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Archive for August 21st, 2017

Petitions

Happy Birthday today to my Dad! Tony Campos is 94, nice!

Commentary doesn’t have a dog in this hunt. I am talking about the petition deadline for the H-Town Firefighters. Like I said, it is not my fight. However, there is something wrong when citizens can’t petition their local government. It kind of feels like the folks that signed the petitions were disrespected a bit – just saying. I mean like Insperity is right down the road – just saying, again.

The Nationals come in to town for a three-game series that starts tomorrow evening. The Nationals used to be the Expos. Name the three Hall of Famers who are wearing an Expo lid on their HOF plaque?

Commentary is not going to say much about yesterday’s Chron Sports Section. The story about the ‘Stros beating the A’s Saturday evening and being 76-47 was on page C9, yes, C9. The first four pages of the Sports Section was about the Texans winning a preseason game and other NFL stuff, yes, a preseason game.

It was good to see CEOs and others distance themselves from Donald Trump. I really hated to see Steve Bannon go.   Now we learned over the weekend that Trump will not have anything to do with the Kennedy Center Honors event. That’s a good thing.

I get where Bill King is going with his take from this past weekend. In case you missed it, here it is:

The Distraction of Monuments and Bathrooms

The national debt is rapidly closing in on $20 trillion.  And that does not include the future structural deficits in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Millions of Americans still have no health insurance and we spend almost twice as much as any other country on healthcare.  Drug abuse (including alcohol and nicotine) continues to take a terrible toll on Americans.  

North Korea is rapidly moving to acquire intercontinental nuclear missile technology.  We are still running gaping trade deficits.  Terrorist attacks, international and domestic, continue unabated.  Our broken immigration system negatively impacts citizens and immigrants.  Income and wealth disparity continues to hollow out America’s middle class.  Our schools lag behind those in other developed countries.  

Texas’ largest metropolitan area continues to live under the existential threat of storm surge with no plan in sight to do anything about it.  The Texas Taxpayers and Research Association recently released a report that our state government will likely run a $8 billion deficit in next biennium and that does not take into account the state’s unfunded pension liability, which is currently reported at over $50 billion.  The real number is probably nearly twice that amount.

Our city government continues to careen into insolvency.  Our police department still only solves only 6% of the burglaries.  Progress on flood control projects is proceeding at a snail’s pace.  Property taxes are driving people out of their houses.  

I could go on, but you get the point.  

And in the face of these daunting challenges that affect the lives of our citizens every day, what do our elected officials choose to discuss?  Monuments and bathrooms.  Really?   

The problem is that the real issues we face are hard.  The solutions are complex and hard to explain to voters.  And the solutions might, perish the thought, ask us to make sacrifices.  Or worse yet, they might upset those who vote in the primaries.  So, if your principal objective is to get re-elected, it is much safer to demagogue some issue that will energize your primary base.  Why take on the tough problems that might get you unelected?   

While it is easy to be disgusted with our elected officials’ cowardice to take on the hard issues, we, as citizens, bear some of the responsibility as well.  We still vote in embarrassingly low numbers.  In the 2016 election, less than half of Texans eligible to vote bothered to go to the polls.  The turnout in the last City election was 21%.  Turnout in the parties’ primaries frequently is below 10%.  Runoffs are even worse.

And we too readily accept simple answers to complex issues, which are almost always wrong.  Often the simple answers involve the identification of some scapegoat, which we may find emotionally gratifying but rarely does anything to solve the real problem.  

Those of us who have raised children know that their conduct had a lot to do with our expectations for them.  If we gave them a pass, most of the time they will take it.  As long as we allow our elected officials to spend their time on fringe issues that have nothing to do with solving the serious issues our nation, state and region face, they will take the pass.   

So, here’s my suggestion: No more passes.

I wonder if Bill heard that UT-Austin removed some Johnny Reb statues late last night.

Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Tim Raines of course are in the Hall of Fame wearing an Expos lid.

76-48 and 4 ½ ahead of the Red Sox with 38 left.

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