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WEATHERVANE SPECIAL ELECTION TO BE HELD VALENTINES DAY
by DallasBlog.com    Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 12:43 PM

Somebody will get a Valentine and somebody won't.  A much watched special election in Austin to fill a Republican held house seat will be February 14th.  Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst sat that date yeasterday.  Democrat Donna Howard shocked everyone watching by coming within 73 votes of winning without a runoff against Republican Ben Bentzin.  Key issues were education, Tom DeLay and Gov. Perry and a Howard victory would indicate that Democrats have the issues to win in even Republican leaning districts.

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THE TEXAS RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION RESPONDS By Will Lutz
by DallasBlog.com    Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 12:38 PM

Duane Waddill, the executive director of the Texas Residential Construction Commission, has sent a response to Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn on her critique of the commission and the law that created it. Many of Strayhorn's recommendations were legislative and the commission did not take a position. But it did respond to recommendations pertaining to agency operations. It also lists ways the comptroller's office can help the agency become more efficient. A PDF copy of Waddill's letter is posted below. 

Texas Residential Construction Commission Response to the Comptroller

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TRAFFIC SPYCAMS CAN BE MISUSED By Doug Bedell
by DallasBlog.com    Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 12:30 PM

Spycams at traffic lights have their benefits but are a technology that can be misused.  Doug Bedell shares an example.

Click to read more ...

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THEY CALL IT THE SMELL OF MONEY by Tom Pauken
by Tom Pauken    Tue, Jan 24, 2006, 07:05 PM

Dallas-based Panda Energy International, Inc. is building a $120 million fuel ethanol plant in Hereford, Texas, which will be fueled by cattle manure. Hereford has one of the largest cattle herds in the world.

Today’s Wall St. Journal has a front page story on the new Hereford plant. According to the Journal article, cattle "are a $2.7 billion annual business for the town. But the million cattle in its feedlots at any time generate 6,300 tons of waste a day."

Panda Energy says that the plants "will utilize technology that converts cattle manure and cotton gin waste into clean burning bio-gas to power the plant, realizing an energy savings equivalent to 1,000 barrels of oil per day." The company claims the new ethanol plant in Hereford "will replace the equivalent of 2.4 million barrels of imported gasoline per year."

Hereford residents are understandably happy that someone is doing something to use up all the waste generated by the cattle feeding. The Journal article notes, "In addition to the smell, the waste creates dust and is considered a fire hazard because of all that heat generated by decomposition."

I remember the first time I went to Hereford. I was driven there by a local resident in the cattle business. The closer we got to Hereford the more the "aroma" was noticeable. Finally, my friend turned to me and asked me if I noticed the smell. I acknowledged that I did. He couldn’t resist telling me, "Tom, out here, we call it the smell of money."

There has been a lot of attention given recently to Brazil’s move to ethanol which has reduced that country’s reliance on foreign sources of energy. The new ethanol plant in Hereford is expected to become operational some time in late 2006. Soon, thereafter, we should know whether this conversion of waste into ethanol was yet another failed attempt to turn all this waste into a useful energy resource or whether this marks the harbinger of many similar ethanol plants in areas where large quantities of cattle manure are to be found.

Already, Panda Energy has announced that it plans to build a fuel ethanol plant in Kansas and Colorado where large numbers of cattle are located.

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VIEWPOINT: POVERTY WARRIORS ARE WELL COMPENSATED by Tom Pauken
by Tom Pauken    Tue, Jan 24, 2006, 06:10 PM

San Antonio Express-News columnist Roddy Stinson has another revealing column today on leaders of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and their liberal allies who participated in an Austin conference last week on the school finance issue.

Click to read more ...

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FRiEDO'S LETTER TO ROGER'S AGENT (AND TOM HICKS) passed along by Norm Hitzges
by DallasBlog.com    Tue, Jan 24, 2006, 05:44 PM

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The Rocket
Norm is out of town, but he is more than a little excited about the prospect that Roger Clemens might actually become a Texas Ranger.  His producer is not so excited - yet.  While Norm doesn't endorse Friedo's letter he wants to share it with you.  Friedo's open letter to Roger's agent makes a point that Tom Hicks is sure to hear.

Click to read more ...

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DEMOCRAT HOUSE LEADER ENDORSES GAMMAGE By Will Lutz
by DallasBlog.com    Tue, Jan 24, 2006, 12:10 PM

Rep. Jim Dunnam (D-Waco) has endorsed Bob Gammage for Governor.

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Rep. Jim Dunnam (D-Waco)
“It’s an honor to endorse Bob Gammage for Governor,” Dunnam said. “Bob Gammage is strong. He’s got integrity. He’s a fighter. He stands for real reform, and he’s running on a true progressive platform that will make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

Gammage, a latecomer to the race, has not been considered the front-runner. That has been assumed by most capitol watchers to be former Congressman Chris Bell. Dunnam, the House Democratic Caucus Chair, is the first major Democrat to put his support behind Gammage.

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AND SO IT BEGINS: Dallas Schedules 2006 Capital Bond Program Town Hall Meetings
by Trey Garrison    Tue, Jan 24, 2006, 12:09 PM

City Council members are hosting the meetings, seeking input in preparation for placing the proposed bond program on a ballot for an election set for November of this year. The meetings will be held at various locations throughout the city beginning Tuesday, Jan. 24 and continuing through Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Where appropriate, material in English and Spanish will be made available.

The purpose of the meetings is to allow citizens an opportunity to provide input on specific projects and priorities for the proposed bond election. The meeting format will consist of a presentation from staff members explaining the process; citizens will then have the opportunity to provide input and ask questions.

Although the meetings are hosted by specific Council members and held within their particular district, the public is invited to attend any of the following:


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Owenwood United Methodist Church
1451 John West Road 75228
6:30 p.m.
District 7, City Councilman Leo V. Chaney, Jr.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center
5150 Mark Trail Way 75232
6:30 p.m.
District 5, Mayor Pro-Tem Donald W. Hill

Martin Luther King Recreation Center, Bldg E
2922 MLK Boulevard 75215
6:30 p.m.
District 7, City Councilman Leo V. Chaney, Jr.

Campbell Green Recreation Center
16600 Parkhill Drive 75248
7 p.m.
District 12, City Councilman Ron Natinsky

Monday, January 30, 2006

J. C. Phelps Recreation Center
3030 Tips Boulevard 75216
12 noon
District 7, City Councilman Leo V. Chaney, Jr.

Pleasant Oaks Recreation Center
8701 Greenmound Avenue 75227
6:30 p.m.
District 5, Mayor Pro-Tem Donald W. Hill

Prestonwood Elementary Cafeteria (RISD)
6525 La Cosa Drive 75248
7 p.m.
Districts 11 and 12, City Council Members Linda Koop and Ron Natinsky

Arlington Hall
3333 Lee Parkway 75219
7 p.m.
District 14, City Councilwoman Angela Hunt

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Grauwyler Recreation Center
7780 Harry Hines Boulevard 75235
6:30 p.m.
District 2, City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano

Arcadia Park Library
1302 North Justin Avenue 75211
6:30 p.m.
District 6, City Councilman Steve Salazar

Polk Wisdom Library
7151 Library Lane 75232
6:30 p.m.
District 8, City Councilman James Fantroy

Lake Highlands Freshman Center (RISD)
10200 White Rock Trail 75238
7 p.m.
District 10, City Councilman Bill Blaydes

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Martin Weiss Recreation Center
1111 Martindale Avenue 75211
6:30 p.m.
District 1, Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Elba Garcia

Samuell-Grand Recreation Center
6200 East Grand Avenue 75223
6:30 p.m.
District 2, City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano

Fireside Recreation Center
8601 Fireside Drive 75217
6:30 p.m.
District 8, City Councilman James Fantroy

Woodrow Wilson High School
100 South Glasgow Drive 75214
7 p.m.
District 14, City Councilwoman Angela Hunt

Monday, February 6, 2006

Kidd Springs Recreation Center
711 West Canty Street 75208
6:30 p.m.
Districts 1 and 3, Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Elba Garcia and City Councilman Ed Oakley

Martha Turner Reilly Elementary School Auditorium
11230 Lippitt Avenue 75218
6:30 p.m.
District 9, City Councilman Gary Griffith

Timberglen Recreation Center
3810 Timberglen Road 75287
7 p.m.
District 12, City Councilman Ron Natinsky

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Skyline Public Library
6006 Everglade Road 75227
6 p.m.
District 4, City Councilwoman Dr. Maxine Thornton-Reese

Park in the Woods Recreation Center
6601 Mountain Creek Parkway 75249
6:30 p.m.
District 3, City Councilman Ed Oakley

Bachman Recreation Center
2750 Bachman Drive 75220
6:30 p.m.
District 6, City Councilman Steve Salazar

Tommie M. Allen Recreation Center
7071 Bonnie View Road 75241
6:30 p.m.
District 8, City Councilman James Fantroy

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Kleberg/Rylie Recreation Center
1515 Edd Road 75253
6:30 p.m.
District 8, City Councilman James Fantroy

St. Thomas Aquinas School Drama Room
3741 Abrams Road 75214
6:30 p.m.
Districts 9 and 14, City Council Members Gary Griffith and Angela Hunt

Northwood Hills Elementary Cafeteria (RISD)
14532 Meandering Way 75254
7 p.m.
District 11, City Councilwoman Linda Koop

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dallas West Library
2332 Singleton Boulevard 75212
6:30 p.m.
District 3, City Councilman Ed Oakley

Jaycee/Zaragoza Recreation Center
3114 Clymer Street 75212
6:30 p.m.
District 6, City Councilman Steve Salazar

Arthur Kramer Elementary Auditorium
7131 Midbury Drive 75230
7 p.m.
District 11, City Councilwoman Lind Koop

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Kiest Recreation Center
3080 South Hampton Road 75224
7 p.m.
District 3, City Councilman Ed Oakley

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Anita Martinez Recreation Center
3212 North Winnetka Avenue 75212
6:30 p.m.
District 6, City Councilman Steve Salazar

Walnut Hill Recreation Center Gymnasium
10011 Midway Road 75229
7 p.m.
District 13, City Councilman Mitchell Rasansky

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Beckley-Saner Recreation Center
114 West Hobson 75224
6 p.m.
District 4, City Councilwoman Dr. Maxine Thornton-Reese

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STRAYHORN: ABOLISH RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION By Will Lutz
by DallasBlog.com    Tue, Jan 24, 2006, 12:05 PM

Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has called for the abolition of the Texas Residential Construction Commission. The agency was created by HB 730 in 2003. It administers a State Inspection and Dispute Resolution Process (SIRP) and adopted warranty standards that replace the implied warranty of good and workmanlike constuction that existed on homes built prior to Sept. 1, 2003. "My research found no evidence that the Texas Residential Construction Commission has had a favorable impact on the homeowner," Strayhorn said.

Click here for:  Strayhorn Report on the Texas Residential Construction Commission

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VIEWPOINT: TEXAS LEFTIST ALLIANCE WADES IN ON SCHOOL FINANCE ISSUE by Tom Pauken
by Tom Pauken    Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 08:06 PM

Roddy Stinson, who writes on city and state issues for the San Antonio Express-News had an excellent column Sunday about how the Alinsky/IAF network in Texas is meeting in Austin to "educate" taxpayers about how we need a big tax increase to fund public education in our state.

Click to read more ...

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