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Other May election results

Roundup style, mostly.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg easily wins a fourth term.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg

Mayor Ron Nirenberg vanquished the ghost of repeat challenger Greg Brockhouse in Saturday’s City election and secured his third term in office with a win of historic proportion.

Nirenberg is now on course to become the city’s first four-term mayor since his mentor, former Mayor Phil Hardberger, led a successful campaign in 2009 to relax term limits from two, two-year terms to four, two-year terms.

That longevity in office should give Nirenberg the time and space to forge the kind of legacy established by Hardberger and Julián Castro before him.

Hardberger can point to completion of the San Antonio River’s Museum Reach, acquisition of Hardberger Park, redevelopment of Main Plaza, and jump starting the transformation of Hemisfair Park after it lay idle for 50 years. He recruited Sheryl Sculley to become city manager. Her long tenure led to the modernization of the city’s financial practices, ambitious five-year bond cycles to address critical infrastructure needs, and a new level of professional standards for city staff.

Castro, then the youngest mayor of a Top 50 city, led efforts to bring early childhood education to the forefront, well in advance of national trends, with successful passage of Pre-K 4 SA. He launched SA2020 and with it, the Decade of Downtown. Castro joined forces with Sculley to take on the powerful police union and address runaway health care costs. His growing national profile earned him a cabinet seat as Housing and Urban Development Secretary in the Obama administration.

Nirenberg is poised to establish his own legacy. Voters chose him by a 31-point margin, 62% to 31%, over Brockhouse, with the remainder going to a dozen other names on the ballot, a definitive verdict on Nirenberg’s second-term record. A Bexar Facts poll conducted with the San Antonio Report and KSAT-TV in late March accurately predicted as much. The reason: Nirenberg’s strong leadership through the pandemic.

Nirenberg won by a much wider margin against Brockhouse this time. When I look around at current Mayors for future statewide potential, Nirenberg certainly belongs on the list, but for whatever the reason I haven’t heard his name bandied about. Maybe that will change now.

San Antonio had a high-profile ballot proposition, which would have stripped the city’s police union of it collective bargaining power. It was narrowly defeated, but its proponents are encouraged they did as well as they did, and expect to continue that fight.

Austin had its own slew of ballot propositions, with a particularly contentious one that would outlaw the public camps that homeless people are now using. That one passed, and we’ll see what happens next.

The folks behind Proposition B, the citizen initiative to re-criminalize public camping in Downtown Austin and near the UT Campus, got the victory they sought for the more than $1 million they spent. With all votes counted Saturday night, the measure backed by Save Austin Now prevailed by 14 points, 57.1%-42.9%.

That’s a slightly weaker showing than was predicted before polls closed by SAN co-founder Matt Mackowiak, also chair of the Travis County Republican Party, but a win’s a win:

Those who have been paying attention will note that Mayor Steve Adler and much of Council have already decided that the June 2019 vote that Prop B reverses was a failed experiment, and have moved on to other strategies to house Austin’s unsheltered poor. Perhaps SAN will catch up soon. Whatever its merits as policy, the campaign for Prop B did almost certainly boost turnout, which all told was 22.55% countywide (just under 90% of that was city voters). That’s the highest Austin’s seen in a May election since 1994.

Even CM Greg Casar, the politician most directly rebuked by tonight’s results, is looking ahead: “I do not believe Austin is as divided as this election makes it seem. The overwhelming majority of Austinites share a common goal, no matter how folks voted on Prop B. We all want to get people out of tents and into homes,” Casar said in a statement. “Our community must come together after this election & house 3,000 more people.”

I’ll leave it to the Austin folks to figure this out from here, but from my vantage point one obvious issue here is the ridiculously high housing prices in Austin, which is fueled in part by way more demand for housing than supply. I hope the city can find a way forward on that.

Fort Worth will have a new Mayor, after a June runoff.

Fort Worth voters will chose a new mayor for the first time in a decade in June with Mattie Parker and Deborah Peoples apparently headed to the runoff.

Mayor Betsy Price’s decision not to seek an unprecedented sixth term sparked 10 candidates to run, including two council members, the Tarrant County Democratic Party chairwoman and a slew of political newcomers.

According unofficial results in Tarrant County, Peoples, a former AT&T vice president, led with 33.60% of the vote Saturday night while Parker, a former Price chief of staff, had 30.82%, with all 176 vote centers reporting. Council member Brian Byrd was in third place with 14.75%.

Parker and Peoples maintained the upper hand with results for Denton County. There, Parker took 35.17% of the vote compared to 16% for Peoples. In Parker County, Parker had 42% of the vote followed by Byrd’s 23.3%. Peoples had 12.5%.

The runoff will be June 5.

Here are the Tarrant County results – scroll down to page 21 to see the Fort Worth Mayor’s race. There were 1,106 votes cast in total in this race in Denton County, and 176 total votes cast in Parker County, so Tarrant is really all you need to know. In 2019, Peoples lost to Mayor Betsy Price by a 56-42 margin. Adding up the votes this time, counting Ann Zadeh as progressive and Brian Byrn and Steve Penate as conservative, the vote was roughly a 55-42 margin for the Republican-aligned candidates. We’ll see how it goes in the runoff.

And then there was Lubbock.

Lubbock voters on Saturday backed a “sanctuary city for the unborn” ordinance that tries to outlaw abortions in the city’s limits, likely prompting a lawsuit over what opponents say is an unconstitutional ban on the procedure.

The unofficial vote, 62% for and 38% against the measure, comes less than a year after Planned Parenthood opened a clinic in Lubbock and months after the City Council rejected the ordinance on legal grounds and warned it could tee up a costly court fight.

The passage of the ordinance makes Lubbock one of some two dozen cities that have declared themselves a “sanctuary … for the unborn” and tried to prohibit abortions from being performed locally. But none of the cities in the movement — which started in the East Texas town of Waskom in 2019 — has been as big as Lubbock and none of them have been home to an abortion provider.

It’s unclear when the ordinance will go into effect, and if it will be challenged in court.

The push to declare Lubbock a “sanctuary city for the unborn” began in the last two years and was galvanized by the arrival of a Planned Parenthood clinic in 2020. Anti-abortion activists gathered enough signatures to bring the ordinance to the City Council — where it was voted down for conflicting with state law and Supreme Court rulings — and to then put it to a citywide vote.

Ardent supporters of the measure, who liken abortion to murder, say it reflects the views held by many in conservative Lubbock. They believe the ordinance would stand up in court and say they have an attorney who will defend the city free of charge if it is challenged.

But the strategy of bringing the abortion fight to the local level has divided even staunch anti-abortion activists, and Texas towns like Omaha and Mineral Wells have voted down similar ordinances or walked them back under advice from city attorneys.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, which previously sued seven East Texas towns that passed similar ordinances, has said they were watching the vote closely and hinted at a lawsuit in a statement Saturday.

Drucilla Tigner, a policy and advocacy strategist with the organization, said the “ACLU has a long history of challenging unconstitutional abortion bans and will continue to fight to protect the fundamental rights of the people of Lubbock.”

[…]

The Lubbock ordinance outlaws abortions within the city, and allows family members of a person who has an abortion to sue the provider and anyone who assists someone getting an abortion, like by driving them to a clinic.

There isn’t an exception for women pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

The ordinance would not be enforced by the government unless the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, or made other changes to abortion laws.

It instead relies on private citizens filing lawsuits.

Richard D. Rosen, a constitutional law professor at Texas Tech University, expects someone would sue Planned Parenthood and the legal fight would go from there.

“As long as Roe is good law I think these suits will ultimately fail, but it [could make] abortion providers … expend money for attorneys fees and it takes time,” he said.

See here and here for the background. The lawsuit that was filed against those seven towns was later dropped after the ordinances to remove language that declared the Lilith Fund and the Texas Equal Access Fund “criminal entities”. The language banning abortions in those towns remains, however. Lubbock is in a much different position than those tiny little towns, and I have no idea what happens from here. It can’t be long before someone files a lawsuit for something.

Finally, I’m sorry to report that Virginia Elizondo lost her race for Spring Branch ISD. I wish her all the best in the future.

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16 Comments

  1. John Hansen says:

    How far back do we have to go to find a Texas big city mayor who succeeded in gaining statewide office? Even being a successful mayor does not seem to earn statewide respect.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    One important race you missed was in Southlake, in Tarrant County. There were contentious school board races centered around the promulgation of anti-White ‘critical race theory’ Marxism. The Marxist candidates were soundly defeated, by almost 70%, which says that people are waking up, and beginning to take an interest in what, and who, is educating their kids.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/texas-suburb-defeats-critical-race-theory-curriculum-after-highly-contested-election/ar-BB1gjF2k

    Local elections matter.

  3. Frederick says:

    Bill is right.

    Never underestimate the power of the white grievance and outrage party.

    Keep your eyes open next time you vote for the county dog catcher. There could be a Stalinist re-education camp sleeper candidate.

  4. Ross says:

    Bill, why do you hate people who aren’t White? Why do you expect them to act like you, when they are different?

  5. Política comparada says:

    On Purportedly Colored Grievances [response to Fritz]

    From both a moral/philosophical perspective and from the viewpoint of effective electoral strategy, it would be a mistake to espouse and/or propagate the idea that another group or class of people cannot have grievances (or cannot be allowed to be aggrieved), worse to deny the right to have and articulate grievances on account of the person’s race.

    Further, in the United States, the right of the people to pursue remedies for grievances as they perceive or experience them through political activity is constitutionally grounded (and applicable to the State via the Fourteenth Amendment thanks to supreme court decisions):

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  6. Frederick says:

    Well said P.C.

    The KKK backs you up completely!

  7. […] in the same way that I have an interest in San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, I see Mayor Johnson as a potential future statewide candidate. He was a legislator, he won his […]

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    Frederick,

    You know, P.C., AKA Wolf, is a leftist like yourself, a fellow traveler. And yes, stirring racial tensions, promulgating collective guilt, struggle sessions, etc., is an effective way to demoralize and create conflict, but you’re going to find that eventually, demonizing Whites is going to have some deleterious impact on White liberals. Eventually, even White liberals will grow tired of being demonized and labeled as Klan, racists, whatever. I encourage you to keep on with your White hating vitriol, wherever it may be coming from.

    Maybe you’re a communist agitator, just down with the cause. Maybe you are an example of black fragility and lash out, because you’ve been convinced you can never succeed on your own, that you’re inferior, but simultaneously think others owe you something. Perhaps you are an Anglo who has been brainwashed with White guilt. No matter. In the end, your denigration of Whites is going to backfire on your cause, bigly.

    Look at you right here. Wolf is on your side, and you’re pushing him away, alienating him, denigrating him. More broadly, most all of the political junkies who post here, on a regular basis, including our gracious host, are also White. Please, keep attacking them for their immutable characteristics.

  9. Frederick says:

    Bill,

    I hope you fail in your job a kleagle.

  10. Política comparada says:

    Thank you, Brother Fritz

    As an intergalactic alien and non-nativist speaker of Amerikanisch, this Kommentator didn’t know what a kleagle is. Now he does, and you get the credit for prompting him to go to wikipedia to further his comprehension of what you are trying to contribute to the debate in this forum.

    You made a difference in the life of at least one wretched fellow-occupant of spaceship Earth today. Kudos, as far as that goes.

    FACTS VS. VALUES, ARGUMENTS VS. AD HOMINEMS

    Granted, Bill Daniels spouts reprehensible views ad nauseam, but that doesn’t mean that his argument are necessarily invalid. And unlike some others here, he serves up arguments along with the regular squirts of vitriol and venom.

    If Pol Pot said 1 pot + 2 pots makes 3 pots, he would have been right, regardless of how many of his own people he mass-murdered and whether there was — or was not — a chicken in every pot for the remainder of the Cambodian population after the genocidal cull.

    Most descriptions of the social and political world, and arguments about it, are not like simple arithmetic of course, and even the word ‘pot’ carries alternative meanings.

    THERE IS RIGHTING, REEDING, AND RITHMATIC,
    AND THEN THERE IS INTELLIGENT ARGUMENTATION

    It is a sign of educational deficiency not being able to distinguish facts from values (and claims about the real world from visions of what the world should like like), and not being able to separate the analysis of an argument from one’s feelings for the person articulating it (whether hate, love, revulsion, whatever).

    For many — though not all – this cognitive challenge of thinking clearly and coherently is not immutable. The deficiency can be addressed through further education, including self-directed study as a low-cost alternative to formal instruction. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autodidacticism

    And the quality of the argumentation can, at least in theory, be enhanced through civilized disputation and claims-testing in intellectual verbal interaction with others. As long as we speak the same language, that is, and conform to certain rules, such as refraining from substituting personal insults for arguments and qualitative evidence or quantitative data that support them. And to be productive, the argumentation must conform to the rules of logic, which are not a matter of personal preference or taste either.

    If people take the position that truth is whatever I feel or say it is, and that everyone gets to have their own truth and their own logic, there is no longer any basis for having a meaningful discussion over policy or politics.

    ON BASHING OTHERS ON THE BASIS OF THEIR RACE

    It’s dumb indeed for American and Texas Democrats to demonize so-called “whites” and espouse extremist social positions, not to mention running for governor on an abortionist or anti-gun platforms. What bubble are they living in?

    Both components – reducing fellow-Texans to race and then condemning them, and espousing extremist policy positions – makes them unelectable (in the sense of winning) under the existing election system.

    The seats that can still be won with this divisive racialist strategy are the gerrymandered minority-majority “pack-em” seats. What good does that do? The Republicans in the Texas Legislature will then continue to do as they please — as they do now — in addition to Republicans winning all state-wide races.

    As survey show, there are a lot of moderates in Texas who have no party that represents them. So they abstain, and Republicans / Trumpsters keep winning (in Texas) even with minority support in the electorate.

    Luckily, this collective cognitive deficiency in the Texas Democratic Party — and the self-defeating political behavior associated with it — is also not immutable.

    But screaming down left-leaning dissidents with triple-K cries is not likely to be an effective mechanism to make Texas Democrats more attractive at the ballot box. It will help the Trumpsters instead. Especially at the state level where most of the power is concentrated. And more and more so.

    Texas Democrats are ignoring nonvoters at their peril, and some within their camp are doing their level-best to alienate left-leaning moderates which they will need to be successful in statewide races.

    That’s on the premise that the terms left and right even make sense any more, a topic that would also be worth giving some serious thought to in the next post-mortem election-loss powwow.

  11. Manny says:

    So, p.c., when did opinions, yours, become fact?

    You are full of yourself, however. So, some advice:

    “The craft of simple writing begins with learning how to write short sentences. Getting a complete idea across in fewer words allows you to be succinct and direct, and it improves the readability of your story. Ernest Hemingway was a master of minimalism when it came to writing. Follow in his footsteps and learn how to construct short sentences.”

    Glad to see that your Trump-loving is back in open view.

    https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-short-sentences

  12. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    There’s merit in what you’ve posted. My college English teacher’s favorite phrase was, “cut and tighten.” I was constantly flummoxed by presenting something, then getting “how can you say the same thing with fewer words?”

    Obviously, writing styles are personal preference, just like speech patterns. Wolf prefers a more thoughtful, elegant, though at times, verbose style. Your style is straightforward to the point of being blunt, usually heavy on the ad hominem. I myself prefer a folksy, colloquial style that might closest be compared to speaking redneck. I’m good with that. We each get our points across, and get to enjoy the diversity of language. Don’t we all support diversity and inclusion? Here ya go.

    And here’s the ironic thing….you criticize Wolf’s style, but missed his clear point. He’s a leftist, just the same as you, and here you are fragging your own side, accusing him of being a Trump supporter, which, to a leftist, must feel like a dagger to the heart. He’s trying to tell you to stop arbitrarily attacking Whites, because that’s going to drive away moderate voters.

    I’m a Trump supporter, but I’ll acknowledge when I agree with Kuff or leftist posters here. It doesn’t make me any less of a Trump supporter because I don’t march in exact lock step, and I can be swayed by a better, more logical argument, which also happens occasionally. Wolf strikes me as that kind of person, too, just on the other side of the political spectrum.

  13. Manny says:

    Verbose

    using or expressed in more words than are needed

    If this is the new Bill, that is good.

    As to P.C. being a leftist, maybe to someone that is so far right that they believe the world is flat, that the 2020 election was stolen, those people I can believe would think P.C. is a leftist.

  14. Política comparada says:

    SYNTAX AND STYLE MATTER, SUBSTANCE EVEN MORE SO

    Manny:

    Thank you for the link. Hemmingway is great. Steinbeck another great role model of a writer.

    That said, there are different genres of writing, and different audiences. Each writer must decide what audience — and reading level — to aim at, unless they are just writing to let off steam. What’s being field-tested here is a novel type of genre, and it’s mostly argumentative commentary, as opposed to fiction or narrative writing. There are no plots.

    As for deficiencies in quality, this author doesn’t have the benefit of independent editing, nor even proof-reading. Hence the frequent typos. He writes from the perspective of a political scientist, subfield comparative politics. For a good introduction to that discipline, and a mild critique of contemporary trends, see recent essay by Philippe C. Schmitter, Professor emeritus at the European University Institute.

    https://www.eui.eu/Documents/DepartmentsCentres/SPS/Profiles/Schmitter/Politics-as-a-science.pdf

    It’s 93 pages long, so that may exceed your attention span, but the same might be said of any college-level social science class. This essay qualifies as a succinct introduction to the study of political phenomena, with the intellectual origins well-covered. Politology 101, if you will. Schmitter prefers that term over Political Science for reasons explained in the essay. The work is actually much shorter than a typical introductory textbook. Too long for an article, too short for a book; let me just post it online, he says.

    THE ECONOMIST can and does also serve as inspiration and model and concise writing is one of their strengths, not to mention their witty captions. Nonlocal print media have space and weight limitations as a serious cost constraint. Hence the need for exacting word/space limits. That’s not a problem online, however, and section headers facilitate skipping on the reader’s end.

    THE EGO THING IN WRITING

    Note that THE ECONOMIST does without by-lines, unlike most newspapers, which is a way to avoid the ego-factor. The latter, unfortunately, is a big problem in academic writing and publishing, and impedes collective error-correction and advancement of knowledge (although blind peer-review does help somewhat).

    It’s even worse in jurisprudential writing because courtly authors self-referentially get to cite their own prior errors as legal authority (and those of their friends). This sort of path-dependency can lead to head-scratchers of judicial opinions particularly when the court is populated by members who are all of the same mindset (ideological monoculture) and stay on the court for long periods of time. Legal writing is, of course, also of a different genus — whether compared to political commentary or fiction, though there is considerable overlap with the former.

    CROWD-SOURCED ERROR CORRECTION

    We would all benefit from mutual correction of errors, and from a willingness to concede having made an error when that’s what it is. It would promote the pursuit of the truth as a shared human endeavor, and improve our collective ability to better ourselves and the world we populate.

    Some still think that the pursuit of the truth is a valid objective. Others seem to think it can all be made up as suits their purposes, at least in the arena in which politics plays out.

    Which brings us back to the distinction between writing about reality (whether descriptive, analytical, or argumentative) and fiction. Most literary fiction, however, is not designed to serve an ulterior purpose. It’s written for reader enjoyment. So, what makes for good fiction writing may not be best for political analysis and commentary, even if it has the flavor of advocacy.

    Lastly, most fiction isn’t short and succinct either. TO WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, for example, rings in at 471 pages in paperback.

  15. Manny says:

    P.C. that was an insult, the topic may bore me, so I may choose to stop, but I just finished a 10 book story. Reading a trilogy of nearly 2,000 pages. Only two books that I started that I did not finish, Moby Dick and War and Peace.

  16. Manny says:

    I will spend hours reading and reading a case of I am trying to determine if something besides the conclusion the court arrived at could be entertained as a possible way to proceed.

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