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Dear Austin City Council:

I am writing to you today as a typical Austin voter, to thank you from the bottom of my heart for voting to oppose moving the City of Austin elections to November, which would by all accounts dramatically increase voter participation. I think we can all agree that this would be terrible.

A widely-expressed reason you have used for your opposition is that voters are already overwhelmed by, and uninformed about, November ballots, and this move would add to our already-burdensome task of basic citizenship.

You, wise council members, are exactly right. I am overwhelmed. My overwhelmishness is surpassed only by my uninformity.

Just like most other voters in Austin, I am a delicate little snowflake, very much in need of protection against such troublesome challenges like “electoral decisions.” Thank you for seeing us as the morons that we are, and protecting us from ourselves. The task of going to a polling place and investing upwards of six to ten minutes electing the candidates of our choice is, frankly, an undertaking so utterly exhausting to contemplate that immediately upon completion of this letter of appreciation, I fear I may either have to take a nap or drink heavily.

An additional rationale you have used in your opposition is that in so doing, you fear you may violate the city charter. How wise of you to see through the shallow attempts of the Texas Legislature to mislead us, when they specifically wrote into the legislation prompting Austin’s consideration of this move, in Sec. 41.0052c of the bill, that moving our elections to November will not constitute a violation of a city charter. Your rationale of simply re-inventing the truth to fit your agenda is courageous, and indicates to me that among the standard-issue elected officials in charge of our fair state, you’re going to fit in around here just fine.

I’m especially proud of your courageous stand against saving taxpayer money. The fact that the city will have to spend hundreds of thousands in taxpayer money in failing to move the elections to November should mean nothing to you, so I’m happy that it doesn’t.

Thank you so much for standing tall against those, like council member Mike Martinez, who naively think that increasing voter participation would somehow be a helpful for democracy. He was even quoted in the Statesman with the following, in the event you do not move city elections to November:

“There will be fewer women who vote. There will be fewer African Americans who vote. There will be fewer Hispanics who vote, and there will be fewer people of lower socioeconomic status.”

While I agree with him as to the net result of your position, he says that as if that’s a bad thing. I, for one, am proud that you know better. In fact, I honestly don’t understand why you don’t lead a move to return to the good ol’ days – you know, that “limiting the right to vote to property owners” thing. Man, that was a bad-ass party, huh?

And speaking of non-property owners, let’s not even get into a discussion about those kid bloggers over at Burnt Orange Report. They’re trying to make all kinds of trouble for you over your courageous stand. Don’t pay any attention to them – they’re just part of the delusional crowd who thinks voter participation is somehow “cool.” They probably have other similar socialist positions, like opposition to poll taxes and letting women vote and stuff. Those kids just need to get off our lawn.

In conclusion, to the four council members who support this courageous move to prevent more voting – Laura Morrison, Kathie Tovo, Sheryl Cole, and Bill Spelman – I applaud your courage. I urge you to continue to stand tall in preventing more of this nasty “participation” stuff from happening. I implore you to continue to listen to the sage advice of your political consultants, who are sure to have the best interests of the voters at heart as they advise you to prevent more Austinites from choosing their elected officials, at an additional cost to taxpayers.

I realize that subsequent votes on this measure may come as soon as this Thursday and Friday, so please continue to ignore the pleas of those who, perhaps even by clicking on the email contact links for your offices above, would try to lead you down the primrose path of increasing voter participation.

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Emma Barrientos

After hanging out in Big Bend for almost two weeks over the holidays, driving back into Austin last night resulted in a bit of sensory overload. From all directions – there were so many cars, so many people, so many lights. But having heard while out of town that my (and seemingly everybody’s) friend Emma Barrientos had unexpectedly passed away while I was gone, I was acutely aware that there was one light in Austin too few.

One would be foolish to characterize Emma Barrientos merely as “Gonzalo Barrientos’ wife.” While true that she was admirably and very effectively a solid rock behind, and beside, Senator Barrientos, her individual accomplishments are many, varied, and made this a better place to live. And while it can’t possibily be easy to be married to a Texas Senator, because you have to share your spouse with about three-quarters of a million people, you never would have guessed it by talking to Emma. She knew her husband was just doing what needed doing, and she stayed busy doing the same.

One would see her everywhere, attending events, lending her support, and rolling up her sleeves and doing the real work. It might have been easy for some to take Emma’s tireless work for granted, because whatever needed doing, she seemed to be constantly doing it, as if it were no big deal to do. Her passing no doubt leaves a big hole in the Barrientos family, but it also leaves a big hole in Austin, and in our hearts.

I come from a family in which it seems almost everybody has lingered and suffered much too long in their passing, so to me, there is something almost magic about one who passes away quickly and unexpectedly, as Emma did. It is certainly more jarring and painful for those they leave behind, but it’s almost as if a supreme being decided to spare Emma from the painful details of a drawn-out and painful process. Emma earned and deserved every break such a being has to offer. I just wish she’d stuck around a lot longer, for our sake.

Sometimes, we just don’t know when we’ve already had our last kiss, our last hug, or our last goodbye. That’s why a sudden passing can sometimes bring extra regret to those left behind. It always brings extra sorrow. But in Emma’s case, knowing her family, and knowing many of those around Austin and the rest of Texas who cherished their relationship with her, I bet she always felt the love from all corners.

Rest in peace, Emma. You were a peach.

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In Texas, we like to break stuff

This is pretty cool. Recently on South Padre Island, they performed the second largest building implosion in U.S. history, tearing a big one down to make room for another big one. My friend Louie Sanchez was there with his camera to capture the action.

Incidentally, this is also what the Austin City Council intends to do with drivers who, after January 1st, are caught driving (or, more likely parked on IH-35 or MOPAC) while using their cell phones as a text messaging device, to read or write email, to surf the interwebz, as a GPS navigation tool, or as a personal lubricant.

Despite the clear dangers associated with city council members not listening carefully to testimony regarding public safety issues during council hearings, there’s no indication that text messaging from the council chambers was made illegal.

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Yes, they’re STILL mulling over Janet Jackson’s breast

Still struggling after all these years on the issue of indecency on television, the U.S. Supreme Court just returned the lawsuit against CBS Television to the lower court, regarding Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the Superbowl a couple of years ago back. This is part of the United States’ never-ending effort to prove to the rest of earth how utterly uptight we are.

In a related local story, News8Austin found themselves in a similar situation recently, when Mayoral candidate Carole Keeton-McClellan-Rylander-Strayhorn had a wardrobe malfunction during a campaign appearance.

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LFT Worldwide Headquarters Austin City Election Endorsements

I can’t count the number of times in recent days in which somebody has walked to up me and asked, “FUBAR, who are you voting for in the Austin city elections?” Well actually, yes I can: zero. But despite lack of demand, we herein present…

FUBAR’s Election Picks


Lee Leffingwell. The choice is clear. Austin is not ready for a mayor named “Brewster.” Or, rather, Austin may have been ready 100 years ago, but not now. Similarly, Austin isn’t ready for a mayor who can’t even keep up with her last names or political party affiliations.

Place 1

Perla Cavazos. The other guy doesn’t even have a car, for Christ sake. This is Texas – get a car, then we’ll talk. Plus, Perla is f’ing HAWT, and that’s good enough for me. And oh yeah, she’s smart too, but apparently that’s not very important.

Place 2

Mike Martinez. Why are we even discussing this? Who the hell is that other guy? Get off my ballot, silly other guy.

Place 5

I remain firmly undecided in this race. There are rumors that Bill Spelman is favored by some.

Place 6

Sheryl Cole. She’s my neighbor, and that should be good enough for you. Vote for Sheryl, or the terrorists win.

This has been your Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters Austin City Election Endorsements. These are not suggestions – the choices are mandatory. You have been instructed.

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Weekly Poll Wrap-Up

The poll question was, “who are you leaning toward in the Austin City Council Place 1 race?”

The question was identical to one appearing now at Burnt Orange Report, in which the site administrators seem upset that people are…um…voting.

And without further delay: Perla Cavazos whupped ass with 73% of the vote, while Chris Riley closed with 26%, out of a total 89 votes cast.

Look for the new weekly poll, on top of the right hand sidebar, which will be posted whenever I get around to it.

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Poll Dancing

Those fun-loving party animalitos at Burnt Orange Report are annoyed that both campaigns for Austin City Council Place 1 are gaming their system in voting for their online poll.

I have a different philosophy. Game the system. Game it good and hard. Game the system ’til sweat glistens from the system’s voluptuous body. Then game it good and hard one more time, because, what the hell, lots of serious stuff gets said and done in politics, lets have some fun too.

So my poll, identical to BOR’s, is on top of the right hand sidebar. Bend it ’til it breaks. Knock yourself out. Let ‘er rip, tater chip. The one with the most votes by Friday afternoon may or may not win the race, but they’ll win the “my supporters can figure out how to vote more than your supporters in a meaningless blog poll” contest. Make the meaningless mean something.

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