Posts Tagged ‘Travis County’

Democratic Rep. Dawnna Dukes To Become More Officially Absent

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Austin Democratic state Rep. Dawnna Dukes announced she’s stepping down from the legislature.

Her ostensible reason for leaving is health issues, stemming from a serious car crash she suffered in 2013. (“State Rep. Ruth McClendon-Jones, D-San Antonio, said Dukes is resting at home now after being hospitalized for several hours after the incident. She said Dukes’ vehicle was rear-ended by a large truck while stuck in traffic.” While it does sound serious, I do note that “serious injuries” from a car crash usually require more than “a few hours” in the hospital.)

But her “health-related” retirement “comes as the Travis County District Attorney’s office is conducting a criminal investigation into her alleged misuse of staff and government funds”:

Former staff members accused Dukes of seeking reimbursement from the state for travel payments she was not entitled to. In February, The Texas Tribune reported that the state auditor’s office was investigating her use of state workers on a personal project Dukes oversaw, the African American Heritage Festival. The auditors referred the case to Travis County prosecutors.

Then, in April, state officials said the Texas Rangers had joined the Travis County District Attorney’s office criminal probe. A spokesman for the Rangers, Tom Vinger, said Monday their investigation is complete and has been presented to the Travis County District Attorney’s office.

“In her resignation statement, [Dukes] said she was ‘content that two signature community programs I initiated enriched my beloved District 46 and Austin community.’ It does sound like there was some sort of enrichment going on.

Chanman’s Musings has some thoughts on her resignation pay bump.

While Dukes is stepping down and has been absent from the legislature for more than a year, her name will still be on the ballot in November, which means that Gov. Greg Abbott will have to call a special election next year unless Republican challenger Gabriel Nila beats her in November. Which may be difficult, as the district is so heavily Democratic. If he loses, at least three Democrats (Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, Joe Deshotel (son of state Rep. Joe Deshotel), and Travis County Democratic Party Chairman Vincent Harding) have said they’re considering running.

Texas vs. California Update for March 31, 2016

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Lots of Texas vs. California linky goodness, much of it via Jack Dean at Pension Tsunami, who’s been emailing me links of significant interest.

  • Texas continues to grow:

    As last week’s US Census Bureau population estimates indicated, the story of population growth between 2014 and 2015 was largely about Texas, as it has been for the decade starting 2010 (See: “Texas Keeps Getting Bigger” The New Metropolitan Area Estimates). The same is largely true with respect to population trends in the nation’s largest counties, with The Lone Star state dominating both in the population growth and domestic migration among 135 counties with more than 500,000 population.

    Snip.

    Houston, which is the fastest growing major metropolitan area (over 1 million population) in the nation includes the two fastest growing large counties. Fort Bend County added 4.29 percent to its population between 2014 and 2015 and now has 716,000 residents. Montgomery County grew 3.57 percent to 538,000. In addition to these two suburban Houston counties, Harris County, the core County ranked 16th in growth, adding 2.03 percent to its population and exceeding 4.5 million population.

    Dallas-Fort Worth, the second fastest-growing major metropolitan area has two counties among the top 20. The third fastest-growing county is Denton (located north of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport), which added 3.42 percent to its population over the past year and now has 781,000 residents. Collin County, to the north of Dallas County, grew 3.17 percent and now stands at 914,000 residents. Its current growth rate would put Collin County over 1 million population by the 2020 census.

    Travis County, with its county seat of Austin, grew 2.22 percent to 1,177,000 and ranked 12th. Bexar County, centered on San Antonio grew 2.01 percent and ranks 17th.

    Overall, Texas had four of the five fastest growing large counties, and seven of the top twenty. California had none. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • The Austin metropolitan area passes 2 million people.
  • The California Policy Center has a devestating roundup of what’s wrong with California’s economy. To wit:
    • “A now has by far the nation’s highest state income tax rate. We are 34% higher than 2nd place Oregon, and a heck of a lot higher than all the rest”

    • “CA has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation. 7.5% (does not include local sales taxes).”
    • “California in 2015 ranked 14th highest in per capita property taxes (including commercial) – the only major tax where we are not in the worst ten states. But the 2014 average CA single-family residence (SFR) property tax is the 8th highest state in the nation. Indeed, the median CA homeowner property tax bill is 93% higher than the average for the other 49 states.”
    • “California has a nasty anti-small business $800 minimum corporate income tax, even if no profit is earned, and even for many nonprofits. Next highest state is Rhode Island at $500 (only for “C” corporations). 3rd is Delaware at $175. Most states are at zero.”
    • “California’s 2015 ‘business tax climate’ ranks 3rd worst in the nation – behind New York and anchor-clanker New Jersey. In addition, CA has a lock on the worst rank in the Small Business Tax Index – a whopping 8.3% worse than 2nd worst state.”
    • “The American Tort Reform Foundation in 2015 again ranks CA the ‘worst state judicial hellhole’ in U.S. – the most anti-business.”
    • “CA public school teachers the 3rd highest paid in the nation. CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading.”
    • “California’s real poverty rate (the new census bureau standard adjusted for COL) is easily the worst in the nation at 23.4%. We are 57.3% higher than the average for the other 49 states.”
    • “Of 100 U.S. real estate markets, in 2013 CA contained by far the least affordable middle class housing market (San Francisco). PLUS the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th.”

    It’s like a whole bunch of Texas vs. California roundup statistics all in one big green ball of fail. Read the whole thing. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “California’s 50% [minimum wage] increase would eliminate nearly 700,000 jobs—which means higher unemployment for the poor and least skilled in particular.”
  • Why did Carl’s Jr. flee California? Taxes, regulations and lawsuits.

    CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder told the Wall Street Journal in 2013, “California is not interested in having businesses grow.”

    The article points out that many factors, including local building regulations, make one community less desirable than another for businesses.

    For example, it takes 60 days in Texas, 63 in Shanghai, and 125 in Novosibirsk, Russia for one of CKE’s restaurants to get a building permit after signing a lease. But in Los Angeles, Ca. it takes a whopping 285 days.

    Puzder added, “I can open up a restaurant faster on Karl Marx Prospect in Siberia than on Carl Karcher Boulevard in California.” The street in California is ironically named for the restaurant chain’s founder.

    California’s labor regulations may also play a role in a company’s desire to seek alternative locations. In that same interview with WSJ, Puzder said his company had spent $20 million in the state over the past eight years on damages and attorney fees related to class-action lawsuits.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Justice Scalia’s death dooms the Friedrichs vs. California Teacher’s Association lawsuit.
  • “If a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research’s estimate is accurate, public pension debt in California is even worse than feared. Preliminary calculations from a forthcoming SIEPR study peg the unfunded retirement tab for state and local government employees at more than $1.2 trillion.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas unemployment rates drops to 4.4%.
  • San Bernardino’s bondholders get screwed so the bankrupt city can continue sending money to CalPERS. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California’s colleges are so money-hungry they’re screwing in-state students out of admissions so they can charge more to out-of-state applicants, including those who wouldn’t normally be able to get in. Sort of like the UT admissions scandal, but less politically connected and more widespread and money-grubbing… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • But there’s one type of student California admissions isn’t keeping out: antisemites. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Even the supposed beneficiaries of California’s high speed rail fantasy have become disillusioned with it.
  • A hot relocation to Texas rumor just in: “Plano – new home of Toyota Motor’s North American headquarters – has been mentioned as a possible relocation site for a Wichita-based subsidiary of conglomerate Cargill.”
  • Some Random Primary Results

    Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

    Not quite as down as I was last night. There’s lots of the commentary this morning on how Donald Trump under-performed vs. expectations.

    Here are some random primary results and links:

  • “So far, Trump wins open primaries and Cruz wins closed…and the calendar is starting to change toward more closed primaries.” Also: “So here’s where it potentially gets interesting. Although the media are looking forward to March 15, this Saturday (March 5) there are four Republican primaries/caucuses: Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Maine. All are closed.” If Cruz can take three of those four, it’s a whole new race. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Ted Cruz wins Alaska, despite Sarah Palin’s Trump endorsement.
  • It was generally a bad night on the anti-Joe Straus front. Straus won his primary, as did Jason Villalba, and Straus-backed Lance Gooden took out conservative Stuart Sptizer in the Texas 4th Congressional District, while Hugh B. Shine took out conservative (and bit of a loose cannon) Molly White. For a while it looked like Straus crony Byron Cook might lose, but he eked out a win over Thomas McNutt with 50.4%.
  • Michael Quinn Sullivan is a bit more optimistic:

    The chairman of the Licensing Committee, Wayne Smith, and the chairman of Special Purpose Districts, Doug Miller, are now facing tough run-offs against conservative challengers Briscoe Cain and Kyle Biedermann.

    State Rep. Debbie Riddle, a Straus loyalist on the powerful Calendars Committee, was defeated outright by Valoree Swanson in a four-way race.

    Meanwhile, decorated veteran Terry Wilson defeated liberal State Rep. Marsha Farney, who was rumored to have been tapped by Straus to helm the Public Education Committee in 2017.

    On the other hand, conservative fighters Jonathan Stickland, Tony Tinderholt, and Matt Rinaldi won big re-election fights. Stickland, Tinderholt, and Rinaldi were top targets of the establishment, with the opponents slinging copious amounts of mud to no avail.

    (Hat tip: Push Junction.)

  • Speaking of loose cannons, check out new Travis County GOP chair Robert Morrow.
  • Another Will Hurd (R) vs. Pete Gallego (D) matchup in the 23rd Congressional District. This is the only true swing U.S. House seat left in Texas, and it will probably come down to turnout. Gallego took the seat from Francisco “Quico” Canseco in 2012 and Hurd took the seat back for Republicans in 2014.
  • Shawn Dick beats Jana Duty for Williamson County DA.
  • Other Williamson County races: Robert Chody wins the Sheriff race over four challengers, Donna Parker and Landy Warren are going to a runoff for County Commissioner Precinct 1, and Laura Baker and Warren Oliver Waterman are going to a runoff for Williamson Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge.
  • Probably more later…

    Rick Perry Cleared of Phony Travis County Charges

    Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

    Travis County’s politicized District Attorney’s office loses yet again:

    Texas’ highest criminal court on Wednesday dismissed the remaining felony charge against former Gov. Rick Perry in the abuse-of-power case that he blamed for his early exit from the Republican presidential race.

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals tossed a charge of misuse of office that stemmed from Perry’s 2013 effort to force out the Travis County district attorney. And it upheld the decision of a lower court to dismiss a charge of coercion of a public official.

    The 6-2 decision appears to mark the end of Perry’s 18-month legal saga — one that outlasted the end of his record-setting, 14-year tenure as governor and his short-lived second bid for the White House.

    Snip.

    “The case centered on Perry’s threat in 2013 to veto $7.5 million budgeted for the Travis County district attorney’s office if District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, didn’t resign after her drunken-driving arrest.”

    The only corruption in this case was not Rick Perry using his constitutionally authorized veto power, but the Travis County DA’s nakedly partisan witch-hunt on behalf of a Democratic Party furious at how Perry consistently kicked their asses…

    LinkSwarm for February 8, 2016

    Monday, February 8th, 2016

    I emptied the link bucket on Friday, but lo and behold, a whole new torrent of news has come rushing down the pipes:

  • You know all that “Ted Cruz is too unpopular to win” talk? Cruz is killing it with blue collar voters:

    According to entrance polling, among the roughly half of all Republican voters without a college degree, Cruz won 30 percent of the vote, eclipsing Trump’s 28 percent. Marco Rubio was a distant third, winning the support of just 17 percent of voters without college degrees. Cruz did 5 points better among voters without college degrees than among college grads (30 percent to 25 percent), while, among all candidates included in the entrance polling (Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders), Rubio was the candidate who had the lowest portion of his support come from those without college degrees—he did 10 points worse among voters without college degrees than among college grads (17 to 27 percent).

    According to the entrance polling, Cruz also fared better than Trump or Rubio among younger voters. Among voters under the age of 30, Cruz won 26 percent of the vote to Rubio’s 23 percent and Trump’s 20 percent. Among voters in their 30s and early 40s, Cruz won 30 percent of the vote to Trump’s 23 percent and Rubio’s 21 percent. (Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton got clobbered among younger voters, winning less than 30 percent of the vote among those under the age of 45.)

  • “A couple of days ago on the ONT we were reminded that Ted Cruz is only five months older than Marco Rubio. That’s one month for every case he’s won before the Supreme Court. So don’t let anyone tell you Cruz has no accomplishments.”
  • Five New Hampshire state reps who backed Rand Paul are now supporting Cruz.
  • Des Moines Register: “What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. Democracy, particularly at the local party level, can be slow, messy and obscure. But the refusal to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy.”
  • At least one Iowa delegate was unilaterally changed from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton.
  • Hillary Clinton’s minions push polling Democrats in Nevada.
  • Hillary is bad at faking sincerity.
  • Gee, look how tremendously unpopular the name “Hillary” became after 1992.
  • “Marco Rubio Is Diminished by a Caustic Chris Christie.”
  • If you’re an Iraqi “refugee” who hasn’t had sex in months, do you: A.) Hire a prostitute, B.) Wank to porn, or C.) Rape a 10 year old boy in a public pool?
  • Meanwhile, in Belgium, seven men (including five “migrants”) danced and sang in Arabic as the took turns raping an unconscious 17 year old girl.
  • UK Muslim rape gang sentenced to collective 140 years in prison for raping a schoolgirl.
  • “In the Safe Spaces on Campus, No Jews Allowed.”
  • Obama Administration reinstates “catch and release” for illegal aliens. (Hat tip: Doug Ross.)
  • First confirmed case of Zika virus in Travis County. It’s funny how, just as with Enterovirus D-68, novel pathogens have a habit of showing up just when illegal alien populations do…
  • The effects of immigration on unemployment: “None of the net gain in employment over the entire 14-year period went to natives.”
  • The world’s most miserable economies: Socialist paradise Venezuela ranks first (which is to say last), followed by Argentina, South Africa, Greece and Ukraine. (Hat tip: NRO’s The Corner.)
  • Welfare mom complains about the free food and room service. (Hat tip: Doug Ross.)
  • Cherokee artist arrested for not being a real Cherokee artist. I look forward to the coming felony indictment of Elizabeth Warren…
  • For fans of the art of newspaper headline writing: “Former London Zoo meerkat expert fined for glassing monkey-handler in row over llama-keeper.”
  • Texas House Votes To Defang Runaway Travis County Public Integrity Unit

    Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

    More good news from the Texas legislature: The Texas House has voted to remove jurisdiction over statewide elected and appointed officials from Travis County’s corrupt, partisan Public Integrity Unit. Instead, such investigations would be handled by the unimpeachable Texas Rangers rather than the likes of Ronnie Earl and Rosemary Lehmberg.

    It was only a historical fluke that Travis County managed to exercise such authority in the first place, and given the Public Integrity Unit’s willingness to pursue abusive vendettas against Republican political figures such as Tom DeLay and Rick Perry, removing that responsibility was long overdue.

    Democrats will no longer be able to get revenge against Republicans from the Travis County prosecutor’s office for what Republicans and voters have done to them at the ballot box over the last two decades…

    Grand Jury Declines to Indict Wallace Hall

    Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

    That should be the headline as yet another establishment attempt to punish UT regent Wallace Hall for the crime of actually doing his job fails. Or, if you prefer: “Wallace Hall: More Honest Than a Ham Sandwich.”

    But chances are good that you’ve seen headlines like “Jury Criticizes Wallace Hall” or “Wallace Hall should step down,” based on four pages of “recommendations” from the Travis County jury. The lack of an indictment is important, the non-indictment condemnations are just dicta, statements of opinion that have no force of law. We do not let grand juries establish public policy for the same reasons we don’t have legislatures indict random citizens for crimes: it is not among their enumerated responsibilities.

    Those trying to bury UT’s admissions scandal have thrown everything possible at him, but Hall has been proven right time and time again. After the latest grand jury shenanigans, Hall is still standing while UT President Bill Powers was forced to resign in disgrace.

    Further attacks on Hall will only continue to prove that his critics are spiteful, petty defenders of corruption.

    Go Vote!

    Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

    Williamson County voting information.

    Travis County polling locations.

    I hope to live tweet/live blog election results tonight.

    A Quick Look At Texas Migration Patterns

    Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

    Will Franklin of WILLisms put up an interesting link on his Twitter feed: A PDF of Texas relocation data from the Texas Association of Realtors.

    There’s lots of interesting information to be gleaned:

    The 2014 Texas Relocation Report shows that Texas continues to be a national leader in relocation activity and a sought- after location for households moving out of state.

    According to the report, Texas gained more out-of-state residents than any other state in 2013, with 584,034 people moving to Texas from out of state. A majority of these residents originated from California (66,318), followed by Florida (32,619), Oklahoma (29,169), Louisiana (29,042), and Illinois (28,900).

    Texas ranked third in the nation for number of residents moving out of state in 2013 (409,977), coming in behind California (581,689) and Florida (423,995) and topping New York (401,440), and Illinois (304,674). Like with incoming residents, a majority of the residents who moved out of state moved to California (32,290), followed by Oklahoma (27,391), Florida (24,226), Colorado (23,490), and Louisiana (21,747).

    Overall, Texas had a net gain of out-of-state residents in 2013, with 138,057 more people moving into Texas than Texas residents moving out of state in 2013.

    So roughly twice as many people moved from California to Texas as vice versa.

    Other nuggets from the report:

  • Both Harris and Dallas counties had net negative outflows, though their surrounding counties more than made up for it in population growth.
  • Williamson county had the third largest net population inflow, with Hays fourth, behind Denton and Brazos counties, but well ahead of Travis. Indeed, Williamson’s population growth was three times that of Travis.
  • Despite that, Travis got more out-of-state migration inflow than Williamson, which I take to mean that Travis got more Californians and Williamson got more Texans fleeing The People’s Republic of Austin.
  • If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the report, it actually says most of Williamson’s in-state inflow came from Travis, but numbers of people moving from Williamson to Travis are so low they’re not even in the the top five. Indeed, more people moved to Walker County (home to Huntsville) than to Travis.
  • What does this mean politically? As Ace of Spades noted in their ginormous .PNG, conservative areas of the state are gaining population, while liberal strongholds are losing ground. The two largest liberal counties (Bexar and Travis) to gain population were outpaced by population growth in conservative Denton County alone.

    Conclusion: Despite Democrats talking up demographic shifts, don’t expect Texas to turn blue anytime soon…

    John Bucy III Campaign Claims Lien Was Filed Against John Bucy II

    Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

    The John Bucy III campaign has issued another denial stating that the tax lien issued against 8609 Camelia Ln, Austin, Texas, 78759, was not, in fact, against candidate John H. Bucy III, despite his name being on the lien. But the press release does not go any farther.

    However, I have finally received answers from Brent Grady of the John H. Bucy III campaign to questions I sent in yesterday, and he confirms that the lien was against John H. Bucy II, the candidate’s father.

    My questions are in italics, and Grady’s answers are in bold:

    1. Is it true that John Bucy III is the son of John Bucy II, and works at the latter’s law firm?
    John Bucy III is the son of John Bucy II and offices out of 6633 E. Hwy. 290, but John III owns his own company and is not employed by his father.

    2. Did John Bucy II live at 8609 Camelia Ln, Austin, Texas, 78759, and was the actual tax lien filed against him?
    — Yes.

    3. Travis County records show that 8609 Camelia Ln, Austin, Texas, 78759 was sold to John Bucy II on May 30 of this year, and then the lease assigned the same day to “The Jarrett-Simmons Irrevocable Trust,” whose address is the same building that both John Bucy II and John Bucy III show as their respective business offices (6633 Hwy 290
    East, Austin, Texas, 78723). Is that correct?

    — Unknown. This house does not (and never did) belong to John Bucy III, nor did he ever live there.

    4. Does John Bucy II still live at 8609 Camelia Ln?
    — Yes.

    5. Did the IRS accidentally put the lien as applying to John Bucy III when they meant to apply it to John Bucy II?
    The lien was properly applied to John Bucy II. There was just a typo on the form, which put “III” on it, instead of “II,” and we notified the Dale campaign a week ago that it was a typo and not John Bucy III, the candidate.

    Thanks to Brent Grady of the John H. Bucy III campaign for helping clear things up. The answers have the virtues of fitting all the facts, and government agencies committing typos are hardly unknown.

    Absent any additional information from the Tony Dale campaign that the tax lien is indeed against John H. Bucy III rather than John H. Bucy II, I would consider the matter closed.

    Update: Response from the Tony Dale campaign:

    “Mr. Bucy’s ‘shocked and appalled’ response to the revelation that the IRS filed a $163,000 tax lien against him for unpaid taxes is misdirected. Mr. Bucy is running for public office and is subject to public scrutiny. The federal government believes he has not paid his taxes. If the IRS is in error, he needs to produce proof in the form of the removal of the lien in his name, not ask the citizens of Williamson County to simply take the word of the Democratic Party Chairman or his dad.” -Corbin Casteel

    Update 2: Attached find an IRS document sent by the Bucy campaign, but I hardly find it conclusive…

    10616347_1468973480029706_6268223197445174577_n-1