Archive for the ‘Austin’ Category

Why Black People Are Leaving Austin

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Austin’s population is growing, but its black population is actually shrinking. Orisons are sounded to the usual liberal shibboleths (“disparities in public education, a distrust of police”) before the piece starts to touch on the real issues:

“Barriers to accessing jobs in the city’s booming technology and construction industries.” Nice job conflating two very dissimilar industries into one sentence:

  • High technology generally require high school or college degrees, something the black community notably lags behind whites and Asians.
  • Construction jobs are one of the areas where American workers (including African Americans) have been hit hardest by the influx of illegal alien labor. 30 years ago, roofers used to reflect more ethnic diversity; if Austin is any indication, 90+% of roofers today are Hispanic.
  • “The report also suggested that the city’s history of racial segregation followed by gentrification of Austin’s historically black neighborhoods contributed to the decline.”

    That word “gentrification” needs to be bolded in 24-point type.

    “East Austin’s proximity to downtown has driven up property values and taxes in the area, prompting some longtime residents to leave.”

    And how.

    For years East Austin (and by “East Austin,” generally people mean “East of 35, north of the river, west of Ed Bluestein, and south of 290″ (though the tiny subdivision just west of the old airport generally got excluded for demographic reasons), set as it was on the far side of “Apartheid 35,” was overwhelmingly poor, black and Hispanic. Apartment complexes or condos catering to students might have made a few blocks worth of inroads near campus, but that was about it. But as the city grew by leaps and bound, and every boom brought more skyscrapers downtown, canny developers and real estate agents couldn’t keep from eying all that land a literal stone’s throw across I-35, and gentrification was on.

    Now if you walk down, say, East 11th street, you’ll see far more white hipsters than black or Hispanic residents until you’re a good mile or more away from the freeway.

    Here’s historical data for all Austin housing. Notice the relentless upward trend for houses. Though I haven’t been able to find historical trending data for just East Central Austin, I believe the trend is far more pronounced there, since prices there used to be far below that of the suburbs and are now far above them.

    And as for rising taxes and property values, don’t forget this epic bit of cluelessness:

    “I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

    “It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore.

    Yes, funny how voting for every liberal boondoggle to come down the turnpike raises one’s tax rates. But higher tax rates that may be a mild inconvenience for moneyed white liberals can be intolerable for poor black residents, who can find themselves priced and taxed out of their longtime neighborhoods.

    Those are the obvious, prosaic reasons black residents might be leaving Austin. There’s no reason to haul out the usual cast of Democratic politicians and critcal race theory grievance mongers to explain it…

    LinkSwarm for July 11, 2014

    Friday, July 11th, 2014

    More news from inside the handbasket, including the dust-up in Gaza and the illegal alien surge at the border:

  • Israel hits Gaza for a third day in retaliation for yet another round of rocket attacks. Is there really anything left to say about this that hasn’t been said before? Hamas is the elected government of Gaza, they fire rockets indiscriminately against Israeli civilians and fire them from their own civilian areas to maximize civilian damage at both ends, making them legitimate military targets under international law.
  • And speaking of rockets, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system racks up a 90% success rate. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ, who adds “Suck It 1980s Lefties”.)
  • And Hamas might be receiving taxpayer money.
  • Also speaking of rockets, in Iraq ISIS seizes control of one of Saddam’s chemical weapons sites, filled with rockets full of nerve gas agents. You know, the ones liberals swore didn’t exist in 2004…
  • Food inflation costs overwhlem wage growth.
  • Get ready for the next round of ObamaCare rate shock.
  • Scabies outbreak at the border. Well, that’s just lovely. Thanks, Obama!
  • Even Democrats think Obama should visit the border.
  • Are veterans being turned away from appointments because treating illegal aliens takes precedence? Caveat: Twitter is not a source.
  • But the Obama Administration seems to be going to great lengths to prevent lawmakers from inspecting illegal alien holding facilities.
  • “We can medically treat non-citizens in a few days, maybe even hours, but not our own veterans.”
  • Planes full of illegal aliens landing in El Paso.
  • They’re even trying to house illegal aliens in Virginia.
  • The scale of the problem:

  • Important reminder: Not all Hispanic immigrants are in favor of unlimited illegal aliens coming to the country.
  • Greg Abbott criticizes Obama. “Whether it’s on the broken VA system, or our porous border, he is all talk and no action. He’s all hat and no cattle.”
  • Airlines reduce flights to Venezuela due to cash trapped in the country by currency controls. How’s that socialism working out for ya?
  • Hillary Clinton and Adultery. Then again, maybe Hillary is one of Ashley Madison’s fake profiles.
  • Hillary’s book drops off the Amazon 100 list. Evidently there are tens of millions of Democrats who found that not buying Hard Choices was, in fact, an easy choice…
  • Public employees union AFSCME severs ties with the United negro College Fund because they took money from the Koch brothers. So it’s more important to display their hate than to help black people go to college…
  • 50 colleges now charge more than $60,000 a year to attend, and Harvard, Yale and MIT are not among them. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Evidently former Merrill Lynch chairman Stan O’Neal wants this to disappear.
  • Hope You Don’t Need to Drive Anywhere in Austin Today

    Thursday, July 10th, 2014

    Yes, it’s another Obama is fundraising in Austin day, so traffic will probably be screwed all day.

    Plan accordingly…

    Bill Powers to Step Down as UT President in June 2015

    Thursday, July 10th, 2014

    Evidently the Board of Regents accepted Bill Powers counteroffer, as he will stay on as UT President through June 2, 2015. (Previously.)

    If you’re still unclear on why Powers should go, here are ten reasons he should step down.

    UT Scandal May Pull Down President Bill Powers

    Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

    Evidently the slow-burning University of Texas admissions scandal will finally cost President Bill Powers his job. “UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa has told Powers, 68, to resign before Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Regents or be fired during it.”

    I doubt Powers counteroffer to step down in 2015 will be accepted. (I do wonder what makes Houston Chronicle writer Benjamin Wermund proclaim that Powers is “widely supported by students”? Has he seen polls on Powers popularity on students? (Online petitions don’t count) I would think they would be more concerned with lowering tuition costs than support a President resisting calls to lower them.)

    Which is not to say that Powers backers are giving up. Instead, they’re lashing out at the board of regents:

    The more angry and indignant among the petition signers seem to think some organized debate about UT and its president is going forth, and that their champion is, unfairly, of course, getting the worst of it. It would be an odd thing to think. There isn’t anything like a public debate about Bill Powers going forward. There’s rancor and division — nearly all of it coming from the side that professes to despise rancor and division, the Powers side.

    The admissions scandal has been building for some time on Powers’ watch. (Nor is it the only problem under Powers.) Instead of investigating it and fixing the problem, Powers decided the best move was to have his political friends attempt to impeach regent Wallace Hall in order to quash his investigation while Powers’ supporters launched an Astroturf campaign on his behalf that’s included no end of MSM editorials praising Powers while attacking Hall and Governor Perry for daring to hold him accountable.

    The university academic complex evidently believe that they’re a special kind of hothouse flower that should be immune to all political pressure, with a right to public funding but not to public accountability. Powers has constantly resisted calls to make college more affordable, and to be more accountable to the Board of Regents who oversee his work and the state government that pays his bills.

    It seems that Powers will be the latest official to learn that pride goeth before a fall.

    I Missed Hillary’s Austin Book-Signing

    Friday, June 20th, 2014

    I couldn’t make Hillary Clinton’s signing at Bookpeople today because I have to work for a living. Plus tickets were “sold out.”

    Fortunately, someone else was able to make it to her D.C. stop:

    Wallace Hall Followup: Dan Patrick Win = Witchhunt End?

    Monday, June 2nd, 2014

    The witchhunt against UT regent Wallace Hall for uncovering cronyism and favoritism in UT admissions may be coming to an an end, thanks to Dan Patrick’s decisive win the Lt. Governor runoff. Patrick has constantly supported Hall in his investigative efforts and condemned the attempt to impeach him.

    The effect of Patrick’s statement was immediate. The next day, a legislative committee that had met to draft articles of impeachment against Hall failed to do so. Several members of the committee were quoted saying that it would take a while. Others expressed hope that the Travis County District Attorney would, basically, take the case off their hands.

    The piece goes on to note that it is unlikely for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (who is up to his eyeballs in the scandal) to call a special session just to consider the impeachment of a regent who earns no salary. That would put off a House vote to send the formal charges of impeachment to the senate until next year, when then Lt. Governor Patrick, who controls the Senate agenda, would have numerous tools to delay or kill consideration of the impeachment charges.

    In other Wallace Hall/UT Scandal news, the Dallas Morning News published an editorial by Joe Straus ally Charles Matthews in which he tut-tuts the scandal, saying “nothing to see here.”

    Says Matthews: “A review has already been conducted by the UT system. After a nine-month inquiry, the report released to the public ‘did not uncover any evidence of a systematic, structured or centralized process of reviewing and admitting applicants recommended by influential individuals.’”

    Translation: We’ve investigated ourselves and found ourselves innocent! At least in “the report released to the public,” which seems and awfully specific formulation. (And how about non-”systematic, structured or centralized” abuse?)

    The biographical blurb on Matthews states that “Charles Matthews, a Dallas resident, is former vice president and general counsel of the Exxon Mobil Corp.” But the editorial fails to note that Matthews was the University system chancellor from 2005-2010 (i.e., at least some of the scandal presumably occurred on his watch), which would seem to be fairly important information for readers to judge his impartiality.

    Also, Hall has threatened to sue one of his legislative critics for making false statements about him…

    UT Tries to Screw Objectivist Student Group

    Monday, June 2nd, 2014

    This is almost a non-story, but since I stumbled across it, and it takes place at my alma mater, and I possessed intimate knowledge of Objectivism during my college days, I thought I’d mention it.

    Basically, UT has money available for chartered student groups, the UT Objectivist group applied for money to host a debate, and the UT Events board turned them down without telling them why.

    UT Objectivism Society applied for funding support from the student-led Events CoSponsorship Board (ECB) for a planned on-campus debate. Titled “Inequality: Should We Care?,” the discussion was set to feature Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, and James K. Galbraith, a UT professor and director of the University of Texas Inequality Project. ECB itself is funded wholly by student activity fees, to the tune of $70,000 per year—all of which is spent supporting the programming of various student organizations. The UT Objectivism Society applied for $1,920.64 in funding to support the event…In March 22, however, ECB emailed UT Objectivism Society president Jonathan Divin, informing him that ECB “is unable to fund UT objectivism Society at this time.” Divin responded, asking if ECB could provide any explanation as to why the group’s request for funding was denied. Troublingly, ECB replied only: “Unfortunately, ECB is unable to disclose any information regarding the deliberation process whether or not an event was funded.”

    Enter the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has frequently taken up first amendment and equal rights causes on campus. So they sent a letter, UT went “Yeah, we should be more transparent,” then said the reason the Objectivists were denied money was because the fund was already out of money. And they promised to do better.

    Assuming UT follows through, we’ll count that as a tiny win for fairness and transparency…

    Blogroll Addition: Rock in a Sea of Chaos

    Friday, May 30th, 2014

    One of the bloggers who showed up at Borepatch’s blogmeet was “That Guy” from Rock in a Sea of Chaos. That seems like a sufficient excuse to add another Austin gun blogger to the blogroll, so here he is…

    Cronyism Lowering the Bar at UT Law

    Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

    For an example of how the cronyism scandal Wallace Hall uncovered is harming the University of Texas, take a look at UT’s law school.

    According to Erik Telford: “Only 59 percent of its graduates passed the most recent Texas Bar Examination, placing UT dead last among Texas’ nine law schools despite it being by far the most highly regarded school of the nine.”

    Speaker Joe Straus and two of his top lieutenants in the Texas House, Reps. Dan Branch and Jim Pitts, sent more letters to the president of the University of Texas on behalf of applicants than anyone else whose correspondence was included in a recent inquiry into admissions favoritism.

    Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s office recently reviewed 86 “recommendation” letters, almost all of them from lawmakers, sent to UT President Bill Powers instead of through the proper channels.

    In addition to Straus, the Fox piece fingers Democratic State Senator Judith Zaffrini (who is on the higher education committee) as one of the biggest cronyism abusers, and one who was not shy about sending letters for well-connected applicants. Telford:

    Of the 90 UT Law School graduates who have failed the bar exam twice in recent years, 12 — or 13 percent — came from Zaffrini’s hometown of Laredo, which comprises less than 1 percent of the state’s population. It’s a suspicious correlation, as previous investigations of Zaffrini found that the senator has attempted to use her political clout to skirt the admissions process at least three times in the past. Six more double-flunkers have connections to Straus’ political machine.

    While Zaffrini and Straus may possibly have muscled several of their unqualified hometown cronies into their state’s flagship public law school, many other state lawmakers appear to have snuck their children and employees through UT Law’s back door. The sons of Zaffrini, State Sen. John Carona and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts each graduated from UT Law and promptly failed the bar exam three times, as did the chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego [Democrat], and State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez [Democrat], who attended UT Law while serving in office.

    Carona was defeated by Don Huffines in March, and Dan Branch is about to be retired by Ken Paxton. It is the likes of Straus and Zaffrini who should be removed from public office for participating in the scandal, not Wallace Hall for exposing it.