Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Vote No on Proposition 4

I'm voting against Prop 4 today authorizing Texas to issue new bonds to build three new adult prison and one new youth prison. So is Kuff, though he predicted all the bonds will pass. While some of the other items they lumped in with the prisons I support - particularly added parks funding - new prisons will suck even more funds from state parks in the long run, and for that reason alone the whole Prop 4 package should be voted down. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition sent out a last-minute alert this morning giving voters the facts about Prop 4 and asking them to oppose it. Here's the text of the alert:
"What is ... disturbing is that the Legislature didn't even bother to tell the voters what the entire $1 BILLION would be spent on. They have outlined $717.3 million, leaving an astounding $282.7 MILLION at their discretion. Are the taxpayers of Texas this gullible?"
-Lone Star State of Texas Blog

What Others Say About Proposition 4: "If you can't staff the prisons you've got, how can we afford to build more?"

Americans for Prosperity is another organization AGAINST Proposition 4 because $57 million in General Revenue funds have been obligated to pay for debt service payments. Though many of these projects need funding, taxpayers should not have to fund them through General Obligation bonds; Texas has a budget surplus and should use a portion of that money to fund these projects. Find out what Americans for Prosperity has to say about Proposition 4 here.

Find out why the Restorative Justice Ministries Network is against Proposition 4 here.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) currently has a massive shortage of correctional officers. Taking this into account, how can they expect to staff 3 new prisons? Check out a video about why correctional officers don't support building new prisons.

Check out the Grits for Breakfast blog post, Arguments you won't hear in TV ads about new prisons and Proposition 4. Included is an additional video that shows why new prisons (and Proposition 4) are bad solutions to our criminal justice dilemma.

Cast your vote today, November 6!

To find out where to vote, call the Texas Secretary of State voter information line toll-free at (800) 252-VOTE. More information is on the Secretary of State's Voter Information web page.

TCJC strongly opposes Proposition 4 for the following reasons:

The 80th Legislature set up a system of prison diversions (alternatives to incarceration) so that the construction of new adult facilities would be unnecessary.

Proposition 4 prematurely calls for the construction of three new prisons ($273.4 million). There is simply no need for new prison construction, especially when TDCJ does not have enough prison guards to adequately staff current prisons.

Criminal justice concerns aside, Proposition 4 would give voters no future say over how bond proceeds would be allocated or spent. PROP. 4 sets aside close to $300 million-with no specific purpose!

Though Proposition 4 does provide funding for a much-needed regionalization of Texas Youth Commission facilities, the negative aspects of Prop. 4 far outweigh these positive concessions.

Vote NO on Proposition 4! State lawmakers should go back to the drawing board and come up with a better plan that doesn't waste valuable tax dollars on unnecessary prisons.

Read More About Proposition 4
Check out the House Research Analysis report on this Constitutional Amendment
Proposition 4, dealing with general obligation bonds for state agency construction and repair projects, has TCJC's attention. Read this analysis to have a better understanding of the outcomes of this $1 billion dollar proposition.

View ALL 16 Propositions
Be well-informed! Read the House Research Analysis Focus Report to learn how each of these propositions will affect you and the State of Texas. This will help you decide which propositions you are in favor of and which ones you oppose.

You can also check out Representative Scott Hochberg's website, which outlines the propositions as well.

Voters in Harris, Smith, Brazos and Howard counties also have important bond votes today to decide whether to build new jails. Of these, only Howard's new jail is justified - officials in the other three counties just need to focus more on solutions and less on thumping their chests about being tuff on crime.

Finally, here's an election-day themed video from the Drug Policy Alliance to cap off the post - I've linked to it before, but it pretty much tells the story of why Texas pols put Prop 4 on the ballot. Everybody go vote, and check back on Grits tonight for prison and jail building results.


Anonymous said...

I voted early this morning and I voted no to Prop 4. I hope all state employees did the same thing!

Anonymous said...

Grits this is off the topic but I have to make this comment.

Senator Carlos Uresti sent an email to all state employees today asking for support of Texas A&M San Antonio. Please understand we have nothing against the college or San Antonio.

Senator Uresti,

West Texas State School has been in dire need of your support since the sex scandal broke and created the crisis that sent our agency into oblivion. You've yet to visit our facility or respond to our emails. You have shown no interest, support or empathy for the West Texas State School employees or youth. The smallest donation to this A&M scholarship fund is $50.00. We don't know any TYC employees, except for the current leadership and her cronies, that can afford to give that much at our state pay.

Just to keep you abreast of our situation, here are a few tidbits of the happenings at TYC/Pyote. We can't send money for your cause this month because we have been mandated to wear color coded polo shirts, to purchase black slacks and black shoes and be in uniform by next week. So there went our November donation! Our current leadership has some squirrely priorities but we must comply or be peppered sprayed or perhaps lose our jobs, it all depends on Dementia feels that day!

Next month it be will be Christmas and our families and kids come first. I will need to use those $50.00 & attempt to have a nice Christmas, so there went that donation. By the way, all we want for Christmas is the current leadership ousted and gone! Have you got clout with Santa?? We have been good, but Dementia didn't think so, so she halted our overtime pay!

That many of our coworkers are single parents does not seem to matter to the current leadership. They are expected to figure out how to purchase those slacks & shoes and be in uniform by the mandated deadline of next week. Give our thanks to Dementia and her Dummies!

We have colleges out in West Texas too and the University of Texas/Permain Basin and our communities could use your support as well. Remember us?? We know we're not as big as San Antonio but we have plenty of voters. We find it insulting that you would solicit support from the state employess at West Texas State School after not responding for calls for help! We wanted to let you know that we just can't find it in our hearts to support you or any of your causes. Our luck to you next election and Happy Holidays from our homes to yours!

Anonymous said...

Well I voted yes for prop 4.I'm a happy State employee and have been for 22years TDCJ.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@ 4:51 - just curious, why did you vote yes on Prop 4? Do you think it's wise to build three new prisons, or did you just support the other stuff in the bond package?

I just don't see how TDCJ could staff them - they're 4,000 guards short right now, and some units are staffed at less than 65% of the minimum.

Anonymous said...

I voted a big fat NO. Anything that has to do w/ building more prisons will never get my vote. Hell close down TYC CO and make that a prison God knows the people there already feel they are in prison. Thanks Robin for making us feel like family... thanks for nothing. You to have got to go. Robin next time you plan on coming to WTSS don't pass your dirty work to Janie Durante. First thing she can't keep her mouth shut and has nothing good to say about you. Oh I could go on but she does sit close to your office and I don't want you to put your red glasses on and go off firing off your mouth to her as well. Thank God that Joe is no longer there. He has been through battle.