- Imagine Austin is seeking input to develop the next phase of the Comprehensive Plan for the city. Take the survey here.
- Dear City of Austin leaders developing the 2012 Urban Rail proposal: Showing off the snazzy looking rail cars is great, but the thing that really matters is the routes you want them to take. For the sake of all that is good in this world, please do not compromise on the route map by doing something stupid like running the line east of campus or opting for tons of shared guidelines instead of dedicated lanes. We are a decade behind on this and we've got one more shot at going this right. I do not want or plan on giving you cover for a crap proposal because you think that is necessary for it to pass. Shoot for the Moon like Kennedy instead of giving us some middle of the road, DOA roadkill like Obama.
- Austin ambulances going green is what the headline says. That's up there in the cool factor with the I-35 installations.
- Did you read about how the city of Lago Vista bought up the failing golf courses that make up a large chunk of their city? If not, read this to understand why I give a hearty hell yeah to the following quote.
“Lago Vista is one of the most conservative areas in all of Texas,” said an exasperated Patrick Dixon, a former City Council member and local leader of the Libertarian Party who opposed the golf course acquisitions. “But if you think that Barack Obama is employing the wrong policies by bailing out GM and banks, you have to apply the same thinking locally.
“Don't complain about socialized medicine if you support socialized golf.”
Hypocrites. It's just like the right-wingers who now rail against the government because of the invasive TSA screenings… when they were the ones front and center defending the Patriot Act. Give me a break.
- Students at UT-Austin will get to vote in February on another round of changes to the structure of Student Government on campus.
The new executive structure creates multiple appointments under each officer of the executive branch and streamlines the agency structure to reduce redundant positions and increase efficiency. … The new structure would also include a clerk to manage meetings and take minutes and a parliamentarian to monitor meeting procedure. In addition, the recommendations include the creation of a judicial branch with the authority to settle disputes between the executive and legislative branches, enforce the constitution and bylaws and oversee the Election Supervisory Board.
In addition, the Assembly would have the power to elect its own Chair to run meetings in place of the Vice President of the student body.
- Some things never change. Like the Texas Senate.
- Latinos don't have a unifying national leader.
The most frequently mentioned individual – named by 7 percent of respondents- was Sonia Sotomayor, who was appointed last year to the U.S. Supreme Court. About 5 percent chose U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., of Chicago, followed by 3 percent who cited Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and 2 percent who selected Jorge Ramos, an anchor on Noticiero Univision, the national evening news program on the Spanish-language television network Univision.
Do we have one in Texas and if so, who? Mayor Castro of San Antonio? Any State Senators or State Reps? Rick Noriega or Linda Chavez-Thompson?
- Dear University Star: thank you.
- Some political history via PolitiFact.
According to the library, there will be at least 29 truly new Republican House members in 2011, the most of any of the 68 sessions included in the library's list. Depending on the outcome of a special election and a pending recount, that number could go up. The year with the second-highest number of new Republican members was 2003, when 27 freshman Republicans came to Austin.
But the upcoming influx is not a record increase in new House members in toto – not even close. According to the library, 2011 will see at least 34 freshman House members. However, from 1876 to 1967, when Democrats dominated Texas politics, turnover in the House was usually much higher, with a high of 97 new members in the 1913 session and only one session proceeding with fewer than 34 new members (32 in 1943). Since 1967, seven sessions have had a freshman class of more than 34, with a high of 71 in 1973.
- Be prepared for pro-gun advocates to be busy at the legislature on an array of issues from open carry to getting guns on campus. I'm sure that's like a dream come true for Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
- San Antonio resident Aaron Schulze joins his two older brothers in becoming just one of about 130 Eagle Scouts to earn every merit badge offered by the Boy Scouts of America. As a fellow Eagle Scout, my congrats to Aaron. That is no easy feat.
Sen. Kirk Watson spoke 2 weeks ago about the upcoming legislative session. Below is the 30 minute preview.