Friday, June 20, 2008

Term Limits are Teh Stupid

San Antonio has the most insane term limits restrictions of any municipality in the nation, to the best of my knowledge. Two two-year terms and you’re out. That means the entire city council is automatically rotated out every four years whether they are doing a good job or not.
Thus we are always stuck with an inexperienced city council with no collective memory of things that have gone on before. Therefore, council members have to rely on the city staff for its experience and collective memory to get things done.
Why would we do this to ourselves? Do we like having a city government run by entrenched bureaucrats who do not have to answer to the voters? Because that is effectively what we have now. Whose bright idea was this?
Well, it was partly this reactionary group that got the ball rolling at the behest of this looney bird.

But the real question is whether we are going to continue to listen to these knuckledragging morons, or are we going to at least take some minimal steps to correct the situation.
I think having four two-year term limits is ridiculous, counter-productive and undemocratic. But at least it is better than what we currently have.
The term limits rule has been disenfranchising San Antonio residents by making our elected council members weak and unresponsive to their constituents.
And as this study noted it has even depressed voter participation in city elections.

The implementation of city council term limits in San Antonio since 1991 is clearly associated with lower voter participation in municipal elections turnout. Lower voter participation rates are particularly evident in inner city council districts, while council districts 8, 9 and 10 voters participate in high numbers. In addition, over the period examined, voter registration rates have increased while Spanish surname rates have remained relatively consistent. Overall levels of political efficacy have increased but rates for Mexican Americans and African Americans remain low relative to Anglos. Finally, some members of council have resigned from office to pursue other private and public sector interests rather than complete terms.
The relative competitive nature of city council and mayoral elections in the 1980s called for a greater mobilization of voter effort ("get out the vote" campaigns) and, as a result, seem to have produced a higher turnout rate. With terms limits, municipal elections in the City of San Antonio have witnessed fewer intensive voter mobilization efforts and subsequently lower turnout. Less competitive elections are also associated with less interest, lower levels of participation and lack of political efficacy.

Lack of political efficacy. What does that mean? It means the power or capacity to produce a desired effect (i.e. effectiveness). So our city government is less effective as a result of term limits. I guess there are some who would think this is a good thing, but they would be wrong.
Can you imagine anyone advocating that a business be run in this fashion? Every four years the CEO and his entire executive team is kicked out and replaced with new people who have no experience. Sound like a good plan? Would you invest in that kind of company?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

McCain the stealth candidate

John McCain slipped into San Antonio the other day for a private fundraiser at the San Antonio Country Club and raked in a reported $1.3 million.
It never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there who can drop $10,000 in a moment’s notice for something like this. But San Antonio is a big city (7th largest in the U.S.) and all you have to do is drive around some of the ritzy neighborhoods to get an idea about just how much wealth is out there.
So I’m not sure if $1.3 million was a good haul for McCair or if it was just chickenfeed. But one that is sure is that if you couldn’t afford to drop $10,000 in McCain’s hat, then you were probably unaware that he was even in San Antonio. There was no advance notice, no public appearances and the McCain campaign gave short shrift to the local media.
That was evident from the story that ran this morning. It was a fine story considering the reporter had no access to the candidate or any of the people attending the fundraiser. The only person quoted in the piece is John Larson, the Republican county commissioner who is running for Congress against Ciro Rodriguez. At least he respects the power of the local media.
Since the McCain folks wouldn’t acknowledge the local press, they got a crappy story, at least from their perspective it was crappy.
Since the reporter had 25 inches to fill and no one to talk to, she filled it with whatever she could find. That turned out to be a YouTube video blasting McCain for flipflopping on the windfall profits tax and an interview with Democratic State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte blasting McCain for associating with poor old Clayton Williams who is still getting grief over his stupid rape joke 18 years after it blew the tires off of his gubernatorial campaign.
She also took the time to note that McCain’s moronic anti-earmarks stance would leave the San Antonio River Improvements Project high and dry.
I’m sure the McCain people probably weren’t happy with the story, but that’s what you get when you fail to take advantage of the local press. If they had given the reporter just a smidgen of access to the candidate, I’m sure she would have filled the story up with his quotes and the story might have had more prominent play to boot.
Maybe next time they’ll learn.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Vanquished

As commenter IK noted in the previous thread, I have recently taken to commenting at BeldarBlog, a right-wing blog run by an attorney based in Dallas. Beldar has been a most gracious host so far. At least, he hasn’t banned me from the site yet.
It is kind of sad that I am forced to go to a Dallas-based blog to find someone to debate the issues with, but alas it seems that I have vanquished most all of the conservative blogs here in San Antonio. (With the exception of But, that’s just my opinion. Hang in there, JimmyK!)
There once was a thriving rightwing blogger community here in the Alamo City. We had Insane Antonio, now abandoned. Another site called Raving Heretic, also abandoned. There was the Ranting Raven’s A View From the Nest, now in retirement. There was Ben’s World, by a St. Mary’s University law student who I presume has now graduated. There was Tex the Pontificator, also retired. And, of course, there was Bill Crawford (aka Alamo City Commando) and his All Things Conservative site, the big daddy of them all. The Commando is now AWOL and no one will acknowledge what happened to him. I like to think that he finally got the courage of his convictions and volunteered for military service in Iraq.
Finally, there is Conservative Dialysis by my friend Nick, but his last post more than a week ago may have been his coda. A comment I left there a week ago has yet to be approved.

Fortunately, the liberal blogging community in San Antonio is thriving. In addition to my humble abode which has been around for more than five years now, we still have the The Agonist, the longest running blog in San Antonio, which is run by Sean Paul Kelly. There is also B and B by Pete Bryant. Pete represents San Antonio on the board of the Texas Progressive Bloggers Alliance.
And now we have two ATC outcasts who have launched their own blogs: Beginning To Wonder by AnnPW and
Happiness, Anyway by Donna, as well as Maximum Volume by Voice of Reason.
Then we have Dig Deeper Texas; Pulp Friction; Ablogistan; Harman on Earth and probably some more that I’m missing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Best Rock Bands

It is funny the things you come across with Google. Today I typed in “Rock Bands” and came up with MSNBC’s list of the10 best rock bands ever from 2004. OK, I’m a sucker for lists so I had to check it out:
It started out fine enough...

The Beatles
The Rolling Stones

No arguments there. Those would be my first two picks too.


OK, not my No. 3 choice but definitely in my top 10

The Grateful Dead

Um, No. While I can appreciate them, I’m not a Deadhead and they would not be on my top 10 list.

Velvet Underground

Whoa!! Hold on! Now we are way off course. No way! Who can name even one song by the Velvet Underground? I’ve even tried to listen to some of their albums. Absolutely not.

Led Zepplin

All right, now we’re back on track again. Good choice.

The Ramones

Screech!! Blam!!! Back in the ditch again! I hate punk music. Yuck!
This list just won’t do. I have to make my own.

The rest of their list includes
Pink Floyd
Bob Marley and the Wailers
Sly and the Family Stone

Good bands but not good enough to make my Top 10 (except maybe Pink Floyd).

So here goes my list of the definitive Best Rock Bands:

The Beatles
The Rolling Stones
The Who
The Beach Boys
The Doors
Led Zepplin
Pink Floyd
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
The Police

And my list of runner-ups (or the second top 10)

Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Band
Van Halen
The Eagles
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Of course this leaves out a lot of “solo” artists who no doubt have very capable and talented backing bands. A top 10 list there would include:

Elvis Presley
Chuck Berry
Buddy Holly
Bob Dylan
David Bowie
Elton John
Billy Joel
Rod Stewart
Jimi Hendrix


OK, I’ve reworked my Best Rock Bands list into per decade categories. (Yes, I know I have 11 in the 80s category. So sue me.)

Buddy Holly and The Crickets
Bill Haley and The Comets
The Coasters
The Drifters
The Platters
The Clovers
Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
The Moonglows
The Flamingos

The Beatles
The Rolling Stones
The Who
The Doors
Pink Floyd
The Beach Boys
Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Band
Buffalo Springfield
The Faces

Led Zepplin
The Eagles
The Bee Gees
Deep Purple

The Police
Van Halen
Prince and The Revolution
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
The Cars
Cheap Trick
J. Geils Band
ZZ Top

Guns N Roses
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Smashing Pumpkins
The Black Crowes
Stone Temple Pilots
Pearl Jam
Rage Against the Machine
The Offspring
Green Day

The White Stripes
Los Lonely Boys
Maroon Five
The Foo Fighters
Limp Bizkit
Velvet Revolver