Posts Tagged ‘Austin’

Have Austin Taxpayers Finally Had Enough?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

One of the more surprising results from last week’s election was Austin voters defeated a courthouse bond package.

Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman, who led the opposition to the courthouse project, said the last-minute defeat of the bonds was an “absolute stunning result.”

“The corporate downtown special interest lobby spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this,” he said. His anti-courthouse campaign through the Travis County Taxpayers Union barely spent anything, he said. “I think a lot of people heard that and said, ‘Well why are hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent if it’s such a good idea?’”

He said part of the reason the bonds were rejected is that Austin-area voters are increasingly concerned about affordability and increasingly loathe to support tax increases.

Because I live outside the city limits and in Williamson County, I was only vaguely aware of the Courthouse bond issue. As long as I’ve been in the Austin area, I can’t recall another bond issue going down in flames like this one. Could the People’s Republic of Austin finally have had enough of tax increases?

“It is not that complicated,” said local attorney Mark Pulliam. “Travis County homeowners are sick of property tax increases.”

“Only pompous, out-of-touch downtown lawyers — like those who belong to the Austin Bar Association — would think that a 14-story high-rise costing more than The Austonian, and almost as much as the just-completed JW Marriott, the largest in the North America, made sense,” he told

The Watchdog piece suggests that the long overdue move to single City Council districts may have been a factor in defeating the bond issue.

Also, Travis County suburbs may finally have become populous enough to balance out the liberal central city for county elections like this one. Indeed, that’s what this map suggests.

There’s Your Hardcore Gun Control Vote

Monday, November 9th, 2015

I wanted to take a closer look at a few off-year election issues from last week, specifically the Proposition 6 “Right to Hunt and Fish” Amendment.

Really, if you wanted a “safe” vote for people favoring gun control to cast, opposing Prop 6, a constitutional amendment that wouldn’t change a single law in hunting-friendly Texas, seems ideal.

Just look at how the Houston Chronicle sneered at the amendment’s supporters in an editorial opposing it: “This amendment…is the most ridiculous on the ballot…[it’s] essentially a paean to the ‘black helicopter’ crowd that’s eager to harry and harass legitimate conservation efforts in Texas.”

And after all the sneering by smart set urban liberals, how did Prop 6 do? It won with over 81% of the vote. Evidently more than four-fifths of Texans are part of “the black helicopter crowd.”

That’s some fringe group.

My quick scan of county-by-county results shows not a single county in Texas voted against Prop 6. In the smaller counties, Prop 6 passed by a ratio of about 10-1.

A liberal data wonk sent out this tweet while voting was still going on.

(Here’s a non-Tweet version of that map.)

That’s your gun control vote right there: A white liberal urban core. Prop 6 passed Travis County, the deepest blue white liberal bastion in the state, by 44,128 in favor to 28,797.

When actual citizens get to vote, gun control loses every time.

If gun control loses in Austin, it’s hard to see where it wins outside San Francisco and New York City.

Texas vs. California Update for November 2, 2014

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

California continues to suffer from drought while central Texas just suffered through torrential rains. Time for another Texas vs. California update:

  • Texas Adds 26,600 Jobs in September.
  • Texas and Florida rank at the top of education index for biggest states, while California ranks last.
  • The University of Texas is ranked the number one public university in America.
  • Meanwhile, at the University of California system: “The number of those making at least $500,000 annually grew by 14 percent in the last year, to 445, and the system’s administrative ranks have swelled by 60 percent over the last decade – far outpacing tenure-track faculty.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Another example of California’s perpetual trial lawyer enrichment act: “cumulative trauma” awards for employees after termination, even if they’ve never reported symptoms before. Shouldn’t every former member of the Raiders, Chargers and 49ers file a lawsuit?
  • Why CalPERS contributions are soaring. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • So now the California high speed rail boondoggle is going to cost $68 billion and require 36 miles of tunnels, including some dug right through an active tectonic fault. That’s ten times the length of tunnel Boston needed to dig for the Big Dig. And the cost is equivalent to the Gross Domestic Product of Sri Lanka. For a train line. It would probably be cheaper to buy cab rides for everyone traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but that wouldn’t provide enough opportunities for graft…
  • “The parent company of the Orange County Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise filed for federal bankruptcy protection.”
  • Also filing for bankruptcy, yet another West coast grocery chain, Fresh & Easy.
  • Another bankruptcy filing: Fresno’s One Club Casino. California casinos are different from Nevada casinos, and I believe One Club is what is called a “card room”. Still, when you can’t make a profit off gambling…
  • California plastics company opens plant in Pflugerville. “Medway, founded in 1974, will also relocate its research and development laboratory to the new Pflugerville facility. Though Medway Plastics will continue operations in California, the company may consider relocating its headquarters to Pflugerville within the next five to eight years, the company said.”
  • Plans continue apace to build a Texas Gold Depository.
  • California Ballot initiatives weaponize emotion to centralize power.
  • Reminder: Blog Shootup/Meetup October 10

    Friday, October 9th, 2015

    This is a reminder that Dwight Brown of Whipped Cream Difficulties and I are putting on a gunny/VRWC blog shooting meetup/Tweetup at the Eagle Peak Gun Range in Leander on Saturday, October 10, at 5 PM, to be followed by a group dinner at the Oasis at 7 PM. Bring ear and eye protection as well as any weapon you’d like to shoot (no full metal jacket ammo, as per range rules). You can come to the shoot and skip dinner, or vice versa.

    If you’re interested in attending, drop me a line (lawrenceperson at gmail dot com) so I know how many people to expect at the range and for dinner).

    Blog Shootup/Meetup October 10, 2015

    Sunday, September 20th, 2015

    Dwight Brown of Whipped Cream Difficulties and I are putting on a gunny/VRWC blog shooting meetup/Tweetup at the Eagle Peak Gun Range in Leander on Saturday, October 10, at 5 PM, to be followed by a group dinner at the Oasis at 7 PM. Bring ear and eye protection as well as any weapon you’d like to shoot (no full metal jacket ammo, as per range rules). You can come to the shoot and skip dinner, or vice versa.

    If you’re interested in attending, drop me a line (lawrenceperson at gmail dot com) so I know how many people to expect at the range and for dinner).

    LinkSwarm for September 11, 2015

    Friday, September 11th, 2015

    It’s the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and thanks to the super-genius foreign policy ofthe Obama Administration, radical Islam is more powerful than ever before!

  • The Islamic State attacks the Kurds with mustard gas Hey Obama: Big, bright red line here! What are you going to do about that? Nothing, eh? Just going to keep up your just-for-show pretend-war against the Islamic State?
  • The thermocline of truth at the Pentagon: “More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials.”
  • Mark Steyn: “Since I last appeared in Copenhagen, some three-quarters of those I shared the stage with that day have been shot at, firebombed or forced to retire from public life and go into hiding.”
  • If you hit a pedestrian in China, do you: A. Stop to render aid, B. Flee the scene or, C. Back over again to make sure they’re dead?
  • “The policies of Jeremy Corbyn, the old-fashioned socialist on course to be elected leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party, are wrong not because they’re left-wing, but because they’re delusional.”
  • Thanks to the Magic Power of Socialism(TM), in Venezuela there’s no justice like mob justice. (Hat tip Instapundit.)
  • Could Putin be undone by a European court rulings?
  • How Bush43 helped keep Russia from invading the rest of Georgia in 2008.
  • Islamic attack leaves leaves 30 dead in Cameroon.
  • Jihad kills 10 in Tajikistan, U.S. embassy shut.
  • “Tunisia is experiencing psychopath drain.”
  • Muslims riot in Rotherham. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Believe it or not, Republicans actually have the demographic edge in 2016.
  • Abilene cop killed in home.
  • This sounds super, super, super, super, super, super dumb.
  • After a long hibernation, Blue Dot Blue has awakened from her deathless slumbers.
  • Dwight has a pretty swell memorial to Oliver Sacks up.
  • Lawfully use your legal firearm to protect your foster kids in Nevada? Watch your kids get taken away.
  • Liberal writer discovers America. “I spent the night at the Chateau Motel & Liquor Store, which is a brilliant business idea that absolutely needs to come east.” #Merica (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Here is the only important fact versus the hyperbolic claims about aspartame and health: There’s a correlation between sugar consumption and health problems. There’s no link between artificial sweeteners and health.”
  • The ghost homes of Japan. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Texas most-wanted sex-offender caught.
  • Creeper in Williamson County:

    Deputies are searching for a man that allegedly injured a 12-year-old girl at a Williamson County park over the weekend.

    It happened Saturday, Sept. 5 at around 5:50 p.m. on the Rattan Creek Park Trail, west of Parmer Lane at Dallas Drive. Investigators say the girl was walking on the trail at a bridge near where two paths intersect when she was approached by an adult male from the south. The Sheriff’s Office says he made several comments regarding the child’s beauty, saying she appeared older than she was, and asked various questions about her and any companions.

    The suspect grabbed the child by the arm, tight enough to cause minor injury. He let go when one of the child’s friends approached them, and walked away from the trail, heading north into the woods, investigators say.

    The subject was described as a white male, approximately 6’0″, with a slim to medium build, short brown hair, and believed to be in his late 30s. He was last seen wearing a white tank top, blue jeans, and had a large tattoo (possibly Old English text) on his left shoulder, extending down to his chest. The suspect was described as having unusually long fingernails.

    If this suspect is observed in the area, you are asked to call the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jason Waldon at (512) 244-8631 or or after hours (512) 864-8302.

    Read More at:

    Keep an eye out…

  • The Shooter in Her Cooter.
  • Texas vs. California Update for September 8, 2015

    Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Why Texas is awesome:

    First, there is no state income tax in Texas. Some people know this and some don’t—few really grasp what it means practically. It means that if you make decent money and decide to move here and rent something affordable, it’s essentially free to live in Texas. If you make $150,000 a year, your state income taxes in California are roughly $12,000 per year (in NYC it’s closer to $15,000). Or, you can put a thousand bucks a month toward your rent here. If you decide to buy, property taxes are high—but what you get for the money more than makes up for it. My editor at the Observer recently tried to cajole me into coming back to New York. Our house now—which has its own lake and is 29 minutes from the airport which never has lines—costs less than the rent we were paying for our lofted studio apartment in Midtown. Are you kidding?

    Also note the mention of walk-in gun safes…

    (Hat tip: Borepatch.)

  • 600,000 Californians have moved to Texas since 2009.
  • Another take on that data: “5 Million People Left California Over the Past Decade. Many Went to Texas.”
  • Austin and Houston are the top two relocation destinations in the country.
  • $15 billion for a fish tunnel?
  • “The average full-career California teacher receives a pension benefit equal to 105% of their final earnings. CalSTRS CEO says the plan isn’t generous enough.”
  • In 2012, Los Angeles passed some modest pension reforms for newly hired employees. Surprise! A new union contract undoes those reforms. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California, like Texas, has a homestead exemption built into their bankruptcy laws. Unlike Texas, California’s exemption doesn’t actually protect debtors.
  • The FBI raided Palm Springs’ city hall as part of a corruption probe.
  • Mining company suspends operations at California mine because rare earths aren’t.
  • Chief of tiny California fire district to have his $241,000 pension cut. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Enviornmental idiocy and California’s drought.
  • Texas’ 2016 Fiscal Year started September 1st. “Several taxes that were eliminated on September 1 include the Inheritance Tax, Oil Regulation Tax, Sulphur Regulation Tax, Fireworks Tax, Controlled Substance Tax Certificates, and the Airline/Passenger Train Beverage Tax.”
  • Meanwhile, California’s legislature is trying to raise gas and tobacco taxes.
  • Elderly poverty in California.
  • Evidently California’s Democratic politicians stay up late at night devising ways they can make the state go broke even faster. The answer: Host the Olympics again.
  • Korean-owned businesses in LA consider relocating to El Paso. “Kim makes the case that El Paso, once home to plants for denim companies including Levi’s and Wrangler, has abundant skilled laborers, fewer regulations, much cheaper rent and direct flights from Los Angeles.”
  • A cartoon via IowaHawk’s twitter feed. That is all.
  • LinkSwarm for August 31, 2015

    Monday, August 31st, 2015

    Welcome to the final week of traditional summer. Of course, it used to be that everything (school, football, the new TV year, etc.) started after Labor Day Weekend, but that’s not the case any more…

  • “it’s cute to pretend that Black Lives Matter is actually about making policing better when it’s really just another Democratic party constituency agitprop group.”
  • Texas mandates E-Verify for all state employees.
  • Ten questions about the Iran deal.
  • Indeed, the Iran deal stinks so badly that even Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants to keep the stink of Eue De Failure off herself and the DNC. (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)
  • Europe has begun to reform its welfare systems. (Hat tip Instpundit.)
  • Thanks to government efforts, heroin is now cheaper than cigarettes in New York City. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • McCarthy critic turns out to be a Soviet spy. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • UK Labour leader candidate Jeremy Corbyn: Apologist for oppressive dictatorships.
  • Oh, and he wants to give the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Why, it’s almost as if the hard left yearns for nothing so much as undoing every conservative foreign policy triumph out of spite…
  • And he also called Osama Bin Laden’s death “a tragedy.”
  • Criticizing Muslim antisemitism? That’s a $750 fine in Denmark.
  • Widespread street protests in Kuala Lumpur over corruption and embezzlement by Malaysia’s Goldman-Sachs-underwritten Prime Minister.
  • Still another reason not to use Ashley-Madison: “For every 7750 men, there were 3 women.” “Sausage Fest” doesn’t even begin to cover it…
  • Speaking of sausage, San Antonio woman steals $3000 worth of sausage.
  • Conservatives push back on victimhood identity politics guidelines from the College Board and win.
  • Austin Bag Ban backfires. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • A look back at 1945 plans for the invasion of Japan. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Ten years of Tam.
  • Two Conservative Bloggers Who Need Your Help

    Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

    First off, Mandy Nagy, who you might remember from such hits as boy did I piss off convicted felon Brett Kimberlin, is being sued (again) by Kimberlin while she’s also in the process of recovering from a serious stroke.

    Meanwhile, Austinite Brandi Stokes is dealing with hefty legal bills from a nasty child custody case in which she was targeted by the Travis County Democratic Party establishment. Too long a story to summarize here, so go over and take a look. But those with some legal pull should especially take a look.

    Texas vs. California Update for August 5, 2015

    Thursday, August 6th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Oakland’s monthly rent has doubled in the last five years, but the Oakland police are laying off people and no longer investigate property crimes. (As Zero Hedge notes, average rent is now more than it was in San Francisco in 2012.) How’s that Blue State model of high taxes, high public union salaries, and declining basic services working out for you California?
  • Controlling big budget government programs through ballot initiatives.
  • Only voters can stop California’s union pension crisis. “Government union bosses are desperate to protect their gravy train at taxpayers’ expense. That’s why they are spinning a web of lies about the [ballot initiative].”
  • “With CalPERS’ actuaries demanding a pension funding increase from $3.7 billion to $7.25 billion by 2020, the state must either cut payroll by 30 percent or find a massive new tax source, like overturning Prop. 13.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Visualizing California’s staggering pension hole. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Need to make up the funding shortfall for CalSTARS means cutting into actual teacher salaries.
  • Finally, California beats Texas in job creations. For one month. And by some 6,000 jobs.
  • The Green Behind California’s Greens: A handful of superrich donors have created the illusion of a grassroots environmental movement.”
  • Cloud Computer company LiveOps is moving from Redwood City, California to Cedar Park.

    “Thanks to our low-tax, low-regulation environment that allows all businesses to thrive, the State of Texas has become the national leader for technology job creation, and we continue to attract tech companies from around the country and around the world,” [Governor Greg] Abbott said. “On behalf of the State of Texas, I am pleased to welcome LiveOps to the Lone Star State as the company seeks to transform cloud-based customer service. With their help, the State of Texas can, and will, continue to lead the nation in job creation within the technology sector.”

  • Bra-maker Fashion Forms is relocating from Ventura, California to Austin.
  • California-based Relativity Media files for bankruptcy. Forbidden Kingdom was pretty good. Skyline was a pile of crap…
  • Add California to the list of Democratic Party controlled polises trying to kill Uber.
  • The War on Photography continues apace in Northern California.
  • Facebook is opening a $1 billion data center in Ft. Worth This means they’ll be able to ignore your “Most Recent” setting and tag you in sunglasses spam ten times faster…