Friday, May 27, 2016

League of Women Voters "Vote Today" Project

The Dallas League of Women Voters is starting a "Vote Today" project.  Anyone can purchase a $10 sign for their front yard when the polls are open only!
The sign is ONLY posted when voting is happening, early voting or on election day.  It cannot be posted with any partisan signs.  The message is simple, "Vote Today."  The URL for the online League of Women Voters Guide at is on the sign and can provide information about the election and the candidates in the candidates own words.

Once you purchase your sign you are placed on an email list to be notified when elections start and stop so you can post and remove the sign.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Trinity Toll Road Plan ended due to self-driving car advances.

The Trinity Toll Road will be obsolete before it is ever completed, if that ever happens. 

Within the decade the Dallas Morning News may be having articles about the new LBJ Freeway’s multiple lanes being a waste of money due to massive overbuilding! Why?  The efficiency of self-driving cars!

For over 6 years my brothers have been using GPS driven tractors to provide a significantly more accurate distribution of seeds and fertilizer on their farms.  They save enough money to more than pay for the GPS related equipment on their self-driving tractors. 

Have you seen such tractors in operation yet Steve?  It is nothing new.  Driving a massive multi-ton vehicle covering a 140 feet wide strip of land with one pass though the field, and enough accuracy to be within a fraction of an inch of "perfect" with each pass, is normal now!

While self-driving vehicles are nothing new what is new is the rate of change and usage of such well tested self-driving technology as it expands to self-driving cars.   They will quickly become more visible to the general public over the next 5 years as new cars are purchased, many of them with components of self-driving included.

By the end of February hundreds of the new Tesla’s sold in the DFW area will receive software upgrades that will allow auto-pilot capabilities. This will be a major step on the long road already traveled toward self-driven cars, including vehicle to vehicle communications allowing them to travel close to each other at whatever the speed limit is.   Meanwhile the “driver” reads, works online, or makes phone calls.  We are not there yet, but it is now being predicted within the next decade.

Within the decade Dallas will also be discussing dedicated self-driven car lanes that can manage 500% more cars in one lane than current freeway lanes!   That is, we will have one lane each way on LBJ that could handle ALL THE TRAFFIC NOW ON LBJ!

This technology will render the newly constructed LBJ Freeway as an obsolete, over-built freeway.  

The timing of such technology is uncertain. The fact that it is coming is certain!   Simply google “self driving car” today and read only what was posted within the past week.  You will get articles like “
It’s 2015, self-driving cars are more than a promise  and “Self-driving Cars Are No Longer a Thing of the Future | TIME  

To ignore this rapidly advancing technology makes the destruction of the last major natural resource in Dallas, the Trinity River flood plain, that much more of a crime against our own children and grandchildren!  

Dallas has the potential to become one of the great urban centers of the world if we manage these decisions well, and liberate ourselves from old technology!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Trinity Toll Road battle in 2015 elections.

Today at 12:30 in Dallas City Hall in the Flag Room, we started a new chapter in the fight to save the Trinity River.  It will NOT be a confusing fight like the disastrous election of 2007!

Misleading signs from 2007 Dallas Trinity Toll Road Election
There will be no confusion in future elections!  Hundreds, if not thousands, will be working to make certain this vote is very clear.  Any political candidates  hesitant about ONLY supporting the final killing of any Trinity Toll Road plans, need not come forward for our votes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

End Prison Gerrymandering in Texas also!

Massachusetts Legislature Calls on U.S. Census Bureau: Support Fair Redistricting, End Prison Gerrymandering

Dēmos and Prison Policy Initiative Applaud Senators Rosenberg, Chang-Diaz, and Dorcena-Forry and Representatives Moran, Carvalho, and Rushing for Leadership to Protect One Person, One Vote Principle
On September 12 2014, the Massachusetts legislature sent the United States Census Bureau a resolution adopted by both chambers, calling on the Census Bureau to reform its outdated practice of enumerating incarcerated persons as "residents" of the prisons in which they are temporarily incarcerated. This practice leads state and local governments to violate the constitutional principle of one person, one vote by granting additional undue political clout to voters who live near prisons and diluting the votes cast by everyone else. As the resolution explains:
"Census data results in distortions of the one-person, one-vote principle in drawing electoral districts in Massachusetts, diluting the representation of the majority of districts that do not contain prisons."
Massachusetts’ resolution urges the Census Bureau to provide states with redistricting data that counts incarcerated persons at their residential address.
In response to these developments, Dēmos and the Prison Policy Initiative, non-partisan public policy organizations concerned about fair electoral representation, released the following statement:
"A prison is not a home," said Brenda Wright, Vice President for Legal Strategies at Dēmos. "Prison-based gerrymandering distorts democracy and fair representation in Massachusetts, and should not be tolerated in our state. Dēmos applauds the leadership of Senators Rosenberg, Chang-Diaz, and Dorcena-Forry and Representatives Moran, Carvalho, and Rushing in achieving passage of the resolution urging the Census Bureau to count incarcerated persons in their home communities, where they are considered to reside for virtually all legal purposes."
Dēmos and the Prison Policy Initiative have long partnered in the goal of ending prison-based gerrymandering. "The national trend in state and local governments of rejecting prison gerrymandering sends a clear message to the Census Bureau that it’s time to update the residence rules," said Peter Wagner, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative. "I’m proud of the Massachusetts Legislature’s steps to urge the Census Bureau to end prison gerrymandering nationwide 2020."
During the public hearings on redistricting in Massachusetts following the 2010 Census, Dēmos and PPI were among many groups and individuals urging the Massachusetts legislature to add its voice to those of other stakeholders calling for change in how the Census Bureau enumerates incarcerated persons.
The Special Joint Committee on Legislative Redistricting in Massachusetts took note of these concerns in its final report (downloads PDF), devoting about a quarter of the redistricting report to the vote dilution caused by the Census Bureau's decision to tabulate incarcerated people as residents of the prison, and suggesting this resolution as their first key recommendation.
Dēmos and PPI strongly applaud the Massachusetts legislature for its leadership in adopting this recommendation and calling for permanent, nation-wide reform of how incarcerated persons are tabulated in the Census. The Massachusetts Legislature’s resolution sends a strong message that Massachusetts residents, and all U.S. voters, deserve to have a fair say in elections. It’s time for the Census Bureau to do its part.
The full text of the resolution is:
WHEREAS, obtaining an accurate count of the population is so vital to representative democracy that the framers of the United States Constitution addressed the issue of the census and apportionment in the opening paragraphs of the Constitution; and
WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Constitution requires that federal census data be the basis for state redistricting; and
WHEREAS, the Census Bureau currently has a policy of counting incarcerated people at the address of the correctional institution, even though for other legal purposes their home address remains their legal residence; and
WHEREAS, this Census data results in distortions of the one-person, one-vote principle in drawing electoral districts in Massachusetts, diluting the representation of the majority of districts that do not contain prisons;
WHEREAS, the simplest solution to the conflict between federal constitutional requirements of "one person, one vote" and Massachusetts constitutional requirements of using the federal census is for the Census Bureau to publish redistricting data based on the location of an incarcerated person’s residence, not prison location; and
WHEREAS, the Census Bureau has already recognized the demand from states and counties for data that better reflects their actual populations, and has agreed to release data on prison populations to states in time for redistricting, enabling some states to individually adjust the population data used for redistricting; and
WHEREAS, Public Law 94-171 requires the Census Bureau to work with states to provide geographically relevant data and the Census Bureau has been responsive to state’s data needs for the past 3 decades; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Massachusetts General Court hereby urges the Census Bureau, in the next Census and thereafter, to provide states with redistricting data that counts incarcerated persons at their residential address, rather than the address of the correctional institution where they are temporarily located; and be it further
RESOLVED, that a copy of these resolutions be transmitted forthwith by the Clerk of the Senate to the Director of Census Bureau.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dallas County Early Voting Visibility Project

The Dallas League of Women Voters will be managing a Early Voting Visibility Project during the November 2014 elections.   This is a test.

Half of the Dallas County early voting locations were selected at random.  Over 500 large Dallas County signs with arrows will be used at intersections within 2 miles of each of these 13 locations to direct people to the early voting location.  A 'bread crumb trail' of 2,000 smaller signs with arrows pointing up will lead people from these intersections to the voting location.

The goal is to increase early voting at least 10% at these 13 locations compared to the other early voting locations.

For each location we have 40 of the large signs and 160 of the smaller signs to lead people "captured" at the intersections to the early voting location.  If you want to help put out signs the evening before early voting starts, and to then collect them the evening after early voting ends, and in effect manage one of these 13 locations, please call Bill Betzen at 214-957-9739, or email him at .

We want to use the new bilingual early voting signs (that I need to get a photo of to post here) so that people can vote with no lines and we can avoid lines like this on election day:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Trinity River Toll Road Funeral 6-8-14

Here is some of the history leading to this celebration:
Looking northwest where Toll Road was planned for with Sylvan Bridge in the background.  Photo taken in 2007 when this was a very popular park. 
It will now be one again!


Monday, August 26, 2013

1963 Washington Civil Rights March & 2006 Dallas Civil Rights Mega March

This week we are celebrating the historic events of 50 years ago in Washington, D.C. on 8-28-63, when about 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial.  They heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his brilliant "I have a dream" speech.

Much of the publicity has said the 1963 march was the largest Civil Rights march in U.S. history.  That certainly was true until 2006.  However, on 4-9-2006, that record was broken in Dallas, Texas with the monumental Mega March to address immigration reform and the civil rights associated with the needs for such reform.

The Mega March gathered on Ross Avenue in Dallas, in front of and to the east of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, planning for a 1:00 PM start.   However the crowds were far beyond all planning.  Congestion was intense.  At about 12:45 PM Dallas Police directed the march to start to relieve that congestion.  I was walking up Ross from the other direction to arrive in time for the 1:00 PM start when I was met by the front of the March.  All six lanes of Ross remained filled with people walking for the next 4 hours, or longer.
Dallas 4-9-2006 Mega March start from Guadalupe Cathedral
The 1.3 miles of street from the Cathedral to Dallas City Hall remained filled with marchers till past 5 PM when the last of them walked past the Cathedral.  Meanwhile at Dallas City Hall this was the crowd in the over-congested area:
Dallas City Hall Plaza looking northeast 4-9-2006 at about 2 PM
The following photo was taken long after the two above, at about 4:00 PM looking northeast up Ross Avenue.  This continued for about another hour.
Looking northeast up Ross Avenue about 4: 00 PM on 4-9-2006
Estimates of the crowd were usually agreed at 500,000 but some went as high as 600,000.  The lowest estimates were 350,000. 
Does anyone know of another U.S. Civil Rights march that was larger?