Tablet Opinion

Tarrant-area propositions buck Texas conservative trend

Statewide races in Tuesday’s elections resulted in few surprises — at least when it comes to the projected party of the victor. The Lone Star State has shown that it remains reliably red.

Still, as the early voting and initial results trickled in, a somewhat unexpected trend emerged in the local election results.

Tarrant County voters rejected several well-financed anti-debt campaigns, and overwhelmingly supported bond elections in Arlington and the Birdville and Keller school districts.

And they did this while handily sending fiscal conservatives and “Tea Party” Republican candidates to Austin.

The anti-debt lobby had some champions on the ballot, too. The winner of Wendy Davis’ Texas Senate seat, Konni Burton, built her campaign around opposition to federal and state government spending.

But that didn’t stop voters from supporting bond elections that will increase public debt.

In Birdville, unofficial results showed that 66 percent of voters supported the $163.2 million for school construction and renovation.

Keller ISD’s bond garnered similar, although slightly less energetic, support. Unofficial results showed 57 percent of voters cast their ballots for the $169.5 million bond package to build new facilities and update existing schools in the 34,000-student district.

Arlington’s $236 million bond election — the largest in the city’s history — included four separate propositions for streets, parks, fire facilities and libraries. Unofficia results showed the four proposals earned support ranging from 65 to 77 percent.

Perhaps the most surprising election proposition to pass was from Denton. By way of a ballot initiative, Denton is poised to become the first city in Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing of gas wells within the city. Almost 59 percent of voters approved the ban; just over 41 percent registered opposition.

With passage of the ban, legal issues will abound. Still, it’s an unexpected victory for a grassroots effort that did not possess the financing enjoyed by the opposition.

Then there were the three Fort Worth arena proposals, which will establish user fees to pay half the cost of a $450 million multipurpose arena in the Will Rogers Center. Private donors will pay the rest.

In spite of the fact that Fort Worth leaders made clear the new arena won’t rely on property tax dollars to fund it, anti-debt groups targeted the proposals as well. But their efforts were for naught.

The arena sailed to victory, ranging from 72 percent for a parking fee to 77 percent for a livestock stall fee and 79 percent for a ticket tax.

Tarrant County’s support of Republicans this election cycle is no surprise. But its support of so many diverse local propositions certainly is, and a pleasant one at that.