Tag Archives: Austin

Ken Paxton Butts in Again

Vexatious litigant and embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed another lawsuit to waste taxpayer dollars and deflect attention from his own considerable legal woes.   Paxton is suing the City of Austin for an alleged violation of the state’s open carry law by banning guns from its city hall, according to the Austin American-Statesman.  Red predicts that Mr. P will fail in his efforts to coerce Austin into complying with his Tea Party and NRA agenda.  The language of the open carry law provides that guns can be prohibited in courts or “offices utilized by the court.”  Austin’s city hall (and many others in Texas) frequently hold various types of court proceedings.  Austin temple of local democracy, for example, hosts a community court for low-level offenders, and the City based its gun ban on that fact. Whether that’s actually a court is an open question. Three weeks ago, Paxton issued a non-binding AG’s opinion claiming there is no court in Austin’s city hall and threatened to sue Austin unless it blinked first.  City officials apparently had little respect for the legal stylings of an indicted AG.  Paxton, ever eager for a spotlight that will cement his Tea Party bona fides has now sued.

George P. Bush – Enemy of Democracy

Bush family scion and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush took to Facebook on Sunday to decry the results of a democratically held referendum on Austin’s  Uber and Lyft ordinance on Sunday.   According to Bush, “Liberalism has consequences. Austin claims to be a forward-thinking city … This is what happens with liberalism — the government wins and the people lose.”

There is no more direct form of democracy than the referendum, where the people – not the politicians – vote on specific issues.  Yet, when the people don’t fall in line with what George Pee thinks is right, they somehow lose.  Explain that one please.  Maybe next time, the voters will agree with George Pee and they will win!  Of note here, is the fact that Uber outspent its opponents by a factor of 100 to 1 and still lost because the people are – what  – losers?   Exactly how does the government win, when it is doing exactly what the people have told it they want.

George Pee obviously thinks he knows a lot more than the voters of Austin.  Red wonders when he had the time to get so smart.  Maybe he picked up some knowledge about this particular issue when he was missing in action from his job for much of the time until JEB!!!!$$$$?’s presidential campaign imploded in a heap of misspent money, incompetence and acrimony.  Citizens of Austin, congratulations for standing up for what you believe in.  Red urges you to ignore this Bush family freeloader who has no interest in doing the job he was elected to do and who – if not for his name and family connections – would be toiling in obscurity somewhere.  Like Red.

And by the way, it’s refreshing to pick on someone other than Sen. Ted Cruz (TP-Texas) for a change.

Today in Texas History – April 26

From the Annals of the Early “Bloggers” –  In 1874, the first of a series of twenty-three letters and poems authored by “Pidge” was published in the Austin Statesman.  The actual author was Thomas C. Robinson. Robinson had come to Austin in 1874 following a feud with a neighbor in his native Virginia.  He enlisted in the Texas Rangers and served under Leander H. McNelly during the Sutton-Taylor feud.  He was also involved the continuing conflicts with Juan N. Cortina’s raiders.  Robinson’s works describe Austin in the 1870s, but more importantly provide one of the few insights into what service was like in the Texas Rangers from observations in the field.  Unfortunately, Robinson returned to Virginia on leave to settle the feud with his former neighbor and was killed in a gunfight on April 4, 1876, shortly after the last “Pidge” letter was published.

Today in Texas History – April 19

From the Annals of the Traveling Capital –  In 1837, Houston became the capital of Texas  two months before the community was actually incorporated as a city. The former Harrisburg had been founded by the Allen brothers only a year before and named after Gen. Sam Houston -hero of the Battle of San Jacinto. The capital remained on Buffalo Bayou until January of 1839 when Austin was approved as the new capital.

Photo of the building that served as the Capitol from mysanantonio.com.

Today in Texas History – April 15

From the Annals of the French –  In keeping with this week’s museum theme, in 1956, the restored French Legation was opened to the public.  The site is in East Austin adjacent to the Texas State Cemetery.   France was the only country other than the United States to recognize the Republic of Texas.  France sent Jean Pierre Isidore Alphonse Dubois, from the French Legation in Washington, to be the chargé d’affaires  in Texas.  Dubois was instructed to to remain in Austin to maintain an official presence there.  The legation building was completed in 1840-1841, and probably was the finest structure in Austin at the time. Dubois entertained dignitaries (such as were available) and worked with the government to bring French settlers to Texas.  After the capital was temporarily moved from Austin, the legation was abandoned. It was then occupied by the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese  Galveston.  Dr. Joseph W. Robertson later bought the estate where he and descendants lived 1940. In 1945, the State purchased the site and gave custody to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas who established the French Legation Museum in 1949. The DRT restored the legation building and grounds and opened the site to the public on this date in 1956.  It is the oldest house in Austin.

Today in Texas History – April 6

Elisabeth Ney by Friedrich Kaulbach.jpg

From the Annals of the Artists –  In 1911, the Elisabet Ney Museum was founded in Austin. It served as one of the earliest centers for artistic development in Texas.  The German-born Ney spent the first half of her life in Europe before emigrating to the U.S. at the age of 39 with her husband Edmund Montgomery.  The first settled in Georgia before coming to Texas where Montgomery purchased Liendo Plantation near Hempstead.  Ney ran the plantation while Montgomery tended to his studies.  In the early 1880’s, Ney was invited to Austin by Gov. Oran Roberts.  She purchase land in Hyde Park and built a new studio named Formosa.  She revitalized her artistic career in Austin creating her most famous works – statutes of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston for the Chicago World’s fair and the memorial to Albert Sydney Johnson in the Texas State Cemetery.  The museum which bears her named is located on the site of her studio in Hyde Park.

Today in Texas History – December 14

From the Annals of the Capital City –  In 1840, Moses Johnson was elected mayor of Austin.  Johnson, a medical doctor, had moved to Texas in the late 1830s.  He practiced medicine and surgery in Harrisburg and Liberty counties until moving to Austin in 1840, where he was quickly elected alderman and later mayor and also appointed justice of the peace. He was a Mason and served as the grand marshal of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1844. On December 14, 1844, he was appointed treasurer of the republic by Pres. Anson Jones.  In April 1846 he was a member of a Democratic committee that marked the beginnings of  Texas Democratic party.  In 1848,  Johnson was appointed inspector and collector of revenue for the port of Lavaca.

Forget About Syrian Refugees, We Must Protect Ourselves from the Insidious Dangers of the “Stealth Dorm”

While Gov. Greg Abbott (TP- Texas) frets over Syrian refugees and boldly states that Texas will accept none (Red wonders exactly how that is going to work), our Poor Idiot Governor is ignoring the real crisis facing our state – the specter of the Stealth Dorm (ominous music plays).

It’s a good thing the Austin and Fort Worth City Councils are on the job, because they have recently passed anti-Stealth Dorm ordinances to deal with problems allegedly created by TCU and UT students cohabitating in willy-nilly fashion. The FW ordinance prohibits more than five unrelated people from occupying a single-family home, no matter how large it is, while the Austin ordinance puts the limit at four for new construction. The ordinances are allegedly justified as an attempt to preserve single family neighborhoods and avoid an end-around of municipal zoning laws.  The allegedly awful consequence of allowing people to decide where and how to live include increased traffic, parking problems, noise and “overflowing sewers.”  Red can see possible problems with the first three, but fails to see how 5 college students tax the sewer lines any more than a houseful of teenagers who are all related in some form or fashion.  The hubbub has caught the attention of the Business Insider which you can peruse if you want to know more.

If I can just get off of that [Austin] freeway without getting killed or caught . . .

Jerry Jeff Walker should be singing about freeways in Texas.  Any laments about an L.A. Freeway are passé, and JJW need only travel a few miles in his attempt to avoid getting killed or caught. The Texas Department of Transportation has issued its annual Top 100 Congested Roadways  list and I-35 in Austin from Hwy 290 to Hwy 71 has been named the most congested stretch of highway in the state.  The stretch of I-35 (known to long-time Austin residents as “Interregional”) has surpassed the West Loop in Houston to claim the number one place in Texas to while away the hours waiting in traffic.  Fortunately, Red’s intimate knowledge of Austin’s highways and byways allows him to generally avoid the parking lot that is I-35 whenever he graces the Capital City with his presence.  In Houston, however, the West Loop can be damn near unavoidable because of the complete absence of crossings of Buffalo Bayou in the western part of the Inner Loop area.

Photo from the TXDOT.

Lone Star Rail District Moving Forward

The Lone Star Rail District plans to connect San Antonio and Austin by efficient and time effective rail service seems to moving slowly towards reality. LSRD officials are seeking $500,000 in funding from the San Antonio City Council to begin planning work in the Alamo City.  The LSRD plan includes improving the existing Union Pacific rail line between San Antonio and Austin for passengers at an estimated cost of $800 million. But LSRD first has to build a $1.6 billion freight line east of San Antonio to divert freight traffic.  Funding for the rail line improvements is expected to come from state and federal grants as well as the private sector.  LSRD also needs assurances from municipalities along its route from San Antonio to Georgetown that they will pay for continued maintenance and operations of each stop.

LSRD envisions transported 20,000 people each day and reducing traffic on I-35 by 18,000 vehicles.   The plan includes 16 stations with six in the San Antonio, one in New Braunfels, one in San Marcos, one in Buda/Kyle and the rest in the Austin-Georgetown corridor.

Red took the train from Austin to San Antonio exactly one time – with his mother when he was 5.  Red didn’t ride on a train again until he was 20 years old and taking a train from New Jersey into New York City.   The average European could not imagine a 15 year gap in train trips.