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March 05, 2005

Burnt Orange City Council Poll

Floating this back up to the top to get more of a sample.

Ok, so let's try a little something. Even though there is not a whole lot going on in regards to the Austin City Council Place 3 Race, it is still going on. So I'd like to find out what the initial read of Burnt Orange readership is in an Instant Run-off online poll (meaning you can rank your four choices). So below I'm going to post all 4 candidates websites (in case you havn't seen them) and the link to the poll.

(Note to campaigns: Do not try to drive your supporters to this poll to influence my read of BOR readership. I will notice and I will take it down if you do so and write bitchy comments about your campaign.)

Take the Poll.

Campaign Sites:
Margot Clarke
Mandy Dealey
Jennifer Kim
Gregg Knaupe

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 09:02 PM to Austin City Limits | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Chris Bell and UT

One thing that I learned about Chris Bell this past week was his work in UT student government. Not only did Bell graduate from UT, but he was instrumental in reinstating student government:

The son of a decorated veteran, Bell was born on November 23, 1959, in Abilene, Texas. He grew up in Dallas and first expressed interest in public service while attending the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1982. While there, he served as President of the Interfraternity Council, was a member of the Texas Cowboys and was named Omicron Delta Kappa Leader of the Year for his pivotal role in reviving the UT student government.

The Daily Texan had a good story on Thursday on Bell's speech at Sholtz's.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:38 PM to Texas Politics | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Andrew Bucknall Running Underdog Campaign

Lee Leffingwell is clearly the frontrunner for the open Austin City Council Place 1 race, but progressives have another option with Andrew Bucknall. Bucknall is untested as a candidate and underfunded, but he's a great Democrat and progressive, and voters ought to take the opportunity to learn about his campaign.

Bucknall is a unique candidate who certainly defies stereotypes. He's a single father. He's a non-traditional 30-something year old college student. He's a White person attending the historically African-American Huston-Tillotson College. Among Bucknall's impressive record of east Austin activism incudes leading the effort to revive the H-T College Democrats which had been dormant for many years. Anyway, read the Daily Texan article on Bucknall's candidacy to learn more.

In other Austin City Council news, Greg Knappe has a lead over Jennifer Kim and the other candidates in Karl-Thomas's BOR city council poll. If you have yet to vote in the poll, click here.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 01:34 PM to Austin City Limits | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Regarding Charles Soechting

I read Andrew's post on Texas Democratic Party Chair Charles Soechting with a bit of confusion, as I did not realize that there was controversy / negative press regarding Chairman Soechting. Apparently, Andrew's comments were in the context of this article in the Austin American Statesman:

Almost two years after Texas Democratic Party leaders agreed to stow away $250,000 toward owning rather than renting their Austin headquarters, campaigns and other needs have soaked up the money.

In April 2003, the State Democratic Executive Committee voted that $250,000 be "set aside for the future purchase of a permanent home" for the party. [...]

Party Chairman Charles Soechting said he made a "command decision" last year to tap the funds for election needs such as legislative campaigns, a bus tour of the Rio Grande Valley, modernized voting records and vital staff pay raises and furniture.

"It's more important to have a viable political party than it is to worry about your address," Soechting said, noting that the party gained ground in the Texas House for the first time since 1972 when it picked up one House seat last year and welcomed local gains in Dallas and Harris counties.


Purchasing a long-term headquarters should be a priority for a state party, or major organization. While a short-term hassle, such moves save a great deal of money. However, in an election year, the number one priority should be electing Democrats. I agree with Kuff that it would be a story if the party spent $250,000 on a new headquarters instead of throwing in another $10,000 or so at state rep races that might have made the difference for people like Mark Strama, Hubert Vo, Mark Homer, Jim McReynolds, etc.

Furthermore, purchasing the modernized voter files and pay increases to ensure a professional staff are critical long-term investments. If there is reason to believe that there has been any malfeasance, an independent audit of the account might be necessary, but I see nothing from the article to suggest as much.

More at Dos Centavos.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 12:06 PM to Intraparty | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Editorialized and another Letter

The Dallas Morning News wrote this on their editorial page:

And these bozos expect people to vote for them?

Count on the party of Andrew Jackson, LBJ and Bill Clinton to eat its young. Just when Dallas County Democrats should be figuring out how to advance the major gains they racked up in November the sheriff's office and three judgeships they've contrived to implode. A party meeting this week ended when security guards broke up what was fast becoming an out-and-out brawl. Sheriff Lupe Valdez felt the need to call the county chairwoman, Susan Hays, from outside the meeting and tell her it wasn't safe for her to leave. This is madness. For the sake of democracy (with a small "d"), stop it.


Count on the Dallas Morning News to do what they can to make a bad situation for the Democratic Party look worse. Anyone who read this blog during the past election season would know my opinion of the Dallas Morning News editorial page. Furthermore, to my knowledge, the DMN did not attend the meeting. There were no "security guards" breaking up the meeting. The sergeant-at-arms, ousted labor leader Gene Freeland (an ally of the chair), threw the party out of the CWA Hall. If the Dallas Morning News would have actually attended the meeting they would know that the meeting, while very heated in rhetoric was in no sense an "out-in-out" brawl. I did not observe ANY physical violence, nor threats thereof.

Also, another letter is being sent out to precinct chairs. I've included it in the extended entry:

Continue reading "Editorialized and another Letter"

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 11:44 AM to Dallas City Limits | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Bloggers To Feel FEC "Wrath?"

"Bradley Smith [of the Federal Election Commission] says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

Give me a break. Please.

Via Off The Kuff, I found this article which did anything but make me want to run out and hire personal FEC compliance counsel:

Continue reading "Bloggers To Feel FEC "Wrath?""
Posted by Vince Leibowitz at 04:05 AM to Blogs and Blogging | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

It's doubleplusgooder!

Once you join this group, you'll be eligible to join this one:

Students will also have a positive outlet for participating in pro-ex-gay activities instead of anti-gay behavior. For example, why tear down a gay club flyer? The problem of homosexual struggles still remains. Instead, post an Ex-Gay & Everstraight Club flyer.

Now, I'm in to women as much as a fellow can be, but... "everstraight"? Are they trying to creep me out?

Posted by Jim Dallas at 01:29 AM to GLBT | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 04, 2005

Republican Tax Plan Would Raise Taxes on Majority of Texans

So I've been at work today crunching numbers. I've been doing the math to figure out the impact of the various tax plans on Texas families. Since the Democratic plan doesn't have all the details on how they'll make up for their cuts and new expenditures, its like comparing apples to oranges, but just the impact of the property tax cut is pretty dramatic. I'll start there.

The GOP plan will simply cut the M&O Property Tax Rate from $1.50 per $100 valuation to $1.00 per $100 valuation. Local governments could add another $0.10 per $100 valuation "enrichment tax," and with their finance plan pretty much everyone will have to pass one of those. The Democratic plan, however, would triple the homestead exemption- from $15,000 to $45,000- and lower the rate only to $1.25. This would only apply to homeowners, businesses would see no cut in the rate. The primary advantage to the Democratic plan is that most rural Texans, inner-city residents and South Texas residents live in homes valued not much more than $50,000. Suburbanites live in the big fancy houses, so the homestead exemption wouldn't effect them much. But most Texans would see a significant benefit.

The average Texan lives in a house valued at $109,639. Right now they pay $1419.59 a year in property taxes. Under the GOP plan, their taxes will drop to $1041.03- a 27% decrease with the enrichment tax included. Under the Democratic plan however, their taxes would drop to $807.99, a 43% drop. Half of Texas would see a bigger decrease than even that 43%. Furthermore, every single Texan- no matter how poor- would only get that 27% decrease under the Republican plan. Under the Democratic plan, the lower the value of your house (and by extension, the poorer you are) the more you keep.

Continue reading "Republican Tax Plan Would Raise Taxes on Majority of Texans"
Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 02:49 PM to Texas Lege | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Cleaner Air Coming to Austin?

So Austin may have cleaner air coming to it, in two different forms.

First, the Daily Texan reports on the city council passing a resolution in support of hybrid vehicle incentives. Huzzah to the locals thinking like this when the folks in DC putter around debating the existance of global climate change.

Roger Duncan, general manager for Austin Energy, pointed out the economic, environmental and national security benefits of pushing for hybrid "plug-in" vehicles. Such vehicles would reduce the city's fleet costs and help protect air quality, Duncan said. Nationally, the vehicles would wean the country from its dependency on oil, he said.

These vehicles are different than hybrid vehicles currently on the market, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic, Duncan said. The vehicles available for incentives would run on mostly electricity and alternative fuel, such as hydrogen, corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, bio-diesel fuel and electricity, according to the Gas Optional Vehicles Report prepared by Austin Energy.

"It's the electrification of the transportation sector," he said.

Secondly, the Texan also reports that the Smoking Ban Ballot Initiative will indeed be on the ballot May 7.

The current city law permits bars and restaurants with permits to allow smoking. The proposed ordinance prohibits smoking in all bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, billiard halls and live music venues.

Paul Silver, owner of the bar 219 West, is part of a group of entertainment business owners who filed a lawsuit against the city Tuesday, questioning the legality of the ordinance's language...

He said all the "funky little places" would definitely close, especially those along South Congress and Red River.

"Small bars aren't sitting around with cash," he said. "Any blip in their sales, and that would be the end of them."

The anti-smoking petition was pushed by Onward Austin, a coalition of health and community organizations such as the American Heart Association and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The next big question here will be where do the city council candidates fall on this issue since they have to deal with it now. I don't see many of them jumping on the smoking ban bandwagon except for maybe Margot Clarke (who just won the Sierra Club endorsement btw), and certainly not Gregg Knaupe for reasons I have already mentioned.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 01:49 PM to Austin City Limits | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Commentary

OK, Get ready for a series of posts this afternoon in reponse to Daily Texan coverage, Student Government elections, and other local happenings. I needed a day to collect my thoughts and after reading and hearing some reactions today, it's time to comment.

Today's first post will be in regards to this Texan opinion piece titled "Shameful Display on West Mall", written by none other than Connect Union Board winner James Burnham. (At least it wasn't his compadre, Eric Weiner, infamous on the Texan panel for getting orange juice and eating a bagel in the middle of an interview question, who was also just elected as well to the UB, though that discussion is for another post.)

It's nice to see that he has an opinion on this topic, even if he couldn't come up with a stance on how he would have voted in the Taco Bell decision the Union Board made the week before the election.

After some speeches and displays, the energy level of the crowd increased, and people horded around the table to accost the students from YCT who were quickly realizing their brownies would offer scant protection. The crowd proceeded to spend almost two hours (no exaggeration) yelling and screaming at the YCT members hurling unanswerable questions and vicious insults.

At one point, I managed to wrestle my way to the front of the crowd and was hit in the back of the head by candy. Yes, candy. The "peaceful" protestors who will simply not stand for violence or hate had taken YCT's candy and baked goods and were literally pelting the members with them. I even got to hear one charming girl yell at the YCT chairman, "Why won't you fight me? I came here to fight. I want a fight."

(KT- A fight? Kick-ass. I think we should arrange a match up with YCT Chairwoman Lauren Conner and say, the UDs President or SG president? I'd go to the west mall for that.)

It was horrific; it was mean spirited. It was the mob.

Not wanting to make a snap judgment, I asked some of the protestors why they were so incensed about an event that never happened. All everyone could agree on was that there had been an e-mail, to someone, though nobody knew who, declaring YCT's intention to have an Immigrant Hunt. Allegedly, it was also discussed at their meeting two weeks ago.

First, don't buy the YCT innocent defense or "we never planned to have such an event" garbage. They talked about it two week ago, kept trying to land a date, and were discussing it the day before with officials in the Student Services Building. They used Texas Independence Day as cover. I remember last year when they were planning Straight Pride day (also around this time) that the date kept floating when we were trying to nail it down.

Continue reading "Commentary"
Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 12:57 PM to Around Campus | Comments (8) | TrackBack (1)

On Charles E. Soechting

I've been meaning to write this for a while, but I haven't gotten around to it until the attacks in the Statesman today finally made me say something. I'm not writing this because of my job, but because I want to say it.

Charles Soechting is the toughest boss I've ever had. For comparison, I'll throw in all the bosses I had at the restaurant I worked at in High School- including some rather tough ones, Joe Trippi, all the people at the Capitol, on the various campaigns I've worked for and I'll even throw in my High School football coaches. He's tough, but for all the times I've been mad at him, he's a good boss.

I think the best example of why he's a good boss and a great chairman is the way I got my job. It all started after his selection in October of 2003 when on October 25 I wrote a piece that began

Well, it looks like the forces of cronyism, institutional short-sightedness and a desire to run our party into the ground once and for all prevailed again here in Austin as the State Democratic Executive Committee selected longtime TDP General Counsel and integral part of the 8 year campaign for obscurity Charles Soechting as the new Chair of the Texas Democratic Party.

Not exactly the thing you want to say about a future boss. Then, two days later Byron put up a post that was nicer, if still skeptical about Soechting. I put a comment that said:

Continue reading "On Charles E. Soechting"
Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 10:17 AM to Intraparty | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Statesman Gets It Wrong Again About "Dream Home Fund"

The Austin American-Statesman, a bastion of sensationalism, has seen fit to bash the Texas Democratic Party and its chairman in particular, trying to suggest that doing our job is tantamount to corruption. The paper claims that a $250,000 "dream home fund" was spent up in the pursuit of those not-so-Democratic goals of winning elections and looking professional. They are being disingenuous and sensationalist.

Let's start from the beginning.

Continue reading "Statesman Gets It Wrong Again About "Dream Home Fund""
Posted by Andrew Dobbs at 09:32 AM to Intraparty | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1)

Dallas Morning News Covers Monday Meeting

Frankly, I was surprised not to see an article in the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. Gromer Jeffers has an article on the topic here. Stout Dem Blog has some problems with the article, and posts on such. The only real news in the article is mention that the chair is considering resigning:


Embattled Dallas County Democratic Party leader Susan Hays said Thursday that she's studying ways to bring the splintered party back together including the possibility of departing as chairwoman.

"I'm considering all options," Ms. Hays said. "The overall goal is to stabilize the situation."

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 08:05 AM to Dallas City Limits | Comments (8) | TrackBack (1)

From The Internets

I couldn't have written a better essay myself:

Continue reading "From The Internets"
Posted by Jim Dallas at 03:07 AM to BOR Humor | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

True Lies

Kevin Drum has a post on a poll that shows a collapse in support for the Bush agenda; but Kevin being the circumspect fellow that he is, feels compelled to note that a significant part of the sample probably lied when responding whether they were registered voters.

That there might be a few people out there misrepresenting facts about their own voting history isn't surprising; it's more than the rule than the exception. Moreover, how people lie can shed some interesting light on what they think the "correct" (as in socially-sanctioned) answer is. For example, there's a tendency for people to say they voted when they didn't, since voting is considered good, and not voting is considered bad. And, perhaps out of a subconscious fear that the thoughtpolice will arrive at their door if they tell the pollster the "wrong" answer, people lie.

Continue reading "True Lies"
Posted by Jim Dallas at 02:02 AM to | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 03, 2005

Commentary

Just to say, Keep Austin Free is a bad choice for a name if you are group that is working against the Smoking Ban that will more than likely be on the ballot in May. Free of what? Not smoke, which is what I would think on first reaction, but Free in the terms of freedom, as in personal choice. A bit of a stretch, but whatever, it's not my website.

Can anyone verify their claim that The current ordinance has already caused The Filling Station to close down and caused Katz's to file bankruptcy. Maybe Katz's wouldn't be closed (haha, couldn't resist the pun even though bankrupt doesn't = closed) if Mr. Katz didn't charge so much or spend his time running for Mayor to get free advertising out of it.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at 09:29 PM to Austin City Limits | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Who's No. 1. We're No. 1!

The Baylor Lady Bears win sole posession of the Big 12 Conference Championship with a 79-69 win over Texas Tech tonight.

Believe me, there is some celebrating in Waco tonight.

Posted by Nathan Nance at 09:28 PM to BOR Sports | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Another Air America in Austin Update

From today's Austin Chronicle:

Meanwhile, Air America is more than seriously looking at Austin as its latest market. The network will launch its progressive programming on KOKE 1600AM (recently acquired along with six other local stations by Border Media Partners) on Monday, March 14, with a live show from the State Theater.

Better yet, a greater Texas presence is coming soon as well:

It doesn't happen overnight, but we've been adding stations pretty fast lately and we are going to be adding Dallas. And Austin, as we talked about. And Brownsville. We have Corpus Christi, so, we're beginning to have a Texas presence.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 09:28 PM to Austin City Limits | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Final Thoughts on Chris Bell Last Night

Since I liveblogged the Chris Bell speech last night, I didn't have a chance yet to provide too much analysis. While liveblogging is great for unfiltered instant reaction, it's not very well suited for analysis. Overall, the speech was phenomenally written. It touched on the points that Democrats must embrace in order to win back this state. I would, however, caution anyone from making over-the-top Bill Clinton references. I like Chris Bell as a person and a candidate, but I wouldn't describe him as Clintonesque. "Clintonesque" is a term I reserve for only the most inspiring and charismatic of politicians - ya know... Barack Obama, perhaps John Edwards in the primary, maybe a few others.

It was interesting to look at my trackback pings from the speech last night where I noticed that Saving String had exactly the same thought as my friend whom I spoke with as I walked to my car after the meeting. Both said that the speech read better on paper than it was spoken. I'm inclined to agree. The speech hits on all the themes that I would want from a candidate for governor, but the delivery certainly needs a bit of polishing. There were several times where it was hard to know if Bell believed what he was saying, or if he was just reading from a script. I could hear genuine passion when Bell spoke of the plight of Jovonnie Ochoa, and the failure of the state in leaving Jovonnie and other children behind because of overworked CPS officials and cuts in CHIP. However, I was a little bit less sold on other parts of the delivery.

Overall, this should basically just be read as a little bit of nitpicking. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet Chris Bell the candidate, and Chris Bell the man. I was very impressed with both. I think that he has the right message, and with time, I'm confident that he'll fine-tune, and polish his delivery. After all, most candidates deliver their stump speech at least ten to twenty times or more before it comes naturally to them. While there's lots of speculation, it's still unknown if there will be a Democratic primary for governor (which I don't necessarily think would be a bad thing), but either way, Chris Bell made an impression on me yesterday, and I'm certainly strongly leaning towards supporting his campaign.

Update: Oh... how could I forget - Saving String caught a picture of me liveblogging the speech.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 04:58 PM to Texas Politics | Comments (3) | TrackBack (2)

So, who exactly are all you folks?

Last year, BlogAds initiated a "2004 Blog Reader Demographic" survey for all users of BlogAds. It came at a busy time for me, and I forgot to urge our readers to participate. This year, however, I hope to see significant participation from BOR readers. The information is useful for potential advertisers, but more importantly, the information is useful for us so that we know who our audience is, so that we can better cater to our readers.

I would very much appreciate it - especially if you are a regular reader of the site - if you would follow this link to tell us more about yourself. The survey should take 5-10 minutes, and just make sure to write "BurntOrangeReport.com" for the answer to question 16. Thanks a lot, and we're looking forward to learning more about our readers.

Blog Reader Demographics 2005 Survey

Posted by Byron LaMasters at 03:50 PM to About Burnt Orange | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)


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corpus christi caller times
kris news (fox)
kztv news (cbs)

crawford
crawford lone star iconoclast

dallas-fort worth
dallas morning news
dallas observer
dallas voice
fort worth star-telegram
kdfw news (fox)
kera (npr)
ktvt news (cbs)
nbc5 news
wfaa news (abc)

del rio
del rio news herald

el paso
el paso times
kdbc news (cbs)
kfox news (fox)
ktsm (nbc)
kvia news (abc)

galveston
galveston county daily news

harlingen
valley morning star

houston
houston chronicle
houston press
khou news (cbs)
kprc news (nbc)
ktrk news (abc)

laredo
laredo morning times

lockhart
lockhart post-register

lubbock
lubbock avalanche journal

lufkin
lufkin daily news

marshall
marshall news messenger

mcallen
the monitor

midland - odessa
midland reporter telegram
odessa american

san antonio
san antonio express-news

seguin
seguin gazette-enterprise

texarkana
texarkana gazette

tyler
tyler morning telegraph

victoria
victoria advocate

waco
kxxv news (abc)
kwtx news (cbs)
waco tribune-herald

weslaco
krgv news (nbc)

statewide
texas cable news
texas triangle


Other News
ABC News
All Africa News
Arab News
Atlanta Constitution-Journal
News.com Australia
BBC News
Bloomberg
Boston Globe
CBS News
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
CNN
Denver Post
FOX News
Google News
The Guardian
Inside China Today
International Herald Tribune
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MSNBC
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New York Times
El Pais (Spanish)
Salon
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Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Slate
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Toronto Star
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post



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