OlsonWhen Kim Olson, a third-generation farmer and retired U.S. Air Force colonel, announced her candidacy against current Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, she took the Texas roads with the goal — much like fellow Democrat Beto O’Rourke — of visiting every county in Texas.

She also knew it would be an uphill climb — her party hasn’t won a statewide race since 1994.  It has been hinted that some have Miller’s social media antics and what they feel are ethics violations, and point to the paucity of endorsements for Miller as evidence of that.

The state agriculture commissioner oversees school lunch programs, trade and market development for commodities like cattle, and regulates fuel pumps, among other things. We had a quick chat with Olson a few weeks ago about what she has learned while campaigning. Answers have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. (more…)

There is an interesting sign war going on in at least one East Dallas neighborhood, Enclave at Grove Hill. This sign, posted by one of the residents, is being met with resistance and called “offensive” by some in the neighborhood. It is in front of the home of sometimes political activist and candidate Adam Bazaldua, a friend who teaches culinary arts and believes firmly in freedom of speech, especially at election time.

Despite the protests of his HOA, Adam says he is leaving the sign up until after the election. 

“This sign sits proudly in our family’s yard displayed next to (his daughter’s) school sign and behind a Beto sign. This week we received a violation from the HOA because our sign is “offensive” according to a neighbor who made a complaint.  Is it irony that the complainant has a Cruz sign in her yard?” asks Adam?

“I’m offended by the fact that anyone can find these statements offensive!” he wrote on Facebook. “The Covenants and Restrictions clearly state that Political Signs can be erected to support candidates, political parties, sponsorships, political issues or proposals. Our HOA president says that these aren’t the right kind of political issues to be protected by that language and that it is offensive.”

Really? Can you put up Halloween decorations in this neighborhood? Christmas? Hanukkah? Isn’t that personal expression?  (more…)

Today is the last day to register to vote, which means in 29 days, nine hours, and 15 minutes, we will all be hitting refresh repeatedly on our computers and/or flipping back and forth between all the TV stations covering the midterm elections.

But something else is on that ballot besides Beto or Ted, Lupe or Greg, and so on and so on. Four ballot measures directly related to how Dallas ISD will be able to continue it’s impressive and monumental spate of improvement will also appear on every Dallasite’s ballot, and we’re betting you’ve only heard of maybe one of them.

And that’s OK. There’s been a lot of information in the past few months, and a lot to digest both public school related and completely unrelated. But we’ll be taking a look at those measures and helping drill down to make sense of them this week so that before you hit the early voting location of your choice, you feel comfortable with your choice of yay or nay. (more…)

Even people who follow public education are often unaware of how the General Land Office and the Texas Land Commissioner and the State Board of Education can impact public school finance.

And that is, in part, because up until this year, things between the two entities and the services and funding they make available to school districts were pretty copacetic. But now current Land Commissioner George P. Bush wants to make a change, and it’s put him at odds with pretty much every single member of the State Board of Education.

You see, the School Land Board — a three-person board lead by Bush — oversees the largest educational endowment in the country. The board has decided it will bypass the State Board of Education’s Permanent School fund and put $600 million directly into another fund that goes directly to schools. The SLB will also invest an additional $55 million.

This change could impact how much Texas schools can spend on textbooks, among other things.

The education board also uses the $41.4 billion PSF to back construction bonds so that school districts and charter schools can earn lower interest rates. (more…)

electionWhen Justin Henry received the most votes — but not enough to avoid a runoff election — in May, a mere 69 votes separated him and Dallas ISD District 9 incumbent trustee Bernadette Nutall.

Saturday night, with all 47 precincts reporting, Henry won by more than 600 votes.

(more…)

election

Monday, we published a piece regarding the Dallas ISD District 9 runoff election. At the time, we only had responses from Justin Henry.

Tuesday evening, citing campaign obligations and scheduling conflicts that kept her from responding earlier, incumbent candidate Bernadette Nutall responded. We have included her answers in the original story, which can be found here.

Live in District 9? Election Day is June 16. Polling locations can be found here.

election

Only 69 votes separated Justin Henry from Dallas ISD incumbent District 9 trustee Bernadette Nutall in the regular called election on May 6. But Henry failed to get the necessary 50 percent of the vote (although he came close at 47 percent), so the two have been forced to hit the campaign trail again for a runoff election June 16.

Early voting starts today and lasts until Tuesday, June 12. For information – including polling places – on early voting, click here. For information on voting on Election day, click here.

So far, early voting is a mere trickle — something many worried would happen when it became apparent that a May 5 school board election followed by a May 20 primary runoff followed by a June 16 school board runoff election would be in the offing. As of Sunday’s report, 3,592 people have voted in runoff elections in Dallas County. (more…)

ValdezWe’ve heard it before — after all, when you write about real estate, you do spend a fair amount of time talking about how difficult and expensive it is to pay property taxes: It’s not always easy to be a property owner in Texas.

We’ve talked about why property taxes are climbing. But Lupe Valdez, newly crowned Democratic candidate for governor, says that a story in the Houston Chronicle that revealed she is facing about $12,000 in overdue property taxes is a good example of why reform is needed. (more…)