Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Republican Primary Runoff In Collin Co.

With an unusually high number of ballot positions for April 2010 Republican Primary Runoff Election in Collin County there is a great deal of interest in exactly who can vote in the Republican Runoff.
The most frequent misconception is that you must have voted in the primary election to vote in the primary runoff. Another frequent misconception circulating is that you cannot vote in the primary runoff unless you were eligible to vote in the primary election.

Here is the fact: Anyone who was registered on or before March 13 is eligible to vote in the Republican Primary Runoff Election, as long as they DID NOT vote in the March 2, 2010 Democratic Primary Election.

Depending on where you live in Collin County you will have different candidates on your Republican Primary Runoff Ballot.

Every Republican Primary Runoff Ballot in Collin County will
include these six ballot positions and candidates:
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 3
* Rick Green
* Debra Lehrmann
District Court 219
* Scott Becker
* Angela Tucker
County Court at Law 3
* Lance Baxter
* Stewart Matthews
County Court at Law 4
* David Rippel
* Matt Goeller
County Court at Law 6
* Terri Green
* Jay Bender
District Clerk
* Patricia Crigger
* Alma Hays

If you live in Texas State House of Representatives District 66, you will have this additional ballot position and pair of candidates:

State Representative 66
* Mabrie Jackson
* Van Taylor (Taylor has the "TEA Approved" rating from the North Texas Tea Party)
If you live in Collin County Commissioner's Court Place 2, you will have this additional ballot position and pair of candidates:
Commissioner's Court 2
* Cheryl Williams
* Jerry Hoagland

To find your House of Representatives District number look on your Voter Registration card for the box titled "STATE REP."

To find your Collin County Commissioner's Court Place number look on your Voter Registration card for the box titled "COM"

To find your Collin County election Precinct number look on your Voter Registration card for the box titled "Prec. No."

To view your Voter Registration card information online click here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Plano Special Runoff Election In March

Updated Wednesday March 27, 2010 @ 8:56 p.m.
Today was the Plano City Council, pl 3 special run-off election day between André Davidson and Kathy Fang.

With 100% of the precincts reporting the Plano Special Election results are - Andre Davidson 56.03% Vs. Cathy Fang 43.97% on 4,931 ballots cast.

Updated Saturday January 30, 2010 @ 9:06 p.m.
Plano Special Election final results were reported by the Collin County Registrar's Office at 8:47 P.M. Saturday January 30, 2010. Out of 144,389 registered City of Plano voters a total of 4,199 (2.9%) people cast a ballot for one of the three candidates with the following results:
  • Andre Davidson 1819 (43.74%)
  • Cathy Fang 1517 (36.48%)
  • Doug Shockey 823 (19.79%)
Since none of the three candidates topped 50% of the total vote, a special City of Plano runoff election between the top two candidates, Andre Davidson and Cathy Fang, will now be scheduled in March.

Beginning immediately in 2010 the Plano City Council must start identifying new ways to cut city spending and bolster city tax collections. Council members have already mentioned actions such as closing libraries on Fridays, eliminating school police patrols, ending taxi vouchers for the elderly and privatizing city government services as ways to cut city spending.

One of the two city council candidates André Davidson or Cathy Fang will soon add their voice to council discussions on how to make the difficult budget and tax choices that must be made in the months, and perhaps years, to come.
André Davidson has said, "It would be foolish to say we shouldn't look at everything - including whether we have to look at raising revenue." On her campaign website Davidson says she is committed to:
Continuing to provide quality city services, especially in the area of public safety, economic development to ensure a strong tax base and keep our community vibrant, and revitalization of our neighborhoods and commercial properties.
Ms. Davidson has been endorsed by the Plano Firefighters Association and a list of others.
Cathy Fang has said tax increases should be a last resort and that Plano should privatize city services and more closely scrutinize city spending.
On her campaign website Fang says, "I feel at this time, when the economy is not doing well, taxes are on the rise, our city government is not being accountable to the citizens..." [Fang campaign video] Fang has also said,
“Some tax increases are necessary, but there’s a limit -- the government cannot treat people like an ATM to get the money they’re lacking. Plano needs to be aggressive in the business market to attract bigger businesses and companies to bring jobs to the Plano community.”
Original Post Saturday January 3, 2010 @ 10:53 a.m.

You have probably heard that Plano plans to hold a special election to fill the City Council Place 3 seat of Mabrie Jackson, who resigned in November to run for the Texas state legislature district 66 house house seat left open when Rep. Brian McCall announced he would not seek re-election. The Plano special election day is scheduled for January 30, 2010 with several days of early voting starting January 13, 2010.

The Plano City Council initially wanted to hold the special election concurrent with the March 2 primary, however, Texas state election code prohibits the city from scheduling the election within 30 days of a primary election. State election rules also dictate that an election to fill the vacated council seat must be scheduled within so many days after the vacancy occurs. January 30th was the only date that satisfied the legal requirements for a special election. According to City of Plano officials, the cost for the special election will be about $80,000.

While voters citywide elect members to the Plano City Council's seven seats, four of its seven members must reside in designated districts for representative diversity across the city. Three candidates, all political newcomers, have filed to run in the special city election to fill the designated north-central Plano Place 3 District City Council vacancy. The three candidates André Davidson, Cathy Fang and Doug Shockey currently live in the Place 3 District and have each lived in Plano for approximately 30 years.

With the City of Plano facing projected budget shortfalls of up to $50 million through 2011 budget year, the city council will be forced to make even more difficult budget decisions in the coming months of 2010 than they already made in 2009.
In 2009 the Plano City Council approved a $400 million budget plan that already included millions in cuts to city services plus a hike to the city's property tax rates. That budget plan doesn't take effect until October 2010, but the most current economic projections for Plano now show that the projections used to write the 2010 city budget were too optimistic.

Commercial property taxes, which accounts for roughly half of Plano's tax base, is now on a trajectory to decline 10 percent more than initially projected by the council. The additional commercial tax base decline added to continuing declines in sales tax collections and a troubled residential housing market are now projected to leave a $20 million shortfall in the city's next 2010 budget plan.

Unless the economy rebounds significantly through 2010 the city will likely see an additional $30 million contraction of tax revenues leading into the 2011 budget year. The tax base contraction trend could continue and even deepen leading into the 2012 budget year.
League of Women Voters: Voters Guide for Jan. 30 Plano City Council Special Election.
You must be properly registered 30 days in advance of any schedule election in order to vote in the election. (Check your registration status online here.) Properly registered Collin County voters began to see their new Blue and White 2010-2011 voter registration cards arriving in the mail during mid-December. The Collin County Registrar's office automatically sent a new Blue and White registration card to every "active" registered voter in the county during December 2009.

If you did not receive a new Blue and White voter registration card, it may indicate that you are no longer properly registered to vote. You should call the Registrar's office to ask why you did not receive your new Blue and White 2010-2011 voter registration card.
800-687-8546 / 972-547-1990
For more information on the new Blue and White 2010-2011 voter registration cards, click here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Political Strategy Of FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

Videos: Rachel Maddow talks about right
wing rhetoric urging violence against
Democrats and the resulting acts of
violence it has promoted.

Last Friday, former militia leader Mike Vanderboegh called for violence against Democrats across the country to protest the health care bill.
Vanderboegh posted the call for action Friday on his blog, “Sipsey Street Irregulars.” Referring to the health care reform bill as “Nancy Pelosi’s Intolerable Act,” he told followers to send a message to Democrats. And, apparently in response, attacks were made on offices of Democrats in–at least–Wichita, KS, Tucson, AZ, Rochester, NY, Niagara Falls, NY.

“We can break their windows,” he said. “Break them NOW. And if we do a proper job, if we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”
Rep. John Boehner (R., Ohio), the House minority leader, is quoted in the National Review Online saying, “Take [Rep.] Steve Driehaus, [(D., Ohio)] for example, he may be a dead man. He can’t go home to the west side of Cincinnati.
The anti-reform advocacy group then published an ad in The Cincinnati Enquirer featuring a photo of Dreihaus with his children. A conservative blog published Driehaus' address--complete with directions--on the Internet so that conservatives can find his house for a planned Sunday protest at his house. [TPM]

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has also done her part to raise the rhetorical intensity toward violence, telling her Twitter followers, "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America, to ‘reload’ and ‘aim for’ Democrats.

Of coarse, Palin's use of gun imagery in her rhetoric against Democrats is no more an intentional incitement to violence than equating Barack Obama with terrorism and portraying him as "not one of us" during the 2008 presidential election campaign was an intentional incitement to violence. None the less, Palin's 2008 rhetoric against Obama prompted people to call out, "Kill him!" and "Terrorist!" at her 2008 campaign rallies. [Death threats leveled at Democratic congressman and their families / House Democrats report increased threats]

Denying that their intense rhetoric has in any way pushed their constituencies to the edge of violence, conservative leaders in congress and on conservative radio and TV excuse this "Rage on the Right" by claiming the people have a "right to be angry." That the people are angry because President Obama and the Democrats controlling congress are passing laws opposed by the people through totalitarian parliamentary procedures. [Conservative View Host Justifies Tea Party Rage / RNC Chair Steele Defends Tea Partiers]
Forget the parliamentary procedures are exactly the same rules that Republicans used to enact their conservative legislative agenda when they controlled Congress and the White House for most years of the past decade.
Conservative legislation, passionately opposed by Democrats, that cut taxes while radically increasing spending, and legislation that eliminated regulatory oversight of the American financial system.

Conservative legislation that turned budget surpluses at the end of the Clinton administration into a $1.5 trillion deficit at the end of the Bush Administration. Conservative financial deregulation legislation that allowed the American financial system to run wild to near total collapse.
Forget the Tea Party speaks for only 13 percent of "the people" who say they are part of the Tea Party group; Four in five of who voted for John McCain in the 2008 presidential race and George W. Bush in 2004 and who strongly support Sarah Palin for President in 2012, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll.

Forget that Obama won the 2008 Presidential Election with 349 electoral college votes to McCain's 163 votes.

Forget that two-thirds of the House seats won by Democrats in November 2008 (170, 66 percent) were won in landslide fashion, decided by more than 30 points over their Republican challengers and that over 90 percent of Democratic seats were won by double-digits in 2008 (233 of 257 seats), with just 24 seats decided by less than 10 points which increased the number of house seats held by Democrats by 21 seats.

Forget that Democrats increased the number of Senate seats from 49 before the November 2008 election to current number of 59 seats. All these Democratic Party wins came on a platform of "change." Change from the Republican's conservative governance.

Forget that the Republican minority now seeks to nullify the 2008 election and the will of the majority of voters who elected Democrats to represent them in the White House, Senate and House.

Forget that during the Bush Administration years when Republicans controlled the House and Senate, conservatives would shout that Democrats in congress were "with the terrorists" when they opposed the policies of the Republican leadership. In fact, any negative criticism of the president whatsoever was considered unpatriotic "while troops were in harm's way." That was the line we heard almost daily throughout the previous decade: don't undermine the commander-in-chief while troops were deployed in battle.
IBM had great success with a marketing strategy coined Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) during the heyday of "Big Iron" computers in the 1980's and 1990's. The message to IT Directors was that a decision to buy computing equipment from any company other than IBM could result in sudden professional death. The marketing catch phrase tagged to this FUD campaign was, "No one ever got fired for going with IBM."

For a decade, or more, the GOP has increasingly relied on the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) marketing strategy against Democrats to get Republicans elected. Increasingly, the GOP has adopted a message that Democrats are Godless, fascist, communist, socialist, totalitarian, satin worshiping, grandma killing, baby killing "evil-do'ers" determined to drag this country to the very depths of hell if they are not stopped by righteous conservatives.
The Republican National Committee plans to raise money in the 2010 election cycle through an aggressive campaign promise to "save the country" from Democrats. The 2010 GOP plan, as given in presentation given at an RNC meeting, is to promote and capitalize on “fear” of President Barack Obama and Democrats everywhere. It seems the only government policy idea the GOP will offer in 2010 is a visceral fear of Democrats. [Ben Smith has the story at Politico / An angry voter is an ignorant voter]

This is exactly the same type of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) marketing strategy that GOP consultant Frank Luntz’s told Republicans to use to oppose Health Insurance reform in his May 2009 strategy memo on health care. And this is exactly the strategy that Republicans have executed for the last year. [Politico]
The Daily Beast's John Avlon writes on, a new Harris poll released on March 24 that is based on the book "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America."The poll reveals Republican attitudes about Obama:
  • 57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim
  • 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president"
  • 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did"
  • 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."
These numbers demonstrate that the fear, uncertainty, doubt and hate political strategy has pumped up hyper-partisanship since Obama took office. This FUD strategy is what drove some Tea Party protesters gathered on Capitol Hill earlier this week to yell "n*gger" and "f*ggot" at Democratic members of Congress and what prompted others to threaten violence toward members of congress and even their children.

The Harris poll, which surveyed 2,230 people right at the height of the health-care reform debate, also clearly shows that education is a barrier to extremism. Respondents without a college education are vastly more likely to believe such claims, while Americans with college degrees or better are less easily duped. It's a reminder of what the 19th-century educator Horace Mann once too-loftily said: "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."

[Harris poll finds Republicans believe GOP smears of Obama]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thank You All!

I want to express my appreciation and a heartfelt thank you to Linda Magid - Convention Co-Chair and SD8 Representative, Deborah Angel-Smith - Convention Co-Chair, Dick Hildenbrand - Election Administrator and Jamie Ramirez - Deputy Election Administrator, who put in so many dedicated hours of hard work to support every Collin County Democratic Primary election worker and who prepare one of the best ever Democratic Conventions in Collin County.

And, thanks to all the Democrats who volunteered to help make Primary Election Day and the County Convention such a success this year.

Michael Handley
Managing Editor, The Democratic Blog of Collin County.