My Election Endorsements
Yes, it's a looong ballot. For what it's worth, I'll share my decisions and some of my reasoning.
What I'd like to do is start with the Austin Chronicle endorsements, because I pretty much agree with most of them, and I know that's a basis that a lot of my friends use.
The one race I'd urge you to look closely at is the ACC Trustee Place 7 race. The Chronicle endorses Barbara Mink, but I found Brig Mireles to be a credible candidate who has some attractive points. I don't follow ACC issues closely and I don't know either of the candidates, but I do think ACC is a very important resource to us. I don't feel informed enough to "endorse" here, but I do urge looking into this race more closely, and not following an endorsement knee-jerk.
I took a possibly unpopular position of voting against propositions one and two, which move the city election date from spring to November. Here's why: look at the length of the ballot you've got. Now add four or so City Council races. Is there really enough oxygen in the city to fuel that discussion on top of all the other issues we are working through? I get the importance of boosting voter participation. I also get that it won't be four or so races, but only a few if single member districts are approved. I fear, however, that a crowded November will hurt our ability to give local races the attention they deserve.
As the Austin Chronicle endorsed: I voted "no" on three (10-1) and "yes" on four (8-2-1). I've been wavering on three and was considering yes on both. I support single member districts and I fear losing out due to the split vote. Proposition three, however, is very long, very complex, was drafted by a small group without broad public hearing, it tries to solve a problem that Austin may not have (thanks to term limits) by adopting a California solution to solve partisan problems (and city council races are non-partisan). And, worst of all, it gets baked into the city charter, so if any of these things misfire -- which is highly likely in a proposition this complex -- it will be extremely hard to fix. Prop. three is a badly designed solution by some well-meaning but misguided civic activists, and should not be approved.
The Austin Chronicle offered no endorsement on prop eight, which allows a 30-day fundraising period after elections to retire debts. I disagree, and strongly support a "yes" vote. They offered reasons to vote yes and reasons to vote no, and I think their "no" reason is defective. They were afraid this would create a loophole that would allow campaigns to keep last minute contributions secret. Except the City of Austin has an ordinance that requires reporting of late breaking contributions. I voted "yes" on prop eight.
I voted "yes" on the central health district. I like that it will provide higher levels of health care for those of us with coverage, and will help seal the holes that will open when Texas opts out of additional Medicaid support offered under the Affordable Care Act. This will have a tax impact, but a modest one, and well worth it.
I voted "yes" on all of the local bonds. These bonds are within the city's current debt capacity, and so they won't raise taxes. They may not fund all the projects I'd like to the extent I want, but they do strike a pretty good balance.
When I early voted late Thursday afternoon there was a bit of a wait. I'd urge you to early vote as soon as possible, to get it out of the way, and make sure your vote counts. I've produced a free, non-commercial, mobile-enabled web application to help you find the best place to vote. Give it a try, at: http://voteatx.us