Election Day Nov 3rd, Voter Info – Propositions on the Ballot

Today Texas voters will decide whether to accept or reject seven proposed Constitutional Amendments submitted by the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas.

Here is some additional information about the 7 proposed Constitutional Amendments on the ballot:

Proposition 1 — would increase the homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000 and permanently ban real estate transfer taxes from being imposed in Texas. Proposition 1 will save homeowners money on their property taxes on their homestead property and will make home ownership more affordable for Texas seniors, people with disabilities and low income families. 

Proposition 2 —  would authorize a homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for the spouses of 100% disabled veterans who died before 2010.

Proposition 3 — would repeal the requirement that elected statewide officeholders live in Austin.

Proposition 4 — A constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles.

Proposition 5 — A constitutional amendment that would authorize counties with a population of 7,500 or less to do private roadwork and maintenance.

Proposition 6 — The constitutional amendment recognizing the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation.

Proposition 7 — This constitutional amendment would dedicate certain sales and use tax revenue and motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax revenue to the state highway fund to provide funding for non-tolled roads and the reduction of certain transportation related debt.

Find more information about polling locations and view a sample ballot at http://home.bexar.org/elections/

If you have questions about the elections contact Bexar County Elections Office at 335-VOTE

Voters are now required to present an approved Photo ID in order to vote in Texas. For more information about approved forms of ID and exceptions visit http://www.VoteTexas.Gov
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San Antonio Elections – Early Voting has Started – ThinkVoting App Makes Voting Easier

This is an exciting time to be a resident of San Antonio! The most important election in San Antonio’s recent memory begins today. Early Voting starts today, Monday, April 27 thru Tuesday, May 5. Election Day is Saturday, May 9. Here are just a few reasons why you need to make sure to get the polls and vote:
  • 14 candidates for Mayor, each with a completely different vision for the future of San Antonio.
  • 34 City Council candidates, many running for the first time ever.
  • 6 additional ballot items covering everything from renewing the water protection to City Council & Mayoral salaries.

TheVotingApp makes navigating this election easier than ever. It is a completely free mobile application that provides the WhoWhatWhenWhereWhy, and How for this election. The app contains essential information on candidates and issues, as well as important deadlines and reminders designed to get you to your correct polling place. TheVotingApp will even build a customized sample ballot where you can compare candidates side-by-side on a variety of criteria, including your own point of view.

Voting should be easy, and with TheVotingApp, it is!
Spread the word and download The Voting App now! Visit www.thinkvoting.com to learn more.

San Antonio Voters Approved Pre-K 4 SA Initiative

On November 6th, 2012 San Antonio voters approved the Pre- K4 SA initiative with almost 54% of the vote.

The Pre-K 4 SA intiative will provide high quality pre-kindergarten education through Model Center facilities. The City will open two centers in 2013 and two centers in 2014.

Some of the critics of the Pre-K 4 SA program questioned why the city should be getting involved in providing education and why citizens should pay an additional tax for education when revenue is already being collected for the school districts through the property tax.

However, one of the most persuasive arguments for supporting the program comes from former Northside Independent School District Superintendent, Dr. John Folks. Speaking to citizens at a public information hearing in September, Folks reminded voters that the tax revenue collected by the school districts goes to the Texas Legislature and the Legislature recently cut $5.4 billion from public education, forcing school districts to do more with less.

Dr. Folks also highlighted how the school districts will be able to benefit from the plan. In the fourth year of the program the city will make competitive grant awards to school districts, charter schools and non-profit education providers that want to expand or improve their Pre-K programs.

In addition to educating 2,000 4 year olds per year, the Education Excellence Centers will also provide professional education and training to Pre-K through 3rd Grade educators.

When interviewed on Morning Joe after the election and voter approval of the Pre-K 4 SA initiative, Mayor Castro stated that “we are a city that believes that if you create opportunity for folks that we’re going to see prosperity in the future.”

San Antonio voters and business leaders have agreed that an investment in San Antonio children’s early education is an important investment in our children and our city’s future.

Will San Antonio Vote Yes for Pre-K 4 SA on November 6th?

San Antonio voters are heading to the polls with two days remaining for early voting and election day fast approaching on Tuesday, November 6th. In addition to electing our next president and our national and local government representatives, San Antonio voters will also choose whether or not to approve a proposed local issue called the Pre-K 4 SA Initiative. The Pre-K 4 SA initiative proposes a 1/8-cent sales tax for San Antonio. If approved, the City of San Antonio would utilize the revenue from this 1/8 cent sales tax, combined with other state and federal dollars to provide high–quality, full-day Pre-K for eligible 4-year-olds in San Antonio.

The program aims to improve the educational trajectory of 22,400 4-year-old children over eight years while benefiting  thousands more by training area school teachers, teacher’s aides, community Pre-K providers and education leaders. San Antonio Mayor, Julian Castro, is asking San Antonio voters to approve the proposal as an investment in education that will in the long run benefit the greater community.

For more information to help you make an informed decision about this proposal, visit www.sanantonio.gov/Manager/Pre-K4SanAntonio.aspx

To find out more about voting in San Antonio and Bexar County visit the Bexar County Elections homepage.

$596 Million 2012-2017 Bond Program Approved

San Antonio voters recently approved a $596 million Bond Program, the  largest in the city’s history, to invest in the city’s infrastructure and improve its community assets. The Bond Program is divided into the following categories: Streets/Bridges/Sidewalks, Drainage, Parks/Recreation, Library/Museum/Cultural Arts, and Public Safety Facility Improvements.

The bond program includes planned improvements for library, museum and cultural arts facilities including improvements to Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum, Witte Museum & Carver Cultural Arts Center among others. Many of the projects approved for streets, bridges and sidewalks will be providing improved pedestrian and bicycle access and connectivity and lighting improvements. Sixty eight city parks will benefit from the bond program with planned improvements ranging from land acquisition, walking trails and recreational facilities. The propositions also include 1% allocated for public art projects.

  • Streets/Bridges/Sidewalks—41 projects—$337.44 million
  • Drainage & Flood Control Improvements—17 Projects—$128.03 million
  • Parks, Recreation & Open Space Improvements—68 projects—$87.15 million
  • Library, Museum & Cultural Arts Facilities Improvements—11 projects—$29.03m
  • Public Safety Facilities Improvements— 3 projects—$14.35 million

The completion of the 140 projects in the proposition is not expected to require any increase in city taxes.  The Bond Program does not include funding for VIA’s planned streetcar project.

The Bond Program will go a long way to improve life in the city of San Antonio by making it a safer and more pleasant pleasant environment to live, work, drive, walk, bike, and play.

For more information and a complete list of the Bond Program Projects visit http://www.sanantonio.gov/2012bond.

San Antonio Bike Share Program

San Antonio bike share B-station at La Villita opposite HemisFair Park.

San Antonio recently introduced a bike-sharing system, called San Antonio B-cycle which allows people to rent bicycles on a short term basis to get to around downtown. The bikes are adjustable to accommodate riders from 5’2” to 6’4” and are equipped with baskets, built-in locks, GPS units and theft-resistant parts.

There are currently 23 special B-stations set up around downtown San Antonio. The docking stations are conveniently located at popular tourist destinations and local hotspots such as La Villita, HemisFair Park, Blue Star Gallery, Main Plaza, Pearl Brewery and Liberty Bar, just to name a few. For a full map of the docking stations, download the SanAntonio B-cycle brochure.

San Antonio has plans to extend the B-cycle program to the Missions so that more residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the newly extended Mission Reach section of the San Antonio River.

Bicycles are rented through the  San Antonio B-Cycle Program with a daily pass or with an annual membership. The cost is $10 for a day, or $60 for an annual membership or $48 annual membership with a student or military discount. The first half hour of using the bike before docking is free but if you take longer than half and hour before returning the bike to a docking station an additional $2.00 per 30 minutes will be charged, up to a maximum of $35.00 per day.

The introduction of the San Antonio B-cycle program will contribute in many ways to the City of San Antonio’s SA2020 goals of encouraging healthy activity and recreation, making downtown a more bike friendly environment and encouraging more people to live and work downtown.

San Antonio Downtown Takes steps towards SA2020 Vision

San Antonio’s SA2020 report identified that “Great cities have great downtowns… offering culture, convenience, and a variety of transportation operations.” The SA2020 report describes a vision of a downtown with a multi-modal transportation system linking it to neighborhoods across the city.

At an Open House event at San Antonio’s Central Library on 11-29-11, the city shared updates on the Downtown Transportation Study, VIA’s Long Range Plan and the HemisFair Park Framework Plan.
Brian Buchanan, Vice President of Bus & Rail Strategies Planning Project Development for VIA outlined VIA’s long range plan to bring transportation in San Antonio closer to that SA2020 vision. VIA has a Conceptual Plan for the next 25 years to spend $3.4-$4 Billion on 5 new transit Centers. This plan will be initiated with a $239 million Five Year Plan. The 5 year Plan will include development in the following areas –
* Street Cars– with A/C and Wi-Fi, 5-miles – State of the art clean, green, electric Street Cars are planned to help to relieve congestion and are anticipated to serve as a catalyst for growth and increase in property values. There are two planned street car routes; from the Multi-Modal Transit Center to Blue Star area and from Broadway to the Alamodome.
* Westside Multi-Modal Transit Center –  located at 123 Medina Street in what was most recently the Generations Credit Union, but which was previously the International and Great Northern Terminal building. Construction will begin  on turning this building back to its original transportation use in 2012 and it is planned to open in 2013.  VIA would like to see this transit center become a hub for the Bus Rapid Transit, street car and bus services, Amtrak and Greyhound. VIA also would the like the center to be a stop for the planned LSTAR rail line to Austin.

* Fredericksburg Road Bust Rapid Transit (BRT) Corridor for Primo buses from South Texas Medical Center to the Westside Multi-Modal Transit Center to East Commerce and back.

* Robert Thompson Transit Center at the Alamodome  – The Robert Thompson Transit Center and the planned streetcar route to serve it will provide a connection between the Convention Center and the Alamodome. VIA is looking to improve the appearance and environment of the Robert Thompson Center by adding public art and lighting enhancements.

* US 281/ 1604, Stone Oak area Park and Ride

* Downtown Amenities – VIA will be installing new modular bus stops based on capacity, incorporating solar panels and LED arrival info.

The Downtown Transportation Study looked at ways to support the mayor’s vision that came out of the SA2020 work. The goal is to transform downtown, encourage economic development, improve access and improve links between the street and river levels.Jim Daza of ARUP presented information about “Complete Streets.” A complete street can be defined as one that is designed for safe travel for all users. Construction of San Antonio’s first downtown “complete street” will start in January 2012 at Cesar Chavez (formerly Durango) and South Alamo.

* Brooks City Base – Park and Ride – To help serve the growing number of visitors to San Antonio from the South of the City and the booming Eagle Ford Shale area.

___________

HemisFair Park –

Omar Gonzalez, Director of Planning Operations & Development at the Hemisfair Park Redevelopment Corporation presented information at the Open House on the HemisFair Park Framework Plan Update. Gonzalez remarked that San Antonio’s downtown currently generates $26 million per year in surplus tax revenues that is reinvested into other districts.

HPARC wants to encourage the creative classes to live and work downtown.  HPARC contends that HemisFair Park is currently hard to access and wants to improve that by adding a fixed line street car route through the park.

Mr. Gonzalez presented the framework plan illustrations showing the culmination of ideas that came out of a series of public workshops.  The workshops had shown a consensus for the establishment of a large park/ amphitheater space at the northwest corner at Alamo and Market Street corner where the convention center is, assuming that the Convention Center would be rebuilt to the East. HPARC envisions incorporating water features and shade into this large civic park area.Gonzalez stated that it was actually the Convention Center itself that had suggested the expansion of the Convention Center to the East so that they could build more modern convention center space.
Some of the highlights of the planned improvements to HemisFair Park include –

  • Fixed line streetcar route through the park connecting to the Alamodome.
  • A marketplace area at the corner of Alamo and César Chavez
  • Improved connection to La Villita
  • Montana Street through opened up through HemisFair as a connection to the East Side
  • Sustainability through the use of green roofs and solar power

For more information about the HemisFair Park master plan, planned developments and to contribute your ideas and comments as this planning process for HemisFair Park continues, visit www.sanantonio.gov/hemisfairpark and follow HemisFair Park on Facebook

Links of interest relating to these plans –

City of SA’s Proposed Commitment to VIA’s 5 Year Transit Plan

HemisFair Park Public March 11 Report on Public Meeting

HemisFair Park April 26th 2011 Public Meeting Report

Downtown Plan 1999

“My Son Pinocchio, Gepetto’s Musical Tale” at Woodlawn Theatre

Disney’s “My Son Pinocchio, Gepetto‘s Musical Tale” opens at  Woodlawn Theatre on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 just in time for the holidays.

In this story, writer David Stern, gives the classic tale of Pinocchio a slightly different twist on the story of an aging toymaker who wishes for a boy of his own. This tale is told from the perspective of Gepetto as he experiences wishes unexpectedly granted and the challenges of being a parent, as we follow Pinocchio and Gepetto on their adventures.

Featuring the classic favorites, “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “I’ve Got No Strings” and original songs by Grammy Award-winner Steven Schwartz, who also composed for the highly acclaimed “Wicked“, this delightful musical is a crowd-pleaser for all the family.

Save $2 on My Son Pinnochio Tickets

Book your tickets for "My Son Pinocchio" at Woodlawn Theatre and Save $2 with this coupon

Director, Jonathan Pennington brings this magical story to life with the acting and vocal talents of Jay Salazar as Gepetto, Travis  Anderson and Kat Conner as Pinocchio, Rachel Pena as the Blue Fairy, Ben Carlee as Stromboli and Chris Reed as Professor Buonragazzo.

The show opens at The Woodlawn Theatre on Wednesday, November 23rd and runs through December 23rd, every weekend and special shows Wednesday to Friday Dec. 21-23rd.

For a magical night out at the Woodlawn Theatre, book your tickets today to see “My Son Pinocchio, Gepetto‘s Musical Tale”.

Woodlawn Theatre

The Woodlawn Theatre is a vibrant community theatre located at 1920 Fredericksburg Rd, at the heart of San Antonio’s Deco District.

Recent productions at The Woodlawn Theatre include Broadway and musical theatre favorites, “Miss Saigon”, “Jesus Christ, Superstar”, “Annie”, Fame”, Disney‘s “Beauty and the Beast“, “Sweeney Todd:”, “Hairspray”, “Peter Pan”, “The Wiz” and the cult classic, “Rocky Horror Show Live!”

This historic theatre originally opened in 1946 and was where John Wayne hosted the premiere of his classic film, “The Alamo” which was Wayne’s directorial debut.

Over the years the Woodlawn Theatre has been a movie theatre, a night club, and even a place of worship. The theatre was vacant for many years but was renovated and brought back to glory as an iconic landmark and vibrant part of the community by  Jonathan Pennington and Kurt and Sherri Wehner.

Kurt Wehner designs and constructs the phenomenal sets that together with the painting talents of scenic artist, Chris Rutz, transform The Woodlawn Theatre stage for each production.

In addition to Broadway Musical Main Stage Productions, The Woodlawn Theatre also has Youth Musical Theatre Workshops for students to learn acting and singing techniques, stage movement and dance, theatre terms and build self-esteem.

If you’re looking for a fun, friendly night out for some great entertainment, book your tickets for the next performance at the Woodlawn Theatre today.