March 24, 2023 12:00pm

Abbott initiatives, time change and ex-UT hoops coach

Austin-area Power Poll participants weigh in on Abbott initiatives, time change and ex-UT hoops coach

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Austin, TX Correspondent
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This month’s Power Poll Austin sought input on a couple of timely legislative topics, including one question asking whether it’s about time to do something about time, one involving a former University of Texas coach and one dealing with immigration.

Among the myriad topics the Texas Legislature is considering during the current biennial 140-day regular session is the perennial question about the semiannual time change. For many years, and with no success, some lawmakers have proposed doing away with the time change or, at least, asking Texans if they want to do away with the time change.

Folks who want to do away with the time change then have to decide which time - standard or daylight saving - they’d prefer on a permanent basis.

Power Poll Austin found, predictably, a lack of consensus, which is among the reasons the topic never has made much progress at the Capitol.

Twenty-five percent of respondents said they’re OK with the status quo. The rest prefer doing away with the twice-a-year change. But there was a near-even split on which time should become permanent time.

Thirty-six percent favored daylight saving time. But 39% favor year-round standard time.

So don’t look for any consensus on what time it should be any time soon. Power Poll respondent Eric Bandholz, CEO and founder of Beardbrand, captured the overall feeling with his comment.

“The clock changes have been really challenging for our family this year. My kids haven't been adjusting well to it.” he said. “I really don't care if they stay on standard time or daylight saving time. But the moving the clock forward and backwards is just silly.”

Next we asked about current legislative efforts, cheerleaded by Gov. Greg Abbott, to allow the use of tax dollars to subsidize private school tuition for parents who prefer the non-public school route for their children. The topic was the source of a lengthy and contentious recent Senate committee hearing as the legislation wound its way toward the legislative chambers.

The Power Poll question offered three response options. The most popular answer - 56% - signaled opposition to the concept. Only 22% said they suppport the idea. And 22% agreed with the answer “I’m not totally opposed to the idea but would have to see details.”

Bandholz captured the prevailing sentiment among supports of the idea: “Glad they're looking to support families to help support school choice. A more competitive marketplace for education will only elevate education.”

Power Poll Austin, which samples the opinions of local political, governmental and business leaders, also asked about Abbott’s practice of using state money to send unauthorized migrants to so-called “sanctuary cities” around the country.

The White House has blasted the practice as a "cruel, dangerous, and shameful stunt."

Fifty-eight percent of Power Poll respondents agreed with the statement that the program is “ridiculoous grandstanding” by Abbott and that “he should not be using these suffering people to make some kind of political statement he things benefits him.”

But 42% agreed with the notion that the program is “a good idea” and that “the immigration situation is a national problem and its impact should be shared around the country, not just in border states.”

Jo Kathryn Quinn, president and CEO of Caritas of Ausin, acknowledged the knottiness of the problem.

“With regard to the question about refugees and immigrants being sent to other states. I had wished there was a middle of the road choice,” she said. “Something like: Governor Abbott and other state officials should carefully and humanely coordinate with other states to provide alternative resident options for immigrants and refugees; particularly in other states that have healthy economies with lots of job opportunities.”

Finally, turning to sports, Power Poll Austin sought responses about former Texas Longhorn basketball Coach Chris Beard, who was fired in January after his arrest on a domestic violence charge. The charge later was dropped when Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said there was insufficient evidence to pursue the charge in court.

Not long after that, the University of Mississippi, which fired its hoops coach during the season, hired Beard to lead its struggling basketball program. That hiring sets up a potentially interesting Austin return for Beard. The Longhorns will be joining the Southeastern Conference, of which Ole Miss is a longtime member.

That means there’s a good chance Beard will return to Austin to play his former team when his new team comes to town. And that sets up an interesting, if potentially uncomfortable, situation for UT fans.

Power Poll Austin wanted to know how fans would greet Beard when he returns.

Silence, at 57%, was the most popular answer. Next was “polite applause” at 27%. Then came “boos” at 13%.

Only 2% said they’d greet Beard with “raucous cheers.”

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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