AUSTIN — By Oct. 19 – the first day of early voting before the Nov. 2 general election – the editorial boards of 12 of the larger daily newspapers had endorsed Bill White, the former mayor of Houston and the Democratic candidate for governor. And one editorial board, the Waco Tribune-Herald’s, endorsed incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

But, by Oct. 29 – the last day of early voting – polls of likely voters showed Perry with a lead of around 10 percentage points.

Now, back to the newspapers. The 12 that endorsed White were listed as the Amarillo Globe-News, Austin American-Statesman, Beaumont Enterprise, The Bryan-College Station Eagle, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and The Dallas Morning News. Also, The Galveston County Daily News, Houston Chronicle, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, San Angelo Standard-Times, San Antonio Express-News, and Wichita Falls Times Record News.

A rundown of results in the major races will be in next week’s column.

Thousands attend ‘Sanity’ event

Between 5,000 and 6,000 people gathered on the Capitol grounds Oct. 30 for the Texas version of cable television “infotainment” czar Jon Stewart’s “Rally for Sanity.”

The event was in tandem with Stewart’s national rally on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C., which was attended by more than 250,000 people.

Social networking expands reach

Back on May 11, the Senate Committee on State Affairs met and heard testimony on how advances in technology and the emergence of various forms of social media have affected communications by and within governmental bodies.

So, the use of social networking by governmental officials is on the table for the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature.

Now, here’s a new twist. Recently, an incumbent running for reelection posted a negative comment about his campaign opponent on the local government body’s Facebook page.

The Texas Ethics Commission said the candidate’s posting was not campaign speech. (The state Election Code addresses paid political advertising not social networking communications in campaigns for public office.)

Last April, Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 491 said political advertising that appeared on a social networking site (like Facebook) requires a political advertising disclaimer statement that is linked to information about who paid for the advertisement.

If legislation addressing officials’ use of social networking for routine communications is filed in the coming months, perhaps social networking’s effects on campaign communications might also be addressed.

TCEQ-Mexico border plan in place

Did you know the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has its own border initiative with Mexico? The initiative, created in 2008, aims to:

ân  Continue bi-national air quality monitoring in Ciudad Juárez;

ân  Develop a Lower Rio Grande water quality initiative;

ân  Provide technical assistance on the pretreatment of fats, oil, and grease;

ân  Improve municipal management of scrap tires; and

ân  Develop coordinated emergency response measures with the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Magazine honors two of our own

GOVERNING, a national monthly magazine published in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26 announced its top governing officials for the year 2010. On the list of eight honorees are two Texans.

The announcement said, “Sen. John Whitmire and Rep. Jerry A. Madden, State of Texas, teamed up to oppose funding another round of prison building in Texas, the world center of incarceration; opting instead for a smaller investment in treatment and diversion that has since become a model for corrections reformers everywhere.”

A short list of Public Officials of the Year from state, city and county government have been singled out and honored for outstanding accomplishment annually by the magazine for the last 17 years.

Whitmire, D-Houston, is chair of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice and dean of the Senate. Madden, R-Plano, is vice chair of the House Corrections Committee.

Texas wines duel with New York

The New York Giants won the Oct. 25 NFL match-up with the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington 41-35, but Texas beat New York 8-3 in a nearby pre-game wine-tasting contest hosted by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

The 2010 Grape and Gridiron Classic, a blind taste-testing event featuring a selection of 11 wines, was conducted in Dallas at El Centro College’s Food & Hospitality Institute.