Thursday, August 19, 2004

Lubbock City "Leaders" are at it again!

At the most recent Lubbock City Council meeting, the newest budget has allocated $0 for books for the libraries for the upcoming year. They are also discussing closing the libraries two hours early each day.

I emailed the following to each City Council member and submitted it as a letter to editor with the AJ. If you agree with my position, PLEASE take the time to call or email each city council member.

The text of my email to the Coucil Members was as follows:
"In May 2004 Lubbock citizens overwhelmingly supported a bond issue to provide necessary capital improvements to our libraries. When 10,366 of us said "yes" to higher taxes to support these important facilities, we didn't dream the city council would so quickly turn a deaf ear.

$0.00 for books for the next upcoming year is not acceptable. Closing libraries early is not acceptable either.

The people of Lubbock have told you these facilities and services are important to us. It's your turn to show that you are listening."

I hope you can will make your voice heard.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Scarborough race mentioned on national blog

I did a little emailing with my last post and got a mention at Greater Democracy. Here's the link Be sure and consult Local Pols for Dean to get information on other candidates across the country.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Bob Scarborough in Lubbock today

I went to hear Bob Scarborough speak at the Lubbock County party HQ this morning. He’s the Democrat running for The Texas Railroad Commission. I didn’t know what to expect. Railroad commission—sounds like something created in 1891 by Gov. Hogg. Zounds. That’s exactly what it is. Back in those days, Bob explained, the commission lobbied for Texas citizens in the face of powerful back east railroad corporations that wanted to charge too much for railroad transportation. The commission was created to protect the public interest and the citizens of Texas. Now along with railroad crossings it regulates oil and gas. The only problem is that it’s fallen into the toothy jaws of the barracuda known as the oil and gas industry. Bob wants to set the commission back on its original course as the peoples’ lobby, this time with the oil and gas industry. He seeks better public policy on the issues of severance tax exemptions, remediation of ecologically damaged land, prevention of ecological catastrophe from uncapped abandoned wells, and he also wants to support those small producers who pump 4-5 barrels a week in stripper operations. This man is authentic. When you hear him talk you just know that he’s got the people foremost in his thoughts. I want you to visit his website and for the sake of goodness and the people of Texas, vote for him and give him some money. He and his wife of 49 years Glenella are traveling Texas in a “little white casita”. Buy them a tank of gas at the very least.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

organic activism

I just attended an amazing event. 60-70 young Lubbockites randomly descended on one of the bigger parks in the city just to meet new people and discuss any issues that they cared to discuss. The flier for it went something like this:

saturday, august 7
5pm - whenever
chips, drinks, charcoal provided
bring: -what you want to grill
- an instrument to play
to bring us together
to discuss the future of our town

This is the future of politics in America. The young woman who started this event did so as the result of a "wouldn't it be neat if" conversation at a coffeehouse. Invitations spread by word of mouth and random leaflet-scattering -- rumor has it that the idea's originator was handed one of her own fliers by someone she didn't know! There was general hanging-out mixed with pockets of politically charged conversation. About a dozen people each brought a little bit of food to share. A friend and I, both deputy voting registrars, registered 25 new voters at this event (though my friend deserves most of the credit!) and convinced several to become deputized themselves.

Why is an event like this successful? (1) It's a party, for party's sake if you want it to be. Politicking is "optional" and not in-your-face; more people will come as a result. (2) The setup is maximally distributed. No one person or group is responsible for it, and it occurs in a public space. This means that it's impossible to procrastinate, mess up, or burden one person/group with too much responsibility. (3) Word of it also spreads faster because the publicity, now in the hands of fate and of each attendee, takes care of itself. It's a house party on steroids: a neighborhood party where everyone is invited.

The event will happen again in a month. I believe it can only grow bigger and better each time as we approach November 2.

Post from Our Congress re Stenholm v. Neugebauer

What follows is lifted directly from the Our Congress website. Randy is in trouble in Abilene over his vote on military housing funds. Let's get this encouraging news to voters in 19 West.

TX-19: Neugbager Blasted By Reporter-News For Anti-Military Vote
Vince Leibowitz Aug 2nd

Congressman Charles Stenholm (D-Abilene) got an unexpected boost in his CD 19 race against fellow incumbent Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock) Sunday from the Abilene Reporter-News' editorial page, which put the hammer down on the freshman Congressman for siding with U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Sugar Land) over the district's veterans.
At issue is the $10 billion military construction bill the house passed and sent to the Senate just before the summer recess, which would have aided Abilene's
Dyess Air Force Base.
On July 21, Neugebauer voted against a Bush administration request of $500 million for future military housing construction, some of which would have been at Dyess. The measure failed 212-211. A single vote--which the Reporter-News notes should not have been Neugebauer's, sent the measure to defeat, and "directly exerted a negative impact on Abilene's economy."
The Reporter-News notes:
Who opposed the administration on this matter? Not House Democrats, including Rep. Charles Stenholm of Abilene, who voted to support the White House and our troops by increasing military housing funds.
No, the opponents who shot down the White House plan were House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer of Lubbock and other GOP House members pounded into line by DeLay - who broke House rules by extending the roll call 23 minutes beyond its 15-minute limit so he could hammer reluctant Republicans into getting the votes to defeat Bush's proposal.
Texas Congressman Chet Edwards (D-Waco) called this vote "a slap in the face to America's military families. They have a right to be outraged, and they will be."
The Reporter-News further notes:
What sort of rationale did DeLay and House Republicans present for opposing a Republican president whose re-election drive is based so centrally on the military's role in the war against terrorism? Supposedly, cutting $500 million out of future military construction was meant to show that the Republican-controlled Congress, which has been justly criticized for its free-spending habits, was actually capable of some fiscal restraint.
Given the billions Congress has thrown around during the last four years, it's laughable to think that trimming $500 million from military housing would ''prove'' a conservative attitude toward spending.
The paper also notes that, "Stenholm's record as a fiscal conservative doesn't need to be proved. Ask former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, if you have any doubts on that score. Stenholm's advocacy for Dyess is also widely acknowledged. The final House bill as passed included $28.6 million for military family housing at Dyess plus $3.3 million for a new Dyess refueling vehicle maintenance/crash rescue facility that Stenholm had requested.
The paper then lowers the boom on Neugebauer:
Meanwhile, Neugebauer has campaigned in Abilene's new District 19 as a strong supporter of Dyess. Evidently, that depends on whether the House majority leader says it's OK.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Bicycle Safety in West Texas

I know it's ranging a bit far from our main issues here at West Texas Voice (water, health care, agriculture), but I have to say something about bicycle safety. I just got a report from a bicyclist in Amarillo where a hit-and-run driver in a Tahoe hit three riders. Here's part of the eyewitness report: “Within minutes EMS arrived and took the rider with the more serious injuries to the hospital. We were told that the riders were in single file to the right of the white shoulder line when the Tahoe clipped them with his right rear view mirror knocking all three guys into the ditch. Apparently the only rider actually hit was the rear guy and he was thrown into the air knocking his buddies into the ditch. Pieces of the shattered mirror were scattered along the road and we found one piece with bits of blue cycling jersey on it.”

This is not funny, people. Be respectful when passing bicycles on the road. These are our brothers, sons, husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, daughters and grandchildren. If you think it's kinda cool to shake 'em up a little bit by coming close on the road, it's not. If you think you're gonna show 'em they have no right to be there, you're not. Bicycles are vehicles and have the same right to the road as you in your pickup. If you think it's funny to scare bicyclists, it's not. Slow down, pass bicyclists with caution. Please.

I want you to start thinking about this now because next year Lance Armstrong is bringing a world class bicycle race through West Texas. Be nice. This man is an American hero. Bicyclists are American heroes.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Boston Photos

I took a lot of pictures in Boston, but the best albums I've seen so far come from Karl-Thomas Musselman, the youngest Texas delegate at 19. Here's the link to page one of his photo album. K-T's pictures feature him and Nick Lawrie. They give an excellent view of the floor and peripheral activities such as celebrity collection.