Saturday, December 18, 2021

Both conservatives and liberals question choice of state monitor for 'out of control' Round Rock ISD


The Texas Education Agency announced the appointment of former longtime Carroll Independent School District Superintendent David Faltys to monitor the "out of control" Round Rock ISD in Central Texas.

After three years of complaints, Faltys was tapped to observe the embattled district for one year, according to the TEA letter. Faltys resigned as Carroll ISD superintendent in January after 15 years with the district.

This has raised eyebrows on the left side of aisle, as Southlake Carroll High School has been in the crosshairs of liberal-progressive interest groups after voters threw out critical race theory proponents. Left-leaning podcasts and documentaries have recently begun to paint the North Texas school and the district the poster-child for racism in predominately caucasian suburbs. NBC News dedicated a series of stories titled "Southlake," portraying the uprising of parents and taxpayers in a negative light.

But the selection of Faltys has been questioned by a wider coaliton of parents, pro-taxpayer activists, and public ed watchdogs. According to a joint press release issued by the Round Rock Parent Coalition, True Texas Project of Williamson County, Wilco We Thee People, Moms for Liberty of Williamson County, and the Travis County Taxpayers Union, Faltys has conflicts of interest that should disqualify him from placement. 

In the Spring of 2021, Faltys's consulting company was instrumental in the locating and hiring of Dr. Hafedh Azaiez as Round Rock ISD Superintendent. RRISD paid the company $32,000 for their services, with the caveat that the company would perform another search free of charge if Azaiez is terminated or quits within the first two years.

“David Faltys appears to have a clear conflict of interest in this matter, having a financial incentive to ensure Azaiez retains his employment with RRISD for at least two years.” said True Texas Project spokesman Jeremy Story. “It is very concerning that TEA would assign a monitor to oversee and advise a district who apparently has a personal financial incentive to maintain the status quo in that district.”

Dustin Clark of the Round Rock Parent Coalition called on the TEA to "immediately remove David Faltys and assign a monitor who can perform their duties impartially, with no conflicts of interest."

Clark and Story were arrested and later jailed by Round Rock ISD police at a September tax rate meeting for the district. Clark and Story defied RRISD police officers to take their seats in the same room as board trustees, although in-person access was limited under the guise of COVID-19 prevention.

If any of this is sounding familiar, it should. The accusations of corruption, open meetings law violations, and legal problems plaguing RRISD have garnered national media coverage over the past several months. From allegations of sexual impropriety by the new superintendent to attempts at censoring two conservative trustees, not to mention the arrests, Round Rock ISD may very well qualify for a documentary of its own. Below is a brief update.

Conservative Trustees take national stage, appeal for support

Trustees Danielle Weston and Mary Bone have made several high-profile appeals on national cable news shows and podcasts for peace on the elected school district board. The duo are raising funds for legal defense

Weston told The Travis Tracker they have attained pro bono legal representation going forward.

Censure efforts continue

Weston told The Tracker that although there is legal intervention currently taking place, her peers on the RRISD board voted 5-2 to "begin the censure process on me [and Bone] regarding three emails I sent to the Attorney General of Texas , the [Williamson County] Judge, a State Board of Education member, and some members of the public in August" regarding mask mandates in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott's orders. 

There was no evidence presented of any statutory violation, Weston added: "The real objective is to use me as an example to deter others from sharing their values or stepping forward and joining me on the board."

Zimmerman calls on Trustee Harrison to resign

Former Austin City Council member Don Zimmerman called on RRISD Trustee Tiffanie Harrison to immediately resign due to her connection to groups that appear to condone violent radicalism.

His organization, the Travis County Taxpayers Union, had previously labeled the board members pursuing censuring Weston and Bone "the Bad Faith Five" for hampering public participation in the setting of new district tax rates. 

We will continue to "monitor" the situation in Round Rock.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

'It alarms me:' Austin residents given 6-minute notice on 1-year COVID extension


Extending the city of Austin's COVID-19 emergency orders for another year was placed on the agenda Friday, giving Austin residents until noon Monday to sign up to speak for a Tuesday morning meeting.

Then that already tight timetable was greatly reduced.

At 8:54 a.m. this morning, the orders were apparently amended, giving Austin residents six minutes to analyze the document prior to the first meeting of the day -- that's "zero time to respond or sign up to speak" according to the sole Republican member of the Council.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Austin community activist, businesswoman Rupal Chaudhari files for Travis County Judge

Image from press release.

Rupal Chaudhari, who for the better part of this year received a crash course in Austin/Travis County's lack of communication and responsiveness, announced her candidacy for the county's top spot at the Travis County GOP Executive Committee meeting Tuesday night.

"Travis County can do much better. And if we want to keep the Austin area from descending into the madness we see in Portland and Seattle, then we must do better," said the Republican candidate for Travis County Judge.

Wait, a Republican? Running countywide in our little blueberry in the tomato soup? Chaudhari admits it will be a tough battle taking on incumbent Andy Brown or whoever the Democratic nominee ends up being.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Vote today: Your 2021 Texas Constitutional Amendment Recommendations are here


Early voting begins 7 a.m. Monday, Oct. 18, in the 2021 Texas Constitutional Amendment and Local Election. While there is plenty to be concerned with (notably Austin's Prop. A to restore police funding and reform law enforcement), the eight propositions to amend the Texas Constitution should not be overlooked. Most are issues of consistency with existing state law, while a few should raise eyebrows. 

Below are the Tracker's recommendations. As always, let us know in the comments if you have any additional info or different opinions. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Your November 2021 Travis County voting guide

While Proposition A in Austin (to undo the damage done by an ill-advised and disastrous Defund the Police movement) is in the spotlight, there are many more items appearing on your ballot this October and November -- maybe even a few other Proposition As. 

Don't be caught off-guard! The Tracker has the entire list of Travis County ballot items below and which voting precincts they will appear in. We will roll out voting recommendations gradually, so check back in frequently. And if you have any recommendations of your own feel free to leave a comment below.

Friday, September 10, 2021

APD foils serial burglaries in NW Austin (Fund the police already!)


Security footage screenshot of burglary suspects (Courtesy photo)

Ed. note: For whatever reason this story was completely missed by Austin-area media. (Oh wait: that's us, too!) See below for our write-up, as told by the folks with Stop Candlewood, and be sure to support Austin Proposition A this November to restore full funding to the Austin Police Department.

AUSTIN  Even after a long Labor Day weekend and with limited resources due to budget cuts, Austin Police Department officers successfully stopped an outbreak of burglaries in Northwest Austin.

Over the past two weeks, several hotels between The Domain and the Williamson County portion of the city had reported incidents of burglaries, break-ins, and substance abuse in parking lots. Evidence would suggest the incidents were linked.

Hotel owner Sanjay Chaudhari reviewed security camera footage after a safe containing $1,000 was stolen on morning of Saturday, Aug. 28 . A couple who seem to have been the thief and the "lookout" were presumed to be part of an isolated incident  Mr. Chaudhari resolved to be more careful about locking doors and securing items, even in broad daylight.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

School district mask mandates face tough road ahead


Parents and taxpayers are taking to the streets in protest as blowback against local school district mask mandates continue to spread throughout the Central Texas region.

As school districts gradually opened their doors for the 2021-22 semester, mask mandates were immediately ordered by the usual suspects, such as the Austin and Round Rock ISDs. Other Austin-area ISDs such as Leander, Pflugerville, and Lago Vista were reticient at first, with generally more conservative boards of trustees.

On Monday, Pflugerville joined the ranks of dissident local governments, followed by Leander ISD on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Census: Austin population did not grow as quickly as estimated

 


The long-awaited Census data report came in today, and now Texas legislators can get to work on drawing jurisdictional maps for the decade ahead (assuming the runaway Democrats show up for work).

One surprise was quickly noticed when it comes to the boomtown of Austin: the population did not grow as much as expected. The Census estimate -- based on the 2019 American Community Survey -- overshot by roughly 17,000 people. 

The earlier estimate was 978,908 within the Austin city limits, as opposed to the formal 2020 count of 961,855. 

By contrast, the 2010 census count for Austin was 790,390.

We've seen a few signs of this coming: from flight to the suburbs and exurbs to Austin ISD closing schools to make up for decreased enrollment. But this doesn't mean Austin is shrinking. Quite the contrary: Austin grew by almost 22% over the past 10 years, and the five-county region jumped by a third to 2.2. million souls.

HOWEVER ... if the estimate was accurate, could Austin's draconian COVID-19 business closure orders, a gutting of the city's public safety budget, a sharp rise in crime, and the homeless camping situation over the past couple of years have contributed to the diminished final count since the 2019 snapshot? It couldn't have helped.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Gift Cards Used By City To Pay People To Attend Police 'Reimaging,' 'Anti-Racism' Functions


Check the small print: certain conditions may apply.

Ever wonder how the Left is seemingly and constantly able to draw out so many more "community participants" than conservatives for rallies, protests, government hearings, and various indoctrination efforts?

An open records request shared on Twitter sheds some light on how that may happen in many cases. In this case, a proposal of using untraceable gift cards to use taxpayer funds to pay participants to attend "anti-racism," Critical Race Theory-driven trainings is clearly laid out in a series of obtained emails.

According to the records, doling out gift cards as compensation for attendance and feedback may have happened at least once before -- during "Reimagining Public Safety" community gatherings.

According to the open records relayed by Twitter account @JohnnyK2001 (see screenshots below), the city of Austin's Farah Muscadin, director of the city's Police Oversight office, requested $55,000 in gift cards from the city's purchasing office (check that: she called it a "need").

VIDEO: ANTIFA harasses Austin City Manager at home for not being leftist enough


Smile! You're on comrade camera!

Mum's the word after the radical Left appears to have paid the city manager of Austin an unfriendly home visit, recently.

It appears one of Austin's ANTIFA chapters is not satisfied with Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk, even though he presided over the Austin City Council's cutting of the local police department budget by one-third, a lifting of homeless camping and panhandling policies, and numerous efforts at Leftist social engineering in the city. They came to what may very well be Cronk's doorstep, gave several public policy "demands," harrangued the city's chief executive for his salary, and acted like, well, fascists.

According to Texas Scorecard's Adam Cahn and avid Twitter poster "Teddy Broosevelt:"

Police Assn: 'Investigate immediately' allegations of DA's evidence tampering, denial of Due Process


Travis County D.A. Jose Garza on the far-left of a stage at a campaign event (source: Facebook)

Criticism continues to mount regarding how Travis County District Attorney José Garza is running his office and prosecuting cases.

Garza, a hard-left Democrat elected during the 2020 presidential cycle during which liberal-progressive voters were out in full force, is facing allegations of denying defendants their constitutional due process according to Austin's police union.  

In a press statement from Austin Police Association (APA), "Brady notices" were filed by an assistant district attorney in two cases -- "one involving a child victim of an aggravated sexual assault and the other a homicide," according to APA President Ken Cassaday.

First, a little background on what a "Brady notice" means. Not to be confused with the anti-gun Brady Act, the required disclosure is named for the U.S. Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland (1963). In Brady, the majority ruled that suppression, by the prosecution of evidence which may be favorable to a defendant who as requested to see it, is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's protection of due process.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

SAFE Austin Now Reboots With Goal Of 50K Petition Signatures


Save Austin Now and its related PAC were wildly successful in attracting a bipartisan majority of Austin voters to reverse the city's disastrous homeless camping policy.

Now as they attempt to wrestle the City of Austin into enforcing the restored camping ban, another project begins as the group shifts gears. Police reform is now the focus as Save Austin Now begins its Safe Austin Now initiative, starting with a goal of reaching 50,000 petition signatures by mid-summer. See press conference video for specifics.

The petition aims to place on the November 2021 ballot a sweeping package of proposals that, according to a press release distributed at the event:

Friday, May 7, 2021

ANALYSIS: 2021 Local Elections Yields Mixed results for Travis County conservatives

The passage of Austin's Proposition B -- the homeless camping policy reversal -- took the spotlight of the May 2021 local elections in Travis County and was a victorious moment for conservative activists and a much wider coalition firmly behind it. 

Democrats, Republicans, and independents came together (an estimated 55% of those who voted were Democrats), but it was a conservative solution that reached across the aisle to turn back a dangerous policy, though ultimately the Travis County GOP was supportive (with Chairman Matt Mackowiak as a co-founder of a supportive PAC) and the established leadership of the Travis County Democratic Party were in firm opposition.

The increased bipartisan turnout may have sunk some conservative aspirants across the county, however -- though it's difficult to determine exactly what factors led to some surprising defeats of conservative-friendly and Republican candidates and positions around the Austin metro area.

We take a look at how conservative candidates and positions performed on election night over the weekend, starting with one that was just determined today in the Pflugerville ISD. Candidates and positions endorsed by The Travis Tracker are followed with an asterisk.

✅ = Overall conservative victory
❌ = Overall conservative defeat
= Mixed results

 PFLUGERVILLE ISD

Separated by a mere two votes on election night, the PfISD Place 1 race was the squeaker race election night, with mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted. Travis and Williamson County ballot boards met today. At the time of writing, and according to observers, David Aguirre* gained additional votes in the final unofficial count, putting him 3 votes ahead of Marc Garcia and is therefore the projected winner. (The count is not official until canvassing, however.)

In Place 2, incumbent Tony Hanson* was unopposed.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Socialist hopes dashed in Austin as homeless camping policy reversed


Based on early results, it appears a reversal of Austin's ill-advised homeless camping law is on it's way to passage by the voters.

May 1 is Local Election Day in Texas, and the capitol city of Texas is reporting a mixed bag of results based on early voting totals and over half of precincts now reporting.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Your Travis County voting guide for the May 2021 local election


Early voting begins April 19 on elections across Travis County, including the prize fight of the year so far -- the rollback of the homeless camping ordinance in Austin. 

But act fast -- early voting ends in just one week, on April 27, with election day Saturday, May 1!

Below are recommendations The Tracker has put together from various conservative sources with some of our own admonitions thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, local input has been hard to gather, which is something we hope to remedy in future local elections. Therefore, not every race will have a recommendation. But this year we are including ALL candidates with our preferred candidate(s) or position(s) in bold. Some races have more than one recommendation due to intra-conservative conflicts.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Voting Guide: City of Austin May 2021 ballot propositions


Early voting begins Monday, April 19, and continues through Tuesday, April 27. Election Day is Saturday, May 1. Below is a quick rundown of each proposition on ballots within the city of Austin, with our recommendations in red. For more information visit www.VoteTravis.com.

Proposition A:
Collective bargaining for firefighters

FOR

Would require city and firefighters association to participate in binding arbitration when an agreement cannot be reached through collective bargaining regarding working conditions.

Pro: Saves taxpayer money by discouraging expensive litigation as a first step in solving disputes such as labor contracts (e.g. the lengthy dispute that took years to settle over the last decade). 

Con: Could greatly accelerate the number of complaints regarding working conditions and give labor unions additional power when negotiating contracts.

Supporters: Firefighters Local 975

Note: Filed by petition.

* * *

Proposition B:
Homeless camping rollback

FOR

Would (re)create Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine for anyone to sit, lie down, or camp in public areas without official permission; prohibits panhandling at specific hours and locations.

Pro: Takes city back to pre-2019 camping restrictions; makes pedestrian areas and roadsides safer; removes "signaling" to other homeless persons in other locations to move to Austin; addresses aesthetic and sanitary concerns.

Con: Allowing camping in more public places has made it visually clear that there is a homeless problem in Austin that needs to be addressed; government and social workers more easily able to find, access, and treat homeless persons in homeless camps.

Supporters: Save Austin Now PAC, SafeHorns, Travis GOP Chairman Matt Mackowiak; individual Democrats (TCDP framing this as a right-wing effort -- it is not, being clearly bipartisan).

* * *

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Homeless camping, recall petitions organizers racing against clock to gather signatures

With deadlines forthcoming in the new year for inclusion on the May election ballot, petition circulators in Austin are hard at work on several major initiatives.

Here's an update on the petition drives we know about:

Friday, December 11, 2020

5 reasons why election fraud should NOT stop you from voting

Election irregularities are nothing to take lightly. And neither is voting, the core function of any true republic.

From mystery USB drives, to missing ballots suddenly discovered during a recount, to remote logins, election integrity activists have made valiant strides in recent years to make sure each and every vote is counted.

Voting fraud is real, though difficult to prosecute. And proving that votes are miscounted in an election can take longer than the projected victor's entire first term.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Misdirected postcard found in Austin unveils stealth campaign for Georgia U.S. Senate election

 An incorrectly delivered postcard found in an Austin mailbox sheds light on a way liberal activists are using out-of-state volunteerism to drive turnout in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs. 

It appears a stealthy postcard campaign is responsible for the misplaced mail. The effort is being conducted relatively under the radar, without a noticeable way to trace who is paying for the cards or stamps, no disclaimer on the cards, or information on who offered the manpower to process the cards.

The wayward postcard, discovered this week in a North Austin post office box without a postmark or stamp cancellation, urges a vote in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock. Ossoff and Warnock are opposed by incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, respectively.


The recipient requested he remain anonymous. He suspects the card may have been dropped and returned to a random USPS mailbox by a Good Samaritan or it was written locally but was not properly processed by postal employees.