The Austin Trip–So Far

Yes, blogging has been a little slow, but Austin has been keeping me busy. Actually, Central Texas, generally.

Central Texas

Monday, my camarada and Houston organizer, Fidencio Leija, invited me to my old stomping grounds in San Marcos to meet his protege’, Nathan. Nathan is a grad student at Texas State (PoliSci, what else?) and is going to head up an effort to register and GOTV Latino students, as well as San Marcos residents. It’s not a project for the faint of heart, actually, but his energy will definitely be contagious. A visit to the elections office, a voter registrar training later, and some good insight from the head of the office, and Nathan is set!

Austin

Facebook is a great little tool, sometimes. How else would I have found about Austin’s HABLA platica held this morning at Austin Java. HABLA is Hispanic Advocates Business Leaders of Austin, a local think tank that meets to discuss solutions on various issues impacting the Austin Latino community. Today’s discussion was on the continuing debate over single member districts in Austin.

Advocates in the Latino community are pushing for a 10-1 solution–10 districts (geographic representation), 1 Mayor elected at-large–while some city insiders push for a hybrid solution (8-2-1), kind of like the one we have in Houston. Much of this will come to a head on Thursday as Austin City Council meets to discuss what may/will become a referendum on the November ballot. While Council may present a hybrid solution, 10-1 advocates have been collecting signatures for a 10-1 referendum. Will both appear on the ballot? Will it be either/or? I guess all of this might be answered, or at least discussed, on Thursday. I plan on being there to check things out.

Ultimately, Austinites must demand that they hold the power; not certain special interest groups who anoint candidates ahead of time. That’s what geographic representation is all about.

Somos Tejanos

So, Somos Tejanos is going to change slightly. After a year of constant activity, blogging, and being a one-touch source of information for Tejanos, the evolution continues. I think the boss, Amaury Nora, said it best:

Simply put, the effective public use of social networks to influence policy isn’t something that needs to be proven feasible now, it has shifted into a reality that needs to be improved upon and promoted.

Given that evolution, Somos Tejanos must change to meet the needs of the community. Last year can be viewed as a useful experiment in learning about public policy and social networks, with a finite lifespan. It will not be a dramatic change from our mission, as we’ll be continuing in the work without any pause or interruption.

The adventure definitely continues! Stay connected.

And I even have celeb news:  MACHETE is in the same hotel as I. Danny Trejo is in town shooting the sequel, Machete Kills. As I walked off the parking garage elevator I saw him in the restaurant with his entourage and I just froze. Phone dying, camera up in the room, totally unprepared. I’m carrying my camera with me and my phone charger from now on!

That’s my update during hump day in Austin. It hasn’t been humid, which is a welcome change; but, the sun does feel like it’s going to burn right through me, sometimes. See you soon!

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