Good morning, Kerr County!
Election day is here, so if you haven't cast your ballot, consider doing so today. The weather should be fine. The National Weather Service forecast is for partly sunny skies, with a high of about 80 degrees today. We should see a cool down for the weekend — still forecast for 20 degrees. There could be an afternoon thunderstorm today, so maybe bring an umbrella for a sudden downpour.
On today's The Lead Live!
We turn the reigns over to Kenneth O'Neal today, a Vietnam War veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and he will chat with Robert Nichols, a fellow Vietnam War veteran. All week we have veterans interview veterans about their service and experiences in the military. Many people know O'Neal from his motivational coaching and speaking engagements, and he'll host a seminar on Nov. 12 at the Kerrville Kroc Center. Also joining us will be Leslie North, who is a member of Together with Hill Country Veterans, and she will share with us about her service.
More on The Lead Live!
Not only will we have the morning show, but we're inviting you to join us at 6 p.m. for our Election Night webcast, where we'll check out what's going on at the Kerrville City Council meeting and follow the Kerr County results and those from across the country.
Election day across the United States
It's not uncommon for people to attach hyperbole to elections, but in the 2022 midterm election, the hype seems real, including here in Kerr County. First off, if you don't know where your polling station is, here's our list of precinct voting locations.
- Precinct 101 — Southern Oaks Baptist Church, 122 Valley View, Kerrville
- Precinct 107 — Thunder Hills Biker Church, 111 Camino Real, Kerrville
- Precinct 109 — Northwest Hills Community Center, 200 Northwest Hills Dr., Kerrville
- Precinct 113 — St. Pauls Methodist Church, 135 Methodist Encampment, Kerrville
- Precinct 118 — River Hills Mall, 200 Sidney Baker South, Kerrville
- Precinct 119 — Riverside Church of Christ, 625 Harper Rd., Kerrville
- Precinct 202 — American Legion Hall, 300 FM 480, Center Point
- Precinct 211 — Union Church, 101 Travis St., Kerrville
- Precinct 215 — Hosanna Lutheran Church, 134 Camp Meeting Road, Kerrville
- Precinct 220 — Faith Christian Church, 1205 Sidney Baker S, Kerrville
- Precinct 303 — Calvary Temple Church, 3000 Loop 534, Kerrville
- Precinct 308 — Covenant Life Fellowship – Hill Country, 6650 Hwy 27, Comfort
- Precinct 312 — Zion Lutheran Church, 624 Barnett St., Kerrville
- Precinct 314 — Cailloux Theater, 910 Main St., Kerrville
- Precinct 404 — Mountain Home Fire Department, 5475 Junction Hwy, Mountain Home
- Precinct 405 — Hunt School, 115 Hunt School Rd. Multi-Purpose Room, Hunt
- Precinct 406 — Citywest Church, 3139 Junction Hwy, Ingram
- Precinct 410 — Divide Chapel, 121 Divide School Road, Mountain Home
- Precinct 416 — Kerrville KOA Community Center, 2400 Goat Creek Road, Kerrville
- Precinct 417 — Western Hill Baptist Church, 2010 Goat Creek Road, Kerrville
What's on the ballot?
At least for Kerr County voters here's what you're facing:
- Prop. A, A $13,685,000 bond to pay for upgrades at the Kerr County Courthouse, renovations of the Jury Room and building a West Kerr Annex.
- Prop. B, An $8,065,000 to repair and upgrade the grubby Hill Country Youth Event Center ag barn — the one with the dirt floor.
- Prop. C, A $5,750,000 bond to replace the Kerr County Animal Services Shelter.
Of course, if this should fail, the challenge for the Kerr County Commissioners Court will be how to pay for upgrades required by the state at the courthouse. That remains unclear, but maybe incoming Precinct 2 Commissioner Rich Paces has a solution. Paces has led the efforts against the bonds.
If you need something to do after you vote
- Texas Furniture Makers Show — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Information: https://www.kacckerrville.com The details: Texas Furniture Makers' Show® is an annual statewide Competition of the Finest Custom Furniture Makers in Texas. The show is held at the beautiful Kerr Arts & Cultural Center.
- Works We Love Show — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. Information: https://www.museumofwesternart.com The details: "Works We Love," featuring Fred Harman, creator of "Red Ryder and Little Beaver." Also on display are works from our permanent collection.
- Vinyl Night — Inn of the Hills, 7 p.m. Information: 830-895-5000 The details: Vinyl night is a night of listening to music our favorite way and playing records!
And if election night wasn't fun enough, there's a stellar Kerrville City Council meeting
OK, the Kerrville City Council meets at 6 p.m. tonight (we're not going in person because we want to eat before midnight) but here's how long we think it will take:
- There are two presentations, including a Kerrville Kindness Award. We're thinking 10 minutes.
- The citizen's forum is always interesting, but the meat of this meeting is later on the agenda. So, this is a 15-20 minute endeavor.
- The consent agenda has nine items — a lot of commas and stuff for Councilmember Roman Garcia to pick through and fix. And to make things more complicated, there's an item about street paving, which draws the attention of persistent city gadfly George Baroody. So, expect another 15-20 minute discussion. If Baroody isn't there and the copy is clean, this could be 60 seconds.
- OK, so where are we? Worst case scenario, we get to the NINE public hearings at 6:55 p.m. And yes, your read that right — nine public hearings, including eight on short-term rentals. We're estimating it will take about 90 minutes to slog through this.
- It's about 8:30 p.m., and the agenda is about halfway done — on paper.
- That brings us to a report from the short-term rental committee, which made 14 pages of redlined recommendations and changes to the city's plans. Layng Guerriero is making the presentation. Ballpark: 20-30 minutes.
- Then the City Council has to consider these recommendations and adopt an ordinance on first reading. Easily a 20-minute process.
- For those keeping track, it's now 9:20 p.m.
- Back to the ordinances, and this time the City Council tackles loud vehicles — we suspect there might be some opinions here. If you missed yesterday's The Lead, the ordinance says that vehicles that are louder than normal are violating city laws. Expect another 20 minutes.
- And the final ordinance is a second reading on a budget amendment. That could take 10 minutes. We are at 9:50 p.m.
- Now, we're into the final death throes of the meeting, but for some, we're just getting started.
- If everything goes according to plan, the City Council reaches Item 10 on the agenda at 9:51 p.m. This item is about extending utilities to an Ingram Ready Mix plant that is also being annexed into the city. It seems simple, but expect 10 minutes.
- Onto the second reading and adoption of the water-wastewater master plan, but don't tell anyone in Ingram about the cost. Another 10 minutes.
- Now, item 10C tackles the bids to construct the public safety building. Eight companies submitted bids, the City Council has to consider five. If the city staff ever wants to go home, they will have this critter packaged with the five, and the Council acts quickly. Still, it's a 10-minute effort.
- And that brings us to the discussion, sometime around 10:30 p.m., about the naughty library book issue brought to the City Council by Barbara Dewell Ferguson, with Garcia sponsoring it. Ferguson is bringing a petition before the City Council to do exactly what people said we don't do — ban books. The original agenda request mentioned that the library staff violated the Texas Penal Code, but the Kerrville Police Department disagreed. If they had agreed, the police would have arrested Bethany Puccio for reading a tawdry line in a book about performing oral sex on a woman in a City Council meeting. This could take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or longer. The original action asked for disciplinary action against the library staff, which means it could be an executive session item. That would undoubtedly shorten the conversation. The number of speakers could be significant because it's on the agenda, and private Facebook groups have been formed to rally support at the meeting to remove the books from the library.
- Finally, the City Council will appoint someone to the Food Service Advisory Board. This could happen just before midnight or early Wednesday.
We're already exhausted.
Speaking of naughty books …
One of the underlying issues with the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library's decision to show a handful of gay-themed books is an agreement between the county and the city over an interlocal agreement that trades library and animal control services. The super-heated controversy, compounded by the Kerr County Commissioners Court, led many to believe the county was ending animal control services to Kerrville.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Jonathan Letz said that's not the case.
"As the local rabies control authority, the county is obligated to continue to serve in that role for all county residents, including those who live in Kerrville," added Kerr County Commissioner (Pct. 3) Jonathan Letz. "The county continues to review operations and any changes made will be the same for all residents."
And with the midterms — comes the I word
Just some of the stories speculating about President Joe Biden's future are focused on impeachment. It seems likely that if the Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives, their most conservative members will move to draft articles calling for Biden's impeachment. The grounds are iffy, but here's the rub — there must be a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate must convict and remove the president. That's unlikely.
But the speculation hasn't stopped, and here's a breakdown of articles being written about impeachment:
- The Atlantic, The Impeachment of Joe Biden. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/10/republicans-investigate-possible-impeachment-joe-biden/671859/ And here's the crux of one of the impeachable offenses, according to The Atlantic: Another oft-mentioned reason for impeachment is Biden's immigration policies and border enforcement. "One impeachment resolution offered last year alleged that Biden "has allowed illegal aliens to enter the United States in violation of immigration law, admitted aliens who have tested positive for COVID-19 into the United States, countered the will of Congress by not completing the southern border wall, [and] deprived border agents of the sufficient manpower and resources needed to secure the border." This is a policy dispute, but Congress gets to define high crimes and misdemeanors any way it likes."
- USA Today opened up the specter of impeachment on Monday with this piece: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/11/07/republicans-congress-mccarthy-mcconnell-impeach-investigations/8265364001/ The newspaper offers a Constitutional reminder: "Even if Biden were impeached, the Senate would hold a trial that would require a two-thirds majority to convict Biden, a near-impossible task."
- Rolling Stone offered this insight: "In September, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told Steve Bannon that Republicans should prioritize investigations and impeachment if they take the House. "If we don't engage in impeachment inquiries to get the documents and the testimony and the information we need, then I believe that our voters will feel betrayed and that likely, that could be the biggest win the Democrats could hope for in 2024, when it really matters to investigate them and to hold them accountable," Gaetz said." Here's the article: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/biden-impeachment-trump-republicans-midterms-1234625755/
- The Nation turns to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for guidance: "Texas Senator Ted Cruz made this clear on a podcast in December when he suggested that a Biden impeachment—"whether it's justified or not"—was a logical response to the two impeachments of Donald Trump. Cruz told listeners, "The Democrats weaponized impeachment. They used it for partisan purposes to go after Trump because they disagreed with him. And one of the real disadvantages of doing that…is the more you weaponize it and turn it into a partisan cudgel, you know, what's good for the goose is good for the gander." Here's more from The Nation: https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/impeachment-joe-biden-gop/
- The Arizona Republic newspaper profiled Rep. Paul Gosar, who makes it clear he wants Biden impeached: "Rep. Paul Gosar said on Twitter that President "Joe Biden must be impeached," reiterating an ultra-conservative talking point and providing a preview of the GOP's playbook if they regain control of the House, which could happen after Tuesday's midterm elections." More on that here: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2022/11/07/rep-paul-gosar-wants-impeach-president-biden/8239922001/
- The Washington Post covered the issue on Monday: https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/republicans-threaten-to-impeach-biden-ahead-of-midterms/2022/11/07/fd78bf30-8a83-4695-832a-21a54b33e7f5_video.html