Doing the referendum shuffle

The other day, Tiffany said to me “How are you voting on all these amendments and referendums? I don’t know enough about them to know what’s what. I’m depending on you to help me figure it out.” Which means I’d better figure it out for myself. I’m going to use Scott Hochberg’s list of state Constitutional amendments, plus Vince’s four part series as my guide for those, and the League of Women Voters – Houston (PDF, scroll to page 12) for the local bonds. Here we go…

Proposition 1:
Correcting the Constitution to list Angelo State University as part of the Texas Tech system to match a change made by the Legislature.

My vote: Yes.

Proposition 2:
Authorizing $500 million in additional state bonds for college student loans.

My vote: Yes. See here for earlier bloggage on this.

Proposition 3:
Clarifying that the appraised value of a homestead for property taxes cannot increase by more than 10% in any year, even if more than a year has passed since the home was last appraised.

My vote: Yes.

Proposition 4:
Authorizing $1 billion in additional state bonds for prisons, DPS, mental health facilities and other state projects.

My vote: No. It pains me greatly to say no to parks funding, and funding for the Battleship Texas, but I cannot in good conscience vote for money to build more prisons in Texas. It just makes no sense. I am not swayed by arguments that there are too many propositions, so we should just roll all this together into one big package. Harris County did the right thing on this, and the state of Texas should have as well.

Proposition 5:
Allowing small towns to grant tax breaks for downtown development if approved by local voters.

My vote: No. I’m persuaded by Vince’s argument.

Proposition 6:
Exempting motor vehicles used in business from property tax if they are also used for personal purposes.

My vote: Yes. This one is a big priority of realtors, and it’s apparently a clarification of legislation passed in 2005.

Proposition 7:
Allowing property that was sold to the government through eminent domain to be bought back by the seller at the original sales price if the government does not use the property.

My vote: Yes.

Proposition 8:
Changing the consumer protections for home equity loans.

My vote: Yes.

Proposition 9:
Exempting totally disabled veterans from property taxes.

My vote: Yes.

Proposition 10:
Abolishing the office of inspector of hides and animals

My vote: Yes.

Proposition 11:
Requiring how each legislator voted on the final vote on most legislative bills to be recorded and posted on the Internet

My vote: Yes. Props 10 and 11 are total no-brainers. Now we need to require recording earlier votes as well.

Proposition 12:
Authorizing $5 billion in additional state bonds for highways.

My vote: Yes, with reservations.

Proposition 13:
Allowing judges to deny bail to defendents in family violence cases who violate certain conditions of their initial release on bail.

My vote: No. I can see the argument for this, but I can’t support more reasons to lock up people who haven’t yet been convicted of a crime. Ask me again after we’ve solved the prison overcrowding issue and maybe I’ll reconsider. For an alternate view, see Dig Deeper Texas.

Proposition 14:
Allowing judges to serve their entire term of office even if they reach the mandatory retirement age while serving.

My vote: Yes. Although I’d prefer doing away with mandatory retirement ages. We don’t make other elected officials step down when they turn 75, why should we force judges to do so?

Proposition 15:
Authorizing $3 billion in bonds for a new program to fund cancer research.

My vote: Yes. And I still think Lance Armstrong should have done a bike tour in support of this instead of a bus tour.

Proposition 16:
Authorizing $250 million in additional state bonds for water and sewers in existing subdivisions that were developed with inadequate facilities.

My vote: No. Credit to McBlogger for changing my mind on this one. See his writeup, plus that of the libertarian Liberty Yes, Anarchy No for other perspectives on these 16 propositions (thanks to EoW for the LYAN link).

Now for the Harris County bond issues. Here they are:


The issuance of $190,000,000 Harris County road bonds and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.


The issuance of $95,000,000 Harris County park bonds and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.


The issuance of $195,000,000 Harris County bonds for a central procesing and adult detention
center and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.


The issuance of $80,000,000 Harris County bonds for a medical examiner’s forensic center and
the levying of the tax in payment thereof.


The issuance of $70,000,000 Harris County bonds for a family law center and the levying of
the tax in payment thereof.

Port of Houston Authority, PROPOSITION NO. SIX

The issuance of $250,000,000 Port of Housto n Authority bonds for Port improvements (including related transportatio n facilities , security facilities and environmental enhancements) to provide economic development and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.

My vote: No on Prop 3, Yes on the others. I am assuming (and I hope someone will correct me if I’m wrong) that it’s Prop 3 that is actually allocating money to build a new jail. As with State Prop 4, I cannot support that. The others are (if my assumption is correct) acceptable to me, and I’m glad I don’t have to vote against park and road bonds in order to vote against new jail construction.

Last but certainly not least:


The issuance by Houston Independent Schol District of $805,000,000 schoolhouse bonds for the construction, acquisition and equipment of school buildings in the district (including the rehabilitation, renovation, expansion and improvement thereof) and the purchase of the necessary sites for school buildings, and the levying of the tax in payment thereof.

My vote: Yes.

Whew. Hope that is useful to you. However you vote on these things, I hope you’ll seek out whatever resources you need to feel fully informed about them.

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5 Responses to Doing the referendum shuffle

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    Too many victims of domestic violence and stalking end up dead after a judge grants bail to someone who has violated a restraining or protective order. As it stands, the judges are on thin ice when they do refuse bail because violations of these orders is only a misdemeanor. Proposition 13 would change that.

    Most stalking victims are advised NOT to seek such orders. When they seek a restraining order, or when a prosecutor seeks a protective order, it is because the threat is such that there is no alternative.

    To have a judge release someone for violating the order is to invite a murder.

    As is opposing Proposition 13.

    The better solution would be for the legislature to change the law to make violation of such orders a felony. But with our legislature, you take what you can get. Which is usually nothing.

  2. Gary Denton says:

    I am tempted to vote no on all of the bond funding requests despite some good projects because the state treasury could have financed them without bonds. It is just another part of the “borrow and spend” government philosophy of the GOP. All the favors they get from the financial institutions handling and selling state bonds might have something to do with it.

  3. merci_me says:

    Back in the late ’70s I was one of the founders of a domestic violence shelter. I witnessed the terror some of these women went through, which was only worse after the restraining order and a night or two in jail. Boy, was he gonna make her pay now.

    Though I moved to Texas, a couple of years later, from that experience I knew one woman whose trailer home was burned down, by her husband (out on bail), killing her and their two little girls.

    I had orginally become active in establishing the shelter, after a teen friend of our baby-sitter was killed by an exboyfriend (out on bail) on gentle summer day, in the mall parking lot. A few months later, a dear friend of mine was murdered by her husband (out on bail), with their 4 yr old and 2 yr old twins in the house. That 4 yr old is now a married woman with children and she sends me Christmas cards with the family photo. My friend never got to hold her grandchildren.

    I’ll be joining Baby Snooks and voting YES on 13 for all who have been killed or maimed in the past and those to come.

  4. Baby Snooks says:

    Rights of victims should be held superior to rights of their victimizers. All too often, they are not.

    Proposition 13 will help ensure that they are.

    Please support this proposition and urge others to as well. It truly will help save lives.

  5. Michael Hurta says:

    I’ll be voting no for the HISD bond proposition. Talking with someone who works in the district and usually supports such bonds, it is my impression that Savedra has simply gone about this the wrong way. He didn’t interact enough with the community. While our schools always need money, I’ve been convinced that the use of this money would be questionable.

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