Tag Archives: texas

What’s on the ballot?

Early voting in Austin has begun! From Oct. 18 to Oct. 29, Travis County residents are eligible to vote. Election Day is on Nov. 2. If you want to make an informed decision, keep on reading to find out what’s on your ballot.

The Austin ballot is composed of Propositions A and B and Propositions one through eight.

But what do propositions do? They suggest a program or plan of action. 

Propositions A and B are Austin local plans that will affect policing and parkland.

There are two options when voting for Proposition A: voting YES or voting NO (you have to choose).

Voting YES for Proposition A means:

  •  Increasing police staff to meet the minimum staff required to match Austin’s population. There would need to be two police officers per 1,000 residents. 
  •  Add 40 hours to police training 
  • Increase compensation for officers who are bilingual (or proficient in other languages), officers who enroll in mentor cadet programs and officers recognized for honorable conduct.

Please note that proposition A does not include the funding for these plans. Funding will come from an increase in taxes or cutting funding from other departments such as the fire department. 

Similarly, there are two options for Proposition B: Voting YES or voting NO (again, you have to choose.).

Voting YES for Proposition B means:

  • Authorization of land swap; Austin will trade nine acres of city parkland for 48 acres of waterfront property to turn into a park

The nine acres of parkland the city currently owns is home to ATX’s Parks and Rec Central Maintenance Complex and because the property is considered parkland, the city must vote to get rid of it

Onto propositions one through eight!

Did you know the state of Texas has a constitution? All states do! It’s what allows them to be their own state.

Like any other constitution, this one has amendments. Propositions one through eight  are amends to the Texas constitution, so let’s figure out what they will change:

Proposition 1:

This amendment would allow sport teams to hold raffles at rodeos.

Proposition 2:

This amendment would allow counties to issue bonds (money) to fund infrastructure and transportation projects in undeveloped areas. It also prohibits counties that issue such bonds from pledging more than 65% of that money.

Proposition 3:

This amendment would prohibit the state from passing a law that limits religious services and organizations.

Proposition 4:

This amendment changes the eligibility for state judges. The most prominent changes are:

Must be a Texas resident and U.S. citizen

Must have 8 – 10 years of attorney/judge experience

Proposition 5:

This amendment would allow the State Commission on Judicial Conduct to investigate candidates of the judicial office. 

Proposition 6: 

This amendment would allow residents of assisted living facilities to have an essential caregiver that cannot be prohibited from in-person visitation. 

Proposition 7:

This amendment would allow the surviving spouse of a disabled individual to keep a homestead property tax limit (reduced school taxes and $10,000 tax exemption) if 55 years or older.

Proposition 8:

This amendment would qualify the surviving spouse of a military member (who has died or been severely injured) for a total homestead property tax exemption (so they don’t have to pay property taxes).

Now that you know what each proposition is, go vote! The current propositions are critical to the future of Austin. Voting stations are available at the Flawn Academic Center and Gregory Gym!

Spooky season go-to’s in Austin

As Halloween rolls around, spooky season is finally among us. This is a great time to celebrate with different activities in Austin that will only be open for a limited time. 

Haunted ATX

What better time to listen to ghost stories and visit paranormal locations than now? Haunted ATX is a mobile ghost tour in Austin that takes you in a van to haunted locations in Austin. Some of the spooky locations on the tours are the Tavern, Clay Pit and Littlefield House

Public tours cost $59 per person during October and private tours cost $99 per person. Most tours are available Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. These tours are usually three hours long and allow everyone to explore the locations while learning about their paranormal history. 

House of Torment Haunted House

Haunted houses are the most iconic spooky season activity. Austin happens to have one of the best haunted houses in the country. With the “Travel channel” calling Austin’s House of Torment, “the scariest haunted house in America,” there is no better place to celebrate Halloween than this haunted house. 

There are three themed haunted houses that you can go through to get spooked. You can also participate in axe throwing, mini escape games and dine at their tavern. 

This haunted house is open almost every day in October, with the first two weekends of November being the last time for the year you can go. General admission ticket prices range $22.99 to $32.99, depending on the day you attend. 

Mama Mary’s Farm and Pumpkin Patch

Not everyone who wants to celebrate spooky season likes to be scared. One non-scary activity you can do is visit a pumpkin patch. Mama Mary’s Farm and Pumpkin Patch is open through Oct. 31. You can go Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for only $5 plus tax. To go on Saturdays and Sundays, registration is required before and tickets go up to $10. 

If you go to the pumpkin patch on the weekend, you can enjoy a hay ride, outdoor bowling, pumpkin painting and other fall-themed activities. This is a great event for friends to take pictures together in the pumpkin patch and get in the spooky season mood. 

Pumpkin Nights at Pioneer Farms

Another non-scary activity to participate in this spooky season is going to Pumpkin Nights at Pioneer Farms. You can explore a trail that features carved pumpkins created by local artists that all have different themes. 

There are pumpkin lanterns that make great photo backgrounds for Instagram. Not only do you get to see elaborate, professionally carved pumpkins; there are also  live fire dancers and you can watch professionals carve pumpkins live. 

Friday through Saturday admission for adults is $23 and on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday it is $18.

There are plenty of events in Austin to celebrate the spooky season. Even if you aren’t a big fan of the creepy and scary things this time of season brings, there are plenty of other activities you can partake in to get into the spooky season mood. After a ton of events being cancelled the past year because of the pandemic, this is a great time to go out and celebrate the season. 

Feature image by Pexels

Is it a RIP-Off?: Drag Edition

Austin is full of things to see, do and experience— and half of them are total rip-offs. So I’m here to tell you what’s best and what’s a mess. This week’s subject: The Drag. 

  1. Torchy’s Tacos 
Courtesy of: Visit Austin

Verdict: Rip-Off

Why: Come on. You knew this was coming. We live in Texas. You can get better tacos for less money at pretty much any food truck. 

  1. Whataburger 
Courtesy of: Unsplash and Tendaishe Gwini

Verdict: Worth It

Why: Say what you want about Whataburger not being as good as it was five years ago, it’s still a Texan staple. From the fun orange color scheme to the iconic Dr.Pepper shake, this is the place to go at 2:00 a.m. with $5 in your pocket. 

  1. Coco’s Cafe 
Courtesy of: Fearless Captivations

Verdict: Rip-Off

Why: To be honest, I’ve never gotten the hype around Coco’s. It has okay drinks, long lines and an expensive price tag. I’d recommend getting your boba fix elsewhere.

  1. Caffe Medici 
Courtesy of: Flickr

Verdict: Worth It

Why: Caffe Medici is a prime study spot. There is something on the menu for everyone, including coffee, matcha and Italian sodas. Plus, the atmosphere is student-friendly and there’s plenty of seating.  

  1. Kerbey Lane
Courtesy of: Kerbey Lane

Verdict: Rip-Off AND Worth It

Why: The food is mediocre but no one really goes to Kerbey for the food. They go for the tradition and for saying they ate chocolate cake with friends at 4:00 a.m. after finishing a final paper (possibly based on a true story). So, yes, it is a rip-off, but I also highly recommend you go sometime in your college career. 

Now that you’re armed with knowledge, go forth and explore the drag with confidence! You are most certainly not getting ripped off today.

2020 Texas Voters’ Guide

You’re still in time to vote! The 2020 Presidential Election is getting closer, but you still good to cast your ballot early and avoid longer wait times on November 3rd! Check out this 2020 Texas Voters Guide and make sure you’re good to go before you arrive at your polling place!

WHAT do I need to vote?

1. Be registered: First and foremost, you need to be registered. Unfortunately, if you’re not already registered, the deadline has passed but if you have a Texas driver’s license, chances are that you are registered. To check your voter’s registration, go here and input your information. In less than a minute you’ll know if you’re eligible to vote!

2. Bring a valid photo ID: These include a Texas driver’s license, Texas personal ID card, Texas Election ID Certificate, Handgun License, Military ID Card, US Passport, or US Citizenship Certificate. These have to be unexpired OR have less than 4 years expired. If you don’t have any of these documents, you can check other alternatives here.

Photo by Lauren Breach

WHEN and WHERE do I vote?

Voting during the early voting period (from October 13th to October 30th) is extremely easy! If you’re registered, you may vote at ANY early voting location located in your county. Otherwise, during the November 3rd election day, you can only vote at your designated polling place, so don’t wait any longer and vote early! There are TWO early voting places located on the UT campus, one at Gregory Gym and one at the Flawn Academic Center. You can also check your designated polling place and other early voting locations here by entering your information.

WHO’s on my ballot?

Because there are different races in different districts, everyone’s ballot might be slightly different. To check your specific ballot, click here and enter your address to see the specific ballot you’ll see when you vote.

Don’t let this huge opportunity to make your voice heard pass. Go vote! If you still have any questions, check out the official Texas Voting page.

Again, please GO VOTE!

Image courtesy of Lauren Breach

The Eyes of Black Students Are Upon You

Amid this revolutionary movement occurring around the world, it is going to take a lot more than statements and videos to show that Black Lives Matter. 

On Memorial Day George Floyd, an African American man, was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis. In the wake of Floyd’s death, celebrities, politicians, companies, and institutions rushed to get out their statements supporting the fight against racism. I was looking for one in particular; from our beloved, The University of Texas at Austin.

On May 30, the UT Austin Twitter account quoted a tweet from the Big 12 account saying “We stand with our Big 12 schools against all acts of racism and violence.”

“We say, “what starts here changes the world,” UT Interim President Jay Hartzell said. “Those starts don’t just happen. They are the results of actions – large and small, as individuals and in teams.”

To no surprise, black students, including myself, were not having it. Yes, the interim president said change comes from action, but we have yet to see UT do anything more than put out a well-crafted statement.

They say they are against racism but have buildings named after racist men who had ties to the confederacy.

They say they are against racism, but the school song, “The Eyes of Texas”, has racist origins. First performed by John Sinclair, who was a member of the Varsity Minstrel Show, in 1903. These shows were full of derogatory images of Black people aimed to make fun of them.

UT is not an activist, it is a performance activist. They’re saying, but they’re not doing.

I find it hard to believe you mean these words when there are instances that say otherwise.

Black students find it hard to feel they belong on UT’s campus. When I walk into a classroom and see more than two black people I am surprised. I’m going to be a senior next semester, and I have had one black professor for a class that centered around the African American community.

UT is a great school, but in this fight against racism, it’s simply not doing enough. Black students need more. We need true action.

Previously, the UTPD, who has been accused of targeting Black people in the past, made a deal with students: report an incident and get a free pizza. Presenting a risk of false reports on Black people. 

When given the opportunity to show support for the protests, instead of attending one of the public downtown protests. UTPD made what felt like a propaganda video of students and law enforcement walking around campus. 

If UT is truly against racism, prove it to me. Prove it to the black students, who desperately wish they could call this campus a safe place.

Black Lives Matter is not a trend. It is a continuous fight that has only just begun. Your work is not finished because you wrote three paragraphs and posted it on Twitter. Black students will be watching UT next semester and if very little is done, it will speak volumes — more than any statement of solidarity sent out in a mass email.

Donate to Black Lives Matter organizations around Austin.

Educate your white students on the racist history of the campus, and how to use their privilege to amplify the voices of the less privileged.

If the Student Activity Center and the College of Liberal Arts buildings can be renamed, then surely the same can be done to T.S. Painter Hall and Robert Lee Moore Hall.

Enough saying, more doing. Then I will start to believe that Black Lives Matter at UT Austin.

UT PETITION: http://chng.it/b97h6pwb