about Eddie Hurst, the poor fellow who thinks he is running for City Counsel, serves on an Austin committee, and has trouble with campaign paperwork. The red flags for Hurst continue to mount with a possible conflict of interest in his advocating for a Cedar Park Jazz Festival. As a descendant of old New Orleans families, I love the idea of a Jazz Fest, but the problem for Hurst is that he also has been talking to residents about his plans to open his own jazz bar in Cedar Park. A festival seems like a great way to ensure the success of his private business venture.

Another problem candidate is Maria Talamo. For those who dismiss the 'non-partisan' myth, Talamo, like Hurst, has a Democrat voting history. Especially disturbing are Talamo's plans to introduce a hospital public health taxing authority in Williamson County. (Despite the fact that Wilco currently has more hospital beds than patients.)

Wayne Ruark seems to be a nice guy, with some relevant experience and a genuine concern for CP, but in this particular race, Don Tracy is the standout candidate. Tracy currently serves on the city's 4A Economic Development Board, and has an impressive resume of professional experience that will make him an asset to the CP Council. He has a Republican voting history and a fiscally conservative approach to politics. Check out Tracy's great campaign website for more information.

Early voting starts today, April 26, and will continue through May 4. The Williamson County Elections Office has a complete list of times and locations. Get informed and go vote!

Cross-posted at Smart Girl Politics

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Non-Partisan Election Myth

Whenever a person or group claims to be 'non-partisan,' BIG red flags go up for me, and often a little research proves my suspicions correct. Many groups use the non-partisan label as a means to camouflage their real purpose and agenda, and the term should never be taken at face value. Here in Texas we are well into municipal election season, and in Texas, municipal elections are supposedly 'non-partisan.'


The candidates may not register as members of a political party, and the official party apparatus may not get involved, but I propose that there is no such thing as a 'non partisan' election. Like each of us, candidates must have some ideas on how things ought to be done, or they wouldn't be running for office. I want to know what those ideas are.

Since municipal candidates are not supposed to identify with a party or ideology, voters have to dig a little deeper to discover the respective underlying philosophy. Do you want to entrust your school district's $292 million budget to a liberal Democrat? Even if you don't think party affiliation matters on the MUD or school board, keep in mind that local elected positions often serve as the stepping stone to higher office. Hey, today's PTA President could be tomorrow's Governor!

Voters should disregard the false reassurance of the 'non-partisan' label and do a little research on the candidates. With some 22 towns/cities and 15 Independent School Districts, nearly all Williamson County voters will have the opportunity to participate in one or more election on May 8. Here is an unofficial list of municipal candidates for Williamson County.

In the coming days I will be blogging about some of these races, but surely won't get to all. I urge Williamson County voters to check this list, get informed and please vote on May 8!

Monday, April 19, 2010

'Repeal and Replace' Rally April 20 is sponsoring a Repeal and Replace rally and petition drive tomorrow, April 20 at 8:00 am on the South Steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin.

Speakers include Governor George Pataki (R-NY), Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Attorney General Greg Abbott, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Linda Harper Brown.

For more information, visit

Thursday, April 15, 2010

M-u-n-i-c-i-p-a-l Election: Can You Spell It?

Although I'm not sure we've yet recovered from Tuesday's Primary runoff election, municipal elections are right around the corner, with Early voting beginning April 26, and Election Day on May 4.

Several Williamson County cities and school boards will hold elections, and although I have just begun to research the candidates, the 5-way race for Cedar Park City Council Place 6 looks like it might be quite interesting. Curiously, one of the candidates, Eddie Hurst, seems to think he is running for the City Counsel, as indicated on his campaign finance report. Furthermore, his report is a bit of a mess, showing donations made after the filing deadline, and expenditures made before any contributions had been received.

Another curiosity about Hurst is that he is currently serving on a City of Austin committee, to which he was appointed by Austin City Councilman Bill Spelman. Is Hurst a resident of Austin or Cedar Park?

Cedar Park is a rapidly growing city with an annual budget of around $86 Million, and the city will need strong leadership in the coming years. Hopefully residents will research candidates for the City Council with a little more attention to detail than Eddie Hurst, and go to the polls as informed voters.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time For Tea

With the Primary Elections finally behind us, it's time for a Tax Day TEA Party!

The Second Annual “TEA” Party, entitled “Take Back America 2010,” is scheduled from 6 to 8 pm, tomorrow, April 15, on the Williamson County Courthouse Lawn in Georgetown. Some of the best area activists will be speaking, including Alan Hill, Stephen Casey, Lynn Wooley, Randy Staudt, Barbara Mabray, Greg Holloway, La Nell Haynie, and Williamson County Comissioner Valerie Covey. Organizer David Schumacher says a variety of topics will be covered including, immigration, monetary policy, education, and, of course, taxes.

Participating Tea Partiers will need to be on the look out for liberal party crashers who are planning to attend carrying signs with racist sentiments. Not only have the liberal nutroots set up websites outlining plans to infiltrate and discredit Tea Party activists, even Democrat party leaders like former Democratic State Party Chair of New Hampshire, Kathy Sullivan have been promoting this effort.

Seems the liberals have given up on trying to actually debate issues highlighted at Tea Parties, and instead plan to try to paint us as a bunch of racists, homophobes, and quacks.

For more information on the Williamson County Tea Party, contact David Schumacher at

Gonzales Wins Decisive Victory

Republican Candidate for State House District 52, Larry Gonzales, won a decisive victory in the runoff election yesterday, garnering 71.28% of the vote. Voter turnout indicates renewed energy for Republicans since nearly 2,000 more voters participated in the 2010 Primary runoff as did in 2008.

Williamson County Republicans should be pleased to have such a strong candidate to face the Freshman Liberal Incumbent Diana Maldonado this November, and his chances in this Republican-leaning district are very good.

In addition, Williamson County's own Marsha Farney won the runoff for State Board of Education, District 10, with 64% of the vote.

In addition, Williamson County voters mirrored the statewide trend in the race for Texas Supreme Court, giving Debra Lehrmann a 54% margin. Justice Lehrmann won with 53% of the state-wide votes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Republican Run-off Election Tomorrow

The Republican Run-off Election is tomorrow, April 13, 2010. Polls will be open from 7 am to 7 pm, and eligible voters must report to their assigned precinct polling location in order to vote. Even those who did not vote in the March 2 Primary Election are permitted to participate in the run-off, but registered Democrats (those who voted in the 2010 Democrat Primary) are not eligible.

Williamson County voters need to be aware that several precincts have been combined, and thus have a different polling location for this run-off. A complete list of locations is available at the Williamson County Elections Office site here.

Of course the 'hottest' race for part of Wilco is the House District 52 contest between Larry Gonzales and John Gordon. The winner will face Liberal Democrat Diana Maldonado in November, and local Democrats seem to be relishing the possibility of a Gordon win.

Another race that suddenly turned negative last Friday is that between Brian Russell and Marsha Farney for State Board of Education, District 10.

Statewide, Republicans will also choose between Rick Green and Justice Debra Lehrmann for State Supreme Court.

Turnout is forecast to be between 4 and 6% of registered voters.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wilco Among Most Conservative-Friendly in U.S.

News outlet The Daily Caller has ranked Williamson County, Texas in the top 40 'Most Conservative-Friendly counties' in the country. The ranking is based on various conservative criteria, including how the county voted in the last two presidential elections, married family percentages, the State's laws regarding unions/labor, abortion, and Second Amendment rights, and intangibles such as the number of prominent conservative politicians in the county.

Williamson County is north of Austin and has implicitly marketed itself as a conservative alternative to the heavily liberal capital city. Dell Computers is headquartered in the massive suburb/city of Round Rock, which is much unlike the upscale liberal locales in Silicon Valley. Georgetown, the center of the county, is the site of the newest Sun City retirement community, which promises to be a renewable source of conservatism for years to come.

According to The Daily Caller, Williamson County is number 34, and while many Texas counties made the list, the most conservative-friendly county is Delaware County, Ohio.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Early Voting Begins Today

Early Voting for the Primary Run-off Election begins today, April 5, and will continue through Friday, April 9. Polls will be open from 7 am to 7 pm.

Williamson County Early Voting locations are:

Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown,
Sun City Social Center, 2 Texas Drive, Georgetown
McConico Building, 301 W. Bagdad St., Round Rock
Kinningham Park, 1000 South Creek Drive, Round Rock
RISD Brushy Creek Complex-Food Service, 16255 Great Oaks Dr. Ste 100, Round Rock
Anderson Mill Limited District, 11500 El Salido Parkway, Austin
Cedar Park Library, 550 Discovery Blvd., Cedar Park
Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter St., Taylor
Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center, 5800 McNeil Dr., Austin

During Early Voting, eligible voters may vote at any of the County Early Voting Locations. Registered Democrats are not eligible to vote in this GOP Primary. Voters are encouraged to bring their voter registration cards, but a photo ID is not required.

On the ballot are three contests:
House District 52 Representative
Larry Gonzales
John Gordon

State Board of Education
Brian Russell
Marsha Farney

Texas Supreme Court
Debra Lehrmann
Rick Green

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Conservative Republicans of Texas Endorse Gonzales

Conservative Republicans of Texas Endorsement
March 30, 2010

Dear Republican Voter,

In these critical days, for our State and Country, it is more important than ever to elect solid, proven conservatives to represent our families and freedoms in Austin. In this important April 13th runoff election, Larry Gonzales stands alone as the true conservative we can trust!

Larry Gonzales is a proven conservative leader at the State Capitol, with nine consecutive legislative sessions of work as a key staff member in the Texas House, for the Lt. Governor, Texas Attorney General, and as an Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Texas State University System.

Larry’s opponent has NO legislative experience at the State Capitol, and would represent another freshman legislator with a four year learning curve. District 52cannot afford to be under-represented going into this key legislative session. His opponent has no solutions or ideas for the problems facing our state.

Indeed, his campaign literature and website has completely avoided addressing any state issue of importance to Texas families and businesses. Failing to discuss the issues is only made worse by the impression that he does not have any ideas for solving them.

Larry’s opponent is also the candidate of “no.” He has a long history of working against every major initiative for dealing with fast growth in Williamson County. He fights against our elected officials and active volunteer leaders on matters of needed infrastructure and schools. He wants to go “back” while Williamson County is moving forward!

In contrast, Larry Gonzales ’ years of experience and valuable legislative insights, have earned the endorsement of numerous conservative organizations including: Texas Alliance for Life PAC, Texas Association of Business BACPAC, Young Conservatives of Texas, Empower Texans PAC, and the Williamson County Republican Assembly.

And it is my pleasure to endorse him as well, as President of Conservative Republicans of Texas.

This runoff election could decide the future of our State and our Country for a generation. I urge you to stand with me in support of Larry Gonzales , to ensure that our future includes lower taxes, less government, secure borders and traditional family values!

Every single vote counts and every vote for Larry Gonzales brings District 52 and Texas one step closer to true conservative leadership. Please visit his website at, to participate in his campaign.

With much appreciation, I remain, as always,

Sincerely yours,

Steven F. Hotze, M.D.
President, Conservative Republicans of Texas

Friday, April 2, 2010

Who Is Bob Perry?

In a desperate attempt to distract voters from his own frightening record, John Gordon, candidate for Representative to the Texas House, District 52, has been alleging that campaign donations from homebuilder Bob Perry are somehow scandalous.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

A little background on Bob Perry: Perry (of Perry Homes) is a staunch Conservative who is a backer of TORT reform. He donates funds to Texans For Lawsuit Reform, as well as numerous conservative candidates in Texas. In 2004 he was a major financial backer of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, the group that exposed the truth about Senator Kerry's military service. For these efforts, Bob Perry is a conservative hero.

Ironically, while Gordon is complaining about the $90k Bob Perry gave to the Larry Gonzales campaign, Gordon says nothing about his own self-funded campaign, to which he and his family members have contributed well over $100,000. Larry Gonzales is a middle-class business owner, not a wealthy, self-funded candidate, but he is supported by the rest of the conservative community.

In 2008, candidates for House District 52 spent nearly $1 Million dollars each, and estimates indicate 2010 will be no different. Democrats are planning to pour funds into Diana Maldonado's campaign this year, and whichever Republican ends up on the November ballot will have to raise equitable funds.

The Democrats have George Soros; Republicans need big donors too.

New Allegations About John Gordon

A conservative political action group has put up a website with a compilation of open records on John Gordon. It's pretty overwhelming. See for yourself:
"The True John Gordon"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

John Gordon a "Ticking Time Bomb"

Yesterday, local radio stations began airing this ad about John Gordon:

In this ad:

One of Gordon's arrests and convictions,
Gordon's threat to "beat a man to pieces,"
One of Gordon's lawsuits,
Gordon's hiring a private eye to follow a female opponent,
Gordon's frequent court battles over traffic violations.

The narrator states: "The real John Gordon? A ticking time bomb, ready to explode. On April 13th, don't let him in your house - the Texas House. Vote "no" on Gordon."