The Austin Chronicle

Texas Voters Approve Props; Travis Narrowly Passes Cancer Measure

By Lee Nichols, November 9, 2007, News

Turnout for Tuesday's constitutional amendments election was predictably low, but at just under 9% of the state's registered voters, it was actually a bit higher than expected.

The star-powered Proposition 15 – a Lance Arm­strong-backed measure to create the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas – actually fared worse than expected, although it still enjoyed a strong 61% victory. Only Prop. 16 (bonds to help economically distressed areas – hey this is Texas; screw poor people) and Prop. 4 (bonds for construction projects, including more prisons) fared worse, but even those passed easily.

The real stunner was how poorly Prop. 15 did here in Travis County, where Armstrong is revered in tones usually reserved for local football names like Royal, Brown, Campbell, and Young – the measure won a slim majority here of only 50.29% and actually lost in the Election Day balloting. Out of 62,230 voters, its edge was just 364.

But the margin was just fine with the cancer-surviving Armstrong. He told a crowd at the Driskill Hotel that the vote will "position Texas as the global leader in cancer research" and laughed, "I can appreciate a close race. One time I won the Tour de France by a minute. I enjoyed it a heck of a lot more when I won by seven. But give me this landslide victory every time. Tonight the people have responded with a resounding message – no qualifiers, no disclaimers," Armstrong said. "We will bring the ultimate fight to this great state, and we will beat this dreaded disease, and we will win."

The other major state election news was up in the southwest corner of Tarrant County, where the early retirement of Republican state Rep. Anna Mowery in District 97 has Democrats hoping to edge one seat closer to a majority in the Texas House (they're just six seats away). It may ultimately mean nothing, but Democrat Dan Barrett was the top vote-getter in the special election at 32%, while six Republicans split the rest. Barrett faces a run-off against Mark Shelton, who took 23%.

Election Numbers

All 16 amendments passed, both statewide and in Travis Co.

Here are the percentages in favor:

[Prop: State Total, Travis Co.]

Prop. 1 (Transfer Angelo State University to Texas Tech System) 66%, 72%

Prop. 2 ($500 million in bonds for student loans) 66%, 69%

Prop. 3 (Limiting appraised value of homesteads) 71%, 69%

Prop. 4 ($1 billion in bonds for construction projects) 58%, 56%

Prop. 5 (Limiting municipal property taxes) 66%, 63%

Prop. 6 (Exempt from tax one motor vehicle owned by an individual) 74%, 68%

Prop. 7 (Let governments sell property acquired by eminent domain) 80%, 81%

Prop. 8 (Clarify provisions relating to a home equity loan) 78%, 78%

Prop. 9 (Exempt disabled veterans from ad valorem taxation) 91%, 85%

Prop. 10 (Abolish the office of inspector of hides and animals) 77%, 77%

Prop. 11 (Provide public access on the Internet of Legislative votes) 85%, 83%

Prop. 12 ($5 billion in bonds for highway improvement) 63%, 53%

Prop. 13 (Deny bail to certain persons) 84%, 75%

Prop. 14 (Permit judges over retirement age to carry out their term) 75%, 77%

Prop. 15 (Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas) 61%, 50%

Prop. 16 ($250 million in bonds for economically distressed areas) 61%, 60%

How our Neighbors Voted

Sunset Valley: Rejected switching to a city manager form of government (67%-33%) and approved a sales-tax increase to finance water-quality protection program (65%-35%).

Jonestown: Approved $1 million in bonds for police station (54%-46%).

Lakeway: Adopted sales-tax increase to lower property taxes (78%-22%).

Lakeway MUD: Approved water and wastewater improvements (68%-32%).

Lakeside MUD: A single voter approved the creation of the municipal utility district and issuance of $45 million in bonds for a host of developer-friendly goodies.

Lazy Nine MUD: Two voters approved dividing the MUD into five districts.

Pflugerville ISD: Approved $125 million in bonds for new schools (59%-41%).

Dripping Springs ISD: Approved $96 million in school bonds.

Cedar Park: Approved three measures for roads and parks but nixed $19.6 million in bonds for a new City Hall.

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