Daily News
Early Voting Trending Upward
Travis County's early voting numbers continued rising this week, reaching new highs of 7,654 on Monday and 7,757 on Tuesday. The grand total now stands at 52,880 early voters, plus 4,418 mail-in ballots, for a total of 57,298, or 10.31% of the county's registered voters. If you have an office betting pool going (and if you do, oh my god you're a geek), I'm predicting a 45% total turnout in the end. Early voting ends Friday. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

10:08AM Wed. Nov. 1, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

Haunted by Affordable Housing
The precisely-monikered AustinContrarian raises an interesting point today regarding Prop 5, the affordable housing bond. Our author thinks they will do some good for the city's oft-overlooked (umm, more like invisible) renters, but additionally, "will give the City Council the cover it needs to do the right thing on housing... Proposition 5 will allow Council members to say they support both dense redevelopment and affordable housing. It will be easier for them to approve infill projects without being accused of hurting the low-income."

I'm not sold on the Contrarian's insistence that the only way to keep prices affordable is by tearing down admittedly "cheap housing" to make room for bigger infill projects that will supposedly drive prices down by keeping up with demand (demand I just don't see– I'd like to see condo occupancy rates downtown in a few years, once everything is built). However, this nugget about the Austin Neighborhoods Council bears repeating:

You can count on the neighborhood groups, who hijack the affordability cause whenever it suits their purpose, to keep affordability front and center. (To my knowledge, ANC has not endorsed Proposition 5, which is significant considering its public handwringing over affordable housing.)

Good question. Any answers, ANC?

2:10PM Tue. Oct. 31, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

The Green Voting Guide
This article about the League of Conservation Voters was previously published in our paper version of the paper, but it bears repeating here as you head for the voting booth. If environmental issues are key in helping you make picks for Congress and Senate, the LCV scorecard is mighty illuminating.:

Enviros Say Doggett Shines, Others ... Stink
Just in time for the November elections, the League of Conservation Voters has issued its voting scorecard for the second session of the 109th Congress (that is, the 2006 session). Unfortunately for environment-minded Texans, it is depressingly similar to previous scorecards.

1:21PM Tue. Oct. 31, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

From Austin Chronicle cartoonist Doug Potter

10:57AM Tue. Oct. 31, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

Fumble: Brees Benched by Son
You've probably seen the ads by 3rd Court of Appeals Place 5 Democratic candidate Mina Brees invoking the name of her famous son, NFL quarterback Drew Brees. Well, you won't be seeing them any longer. KXAN-TV is reporting that son and mother are estranged, and Drew has asked Mina to pull his name from the ads. Brees is challenging Republican incumbent David Puryear.

4:49PM Mon. Oct. 30, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

Grandma's House of Horrors
Congratulations to the Rick Perry campaign for managing to call the kettle black in a creative, humorous, and vaguely sexist fashion. Just in time for Halloween, the camp rolled out an interactive Web tour of Grandma's Attic, a lively exploration of Carole Keeton Strayhorn's "secret" records stashed away in the bowels of the state comptroller's office.

The Attic clip got us thinking about all the fun we could have with Perry’s skeletons, too. Oh, if only we had big lobby money to burn on such a venture! If we did, here’s a rough cut of what we’d find in... (cue pipe organ) Perry’s Pantry!

Interactive imagination required below the fold...

3:13PM Mon. Oct. 30, 2006, Amy Smith Read More | Comment »

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Early Voting: Solid but Unspectacular
Seven days of early voting are behind us, and now my early predictions of nearly 50% turnout are looking a little rosy. Thus far, 37,427 Travis County citizens have voted early, including a high of 6,852 on Friday (people shopping for their weekend party snacks?). Another 3,735 ballots have been received by mail, for a total of 41,207, or 7.42% of Travis' registered voters. At this pace, I'd estimate final turnout will be in the 35-40% range. Highest turnout has been at the Randalls grocery at 10900 Research, 4,012 voters; lowest has been, sadly but predictably, in the poorer Eastside neighborhoods that need representation the most.

Early voting is easy, so there's no excuse if you are registered: You may cast your ballot at any early voting location.

1:52PM Mon. Oct. 30, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

Uh-Oh … Lampson No Longer Such a Sure Bet
A Houston Chronicle/Zogby poll indicates that we pundit/journalist types may have greatly underestimated the intelligence of voters in Congressional District 22. The conventional wisdom has been that Democrat Nick Lampson was a shoo-in because the only Republican in the race is a write-in. That is because even though Tom DeLay withdrew from the race and had his name removed from the ballot, courts ruled that he was nonetheless the nominee chosen by GOP primary voters in May and state party leaders could not arbitrarily replace his name with another Republican. It has been assumed that the write-in campaign of Houston city council member Shelley Sekula-Gibbs wouldn't stand a chance because remembering her name and typing it in would be just too hard. Not so, says the Zogby Poll: 36% support Lampson, but 35% say they'll support a write-in candidate, and most of those write-ins say they will be for Sekula-Gibbs. "Punditry was coloring the district blue," Zogby told the Houston Chronicle. "It's still a Republican district. Even harder than selling a write-in, is selling a Democrat in this district."

12:41PM Mon. Oct. 30, 2006, Lee Nichols Read More | Comment »

The PAC Behind The Curtain
All you eye-glazed city staffers take note (we're looking at you, Brewster): quit hitting your refresh button and get some fresh air. Specifically, if you head over to Sixth and Lamar, you'll enter the land of Oz. Affordable housing advocates and Prop 5 proponents HousingWorks Action will be there from from 11:30am to 1pm and again from 4:30pm to 6pm in Wizard of Oz garb, letting prospective voters and befuddled drive-timers know "there's no place like home." Where else could you hope to see Mark Yznaga in pigtails and ruby slippers?

11:03AM Mon. Oct. 30, 2006, Wells Dunbar Read More | Comment »

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