Archive for March 20th, 2015

Now that Teddy Schleifer of the Chron has put out a story that the Harris County Sheriff is ACTUALLY running for Mayor, the next story will be on when the Sheriff will ACTUALLY announce, then there will be one on the Sheriff’s announcement – got it.

Of course, there will be a story next Sunday on State Rep. Sylvester Turner’s OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN KICK-OFF from The Yard.

I am trying to think. Has Ben Hall or Oliver Pennington officially announced and gotten the Teddy Treatment in the Chron?

In the race for H-Town Mayor, so far, #HoustonPotholes and pensions are the issues that have gotten some run in the local media. What’s next?

Well according to the Chron on the Sheriff running maybe more on this:

…will portray himself as a fiscally responsible executive who has directly managed a large, complex agency and strengthened the financial health of the sheriff’s office…

I’m not complaining, so stay tuned!

How many times was Nolan Ryan our Opening Day starting pitcher?

The Chron E-Board today comes out in support of doing away with straight-party voting. I don’t agree.

A ton of folks vote straight ticket in Texas. I am going to guess that these folks are just interested in voting for folks from one party. I can certainly relate.

If you take away the option of entering the straight-ticket selection, I am guessing that these folks will just enter individual candidates of the same party. I don’t think eliminating the straight-ticket option is going to get these folks to think about splitting their ticket. I can certainly relate.

Most GOPers that get elected in their party primary are pretty much the same on issues like immigration reform, same sex marriage, Choice – you get the picture. The Dem and GOP party platforms are canyons apart, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to tell the candidates apart.

I don’t think those that vote straight-party are complaining about the current set-up. Are those that don’t complaining?

This is much ado about nothing if you ask me. Here is the E-Board take:

Anytime lawmakers start tinkering with rules on how we vote, it’s only natural to look for thinly disguised ulterior motives. We hate to be cynical, but whether it’s redistricting schemes, voter ID requirements or other rule-changing matters, party aggrandizement is usually at the core of the so-called reform.

Such may be the motive behind a bill that would eliminate straight-party voting, and yet the idea is worth considering. The sponsor of House Bill 1288, state Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, points out that Texas is one of only 10 states that allows voters to walk into the booth and either punch a button or click a box to deliver their votes entirely to the candidates of one party.

The problem with straight-ticket voting is that it occasionally results in manifestly unqualified candidates being swept into office by herd-mentality voters, particularly in judicial and other down-ballot races where the candidates aren’t well known. According to a recent study conducted by Austin Community College, 61 percent of voters in the state’s 46 largest counties took advantage of the straight-ticket option in 2014, the highest percentage ever in a gubernatorial election year.

Eliminating straight-ticket voting won’t be a panacea, as Glenn Maxey of the Texas Democratic Party pointed out to a House committee this week. Maxey, a former state representative from Austin, noted that big-city voters have to contend with ballots so long that they’ll be spending half an hour or so making their choices. Lines of waiting voters will be as long as the ballots themselves. They might decide it’s not worth the effort.

Even more problematic, very few voters will be familiar with either the names or policy positions of every candidate. They will know that the Democratic candidate, in all likelihood, will be to the left of the Republican candidate, whether the race is for a judicial, executive or legislative office. Unless they’ve made a detailed study of every candidate’s background, experience and political views, then voting straight-ticket is a logical way to choose.

Wayne Thorburn, a Republican Party consultant, has pointed out additional problems with eliminating the straight-ticket option. Writing in the Texas Tribune recently, he noted that down-ballot candidates will have to spend more money building up their name recognition and seeking the support of special-interest groups. “That,” in Thorburn’s words, “will only lead to more nefarious ‘slate’ marketers selling advertisements in voter guides in return for an endorsement.” Harris County knows the slate shysters only too well.

It’s a close call, since support for a party platform despite a few weak candidates on the party slate is a legitimate position to hold. Still, we come down on the side of the Simmons bill. If eliminating straight-party voting results in a more thoughtful, better-informed voter, then that’s a good thing in a state where voting percentages are outrageously low. Even without the straight-ticket button, voters still can vote a straight ticket; it just may take awhile longer. Voters also have the option of consulting reliable information guides, whether produced by a hometown newspaper or the League of Women Voters.

We need to be about getting people to the polls, not eliminating choices.

Nolan Ryan was our Opening Day starting pitcher three times of course – 1982, 1985 and 1986.

The team is starting to whittle down the roster.

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