Friday, January 13, 2017

Hey Cedar Park: stand by your flag

Was it really worth bringing a well-meaning citizen to tears over? Now come on, Cedar Park!

Given, the winning design of the new Cedar Park official flag is reminiscent of Amsterdam's (see Cedar Park's original flag design contest flyer below -- they were asking for it!) the color scheme is spot-on and matches the landscape of the Texas Hill Country. The design stands out from among the banality of most city flags with nothing more than a city seal or tourism department logo on a plain background.

And then there are historic examples of controversial flag designs that, when proven unpopular, simply faded into obscurity without the need to assail anyone's creativity or revoke their claim to fame. You made a decision, Cedar Park. Now stand by it ... at least for awhile.

Dems silent as Rep. Dukes breaks promise to take 85th Lege oath

Taking an 'oath' of office

Mas triste is the way a Republican challenger described an East Austin state rep's decision not to step down as promised; his plans to celebrate the beginning of a special election for the Texas House District 46 seat postponed indefinitely.

At the same time, Gabriel Nila is not one to mope about eastern Travis following this and another setback on election night in November. Rather, he has his chin up and is looking at Rep. Dawnna Dukes' recalcitrance as an opportunity to build the community.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

'Cedar Fever' survival guide: the next best thing to eradication

One possible solution.
Mold allergies have been bad enough to us during this unusual El NiƱo year.

But Cedar gets the prize for 2016. Cedar pollen (actually, and to be fair to true Cedar trees, Ashe Juniper pollen -- that's Juniperus ashei) hit the second-highest level on record today -- 21,952 grains per cubic meter.

Because Austin exists in a geographic "bowl," the pollen tends to linger around longer than it does elsewhere. And the humidity makes it stick. That bestows upon us a badge of honor as one of the Allergy Capitals of the United States.

The cedar pollen intensity this time of year affects even those who normally do not suffer from allergies. Workplaces report higher numbers of call-outs for cold-like symptoms.

False alarms are raised when "smoke" is seen coming from areas dense with cedar trees -- only for the firefighters to discover it's only the brownish dust from pollen entering the air on a dry, windy day otherwise prone to brush fires.

The trees, as beautiful and beloved as they are around Christmastime, are more than just a health hazard according to some. Even Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin) authored a bill to loosen tree ordinances on certain species that present themselves as fire hazards, such as the Ashe Juniper. Here's how to get rid of them yourself if you're so inclined.

To fight our annual bout of "Cedar Fever" this writer would like to offer his advice as a lifelong allergy sufferer. See if you benefit from these tips, and if you have your own remedies please feel free to add them to the comments below.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Texas Electoral College puts Trump/Pence over the top

This is why we have an Electoral College.
Though Ron Paul, John Kasich, and Carly Fiorina all reportedly made appearances on the 36 Electoral College ballots cast today in the Texas House of Representatives chamber, it was not enough to stop Texas from putting Donald Trump over the top for President.

As a matter of fact (and without counting liberal bastions California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the District of Columbia), Trump expands his electoral lead over Hillary Clinton by two. This is particularly ironic, because one Texas elector announced he would switch his vote to Clinton/Kaine and another simply quit.

Our friend and local broadcaster Leland Freeman led a small band of conservatives in support of electors keeping their pledges. A modest crowd of liberals clamored for last-minute denial of pledges.

Image credit: Alex Egoshin

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Austinite scores national political podcast, column with Washington Times

Matt on Fox 7 doing his thing.
In addition to his popular Must Read Texas service regarding Lone Star State politics, Travis GOP Executive Vice Chairman Matt Mackowiak is venturing out into the national media scene.

See below about the inaugural edition of "Mack on Politics" featuring some guests you may recognize. 
In the inaugural episode of “Mack on Politics,” host Matt Mackowiak interviews longtime GOP consultant, NBC News political analyst, and former Jeb Bush Super PAC mastermind Mike Murphy. They discussed how Trump improbably punched through the so-called “Blue wall” of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, how Hillary wasted her national convention, if he had any regrets about strategic decisions made for Jeb’s Super PAC and whether he has any hope for Trump. 
Then Mackowiak talked to Erick Erickson, former editor-in-chief of, radio host for WSB in Atlanta, Fox News contributor, author, and founder of about how Trump won, whether the GOP primary was winnable for anyone else, and what Erickson thinks is the state of the conservative movement in the Age of Trump. They also discussed religious liberty and his own foray into conservative talk radio and migration away from Red State to create his own successful conservative site. 
Listen here --

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Troxclair: 'Everyone wins' when SXSW waivers are denied

City Council member Ellen Troxclair will soon become the last conservative standing on the Austin City Council. But that doesn't mean she's ready to back down and start cutting deals on leftist policies. Troxclair remains a voice calling for greater affordability and fairness in terms of how local government levies taxes and fees.

Case in point: Troxclair pointed out in an Austin American-Statesman column today that the City of Austin waives $1.5 million in fees for the SXSW festival -- costs a cash-cow of an event could easily afford.
It is unfair to ask Austinites to put up with these inconveniences [traffic, crowding, etc.] year in and year out — and then be forced to pay for it, too. Our already property tax-burdened residents should not foot the bill for the ever-increasing public safety costs associated with these special events. ...
... According to the city’s calculations, the property tax burden for the median-value home has risen 29.2 percent since 2012. Over that same time period, the median-family income has only risen 3.7 percent. This proportion is wildly unsustainable.
Read more, including a possible alternative, at:

Troxclair, the representative of Southwest Austin (District 8), will become the only conservative on the Austin City Council in 2017, with the defeat of incumbents Don Zimmerman (District 6, Northwest Austin) on Nov. 8 and Sheri Gallo (District 10, Far West, etc.) on Tuesday.

Friday, December 9, 2016

An Obama organizer, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, and a radical enviro are on your Dec. 13 ballot; how will you vote?

Stop us if you've heard this one.

A Nevada field director for Obama's re-election campaign, a Planned Parenthood volunteer still in college, and an environmentalist who opposes Austin's growth walk into your ballot booth.

We wish it were a joke. It's a serious possibility that these candidates could win any or all of three influential local elections Tuesday.

The Travis GOP has not endorsed a candidate in the Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, runoff election, and some local conservative voters may feel at a disadvantage when determining for whom to cast a ballot (or whether to show up at all). The Tracker urges its readers to vote anyway, but not without some intel -- and we provide some here in the form of some reverse psychology.

Fortunately, there's a method to determine who conservatives should support that almost never fails. Assuming there's no blue moon forecast tonight, our friends at the Austin Chronicle have released their opinions on who the most liberal and union-backed candidates are. We'll review the highlights for you.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Two Congressional races hang in the balance: Texans to the rescue!

Austin has become an extension of the last major battleground of the 2016 election year.

Three federal runoff races remain -- all to be decided by our neighbors over in Louisiana this Saturday, Dec. 10.

Here's what happened:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ballot integrity: no longer 'just right wing paranoia'

Clearly, the reasons differ. And greatly. But it's downright refreshing to finally see the integrity of our electoral process gain favor of political parties other than the GOP.

For years, and aside from a few courageous individuals and organizations on the left, the Republican Party has been the vanguard of election integrity. Alas, everything from Voter ID laws to calling for paper trails for electronic voting has been placed by the mainstream press into the same category as black helicopter theories and chupacabra sightings. Liberal detractors would point to the handful of actual, final voter fraud convictions in court as "proof" it wasn't a problem (it's hard to prosecute when you have little to no evidence on which to go on). Attempts to tighten down security at the polling place has been labeled racist, sexist, "class warfare," and even age-ist.

Coverage of allegations of mass fraud would go un-covered for weeks. In one instance, an account of tens of thousands of forged and faked voter applications in Harris County uncovered by the King Street Patriots did not warrant coverage for weeks aside from conservative blogs -- and when it finally caught the attention of the mainstream media ... well, read what happened and make your own judgments.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Zimmerman takes to the airwaves

Don Zimmerman, outgoing District 6 Austin City Councilman, filled in for KLBJ-AM's Dale Dudley the day before Thanksgiving.

Reports have it local conservatives burned down the phone lines as he and Mark Ceasar discussed pressing issues such as proposed federal cell phone manufacturer regulations to include a mandatory "airplane mode" for driving purposes.

If you missed it, you can hear it at the following link:

Don will return to KLBJ, filling in for Jeff Ward, this Monday and Tuesday (Dec. 5-6) from 3-7 p.m. You can tune in at AM 590, 99.7 FM, or listen online.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fake Satanist group representative to 'bless' Austin City Council

UPDATE: The "minister" has called out for reason of being out of the country for Thursday's meeting.

Evil as the Austin City Council may be at times, there's something sinister about this screenshot:

At 9:55 a.m. Dec. 1 the Austin City Council will host a representative of The Satanic Temple for an "invocation." (To invoke whom or what, exactly, would be the question to ask.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Black heritage memorial ceremony to bring Travis GOP full-circle to its roots

Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott announced this afternoon he will join local Republicans, and deliver remarks at, the unveiling of the African American Heritage Monument on Saturday on the south lawn of the Texas Capitol.

Though speeches at the unveilings of monuments on state capitol campuses are what governors are wont to do, Abbott's speech and the presence of local Republicans represents a solidarity with the rights of Black Americans that goes to the very roots of the Grand Ol' Party.

The monument is set to be unveiled at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. More information.

According to the Republican Party of Texas, the GOP has quite a stake in this celebration:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Zimmerman issues first circuit court challenge to Austin's $350 contribution limit

If the appeal is taken up, Austin City Councilman Don Zimmerman will be leading the first Circuit Court challenge against the City of Austin's candidate contribution limit.

Below is the press release from his attorney, Jerad Najvar:

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Dickey: There's much to be proud of this election ... and humbled by

James Dickey is sounding like one proud papa this week. Facing overwhelming odds on Nov. 8, the Travis GOP held the line in 2016. On his personal blog he lays out a few key accomplishments of the party on multiple levels:
  • The gracious and thoughtful words of both the President and the President-Elect the day after the election as they discussed the result and next steps in the transition.
  • Susan Narvaiz, Gabriel Nila, Ceasar Ruiz, Maura Phelan, Joe Martinez, Pat McCord, and Deke Pierce – who all stepped up to face incredibly long odds and longer hours in an effort to help make Travis county better for all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Poll watchers receive boost from Paxton

A sign in Hill County says it all -- poll watching only goes so far

"... a watcher is entitled to observe any activity conducted at the location at which the watcher is serving.  A watcher is entitled to sit or stand conveniently near the election officers conducting the observed activity. A watcher is entitled to sit or stand near enough to the member of a counting team who is announcing the votes to verify that the ballots are read correctly or to a member who is tallying the votes to verify that they are tallied correctly." --Texas Election Code 33.056.

Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion on Monday strongly supporting the legal right of poll watchers to observe election and vote-counting activity. But the opinion stopped short of calling for electronic images of all ballots as a means to stamp out voter fraud -- mainly because it's still a matter before the Third Court of Appeals.

Opinion KP-0118

According to the Austin American-Statesman ...

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ruiz: Democratic opponent 'a prime example of non-representation'

Ceasar Ruiz and family... when not calling out Celia Israel!
Ceasar Ruiz doesn't mince words when it comes to the representation of veterans in the Texas Legislature. See below for his most recent press release in his bid for Texas House District 50:

Ruiz: Incumbent has ignored veterans issues for too long
Absence on key Hazlewood votes in 84th lege reason enough for new representation

AUSTIN, Texas -- With Veterans Day fast approaching and proposed changes to the Hazlewood Act already being discussed for the next Legislature, the question must be asked:

Will Celia Israel ignore veterans once again?

Drastic changes proposed by 2015's Senate Bill 1735 put the Hazlewood Act -- which exempts veterans, their spouses, and dependent children from tuition and fees -- on the chopping block.

Every veterans association opposed the changes and called each legislator under the Capitol dome, including Texas House District 50 incumbent Celia Israel.

Unfortunately, Israel was absent for key debates and ALL substantive votes on the bill.

"My opponent ignored veterans last session," Texas House District 50 challenger Ceasar Ruiz said. "She only voted to extend the Hazlewood Act on the ceremonial third reading -- that 'happy-go-lucky' vote that takes place after passage is already a done deal."

"This is a prime example of the non-representation HD 50 has received over the past two years, and it is unacceptable," Ruiz continued. "Voters simply cannot expect my opponent to adequately represent their needs when she is clearly unwilling to stand and fight for our most noble citizens. As a military veteran, I promise to continue fighting for my brothers and sisters in arms but also for all Texans in need."


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Zimmerman: the buffer between liberal central Austin and Battleground Texas

A communique from the Travis County GOP today explains the difference a city council seat can make in the grander political picture. We copy the text verbatim below:

Did you know that Battleground Texas is actively positioning volunteers in Southern Williamson County? Their gambit is to collect data and see if there are enough central Austinites in exodus to justify spending TONS of money at our north door in future elections. Fortunately, Councilman [Don] Zimmerman stands between Austin's liberal-leaning central neighborhoods and Battleground Texas' scoped-out territory. The stronger victory we hand to Don the stronger message we send to the Democrats that we have liberalism contained ... and we're closing in on them! Consider donating or waving a sign for him on election day.

VOTERS: If you live in District 6 (Northwest Austin) and plan on voting straight-party PLEASE check the bottom of your ballot. Don is not listed as a "REP" candidate (Republican) but is in a non-partisan city race. Straight-party will not select him, nor make a choice in Proposition 1 (which we oppose, by the way).

Friday, October 28, 2016

UT sinks even lower with Halloween cowboy hat ban

The height of campus insensitivity
First, the University of Texas admin had its shorts in a bunch over a perennial Affirmative Action bake sale by the Young Conservatives of Texas. That they weren't upset over "Cocks not Glocks" earlier this year was the subject of a Tracker article just this week.

Not 24 hours passes before UT launches another full-on assault on political incorrectness. This time, UT's Sorority and Fraternity Life department of the Office of the Dean of Students is going out of its way to make certain Greek student organizations do not hurt anyone's feelings.

So don't even think about taking your date to a Halloween party dressed as a Cowboy and Indian. (Shhh ... don't tell the Longhorn Band!) Instead, dress as ...

... brace yourself ...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thank you, Commissioner Daugherty, for shining a spotlight down-ballot

Too often this election year, true-believer conservatives have been myopic about their ballot choices -- only seeing the top of the ticket as worthy of discussion (and dissension in some cases) while ignoring the merits of an overwhelming number of qualified and talented down-ballot contenders.

We have our own Travis County Commissioner incumbent for Precinct 3 Gerald Daugherty to thank for bringing some much-needed attention to our local races as the spotlight is most certainly on Trump versus Clinton.

Daugherty's ad has been featured in the Washington Post and CNN (not the usual GOP cheerleaders, in other words) and continues to go viral with well-over a million hits on YouTube. We include the ad above if you haven't yet seen it.

"The response to the ad has been overwhelming," said Daugherty, via Facebook. "It’s gratifying that so many people across the country have felt a connection to it, and I hope that it also reminds voters of the importance of the little-known elected offices at the bottom of the ballot."

Daugherty's video touches a nerve many politically interested people deal with: Family members (yes, even spouses) who are every bit supportive but have their limits when it comes to lively political discourse and wonkish conversation about the issues we face. That it continues to resound as one of the best ads this political season also tells us that the nation is ready to laugh after such a taxing 2016 election cycle.

The earned media is well-deserved. Daugherty was the first major donor to the county GOP as they attempted to resurrect their bank account following the Robert Morrow debacle. Daugherty was also one of the hangers-on during a period of unrest a decade ago and formed a PAC to keep donations and volunteerism directed toward conservative candidates at the grassroots level. Not only that, but Daugherty has spent years as the sole Republican voice on the Travis County Commissioners Court -- no easy feat.

This moment of fame couldn't have come for a better candidate.

Full list of Travis County local candidates (including Daugherty).

'Anderson Mill-Gate' continues to raise public suspicion of Flannigan campaign

Move along ... nothing to see here (which is good!)
Ok, so "Anderson Mill-Gate" might be taking the whole "-gate" eponym too far. Regardless, this is a story that needs to circulate for the next few weeks as it frames the overall vibe of this year's Austin District 6 City Council election: that is, a defeated 2014 candidate spending the entire two years until the next election positioning for the office and doing next-to-nothing to help the actual powers-that-be govern effectively.

Even our friends at the notoriously liberal Austin Chronicle has given "credit where credit's due" to District 6 incumbent Don Zimmerman's recent busting-of-chops. Team Zimmerman called out Democratic opponent Jimmy Flannigan for hogging the credit for Anderson Mill Road expansion progress and on-the-book future plans. While the Chronicle doesn't exactly give Zimmerman a glowing report (naturally), the Tracker is excited to see journalistic curiosity alive and well on the other side of the spectrum. Perhaps there's hope for our Little City, yet.