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.
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.