Wednesday, July 18, 2018

#TXLEGE: Banning Race-Based Abortions could SWING SD-19 Special Election


"For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb."
Psalm 139:13

We recently discussed how, in the context of the current special election, a concerted pro-life push could flip SD-19.  SD-19 is filled with culturally conservative legacy Democrats (aka. pro-life Hispanic Catholics) uncomfortable with the Democrat party's current position on abortion.  Looks like Texas Right to Life noticed the same thing:
Now through July 31, Pro-Life voters in Senate District 19 have the opportunity to elect a true Pro-Life candidate to the Texas Senate: Peter Flores.

Senator Carlos Uresti, a radical pro-abortion Democrat who has been the Senator for SD 19 since 2006, was recently forced to resign after being convicted of several felonies. He will serve a 12-year jail sentence. Governor Greg Abbott called an emergency special election to take place July 31 to fill this seat for the remaining two years of the term.

SD 19 has always been represented by Democrats, leaving Pro-Life Republicans yearning for better representation. A little known secret is that SD 19 is not a deep blue one, being in fact a swing district. After more than a hundred years of Democrats owning this seat, now is our time to seize this opportunity!
Soo...you have a strong pro-life contrast in a majority/minority district.

And what, pray tell, is Texas Right to Life's top legislative priority next session?!?
[The Preborn Non-Discrimination Act] would protect preborn children from discriminatory abortions based on race, sex, or suspected disability.
The campaign ads (English and Spanish) write themselves: "Pete Gallego and Roland Gutierrez support aborting babies because over race.  Pete Flores is the only candidate who will protect children of color.  Vote Pete Flores for Texas Senate."

It would tie the Democrats in knots.

Bottom Line: Not killing babies based on their race a solid ethical principle; in a Catholic majority/minority district, it's also a political no-brainer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

#atxcouncil rebuked by DEMOCRAT Travis County Judge over #CodeNext Lawlessness


"Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear."
1 Timothy 5:20

Unexpected good news from an unexpected source:
The CodeNext petition ordinance will appear on November’s ballot and likely pour kerosene on Austin City Council elections this year just as campaign season begins to ramp up.

Travis County state District Judge Orlinda Naranjo issued the order on Monday ruling that it was premature for the Austin City Council to deny the petition ordinance.

If approved, the proposed ordinance would allow voters to decide whether they wish to vote on CodeNext and any future large-scale revisions of Austin’s land development code. It also calls for a waiting period before any voter-approved land-use rewrite is adopted.
Here's what's extraordinary: It's not that the city lost.  It's that they lost in Travis County District court.  That NEVER happens.

Usually, when there's a lawsuit challenging the lawless actions of any governmental entity in this county, the hack Travis County Democrat judges protect the government.  That didn't happen here.  That's VERY interesting.  [Note: The fact that a similar, though less pronounced, phenomenon occurred on the so-called "sick leave" lawsuit is likewise interesting.]

Bottom Line: You know the city's case is weak when Travis County judges can't invent legal fictions to prop them up....

Monday, July 16, 2018

#TXLEGE: How Your Property Taxes are Subsidizing the Most WRETCHED Capitol Publications


"And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!"
Revelation 18:2

Quorum report is a corrupt, low-circulation, publication that serves as a propaganda outlet for the good ol' boy, pro-status quo, crowd at the Capitol.  It specializes in gaslighting.  It's the number 1 purveyor of the toxic Capitol culture.

Which makes this line from a story they published last Friday interesting:


We don't pay much attention to Quorum Report's advertisers, because we don't pay much attention to Quorum Report, but scrolling up the page does reveal:


There you have it: The Texas Association of Counties Advertising in plain sight.  That means, if you pay taxes to a county government in Texas, you are subsidizing Quorum Report.  Talk about compelled speech!!!

Bottom Line: The primary reason to abolish taxpayer funded lobbying is because it raises your cost of living in a million subtle ways.  But taxpayer funded lobbying is also an affront to free speech.  This is a textbook example of why.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

#TXLEGE: Teachers Union gives award to Straus


Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
1 Corinthians 15:33

The Association of Texas Professional Educators are the primary teachers union in the state and exist for no other reason than to demand MOAR MONEY for the status quo.

This speaks for itself:



Friday, July 13, 2018

Grandstanding Gohmert's Political Theatrics


"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."
Phillipians 4:8

We finally got a chance to watch the Louie Gohmert clip from yesterday's Congressional hearing:



Having now watched the exchange, we're struck by its phoniness.

Everyone's being insincere.  The Democrats are being insincere.  Strzok is being insincere.  But, unfortunately, Louie Gohmert is being obviously insincere.

This is not to excuse Strzok's conduct.  Strzok's conduct is reprehensible on both personal and professional levels.  But Strzok's personal conduct wasn't relevant in the context in which Gohmert brought it up.  Gohmert's comment was a gratuitous personal swipe designed to pander to Fox News.

Gohmert's comment accomplished nothing.  It hardens existing tribal identities without putting forward anything of substance.  The only people who should welcome Gohmert's comments are Fox News' advertisers.

Bottom Line: Cheap emotional catharsis might generate ratings for Fox News, but it'll rot your brain over the long run.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

#TXLEGE: Seriously, you can't find $15 million to cover this?!?


"Then Tamar put ashes on her head, and tore her robe of many colors that was on her, and laid her hand on her head and went away crying bitterly."
2 Samuel 13:19

The awfulness of the system for reporting rape and sexual assault is a subject about which this author has only recently become aware.  Addressing it will be one of our top priorities next session.  In the meantime, this Texas Observer article about the rape kit testing backlog is a must read:
In Texas, about 20,000 backlogged rape kits were identified in 2011. Since then, lawmakers have passed a range of laws and provided new funding to address the backlog. All but about 2,000 of the kits have been processed. But new kits have piled up in the meantime, and there’s no comprehensive total of how many have accumulated. (A new law passed last session requires the Department of Public Safety to implement a tracking system for sexual assault evidence by next year.) With insufficient state funds, Texas lawmakers are now asking private citizens to crowdfund efforts to clear the backlog. A law authored by state Representative Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, last session allows Texans to donate to rape kit testing programs when applying for or renewing a driver’s license. The measure raised nearly $250,000 in its first five months, but a Dallas Morning News editorial in June notes that an estimated $15 million is needed annually to test kits; Neave’s program is expected to raise only about $1 million per year.
Seriously...$15 million?!?

That's it?!?

The state of Texas currently spends northwards of $127 BILLION per year; surely we can find a measly $15 million to cover something this important.

Heck, we could cover this amount simply by abolishing film subsidies.

Bottom Line: As far as the state budget is concerned, this is not a lot of money; we can find it if we make doing so a priority.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Turns out O'Rourke is just your typical Good Ol' Boy Texas Politician


"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

We'd missed this story from when Robert Francis announced his candidacy last year:
Just weeks before Rep. Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (D., Texas) officially launched his Senate campaign, he sold property valued at over $1 million to a wealthy El Paso family that has donated thousands of dollars to his political campaigns.

O'Rourke, first elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, announced last month after weeks of speculation that he would challenge Republican Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in 2018. The previous month, O'Rourke prepared for the campaign launch by unloading valuable property that his family had owned for more than three decades.

The Imperial Arms apartment complex, owned by O'Rourke through Imperial Arms LLC and valued by him at between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000, was sold on February 27, 2017, according to legal documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The recipient of the building was Patricia "Isha" Rogers, who has contributed thousands to O'Rourke since his first run for Congress in 2012 and has already given him $2,500 this cycle.

Also contributors to O'Rourke are Rogers's sister Dede Rogers, who has given $11,500 including $5,000 this cycle, and brother Jonathan Rogers, who has given $5,100.
Shady real estate deal between incumbent elected official and a campaign contributor...that's pretty Texas.

But here's the kicker:
"I've known them for a really long time," O'Rourke said. "Her dad Jonathan Rogers was mayor of El Paso when my dad, Pat O'Rourke, was county judge in the early 1980s, so I've known her since we were kids."
Exqueeze me?!?  Baking powder?!?

You're saying that the son of a former county judge (and current U.S. Congressman) made a shady real estate deal with the daughter of the former mayor of the largest city in said county?!?

Now THAT'S Texas!!!

[Note: This author hadn't previously known that Robert Francis' father had been County Judge.]

Bottom Line: Never, ever, ever forget that the primary political activity in the state of Texas is to grease the skids for shady real estate deals by the politically favored.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Liberal donations pouring into campaign getting fleeced by out of state vendors


"There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it."
Proverbs 21:20

Shot:
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), seeking to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and land one of the year’s biggest midterm upsets, is back in Los Angeles on Monday to raise campaign cash.

He’ll be at the home of actress Nancy Stephens and director-producer Rick Rosenthal for an evening reception, with ticket prices starting at $250 per person. Those who contribute $2,700 per person or raise at least $5,000 earn a spot on the host committee.

....

O’Rourke has trekked to L.A. at least two other times for fundraising events.
Chaser:
In 2016, Revolution Messaging was breaking fundraising records for Bernie Sanders.

Two years later, after a period of rapid growth that embodied the rise of the ascendant left’s “political revolution,” the award-winning digital firm is in a state of upheaval.

In interviews with 23 current and former employees, staffers described Revolution Messaging in grim terms: The firm, they say, is “in a tailspin.” It’s “spiraling.” “In crisis.” The work culture is “toxic” and “volatile.” There’s a “fear of retaliation,” “a lack of value for employees.” There’s “confusion,” “unease,” and “anxiety.” It’s “paranoia city.”

“People feel the ship is sinking.”

....

Before this month, the firm’s largest remaining client, according to former staffers on the campaigns team, was Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke. Last Friday, he left Revolution Messaging for a competing firm.
 -------

That got us wondering.  So we checked Robert Francis' most recent campaign finance report.  Updated data will be available next week, but we have data through the end of March (aka. the end of the primary period.)

It was interesting.

[Note: The process of taking screen shots is extremely tedious.  So we only collected a relevant sample.  Each of these vendors has gotten significantly more than the screenshots we pulled.]

D.C. based digital advertising:


California based field team:



[Note: You've gotta be some kinda stupid to think you can win an election anywhere in Texas with an out of state canvassing team.]

D.C. based fundraising consultant:



We didn't feel like collecting screenshots, but it's also worth pointing out O'Rourke has several DC, NY, and CA based campaign staff.

And for all of these expenditures, how did O'Rourke fair in the primary?!?

Oh yeah:


-------

In fairness to O'Rourke, he does not seem to be personally living large off of the campaign.  While there are a few nights at high-end hotels, most of his accommodations are book through Expedia.  He's mostly flying Southwest.

-------

Bottom Line: Robert Francis appears to be a poor investment for anyone except a few vendors in locations far from Texas.

Monday, July 9, 2018

#TXLEGE: On property taxes, several good proposals.


"But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God."
Nehemiah 5:15

With property taxes once again likely to be a major issue next session, several good proposals exist:
  • The Governor's proposal -- Governor Abbott's proposal would require local governments to obtain voter approval before they would be allowed to raise taxes over 2.5%.  Furthermore, the governor wants significantly more ballot transparency for bond elections.  Finally, the governor wants to create super-majority requirements to pass bonds!!!

    Pros: Covers all forms of local governments (school districts, cities, counties, special purpose).  The ballot transparency stuff is something we've been advocating for years.  SUPER MAJORITIES FOR BOND ELECTIONS!!!

    Cons: Doesn't 'cut' taxes in a top-line sense (although, the resulting income growth will probably mean a bottom-line cut as a percentage of household budgets.  Difficult to pass politically (Because it's so wide ranging, invites wide ranging opposition).  Rural R's and their taxpayer funded lobbyists will scream to high heaven about the alleged costs of special elections -- BS argument but simple talking point.
  • The TPPF Proposal -- TPPF's proposal would implement a strong spending cap at the state level and use the resulting savings to "buy down" school district M&O taxes over time.

    Pros: Because you're giving Rural R's and D's something they want (more state level education spending), it's more difficult for them to oppose.  Because this would only impact school districts, other forms of local governments likely to stay on sidelines.  Direct cut to biggest item on most people's tax bill.

    Having the state pick up a bigger share of the education spending tab is also the simplest way to move from a property tax to a consumption tax.

    Cons: Because it only covers school districts, won't stop cities, counties, and special purpose districts from consequently jacking up their own spending.
  • The "Steve Toth" proposal -- During convention week, former (and likely future) State Rep. Steve Toth testified in front of the legislative priorities committee in favor of ABOLISHING APPRAISAL DISTRICTS and taxing properties at the price of sale.

    We didn't know this until we heard Rep. Toth's testimony, but apparently Texas appraisal districts cost taxpayers over $1 BILLION a year in direct operating costs; thus, in addition to the tax cut for homeowners, abolishing apprasal districts saves significant money on the spending side.

    Finally, as someone who regularly participates in the battles around gentrification in a major urban area...allow this author to politely, but firmly, suggest that a serious effort to abolish appraisal districts would be VERY well received in the African-American and Hispanic communities in the major urban areas.  Woe unto the Democrat who might oppose such an effort.  In light of the #WalkAway movement, this is a point to VERY seriously consider.

    Pros: The biggest potential tax cut of all.  Possible SIGNIFICANT political upside.  Basic Fairness.

    Cons: Impossible to predict the unintended consequences of a shock to the system of this magnitude
    .
Politically speaking, some form of the TPPF proposal is probably the easiest to get to the Governor's desk (although a serious effort on appraisal districts could take off like a prairie fire).

Bottom Line: It's way to early to know where potential votes may lie, but any of these ideas would be a significant step in the right direction.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Poll: 28% of Texas Voters Have "NEVER HEARD OF" the Sitting Attorney General


"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children."
Hosea 4:6

Mike Bacelice is an establishment Republican pollster.  He recently polled the November general election.  Most of the results were about what you'd expect.  But one ASTONISHING finding stood out:


Four years into his term, 28% of Texas voters have "never heard of" Ken Paxton.

How is that possible?!?

Love him or hate him [Note: Obviously, this website LOVES him], Ken Paxton is constantly in the news.  He's not a low profile Attorney General.  Yet, apparently, 28 % of Texas voters have "never heard of" him.

Furthermore, think about these numbers in light of the pending criminal case.  Obviously, this website's opinion about that fiasco are well known.  But it's still an opportunity for the general public to build name recognition.  Yet, even in light of the criminal case, 28% of Texas voters have "never heard of" Ken Paxton.

Bottom Line: If you want to understand why society is in the state in which it currently finds itself...the fact that 28% of Texas voters have "never heard of" a major statewide elected official would be a good place to start.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

#atxcouncil: Audit petition campaign is moving forward


"You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.
Leviticus 19:11

From the Texas Monitor:
A political action committee, Citizens for an Accountable Austin, is underwriting a drive that has gathered nearly enough signatures to ask voters on the Nov. 6 ballot if they favor an independent audit of all city government functions.

Based on the results of similar audits in several states, cities and school districts, Austin could find savings of between $150 million and $400 million, said Michael Searle, treasurer of the PAC and head of the petition drive.

Petition crews have gathered more than 17,000 signatures and Searle said he expects to present at least the necessary 20,000 to the city clerk by about July 10, in plenty of time for the names to be validated and to put the audit question on the ballot. Please see the blueprint for the audit here.

The idea of a third-party audit of city departments including the city’s energy and water utilities has long been popular with voters, including a level of bipartisan support unusual for such a high profile issue in Austin.

“Conservatives may see it as an opportunity to reduce taxes and liberals may see it as an opportunity to free up resources for important city investments,” Searle told The Texas Monitor. “There may be a way to do both.” 
Bottom Line: This is so desperately needed....

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#TXLEGE: Trib's Midwives Article Illustrates Need for Medical Scope of Practice Reform


"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

The Trib has a long article today about the role midwives could potentially play in alleviating Texas' maternal mortality challenges.  The whole thing is worth taking 15 minutes to read.  But here's the relevant section for policy:
In Texas, midwives must have oversight from a doctor before they can see patients, and physician groups around the country have lobbied state legislatures to block bills that would give midwives more autonomy, claiming they don’t have the required skills to handle high-risk pregnancy complications like postpartum preeclampsia or hemorrhaging.

In the United States, midwives can provide women with services such as contraceptive and nutrition counseling, prescriptions and labor and delivery care. They try to help women have low-risk pregnancies by assessing their health and making sure they can safely give birth outside of the hospital. They also help women prepare for natural births — giving birth without being induced or needing a cesarean section.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives has touted the benefits of midwifery, including reduced rates of labor induction, reduced use of anesthesia, lower costs for both clients and insurers and increased satisfaction with quality of care.

....

Kelli Beaty, executive director for the Association of Texas Midwives and a midwife in Midland, said most midwives believe Texas is a good place to practice but “there’s not a lot of mutual respect” between doctors and midwives. Building relationships with doctors can be difficult since many are not homebirth friendly, are wary of midwifery in general and territorial about the type of care they should be allowed to provide patients.

“There’s not a lot of integration,” Beaty said. “There’s a lot of areas in Texas that have populations that exceed the physician availability, so people are beginning their pregnancy care later and later ... there could be midwives who could fill in the gap.”

Licensed midwives in the state have also expressed exasperation about a 2015 legislative change that moved them from being regulated by the Texas Department of State Health Services to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation — the same agency that oversees laser hair removal businesses, electricians, podiatrists and tow truck operators. Midwives complain that the agency doesn’t have the expertise to properly oversee them, particularly when it comes to understanding various medical terminology. Certified nurse midwives are overseen by the state’s Board of Nursing.

Beaty said the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and midwives are beginning to work together to address some of those concerns. The agency held a series of listening sessions for midwives in recent months and is working on changes to licensing and the complaint review process.
Followed, of course, with the same 'health and safety' drivel you always hear:
Moss Hampton, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Odessa, said he doesn’t “want to sound like I’m bashing midwives” because he believes they have a place in maternal health care.

But he said midwives don’t have the same level of training for independent practice as doctors and should have more clinical training. Licensed midwives must have at least a high school diploma or GED, take midwifery courses and complete a clinical apprenticeship. They then have to pass the North American Registry of Midwives exam to be licensed in Texas.

“There's just situations where the midwife maybe thinks it's better to do it one way than the obstetrician,” Hampton said, adding that doctors are typically the caregiver that gets sued if something goes wrong with a birth. “If the liability was spread equally, I don’t think people would be quite as concerned, but the obstetrician is responsible for the situation if something bad happens ... I think that’s where people get concerned.”
We've written before about "Scope of Practice."  The short version is that you allow non-physician medical personnel (eg. Nurse Practitioners, Midwives, and Physician assistants) to perform routine medical procedures that are currently restricted by law to licensed physicians.  This increase in the supply lowers costs while freeing up licensed physicians to care for genuinely medically serious patients.

The problem, unfortunately, is the so-called Texas "Medical" Association.  As stated above: Increasing medical providers decreases the cost.  The Texas "Medical" wants high health care costs.  That's how a cartel makes its money.

Meanwhile, Texas' politically induced shortage of health care providers (including midwives) continues; this is especially a problem in rural areas.

Bottom Line: This is a textbook example of an incumbent industry using the force of government to restrict competition....

Monday, July 2, 2018

#atxcouncil: Several thoughts following a DEEPLY Alarming meeting last Thursday


"A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor,
But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days."
Proverbs 28:16

We attended the late night/early morning portion of last Thursday's SUPER-marathon council meeting.  Several disturbing things occurred.  In chronological order.

-------

The Bond:

Troxclair says it best:


[Note: Ora Houston also gave strong remarks against the Bond, but she didn't pull the video.]

Highlights:
  • Regular people can't show up to testify at city hall.
  • Putting $$$ into subsidized government housing, at the expense of street repair, is a "strategic mistake."
  • "This bond is going to have a tough time in my district."
  • "The more bonds we pass, the more we raise taxes, the more people can't afford to stay in homes the already have."
  • "The best way to help everybody...is to reduce the tax burden."
  • Robin Hood arguments about school taxes are irrelevant as long as the city refuses to hold up its end of the bargain.
  • Voting No.
Obviously, she's right.  Subsidized government housing raises housing costs for anyone who doesn't receive a subsidized unit.  The mechanisms might vary, but it's an undeniable fact that this bond will lead to higher housing costs AND higher taxes for the average Austinite.

Unfortunately, that reality doesn't matter to advocates of this bond.  This is part of their national agendaLocal consequences be damned.

Worse still: The other side has a deep bench of socialist patsies to blockwalk and canvass.

In other words: This bond is going to be VERY difficult to defeat.  It can be done.  But it's going to take a lot more work, and require much more creative messaging, than previous bond campaigns.

-------

Eminent Domain for the Montopolis Negro School:

This is a land use/historic preservation case that's been percolating in this author's neighborhood for the past year.  We haven't been following it super-closely, but we were in the council chambers when they decided to move forward with eminient domain on Thursday night.  From the Statesman:
Unable to agree to a purchase price for the site of the former Montopolis Negro School, Austin will move forward with plans to take it through eminent domain proceedings.

Shortly before 1 a.m. Friday — in the 13th hour of a 16-hour City Council meeting — council members unanimously voted to file an eminent domain lawsuit against the owner of the former school’s property at 500 Montopolis Drive. The city has proposed paying $362,000 for the 0.85-acre tract of land.

....

Austin Stowell of KEEP Real Estate was unaware of the property’s historic significance when he bought it in 2015 and first proposed demolishing the building. He changed those plans to include preserving the schoolhouse as part of a mixed-use development.

“Should a building that’s being offered for private preservation be on the taxpayer’s budget list?” his wife, Stephanie Stowell, asked the council Friday. “Not only for renovation of the structure, but maintenance and future programming. If the city feels it appropriate to take our property away via eminent domain, we deserve market compensation.”

To seize property through eminent domain, the city must show that the property is for public use, that no other property could fulfill the desired use and that it will provide adequate compensation to the owner.

The city’s effort to acquire the Montopolis tract likely easily meets the first two requirements, said Bill Peacock, an eminent domain expert at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. The argument will be whether the city’s proposed $362,000 compensation, based on an appraisal, qualifies as a fair estimate of the property’s value.

“The problem with eminent domain overall is government agencies that don’t like the price someone wants for something in market negotiations just go to the fallback of eminent domain,” Peacock said.

....

The former Montopolis school is one of the last surviving structures among 42 segregated, rural schools that Travis County operated for black children when Austin schools refused to enroll them. Built in 1935 on land donated from St. Edward’s Baptist Church, the Montopolis school replaced one on Bastrop Highway that dated to 1891.
In other words, the city didn't want to pay what the property was worth, so they've decided to take it instead.

-------

Props to Caleb Pritchard of the Austin Monitor:

LOL, pretty epic:



-------

Economic protectionism in Medical Transportation Services:

This was a seemingly minor item that anyone who wasn't in the council chamber over another issue would have missed.

Item 113:
Conduct a public hearing and consider an ordinance on first reading regarding the application submitted by Republic EMS, LTD. for a non-emergency medical transfer franchise under City Code Chapter 10-2.
This was an opportunity to expand consumer choices in this sector; it would have made this heavily regulated sector modestly more free-market.

Unfortunately, council voted no.

Of course, all of the incumbent transportation providers supported and applauded council's actions.

**SIGH**

-------

Soccer Stadium:

They finally got to it...at about 1:20 in the morning.

There are plenty of reasons to oppose the current proposal.  But the biggest one is that Austin shouldn't allow itself to be used as leverage to play the stadium extortion racket against another city.  Yet, that's exactly what's happening with Columbus Ohio and the Crew.

We testified to such:



Highlights:
  • Against fast tracking stadium/for open bidding process.
  • Standard arguments about corporate welfare being bad.
  • Two really bad aspects of current proposal are deal-breakers just on the impact on Austin alone.
    • 80 year lease term
    • Long term property tax abatement.
  • "What really disappoints me, and what really leaves me just saddened by this entire process, is that Austin is being that scumbag city that is trying to steal someone else's team."
  • "What has Columbus Ohio ever done to us that we are trying to steal their Crew?!?"
  • The Columbus Crew are one of the iconic franchises of MLS and their fans don't want them to leave.
  • "I don't see why we should stab Columbus Ohio in the back."
  • The "business model" [Note: if you can even call it that] of MLS is a ponzi scheme.
  • There is a very good chance Major League Soccer will cease to exist over the next decade.
    • Note: Having had another chance to research it after Thursday's meeting, our suspicion is that the league will be in A LOT of trouble once its current TV deal expires in 2024.
-------

Bottom Line: Thank goodness they're not meeting for six weeks....

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Jefferson's Contract a TEXTBOOK example of why (most) guys should return for Senior Year


"And saw among the simple,
I perceived among the youths,
A young man devoid of understanding,"
Proverbs 7:7

It's official.  Malik Jefferson signed his first NFL contract this week.  Details (from overthecap.com):


That's it?!?

That contract is nothing for an athlete with Malik Jefferson's level of skill.  He should make significantly more than that.  He's that talented.

Instead, he's making less than $1 million per year (in a league where your career could end on any given play).  We've heard conflicting reports on how much of it is guaranteed (some say $0, some say only the $700k signing bonus, some say about half)...but the fact remains the contract isn't even fully guaranteed.  Pretty small payday.

Imagine, instead, a world where Malik returns for Senior year.  If he has a monster Senior season (the most likely outcome), he's a first round pick and gets paid accordingly.  Even if he only has a so-so year, he's still a likely second round pick.  Obviously, there's a chance he gets hurt.  But, given the contract he just signed, there wouldn't be a big difference between getting hurt in the NFL and getting hurt playing for the Longhorns.

Bottom Line: It's a damn shame for Malik, but this is a lesson that should be hammered into the head of every draft-eligible student-athlete from now until eternity....

Friday, June 29, 2018

Abbott Endorses Cloud in CD-27 SPECIAL ELECTION


"Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life."
Proverbs 4:23

We didn't realize election day was tomorrow:



Highlights:

  • Cloud was county chair in Victoria county.
  • Need a representative to advocate for the district post Hurricane Harvey.
  • Takes shot at Farenthold: "Restore integrity to the office."
Bottom Line: A clean win for Cloud tomorrow would allow him to get a head start on shaking up the Texas Delegation before the re-enforcements arrive next year.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Texas' Congressional Delegation doing NOTHING as Holder plots next round of redistricting lawsuits


"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Matthew 10:28

While we were making this point yesterday...guess who was in Dallas doing what:
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder met Tuesday with Latino grassroots organization leaders in North Texas to offer political and financial support for their efforts to mobilize Latino voters in the coming years.

Holder stopped in Dallas to attend a roundtable discussion and offer the backing of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a group formed in January 2017 that raised more than $10 million during its first six months of active fundraising.

The committee's focus around the country is on breaking the Republican Party's control on how congressional district maps are drawn.
Translation: Holder's helping all of the usual suspect groups, who call every redistricting map Texas ever passes racist, raise more money than ever heading into the 2020 census.  This means more (and more ridiculous) redistricting lawsuits than ever.  That's the present trajectory.

But it's completely preventable.  Congress has jurisdiction to shut this down.  Unfortunately, the Texas Republican delegation is silent.  Likewise the candidates.

Bottom Line:  This is an obvious and predicable mess.  It's completely preventable.  Unfortunately, Texas' Republican Congressional delegation doesn't have the will to prevent it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

On Redistricting, Paxton secures Temporary Reprieve from CONGRESSES. ONGOING. FAILURE....


"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Matthew 10:28

First things first, some very good news:
Attorney General Ken Paxton today released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Texas’ House and congressional redistricting maps, except with respect to one Texas House District (HD 90):

“I’m grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court restored the rule of law to the redistricting process. The court rightly recognized that the Constitution protects the right of Texans to draw their own legislative districts, and rejected the misguided efforts by unelected federal judges to wrest control of Texas elections from Texas voters,” Attorney General Paxton said. “This is a huge win for the Constitution, Texas, and the democratic process. Once again, Texans have the power to govern themselves.”

Last year, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in San Antonio invalidated two of Texas’ 36 congressional districts (27 and 35) and multiple state House districts. Attorney General Paxton appealed the rulings to the high court, which heard oral arguments in the case on April 24.

When the Supreme Court put the lower court decisions on hold last September, it meant that no changes to Texas’ redistricting maps would be made ahead of the midterm elections. Attorney General Paxton argued at the time that allowing maps to be redrawn would throw “the Texas election deadlines into chaos for the second time this decade.”
Awesome!  The ruling on redistricting was undeniably good.  Kudos to the Attorney General's office and Attorney General Paxton specifically.

But...this is temporary.

In 2020, we're going to do redistricting again.  And, when that happens, we should expect several more rounds of these types of lawsuits.  Unless, of course, Congress does its job.

As we have pointed out over and over and over and over again, CONGRESS.  HAS.  THE.  AUTHORITY.  TO.  PERMANENTLY.  SHUT.  DOWN.  THESE.  REDISTRICTING.  LAWSUITS.

But NOTHING from any of the Republicans in Texas' Congressional delegation; likewise, nothing from any candidates running for Congress.

Bottom Line: Ken Paxton, along with the entire Attorney General's office, deserves tremendous credit for this victory...but it sure would be nice if Congress would render these lawsuits obsolete.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"Sick Leave" Lawsuit: #atxcouncil's Pathetically Weak Case produces Surprisingly DECENT Rulings


"Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?!?"
Matthew 20:15

Late this afternoon, Travis County [Democrat] District Judge Tim Sulak predictably ruled against a temporary injunction of the city's of Austin's pending "sick leave" entitlement...but a couple of subsequent rulings were a gigantic rebuke to the city's case.

At issue were various motions by the respective parties to have "interveners" (ie. fancy lawyer term for third parties who join a lawsuit) removed from the case.   The plaintiffs (ie. TPPF and their clients) sought to have the "Workers Defense Project" removed as interveners in the case.  The Defendent (ie. the City) sought to have the Attorney General's office removed.  Judge Sulak granted the plaintiff's motion while denying the defense's.  In other words, a Liberal Democrat Judge in Travis County just ruled that Workers "Defense" Project could not proceed on the case, but that KEN PAXTON's office can.  You read that correctly.  That really happened.

It's impossible to overstate how HUGE Worker's "Defense" Project thrown off the case is.  For the (blessedly) uninformed, Worker's "Defense" Project are the socialist storm troopers who've been pushing this entitlement since Day 1.  They're also Greg Casar's former employer.  They're side by side with Casar in everything he does.  Today's ruling was a direct rebuke to Greg Casar!  And by a liberal Democrat Judge, no less! (But the Attorney General's office can stay....)

As for the rest of the case, it went as expected.  Judge Sulak denied the temporary injunction.  But in the process it exposed how bad the city's legal argument is.  The City is arguing that they passed a benefit mandate, not a wage mandate.  They're then arguing that the state law in question only applies to "wages."  Thus, there's no conflict with state law.  Even a non-lawyer can understand the hair-splitting stupidity of that argument.  The city lawyer even had to admit there was no case law to back up his claim the state didn't have authority to intervene.

It's also worth noting that the city seems determined to gaslight the financial impact of this ordinance upon the defendants.  At one point, the city's attorney called such expenses the "cost of doing business," not "injury."  He later made a bizarre analogy between the so-called "sick leave" entitlement and paying parking meters.  And that's on top of their various acts of gaslighting yesterday.

This case is headed to the 3rd Court of Appeals.  The exact details of how that will transpire remain to be seen.  Both sides have grounds to appeal aspects of today's rulings.

Bottom Line: Coming from a liberal Democrat judge in Travis County (Tim Sulak no less), today's rulings were better than expected.

Monday, June 25, 2018

TPPF Lawsuit Against #atxcouncil's "Sick Leave" entitlement has first hearing


"Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?"
Matthew 20:15

This afternoon, we attended the first hearing for the TPPF lawsuit against the City of Austin's so-called "sick leave" entitlement; two takeaways stand out.

The first is that Tim Sulak is the presiding judge.  Longer term readers will remember him from the 2013 Austin ISD bond lawsuit.  We stand by everything we said at the time and suggest his presence is all you need to know.

The second is that the City's strategy is going to be chubbing and misdirection.  With the ordinance scheduled to go into effect on October 1st, the city doesn't want to give an appeals court a chance to issue a temporary injunction.  So stall, stall, stall....

Today's hearing was supposed to cover the plaintiff's request for an injunction on the ordinance.  That didn't stop the city from wasting an hour trying to get other issues considered in front of the injunction.  During this discussion, the city's attorney claimed that businesses aren't suffering harm because the ordinance hasn't gone into effect yet.  That level of arrogance and ignorance was the hallmark of the city's performance.

Ellen Troxclair was the first plaintiff's witness for the injunction.  Troxclair explained the lack of Austin-specific data accessible to council during it's deliberation.  She also pointed out that council didn't have the final ordinance language available until the day of adoption.  On cross-examination, the city's attorney attempted to gaslight Troxclair by asking her a bunch of irrelevant questions about her opinion of sick leave as an employee benefit.

The second plaintiff witness was Douglas Rigdon, who runs the Strickland Christian School in South Austin.  The Strickland school is one of the plaintiffs in the suit.  Strickland is significantly less expensive than the average private school (max tuition = $5kish).  Strickland's low tuition business model would fall apart if the city's ordinance were to go into effect.  Ridden suggested Strickland might have to eliminate teacher bonuses, or lower cash salaries for teachers, to comply.  Higher tuition is given.  The city's attorneys responded by belittling Rigdon's business model, belittling tuition increases, and suggesting Strickland borrow money to cover the costs of the ordinance.

Bottom Line: We'll get into the meat of the legal arguments tomorrow, but a very revealing day today.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

#TXLEGE: A primer on the WRETCHED Practice Known as Taxpayer Funded Lobbying


"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

With abolishing taxpayer funded lobbying now an official RPT legislative priority, this 2017 primer from TPPF begins to illustrate the extent of the problem:



Bottom Line: Honestly, the TPPF paper understates the extent of the problem, but it's a good place to start.

Friday, June 22, 2018

SCOTX's ruling in bag ban case a FANTASTIC sign for case against #atxcouncil's "Sick Leave" Entitlement


"You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous."
Deuteronomy 16:19

Obviously, the Texas Supreme Court ruled this morning against the City of Laredo in the bag ban case.  That's a good thing on it's own.  But it's also a very encouraging sign for the lawsuit against the City of Austin's so-called "sick leave" entitlement.

In his opinion, Chief Justice Hecht wrote:
 The Texas Constitution states that city ordinances cannot conflict with state law.  The Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act (“the Act”) provides that “[a] local government . . . may not adopt an ordinance . . . to . . . prohibit or restrict, for solid waste management purposes, the sale or use of a container or package in a manner not authorized by state law”.
The opinion proceeds to give a detailed accounting of the legal issues involved before concluding that the Laredo ordinance clearly violates the Solid Waste Disposal Act.

As it relates to the Austin lawsuit, today's ruling strongly suggest that the court has the appetite to strike local ordinances that conflict with state law.  The Austin ordinance is an obvious violation of the Texas Minimum Wage act.  This should be a no-brainer ruling.

Also notable that today's ruling was unanimous.

Bottom Line: Positive development on multiple fronts....

Thursday, June 21, 2018

#atxcouncil: Casar's so-called "Freedom City" plan isn't a big deal (Republican hysteria notwithstanding)


"He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own
Is like one who takes a dog by the ears."
Proverbs 26:17

Last week, while we were at convention, council passed a largely symbolic measure:
Amid the controversy over sanctuary cities, Austin this month took its fight against strict immigration law enforcement a step further by declaring itself to be the first “freedom city” in Texas. City Council members unanimously passed two resolutions last week that will restrict police attempts to question immigrants about their status and curtail arrests for nonviolent crimes.

One of the new city resolutions requires officers who question immigrants about status to also say that their questions about immigration need not be answered. The other resolution directs police to avoid arrests for misdemeanors, including those for smoking marijuana, having drug paraphernalia, and taking part in petty theft — crimes that city data shows frequently end in arrests of black and Latino residents.

....

“Poor people of color in our city are over-punished and over-incarcerated,” said Greg Casar, an Austin City Councilman who pushed for the resolutions. “If people are being arrested less, we can also prevent people from being put in the deportation pipeline.”

“We found that black and Latino residents comprised 75% of discretionary arrests for driving with licenses invalid in the city even though they are 45% of the population of the city,” Casar said. “Black residents are seven times more likely to be arrested for low-level marijuana violations despite having comparable rates of usage of marijuana to white residents.”

Casar said the new rules could prevent up to 1,000 low-level arrests each year. Austin police arrest around 30,000 people a year.
The new policy has two parts: An immigration component and a marijuana component.

-------

On immigration: The new policy stays well within the legal constraints of SB 4.  All the policy requires is that, if an APD officer wants to pursue a line of questioning related to federal immigration issues, the officer has to inform the suspect that the suspect has the right to remain silent.  That's it.

Guess what?!?  Under the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Miranda v. Arizona, EVERY.  SINGLE.  PERSON. arrested in the United States is already informed of their right to remain silent.  All the City of Austin's new policy states is that, if an APD officer wants to pursue immigration related questioning, the suspect must be "Miranadized" twice.

That's it.

[Confession: As someone who locks wits with Greg Casar on a fairly regular basis, we're impressed with how he's trolling the intent SB 4 while staying well within SB 4's letter.]

-------

On marijuana: The new policy does nothing but discourage arrests for low level possession offenses (aka. decriminalization).

Well...guess who just endorsed marijuana decriminalization?!?

From the 2018 Platform of the Republican Party of Texas, Plank 107:
Civil Penalty: We support a change in the law to make it a civil, and not a criminal, offense for legal adults only to possess one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a fine of up to $100, but without jail time.
Soo...the City of Austin just adopted a policy that's consistent with the platform the Republican Party of Texas adopted last week.

-------

Nevertheless, hysteria:



You're joking, right?!?

The city's new policy may or may not be wise, but the notion that it's a threat to public safety is silly.

Austin Texas is one of the safest cities in the country.  Despite having the fifth largest population in Texas, we're #17 in crime.  The notion that "double-mirandizing" immigration suspects and de-prioritizing marijuana arrests will change that reality is, once again, silly.

But what do we know?!?  We only live in a 70% Hispanic neighborhood in East Austin....

Don't get us started on the ridiculous e-mails we've received.

-------

It's also worth pointing out that we vetted this proposal two weeks ago.  We didn't see anything (major) wrong with it then, and none of the silliness we've seen since then changes our mind.  But nice of the rest of y'all to belatedly figure out this was happening.

-------

Then there's the fact that, by reducing the number of arrests, the new policy might actually save money.

-------

Bottom Line: Priorities people.... 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

#TXLEGE: Following Uresti resignation, Abbott announces QUICK Special Election to fill vacancy


"He who gathers in summer is a wise son;
He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame."
Proverbs 10:5

That didn't take long:
Gov. Greg Abbott has scheduled a July 31 special election to replace state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio.

Uresti announced his resignation Monday, four months after he was found guilty of 11 felonies. The resignation is effective Thursday.

The filing deadline for the special election is Monday, and early voting will start July 16, according to Abbott's proclamation. The document also outlines Abbott's reasoning for calling what is known as an emergency special election, noting Uresti's District 19 has been "without effective representation" for over a year due to his legal troubles and it is important to fill the seat as soon as possible.

....

At least two Democrats are already running to finish Uresti's term, which ends in 2021: former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego of Alpine and state Rep. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio. Pete Flores, a Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Uresti in 2016, has also announced a special election run.
Here's the thing: While this district is rooted in San Antonio, it extends WAY out into West Texas.  This is not friendly territory for the Democrat's positions on guns and babies.  In a special election, a disciplined Republican campaign can win.

[Note: There's a reason why, regardless of the degree to which he was a scumbag, Uresti tended to vote somewhat more conservative than other Democrats.]

Speaking of the Republican, meet Pete Flores:
Pete Flores is running for Texas Senate District 19, which is composed of all or parts of 17 counties running from Bexar west to Brewster and encompassing a long stretch of border with Mexico.

A former leader of Texas Parks and Wildlife’s statewide law enforcement division with strong ties to South and West Texas, Flores sees the Texas State Senate as another way he can serve the region.

“I would bring strong managerial, budgetary, governance and leadership experience to the Texas Senate having been responsible for $60-million budgets, managed more than two dozen field offices, and supervised more than 127 civilian employees and nearly 532 commissioned officers,” Flores said.

As Colonel Game Warden for Texas Parks and Wildlife, Flores built a strong reputation for implementing community-based law enforcement protocols and successfully coordinating law enforcement operations with local, state and federal law enforcement officials.
[Note: You can read the rest of Pete Flores' bio here.]

Bottom Line: In their current form, the Democrats are too liberal for this part of the state; it'll be interesting to see if the Republicans can capitalize.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The nastiest, most negative, campaign since Dewhurst


"A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who speaks lies shall perish."
Proverbs 19:9

Before we leave the RPT convention, one final point deserves discussion: The noxious vindictiveness of Cindy Crocker Asche's campaign.

Asche's campaign was never about anything more than power for the sake of power.  There's an entrenched group that's been running this state for a long, long, time.  They're losing power.  They don't want to give it up.

Cindy Crocker Asche was their chosen vehicle.

Of course, you can't run a campaign on your desire to contain power within a small clique.  So they went with specious character attacks.  Securities fraud!  Accounting irregularities!  James Dickey fired incompetent people on staff!  It was a farce, and everyone knew it was a farce (some people played along with the farce for the sake of power).  Friday afternoon's stunt was merely the icing on the cake.

But, of course, we've seen this before.

In 2012 and 2014, everybody knew that David Dewhurst was interested in nothing more than power for the sake of power.  So Dewhurst was losing.  So Dewhurst attacked.  Ted Cruz is a Red Chinese Tire Manufacturer!  Dan Patrick spent time in a mental institution!  You know the results.  That Dewhurst got ripped off by his campaign consultants was the icing on the cake.

Bottom Line: Good riddance to both....

Monday, June 18, 2018

#RPTCon18: Upon further consideration, the adopted language on Plank 187 is dangerous


"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness."
Proverbs 16:12

We said our piece about the sexual harassment plank on Saturday night.  We stand by EVERY.  SINGLE.  WORD. of that piece.  But, having had a few days to digest event, the language that was adopted is REALLY problematic.

To review:
Sexual Harassment: RPT supports a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
The problem with that statement is that it doesn't define the phrases "zero tolerance" or "sexual harassment."  It also doesn't contain the phrase "due process."  That's trouble.

The ironic thing is that the only objection raised during floor debate concerned bad Title IX investigations.  NEWSFLASH: Vague language like what the delegates actually approved is HOW YOU GET BAD TITLE IX INVESTIGATIONS.  Of course, our amendment would have fixed that....

The good news, of course, is that the RPT staff has sense.  They won't take that language to the places it could go.  But if you had language like that in the wrong hands....

Bottom Line: Stupid, unforced, error.

#RPTCon18: Final Legislative Priorities


"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Luke 12:34

The final legislative priorities have been posted.

It was an very interesting, intense process.  The debates were grueling.  The priorities didn't turn out exactly how this author would have written them, but within each item there are issues which this author supports very strongly.

Mostly, we're just happy our taxpayer-funded lobbying stuff sailed through with flying colors.

A note for future conventions: We really should have seven priorities instead of five.

Thank you to all the members of the committee.  We had some contentious discussions about details, but in a broad sense we were pulling in the same direction.  You only need to look at what happened with the platform to see how it could have gone differently.

An extra special, super-duper, THANK YOU to our fantastic committee chair Amy Clark.  Amy ran an open, fair, process that allowed all sides to be heard while still keeping us focused and on-task.  We look forward to the reunion next session.

Without further ado:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

#RPTCon18: A DEVASTATING end to an otherwise great Convention


"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness."
Proverbs 16:12

[Note: You can read Olivia Messer's original 2013 piece in the Texas Observer here.  You can read her 2017 reports here and here.  You can read the Texas Tribune's reporting on the subject here.  You can read the Austin Chronicle's reporting on the subject here.]

We still can't believe that it happened.

Assuming it survived the vote by the delegates, we expect plank 187 of the 2018 Republican party of Texas platform to read:
Sexual Harassment: RPT supports a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
The good news: This is the first time in history the RPT platform has addressed it.

The bad news: It's a weak, toothless, unenforceable position.  It doesn't mention why the plank is in there in the first place.  It's the Texas Alliance for "Life" of sexual misconduct planks.

We moved to amend the plank to instead read:
Sexual Misconduct:  RPT supports a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of sexual misconduct in the Texas Legislature.  We furthermore call upon the Legislature to create a credible system of due process to adjudicate complaints within two weeks.  In the event complaints are found to be valid, we call upon the legislature to create tangible penalties including, but not limited to, loss of committee chairmanship and dismissal.
Our amendment was designed to give teeth to the existing language.

Unfortunately, and inexplicably, the delegates voted it down.  It wasn't close.  Two thirds/one third.

[Note (11:48 pm): We're trying to edit this post to get it up before midnight...and we still can't believe we read that last paragraph.]
.
We don't get it.

The Texas Legislature is a disgusting cesspool.  Whatever the excesses of the national "hashtagMeToo" movement, the Texas Legislature is a legit caseThe Texas Legislature is Harvey Weinstein, not Aziz Ansari.

And, to be honest, some of the behavior we saw the past few days confirmed our worst fears.

We saw a Texas house Committee Chairman get into an elevator at one in the morning with a woman who wasn't his wife.  We saw another member of the Texas house at the hotel bar gettin' real grabby with any hot young thing that would move.  By themselves, neither is proof of anything...but let's just say that the circumstantial evidence is strong.

Also, this is not one of those "allegedly" cases.  We saw this with our own eyes.  We dare either of the legislators in question to sue this author.  We have witnesses.

[Note: We wanted to get video, but there was no way to film in a way that wouldn't have been obvious.]

-------

The worst part is that the objections during floor debate didn't make sense.

One person spoke against who he made vague comments about political correctness and lack of due process in Title IX investigations.

Here's the thing: WE.  LITERALLY.  INCLUDED.  THE.  PHRASE.  DUE.  PROCESS.  IN.  OUR.  AMENDMENT.  LANGUAGE.

-------

In hindsight, our biggest mistake was not taking the time to educate the delegates (we should have literally used the phrases "adultery" and "prostitution").  There was limited time to discuss platform amendments. We were trying to be a team player.  We were trying tosave time.  We assumed that if we mentioned Olivia Messer by name, delegates would take our word for it and do their own research later.

We all know what they say about the word "assume."

Our other mistake was not forcing a discussion on this topic in the legislative priorities committee.  To be honest, the taxpayer funded lobbying/union dues stuff was going so well that we didn't want to annoy the committee by asking for more.  We assumed we could get the language we wanted in the platform, and that that would be good enough.

Once again, everybody knows what they say about the word "assume."

[Note for future legislative priorities committees: If we had had seven legislative priorities to work with, instead of five, this author wouldn't have felt that pushing this issue would be perceived as selfish.]

-------

Note to this website's left-of-center readers: The real reason for today's result was the backlash to the national "hashtagMeToo" movement.  They went too far.  And, obviously, the results speak for themselves.

Imagine a world where the Republican Party of Texas adopts strong language condemning sexual misconduct by elected officials...and know that the only reason we're not currently living in that world is because an ambitious feminist blogger went after Aziz Ansari.

[Second note for this website's left-of-center readers: Even though RPT just face-planted on cleaning up the state legislature, given the cases of Joe Barton and Blake Farenthold, RPT still has the strongest record of ANY state level political party in the country at getting our own elected officials to leave office once the evidence becomes undeniable.]

-------

Note for this website's right-of-center readers: You don't understand the opportunity you just missed.

The saddest part is that we just re-read our blog post from the day Joe Barton left office.

-------

Republicans like to waste time holding pointless meetings about "millennial outreach."

News Flash MORONS:  THE.  AMENDMENT.  LANGUAGE.  WAS.  AN.  ACT.  OF. MILLENNIAL. OUTREACH.

And you just whiffed.

-------

Bottom LIne: A very small improvement on the status quo...but it could have been so much more.