Author Archives: JoanneR

How to have true conversations with people we disagree with

Common Ground for Texans advocates positive solutions through civil engagement (stress intended). In her TED talk, Megan Phelps-Roper describes how she grew up in —and escaped from—an environment of extreme polarization, and draws some sharp conclusions about how we can engage across ideological lines. Through … Continue reading

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Civility and US political discourse

The Annette Strauss Institute For Civil Life at UT-Austin compiled research into a two-page graphic on Civility and US Political Discourse for the June 22 Texas Lyceum meeting, “Is Civility Lost? When Did Compromise Become a Dirty Word? Finding Common Ground … Continue reading

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CG4TX Meeting on Redistricting

Beginning with the 2014 election, members of the Austin City Council are no longer elected citywide. In response to a 2012 amendment of the City Charter, the city was divided by an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission into ten geographic districts. The Mayor is elected citywide, … Continue reading

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Immigrants in America: Concerns, Resources, and Priorities

On Saturday, February 4 Common Ground hosted a panel discussion on Immigrants in America: Concerns, Resources and Priorities. Our panelists were: Megan Sheffield from Texas Here to Stay, who hold “Know Your Rights” clinics for  immigrants. Sarah Woelk from Casa Marianella, a homeless … Continue reading

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Texas Redistricting Commission bill submitted

Common Ground for Texans hosted a community conversation on Sept 6, 2014 titled “Should Austin’s redistricting plan be duplicated in other Texas cities?”  Craig Tounget, the former Executive Director of the Austin Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, participated on our panel.  … Continue reading

Posted in Electoral reform, Legislation, Redistricting | 5 Comments

Fake news? Real news?

Have you wondered whether the news you and your friends and family are reading on-line is real or fake? Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communication and media at Merrimack College, has compiled a list of Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 3 Comments

Bob Jensen critiques “The Coddling of the American Mind”

Bob Jensen, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, a founding board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center, and a member of the board of Culture Reframed, spoke at the March 5, 2016 meeting of Common Ground for … Continue reading

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Austin’s Campaign Finance System and Alternatives

On January 16, 2016 Common Ground hosted a discussion led by Sara E. Smith, staff attorney for Environment Texas, on the Austin Fair Campaign Chapter (AFCC), its shortcomings, and possible alternatives to it.  It became clear within just a few … Continue reading

Posted in Austin campaign finance, Clean Elections, Community Conversations, Electoral reform | Leave a comment

Ask Senate State Affairs Committee to Consider Judicial Selection Methods

The Texas Senate State Affairs Committee has an interim charge to  “examine the effect of eliminating straight-party voting for candidates for judicial office and make recommendations to ensure candidates are given individual consideration by voters.”  It is unusual for an … Continue reading

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