Monday, June 5, 2017

State Republican execs: We're not done, yet!

Short of calling for a special Texas legislative session, the State Republican Executive Committee voted to send this letter to Gov. Greg Abbott at its meeting on Saturday.

The Tracker found this letter to be an excellent summation of the 2016 Legislative Priorities (a list approved by state GOP delegates in convention) and how much of it was approved by the 85th Legislature. The second portion of the letter requests Gov. Abbott place the the Legislative Priorities that were not passed on the "call" for any special session.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Congratulations to James (or the difference 1 year can make)

Though Travis County Republican Party Chairman James Dickey's election as state chairman was by a razor-thin margin (32-31 this morning at the State Republican Executive Committee meeting) he is receiving a ton of congratulatory remarks. We would like to join that chorus by providing a brief perspective on what this victory means.

ONE YEAR AGO ...

James Dickey was getting ready to preside over his final Executive Committee meeting on June 7, 2016. The new chairman term began on June 13, 2016. Party stalwarts were preparing to transfer assets and financial resources to a group "Friends of the Travis County Republican Party" and a steering committee to be headed by David Duncan was in formation to lead all operations of the party that were not given by law to the elected chairman. No one knew how this would play out, or that by the end of the summer Robert Morrow would be declared ineligible and removed. The mainstream media falsely predicted the "implosion" of the county party. Though undaunted, TCRP morale was at a low point.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Let's get a few things straight about the health of the Travis GOP

The proverbial bus.
Let's set a few things straight about the health of Travis GOP under recent leadership.

It has been inferred in the race for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas that County Chairman James Dickey, one of two candidates vying for the position, led the Travis GOP into chaos.

All's fair in a race for state chairman, but let's not throw the hard work and dedication of some of the most passionate Republicans in the most liberal city in Texas under the proverbial bus. These hard-working conservatives who give of their time and treasure to fight against high odds in "the blueberry in the tomato soup" of Texas deserve better.

The Travis Tracker will not fire back at these individuals by naming names or quoting these persons verbatim. We have opted to focus on the accusations themselves.

1. Dickey lost seat to Robert Morrow (the "court jester") because Dickey did not campaign adequately or inspire enough volunteers to defend his incumbent status.

Bottom-line: Mr. Morrow had so awful a reputation among local conservatives that no one ever dreamed he would win the election. Out of an abundance of caution, Chairman Dickey commissioned a poll which showed Robert ahead by a comfortable margin -- a complete shock to anyone privy to this information. This gave Mr. Dickey a few weeks to campaign (sound familiar?). His campaign consisted of everything you would expect in a chairman's race, including lawn signs, plenty of TV and radio appearances, and lots of visits to clubs and various official meetings. Morrow, on the other hand, barely lifted a finger other than writing his personal email list.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

State Chairman James Dickey? It's now very possible (UPDATE: He's in)

Dickey, Ramsey, Figueroa
UPDATE (5/23/17): James Dickey has thrown his hat into the ring. Mark Ramsey issued a letter he will not seek election. Rick Figueroa sets up campaign page.

Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Chairman Tom Mechler has announced his decision to step down from his office.

Travis GOP Chairman James Dickey, SREC member Mark Ramsey, and former candidate for RNC National Committeeman Rick Figueroa are names presumed to be in the running. Below is some background, followed by the text of Mechler's resignation letter.

The buzz surrounding Mechler's future started Thursday with a livestream of Raging Elephants Radio, citing anonymous sources who claimed Mechler was stepping down. Raging Elephants is not exactly warm and fuzzy with Mechler ever since being denied a media pass at the 2016 RPT convention (amid other criticisms), and basked in the news.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pedernales Co-op election could jolt entire electric market

Ohm sweet home.
What happens on the PEC board of directors doesn't just stay in your billing envelope. It has a ripple effect that extends well past the Pedernales River basin.

The Pedernales Electric Co-op (PEC) is the largest member-owned utility co-op in the nation. Even if your electric service provider is not PEC, it stands to reason that your company is paying close attention to them. With several consecutive rate decreases in a row and some innovative approaches to helping consumers watch their electric consumption, we're liking what we see from PEC's customer member-centered approach.

The candidates are as follows. Voting takes place from May 18 to June 17, 2017 (PEC co-op members only -- ballots to be delivered by mail and members may also vote in an upcoming annual meeting as well as online).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What's on your ballot? Travis GOP explains what's at stake May 6

The Travis GOP reminded its supporters this morning that today is the last day for early voting in the May Local Elections, with election day on Saturday, May 6. Below is their communique, explaining why this election is important, and including a handy chart outlying which jurisdictions are voting.

According to a recent analysis, Central Texas voters spread across several jurisdictions will be voting on around a billion dollars' worth of local bond debt proposals.

While this figure includes a few jurisdictions outside Travis County, and not everyone in Travis County can vote even in the contests within the county lines, it's apparent that we're going to have to pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION to this election. If we fail to do so, the usual people who vote in these elections will make the decision -- union organizers and education bureaucrats, as two examples.

We have a chance to shift the balance. Read carefully ...

The following jurisdictions have elections: Bee Cave, Cedar Park, Lakeway, Pflugerville ISD, Round Rock, Round Rock ISD, West Lake Hills, Travis County Emergency Services Districts 9 and 14, and the yet-to-be-created MUDs 23, 24, and ESD 15. If you live in any of these jurisdictions, please cast your vote today or on Saturday.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Add ethics complaint to RRISD bond opposition

We already know that the Round Rock ISD tops the list of over a billion dollars' worth of bond proposals in Central Texas. But financial extravagance isn't the only reason opponents are shouting "Vote No!"

See below for a grassroots-written press release concerning a press conference scheduled for noon on the last day of early voting (emphasis ours).

Press Release - Opposition to Round Rock ISD Bonds
1-May-2017 -- Austin, TX: 
Grassroots individuals and groups will hold a rally/press conference against the Unaffordable, Wasteful and Dishonest Round Rock ISD $572 million Bonds on the last day of early voting. There may be a new Ethics Complaint unveiled against an illegal campaign mail piece from the professional, corporately funded pro-Bond S-PAC, and there are new revelations about WHO IS FUNDING the slick pro-Bond campaign. 
What: Press Conference and Rally against Round Rock ISD Bond, Introduced by Pat McGuinness, Round Rock Parents/Taxpayers
When: Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017) at 12:00 PM (noon)
Where: 1111 N Interstate Hwy 35, Round Rock, TX 78664 ( Round Rock Leader News Offices)
Why: New grassroots opposition to Bond, new Ethics complaint against illegal pro-Bond activity funded by out of town corporations hoping to profit off wasteful Bonds.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pelosi 'has a lot of nerve' promoting Obamacare on hospital campus

Friends in low places.
Nancy Pelosi walks into a bar. An Austin bar, it happens. Last night, with Austin Mayor Steve Adler and other liberal leaders.

That's not a joke as Austin has become quite the ATM for lefty politicians with its high concentration of "limousine liberals." [Update: She's here as part of a Georgetown University alumni event.]

But what is surprising is her choice of venue the following morning. According to the Travis County GOP, U.S. Rep. Pelosi (D-Calif.) is scheduled to speak at the Dell Seton Medical Center's Clinical Education Center on the Brackenridge hospital campus as we write this (10 a.m.). Travis GOP's press release says it all:
... "First do no harm" is the primary rule of medicine.  
This is why the Travis County Republican Party finds it odd that Congressional minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would want to be anywhere near the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas considering all the harm that was done by Obamacare. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

$75 city rebate for a chicken coop? We suspect fowl play

Why the City of Austin is offering $75 per person in taxpayer money to help prospective urban farmers buy chicken coops seems strange when chickens are already in heavy demand. We at the Tracker can't resist a good mystery, and decided to scratch around for an answer.

There is no shortage of demand for backyard chickens in Austin. Chickens are hot. Everyone's peckish for farm-fresh eggs. There's even a popular documentary on Netflix featuring those who keep chickens as pets.

So incentivizing chicken ownership can't be the goal of this rebate. What else is there?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Natives getting restless about $1 billion in proposed local bond debt

Hat's off to our friends at Texas Insider for pointing out this development from the Comptroller:
The [Comptroller's] updated page includes information for about 70 local bond elections, ranging from a $1.8 million bond election for the Chico school district to a $737.5 million bond package for the Lewisville school district. Local elections will be held on May 6. [...] 
The Comptroller’s office also released the Debt-at-a-Glance tool with updated debt totals and trends for Texas cities, counties, school districts and community college districts.
With that, word has been spreading lately of some gargantuan local debt proposals brought forth by the Hays and the Round Rock ISDs. We thought we'd use the Comptroller's new debt-finding tool and the perennial listing of bond proposals and see what Austin-area taxpayers may be on the hook for should these items pass. See below -- it appears Central Texas voters will have nearly a billion-dollars' worth of proposals to sift through.

As always, if we missed anything or you have a differing opinion than what is being presented, please make use of our comments section.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Bobcats beware: Faculty brownshirts lurking about on social media

Mwrawr ...
It's not easy being a college student these days. At least when intolerant leftist radicals are in faculty positions -- in which case the job you have to work to pay for ever-increasing tuition and fees is in jeopardy if you dare step out of line in regard to liberal orthodoxy.

The following article from Leadership Institute's Campus Reform site relays a situation at Texas State University where a Texas Public Policy Foundation employee and Bobcat was tattled on at work by a college instructor for a simple Facebook argument. But it didn't end there: a student who merely "liked" said posts was targeted for "hate speech," as well.
[Texas State Instructor Elizabeth] Bishop contended in [a telephone] call that [Alexander] Morrissette had made a disparaging Facebook post about her, but refused to provide details on what the post said. The employee who answered the call said she would talk to Morrissette about his Facebook habits, and Bishop hung up the phone shortly thereafter. 
Seemingly unsatisfied with [Texas Public Policy] Foundation’s response, as Morrissette said they “laughed the ordeal off,” Bishop set her sights on an anonymous Texas State student who had “liked” several of Morrissette’s comments. 
Bishop allegedly called the university department where the student works and requested they investigate her and her “associates” for “hate speech,” and further demanded that the student be removed from her leadership positions on campus.
Read more: http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=9002

We've been told that Ms. Bishop is the same instructor who has called for boycotts of campus police for offering self-defense classes (a culture of violence, perhaps?), and frequently advocates for the divestiture of funds from companies that do business with Israel. Her Texas State faculty profile indicates a fascination with the same type of "anti-colonialism" that marked the Barack Obama Administration's regrettable foreign policy.

And, yes, your tax dollars are paying this.

Ever had a situation like this happen to you in class? Share it in the comments below.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Delicious irony: 'Mayor of all the brisket' once voted to destroy Austin's BBQ scene


Austin nearly trimmed off the very soul of its foodie identity two years ago.

The City Council veered searingly close to banning restaurants that produce smoke in residential areas. Of course, that means barbecue and all its smoky, hazy goodness.

Councilman member human Pio Renteria, at the request of NIMBY complainers, attempted to ban charcoal or wood burning grills from 100 feet of property zoned residential. In other words, bye-bye Franklin's and most of Austin's 'cue establishments (or raise gobs of money to pay for smoke-scrubbing technology). This strict requirement was never enacted -- despite an affirmative vote from Mayor Steve Adler and other free market meddlers.

Our friend Adam Cahn pointed out an irony: When Franklin's was recently ranked lower than (*gasp!) the Salt Lick in a magazine's ranking, Mayor Adler rushed in to equivocate, crowning himself "mayor of all the brisket ..." and crowing about barbecue being "widely available in such huge quantities in this magical city."

Adam has more on the smoke-and-mirrors here: http://acahnman.blogspot.com/2017/03/adler-tries-to-promote-thing-he-tried.html

Travis Republicans create blue ribbon task force to avenge Brad's Wife

Location of Sunday's meeting
It's the shock-scandal that's sweeping the Internet. And Travis County Republicans are more determined than their Democrat opponents to get to the bottom of mystery that's tougher to crack than those triangular table-top peg puzzles no one seems to be able to actually solve.

The Travis County Board of Executive Steering Republican Chairmen voted unanimously this morning to create the #JusticeforBradsWife Committee.

For those not familiar, here's the backstory and why conservatives ought to be very concerned:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

As Travis County becomes posterboy for 'Sanctuary Cities' conservatives lead resistance

When Travis County -- not just the city of Austin -- makes Fox News it's usually for one of two things: local Republicans are gaining ground, or the liberal establishment is doing something really bad. Unfortunately, this time, the latter is true, as Fox News' Bill O'Reilly reported yesterday evening about Travis County becoming a "sanctuary county:"

Click image to watch

That Democratic Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez is turning the entire county into a "sanctuary city" of a county is no secret, despite former assurances that she would not. Republican candidate Joe Martinez and his team warned us about "Sanctuary Sally." The warnings have become nothing short of prophesy as federal agencies have (arguably) stepped up operations in Austin to make up for the lack of enforcement of our immigration laws at the county level.

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

We'll have more as they come.

Also, if you don't understand the reference in the meme above, open your Bible to Esther 4:14.

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:
http://kut.org/post/he-got-bad-grade-so-he-got-constitution-amended-now-hes-getting-credit-he-deserves

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.

--30--

Amen.


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