Early voting has started with a bang for the Nov. 2 elections. And while the contest for governor certainly has the most entertainment value, it’s those “down ballot” races, folks, that determine the nitty-gritty of who represents us all from the courthouse to the Texas Legislature to Congress, who writes our laws, spends our tax money, and swings a gavel in this part of the world.

vote-buttonDon’t like the folks in power in Washington, D.C., now? Go vote. Think the debate over things like healthcare, taxes, and the economy has been mostly a mindless shouting contest? Great — then do something quieter but more powerful than shouting: Vote on the basis of Actual Knowledge.


Oh, where to get all that information in the breaks between texting your BFFs and posting on Facebook? Ha! We’ve got you. Put your nimble little fingers on the keyboard, type in, and, voila — up pops the online version of a valuable old standby,  the League of Women Voters’ guide to local elections. It’s complete now with videos of many candidates, as well as basic information on candidates and their answers to the League’s questions.

Don’t know which races you vote on? Sorry, that’s no longer an excuse. Just plug in your address, and the guide brings up a customized list of only the races and candidates who apply. You can compare two candidates’ answers and information side by side. No shouting, no bias, no commercial breaks. Go ahead, claim your mind and your vote as your own. Who knows what might happen.


Quiet Zone: No Arm-Twisting

What part of “No!” can’t the city understand?

At least three times this decade, city planners have descended upon an Eastside neighborhood and tried to win support for closing Galvez Avenue and creating a “quiet zone” for passing trains.

“We will do what residents and the city council representative want, but we sure think you ought to consider closing down Galvez,” city employees have said in the past.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” the residents keep responding. They prefer having Galvez Avenue open to provide another route for drivers. And they don’t want quiet zones and buffer walls that impede foot traffic in the neighborhood. In fact, what they’d most like is for city officials to quit pestering them about it (“Cross About The Crossing,” June 17, 2009).

The city, however, is determined. Less than two years after trying to cram this plan down the neighborhood’s throat, city leaders are back again, trying to convince them that the Galvez Avenue railroad crossing is a safety hazard and that it should be closed.

United Riverside Neighborhood Association member Kelly Gray wonders if this is some sort of nefarious method of getting under the skin of Fort Worth City Council member Kathleen Hicks. “I think it’s a dig at Kathleen. She’s been very [critical] about things in the budget and other things that have happened at city hall,” Gray said.