Public Notice: Blue Wave Blues?
Something for everyone in Tuesday’s results
And so, another election slips into history (give or take a few Dec. 11 run-offs), and the emotional reactions are definitely mixed: Republicans won most of the headlines, and the most inspirational Democrats lost bitterly close races – including our own Beto O'Rourke here in Texas. But the underlying story can't feel very good for Republicans either, and some of the Democratic successes are discussed elsewhere in this issue: The decisive flip of the U.S. House, and various state legislatures and governors' seats; Dems running the first close statewide races in a generation in Texas, cutting the GOP margin in the Texas House dropping from 40 seats to 16, and weirdly, sweeping a full slate of appellate court judgeships; and more. So call it a wash: not the blue wave some were expecting, but not the total blues that some of us were likely feeling as the results hit on Tuesday night.
Locally, Mayor Steve Adler's 40-point margin of victory shocked everyone except perhaps Hizzoner hisself. Urbanists can rightly celebrate Laura Morrison's failure to gain any traction against Adler's perceived boosterism; on the other hand, they must be smarting from yet another failed attempt to take out Kathie Tovo, this time by a candidate carefully vetted, trained, and well-funded expressly for that purpose. And the fact that the "anti-CodeNEXT" Proposition J ran 28 points better than Morrison, despite its questionable provenance and legality, should at least give everyone pause on all sides, as we consider how to pick up the scattered pieces of that land use code rewrite process. Mayor Adler does indeed have a mandate to do some big things in his upcoming term, and figuring out how to restart that process will be the biggest. With the decks cleared of political distractions, it'll be fascinating to see what lessons he thinks he's learned. Elsewhere ...
Texas Parent PAC is celebrating "a very good night for public education in Texas!" Lege candidates the group endorsed went 42-13 on Tuesday, knocking off six incumbents they saw as unfriendly to the cause of improving public education for all Texans. The winners include 16 freshmen who'll take seats in January, and the only incumbent they lost – moderate Dallas Republican Linda Koop – was beaten by liberal Dem Ana-Maria Ramos, who listed public education as her first campaign issue.
Utah and Missouri passed medical marijuana initiatives, meaning 33 states plus the District of Columbia will now allow medi-pot. Michigan became the first state away from the coasts to legalize recreational use, making 10 overall, in addition to D.C. (North Dakota turned down a sort of half-baked recreational-use plan, but the idea is expected to be back there as well, once it mellows a bit.)
David Beckham and his partners got a thumbs-up from Miami voters on Tuesday for their plan to turn a municipal golf course into Miami Freedom Park, a $1 billion development with a 25,000-seat soccer stadium, breaking a four-year deadlock, and clearing the way for Major League Soccer to move ahead with its next expansion franchise, perhaps concurrent with Austin FC. The vote gives the city permission to negotiate a land lease for the 73-acre redevelopment. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, joining Beckham at a celebration party, stressed that the project will be privately funded, and the city will get fair market value rent. [Update: By Wednesday afternoon, the Miami city attorney had put a hold on all talks until a new lobbying ethics complaint can be resolved.]
Transportation Planning: Capital Metro has begun a series of Community Conversations to gather feedback on their Project Connect long-range transit plan; the Austin Transportation Department will also attend to present and discuss the city's Austin Strategic Mobility Plan. Fondest hopes are that the two plans mesh together seamlessly; see how that's going, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 6-8pm at Pan American Rec Center, 2100 E. Third. Or see the plans at www.capmetro.org/projectconnect, and www.austintexas.gov/asmp.
Meanwhile, ATD is holding a series of ASMP Office Hours at various Austin Public Library locations:
• Thu., Nov. 8, 10-11:30am, St. John Library, 7500 Blessing.
• Fri., Nov. 9, 1:30-2:30pm, Cepeda Library, 651 N. Pleasant Valley.
• Mon., Nov. 12, 6-7pm, Univ. Hills Library, 4721 Loyola.
• Fri., Nov. 16, 1:30-2:30pm. Cepeda Library, 651 N. Pleasant Valley.
• Sat., Nov. 17, 10:30-11:30am. Manchaca Road Library, 5500 Manchaca Rd.