Saturday, December 30, 2017

#TXLEGE, #atxcouncil: The most interesting lesson we learned in 2017

"Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king."
1 Peter 2:17

Anyone who reads this website with any degree of regularity knows there are two politicians who vex this author beyond all others: Mayor Steve Adler and House Speaker Joe Straus.  As 2017 winds down, it's as good a time to write down an observation that's become obvious in recent months.  While both of them push bad polices, one of them does it in a (reasonably) lawful and respectful way, while the other operates a lawless and contemptuous enterprise.

We'll let you figure out which one is which.

Say what you will about Mayor Adler (and we've certainly said a lot), but he's a nice guy.  Beyond his genuine niceness, however, is a refreshingly mature understanding of what it takes to be the Mayor in a big, diverse, city where people don't agree with each other.  It involves listening...or at least allowing people to get their gripes at the Mayor out of their system.  Steve Adler is a guy with whom you can have a reasonable conversation about the City Manager on Tuesday then call a hypocrite on Thursday who will be an adult about the whole thing.

That's not to imply, in any way, that Mayor Adler will pursue the polices we want.  It's merely to observe that, in three years as Mayor, we've always felt treated with respect.  And that's more than we can say for the other fella.

Joe Straus, beyond the bad policies and even the lawlessness, is incorrigibly malicious.  He goes out of his way to try to hurt those with whom he disagrees.  The examples are too numerous to list, but this, this, and this would be good places to start.

To which we will add: Good riddance, Joe Straus will not be missed.

Bottom Line: A number of people have recently wondered why, for as frustrating as its policy environment can be, we prefer the culture of city hall to the culture of the Capitol; this is why.

Friday, December 29, 2017

#TXLEGE: Covetous political hack moonlights as Heretic Pastor to promote Socialized Education

"By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber."
2 Peter 2:3

"Pastors for Texas Childen" is one of the more obnoxious astroturf groups on Twitter; Empower Texans has a must-watch analysis of a recent event they held in Granbury:


  • Parental educational choice is "sinful."
  • Something, something "God's common money."
    • Note: LOL, see here.
  • "There's a big difference between what parents have to say, and what Pastor Johnson has to say."
  • The socialized education system hires bureaucrats instead of educating kids.
  • At Johnson's own meeting, teachers were complaining that the local superintendent was hiring bureaucrats instead of educating kids.
  • Teachers tend to get better pay in situations where robust choice exists.
  • There are 1.2 million school district employees in Texas.
  • Makes bizarre attack on private schools for not having alumni in the military.
  • "Thank God for Joe Straus."
    • Note: LOL, apparently he said this the day before Straus quit.
  • Democrats need to vote in Republican primaries.
Bottom Line: There's room for reasonable people to disagree about how to interpret what the Bible says about education (both at the personal and the public policy level), but the notion that shoveling MOAR MONEY into Caesar's protected monopoly is somehow constitutes "the Lord's work" (or some such nonsense) doesn't pass the laugh test.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

#TXLEGE: Lobbyists are retiring?!?

"Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy."
Proverbs 12:20

"Quorum Report" is a corrupt, low-circulation, Capitol gossip website that acts as glorified stenographers for the Straus team.  We don't read them often, but occasionally they say something unintentionally revealing.  An otherwise unremarkable hatchet job on Dan Patrick they published this morning was a case in point.

Obviously, we don't run in those circles, so we can neither confirm nor deny these events are occurring.  But, for as awful at Quorum report might be, they do run in those circles.  Thus we suspect this report is correct.

Bottom Line: Given the wretched nature of the entrenched Capitol culture, shedding "hundreds of years of institutional knowledge" can only be considered a good thing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Something about this Tom Herman recruiting class doesn't add up

"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
John 7:24

Whatever happens tonight against Mizzou, the hype machine is already out for 2018:
With the signing of Anthony Cook on Wednesday afternoon during the Early Signing Period, the Longhorns officially inked seven of the state’s Top 10 players in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. That smashes Texas’ previous high of five in 2011 and 2012 – the 247Sports Composite's origin dates to 2011. Using 247Sports’ backdated rankings that start in 2000, the 2018 class is still Texas’ best effort in the Lone Star State. Texas, even during Mack Brown’s peak, never signed more than six of the state’s Top 10 players.

Perhaps most notably to the Longhorns' future, they inked more of the state’s Top 10 this year than they had the previous four years combined. Under Charlie Strong – and in last year’s abbreviated period under Herman – Texas signed just six of the top 40 available players in the state.

Herman bested that total in just a single cycle in his first full year as head coach

And the Longhorns aren’t even done. With all of this movement coming during the Early Signing Period, there’s still time for Texas to potentially add more. As it currently stands, the Longhorns are the only team to have inked a top 10 player in the Lone Star state with Jaylen Waddle, Leon O'Neal Jr. and Joshua Moore remaining uncommitted.

Texas’ 2018 class currently ranks third nationally. If that holds, it’d be the team’s best recruiting finish since 2012.


This movement is all the more impressive considering the Longhorns finished just 6-6 in the regular season.
We'll go one step further: This movement is all the more impressive considering the Longhorns haven't done anything interesting in nearly a decade.

Which begs the natural follow up question: Is this legit?!?

We have no specific knowledge of wrongdoing, but this all seems awfully sudden.  Football programs that haven't done anything interesting in nearly a decade don't usually bust top 5 in the nation recruiting classes.  Given how corrupt everything else the University of Texas does ends up being, would anyone put it past them?!?

Keep this in mind: Players committing for 2018 would have been 8 years old when Colt McCoy played his last game and 4 years old when Vince Young won the national championship.  And we're supposed to believe that they were swayed by "Longhorn tradition" when none of that has been in evidence recently?!?  We suppose that's not impossible, but neither does it seem entirely likely.

Bottom Line:  If a recruiting scandal blows up in the next few years, you heard it here first.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

#TXLEGE: Trib unintentionally illustrates how legislative "higher education funding" NEVER stops tuition hikes....

"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly."
Proverbs 26:11

From the Trib's 2017 in review write up on Higher Education; first item:
But as the legislative session wound on, the funding cuts kept getting smaller. By March, the Senate proposed cutting each school's appropriations by between 6 and 10 percent. By June, negotiations with the House led universities to fare better than many other areas of the state budget. Some schools even saw their funding increase. Though schools still warned that they were having trouble keeping up with growth and inflation, they acknowledged that their worst fears never materialized.
Third item:
When the 2017 legislative session began, Patrick listed halting tuition increases as one of his top priorities for the year. He got a bill through the Senate to freeze tuition, but the legislation died in the House. Soon after, tuition went up again Virtually all the major university systems in the state now have plans to impose some sort of tuition increase next school year.
Of course, some of us learned our lesson in 2015.

Furthermore, some of us warned the Texas Senate that this was exactly what would happen when they rubber stamped Governor Abbott's last round of Regent nominees.

Bottom Line: Until the Texas Senate plays hardball on Regent confirmations, nothing will change.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

#TXLEGE: Abbott Endorses Committee Chairman who Killed Property Tax Reform

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

Oh good grief:

The endorsement itself is bad enough, but it's all the more galling due to the lie that Bonnen includes in the announcement.

Specifically, Bonnen claims: "we collaborated to bring our homeowners vital property tax reform that would have given voters veto power over large local property tax increases."

Except that, as anyone old enough to remember a point in ancient history called "August" can remember, no such thing happened.

Here's what happened on property taxes during the Special Session of the 85th legislature:

  • The Texas Senate passed a compromise bill that nevertheless represented a tangible step in the right direction on July 26th.
  • Dennis Bonnen gutted said bill in committee on August 1st.
  • Bonnen sat on gutted bill for two additional days before sending it to Calendars on August 3rd.
  • Calendars sat on the bill for a week.
  • Calendars eventually set the gutted bill for second reading floor debate on August 12th.
  • Then, oh yeah, remember when they postponed third reading by a day.
  • House very belatedly passed gutted bill on third reading on August 14th.
  • With two days left in the special session, Senate requests a conference committee to restore minimally acceptable; house responds by lawlessly adjourning sine die.
  • Senator Bettencourt has a good recap of events here.
Bottom Line: Do these people think we've forgotten events from four months ago?!?

Friday, December 22, 2017

#TXLEGE: Frivolous Huberty lawsuit fails to remove opponent from ballot

"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly."
Proverbs 26:11

From the Inbox:
Huberty Sues Republican Party During Christmas Season
Liberal Incumbent Fails to Kick Minority Veteran off March Primary Ballot

(Kingwood, TX) This week, Daniel Huberty sued the Republican Party to force Reginald Grant, a decorated Marine combat veteran, off of the March Republican primary ballot. Huberty wrongly claimed that Grant did not meet the requirements to run for office, but his arguments were strongly rejected by the Court.
"It's shameful that Dan Huberty had to resort to these legal dirty tricks," said Reginald Grant. "I think the people of the district deserve a choice, and considering that no one else is running in the primary or general election, if Huberty kicks me off the ballot, he runs unopposed. That's just wrong, it's unfair to the voters to deny them any choice, and I hope Huberty would reimburse the Republican Party for the legal costs he's wasted on this."

Recent years have seen few challengers in state elections. In 2016 in Texas, 42 out of 150 legislators faced a primary challenge. Only one-third of Texas House Republicans faced primary challenges. Nationally, 18.6 percent of Democratic incumbents and 21.4 percent of GOP incumbents faced primary opposition in all of the state legislatures with elections in 2016. The overall figure for how many state legislative candidates faced no major party opposition nationwide was 41.8 percent. 
"I believe in America, and I believe the voters ought to have a choice, any choice," Grant said. "It's wrong when people have no options, and it's wrong when a long-time well-funded candidate wastes money by filing frivolous lawsuits against other people in his party, and even against his own Party! I hope Republicans notice that people who sue their Party are empowering Democrats, liberals, and the liberal Republicans."
Grant's consultant Luke Macias said, "It astounds me that Dan Huberty is so scared of running against a conservative that he would sink this low. He wanted the Court to kick Reginald off the ballot because he's so afraid that given a choice, his district will vote for a dignified and honorable man like Reginald Grant. Huberty should be ashamed of himself and he rightfully lost in Court."

Dan Huberty is running against Reginald Grant in the Republican Primary for the Texas House of Representatives in District 127. The election is on March 6, 2018. District 127 has 175,696 residents and covers the Harris county communities of Kingwood, Humble, Houston, Atascacita, and Huffman.
Patrick Svitek of the Trib has more:

Bottom Line: We've been curious for awhile about just how vulnerable Dan Huberty really is in his district; to attempt this sort of stunt is revealing.

#TXLEGE Sexual Abuse: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly from Yesterday's Austin Chronicle Article (WARNING: Graphic)

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

[Note: As a friendly trigger warning for some of you Baptist types, you should know the original Austin Chronicle article contained swear words that we are going to quote (and address) without sugarcoating; if that's something your snowflake Baptist eyes can't handle stop reading.]

[Note II: Did we mention that this blog post will be quoting swear words verbatum?!?  If you find a couple of swear words overwhelming, you are free to look elsewhere.  This author is not interested in receiving your Facebook messages.]

[Note III:  Swear words ahead; seriously, no Facebook messages.]

Yesterday, the Austin Chronicle published another chilling account about the culture of chronic sexual abuse in the Texas Legislature.  No new names dropped.  We will address topics thematically rather than chronologically.


The house's new policy being a joke:
The House Administration Committee, which is led by Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth, approved new rules that clearly define sexual harassment – including sexual jokes, gifts, and "intentionally brushing up against a person" – and offer ways for victims to seek recourse through a complaint process. Complaints about staffers can be sent to Geren or the House personnel department; complaints about members can be sent to Geren or committee vice chair Gary VanDeaver. All complaints will be "investigated by impartial individuals." If necessary, external resources (such as an outside attorney or investigator) can be used to ensure impartiality. Identities of victims and witnesses will be protected from disclosure to the "greatest extent allowed by law," the five-page policy reads.


[W]omen filing complaints would be better served by a third-party, neutral arbiter than legislators. "You don't want the fox guarding the hen house," she said. "Lawmakers who depend on their relationships with other lawmakers to get things done can't oversee the process in a fair way." The third party should also be a constant presence at the Capitol, she suggested, tackling the culture of inequality and misogyny.

Also under the new policy, all House members and staff are required to attend sexual harassment training by the end of January, and every two years afterward. There won't be much enforcement of that, although records of who attended the trainings will be made public, leaving citizens the opportunity to pressure those who fail to take the course.
The good: The Chronicle points out that the new policy is an unenforceable farce, leadership's self congratulatory absurdities notwithstanding.

The bad: The Chronicle fails to point out that the Chairman responsible for overseeing the new policy has been engaged in a sexual relationship with a lobbyist for many years.  We understand that some people disagree with us about the degree to which this represents a conflict of interest.  But, at a minimum, one would think it's a relevant detail that should be reported upon and left to the reader to decide it's importance.

The ugly: The Chronicle fails to mention that Geren has already been caught lying about this topic.


"Worshiping the Capitol":

The Chronicle details the story of Taylor Holden, a left-leaning activist who worked as an intern several sessions ago:
She never reported the incident to her boss because she felt that she had "no power" as an intern. "I worshipped the Cap­it­ol and always wanted to work in politics, but after that experience I felt betrayed," said Holden. She now works for a progressive organization in Colorado.
There's an obvious spiritual component to what she said that might be worth addressing in the future, but for the moment we'll focus on something more immediate.

To say that one "worships" a government building illustrates an unhealthy lack of perspective.  Whatever you hope to accomplish, ultimately politics is just politics.  It's not THAT important.

We don't want to belittle Ms. Holden's experience in any way, shape, or form, but if she's coming from the perspective of "worshiping" the political process, some modest disillusionment might be in order.


"Everybody Fucks Everybody":

Also from Holden:
While touring her around, she says, an aide commented that the Capitol was a "non-stop party" where "everybody fucks everybody" and proceeded to make a sexist remark about a fellow female staffer.
Annnnd, THIS is where we take exception.

With all due respect to every other faction at the Capitol, "everybody" at the Capitol does not "fuck everybody" at the Capitol.  That, straight up, DOES NOT HAPPEN among conservatives.  Furthermore, if such behavior were discovered in our ranks, it would NOT be tolerated.

To clarify:
  • Have conservatives who've met at the Capitol dated?!? Yes.
  • Have conservatives who've met at the Capitol gotten married?!? Yes.
  • Has a conservative ever had a one-off sexual encounter with someone they met at the Capitol?!?  Not to this author's knowledge, but the law of averages suggests that it must have happened at some point.
But the lecherous meat market that seems to exist everywhere else at the Capitol does not exist in our faction.  And, if it were to emerge, it would be dealt with.  Thus, we take exception to that remark.

For the record: This author has NEVER had a sexual encounter with someone we met at the Capitol; we find the thought BILIOUS.


Hinojosa misses point:

From Gina Hinojosa:
"I believe the biggest contributing factor to an environment where there's a problem with sexual harassment is not enough women in power," Hinojosa remarked.
On the one hand, we don't disagree with Rep. Hinojosa that having more women among the elected officials could help.

On the other hand, who is she kidding?!?

As the legislature currently stands, there are 27 women serving in the house and 8 in the Senate.  That's 35 total.  And of the 35 women currently serving, at best, 6 have stepped up to challenge this garbage. (And, at least a few of the men are ahead of the overwhelming majority of the women)

Make no mistake: Rep. Hinojosa is one of those 6, and we applaud her for doing so, but consider us skeptical of her underlying claim as long as 82% of the women currently in office at the Capitol are saying nothing.

[Note: Then, of course, there's the fact that Rep. Hinojosa's own father did this the day before.]


Going surprisingly easy on the Senate:

Moving onto the Senate:
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has asked Senate Administration Com­mit­tee Chairwoman Sen. Lois Kolk­horst, R-Bren­­ham, to review the Senate's sexual harassment policies, while Sens. Sylvia Gar­cia, D-Houston, and Kirk Watson, D-Aus­­tin, called on Kolkhorst to hold a public hearing. "The Legislature has clearly failed to create a safe environment for women in the Capitol. That must change," said Watson. Kolkhorst heeded their calls on Dec. 14, letting senators voice concerns in a public forum about the lack of accountability and reporting procedures for how offices handle sexual harassment. But the upper chamber has yet to issue any updated policies.
We've spoken previously about how the Senate's response to what we already know has been woefully inadequate; we're surprised the Austin Chronicle (of all places) didn't let them have it a lot stronger than that.


Bottom Line: It's good that a clearer picture of this garbage is beginning to emerge, but yesterday's article makes equally clear how much distance remains to be traveled before anything will change.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Paxton re-affirms what we already knew about Churches' right to self-defense

"Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me."
Nehemiah 4:18

Attorney General Paxton released an opinion this afternoon about what the law says about Churches right to self defense following last month's tragedy:

Bottom Line: Decisions about specific security policies are up to individual congregations, but unless someone else owns the land on which the service is held, then individual congregations have wide latitude to establish the security policies that work for them.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Party failing to address Miles/Uresti loses frivolous lawsuit to protect other party's pervert

"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly."
Proverbs 26:11

Update: They literally dropped the suit while we were writing the original post...
during an oral hearing Wednesday, a federal judge denied a motion to issue a temporary restraining order barring the GOP from removing Farenthold's name from the ballot. The Democrats then voluntarily dropped the case.
Obviously, that means this story is already over.  But the news broke while we were writing the blog post below.  So we're going to finish the original post because we think it makes some important points.


LOL, so this happened:

No it isn't wasn't.  This is was about trying to milk Blake Farenthold for a few more bad headlines for the Republicans.  Everybody knows knew that.

But the amazing thing is that Borris Miles and Carlos Uresti continue to hide in plain sight.  No Democrats have called for them to step down.  The Democrats don't even seem to be willing to talk about them by name.

But they're were willing to file a lawsuit to keep Blake Farenthold's name on the ballot.

As to the legal issues: While this website has never claimed legal expertise, preliminary discussions with legal sources suggests the legal argument is thinner than a wet Kleenex.  Furthermore, this lawsuit opens the Democrats up to discovery.  Speaking of discovery, we strongly suspect that's why the Democrats will ultimately drop this lawsuit.  They were so weak that the lawsuit didn't even survive the time it took to write this blog post.

Make no mistake: The Republican response to what we've learned recently about the culture of chronic sexual abuse at the Capitol remains woefully inadequate.  The Senate has been, at best, lethargic.  The house, meanwhile, has been the house.

But at least the Republicans, no matter how slowly or clumsily, are trying.

That's more than we can say for the Democrats.

Bottom Line: To attempt a stunt like this reveals an unsettling lust for power.  To lose said stunt in less than four hours reveals a comical lack of competence.  If you're looking for a textbook example of why Texas won't turn blue any time soon, this is a good one.

Paxton "prosecutors" attempt to take Collin County taxpayers hostage (AGAIN)

"For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."
Galatians 6:8

The indefatigable Jon Cassidy details the latest:
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to hear arguments over whether the special prosecutors in the criminal case against Attorney General Ken Paxton may charge Collin County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for their services.

State law requires that court-appointed prosecutors be paid according to the predetermined schedule used to pay the attorneys for indigent defendants. However, the local rules decided upon by the judges in Collin County included an exception for “unusual circumstances,” which was invoked in the Paxton case.


Last year, the Collin County Commissioners Court paid court-appointed prosecutors Brian Wice, Kent Schaffer, and Nicole DeBorde some $255,000, but balked in May after then-trial judge George Gallagher ordered the payment of another $205,000.

An appeals court agreed with the commissioners in August, voiding the order on the basis that the “unusual circumstances” exception conflicted with the law’s requirement of uniformity.

The prosecutors appealed that to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which stayed the order in September, before announcing Wednesday that it would formally consider the question.

That decision raises the prospect of a jurisdictional dispute in Texas’ unusual two-headed judiciary.

Earlier this year, the Texas Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a district judge did not have the authority to order a commissioners court to pay a court official a certain salary.
Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Paxton case continues to collapse (likewise the descent into farce)

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

LOL (via the DMN):
Attorney General Ken Paxton, who's still battling securities fraud indictments as he enters re-election year, may just have picked up a new tool to fight the felony charges against him.

For the third time in two years, the federal government has failed to prove investors were willfully swindled into backing a little-known tech startup called Servergy, Inc. The first two times, it was Paxton who was cleared of civil fraud charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Now, Servergy founder and former chief executive officer William Mapp III has also been acquitted of intentionally defrauding investors. Last week, a federal jury cleared him on six of seven claims, finding him guilty on one count of negligence.

The Mapp verdict doesn't have a direct or immediate legal effect on Paxton's criminal charges, experts said, but it could help the attorney general as he heads to trial next year. How could Paxton have duped anyone, his lawyers may argue, if the federal government couldn't prove Servergy's own founder intentionally defrauded his investors?

"It is an uphill climb for the prosecutors," said John Teakell, a Dallas attorney who has served as senior trial counsel for the SEC. "Can they prove that he knowingly misrepresented something or knowingly mislead someone?

"They got their work cut out for them."
We now go live to the special prosecutors:

Bottom Line: We've known for over a year that there's been no underlying crime committed by Paxton, but this latest round of acquittals illustrates just how silly this case has become.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Abbott Fires GIGANTIC Shot Across UT's Bow

"And this is a simple matter in the sight of the Lord; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand."
2 Kings 3:18

From a write up about McRaven's departure from Horns 24/7:
McRaven’s three-year tenure has been a tumultuous one. While McRaven laid out an ambitious agenda, McRaven became mired in politics after a failed $215 million purchase of 300 acres of land in Houston for a UT campus as well as McRaven’s opposition to the state’s “campus carry” law passed two years ago.

Sources said Abbott and Patrick, but specifically Abbott, who signed SB11 into law (effective Jan. 1, 2016) allowing those with concealed handgun licenses to carry on college campuses, resented McRaven for his outspoken stance that the law would make campuses less safe.

Reports on social media surfaced a person with a concealed carry license drew a firearm to stop a suspect accused of three stabbings (including one fatality) on the UT campus on May 1 from further attacks. But police wouldn’t confirm those reports and credited an officer who arrived two minutes after being called with stopping the attacker.

As far as McRaven leading the UT System’s purchase of 300 acres for a UT campus in Houston, I'm told he did so without clearing it with key Houston politicos, including Abbott and Patrick (both from Houston), as well as key Houston legislators who have to answer to the University of Houston in their districts.

I’m told McRaven didn’t even involve UT president Greg Fenves before the land purchase, which became a bit of a political minefield for Fenves while the Big 12 was exploring expansion a year ago.

Sources said Houston lawmakers put pressure on Texas to help the University of Houston get into the Big 12 as a way of making up for - or even in exchange for - McRaven’s purchase. Fenves played the situation perfectly, announcing in a tweet that if Houston was to be considered for the Big 12, UH would make a great candidate. In the end, the out-of-state members of the Big 12 didn’t want another school in Texas added to the league.

McRaven abruptly abandoned the land purchase, announcing earlier this year the UT System would sell the property after McRaven was undressed in a public forum by UT regent Kevin Eltife, a former state senator from Tyler and perhaps Abbott’s closest confidante on the regents board.
It's very subtle.  And, unless you understand UT politics, you might miss it.  But it's difficult to overstate the magnitude of what just happened.

Clearly, Kevin Eltife is this reporter's primary source.  One of the oldest tricks in the anonymous source book is to say something complimentary about your source after the controversial stuff.  And look how the reporter characterized Abbott's relationship with Eltife.  We also wouldn't be surprised if other members of the Board of Regents spoke with the reporter

Then there's the fact that this report appeared in the sports media, instead of the political media.  One of the ways the U.T. politburo keeps the alumni at bay is via Pravda-esque levels of manipulation of media coverage of the athletic department.  We've never had a reason to discuss it publicly, but we have personal experience attempting to cover the athletic department to back this up.  The result is to create a fan-boy media culture that echoes the Politburo line.

But by leaking to the fan-boy sports media, instead of the Trib or the Statesmen [Note: How much egg do those two have on their face after getting scooped this big?!?], Abbott is essentially telling the politburo "if you guys don't shape up soon (*), I'm about to start taking my case directly to the alumni."

That being said, this is still Greg Abbott (and UT) about whom we're talking.  So it shouldn't surprise anyone if follow though is lacking.  But if you know what to look for, this is pretty huge.

Bottom Line: An Abbott-appointed regent leaking this sort of a BOMBSHELL to the athletic department's fan boy media doesn't happen by accident.


* -- ie. 'by the time I'm re-elected and no longer need your money'


Then there's this: "But sources close to Fenves, who earns $750,000 per year, indicated Fenves has “three to five years” of agenda items he wants to help carry out as UT president."

Considering that Fenves has already been there 2.5 years, does that mean they're laying the foundation for his departure along with McRaven at the end of the current school year?!?

On #TXLEGE Sexual Abuse: Where the HECK is the Travis County DA?!?

"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."
John 3:20

That's a rhetorical question...but we think it's a pretty good one.

Over the past six weeks, we've discovered an ever worsening onslaught about various acts of sexual abuse at the Capitol.  At a minimum, it certainly seems like several assaults have occurred.  And shouldn't credible accounts of assault lead to a criminal investigation.

We're not a lawyer; we don't know the relevant statues.  Furthermore, we wouldn't be surprised if the statute of limitations had expired on some of the older events.  But, given what we've learned so far, wouldn't a responsible district attorney ask?!?

But this is the Travis County DA's office we're talking about, so the word responsible doesn't apply.  They'd rather launch political prosecutions.  Then, of course, there's this.

Another point to ponder: So far, all of the legislators who have been formally accused have been Democrats.  But the day is inevitably coming when Republican names formally drop.  And wouldn't it be interesting if the Travis County DA were to then suddenly discovered an interest in this topic....

The biggest shame is that both chambers of the legislature are clearly going to do everything they can to resist cleansing themselves; a criminal investigation might actually shame them into doing so.

Bottom Line: For obvious reasons, the Travis County DA's record doesn't inspire confidence.  But Margaret Moore campaigned on restoring public confidence in the DA's office.  If she's serious, this would be a really good place to start.

#atxcouncil: Special treatment for Greg Abbott (higher electric bills for the rest of us)

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

We testified against a couple of items at last Thursday's council meeting:
  • Item 90: "Approve an ordinance waiving fees in an amount not to exceed $6,800,000 and requirements related to the vacation of right-of-way, associated with the development of Phase One of the 2016 Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan."

    We first discussed the "Capitol Complex" office plan back in June.  This is a project that illustrates the phoniness of so much of the highly theatrical conflict between the City of Austin and the State of Texas.  And, when push came to shove, the city gave the state everything it asked for.

    At issue is the absurdly lavish renovations for state office buildings immediately north of the Capitol.  The state of Texas is sought (and received) a $6.8 million fee waiver.  Because it's better to give special treatment to politically favored entities than to create low/simple, fees for everyone.

    But where this issue really chaps our hide is all of the highly sensationalized 'conflict' that we so frequently see between the city and the state.  It's not a secret that this website believes the unchecked growth of government at the local level is the biggest macroeconomic threat Texas faces, and that the state is well within it's rights to to rein it in.

    It's difficult to know whose cronies are getting paid on this project, although if history is any guide then Greg Abbott and Kirk Watson are the two likeliest suspects.

    Ora Houston voted against.  Leslie Pool abstained.  Each of the other nine voted "aye."

  • Item 3: "Authorize negotiation and execution of a 15-year power purchase agreement with a subsidiary of INTERSECT POWER for the full output of electricity from a utility-scale solar generation facility with capacity of 150 to 180 megawatts, in an estimated amount of $10,000,000 to $12,000,000 per year, and a total estimated amount of $150,000,000 to $180,000,000."

    Mayor Adler can claim can claim this mandate will save consumers money all he wants, but this municipal government doesn't have the credibility to make "we have to spend money to make money" type assertions [Note: A cynic might accuse them of gaslighting].  We didn't believe them when they made similar claims about the new development services office building.  We don't believe them now.

    Our biggest issue is that this mandate will drive up electric bills.  Austin energy isn't going to absorb this cost.  They'll pass it along to ratepayers.

    But the other fascinating aspect of this contract is the "climate change" hypocrisy.  Whatever one feels about the underlying veracity of global warming, it doesn't change the fact that the same streamlining of residential construction in the urban core that would lower housing costs and shorten commutes would also reduce carbon emissions.  And this solar energy mandate is nothing more than a wildly expensive political workaround (with other people's money) to make up for the fact that council lacks the political will to fix the housing issue through CodeNext.

    Finally, it's absurd to make a ten year commitment.  If this were a 2 to 3 year contract, we'd probably overlook it.  But to commit ourselves for a decade bears an eerie resemblance to the biomass plant debacle.

    Ellen Troxclair voted against; the other 10 voted "Aye."

Friday, December 15, 2017

Latest on the Perverts in Texas politics

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

[Note: That we even have to write that headline.]

We've been at City Hall all week, but several noteworthy developments the past few days:
  • Farenthold finally throws in the towel -- We had resigned ourselves to having to remove him electorally, but yesterday Farenthold finally demonstrated the good sense to leave on his own.  Following Joe Barton, this is the second scalp this website has helped to collect over this garbage.  And yes, we are fully prepared to promote our record of actually doing something against any of the loathsome hypocrites (be they of the "Christian" or "Feminist" variety) selectively manipulating this issue for political purposes.

    As to Farenthold, he clearly has psychological issues related to both anger and sex; we hope he gets help.
  • Straus' hypocritical comment about Roy Moore -- Following the U.S. Senate race in Alabama, Joe Straus made the following comment Wednesday "Last night in Alabama, something very important happened: Decency trumped tribalism."

    Coming from Joe friggin' Straus, that is a particularly noxious comment.

    Obviously, this website did not support Roy Moore's candidacy (at least at the end).  We kept our mouth shut because there was nothing we could do about it, but we doubt anyone familiar with our sentiments on this topic is surprised.  See our comment in the previous item about our record.

    But for Joe Straus, of all people, to attempt to lecture anyone on the subject of "decency" as it relates to sexual matters is revolting.

    Joe Straus has witnessed members of the Texas House committing sexual assault.  Joe Straus quite possibly appointed a pervert to chair the public education committee during the 85th.  Finally, while we're not prepared to level formal accusations (at this time), let's just say that there are bad signs related several other Texas House committee chairs on sexual matters.

    Then there's the fact that, even at this late date, Joe Straus has appointed a man who has had a decade long sexual relationship with a lobbyist to oversee the new "sexual harassment" policy.

    So please, Joe Straus, spare us any detestable little lecture on "decency" as it relates to sexual matters.
  • Texas Senate Finally Shows Up -- The Texas Senate held its first hearing on the matter yesterday.  This is, literally, the first time they've even attempted to do anything on this subject.  This despite the fact that the first two people to be named in this unfolding scandal are both sitting Senators.

    The Texas Observer asked for comments from every Senator related to Miles and Uresti.  Only 13 even had the guts to respond.  And none of them called for Miles and Uresti to leave.

    We've been in conversation with Senate sources all day, and they assure us that this is being taken seriously behind the scenes.  Furthermore, the Senate has concerns about creating a "lynch mob" mentality.  We understand that the Senate has its way of doing things (and that it's usually a more effective strategy to just let the Senate be the Senate), but this is still weak.  And we will be making this point in significantly stronger language if we don't see action soon.

    And, for the record, if Miles and Uresti don't present a very compelling defense between now and January 2019, then the Texas Senate needs to expel them.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

#atxcouncil Correctly Rejects Profligate, Opaque, Police Contract

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

[Note: The Austin Monitor has more here; Austin Affordability has more here.]

It takes a special degree of ineptitude for a police department to simultaneously be the most expensive in the state and one of the least transparent in the country.  Somehow, the Austin Police Department (APD) managed to pull that off.  Last night, in a unanimous vote, council correctly rejected their latest labor agreement.

The opposition coalition created remarkably strange bedfellows.  Many left-leaning activists opposed the contract due to its failure to address APD's transparency and accountability shortcomings in use of force incidents.  Others expressed concerns over the fiscal impact.

Under questioning from Ellen Troxclair, the city CFO explained that the proposed contract would have added a minimum $74 million to annual general fund base line.  This would essentially crowd out any other budget priority (including property tax relief) and embed annual 8% property tax hikes into the indefinite future (*).  As Troxclair explained, the numbers simply didn't work to add up this pay increase for current officers plus the new officers APD has already committed to hire.

We testified about how, every budget cycle, long-term public safety contracts bite us in the rear end.  Like it or not, APD is already 40% of the general fund.  Furthermore, APD already has the highest paid officers in the state (ie. "Base Pay" + "Steps" + "Longevity bonuses" + "stipends").  Like it or not, you cannot structurally reform the city's finances without getting public safety costs under control.  We also mentioned that municipal pensions are bankrupting cities across the country, and that the proposed contract makes Austin's pension situation worse (by increasing the baseline).  Had we had more time, we also would have voiced our own concerns on the transparency side.

Speaking of pensions, we learned something insane: Apparently, APD officers are eligible to retire after 23 years.  That means, if you get hired at 25, you can retire at 48.  While Austin's pension situation isn't as bad as Chicago or Houston, it's on the same trajectory and the proposed contract would have made it worse.

On transparency, the proposed contract would have allowed APD to stall investigations into officer misconduct to death by simply waiting until 180 days after the incident occurs; that's assuming a complaint is filed in the first place.  The department also has access to body/dashboard camera footage that doesn't exist for the general public.  In the event (God forbid) that the type of incident that has made national news in the past few years were to happen in Austin, the proposed contract would have entrenched APD's culture of stonewalling.

Bottom Line: On both fiscal and open government grounds, the proposed contract would have been a significant step in the wrong direction; kudos to the unanimous council.


* - Absent a voter revolt, this will probably happen anyway, but that's no reason to write binding spending commitments into law.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Ron Paul endorses Michael Cloud (in the Blake Farenthold district)

"As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17

We had intended to do a deeper investigation of Blake Farenthold's challengers but, from the inbox, this certainly clarifies:
Ron Paul Endorses Michael Cloud in Congressional Race

Lake Jackson – Ron Paul, a long-time Texas Republican congressman and three-time presidential candidate, has announced his endorsement of Michael Cloud, who is running for Congress in the 27th District of Texas.

“I worked with Michael when he served in the Victoria Young Republicans Club, and again when he was Chairman of the Victoria County GOP. I know him to be a man of his word, principled, trustworthy and hardworking,” said Paul. “I hope my former supporters will get behind him because our country desperately needs leaders with integrity, courage and moral character. Michael Cloud is that kind of leader.”

Paul represented Texans in Congress for 24 years, retiring in 2013. He is widely considered the leader of the modern-day Liberty movement.

Cloud announced his candidacy in September 2017, vowing to “fight the culture of corruption in Washington.”

Cloud, a business owner, currently represents 21 counties as a member of the State Republican Executive Committee. He was elected to four terms as chair of the Victoria County Republican Party and has served on staff at Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas. Cloud and his wife Rosel have three children.

“I am very honored by this endorsement,” said Cloud. “And I thank the good doctor for his confidence in me.”
Based on Farenthold's lousy voting record, the choice between the incumbent and a Ron Paul supporter is easy on policy grounds alone.  But this is Blake Farenthold we're discussing.  So the incumbent's 'issues' obviously extend beyond policy considerations.

There's a third candidate in the race.  For now, we don't want to help him build name recognition.  Suffice to say, the third candidate is an ex-Todd Hunter staffer.

Bottom Line: The contrast speaks for itself.

#atxcouncil: City Manager Finalists meet the Public

"Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;"
1 Peter 5:2

We attended last night's forum with the City Manager finalists and spoke with the Statesman on the way out:
Adam Cahn, a local blogger, said that his main concern was City Council ending up locking itself into a long-term contract in hiring the city manager. He said both candidates seemed able, but he preferred Lazarus.

“Lazarus at least knows what he is talking about,” Cahn said. “Cronk seems like he is just full of government clichés.”
To elaborate: As we explained last month, we're not particularly impressed with any of the candidates.  Given this reality, we prefer to keep whomever is hired on a short leash.  Thus, no long term contract.

FWIW, Mayor Adler told us last night he agreed about not making a long term commitment.

As we told the Statesman, Spencer Cronk was full of the bureaucratic cliches one usually hears at these type of government events: "engagement," "dialogue," "stakeholders,"diversity," "inclusion," "equity," "comprehensive plan," "outreach," holistic," and "strategic" to name a few.

Worse, Cronk dodged the question about affordability.  Speaking of housing, he said "I'm not a housing expert."  Typical of his performance, he reverted to cliches when asked about streamlining permitting.

Howard Lazarus wasn't anything special but at least he a) has private sector experience and b) understands Austin.

Lazarus used to run Austin's public works department.  Obviously, that's not something we consider in his favor.  But that does mean he understands some of the unique factors that make Austin Austin.

On CodeNext, Lazarus paid lip service to both sides.  But at least he knows what CodeNext is and he understands the community discussion.  The other guy would probably have to have a "holistic stakeholder dialogue."

Lazarus spoke favorably of "reducing the cost of construction" on residential building.  Again, that might be lip service, but at least it's lip service that identifies the correct problem.  Lazarus also appeared skeptical of corporate "incentive" packages.

Lazarus floated the idea of moving to a two year budget cycle.  We don't necessarily endorse this, but it's an idea worth considering.  The state of Texas budgets biannually and, whatever you think of the Texas state budget generally, from a process perspective there's something to be said for taking a breath between budget cycles (*).

Bottom Line: Neither finalist impresses.  But, between the two, Lazarus clearly possesses a better understanding of our community.  Mostly, we want to keep whoever is hired on a short leash while revisiting the issue in a few years.


* -- A two year budget cycle might also make zero-based budgeting more feasible.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#atxcouncil likely to Rubber Stamp $150 MILLION (+) in Solar Energy contracts Thursday

"The crown of the wise is their riches,
But the foolishness of fools is folly."
Proverbs 14:24

The things you learn when you read the City Council agenda:

Oh good grief.

Obviously, the primary reason to oppose this contract is that the $10 to $12 million annual cost will be passed along to ratepayers.  That means higher electric bills.  Then there's also the fact that this contract will run for 15 years.

But what makes this particularly galling is the "climate change" hypocrisy we're likely to see from several NIMBY council members.  We'd expect Kathie Tovo, Alison Alter, and Leslie Pool to use this vote to bolster their environmentalist street cred.  But, when the subject returns to Code Next, those three council members will lead the charge for land use policies that lead to higher carbon emissions.

The same restrictive land-use policies that drive up housing costs and produce traffic also lead to higher carbon emissions.

Bottom Line: Tovo, Alter, and Pool will support for a meaningless mandate that will drive up everyone's electric bills without achieving their stated goals, but then they fight the only policy that can actually accomplish their stated goals...and all for the low, low cost of $150 million (in other people's money).


Addendum: It's also worth pondering whose cronies are getting paid on this contract.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Who does Blake Farenthold think he's kidding?!?

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

New developments over the weekend:
The new revelations, which Farenthold acknowledged to the Chronicle on Friday, bring to at least three the number of women who have complained of either sexual harassment, gender discrimination, or a hostile work environment in his office.


But Farenthold, 55, has since been hit with a new public account from another former spokeswoman, Elizabeth Peace, who left his office last March.

Although Peace came to Farenthold's office after Greene had left, she provided a similar account of a hostile and sexualized work environment. Neither accused Farenthold of improper sexual contact.

In her lawsuit, Greene, then 27, painted a picture of a socially awkward, hard-drinking, middle-aged man who reportedly had "sexual fantasies" and "wet dreams" about her. She also accused his chief of staff, Bob Haueter, of regularly belitting and humiliating her.

Peace, a former television news anchor, told the Chronicle in an interview this week that even after Greene had left, Farenthold "allowed the hostility in his office to continue. He allowed us to work in a place that was just emotionally damaging, and that should never be allowed in any office."

Peace, now 37, said that while Farenthold didn't sexually harass her directly, "his comments were inappropriate and his unwillingness to immediately take action to allow us to work in a safe environment is inappropriate."

Incidents of abusive behavior were not uncommon, according to another woman, former college intern Olivia de la Peña, who worked in Farenthold's office in the fall of 2015. Peña, now 23, said she experienced no sexually inappropriate behavior in the office, but instead learned to navigate what she called the congressman's "anger issues."
Bottom Line: Farenthold has multiple credible challegers. If we need to take this case to the voters, so be it.  But it sure would be nice if the Congressman would save everyone's time and leave of his own accord.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

#TXLEGE: Questions about Unintended Consequences BEFORE we eliminate property taxes

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—"
Luke 14:18

Last week, RPT announced the questions that have been placed on the March 2018 ballot; they include the following question related to property taxes:
Texas should replace the property tax system with an appropriate consumption tax equivalent. Yes/No
We've spoken favorably about this idea in the past. We'd still like to see it happen. But a personal experience from this past week gives us pause.

On Wednesday, this author made a small purchase on Amazon during we we remembered something obvious: STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE PROHIBITED BY FEDERAL LAW FROM CHARGE SALES TAXES ON A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF ONLINE PURCHASES.

That got us thinking:

  • Do we really want to move towards a tax system where the fastest growing part of the tax base is already carved out?!?

    One of the best arguments for moving to a consumption tax is that, at least in theory, it should broaden the tax base.  But the federal prohibition on online sales taxes is a pretty significant narrowing.  Furthermore, this narrowing is only going to grow over time.
  • Are we prepared to ask the Feds to allow online sales taxes?!?

    And, if so, for what are they going to ask in return?!?
  • If we carve out online sales, will the final result be a tax system that is overly reliant on rich people (with the attendant revenue swings)?!?

    The long term trend is that the middle class is moving their shopping online, while brick and mortar retail shopping is becoming a leisure activity for rich people.  Thus, any tax system that taxes brick and mortar purchases while carving out online sales will be reliant on purchases by rich people.  As we have learned from California, a system of taxation that is excessively reliant on rich people can lead to wild swings in revenue when the economy changes.
  • If we ask the Feds to permit online sales taxes, and they say yes, what shenanigans would such a move enable other states to pull?!?
  • Are the costs of permitting online sales taxes worth the benefits of eliminating property taxes?!?

    In the past, we've opposed online sales taxes.  The arguments against doing so remains strong.  Suffice to say, internet sales taxes would be a compliance nightmare for small and medium sized retailers.
  • Do we really want to make Amazon the largest tax collector in the state/country?!?

    Many people already think Amazon is too big and too powerful.  Indeed, this website has recently expressed significant misgivings about their proposed HQ2 in Austin.  If you think Amazon is too big and too powerful now, just wait until they're the largest tax collector in the country.

    Consider one example: Amazon very publicly opposed the Texas privacy act this past session; does anyone think they won't threaten to withhold tax revenue in the future?!?
Bottom Line: We're not saying no, but we are saying lets think this one through.

Friday, December 8, 2017

#atxcouncil: City that already has soccer stadium considers building TWO more....

"Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool lays open his folly."
Proverbs 13:16

In Austin's quest to act as patsies for a San Francisco based crony capitalist looking to boost the value of his Ohio-based asset, it appears we're up to two soccer stadium proposals.

If Austin signs off on a privately financed stadium on city parkland near downtown, the owners of a Major League Soccer team see a facility that would have a small geographic footprint yet make a giant positive impact on the community.

Precourt Sports Ventures, which operates Columbus Crew SC and is exploring a move to Austin, told the American-Statesman on Tuesday that finding the right stadium site remains the critical piece of the puzzle and that Butler Shores Metropolitan Park is the spot to beat.

The group rolled out a preliminary rendering of a 20,000-seat stadium tightly tucked into the western half of well-worn Butler Shores, leaving some parkland to the east.


The Precourt group rattled off several ideas to ease the strain on the neighborhood, while presenting Austin with its first major league sports franchise in what they say would be a city-owned, club-run stadium costing upwards of $200 million.
East Side:
A small local group with a big vision and political backing has unveiled plans for a wide-ranging project called the East Austin District, highlighted by a large arena and a multipurpose stadium.

Austin Sports & Entertainment, co-founded by former University of Texas swimming star Sean Foley and New England sports entrepreneur Andrew Nestor, partnering with Rodeo Austin, intends to work with the city of Austin and Travis County governments to replace the Travis County Exposition Center with a 15,000-seat arena adjacent to a 40,000-seat open-air facility.


The complex, designed to include office space, a convention area, medical facilities, retail and eight courtyards, could house a wide variety of sports events, concerts, trade shows and festivals.


The arena would be the new home of an expanded Rodeo Austin, which owns 40 acres adjacent to the Expo Center and annually pulls approximately 260,000 people to the aging facility for its two-week March run. The project is slated to be built on that land, near Lake Walter E. Long.


[A] public-private partnership using city-owned land at the Expo Center, which is run by the county.
Thoughts off the top of our head:
  • The idea that, just because the physical construction is 'privately financed' it doesn't still contain massive public subsidies, is laughable.  At a minimum, the project developers are getting public land for free.  These proposals would be a lot easier to swallow if we were talking about selling the land.
  • Who will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of a potential stadium: taxpayers or Anthony Precourt?!?
  • Downtown: The lack of on-site parking is the only meritorious part of the proposal; if that could be used as leverage to nuke parking requirements more generally, it might be an acceptable trade off.
  • Downtown: "a small geographic footprint yet make a giant positive impact on the community"... sounds like typical 'grandiose promises backed by vague buzzwords' that usually accompanies publicly subsidized construction projects.
  • Downtown: "tightly tucked"...did you focus group that alliteration?!?
  • Downtown: "city-owned, club-run" = Privatized profits with socialized losses...where have we seen that before?!?
  • East Side: If you take the stadium out of the equation, this project has a certain appeal.  Even if we find the "economic development" forecasts exaggerated, it would certainly attract capital to a part of town that needs it.  It would also take development pressure off of downtown.
  • East Side: That being said, the team seems pretty insistent on a downtown stadium, and building any sort of a stadium without a committed occupant is a fool's errand.
  • East Side: If we build an arena, will UT basketball move out there as well?!?  If not, how many nights a week/year will both this proposed East Side arena and the new UT arena sit empty?!?  Is there enough business to prevent two arenas from cannibalizing each other?!?
  • East Side: If we build significant convention space out there, then there's even less reason to expand the convention center downtown.
    • Note: If this project were accompanied by having the city sell the downtown convention center, it could dramatically increase its appeal.
  • What happens to Circuit of the Americas under either proposal?!?
    • Note: For personal reasons, we loathe Circuit of the Americas, so if either of these proposals could drive those scumbags out of business, we would consider that a plus.
  • Based on our experience working in the service industry, a venue needs to have 4 to 5 events per week to have any realistic chance of creating full time jobs.
  • During the 2019 legislative session, we're going to "have a conversation" about public subsidies for stadiums and arenas; does either proposal take into account that state law on this subject is likely to change in the near future?!?
  • As we pointed out less than a month ago, Austin already has a 20,000 seat soccer stadium.  Do we need a second?!?  Do we need a third?!?
  • How does the legal action proposed by Ohio's Attorney General impact the ability of a team to guarantee they'll be ready by 2019?!?
Finally, following last month's council discussion, we put an open records request into Kathie Tovo's office [note: Tovo carried the original resolution] for all correspondence between her office and the Columbus Crew; Austin's famously transparent municipal government produced the following document:

552.137 Notice by Cahnman on Scribd

Bottom Line: While the east side proposal has a certain amount of merit, putting it very politely, both of these proposals need significantly more work before they're workable.