Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Gorsuch receiving plenty of Travis County support

Although U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch did not hear a peep from Democrats when he was confirmed as a federal judge, the Supreme Court's another ball game.

Confirmation hearings continue on Capitol Hill today for Justice Gorsuch, and Travis County conservatives are cheering him on from the Lone Star State. Below is a running list of supportive media appearances:

James Dickey, Travis GOP Chairman, on Fox 7: http://www.fox7austin.com/news/242839757-video

Sunday, March 19, 2017

'Kindness signs': If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference in neighborhood activism.

After a squabble with his southwest Austin HOA over whether a recent spate of "Kindness is Everything" signs is a violation of community regulations, local Tea Party activist Kent Lattig decided to instead fight a liberal-humanist message with something a little more constitutional and God-centered -- via a "counter-sign" he first posted on Texas Independence Day.

A liberal "Kindness" sign.

Kent's "counter-sign"
Kent writes:
...  Posting a "counter-sign" is not like fighting at the Alamo, but it will make you feel the spirit of Freedom of the Texas Independence! And...you will also get to know who your real neighbors are!!! Stand tall!
Way to go, Kent! We hope your sign gets plenty of attention and causes your average Austin liberal to reconsider a few things.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Travis GOP ups the ante with, not one new executive, but two

It's no secret to Travis County Republican Party has had its ups and downs over the last year. As a matter of fact, their struggles made international news.

Just last March, the party faithful were wondering what to do with the election of a rogue chairman and the possibility of scores of precinct chairmen leaving their positions alienated by his extreme rhetoric, not to mention the specter of donors possibly taking their money elsewhere.

But organizationally speaking, the Travis GOP didn't skip a beat. Between the primary and the general elections, the party faithful proved themselves to be "Bigger Than That." In a span of six months, they managed to not only expand the leadership base and draw in new volunteers, but also returned James Dickey to his chairmanship and ended the saga with some impressive cash reserves.

Now the party is betting on it being able to continue its successes by hiring an executive director and a deputy executive director -- Gary Teal and Tracey Carroll (see the Travis GOP's press release). This bold move gained the attention of the Austin-American Statesman:

Monday, March 13, 2017

It took amending the Constitution to change a 'C' to an 'A' for this Austin Republican

Changing a grade ended up being more difficult than an act of Congress. Rather, it took lobbying 38 states to amend the Constitution of the United States and a three-and-a-half decade wait.

Greg Watson, a longtime legislative aide and Travis County Republican precinct chairman, wrote a sophomore government class term paper at the University of Texas at Austin. The subject: a 1789 amendment that was never ratified and the process it would take to get it into the Constitution today.

He received "C" for the paper. He felt he deserved better, so he went out to prove his point -- eventually gathering enough support for it to become the 27th Amendment (the latest one in the Constitution, as it happens).
“No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of representatives shall have intervened.” --Amendment 27 (ratified May 7, 1992).
According to a previous Tracker article, his quest was recognized by Gov. Greg Abbott in March of last year, giving Watson some much-deserved but rare praise for his labor of love. This came on the heels of Abbott's support for a Convention of the States to balance the federal budget, among other goals.

According to his former professor, Sharon Waite, and via a recent KUT story on Watson's surprise grade redaction:
"In light of the student's heroic efforts to prove the professor and T.A. wrong in their assessment of his term paper, Mr. Watson deserves A+."
It still has to be stamped by some people at UT, but when it is, 35 years after Gregory wrote his paper, he’ll finally get that C changed to an A.
It's about time. Hook 'em!

Read more at:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Austin conservatives: 'Ask before you annex'

Thanks for the efforts of (former) City Councilman Don Zimmerman, Austin experienced what could be the first defeat of an annexation plan in the town's history in 2015.

To stop a portion of Old Lampasas Trail from being assimilated into Austin's municipal empire was hard work and nothing short of a miracle. However, local conservatives are hoping the Texas Legislature will make it harder for cities to swallow up unincorporated land -- and easier for residents resisting annexation to be heard -- with some long-awaited reforms.

Legislative solutions will be discussed at a Forced Annexation hearing scheduled for Tuesday. The Texas Public Policy Foundation/Americans for Prosperity forum is set for 2 p.m. March 7 in the Sam Houston Building, room 210, in the Texas Capitol complex.

Secondly, the Travis GOP passed a resolution calling on the Lege and Gov. Greg Abbott to take action. The text of the resolution is as follows:
Whereas, Travis County Republican Party believes that residents of the proposed annexed area should vote and that the results of the vote must pass by at least a majority before a municipality can annex the area; 
Therefore, Be It Resolved That The Travis County Republican Party calls upon the 85th Legislature of Texas to pass, and the Governor to sign, a bill providing that the registered voters who reside in the area proposed for annexation must vote in favor of annexation before a municipality can annex that area, and providing that if the registered voters in the area vote against annexation, the municipality that proposed to annex that area may not annex any part of that area for five years.

Local Repubs start off SXSW with call to save Uber and Lyft

A recently approved resolution could not have come at a better time.

Pre-SXSW festivities are beginning to fill Austin Bergstrom International Airport with demand for transportation options from travelers expecting on arrival to find a tech hub and entrepreneur paradise but only to discover there is no Uber or Lyft service. Worse, the city is competing with the free market by sponsoring and even subsidizing risky ridesharing ventures to fill the gap left by the unfortunate decision to run Lyft and Uber out of town.

Fortunately, Austin has a Capitol with a Legislature in session. From the Travis County GOP blog:
AUSTIN --The Travis County GOP is calling for the Texas Legislature to step in and put the brakes on a dangerous trajectory set by Austin city leaders. 
Those attending the annual SXSW festival this year may find themselves shocked and seriously disadvantaged to find that the tech-hub and Live Music Capital that is our fair city does not have in operation the two major ridesharing companies in America. 
Austin voters were hoodwinked into [effectively] voting for a set of stringent regulations on companies such as Uber and Lyft last year, causing the two Transportation Networking Company (TNC) giants to leave town. This is why the Travis County GOP requested the Texas Legislature approve Senate Bills 176 and 113 to standardize TNC regulations all across Texas so companies that operate in various locations will know what to expect and how to efficiently operate their enterprises without navigating different sets of regulations from city to city. 
The text of the resolution, passed overwhelmingly on Feb. 21 by the Travis GOP Executive Committee, is as follows: 
WHEREAS, the Republican Platform is about Preserving American Freedoms, limiting the Expanse of government power, promoting individual freedom and strengthening the economy. 
WHEREAS, The State Legislature should step in to eliminate attempts by local governments to control our individual freedoms and economic liberties. 
Be it resolved, that the Travis County Republican Party is in support of SB 176, regulating Transportation Network Companies at the State level and SB113, removing local city regulation from certain for-hire passenger transportation. 
The Travis County GOP works to elect more Republicans and is the official presence of the Republican Party for the greater Austin metropolitan area in Travis County. 
For more information contact communications@travisgop.com or (512)302-1776.



Update: (3/9/17) minor edits.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

From fake news to fake town halls (UPDATE: Pete Sessions town hall becomes case study)

It's not like town hall meetings and other forums at public gatherings hosted by members of Congress are unheard of. But lately you'd think by listening to voices on the liberal left that Congress is hunkering down in nuclear fallout shelters instead of gauging constituent input. Particularly the Republican ones. It's a new tactic being employed to put our elected Republican representatives in a Catch-22. If the GOP Congressman agrees to requests to host a town hall, liberal activists will pounce on the meeting and use footage and friendly news coverage to amplify their platform. If the Congressman sees it for the honey trap that it is and goes along with business as usual, liberal activists will make it seem as if the Congressman in question is "dodging" the will of the People. And then they erect an effigy of the Congressman in a "People's Town Hall" to, again, amplify their platform.

Want proof?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

5 unique ways to celebrate Texas Independence Day

You could go skiing in Texas
with our original panhandle
Texas Independence Day is a holiday that is growing in popularity. It's formally the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836 -- the day 59 settlers in Mexican Texas officially declared independence from the Empire of Mexico and created the Republic of Texas.

Alas, it's still a day that gets lost in the shuffle of springtime activities, much like its older, more official sister San Jacinto Day. If you have children in a Texas public elementary school, they're more likely to be eating green ham and wearing footie pajamas and striped hats today. If you shout "Happy Texas Independence Day" to a neighbor, you might be told that "it's as hot as the Fourth of July, alright." Still others might laugh in support of your good cheer, thinking you're referring to a clever beer advertising campaign. It's enough to make ya wanna spit in the creek, I tell you what.

That's why it is critically important for us to do something to mark the occasion -- to tell the world that we Texans are daringly different, and ain't afraid to celebrate it.

But what to do? Yes, you can do the kinds of things that Texans do every weekend -- barbecue, eat Mexican food, go out two-stepping, shoot guns, etc. But we thought we would provide five unique ways you can help celebrate Texas freedom. If you have a tradition or event of your own, please feel to share it in the comments below.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Legislator: Don't use the Chilean flag emoji to mean Texas!

Quiz: Which one is Texas?

We ran across this gem today while reading bills filed in the 85th Legislative session. See below, and take note, social media savvy Texceptionalists!

Don't know what an emoji is? Don't worry: It's about as new a word as is the resolution's author, Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Houston).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dickey: Sanctuary City policies 'need to stop immediately'

Dickey with Sheriff candidate Joe Martinez, who told you so.
Travis County GOP Chairman James Dickey said via Travis GOP social media that it's time to light up the phone lines in opposition to Sheriff "Sanctuary Sally" Hernandez' new policies.

He quotes an article from Fox 7:
"... [I]n the first two days of the Hernandez policy nearly 50 undocumented offenders were allowed back on the streets. The charges include; drunk driving, assault, sex crimes, strangulation, as well as endangering and injury to a child. To get out, most of the inmates only had to sign a document promising to come back for court hearings." 
This needs to stop immediately. The Travis county sheriff must put the legal residents of the county first. Contact her office at (512) 854-9770 and let your voice be heard. 
For some background on this horrendous turn of events see here and here.

The Travis Tracker recommends Sheriff Hernandez host a series of town halls and study groups to craft a more sensible illegal immigrant detention policy, and consider reverting back to the policy of her predecessor Greg Hamilton.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dawnna Dukes watchers take to Twitter

Those wondering if Rep. Dawnna Dukes' (D-Austin) notorious reputation for playing hooky in the Legislature would hold up after her indictment now have a way of checking on that.

The Twitter account @WDawnna tracks her whereabouts on the House floor and in key committee meetings.

(Wait, what was that? Yes, surprisingly Rep. Dukes kept her seat in the powerful House Appropriations Committee.)

According to the Twitter handle's description, it is not an official account of Dukes (obviously) but "an attempt to hold Dawnna Dukes accountable."

"To be clear, this account was created only to address DD's presence during the legislative session," the anonymous tweeter(s) commented. "It is not politics to want your representative to show up for work."

Monday, February 13, 2017

Celia Israel, Kirk Watson: You don't get to vote on rail projects (UPDATED)

Voters more than a decade ago opted to build the Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority's MetroRail "red line" -- 32 miles of track from downtown Austin to Leander utilizing much of an abandoned Katy rail line.

But if an Austin Democrat in the Texas Legislature gets her way, future rail plans under 31 miles of track-length will not require a vote at all.

Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) filed House Bill 1762 on Friday which seeks to amend the Texas Transportation Code's section related to the Cap Metro. Under existing law, Cap Metro must seek voter approval if the proposed expansion involves the addition of 12 miles of track or more to the system. Under Israel's bill, that threshold jumps to more than 30 miles. To put that in perspective, CapMetro could build a railway the distance from Sunset Valley to Cedar Park, or Lakeway to Pflugerville, without putting a single word on the ballot.

If you take a look at the map attached to this article, you'll see that any of the proposed stops are well-within the distance of the red line. So no voter approval would be necessary to fulfill the wishes of local transit czars.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Austin City Council exempts themselves from ethics rules?

There may be more to it than what Spectrum News picked up on here:
The draft ordinance gave the City Auditor the ability to investigate the City Council and their staff members for allegations of a violation related to interfering with personnel matters. It was intended to prevent elected officials from pressuring city staff to go against their best professional judgment.
"The city auditor shall hire an external party to investigate the allegation if the city auditor finds that an allegation merits an investigation," the draft ordinance read. 
[...] That means a City Council member, their direct staff and the City Manager are not subject to due process.

Does this amount to a power-grab by city staff or a play for immunity by the City Council (or both)? It's all a tangled mess, but we'll keep an eye on this.

Read more: http://www.twcnews.com/tx/austin/news/2017/02/10/austin-council-exempts-itself--staff-from-ethics-review.html

(Hat-tip: Matt Mackowiak for posting this to Facebook.)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Trump supporter beaten in Austin: Not fake news, in our own backyard

Disbelief filled the minds of many conservative Austinites who read blog posts this week of a 20-something being beaten and knocked unconscious because of a lighthearted Donald Trump cigarette lighter.

We wish this was another example of fake news and "alternative facts." The Tracker verified the details in the report that was originally published in Gateway Pundit.

According to Austin Police Department incident records obtained by the Tracker, the beating took place around 2 a.m. Monday at 1515 Wickersham Lane, steps away from the Riverside Golf Course and near several apartments.

The Tracker contacted the victim, Scott Sauter, a law clerk and newcomer to Austin. Sauter confirmed Gateway Pundit's report. On his walk home from the New Movement Theater comedy club downtown a man noticed the whimsical Trump decoration on his lighter as he lit up a cigarette.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Judge for yourselves: Is this proper behavior?

Ok, Judge Sarah Eckhardt is by no means a judicial figure. She was voted in by a Democrat county electorate to a position traditionally called "County Judge" but is more accurately a county administrator on a Texas constitutional Commissioners Court. She doesn't sit on a "bench" and isn't subject to judicial ethics, contrary to social media pleas to "disbar" her.

This would explain a lot ... if true

This is making the rounds on the Central Texas conservative social media scene this week, but the Tracker cannot verify whether this was an actual offer made via Craigslist. If you ended up with $40 cash money leave a comment! We want in on some of that Soros cash!

The post has since been taken down by Craigslist.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trailer Park Gang digs into education freedom during School Choice Week

Monday marked the beginning of National School Choice Week, and the Trailer Park Show didn't miss a beat -- even while longtime host James "Slow Pokey" Ritter is still in recovery.

Peggy Venable, a face you may remember from Americans for Prosperity-Texas but who is now an education policy expert with Texas Public Policy Foundation, discussed several important topics to maximizing taxpayer dollars by giving parents (e.g. taxpayers) the freedom to choose where their children receive their public education. She is joined by hosts Marilyn Jackson and Mike Lee.

Learn more about school choice in Texas by clicking the video link above.

We would be remiss to not make mention of a HUGE school choice rally that took place at the Texas Capitol today. Around 4,000 people gathered at the South Steps of the capitol and wore the movement's trademark yellow scarves to support a variety of options to reform public ed. It was organized by Travis County's own Randan Steinhauser and supported by countless other Austin-area activists and educators. Our apologies for not listing everyone! Click here for highlights.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in support of School Choice activists.
(Photo courtesy of Red Sonja of the Conservatives in Action blog)

Conservatives well-represented at KLRU inauguration roundtable

Nubia Devine defending American values
Austin's PBS affiliate, KLRU-TV, hosted a roundtable discussion following the presidential inauguration on Friday. And though the commentary on a PBS station may often track to the left, Friday's community discussion was pleasantly balanced.

Travis County GOP Chairman James Dickey notes that the following persons were among the conservative voices on the panel: winery entrepreneur Ryan Laffen, public relations specialist Nubia Devine, longtime Republican grassroots leader Earl Wellborn, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation's general counsel Robert Henneke.

Watch the entire exchange here, moderated by Austin broadcasting veteran Judy Maggio:

What do you think? Was it a fair hearing for Republicans? Weigh-in on the comments section below.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Zimmerman launches new radio show

Former City Councilman Don Zimmerman just wrapped up the first episode of his new radio show, "The Taxpayers Voice of Reason."

The two-hour show, to air Saturdays at 3 p.m. on "The Bridge," KTXW-AM, 1120, today featured in-studio guests former Republican candidate for HD 46 Gabriel Nila and this writer as today's co-host. Bob Phillips, host of the station's evening drive program, called in to congratulate Zimmerman on his radio venture.

Callers included local attorney David Rogers addressing immigration and Travis County GOP Chairman James Dickey summarizing his view on local reactions to the presidential inauguration.

A description from the show's website:

Trump's inaugural address: a Rorsach test

Travis County Republican Party James Dickey had a unique take on Donald Trump's first speech as President of the United States.
People’s reactions to it are much less about what was actually said than they are about us, our ideological positions, and the subtext we read into the words because of what we’ve seen and heard from Trump and others in the past.
Read more (and the speech itself) here: