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RERsports: Formula One organizers say no need to speculate over future in Austin (VIDEO)

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The effort to get more people to Austin’s Formula One race seems to have worked. After consecutive years of ticket sales going down, organizers say this was the second most attended year.

The formula to do it included lowering ticket costs, a rain refund guarantee and a highly-anticipated performance by Taylor Swift.

Bobby Epstein, Chairman of the Circuit of the Americas, believes the event is stronger than ever.

“I think everyone is riding on a wonderful high right now, the employees, everyone that works here, everyone associated with it. This is absolutely the best buzz we’ve had since the first year,” said Epstein. “There were a lot of ups and downs, it’s been rough, and it’s been fun – but I think everyone is so pleased right now and we’re just enjoying it.”

Tavo Hellmund, the man who first envisioned COTA, is confident there are plenty more races to come.

“I don’t know why anyone thinks the race in Austin could be in trouble. The great relationship that we set up with the state of Texas, as long as the state of Texas is willing to write a $10 or $15 or $20 million check, there will be a race here,” said Hellmund.

Read More, See Video Here

Woodfill: Enough is Enough! Demand that State Rep. Sarah Davis Disavow Her Planned Parenthood Endorsement

Jeremiah 1:5 states, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” During his day, Jeremiah the prophet had spoken out against a people who were building altars to Baal in order to sacrifice their children. (Jeremiah 19:4-5) This biblical pro-life truth is adopted in our 2016 Republican Party of Texas Platform where it states,”Right to Life – All innocent human life must be respected and safeguarded from fertilization to natural death; therefore, the unborn…have a fundamental individual right to life, which cannot be infringed.” (2016 RPT Platform p. 11) The RPT Platform further states, “Abolish Abortion – We call upon the Texas Legislature to enact legislation stopping the murder of unborn children…” (2016 RPT Platform p. 11) In fact, the abortion industry’s leading provider/advocate, Planned Parenthood, has fought Republicans on the life issue from time immemorial. Our RPT Platform also addresses this organization specifically, stating, “Planned Parenthood – We support completely eliminating public funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Republicans, save one (Rep. Sarah Davis), have supported the sonogram bill, defunding of Planned Parenthood, parental consent and other limits on abortion. While most of us have spent our time and resources fighting for the life of the unborn and opposing Planned Parenthood, State Rep. Sarah Davis, Republican District 134, Harris County, has chosen to embrace the abortion industry and its figurative head, Planned Parenthood. During this election cycle, Ms. Davis has taken her pro-abortion agenda one step further, bragging about her Planned Parenthood endorsement. The most recent mail piece sent to over 30,000 voters in House District 134, states the following:

“In 2013, Sarah Davis stood alone again: she was the only Republican in the entire Legislature to vote against abortion restrictions…” The flyer quotes Ms. Davis’ pro-abortion statements from the floor of the Texas’ House of Representatives, stating, “We are here, and the nation is watching what we are doing today on the floor…now is not the time to play political football with women.” In the mail piece Ms. Davis describes these statements as, “Our Voice, Our Values.” Clearly, she has disdain and disrespect for the grassroots activist who created our Pro-life Party Platform. Her pro-abortion values are not our values!

Not surprisingly, Ms. Davis is a key part of Speaker Straus’ leadership team, serving on the powerful Calendars Committee. I want to encourage you to call (512) 463-0389, email, tweet, and post on Ms. Davis’ Facebook page to disavow her Planned Parenthood endorsement. Let her know that we are the party of life and we will not stand by idly and allow Planned Parenthood to push its radical agenda on Harris County or the state of Texas. Thank you for your taking action. It is time for our grassroots army to engage. Enough is Enough!

Thank you,

Jared Woodfill
President, Conservative Republicans of Texas

Property tax reform issues explored at S.A. town hall

Talk includes boosting sales levy

By John W. Gonzalez

The incoming Legislature will attempt to relieve the property tax burden on Texans, but depending on their approach, they could be in for a titanic struggle with cities and counties that oppose revenue caps.

In a town hall meeting on property tax issues Thursday night, the notion of legislative limits on property tax revenues that fund schools, cities and counties drew support from a GOP lawmaker and a conservative policy analyst. Arguing against the concept were county and city officials who warned of problems if there’s less local control of government income.

Panelists also tossed around the idea of the state eliminating property taxes in favor of a heftier sales taxes, a conservative proposal that drew support from County Judge Nelson Wolff. But Wolff said short of such a drastic reform, there’s not much to be gained by legislative tinkering that “nibbles around the edges” of the problem: Ever-rising valuations prompting higher tax bills.

The town hall meeting, co-sponsored by the Express-News, University of Texas at San Antonio and Spectrum News, came on the same day that Bexar County residents were receiving the 2016 tax bills in the mail. Although Bexar County slightly reduced its tax rate to offset rising valuations, tax collections will still increase.

Joining Wolff on the panel were Texas Municipal League President Mary M. Dennis, mayor of Live Oak; state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; and Texas Public Policy Foundation local government scholar James Quintero.

Campbell, an ally of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, said Texans can be assured that lawmakers will address these and other tax issues when they convene in January. Since late 2015, a select Senate committee has been holding hearings around the state to explore proposals that would impact property tax revenues.

“When we are looking at how we can decrease the tax burden on us Texans, all the tools in the toolbox need to be out there,” Campbell said.

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Architect Draws Plans For New City Along U.S/Mexico Border (AUDIO)

Amidst all the talk about building walls and relationships between the U.S. and Mexico, a Mexican architect wants to build a brand-new city straddling the two countries.

Fernando Romero’s bi-national plan would be located between New Mexico, Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua, not far from El Paso and Juarez.

Read More, Hear Audio Here

 

RERhotclip: RER LISTENERS KNEW OF CLINTON WIKILEAKS OVER A YEAR AGO (AUDIO)

Wikileaks is doing quite a number on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States.  Somehow, while under asylum protection inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange is unleashing daily info dumps, that some may argue, confirms she escaped worthy prosecution back in the summer of 2016.

Over a year ago, in June of 2015, RER’s Apostle Claver Kamau-Imani viewed an amazing interview.  The interviewee was the internet pioneer – or, pirate, depending on your views – Kim Dotcom (yes, that’s his legal name).  Dotcom, under house arrest in Auckland, New Zealand at the time of the interview on Bloomberg TV, spilled the beans.  He predicted, with 100% certainty, that Assange would strike Clinton at some point during the 2016 general election.

Knowing the history of Assange and Wikileaks, Apostle Claver immediately knew the import of such a statement over a year ago and shared the entire interview with his RER listeners.  Anyone that was a faithful listener of RagingElephantsRadio.com during that summer of 2015 time period, should not be surprised by the voluminous evidence of unethical and immoral behavior, corruption, and profane speech and acts revealed to the world provided by Assange and whomever hacked the email account of Team Clinton’s, John Podesta.

Claver expected other MSM networks would pick on what he considered to be an astonishing story.  If any others besides Bloomberg and RER did pick up the story, it wasn’t widespread.

The argument that RagingElephantsRadio.com makes, unceasingly, to every Texan is that the vast majority of content being distributed through RER cannot be consumed through other media outlets. Isn’t it time that you became a daily listener of RER?

In this RERhotclip, produced on a Throwback Thursday, you will hear the report Apostle Claver made in the summer of 2015, and the extraordinary predictions made by Kim Dot Com on the subject of Assange, Wikileaks, Snowden, Obama, and Hillary Clinton, in their entirety.


Team RER

Copyright©2016 Raging Elephants Radio LLC

Texas House digging in heels for school voucher fight

BY KIAH COLLIER

A bipartisan group of state representatives hammered private school choice proponents at a heated legislative hearing on Monday, signaling an enduring uphill battle in the Texas House for proposals that would use taxpayer dollars to help parents send their kids to private or parochial schools, or educate them at home.

Rural Republicans and Democrats in the lower chamber have long blocked such programs — often referred to in sweeping terms as “private school vouchers,” although there are variations. Passing one has emerged as a top priority in the Texas Senate for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who unsuccessfully pushed a private school choice program when he was a Republican state senator from Houston and chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Last year, during Patrick’s first legislative session presiding over the upper chamber, senators passed a bill that would have given tax credits to businesses that donated to scholarship funds assisting low-income or special needs students with private or parochial school tuition. The legislation died in the House, where it didn’t even get a hearing.

Groups like the Texas Catholic Conference are still pushing the “tax credit scholarship” concept. But the focus has since shifted to the latest fad in private school choice: education savings accounts, or ESAs, which award taxpayer dollars directly to parents in the form of debit cards. Parents can use those funds for a variety of education-related expenses, including private or parochial school tuition or expenses related to home schooling or virtual schooling.

ESA proponents, including the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, told the House Public Education Committee during Monday’s hearing that the savings accounts have the most impact of various proposals because of the flexibility they give parents. And they advocated for a program that would be available to all families.

“A universal approach to educational choice would certainly benefit the most students,” said Randan Steinhauser, Texas adviser for EdChoice and executive director of Texans for Education Opportunity. “An ESA is also a very valid way to address the needs of the special-needs community.”

Five states have created ESAs, although all but one have restricted participation to special-needs students, Steinhauser told the panel. The outlier, Nevada, passed a universal program that the state’s supreme court recently struck down, although not because it diverted public funds to private institutions. (Something some conservative Texas lawmakers were quick to cheer.)

But Rep. Marsha Farney asserted early on Monday that diverting public funds to private schools may violate the Texas Constitution, which requires state lawmakers to support a free system of public schools.

“To me, words matter. The Constitution matters,” she said. “And when people refer to state funds and the government schools, I think we should refer to the schools as the Constitution schools because that’s where it originated.”

Read More Here

Abbott, Patrick, Straus call for action by Child Protective Services

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AUSTIN — Texas’ top three officeholders on Oct. 12 instructed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to improve the protection of children at risk of abuse.

With recent data showing the agency is struggling to see children in a timely manner, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus sent a letter to Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman, calling for immediate action to more quickly help vulnerable children.

“Protecting children from abuse is going to be a top priority in next year’s legislative session, but there is a need for action right now,” Straus said.

The letter instructs Whitman to:

– Develop a plan to hire and train more special investigators;

– Develop a plan to ensure that DFPS has the caseworkers to handle the increase in cases and to prioritize hires in the most critical regions of the state;

– Develop a plan to address a shortage of foster homes and residential providers;

– Reinforce a culture of accountability within CPS; and

– Build upon ongoing efforts to enhance partnerships with faith-based communities.

The 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature will convene on Jan. 10.

Registration breaks record

Texas Secretary of State Carlos H. Cascos on Oct. 13 announced the number of registered voters was 15,015,700, an all-time high number for the state.

The last day to register in time for the Nov. 8 election was Oct. 11.

The 15 million-plus number reported by Cascos is about 78 percent of Texas’ estimated voting age population of 19,307,355. Voting age population estimates include Texans who may not be eligible to vote, such as non-citizens or convicted felons who have not yet fully discharged their sentence.

Cascos said the number of registered voters reported is preliminary, and likely will increase a bit as last-minute applications continue to be processed during the next few days.

Read More Here

Harris County Judge Emmett proposes alternative to property tax

Tom Broad

Addresses Lake Houston Chamber luncheon

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has an alternative to the property tax.
“That’s our only source of income,”  Emmett confessed to a Lake Houston Chamber luncheon crowd, “the most reviled tax there is – and rightfully so.”

Emmett earned an enthusiastic round of applause when he suggested a 1.6-percent sales tax would raise the same amount of money for the county and the property tax could be abolished.  He spoke to a capacity crowd on Sept. 29 at the Chamber’s annual State of the County Luncheon.

Emmett listed six areas the county is responsible for – law enforcement, health care, transportation, flood control, homeland security and emergency management, and quality of life.

Each is funded through local property taxes, the judge said, the only funding means allowed by the state.
“Forty percent of our county budget is spent on law enforcement,” the judge said, “and we don’t get to pick our customers.  The state tells us what is illegal.  There are a lot of people in jail who shouldn’t be there.  At any given time, a third of our 9,000 inmates have mental health issues. It’s expensive for county taxpayer to house these inmates. The state needs to step up and provide funding and care.”

Another 28 percent of the county budget, the judge said, is spent on the hospital district and indigent health care.
“This health care is funded by your property tax dollars,” Judge Emmett said. “Medicare would pay for it but Texas isn’t participating in the program so funds that could reduce your property taxes or could be spent on other programs is spent instead on health care.”

“Frankly, if the state cuts property taxes, we’re going to have to ask you what do you not want us to do,” Emmett said.
“A couple times a year,” he said, “I get calls from Harris County residents demanding the county ban fireworks.”
“We can’t do it,” he admitted. “We don’t have ordinance power. Counties are arms of the state of Texas. We are only allowed to do what state law allows us to do.”

Emmett then ticked off a list of statistics that makes Harris County unique:
·    The county’s 4.5 million residents dwarf 25 states.
·    1.7 million county residents live outside cities.
·    By 2020, more county residents will live outside than inside the City of Houston.

In a discussion about the Astrodome, Emmett said as a state antiquities landmark, tearing it down – estimated to cost $30 million – is not an option.

Read More Here

Despite Abbott’s boasts, state has not blocked Planned Parenthood funds

Edgar Walters and Alexa Ura/The Texas Tribune , WFAA

Feeding on outrage sparked by the release of controversial undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed one year ago to cut off $3.1 million in Medicaid funding that the organization’s Texas affiliates receive to provide family planning and women’s health care services to the poor.

Because of its abortion services — which are separate from the health programs and receive no public funds — the organization is hardly an uncommon target of Republican rhetorical assaults. But Abbott’s 2015 pledge was oddly timed. It came the same day a federal district court in Louisiana told that state it could not legally kick Planned Parenthood out of its Medicaid program.

Although the same legal reasoning appeared to apply to Texas, Abbott quickly used the defunding pledge as fodder to solicit donations for his hefty campaign war chest. How much money the first-term governor raised off the issue is unclear.

What is clear one year later, however, is that roughly 12,000 low-income women in Texas are still obtaining services from Planned Parenthood through the Medicaid program, which is mostly federally funded. And state leaders who spearheaded the charge to cut off funding have little to say about their failure to do so.

A spokeswoman for the governor said Abbott was “disappointed and troubled by the lack of progress” in defunding the women’s health organization but that he still expects the issue to “move forward.”

“As Gov. Abbott has previously stated, the gruesome harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood will not be allowed in Texas,” Ciara Matthews, the spokeswoman, said in an email. There is no evidence that Planned Parenthood harvests fetal tissue in Texas, as claimed by anti-abortion activists.

The flare-up began last year with the release of undercover videos filmed by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, which showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of fetal tissue for research. Anti-abortion advocates claimed the footage proved the women’s health organization had improperly collected aborted fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood vehemently denied those claims, and there’s been no evidence so far to prove any wrongdoing on the organization’s part. But Texas Republicans used outrage provoked by the videos — and unspecified allegations of billing fraud — to begin the process of cutting off the $3.1 million in Medicaid funding Planned Parenthood receives for its Texas health care programs.

Read More Here 

A man called police to help his distressed wife. They wound up killing her. (VIDEO)

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

The man told a 911 operator that his wife was in distress. He wanted a mental health officer sent to their south Austin apartment to help calm things down.

Austin police changed their tactics when the man warned that the situation had grown perilous: His wife, he said, had picked up a gun.

Instead of the mental health officer responding to the Club at Summer Valley apartments, two other officers crept closer to building 744. They put cover between themselves and the distraught woman’s apartment, cautious as they tried to make contact.

The woman, identified Monday as Micah Dsheigh Jester, found the police first, emerging suddenly from a breezeway — her arm extended, a gun pointed at officers.

Police later said that it was a replica semiautomatic BB gun.

But the responding officers didn’t know that during the tense and, ultimately, fatal encounter.

“She extended the weapon toward the officers and said ‘Shoot me. Shoot me. Kill me,’ ” Assistant Chief Troy Gay told reporters early Sunday.

“The officers were giving her verbal commands the whole time telling her to drop the weapon.”

Instead, Gay said, she edged closer to them.

Both officers fired, Gay said.

Jester fell to the sidewalk, wounded. But she still had the BB gun.

“The female was still moving,” Gay said. “The weapon was still underneath her. And she . . . was still a threat.”

Other officers had arrived by that point, and the group tried to disarm Jester without getting shot, Gay said. On the ground, she continued to ask officers to kill her.

“As they were approaching her to disarm her, the female had the weapon in her hand,” Gay said.

An officer fired several more shots.

Jester, 26, was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.

“Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic incident,” Austin police said in a statement Monday.

Read More Here