Showing posts with label StatePolitics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label StatePolitics. Show all posts

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Stefani Carter and Monty Bennett's "Buffoonery"

2013: Ringing Opening Bell on NYSE (Stefani Carter on left)

Stefani Carter is in the news again and not in a good way. Again, it's about Blackwells Capital LLC making a hostile attempt to install independent directors to the board of Monty Bennett's Braemar Hotels & Resorts Inc. The Wheel has followed Monty Bennett for his own behavior but mostly because of one of his company's directors, Stefani Carter ("What Has Stefani Carter Been Up To"). Carter is a former member of the Texas House of Representatives. She represented Richardson from 2011-2015. Or rather, she represented herself. She turned her service into a gig with Monty Bennett. Or, as D Magazine puts it, she "suckles at Bennett’s REIT" (Real Estate Investment Trust). Blackwells has now released a presentation titled "The Buffoonery of Monty Bennett" in which Bennett is featured and Carter, his lead director, is mentioned and not in a flattering way.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

What Has Stefani Carter Been Up To

2013: Ringing Opening Bell on NYSE (Stefani Carter on left)

You may remember Stefani Carter. The former Texas state representative for parts of Richardson, swept into office in the 2010 tea party wave. The ambitious politician who attempted to climb to statewide office (Texas Railroad Commission) in 2014 only to discover that the moneyed interests had other candidates in mind. Who then scrambled back to her legislative race in north Texas but lost her seat when even GOP voters abandoned her in the primary for Linda Koop. The last time we checked in on her was in 2020. What has Stefani Carter been up to since?

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Render Unto Tim Dunn

Source: h/t DALL-E

A political cartoon to accompany yesterday's blog post: "TIL: My Texas State Senator is a Puppet of a Billionaire Christian Nationalist".

Note that with a minor change, this cartoon would work on the national level as well, where the presumptive GOP nominee for President of the United States is hawking a $59.99 “God Bless the USA Bible”.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

TIL: My Texas State Senator is a Puppet of a Billionaire Christian Nationalist


Look at that map. The red line is the outline of Texas Senate District 2. The yellow and orange and purple and bluish colored areas are the cities. You can see that Senate District 2 mostly excludes the cities. It is mostly rural, except for one spear point in the northwest of the district, stabbing Richardson, my home, in the heart. Richardson is trending Democratic in recent elections. With the latest gerrymander by the Republican state legislature, Richardson is the sacrificial victim to be absorbed by safely rural, conservative, Republican Senate District 2. And that's how I ended up with Bob Hall as my Senator, representing me despite the fact that he isn't, in any way, representative of Richardson, Texas. Today I learned something else about Bob Hall. I learned it from Bob Deuell, "a staunch conservative with an independent streak," according to Russell Gold of Texas Monthly. Gold tells the story.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Angie Chen Button and Vouchers

Source: Texas Monthly

This week, the Texas House voted in favor of an amendment stripping school vouchers from a school funding bill. You can read elsewhere how significant this vote is (in the short run, very; in the long run, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), but here I want to report on how my Texas representative, Angie Chen Button (R-Richardson) voted.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Why School Vouchers are Bad for Texas

Source: NEA

The school voucher bill being deliberated by the Texas House of Representatives has been argued over elsewhere, everywhere. The bottom line for me is that it takes tax dollars currently being spent on public schools and diverts them to private schools. That hurts public education.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

TIL: Hispanics are a Plurality in Texas

Source: Texas Monthly
Few observers of the state’s demographics were shocked when, in 2022, Census Bureau estimates revealed that Hispanics had become a narrow plurality in Texas. At 40.2 percent of the state’s population, they just edged out the non-Hispanic white population of 39.4 percent. The state will never be the same!
Source: Texas Monthly.

That's what I learned in a Texas Monthly article by Richard Z. Santos. He adds the million dollar question: "Texas Is Now a Majority-Minority State. Why Haven’t Our Politics Changed?" He never satisfactorily answers that question. After the jump, the litany of reasons that each contribute to an answer.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

District 112 Draws a Challenger

Source: City of Richardson

The San Antonio Express-News reports that "Last year’s Miss Texas is entering another competition where she’ll be judged on her talents, leadership abilities and appearance. But this time it won’t be a beauty pageant. Averie Bishop became the first Asian American winner of the Miss Texas competition in its 85-year history. Now she’s running for the Texas House."

What's the Richardson connection? Two, actually. Averie Bishop is running for Texas House District 112, which includes much of Richardson up to the Collin County line. And Averie Bishop was crowned Miss Texas at the Eisemann Center right here in Richardson.

Monday, August 14, 2023

An Underfunded Mandate for Texas Schools

Source: Richardson ISD

Texans who follow the history of public schools in Texas are familiar with the story. The legislature passes mandates theoretically to improve schools but fail to provide sufficient money to pay the costs of implementing the new requirements. The latest example is Texas House Bill 3 (HB3). Except this time, it doesn't even pretend to improve education. It requires Texas school districts to have an armed officer on every campus, as if the secret to better reading scores is more guns. No, that's too absurd for even the Texas legislature. For them, it's the secret to ending gun violence in schools that is more guns. More guns seems to be their answer to every problem. In any case, for Richardson ISD, it's an underfunded mandate requiring the hiring of an additional 34 security personnel (plus two supervisors) and equipping them with handgun, duty belt, ballistic vest, and RISD Logo shirt.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Angie Chen Button Equates Public Schools with Mao's China

During the recent Richardson ISD school board election, I wrote a lot of blog posts (a lot) about the incendiary and false charges being leveled by extreme right-wing candidates against public education. But I have to say, nothing they wrote compares to this outrageous claim in a mailer by Angie Chen Button.

Friday, September 2, 2022

SBOE Waits for Right-Wing Reinforcements

It looks like the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) is going to kick the can down the road, deciding to wait until next term to rewrite the Texas social studies curriculum (what we know as the TEKS). Why? It appears that the SBOE caved to pressure from right-wing Republican lawmakers who objected to the standards coming out of the curriculum committee. When the SBOE decided to delay, Republican lawmakers celebrated on Twitter, "The board voted to scrap the wokeified proposed changes to the TEKS." The likely explanation for delay is that right-wing Republicans hope that they can increase their majority on the SBOE next term and get proposals more in line with their politics.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Redistricting Scatters Richardson - Congress Edition

Congressional Map 2020
Congressional Map 2022

Earlier this week we looked at how redistricting was going to affect Richardson's representation in Austin. I described it as Richardson being scattered to the winds. Today, we look at how redistricting is going to affect Richardson's representation in Washington, DC. It's the same old story.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Redistricting Scatters Richardson to the Winds

Texas House maps
Texas House Map 2020
Texas House Map 2022

What do Richardson and Rockwall have in common? They are both represented by Justin Holland in redrawn Texas House District 33. He, along with Angie Chen Button and Ana-Maria Ramos, will represent Richardson in the new redistricting maps passed by the Texas legislature. (Correction: Plano's Scott Sanford will also represent the tiny northwest corner of Richardson, at least until the 2022 election.) Say goodbye to Jeff Leach, whose Texas House District 67 has been redrawn and shifted far to the northeast in Collin County.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

It's All About Housing

Real Housing Prices: LA vs Dallas

Texans are always comparing the state to California. I know because I live in Texas. I don't know if Californians compare their state to anyone else. One claim Texans always make is about how many Californians are moving to Texas. There's no doubt that the two states are on different trend lines. Texas is set to gain three Congressional seats in the 2020 census. California, for the first time ever, is set to lose one. What's behind this? Texans usually credit the lack of a state income tax or the light regulation on business. Paul Krugman, in his latest newsletter, points to another cause.

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Deep Freeze of 2021

We all thought 2020 was bad, but it looks like 2021 sucks, too. Friday is the first day in a week that the weather forecast has our north Texas temperatures climbing above freezing. Sunday and Monday nights, the low temperature hovered about zero degrees Fahrenheit. Someone said that in Minnesota, they call that "sweater weather," but in Texas, it's a crisis. Our house escaped damage, but all around us it was like every disaster movie all rolled into one. Start with the background of an ongoing pandemic, and layer on top record-low, sub-zero Fahrenheit temps, icy and snowy roads, power outages lasting for hours or even days for some, frozen and burst pipes, only to flood when the heat comes back on, and warnings to boil water because water treatment plants lost power. Almost everyone we know is facing one or more of these, but we personally have been spared. For many, they still can't go home. The cleanup has only just begun.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Rally at the (Texas) Capitol

If you expected Wednesday's insurrection at the US Capitol to cause extremist Republicans to pause, you were wrong. Texan Republicans are advertising a rally at the Texas Capitol just three days later. There are two things about this poster that drew my attention. First is the slogan at the bottom that ties Texas Republicans directly to QAnon. And, second, one of the featured speakers is a former candidate for Richardson ISD school board.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Q: "We Are the Storm"

QAnon "is a far-right conspiracy theory alleging a secret plot by a supposed "deep state" against President Donald Trump and his supporters. No part of the theory has been shown to be based in fact...Q has accused many liberal Hollywood actors, Democratic politicians, and high-ranking officials of being members of an international child sex trafficking ring. Q also claimed that Trump feigned collusion with Russians to enlist Robert Mueller to join him in exposing the ring and preventing a coup d'état by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Soros."

There's more, much more. It used to be that conspiracy theories floated on the fringe of American politics. Today, they are embedded in the highest ranks of state and federal government. "Highest ranks" is not hyperbole.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

What Not to Say

Last week, I pointed to a statement by Richardson Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Sproull as an example of what to say in response to all the tragedies experienced by our country in the last days and months. He used plain language. He was direct. He named the problem. Today, I want to highlight a statement by someone else that exemplifies the things not to say.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

"Texas Woman Accused in Beating of State’s Former Lieutenant Governor"
The headline says "Texas Woman Accused in Beating of State’s Former Lieutenant Governor." If that made you think of Stefani Carter, you should be ashamed of yourself. Either that or you know way too many details about the inside baseball of Texas politics. The woman in the headline is Leslie Ann Caron. If that made you think of Leslie Caron the movie star, well you'd be wrong again. But it would prove you don't know way too much about the inside baseball of Texas politics. Our woman of interest, arrested for "injury to an elderly person" (ouch), is Leslie Ann Caron, a political fundraiser. There is a connection to our Stefani Carter. Patience. We'll get to it.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Wheel's Voters Guide

Election day is Tuesday, November 5, 2019. Early voting is underway. Two trustee positions for Richardson ISD's Board of Trustees are on the ballot. There are also ten state Constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Here are my recommendations for how to vote, not that anyone cares, and certainly not that it will matter in the vote count. But I needed to go through the process anyway to know how I should vote myself, so I might as well share my thinking.

Beginning in 2019, the Richardson ISD Board of Trustees has five single-member districts and two at-large positions. This November, Districts 2 and 4 are up for election. Note that I personally can vote only in District 2, but I studied District 4 also, as if I did have a vote because its outcome will affect my school district.

I attended multiple candidate forums, so you didn't have to (you're welcome). I also read candidate questionnaires. I also read pros and cons for the ten Constitutional amendments.