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Fri., Oct. 19, 2012

(* = Awesome race, recommended)

Propositions & Bonds

There are two Proposition 1s: the Central Health tax proposal, and the City of Austin Prop. 1, beginning a list of 11 proposed city charter revisions. The remaining Austin propositions (12-18) are bond project proposals (see below).


* Central Health Proposition

1: This would raise the Central Health property tax rate five cents per $100 valuation, to 12.9 cents, to help underwrite a new UT medical school, a teaching hospital, public clinics, and the healthcare programs listed on the ballot, and potentially draw down significant Medicaid matching funds


City Charter Amendments

For more detail, see our endorsements.

1-2: Move election date to November and adjust terms and term limits for council members.

* 3: "10-1" geographic districting and "independent redistricting commission."

4: "8-2-1" districting system, including two at-large council members.

5: City Council would hire and manage its own staff (pro forma change).

6: City Council would appoint city attorney (instead of city manager).

7: Would match petition signatures required for ordinance to those required for charter amendment.

8: Would allow council members to raise funds for campaign debt for 30 days following election; current law postpones until after term.

9: Would allow city council to lease parkland to a school district for park purposes (with a two-thirds majority vote).

10-11: Would replace "at-will" hiring and discipline system with "just cause" appeal system for most city employees; 11 specifically provides for EMS staff.

Bond Propositions 12-18: See "City Bond Breakdown."


School Boards of Trustees

Austin Community College Board:

• Place 7 incumbent, educator and current chair Barbara Mink, faces retiring ACC teacher Brig Mireles, a former Round Rock school board member who helped organize the ACC adjunct faculty for the American Federation of Teachers.

• In Place 9, recent graduate Daniel J. "DC" Caldwell, a State Guard employee and substitute teacher, challenges three-term incumbent Allen Kaplan.

Austin Independent School District Board: Four seats are contested this year, including weighty challenges to two incumbents, plus two very different races to replace retiring members Mark Williams (District 5) and Annette LaVoi (at-large Place 8).

* District 2: Incumbent Sam Guzmán, a businessman, faces challenger Jayme Mathias, a priest; the central issue has become Guz­mán's defense of district administration and support of in-district charter IDEA Public Schools.

• District 3: Incumbent Christine Brister faced a challenge from longtime teacher Ann Teich; Brister suspended her campaign in early October, remains on the ballot, but likely will not serve.

• District 5: Newcomers Amber Elenz, an engaged parent-volunteer, and Charlie Jackson, a businessman, parent, and social justice activist, seem more like allies than opponents: a toss-up.

* Place 8, at-large: Civil rights attorney Gina Hinojosa faces Sooch Foundation Direct­or Mary Ellen Pietruszynski; Hinojosa emphasizes a grassroots engagement and opposition to recent administration initiatives (e.g., IDEA Public Schools), Pietruszynski believes district is moving in the right direction toward "educational choices" and deserves public support.

Other Jurisdictions

There's a school board election in Round Rock ISD, plus special or bond elections in Pflugerville, Lakeway, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Point Venture, Spicewood Canyon, and a baker's dozen municipal utility district elections (state-authorized development-promoting abominations).

Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conser­vation District: Precinct 3 is write-in only; redistricting in Precinct 4 has pitted two incumbents against each other – board veteran Jack Allen Goodman and current Precinct 3 director Bob Larsen – plus Jerry D. Hering.

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