Thursday, September 30, 2010

GOP McGuinness Taking Lead in HD50 Race

Okay, so Texas House District 50 is not in Williamson County, but is significant to us since it borders House District 52.  In what most pundits thought a safe race for Democrats, Republican challenger Patrick McGuinness has a slight lead over the pro-Obama incumbent.  If even Travis County Democrats are in trouble...whew!

Unlike the Quorum Report, I only cite real polls, so here is the official release regarding the Gateway Research Group poll.

AUSTIN, TX – A poll conducted by the Gateway Research Group in the first week of September shows Republican Patrick McGuinness with a slight lead in the race for House District 50 in northern Travis County.

49.7% of those polled favored McGuinness over Democrat incumbent Mark Strama, who garnered 48.1%. 2.2% of those polled were undecided in this race.

“This poll, like the one conducted for GOPAC-Texas recently, shows that voters are turning away from the Democrats’ failed policies, both nationally and in the Texas House,” said McGuinness. “I will continue to make my case to voters in HD 50, advocating fiscally conservative policies that build our prosperity by keeping taxes and spending in check, and pursuing excellence in education by empowering parents and teachers.

McGuinness continued, “My opponent supports Obama and his agenda, and stood with liberal Democrats in the legislature to vote against taxpayers, against ballot security, against teacher merit pay, and against fiscal responsibility. I aim to bring better representation to my neighbors in district 50. ”

The Gateway Research Group is part of the Austin-based Gateway Policy Group. The poll was conducted between August 28 and September 6, 2010 and sampled voters in HD 50. Questions can be directed to Dr. Greg Hupp or Trey Newton at 512-477-3100.

Patrick McGuinness is a longtime Austin resident, and an engineer at Freescale with a doctorate in Computer Science. He and his wife Celeste are raising their four children in northwest Austin. He can be reached at 512-377-1307 or

Texas Lt. Governor Speaking in Williamson County October 6

Lieutenant Governor of Texas David Dewhurst will be in Williamson County on October 6, as the keynote speaker for the Williamson County Republican Women's annual fundraiser at 6PM at the Star Ranch Golf Club in Hutto. 

Dewhurst will be on the ballot this election, but you probably haven't heard too much about his race.  Why?  Because the popular Lt. Governor has been a voice for fiscally conservative/pro-jobs policies, supports strong border security, and has been working with other state leaders to thwart the effects of Obamacare on Texas.  His opponent?  The Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO.  Nuff said. 

The event, playfully entitled the 'Rhinestone RoundUp,' also includes GOP candidate for the Texas Supreme Court Judge Debra Lehrmann as emcee, and Larry Gonzales will give special introductory remarks. 

Tickets are $60 per person, table sponsorships are available.  The Williamson County Republican Women as always, will have some other fun surprises in store, and encourage all to dress "cowboy." 

The Ladies need an rsvp by Sunday, October 3.  Email

And by the way, did you know that our Lt. Gov is a competitive cutting horse rider?  Yep, he was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2009.  Which gives me an excuse to post this really awesome picture of a great Texan. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Maldonado Holds Sparsely Attended Transportation 'Tax Hike' Forum, But No-Shows for Economic Forum

On Monday,Representative Diana Maldonado held a transportation forum with Representative Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), Chair of the Texas House Transportation Committee, and David Lewis, a Texas A&M professor. 

Maldonado's guests repeatedly made the case for 'indexing' the gas tax, currently at $.20 per gallon, and bewailed the fact that more fuel-efficient vehicles mean less income for government.  He made the usual comparisons of the amount of increase to a "latte " each month (thankfully it wasn't Happy Meals this time,) and lightly ridiculed politicians who made pledges to not raise taxes.  While whining about the fact that vehicle registration fees decline as a vehicle ages, Representative Pickett said the system was "stupid," and complained that no-one had thanked him for the fee decrease on older cars. 

No, seriously, he really said that. 

Representative Maldonado did not say much at all.  During the brief question and answer period, she attempted to answer a few questions, but Representative Pickett quickly jumped in to save the day. 

The most articulate woman present turned out to be Williamson County Commissioner Lisa Birkman, who asked very knowledgeable questions about road construction funding for the county.  Pickett tried to brush her off with his condescending comments about how "people just don't understand," and "you've got to know the terminology and acronyms," but finally had to concede that she was a 'smart person.'  Commissioner Birkman demonstrated that she knew a lot more than the 'terminology,' and clearly understands how roads are funded, including the fact that the county is funding construction and maintenance of state highways to the tune of $300 million. 

The Democrat's tax hike message didn't get much attention; there were only 20 people in the audience including Maldonado's staff and a few reporters.  Maldonado and local Democrats have been trying very hard to make transportation a campaign issue, and although apparently unable to help Williamson County with the burden of state highway costs, she is still claiming residents should vote for her so that she can do something about road congestion.  Apparently, the only plan is to increase gas taxes and registration fees. 

As poll after poll indicates, voters are concerned about Obamacare, jobs, and the economy.  Transportation is pretty far down the list.  Representative Maldonado should be paying attention to the economic and jobs crisis, but since she was a no-show today for a candidate forum with Republican Larry Gonzales sponsored by Texas Prosperity Project regarding the Texas economy and job creation, she just really, really doesn't seem interested.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Democrats Worked Really, Really Hard Last Weekend

Democrats were very busy over the weekend, but seem to be more desperate than I thought.
Perhaps this is what comes from hiring paid thugs campaign workers via the internet?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Diana Maldonado Now Masquerading as an Independent or Something

Oh my, the Diana Maldonado campaign has finally figured out it's not such a good thing to be an Obama Democrat this year.  The latest campaign flyer from the beleaguered incumbent not only implies she is fiscally conservative, but actually claims she is the "Independent" voice.  Furthermore, that bad, bad word "Democrat" has been stricken from the entire piece, front and back.  What a charade.

For starters, a recent poll showed that the number one issue for independent voters this year is....Obamacare.  Specifically, they hate it.  This is a huge problem for Representative Maldonado; even though she couldn't vote for it, she sent a very public letter to the President in March 2010, urging him to go ahead and force Obamacare through Congress despite overwhelming public opposition.  Not a popular move amongst 'Independents.' 

Another huge problem for Maldonado is her list of supporters; most notably Annie's List , a 'liberal-progressive' group so controversial, that even the Williamson County Democrat Party Chair spoke out against them.  In addition to the radically pro-abortion Annie's List, Maldonado also takes support from Blue Texas, a left-wing, pro-Democrat PAC, as well as other liberal-progressive groups. 

Of course this isn't the only charade Maldonado and her supporters are attempting; in addition to last week's awkward debate faux pas, Lefty blog Burnt Orange Report mistakenly claimed a poll showed her leading by 50-42 against Larry Gonzales.  However, author Karl-Thomas-Musselman had to backtrack since the 50-42 number wasn't a poll after all.   Here is the exchange:

Does a recent poll show Diana Maldonado leading her Republican challenger 50%-42%? It's possible. Maybe those on Sen. Kirk Watson's Online Townhall yesterday with Rep. Maldanado know more- I missed the call.

CORRECTION: Alas, those weren't poll numbers, but instead Rep. Maldonado's time of 50min:42sec for her 5 mile run. Too bad the title wasn't "Maldonado Running Strong in District 52"!
Well, duh.  Maldonado could not get to 50% in a pro-Dem year, only a fool would believe she is somehow stronger in a pro-Conservative year.  A better title would've been "Maldonado Running from Her Votes." 

Curiously, the mea culpa hasn't stopped lefties like Harvey Kronberg from running with the rumor that Maldonado is leading, although he is careful to add "No, we haven't seen the poll."  So much for the credibility of the Quorum Report. 

Diana Maldonado can try to use campaign literature to hide her affiliations, but she won't be able to hide from her voting record and actions as a legislator. Educated voters will realize that Maldonado and her fellow Democrats are part of the problem, and the solution will be to declare their independence by hiring a new State Rep for House District 52.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Maldonado Is Weaving a Tangled Web: UPDATED

Apparently the Diana Maldonado campaign had to do some quick scrambling Wednesday in response to the revelation that the Texas House District 52 Representative has been avoiding open debate on political issues. By Wednesday night, they were sending out notices to lefty bloggers that included a copy of Maldonado's Calendar, which now shows scheduled debates. Their take?  “See? See? She had it right there on her calendar!”

Unfortunately a copy of an electronic calendar doesn't prove much. The syndicated Lynn Wooley radio show invited Representative Maldonado to debate with Gonzales on air, but she claimed she was unavailable for the initial date. The show then offered 3 alternate dates, but she claimed to be busy on all three. Her campaign is now saying the show was too “Tea Party,” but that does not explain why she declined the Austin Community College invitation for a televised debate. The Round Rock Chamber Debate Diana suddenly has on her electronic calendar for October 5, is actually tentatively scheduled for October 14 during lunch at the Wingate, and has not been finalized. The wrangling over the terms of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber has been going on inconclusively for weeks.

Puzzled by the fact that he had never even heard about the debate at Southwestern University to which Diana claims she agreed, GOP candidate Larry Gonzales actually picked up the telephone to call the university to try to determine when and where this debate will take place. Officials at Southwestern were completely baffled by the question, and stated that nothing was on the college calendar. However, when Gonzales finally got in touch with the events coordinator, he was told that the College Democrats had contacted scheduling on Wednesday night to schedule a debate, while the Maldonado campaign is claiming it has been scheduled for weeks. The press release from the Gonzales campaign calling for debates arrived in my mailbox at 11:57AM Wednesday morning.

It gets better. The scheduler tells Larry that “one candidate has confirmed and they've talked to a least one other one,” and “they have talked to Gonzales.” Neither Larry nor anyone with his campaign have ever been contacted by anyone regarding a debate at Southwestern.

The truth is that Larry Gonzales is willing to have an unscripted debate anytime, anywhere, while Representative Maldonado has been evasive and/or making diva-demands regarding parameters. When called out for her tactics, it seems Diana Maldonado and her handlers scrambled together an elaborate deception to try to make Larry Gonzales look like a liar. Pretty slimy stuff.

Happily, the result of all this, is that now Diana Maldonado will have to agree to some real debates. I'm sure the Voters of House District 52 will appreciate the chance to get beyond the pre-worded statements into serious discussion of the issues.

News 8 Austin covered this story this evening, and confirmed that no debate had been scheduled at Southwestern University.  Also of interest: regarding Larry Gonzales' request for unscripted debates,   "Maldonado admitted she preferred less divisive settings."  Of course she does.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Constitution Day: What is Your Child's School Teaching?

Tomorrow is the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution, which is perhaps the greatest governing document created by man.  Federal law requires all public schools to teach students about the Constitution on September 17, but apparently there is a great deal of latitude on the 'how' and 'what' of those lessons. 

At Texas' Permian High School, educators instructed students to create a collage about the Constitution, and sent home a rather curious handout with a brief rundown of the Amendments.  This summary only mentions that the First Amendment establishes the people's right to criticize the government, and that the Second Amendment maintains "that states have the right to have armed militias."  This 'lesson' on the 1st Amendment makes no mention of religious freedoms, and the latter seems to exclude an individual right to keep and bear arms.

To make matters worse, when parents Audra and Jason Moore sent an email asking about the origins of the teaching materials, the teacher repeatedly insisted the material came from the Declaration of Independence. (And incidentally, misspelled 'Independence' throughout.)  While those of us already concerned about the quality of academics in public schools are appalled that the extent of the assignment for 11th-grade students is merely to make a collage, apparently the teacher is utterly lacking in the knowledge and skill necessary to teach such an important historic and civic lesson. 

This incident occurred in a relatively conservative community in Texas; one can only guess the extent of the problem in more liberal climes, as evidenced by certain textbook manufacturers who apply an appalling level of bias to U.S. History lessons, and even attach a warning label to the Constitution.  Happily, many groups are working to re-introduce serious consideration of the Constitution, even providing pocket copies of the Constitution to 5th graders. Of course this leads one to wonder why these schools have 5th graders reading the actual Constitution while 11th graders are making collages.

Americans need to wake up and realize the extent of the attempts to indoctrinate their children with liberal viewpoints via the public school system. Rather than just assuming the schools are teaching, take time to talk to your children about this historic anniversary and what it means. The future of the country may depend on it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Representative Maldonado Afraid to Debate?

In the recent Politifact/Austin American Statesman article verifying that Democrat Representative Diana Maldonado is having to hire 'volunteers' through Craigslist, the Maldonado campaign claimed that Larry Gonzales was not willing to discuss the issues.  Ironically, Larry Gonzales has been trying unsuccessfully for months to get Maldonado to debate him on issues important to the District.  She has refused to do so unless she is given the questions in advance, which only further substantiates the rumor that she cannot think for herself and is completely reliant on handlers to script every appearance.  Below is the release from the Gonzales campaign: 

Gonzales to Maldonado: Let’s Debate…Unscripted
Gonzales Proposes Three Issue-Themed Debates

Williamson County – Republican nominee for House District 52, Larry Gonzales, today challenged liberal incumbent Diana Maldonado to three debates focused on key themes.

“Elections are about choices on issues that matter, and I want the voters of District 52 to have ample opportunity to see the differences between a small business owner and an out of touch liberal who represents Austin instead of Williamson County,” said Gonzales. “Let’s stand before the people of this district with no scripts or canned remarks, and let the voters decide who offers the best vision for creating jobs and opportunity in Williamson County.”

Gonzales proposes an initial debate about the subject most on the mind of voters: jobs and fiscal discipline, hosted by a local business organization. Gonzales proposes a second debate on education, including higher education, hosted either by a local PTA or on the grounds of a local campus. Gonzales proposes a third debate on border security, and the challenges posed by illegal immigration, hosted by a local Tea Party.

Gonzales added, “Diana Maldonado has had five opportunities to stand with me and debate the issues, but has declined every one of them – one of them was to be televised,” said Gonzales. “Clearly, trying to work out a debate schedule privately did not work, so we’re making our request public.”

The debates and forums that Diana Maldonado has declined are the following: The Lynn Woolley syndicated talk radio show; the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (we were told she agreed only if she had the questions seven days in advance); Texas P2 (which is comprised of business and industry) on two separate occasions; and Austin Community College, which offered to televise the debate and rerun it before Election Day.

"In order to be transparent, honest and accountable to voters, debates are crucial. They deserve to hear their state representative defend her record, and how my vision for the future contrasts with that record," said Gonzales “Let’s give voters an unfiltered account of where we stand, and how we will lead. I’m ready. Is she?”


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cedar Park Council Votes for Tax Increase, Is Round Rock Next?

So often I find certain local Republicans can talk all day about applying fiscal conservatism at the Federal level, but are unwilling to apply the same principles to local government.  One need only examine Williamson County city and school board budgets to see that 'big government' spending trends are not limited to politicians in Washington D.C. 

Last week in a 4-3 vote, the Cedar Park City Council approved a new budget and tax rate.  According to news reports, the 3 dissenters "preferred a different proposal," but the truth is that Tony Dale, Matt Powell, and Don Tracy were voting against a tax rate increase.  While proponents of the increase gave the usual reassurances that the .45 cent increase is just such a teensy, weensy amount that no one should care, property owners know that these near-annual teensy weensy increases add up. 

The City of Round Rock will approve a budget and tax rate on September 23, and also seems to be on target to increase the property tax rate from 39.7 to 41.2 cents (per $100 of valuation).  This will be in addition to the new charges homeowners will pay for the city's recycling program, and a new drainage 'fee.'  (Don't you just love it when they call a tax a 'fee' or a 'surcharge'?  Makes you feel so much better.)  The City did cut the budget in some areas, but also added new expenses, such as a new commuter bus service to Austin.  Frankly, I was not aware of the overwhelming demand for such a service, but perhaps I missed something?

Each city asserts that they 'must' raise the rate since sales tax revenues and property values have declined.  It is truly disturbing that these leaders are either unwilling or unable to acknowledge that Williamson County families are purchasing less because of declining income levels, higher unemployment, and an increasing federal tax burden.  Families are cutting their respective budgets and cannot demand employers 'adopt the effective salary rate.'  The message from some elected officials to taxpayers seems to be "We don't care that you have less to spend, we are going to make sure you still give us the same amount of money in taxes NO MATTER WHAT!" 

Happily the elected members of the Williamson County Commissioners Court listened to the people of the county and did not increase next year's county property tax rate.  Perhaps the difference is that Commissioners run in partisan elections and know that it was Republican voters who put them in office, and such voters have certain expectations regarding spending and taxes.  City council and school board candidates have the luxury of hiding behind the 'non-partisan' mantle, and run in May elections when few are paying attention.  But, as these budget votes prove, party matters.

Patrick McGuinness for Texas House

Texas House District 50 does not extend into Williamson County, but includes our neighbors to the south in Pflugerville.  Republican Patrick McGuinness is challenging incumbent Mark Strama.  Strama is an Obama Democrat and in 2008 he enjoyed rhyming his name with Obama's on campaign materials, but like most Democrats in 2010 he is now playing 'duck and cover' when the President comes to Texas. 

Here is an introduction to Patrick McGuinness.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Astroturf at the Gate

What does an elected official do if she doesn't have enthusiastic constituents to volunteer for her campaign? Just hire a few strangers through the internet!

As The Right Side of Austin reported, and the Austin American Statesman's Politifact has confirmed, the Diana Maldonado campaign has been advertising on Craigslist for paid canvassers.

When volunteers canvass, they are given names, addresses, and other information about residents of the district, and are instructed to visit homes in person. The Statesman article does not mention whether or not the Maldonado campaign conducts background checks, and one has to wonder about the caliber of folks who might be knocking on doors this weekend to lobby for the beleaguered incumbent. Hopefully these internet hires won't behave like the infamous 'paid volunteers' of ACORN.

The Republican challenger, Larry Gonzales, has been canvassing the district with known volunteers from within the district. The momentum for his campaign is growing, and if someone knocks on your door on Larry's behalf, it's likely to be one of your neighbors.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Meet GOP Candidate Judge Melissa Goodwin in Round Rock

One contested race on the 2010 ballot will be that for the Third Court of Appeals. While judicial races tend to fly under the radar, they are of vital importance to our state.  The Texas Third is an intermediate appellate court for 24 counties, and its judges review cases already concluded in both the civil and criminal trial courts of the district. From there, cases may go to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals or the Texas Supreme Court.

Former Judge Melissa Goodwin is one of many strong, conservative women on the GOP ticket this year. A former judge of the 427th District Court and former Justice of the Peace of Travis County, she has served on the Texas Judicial Council, Judicial Ethics Committee, and as an instructor for the Texas Justice Court Training Center. She has been endorsed by numerous groups, including the Texas Civil Justice League, the Austin Police Association PAC, Texas Alliance for Life, and the Republican Liberty Caucus.   Her opponent, like most Dems in 2010, is trying to 'play moderate,' but endorsements from the Texas AFL-CIO and the Austin Lesbian/Gay Caucus place Austin attorney Kurt Kuhn firmly in the left-of-center camp. 

Judge Goodwin will be at the Williamson County Republican Women's "Texas Tea" event this Sunday, September 12; a membership event open to all women of the county.  The Tea begins at 1:00PM at Arbor Pointe in Round Rock.  There is no charge for potential members to attend.  In addition to Judge Goodwin, Williamson County Commissioner Val Covey, another great conservative Republican woman, will be speaking about her fiscally conservative approach government spending and taxes. What's more, I have to say the Wilco GOP women are just a lot of fun!   To attend the event, RSVP here

Regarding Diana Maldonado: Voters Know a Hawk from a Handsaw

"I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw."
-Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

On a recent campaign mailer, Representative Diana Maldonado included this 2008 quote from the Austin American Statesman: "Maldonado has a reputation as a budget hawk." While I hardly think I need to go over the credibility problems inherent in a liberal town's liberal newspaper praising a liberal candidate, those familiar with Maldonado's work on the Round Rock School Board were baffled by the 'budget hawk' statement at the time. Since then, her actions in the 81st legislative session have proved that, like most Democrats, Representative Maldonado prefers to fly fast and free with taxpayer dollars.

During Diana Maldonado's tenure on the Round Rock ISD Board, 2003-08, voters were appalled by the proposal of a whopping $350 million bond package in 2005, one the voters soundly defeated. Even so, by 2008 RRISD debt had risen to nearly $630 million, and yet the district still failed to allocate the required 65% of funds to classroom instruction, and had to go back to taxpayers for an additional $294 million that year. Granted, the district's student population had grown by about 30%, but revenues had grown by 75% during the same period.  Furthermore, under then school board president Maldonado, the superintendent's contracted salary inexplicably rose by $38,480 giving him an annual salary of $243,080.00- significantly higher compensation than any governor of any state in the country. Not sure where the 'budget hawk' was in that mess.

Maldonado's disregard for budgetary restraint continued in the Texas House, and her first legislative proposal, H.B. 282, called for state employees to have a tax-payer funded paid holiday on Election Days. Never mind that Texas enjoys anywhere from 5 to 14 days of early voting for any election.  Employers with even the most rudimentary grasp of cost-benefit analysis understand that paid holidays add to the overall budget.  In order for every state employee to have 2 more paid holidays each year, Texas would have to add an estimated $54 million to the budget.  Happily, that rotten egg never made it out of committee.

On other votes regarding government spending and business, Maldonado continued to show a lack of fiscal restraint, and earned a 28% fiscal responsibility rating from Texans For Fiscal Responsibility/Empower Texans.  The average score was 56.7%, leaving Maldonado far below the majority of her peers in the House. 

On the 2010 campaign trail, Maldonado seems confused about the projected budget shortfall, and continuously refers to a multi-billion dollar deficit.  What Representative Maldonado doesn't seem to understand is that we are not talking about a current deficit, but a reduction in the estimated amount of tax revenue the state will collect next year, based on current trends.  In the 2011 session, Texas legislators will need to create a new budget in accordance with these projected revenues.  It is disturbing that Diana Maldonado's response to the projected shortfall is to talk about 'new revenue streams' and ending 'exemptions.'  Translation of government-speak for the voter:  'new revenue streams' = new taxes, and apparently the Democrat mantra this year is to call for a state income tax

In contrast, Republican candidate Larry Gonzales is campaigning on a fiscally conservative platform and promises spending cuts.  Last Saturday in front of some 40 volunteers assembled to canvass the district, he signed a Taxpayer Protection Pledge created by Empower Texans.  In his comments, Gonzales reiterated his commitment to doing "what every American family has to do" in cutting spending. 

With Americans already reeling under the weight of Obamanomics, the last thing the economy needs is more and/or higher taxes, which will only stifle growth.  What we really need are elected officials willing to cut government spending and allow people to use more of their own earnings as they see fit. Unlike some Texas House members, I think the voters are smart enough to tell the difference between a failed 'hawk' and a candidate ready to apply a scalpel, if not a handsaw, to the budget.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Maldonado Moving Right?

One positive thing I have to say about the Maldonado campaign: They have some very good handlers for the beleagured incumbent representative.  After her disastrous performance at a Round Rock Chamber event earlier this week, the campaign quickly trotted out a press release in which Maldonado seems to join Tea Party types in calling for increased border security. 

According to the release sent Thursday morning, Representative Maldonado allegedly joined "several colleagues in the Texas House" in addressing a letter to President Barack Obama.  To my knowledge, the actual text of the letter is not included in the release itself, which is posted at Texas Insider, and no other House members are mentioned by name. Supposedly, the letter requests two MC-12 Aircraft to beef up security on the border.

Wow.  I feel better already.

Sources who were present at the Round Table Discussions, said comments attributed to Representative Maldonado in the release are in stark contrast to her performance at the event earlier this week.  She was vague and somewhat evasive, especially on Voter Photo ID legislation, telling the questioner that they "just disagree on this issue."  Her answer to a border security query  included an ambiguous reference to troops returning from Iraq, leading the audience to wonder if she was suggesting placing combat troops on the Mexican border. 

Of course this isn't the first time Representative Maldonado has written to Obama.  In March of this year she joined other liberal politicians in the Progressive States Network to urge the President to push through socialized health care reform, specifically the Senate Bill (sans Stupak,) even though most Americans vehemently opposed the legislation.  Maldonado got her way, and now we are all gearing up to pay the consequences. 

While Representative Maldonado doesn't necessarily understand the reasons for voter frustration, she and her campaign must realize to some extent that the future does not bode well for liberal-progressive candidates in conservative-leaning districts.   Their actions indicate they are trying very hard to 'move Maldonado to the Right,' but unfortunately for them, her record doesn't leave much doubt as to where she really stands. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Push Polls and Other Desperate Tactics in SBOE Race

As expected, the Judy Jennings campaign is denying any connection with the recent push poll I wrote about on Monday.  This is not surprising since this kind of dirty work is usually done by third parties so that the candidate can deny participation.  Here are just a few more facts about the poll:

Several individuals in Travis county have reported receiving the calls, which are identified as coming from the 702 area code, a Las Vegas, Nevada code.  In addition to the question suggesting Dr. Marsha Farney attended a white supremacist rally last Summer, the poll asks several push questions, including whether the voter prefers Judy Jennings, who desires to bring in "specialists" to create curriculum, or Marsha Farney who wishes to "implement a political agenda."  (No mention of the fact that Dr. Farney IS a curriculum specialist.)  These questions leave no doubt that the purpose of this poll is not to gather information, but rather to 'push' voters to Democrat Judy Jennings. 

Democrats are determined to take control of the Texas State Board of Education, since controlling public school curriculum will allow them to influence the minds of the majority of American children.  They will continue to try to paint Dr. Farney as a radical, and have even been manipulating the rules for debate, a tactic Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri warned about earlier this week.  Astute voters should not be deceived by these desperate tactics, and make the right choice.

Diana Maldonado and the Problem of Voter Fraud

Last week, the Liberal-Democrat insistence that "there is no evidence of voter fraud in Texas" took a serious blow when the King Street Patriots announced the discovery of thousands of possibly fraudulent voter registrations in Harris County.  About 5,000 registrations submitted by Houston Votes (allegedly a re-named ACORN group)either were incomplete, listed vacant lots as resident addresses, or named non-existent persons or previously registered voters. 

The problem for Texas Lib-Dems, is that they have been using the 'no evidence of fraud' argument as justification for opposing voter photo ID legislation. Never mind that Texas is somewhat historically infamous for voter fraud, due to the 1948 'Box 13' scandal.  Under current Texas law, voters may present various forms of non-photo identification, including a voter card, utility bill, or bank statement.  Even most rank and file Democrats recognize that requiring an ID at the polls is just common sense, and 82% of all Texans support voter photo ID laws.

However, the most liberal wing of the Democrat party is so afraid of voter ID requirements, that in the 2009 legislative session, they were willing to kill hundreds of bills beneficial to their own districts and constituencies in order to stop passage of the law. Representative Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock) was among those who participated in the 'chubbing,' or filibuster, of Voter Photo ID.  Observers such as Will Lutz expressed surprise at Maldonado's actions:

There are significant divisions within the Democratic caucus about whether this was a good idea. Only a handful of Democrats in mostly safe districts partook in the filibuster. Rural Democrats and most of the suburban ones from swing districts (with the notable exception of Rep. Diana Maldonado [D-Round Rock] who chubbed) stayed away from the back microphone during this exercise.
Unfortunately for Round Rock and the rest of House District 52, Maldonado placed her desire to stop election workers from checking ID above the legislative needs of the district.  Among the legislation thwarted by chubbing was an especially important TXDOT Sunset bill.  I will be taking a closer look at some of the 'killed bills' in the coming weeks. 

While Democrats try to downplay the issue, preferring to call it 'voter impersonation,' evidence indicates that voter fraud continues to be a problem in Texas. Voter photo ID requirements cannot completely stop those determined to commit election fraud, but a well-crafted law will be a deterrent to the most egregious offenders.  Voters would do well to remember Representative Maldonado's actions in the 2009 Session, and limit her to a one-term-wonder.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Republican Commissioners Court Cuts Spending, Keeps Tax Rate Down

Much Kudos to the Williamson County Commissioners Court, who yesterday approved a restrained budget and kept property tax rates steady.  Although under heavy pressure from a vocal minority in the county employees union, Commissioners heard the pleas of Wilco taxpayers already struggling to cope with the Obama economy. 

The 2010-2011 fiscal year budget reduced spending by $496,104.26, allowing for a total general fund budget of $124,355,685.15.  Although some county employees lobbied to raise the rate to provide for a COLA raise,  tax rate will remain at .489999, and may even reduce some homeowner tax bills next year.  As a compromise, Commissioners designated $500,000 for bonus pay for non-tenure plan, non law enforcement employees.  (Law enforcement personnel are paid on a completely different plan). 

Interestingly enough, the county auditor estimates the county will have a cash ending balance of $55 million on September 30, 2010.  The Commissioners Court approved authorizing the auditor to transfer about $4.3 million from the cash ending to balance the budget.  Seems like a pretty obvious solution?

Two of the these Commissioners will be on the ballot this year for re-election:  Cynthia Long for Precinct 2, and Ron Morrison for Precinct 4.  (The terms of Lisa Birkman, Precinct 1, and Val Covey, Precinct 3, will not expire until 2012).  We need to make sure we keep these fiscally conservative folks on the court, so click the links and give them a little help if you can.