Today’s Hits and Misses offers a wide range of things to consider from the last week, and that’s not surprising, considering we just had an important election with the Texas Constitution and the city of Kerrville charter.
However, we start today’s miss with an apology over coverage. We can always do better but we failed to comprehensively cover the proposed changes to the Kerrville Charter, and that was reflective in the easy passage of most of the propositions, considering the ambiguity of language in several of the changes. We didn’t publish a simple analysis of each of the 18 propositions until Saturday, which was far too late for a large swath of early voters. We will strive to be better.
MISS: Passage of Proposition A
The first thing that greeted voters on the city of Kerrville’s changes to its charter was Proposition A and here’s how it was worded: Amendment to the City Charter authorizing the prohibition of the sale of liquor in all or parts of residential areas of the City.
That seems straight forward enough. However, 41% of voters were smart enough to vote against the proposition and for good reason. In what has become an attempt to make the charter simpler, the vagaries of this amendment raises some serious questions about the stated efforts by the city to increase housing supply, and in some cases do it through higher density development.
While the city attempts to minimize the impact by including “parts” it actually raises questions about what this means moving forward. In many parts of the country, small pubs, restaurants and bars are part of each neighborhood, especially in those places with higher density. In many cities, both large and small, there is a growing movement to have self-contained neighborhoods that are walkable, and that includes walking to have dinner or a cocktail.
However, we are hopeful that the City Council will take a pragmatic approach to dealing with these issues and consider the parts before the all.
MISS: The word is “THE”
In Proposition L, the charter committee recommended removing a single “the” from the language involving an annual review of the city manager. Straightforward enough, right?
In fact, 91% of Kerrville voters said they supported removing the “the” from the language, but we’re still scratching our heads over the other 9% who said they didn’t want to remove “the” from the said document about the city manager.
HIT: Defeat of Proposition P
The defeat of Proposition P, which aimed to enhance the power of the mayor to solely appoint people to ad-hoc committees and commissions, was rejected by the voters — 60%-40%. Of course, of the 18 amendments to the charter, this was the one that was probably the most clearly spelled out and it looked like a clear expansion of mayoral power over the will of the rest of the City Council.
MISS: Failure to defeat Proposition N
This one stopped us in our tracks last week when we started reading the fine print, and we recommended a no vote. The proposition passed with 80% of the vote, but we’re still troubled by the wording on this and the unanswered questions about transparency of the city’s website. We came out late against this measure, along with Proposition Q, and we will stick by our assertion that this was one of the worst things to come out of the charter process.
If anything, people who voted on election day were less likely to approve the measure. In fact, on election day 26% of voters said no — a 14-point swing from the early voters.
NEAR HIT: Voter turnout
Voter turnout is usually light, if not embarrassingly so, when it comes to elections that are focused on ballot measures and propositions, but Kerr County was ahead of the statewide curve this year with 19% turnout.
In years past, turnout has been, at times, in the single digits, but not this year.
Kerrville Mayor Bill Blackburn said he believes the better-than-usual turnout was due partly to some hot-button issues among the 10 propositions on the state ballot, but there was strong interest in the Kerrville charter changes. Looking at the polling numbers, about 41% of Tuesday’s voters came from the city of Kerrville. What did they vote on most? Proposition A, with more than 2,700 votes cast. What did they vote on least? Proposition Q, which had 2,630 votes cast.
When it came to the state propositions, the most votes were cast for Proposition 4, which makes it harder to pass a state income tax. In that choice, 6,598 people voted.
HIT: A win for Comfort schools
When it comes to providing for the education of its students, Comfort Independent School District got a big election day boost when voters approved a $37.7 million bond, which will go a long way in improving the quality of student experience in the district.
The district plans to improve aspects of each school within the small district. The only challenge for Comfort is trying to determine where the district will land in terms of size. Right now, the district is in a slight downward trend when it comes to enrollment, but that could easily flip back toward growth that would press the district’s capacity to handle students.
So, this plan enhances the schools now, while putting into place a good plan for sudden growth.
HIT: Woody Harrelson comes to the
Hill Country to get it right
We’re still not sure how big budget disaster director Roland Emmerich will interpret the pivotal World War II battle of Midway, but we’re certainly pleased that actor Woody Harrelson did his part to get his role in the movie right.
Harrelson plays Adm. Chester Nimitz in Midway, which opens today in Kerrville, and the veteran actor made a trip to Fredericksburg to learn more about Nimitz’s life and speaking style at the National Musuem of the Pacific War. Nimitz was one of the two commanders in the Pacific Theater during World War II, and was one of the leaders who accepted the surrender of the Japanese in 1945 aboard the U.S.S. Missouri.
We’re glad that Woody took the role seriously enough to make the journey, and we look forward to seeing his depiction of the Hill Country legend on the big screen.
HIT: The furniture show is something to behold
One of Kerrville’s gems is the annual furniture show at the Kerr Arts Cultural Center, and the exhibit is a showcase of the master talents of Texas craftsmen. The show has a wide range of items, including rocking chairs, tables, desks and chests. It’s clearly something to behold and appreciate, and if you visit, make sure to check out Jim Goodson’s collection of antique tools that are on display at KACC until Saturday.
MISS: UIL live streaming of marching band
While several hundred folks were able to make it down to San Antonio to watch Tivy High School’s marching band compete in the University Interscholastic League 5-A state marching band competition, others were told by the UIL they could watch the show on a live stream.
However, the UIL’s website forgot one key fact — it was $12 to access the feed. You didn’t find out there was a fee until you clicked through to the website offering the stream.
That’s bad form on the part of the UIL.