College Station Texas

Know Your Reps! Know Your Rights! Know Your Power! 2019 Local Elections in Brazos County

Many other cities throughout Texas just had their local (AKA “municipal”) elections. Bryan / College Station doesn’t have ours until the fall. Activist friends in larger cities are (rightly) complaining about an abysmal voter turnout of 11.5% (San Antonio) or 9.87% (Dallas).

Many candidates in these cities ran unopposed. Many won with approximately 100 votes. Some lost by less than 50 votes.

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As bad as the turnout is in major cities, in Brazos County, our turnout is even worse. According to BrazosVotes.org:

In Brazos County, our voter turnout in the 2017 municipal elections was 8.7%.

Fall elections are supposed to yield a higher voter turnout, because voters are more accustomed to voting in the fall. Our turnout is lower than elsewhere even though we are supposed to have the added advantage of holding elections in the fall.

The first step to increasing voter turnout for local elections is for ALL OF US to talk about local candidates and local issues throughout the year. That also means spreading information—always be teaching! We need to empower ourselves and others with the necessary information. An informed citizen is more likely to be a VOTER. An informed, engaged voter is more likely to feel comfortable running for office.

Don’t feel bad if you feel uninformed. Young Dems BCS will be providing resources so that you can feel empowered & informed! We aim to make it as accessible as possible so don’t worry—we gotchu!

Here are some seats up for election in the fall:

 

Bryan City Council:

College Station City Council:

  • Mayor Karl Mooney (running unopposed)

  • Jerome Rektorik, Place 2

 

Bryan ISD School Board

3 positions up for election representing single member districts

  • 1

  • 3

  • 5

 If you live in Bryan but you aren't sure what district of Bryan ISD you are in, check out this map. This is how you determine which seat you would be running for. If you are in district 1, 3, or 5--your seat is up this year and you should think about running! 

College Station ISD School Board

  • Place 3,

  • Place 4

  • Place 5

 The seven-member College Station ISD Board of Trustees all serve three-year terms in at-large positions (so it doesn’t matter where you live in College Station—you can vote for each school board position).

Residents of Brazos County also have the opportunity to vote on Texas Constitutional Amendments. Learn more here.

Speak Out Against Racial Profiling in Brazos County

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At a Bryan City Council meeting on 2/12, a report was released on the racial disparity in Bryan PD’s policing. Watch the video of the report here.

The findings are disturbing, and show that black people comprised 25% of traffic stops, though they make up only ~14% of Bryan’s driving population. Latinx people were also pulled over at a rate disproportionate to their percentage of the population.

We also found that in BrazosCounty:

  • Latinx people are incarcerated 89% more than White people.

  • Black people are incarcerated 898% (about 9x) more than White people.

  • White people go to jail at a rate 42% BELOW the state average.

Source: http://trends.vera.org/rates/brazos-county-tx

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YoungDemsBCS invites you to join us at a Bryan City Council meeting on May 14 to voice your concerns regarding these disturbing findings. Arrive and provide your name before 5:30 in order to be included in the public commentary portion, which starts at 6.

RSVP here to let us know you plan to attend City Council Meeting with us.

On Saturday, May 11, we will be hosting a workshop to prepare for the city council meeting. At this meeting, we will go over messaging, tone and data points. Members of the community are also invited to attend and share their personal stories.

We will also go over the specific asks we have of Bryan City Council and Bryan PD for feasible improvements (and we welcome any suggestions you may have as wel!). This workshop will ensure that we come prepared as a collective and can speak confidently to Bryan City Council on the issue at hand.

RSVP for the Criminal Justice Working Group here.

What is the Green New Deal? Find out at our next meeting.

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Humanity has just over a decade to get carbon emissions under control.

Or else, well, you can guess what else. Global, catastrophic climate change impacts become inevitable and irreversible.

Democrats do not currently have a plan to address climate change, and last addressed it in 2009 when they passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

Some people call the Green New Deal “ambitious.” What they don’t seem to realize is that we have now entered a do or die moment. We NEED to be ambitious.

Big problems call for big solutions.

To learn more about this resolution and how it plans to address climate change as well as racial / economic inequality, come to the next Young Dems BCS meeting on Sunday, March 31, 7 pm, Square One.

TEXAS VOTER PURGE UPDATE

Bravo to U.S. District Judge Fred Biery of San Antonio on achieving a temporary halt to the Texas “voter fraud” purge! Biery called the purge “a solution looking for a problem.”

“[...] perfectly legal naturalized Americans were burdened with what the Court finds to be ham-handed and threatening correspondence from the state which did not politely ask for information but rather exemplifies the power of government to strike fear and anxiety and to intimidate the least powerful among us,” Biery wrote.

Brazos County has a list of 570 names that have been “flagged” as potential non-citizens. According to the Elections Administrator Trudy Hancock, 47 of those individuals received the initial letter questioning their citizenship, followed by a “disregard” letter. The rest of the people on this list likely don’t even know they are on it.

The Texas voter fraud list is comprised of people who initially used a green card or similar documentation at DPS when obtaining their drivers license or state ID, indicating that they were not a citizen at the time. Anyone who used such documentation as far back as 1996 could be included on the list, even if they have since become a naturalized citizen.

And since we naturalize thousands of citizens every year, that situation is very likely.

Civil rights groups argue that the list constitutes voter intimidation targeting Latinx and immigrant communities, and we at YoungDemsBCS agree. We will be watching to ensure that voting rights aren’t stripped from these communities who are already targeted in the Trump era.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State David Whitley’s chances of getting confirmed in the TX Senate aren’t looking great. He needs a 2/3rds vote to be confirmed but all Texas Democrats have pledged to vote “no,” which would be enough to reject his confirmation.

Note: the battle isn’t over! Counties haven’t thrown out these “fraud” lists entirely and still seem to be going through them. But these are good developments! We have activist groups such as Jolt Texas, Texas Civil Rights Project, LULAC, and others to thank for the progress we’ve made so far.

While we are on the topic… Need to register to vote? Email us at youngdemsBCS@gmail.com

Racial Profiling in Brazos County

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As Young Dems BCS continues to sift through the racial disparities in Bryan and CollegeStation policing and incarceration, we found that in BrazosCounty:

Black people go to jail at a rate that is 122% above the State Average.

Black people go to jail at a rate that is 122% above the State Average.

  • Latinx people are incarcerated 89% more than White people.

  • Black people are incarcerated 898% (about 9x) more than White people.

  • White people go to jail at a rate 42% BELOW the state average.

Source: http://trends.vera.org/rates/brazos-county-tx

White people go to jail at a rate that is 42% under the State Average.

White people go to jail at a rate that is 42% under the State Average.

Please join us at the April Bryan City Council meeting, where we will be presenting feasible solutions for making Bryan PD's policing more equitable:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2161415630547592/?ti=ia

One solution we will propose is enabling residents to file complaints about police behavior without having to GO INTO the police station in person and possibly come face-to-face with the police officer they are complaining about. Other counties, like Harris and Travis, have web portals and other ways of submitting notarized complaints remotely.

Video of report on BPD’s traffic stops, which was presented at the previous City Council meeting, can be found here: https://bryantx.swagit.com/play/02122019-2239