Amid all the high-profile constitutional amendments in this year’s Texas election (no COVID restrictions for religious services, property tax breaks for families of veterans and the disabled), one seemingly nerdy amendment stood out as important for urban and suburban areas such as unincorporated Harris County. That was Proposition 2, which allows counties to issue tax-increment bonds for transportation and other infrastructure.
Roughly one and a half years after George Floyd’s murder and the global protests that followed, local votes affecting local police forces came to the ballot box last week. In Austin, Proposition A would have mandated higher police staffing levels, but it failed by a very large margin, with 69% of voters rejecting the measure. Farther north in Minneapolis, a more narrow but still decisive vote rejected the disbandment of the Minneapolis police department (56% opposed).
Houston, Boise, and Seattle share a strong-mayor form of government, and its voters tend to favor progressive-leaning candidates. But these two majority-White cities have lifted Hispanic candidates into office in recent years, while representation has dwindled in Houston.
In November 1979, Houston City Council went from being almost exclusively male and white to being dramatically more diverse, literally overnight, as voters elected the council’s first two women and its first Mexican-American, and tripled the representation of African-Americans. The new council was also on average 10 years younger. It was a new day in city politics—thanks to federally required reforms that led to single-member districting—and Houston never looked back.
From an eviction moratorium to support for infrastructure, transportation and affordable housing, there are many moves President Joe Biden may make that will benefit cities. Here’s a look at some of them.
In the past three decades, the populations of these counties near Houston, Austin and Dallas have tripled in size, become less white and shifted politically. Here’s a closer look.
The image of the suburbs as being home to only white and wealthy residents whose ‘suburban lifestyle dream’ is being threatened doesn’t square with the reality of American life in 2020. Half of Black Americans live in the suburbs, which are much more diverse — both racially and economically — than many urban areas.
At Black churches up and down the U.S., religious slogans have been supplanted with another message in the run up to Nov. 3: Vote!
Roland B. Smith Jr. is from Washington, D.C., whose residents weren’t allowed to vote in a presidential election until 1964. Growing up, his mother would travel almost 500 miles by bus or train from D.C. to Asheville, North Carolina, where she grew up, just to vote. Roland B. Smith Jr. always votes.
Overall, waiting times may be improving — but long waits are still common in Black communities. As the percentage of nonwhite voters in a precinct increases, so do wait times.
The most-popular Urban Edge stories from the past year ranged in topic from dockless scooters and the growth rate of Dallas to the unequal distribution of trees in the city and the Opportunity Zone program. But the most popular topic of 2019 was TxDOT’s enormous I-45 expansion plan.
This is a part of a series connected to our partnership with the Greater Houston Community Foundation's regional project Understanding Houston. This story, and others, also appears on the Understanding Houston website.
This story was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
On November 5, the City of Houston will hold elections to choose a mayor, controller, and 16 council members to serve four-year terms from January 2020 to January 2024.
A proposed state bill would allow convicted felons serving their sentences to vote while on parole or probation.