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Texas Home To 4 Of 10 Most Income Segregated Metros in the U.S.

by: Nick Hudson

Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 02:11 PM CDT

This map shows how U.S. metros stack up on income segregation. Dark blue reflects high levels of income segregation; light blue significant levels; green moderate levels, and yellow low levels.

Four out of the ten of the most economically segregated large metro areas in the country are in Texas, according to a study conducted by Richard Florida and covered in The Atlantic Cities.

San Antonio-New Braunfels was the No. 1 most segregated metro area in the country. The Houston Area was the No. 4 most economically segregated. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro took the No. 8 spot. And the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metro was No. 10.

Economic segregation is a measure of the tendency of affluent people to live in neighborhoods where almost everyone else is affluent, and poor people to live in neighborhoods where almost everyone else is poor. The measure of income segregation reveals concentrated pockets of advantage and disadvantage. This is significant, according to Florida, because concentrated disadvantage has been shown to limit socioeconomic mobility.

Read More Below The Fold!

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Why I Support Proposition 6 on the November 5 Ballot

by: Robin Cravey

Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:53 AM CST

(Thanks to Robin Cravey for this post! Please vote FOR Prop 6 when you vote tomorrow. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

I support the passage of Proposition 6, the Texas State Water Fund Amendment, on the November 5 ballot.  

I'm a little surprised to find myself writing those words.  But the proposition presents a good approach for funding water projects, and the process for selecting water projects has vastly improved in the past few decades.

What the proposition does is to set aside about $2 billion from the state "Rainy Day Fund" to be spent on projects in the Texas Water Plan, a plan supervised by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). The Rainy Day Fund is the multi-billion dollar slush fund fed by taxes on oil & gas production.  This fund is alternately defended to the death and then raided by the Texas Legislature.  

There's not much to admire in the state's finances, and tapping this source of money for the state's water plan is a good use for some of the funds.

I say I'm surprised to be supporting this proposition, because opposing the Texas Water Plan and the TWDB was one of my chief causes as a young environmental journalist in the 1970s.

Read more below the jump.  

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Want to Climb the Income Ladder? Skip the Southeast and Dodge the Midwest

by: Nick Hudson

Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 09:00 AM CDT

When it comes to climbing the income ladder, where you grow up may matter a lot.

In San Francisco and Seattle, a child raised in the bottom 20 percent of income earners has better than a 1 in 10 chance of ending up in the top 20 percent of income earners as an adult. In Memphis, Tennessee, by contrast, only one fortunate child out of every 38 becomes a top-earner as an adult.

You are significantly more likely to remain poor if you are raised poor in the Southeast or the industrial Midwest than if you are raised poor in another area of the United States.

Why the geographic difference in income mobility? Find out below the fold.

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Ted Cruz: Gay Marriage Will Lead to Persecution of Pastors And Christians

by: Omar Araiza

Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 03:30 PM CDT

Ted Cruz has sure been making his way around lately, spotted in Iowa, an anti-immigration rally hosted by a known racist, cruising around with his pop, and now in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

What wisdom did the aspiring potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee have to share with the world this time? Gay marriage will lead to hate speech laws and the persecution of pastors and Christians.

"Everywhere I go people are afraid for the future of our country;" Cruz says during the interview. "I think we're at the edge of a precipice. If we keep going down this path, we're risking losing our nation; we're risking losing the incredible oasis of liberty."

Watch the interview and read why Cruz is wrong about gay rights after the jump.

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In Search of The American Dream, Migrant Crossers Find Death in Texas

by: Omar Araiza

Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:30 PM CDT

The Rio Grande Valley -- known for its long summers, endless rows of palm trees and beautiful Gulf beaches. The region is located in South Texas, and is home to a large and lively border community. The region is now also the tomb of hundreds of men, women, and children that die every year while attempting to cross the border.

Texas has emerged as an epicenter for death and misery in the south as border crossers deaths reach all-time high. Official statistics from the U.S. Border Patrol -- who are only able to offer a partial accounting of border deaths -- document a total 271 deaths for the fiscal year of 2012. Migrant deaths in Texas are now higher than all other border states combined.

The data and facts were gathered in a report by Houston United's Prevention of Migrant Deaths Working Group and Dr. Christine Kovic, associate professor at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

The report explains how the deaths in South Texas result from a series of policies beyond just the border region, and criticizes the lack of standardized DNA testing and comprehensive criteria to count border deaths. This, the report claims, add to existing racial and ethnic disparities of Latinos.

Read more of the report's findings after the jump.

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Comptroller Susan Combs Says No Thanks to Updating 2006 Immigration Study

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 02:00 PM CDT

Congressman Pete Gallego, (D-Alpine), received a no for a response from the state comptroller to update a study on the fiscal impact of Texas' population of undocumented immigrants.

The last time such a study was conducted was in 2006. The results showed that by deporting the then 1.4 million undocumented immigrants living in the state in 2005, Texas would lose a "$17.7 billion impact on the state's economy as well as state revenues generated by undocumented immigrants."

Those numbers represent figures from nearly 10 years ago. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of undocumented immigrants in Texas increased to 1.55 million by 2007 and 1.8 million by 2010. The numbers were not statistically different in 2011, the last year for which numbers are available.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., our conservative elected officials continue to put up a fight against a comprehensive immigration reform. Essentially fighting against billions of dollars generated into our state's economy.

Read more after the jump.

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Overview of Mayoral Races-so far

by: Aboubacar Ndiaye

Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:50 AM CDT

With Battleground Texas stoking hopes of turning Texas into a swing state by the 2016 presidential election, more attention is being paid to organizing during the interim. Before the 2014 midterms, Texas Dems have an amazing opportunity to identify supporters, mobilize communities, and train organizers and activists this year. Major cities in Texas will be having municipal elections this year. In competitive contests for offices from Mayor to City Councilperson, millions of dollars will be spent and countless organizing opportunities will arise. I have put together an overview of the Mayoral contests in the biggest cities in Texas:


Shaping up to be the most expensive and possibly most divisive of the city races, Houston's mayoral race pits incumbent Annise Parker against former City Attorney and current superlawyer Ben Hall. First elected in 2009 in a runoff victory against Gene Locke, Parker narrowly avoided another runoff in her reelection campaign in 2011, winning 50.4 percent of the vote against a slew of unknown candidates. Because of Ben Hall's ability to fundraise and large personal resources, the race is likely to be much more competitive this time around. The unaccounted variable in the race is potential entry of a Republican candidate in the race.

San Antonio

Golden Boy, Future Presidential Nominee, and Great Brown Hope of the Texas Democratic Party Julian Castro still has to win re-election as Mayor of San Antonio this year before he can fulfill the wish of every democrat in Texas. He is facing an array of newbie and perennial candidates with little name ID or campaign funds. As of this writing, unless something crazy happens between now and Election Day, he will cruise to re-election without having to stop his current national speaking schedule.

El Paso  

Current Mayor John Cook is term-limited and a large field of candidates are vying to replace him Among the eight declared candidates are current City Representative Steven Ortega, local businessmen Oscar Leeser and Robert Cormell, and substitute teacher Jorge Artalejo. Even in such a crowd, Cormell and Ortega, by virtue of their early fundraising prowess, are beginning to separate themselves from the pack.

Fort Worth

After handily winning her election to a first-term as Mayor of Fort Worth, Republican Betsy Price is running unopposed in her re-election campaign.

Aboubacar "Asn" Ndiaye was a Field Organizer on the Harris County Democratic Party's 2012 Coordinated Campaign. Follow him at twitter.com/thehardask

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Tuesday's Vote on National Instruments

by: Sarah_Eckhardt

Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 04:38 PM CDT

Cross-posted on SarahEckhardt.com. Follow Commissioner Eckhardt on twitter @Sarah_Eckhardt or facebook.com/SarahEckhardtAustin.

In a perfect world, government would attract and support businesses of any size by keeping taxes low, services high and infrastructure maintained. Government would not put its thumb on the scales of the market by offering tax rebates except in the rare circumstances that the incentive would advance a clear social goal that would not advance without the tax intervention. But, the world is not perfect and the use of tax rebates to lure or retain companies has become too common.

To manage these increasingly common requests for tax rebates, I have developed along with my colleagues on the Court a policy inviting companies to participate in social goals in exchange for tax rebates above a basic level.  If expanding the tax base is all the company offers, the basic rebate is comparatively low.

But, if the company does more - if it brings jobs for Travis County residents, pays wages of at least $11 an hour, locates in a preferred area, hires from economically disadvantaged residents, builds environmentally sustainable facilities, or mentors and educates young people in the field in which the company excels - the rebate is higher and we as a Court are more likely to support it.

Under these criteria, I support National Instruments' application for a tax rebate. The tax rebate is comparatively low at 40% over ten years.  The company agrees to pay at least $11 an hour to its own employees as well as contract workers. It seeks to expand in an already existing population center and is considering building to LEED Silver standard. And, it has a long track record of mentoring and educating young people in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.  Additionally, it is a homegrown company that has been here since 1974 without previously asking for a tax rebate.

We cannot know whether National Instruments would have expanded in Malaysia instead of Travis County if we did not rebate some of its taxes. But, in adhering to our new Economic Development policy, we know that National Instruments' business practices are in harmony with Travis County's social goals.

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Texas College Democrats Rally Against Guns on Campus

by: TexasCollegeDemocrats

Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 06:59 PM CST

Austin, TX - Republicans in the Legislature have remained adamant about forcing their "guns on campus" policies onto college campuses around the state. Despite overwhelming student opposition from large campuses such as Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M University, University of Houston, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at El Paso and University of Texas at San Antonio (among others), the Texas GOP refuses to listen.

Public opinion polls at Texas A&M and SHSU have shown that a majority of students would not favor legally permitting guns on their respective campuses. The student governments of UH, UTA, UT Austin, UTEP and UTSA have expressly rejected the idea. SB 182, HB 706, HB 1078, HB 1313 and other similar bills are policies that go against the will of the students.

Universities and colleges have always fundamentally been institutions of higher education. By permitting lethal weapons onto campuses around the state, the Texas Legislature is encouraging an environment of fear rather than the cultivation of learning.

Texas College Democrats is releasing an online petition encouraging students from all over the Lone Star State to voice their opinion on this crucial issue. TCD wholeheartedly believes that policies without constituents in mind make for bad politics. That is why Texas College Democrats is encouraging the Texas Legislature to listen to the views of the vast majority of students who will be affected by this legislation.

Students, regardless of their political views, can follow the link below to sign TCD's petition to keep concealed carry off campus:


Texas College Democrats is the official collegiate arm of the Texas Democratic Party. As a member of College Democrats of America, TCD believes in Democratic ideals and seeks to educate and provide resources for students around the Lone Star State. For more information please contact TCD Communications Director Danny Khalil by email at dkhalil@txcollegedems.org

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Equality Roundup from Texas and the Nation

by: Nick Hudson

Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM CDT

In our ongoing coverage of equality news, here's the latest from Texas and the nation.    

There are 21 openly gay and lesbian athletes competing in the London Olympics.  

Sally Ride, the first American Woman to fly into space, passed away on Monday. She came out posthumously in her obituary, announcing she had a female partner for 27 years.    

The AIDS Quilt - in its entirety- is now viewable online in a zoomable "map" format. A handful of institutions, including Microsoft Research, the University of Southern California, and the NAMES Project Foundation, put the map online. They have also created an interactive timeline of the history of AIDS.  


The anti-gay Chick-fil-A controversy is heating up. In last week's Equality Roundup, I forgot to mention how this whole thing got started. Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy's comment that he opposed gay marriage followed the revelation that Chick-fil-A donated $2 million to anti-gay Christian fundamentalist organizations in 2010. The Jim Henson Company, which founded the Muppets, ended its toy partnership with Chick-fil-A. Plans to bring Chick-fil-A to a Boston university were scrapped after student government denounced the chain over its anti-gay stance (I wonder what students in Texas are cooking up?). Mike Huckabee rallied behind Chick-fil-A by declaring next wednesday Chick-fil-A appreciation day and asking his fellow fundamentalists to support a business, "whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values." Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel seems to have backed down from a comment that seemed to indicate he would seek to block Chick-fil-A's expansion in Chicago, but he maintained his assertion that Chick-fil-A's values "are not Chicago values." Boston Mayor Thomas Menino called Dan Cathy's comments "prejudiced" while urging Chick-fil-A to stay out of Boston. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee tweeted, "Very disappointed #ChickFilA doesn't share San Francisco's values & strong commitment to equality for everyone." Human Rights Campaign supporters protested outside a Chi-fil-A food truck in Washington, D.C.    

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos donated $2.5 million to Washington United for Marriage, a campaign organized to defend Washington's law allowing same-sex marriage.    

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carrol apologized on Thursday for a hateful anti-gay comment she made on on a Tampa television station earlier in the month.

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