Veterans day 2017

November 11, 2017

We offer our thanks to our veterans.

Freedom unfortunately is not free.

Brutus


Performing arts

November 10, 2017

The August 7, 2012 ordinance that city council approved ordering the quality of life bond election had this in it:

Not only was there no mention of athletic events, there was not even mention of the facility being multipurpose.

We deserve better

Brutus


A way to get a vote on the performing arts center

November 9, 2017

The Durangito crowd has been trying to stop the construction of the performing arts center by creating an ordinance that would rezone the area.

Unless they take the issue to court it appears that they have been stymied by city council.

What they seem to fail to understand is that there is a difference between creating zoning and objecting to zoning.

Texas law (local government code) reads:

Sec. 211.015. ZONING REFERENDUM IN HOME-RULE MUNICIPALITY. (a) Notwithstanding other requirements of this subchapter, the voters of a home-rule municipality may repeal the municipality’s zoning regulations adopted under this subchapter by either:

(1) a charter election conducted under law; or

Our city charter gives the citizens the right to petition to create an ordinance.  The Durangito group might want to look at modifying the city charter through a petition and election.  Section 9.004 of the Texas local government code (for the benefit of the people at the city, that’s a law) says:

The governing body shall submit a proposed charter amendment to the voters for their approval at an election if the submission is supported by a petition signed by a number of qualified voters of the municipality equal to at least five percent of the number of qualified voters of the municipality or 20,000, whichever number is the smaller.

The state only allows city charter elections every two years.  If my recollection is correct the last one we had was on November 3, 2015 so an election can be called for.

The city is aware of this.  This slide came from a February 23, 2015 presentation:

We deserve better

Brutus


They could learn it in kindergarten

November 8, 2017

This little snippet is part of the EPISD kindergarten report card:

Could we get our elected officials to attend that class?

We deserve better

Brutus


The whole truth?–never

November 7, 2017

Further to the issue of the city’s out of town lawyer telling us and city council that:

 For decades, Texas Courts have consistently held that the power of the people to legislate through initiative petition or
referendum does not extend to zoning.

They could have

Notwithstanding any charter provision to the contrary, a governing body of a municipality may adopt a zoning ordinance and condition its taking effect upon the ordinance receiving the approval of the electors at an election held for that purpose.

That language is part of Texas Local Government Code section 211.015.  It clearly states that city council could have given us a vote on the zoning issue downtown.  That would be different from the process of initiative or referendum, but would require council to care about what the public thinks.

We don’t know how the citizens would vote if the issue were put on the ballot, but it would certainly clarify things.

Then again they simply don’t want us to have a say in the issue.

We deserve better

Brutus

 


Another city lawyer fights the citizens with our money

November 6, 2017

The other day one of the out of town lawyers the city has hired to fight the recently denied second petition (see Killing initiative) either told a whopper or the Times misquoted him.

According to the Times:

Denton said the wording of the City Charter language regarding petition initiatives must have caused confusion.

The City Charter states the petition may be submitted to the city clerk and that official must verify the signatures and “thereafter must place the reproposed ordinance on the ballot at the next general election specified in state law.”

“The charter purportedly states the city secretary immediately puts the initiative onto the ballot, but the city secretary has no authority in Texas law to place something on the ballot,” Denton said.

The facts

Section 52.002 of the Texas election code reads this way:

Sec. 52.002. AUTHORITY PREPARING BALLOT. Except as otherwise provided by law, the following authority shall have the official ballot prepared:

(1) for an election ordered by the governor or a county authority, the county clerk;

(2) for a primary election, the county chair of the political party holding the primary;

(3) for an election ordered by a city authority, the city secretary; and

(4) for an election ordered by an authority of a political subdivision other than a county or city, the secretary of the subdivision’s governing body or, if the governing body has no secretary, the governing body’s presiding officer.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 48, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Point 3 clearly indicates that our city secretary (and only the city secretary) has the authority to prepare the ballot.

The city’s website explains it this way:

The City Clerk’s Division is responsible for conducting City elections for Mayor, City Representatives, El Paso Municipal Court and El Paso Municipal Court of Appeals Judges, Charter elections, recall elections, bond elections, and referendums.

Our city charter requires the city clerk to put such items on the next general election ballot and state law confirms the authority.

So was this guy lying or is he ignorant?  Can we get a refund on his fees?

We deserve better

Brutus


Tax cuts do not have to be “paid for”

November 5, 2017

There has been considerable discussion recently in the media outlets about the potential tax reform measures that congress is considering.

When the topic of tax-cuts or reductions comes up we are told that one of the problems is in finding ways to pay for the cuts.  The implication is that some other set of taxes will have to go up.

Not necessary

We don’t need to pay for tax cuts.

The government needs to cut spending so that it is aligned with tax revenue.

They don’t have a guaranteed amount of income.  If congress decides to cut taxes the loss of revenue should be accompanied by a cut in spending.

We deserve better

Brutus


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