Friday, September 16, 2016

SNEAK PREVIEW: campaign ad pits Don Zimmerman against ... Don Zimmerman?

Remember that episode of "Star Trek" in which Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Lt. Uhura, and Engineer Scott beam up to the U.S.S. Enterprise during a freak electromagnetic storm -- only to end up on a very similar Enterprise featuring darker, sinister versions of their fellow crew mates?

In that grand television tradition of meeting "alternate universe" takes on our favorite characters, we meet a tax-happy version of our beloved Councilman Don Zimmerman in this much-needed injection of laughter into the 2016 campaign season.

Rumor has it this TV ad will air during Sunday Night Football and the presidential debate. Football fans may remember a similar concept -- "Arts and Crafts Tony Romo" vs. the real quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys -- airing during a previous season.

Stay tuned Sunday night to see if it airs ... But we included a 30-second version of the ad above just in case it gets preempted.

(And, yes, we just managed to weave Star Trek, NFL football, and politics into a single blog post. We keep raising the bar for our faithful readers!)

Mirror Universe Spock gives the Democratic Party salute.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mom fights for school choice as means to give students 'the right tools to thrive'

Melissa Bodenger, a full-time mom who spends what spare time she has coordinating Republican candidates for the Travis County GOP, recently gave testimony to the Texas Senate Education Committee regarding school choice.

For her and her special-needs son, school choice is not simply a matter of being more easily able to send her child to a successful public school -- it's a matter of her son being able to succeed in a public school, period.

A snippet of Bodenger's testimony is below. You can read the whole thing here.
... My name is Melissa Bodenger and my 10-year-old son, Josh, is the one in every 42 boys diagnosed with Autism.

In a public school Josh would not be immersed in the [Applied Behavioral Analysis] therapy environment that helps him learn to conquer the challenges of being Autistic.

He would have standardized tests, higher student teacher ratios, and the social stigma of being a special needs child looming over him on the playground. [...]

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Austin conservatives show solidarity against taxpayer-funded union activism

Last week, former Texas House staffer and candidate Jay Wiley and National Review legal contributor Mark Pulliam -- both active members of the Travis County Republican Party -- came out swinging against taxpayer-funded union activism.

It's no secret to conservatives that labor unions provide manpower and fundraising efforts for Democrat candidates and causes. But besides the obvious conflict of interest of using public servants to perform union tasks, there is also a prohibition on this kind of activity in the Texas Constitution.

See below from the desk of Jay Wiley:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hey, Kaepernick: KISS this!

We've known KISS front man Gene Simmons to be quite conservative for many years, despite the band's former reputation as being anything but favorable toward God, country, apple pie, and all that. But that we've lived long enough now to witness the above spectacle of KISS with uniformed veterans auxiliary members is worthy of a post, even on a local political blog. Take a watch -- even if you're not much of a rocker.

This display of high-voltage patriotism on Sept. 9 in Richmond, Virginia, follows public outcries after National Football League player Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem at a pre-season San Francisco 49ers game against the Green Bay Packers.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Martinez: a vote for Hernandez is a vote to make Austin a 'sanctuary city'

Coria-Gonzales arrest photo
Deported FIVE TIMES. Still not enough.
While there is a lot of debate over what, exactly, a "sanctuary city" consists of, one thing is clear: Electing a liberal Democrat as Travis County's top cop would do nothing but increase the amount of sanctuaries available for illegal immigrants.

Open trade advocates have their points to make, and there are plenty of merits to the "Texas Solution" touted by the Republican Platform in 2012. Ask three immigration reform activists what the solution is and you'll get four answers. But no matter how you slice it, illegal immigration is illegal and attracts other illegal behavior.

Read Travis County Sheriff candidate Joe Martinez' latest press release below, as well as the link to a recent Fox 7 story, if you're not entirely convinced.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Robert Morrow resigns Travis GOP Chairmanship to run as Independent for President

It's official. Robert Morrow is no longer the chairman of the Travis County Republican Party.

The Travis GOP sent out a media advisory on Thursday of a 10 a.m. Friday press conference to explain why Executive Vice Chairman David T. Duncan is now calling himself "Acting Chairman." This led to several media outlets reporting on this development around noon Thursday.  The Republican Party of Texas released a press statement of their own following this development, and this is all became very public knowledge. 

However, the Travis GOP at Friday's press conference had several reasons for rightfully assuming Robert had left a vacancy, which we include below in their press release.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Planned counter-protest mocks 'Cocks Not Glocks'

National Review recently had a soul-convicting article about how the Left ultimately makes everything about sex.

Everything. Even the Second Amendment.

Here's a selection from this gutsy article that speaks volumes about a protest sure to grab headlines this week:
The so-called culture war ... has not been conducted by people of religious faith on one side, and people of no faith on the other. It is instead a contest of competing faiths: one in the Good Book, and the other in the more newly written figurative book of secularist orthodoxy about the sexual revolution. 
Nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than during a perennial protest against gun rights at the University of Texas where hordes of participants carry sex toys (and other everyday items intended to be suggestive) in holsters around campus. Watch the video below in which left-of-center hyenas laugh it off as perfectly acceptable college hi-jinx:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Don Zimmerman is racist ... toward his own son?

Remember that little flare-up last night regarding City Councilman Don Zimmerman's "offensive comments?" About that: it looks like he said something very similar about his own two-month-old son.

As a bonus, it appears no one was offended at similar remarks made over the course of his two-year-term.

See below for a press release from Zimmerman's office setting the record straight:

Don't let the Dems trick you: Austin City Council races are VERY much partisan

Contrary to the easily dis-proven meme that Austin City Council races are historically non-partisan, the Travis County Democrats attempted to FUNDRAISE off of City Councilman Don Zimmerman today as well as to commit themselves to defeating him in November. (See the image above which is a mobile phone screenshot of a fundraising email.)

And all this before the Aug. 22 ballot deadline, before they know who all is in the running for City Council District 6.

What the liberals are upset about today is barely worth a mention -- and Empower Texans has a nice vindication of Zimmerman's comments here if you're curious.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

$720M Austin transportation bond: Gotta keep 'em separated?

The Austin City Council minutes ago gave the green light to a $720 million bond proposal to address traffic concerns in the not-so-Little City.

It passed unanimously, but the real struggle on this may come next week when the Council votes on ballot language and a few procedural matters. Proposed projects, many of which owe their origin to the Mayor's "Year of Mobility" initiative and the additional heat put on by greater constituent input following the implementation of the 10-1 plan, include mostly roadway improvements. But also in the plan are bike lanes, pedestrian crossings, a generous sidewalk allotment, and some public transit tweaks.

Rep. Dukes' challenger gives Austin open mic on police, community relations

 Some familiar faces gather for a photo after the town hall.
You may remember a forum held on July 13 in Manor regarding police and community relations in the wake of a spate of shootings over this summer -- particularly an attack on officers at a downtown Dallas demonstration. The "It's Time for Unity" town hall, organized by House District 46 candidate Gabriel Nila, was a rousing success with a standing-room-only crowd.

You may also recall that the Manor rally was held after a dialogue event for greater Austin was essentially hijacked by local Democrats and turned into a showcase for liberal values. Republican officials and candidates, such as Nila, were not invited to the forum held on a local public broadcasting channel (which necessitated the Manor event be held separately to assure that a variety of voices be heard).

Monday, August 1, 2016

Intruder could not have picked a worse home to invade

Cargill at the Capitol
If you're reading this, you've never had a bad night like a home intruder had on Friday.

A man used a swimming pool ladder to gain access to a second-floor window in a home near Snellville, Georgia, just outside Atlanta. The couple who have lived in the rural home for decades heard rustling in the master bathroom window. The husband went to check it out.

Not only was the husband armed.

Not only are the couple concealed carry license-holders.

And not only are they re-trained every year to polish up their shooting skills.

The couple also happens to be the mother and stepfather of Michael Cargill, one of Austin's foremost Second Amendment advocates, firearms dealers, and a concealed carry instructor.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ammophobes beware: AG sues City of Austin to allow guns at City Hall

The good news: Our Attorney General supports the right to bear arms even around the ammophobes at Austin City Hall!

The bad news: Second Amendment supporters such as Council members Don Zimmerman and Ellen Troxclair are named as defendants in the suit against the city.

The Austin American-Statesman reports:
State law has long barred guns from courtrooms and court-related offices. Another law enacted last September, however, limits what restrictions local officials can place on guns in government buildings. For multipurpose government buildings, [Texas Attorney General Ken] Paxton’s office has said people with guns cannot enter the court-related parts of the building but they may bring their legal firearm into other government offices.
The suit Thursday follows an non-binding opinion from the Attorney General’s office, which determined Austin was in violation of the statute.
That opinion gave Austin city until July 20 to allow guns into City Hall, or it could face a civil suit and fines of up to $1,500 for the first offense and then $10,000 per future violation.  
Although certain court-related functions do take place in Austin City Hall, it seems as if recent developments only restrict carrying to those parts of the building where court is taking place.

We'll have more on this as it develops.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

All this unity is tearing us apart!

"Please, Ted! Just endorse Trump, already!"
"You cannot shake hands with a closed fist" --Ancient Eastern proverb.

Dear fellow Republicans: It's time to loosen our grip. By doing so we'll find ourselves with a stronger hold.

This writer was on KTBC-TV (Fox 7) and KVUE-TV (Channel 24) on Friday to discuss the RNC convention. Naturally, the matter of Ted Cruz' refusal to endorse Donald Trump came up, along with the noticeable boos and hisses from delegates.

By now, you've heard a myriad of thoughts on Sen. Cruz's now-infamous RNC convention speech. My perspective on this was that by nominating a man (Trump) with a history of liberal and conservative tendencies, and a background of endorsing Republicans and Democrats, it's going to take forgiveness to make our 2016 ticket work.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RNC coverage: our apologies

It appears Donald Trump is officially the GOP nominee for President of the United States.

Many of our regular readers were hoping for coverage from The Tracker on the events leading up to the nomination, straight from the mouths of Travis County delegates present.   A few factors precluded that.
1. This writer was on a long-scheduled vacation to Orlando during the convention (who knew RNC would be this early over year ago?) 
2. Our delegates became quite busy and found Facebook and Twitter to be a faster way to reach outside the convention hall.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A summary of GOP national rules changes

Some perspective from national Republican Delegate Jeremy Blosser of Tarrant County is posted here, as originally published on his Facebook profile (unabridged, with no edits):

I have been asked to summarize what happened in the Rules Committee, and how it is just more of the same RNC/GOPe stuff. I am going to attempt to do so, though it's hard to tie the pieces together well enough without saying a lot.

At the 2012 Convention, the “Ginsberg takeover” package's worst offenses were:

Monday, July 11, 2016

'ATX Together' ... but where are the conservative voices?

Who gets to co-host a forum on Austin unity?
The county Democratic chairman (right), of course.
If you watched or attended the "ATX Together" forum hosted by KLRU-TV on Monday night, you may have noticed something wasn't quite ... together about it.

It was a noble, town hall-style event, and we stand behind any and all efforts to discuss plans for how to counter the kind of violence we've seen over the past two weeks. No problem there.

Many friends of this publication cheered it on, including Maura Phelan, Republican candidate for District Attorney, who took to Twitter to share her vision of a brighter future for the Travis County justice system. And we were grateful for any effort to seek common ground and bridge a deepening gap between the community and law enforcement.

But there were serious gaps in the patchwork of voices at the forum -- whatever the reason for the oversight may be.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Austin Conservatives respond to recent shootings, Dallas tragedy

Austin-area conservatives are extending, not only their condolences for recent shootings, but are also organizing efforts to help increase dialogue between law enforcement and the community at large.

This post will be reserved for those efforts, as well as official statements from local leaders and candidates.

"It's Time for Unity" Town Hall (Manor and Pflugerville)

Wednesday, July 13, 6:30 p.m., Manor Methodist Church. East Travis County residents (particularly Manor and Pflugerville) are invited to this event featuring Manor Police Chief Ryan Phipps and Pflugerville Police Chief Chuck Hooker to discuss concerns that the community may have in relation to recent events and what local law enforcement departments are doing to better connect with the community. Sponsored by the Gabriel Nila Campaign, the MLK Association of Austin, Diaspora Vote, the Austin Togolese Society, and others. This event is a work in progress --see the Facebook Event page for more details and updates:

Statement from Joe Martinez, Republican candidate for Travis County Sheriff

“Like all Americans, I watched the terrible events in Dallas unfold in sheer horror, as the worst mass casualty event for law enforcement since 9/11 was occurring before our very eyes.
“Immediately my thoughts went to the families of the Dallas Police and DART officers who were senselessly killed or injured.

“I am pleased that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch today launched a federal hate crime investigation and that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has offered any assistance possible from the state.

“It is clear that in many parts of America, African Americans are afraid of police officers, especially after what happened this week in Minnesota and Louisiana.

“We should continue to support sensible police reform, as we are in Austin with an effort to install police body cameras already underway.

“In Dallas the Police Department had an excellent reputation for community policing, which makes these events so difficult to understand.

“As a candidate for Travis County Sheriff, I pledge to work to strengthen the bonds between our brave law enforcement officers and the Travis County community, by establishing my Community Advisory Board, by increasing diversity sensitivity training, and by having officers out in the community more in order to facilitate building relationships in getting to know the people we pledge to protect so that all Austinites and Travis County citizens feel safe.

“At this time, it is more important than ever that we lift these police officers up in prayer and support their grieving families. We are all one American family.”

Source: Joe Martinez campaign.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Breaking news without breaking your reputation

In a late-night fishing expedition for a few words to say about the tragedy in Dallas, we rediscovered this gem from 2013. We decided it is best to say nothing as we have no information that adds to the general pool of knowledge regarding this situation, nor do our opinions differ from anyone who makes their living off of conservative commentary.

If there is a Travis County connection we're happy to share it. Until then, please take a moment and read over this Breaking News Consumers Handbook by the folks at New York's NPR affiliate WNYC. It's good enough to tape to your TV, computer monitor, or radio. But if you're not into NPR, here's some timeless wisdom:

"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise." --Proverbs 10:19.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

'Driver Responsibility' or never-ending cycle of debt?

A vortex of debt awaits many drivers caught in the DRP
By Cindy Mallette, Guest Contributor

I’m a homeschooling mother of three -- a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and a two-month-old. And if I don’t pay money to the Texas Department of Public Safety every month for the next three years, I could be thrown into jail.

I’m a victim of the Texas Driver Responsibility Program, a well-intentioned law designed to penalize very bad drivers (think drunk drivers) by making them pay extra money on top of any fines they owe for their convictions. Those surcharges go to fund trauma centers that treat uninsured victims. Hospitals love this law, but pretty much everybody else hates it. In fact, this bill has across-the-board hatred from diverse groups such as the NAACP and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Why the hate?