Tag Archives: Lubbock

Regional commentary: it’s spreading!

I am so sorry to report that Amarillo and Lubbock aren’t the only two communities in America where newspaper editorial policy is suffering from the urge to combine resources under a combined “regional” approach to commentary.

A friend sent me a link telling me that Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina are combining their editorial pages, that they’ll be supervised by a regional editor who will oversee editorial policies in both communities.

Here is the link.

Oh, my goodness! The deterioration of editorial autonomy is deepening.

GateHouse Media, which owns the Amarillo Globe-News and the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal recently announced hiring a guy who will serve as a “regional director of commentary.” He’ll live in Lubbock and then commute to Amarillo on occasion during the week, I suppose to try to read the pulse of the community.

The early returns aren’t too promising. The Texas Panhandle no longer has a newspaper that provides leadership on local issues; nor does the South Plains region.

As to what is happening in North Carolina, I predict a similar fate befalling those Charlotte and Raleigh. McClatchy Newspapers runs the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News  & Observer. Those cities also are even more diverse and disparate than Amarillo and Lubbock. They both are cosmopolitan cities; they are highly sophisticated. Raleigh is part of that Research Triangle region that brims with high-tech expertise; Charlotte is the state’s largest city and is a bustling financial center.

The release I read about the N.C.-merger reads, in part: The move is the latest in a series of changes that combine McClatchy’s North Carolina operations. Presumably, this will mean the board will focus more on statewide news and less on local news specific to Charlotte or Raleigh.

There you have it . . . more than likely. Both communities’ newspaper editorial pages are likely going to look away from those issues of specific interest or concern to them individually.

Oh, the demise of newspaper editorial leadership continues. It is painful for this former opinion writer/editor to watch.

Well, ruffle my hair and call me Frankie

The Weather Channel has listed the top 10 windiest cities in America.

Which one made No. 1?

Why, little ol’ Amarillo, Texas.


Who knew?

Those of us who live here could have predicted this a long time ago. I’ve never lived in a place where the absence of wind becomes a conversation ice-breaker among strangers.

It goes something like this:

Person One: “Isn’t the weather just grand?”

Person Two: “Sure is. And the wind isn’t blowing, either.”

I saw that Lubbock made the top five, which also doesn’t surprise me. But at least we’re No. 1 in something over our fellow West Texas metropolis. Lubbock might get the great top-tier rock concerts — such as Sir Paul McCartney and (coming up) Cher — while we’re relegated to the likes of Eddie Money and assorted over-the-hill reunion bands.

But by golly, we’re the windiest darn city in the U.S. of A.

We knew it all along.


Lubbock: We're No. 1

Surveys such as those that rank cities’ boredom quotient need to be taken with a grain of salt or, perhaps, a pile of manure.

A website called Movato Blog has rated Lubbock the most boring city in America.


OK, that snickering and chuckling you might be hearing is coming from Amarillo residents who might tell you they’ve known all along that Lubbock is as boring as the drive between the two cities.

I would caution my fellow Amarillo residents to resist poking too much fun at our southerly neighbors. It might be that the Movato Blog “researchers” never had heard of Amarillo — which might tell us all something about where we rank on people’s attention meter.

My sense is to stick up just a bit for Lubbock. I have some good friends who live there. I do not want to denigrate their city any more than I would them to do the same for mine.

As one good friend said in response to a column by my pal Chip Chandler’s recent piece in the Amarillo Globe-News, in which he called Lubbock the “seventh circle of hell”: “Lubbock gets first-rate concerts, while Amarillo gets first-rate tractor pulls.”


Lubbock did lure a pretty fair musician to play there in a few days. Perhaps you’ve heard of Sir Paul McCartney, who’s opening the U.S. leg of his world tour in Buddy Holly’s birthplace; Sir Paul wants to pay tribute to someone who had such a huge influence on his own pretty fair music career.

But I digress.

Movato said Lubbock’s dining stinks. Its nightlife is just OK. Entertainment venues are lousy.

I would encourage you to scroll through the Top 10 Boring Cities list for yourself. Determine whether you agree with Lubbock’s characterization as a boring place.

Me? I like the city. What’s more, during college football season, you can feast on excellent barbecue outside of Texas Tech’s stadium on game day. Ask any West Texan you know: That ain’t boring.

Visit the Panhandle? Not on this tour, Leticia


OK, kids. Take a good look at the picture attached here.

It lines out Democratic Texas lieutenant governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte’s upcoming tour of Texas.

I noticed a major Texas city is missing from that itinerary. It’s Amarillo.

But in a message to supporters, Van de Putte, a Democratic state senator from San Antonio, said this: “It’s a big responsibility in a big state, and I know I’m up to the challenge. I’ll travel more than 2,500 miles – from the vibrant Rio Grande Valley and border region to the vast high plains of the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast before ending up in the shadow of our state capitol dome – to see, hear, and experience firsthand all the things that make Texas so exceptional.”

“To the vast high plains of the Panhandle,” she writes.

Well, as I look at the itinerary posted on the picture, the closest city to the Panhandle is Lubbock, which is 120 miles south of Amarillo in what’s called the “South Plains” region.


The blog posted on mysanantonio.com notes that Van de Putte is going to see virtually the entire state on her bus tour. “Virtually” is the key word here. She ain’t coming to the Panhandle.

I do hope the Democratic lieutenant governor nominee can find her way here … eventually.

For now, she needs to re-learn to locate region that comprises the “vast high plains of the Panhandle.”

Stay the course with red-light cams

I am tipping my proverbial cap to the Amarillo City Commission for showing the courage of its convictions relating to the red-light cameras it has deployed at intersections throughout the city.

Rather than buckling to a vocal minority of critics, commissioners are increasing the number of cameras. They’re adding even more electronic eyes to watch for those individuals who cannot seem to avoid running through red lights and endangering other motorists and pedestrians.

It’s an interesting display of backbone. Lubbock installed red-light cameras some years ago and then pulled them down when the critics got too loud. Amarillo, on the other hand, has stood firm against the critics, telling them flat out that if you don’t want to get slapped with a fine, simply obey the law.

This criticism, incidentally, has puzzled me.

I cannot prove it from my perch, but I cannot get past this nagging notion that if someone were to conduct a thorough public opinion survey of residents regarding the red-light cameras, there would be a substantial majority of respondents who would favor them. I suspect there might be a large “no opinion” result in the sampling, but those who do have an opinion on the red-light cameras would endorse them — in my humble view.

However, the red-light camera critics in Amarillo have been vocal. They’ve managed to bluff and bluster more loudly than their small numbers would suggest.

Let’s understand one key element of the cameras’ deployment: The city isn’t raking in large sums of money for frills and needless expenses. State law requires cities to use the revenue derived from the fines they collect to go directly toward traffic improvement projects. Amarillo has done that.

So now the city is marching ahead with its program to persuade motorists to obey the red traffic lights that command them to “Stop.”

Maybe one day, the scofflaws will get the message.

West, South Texas running dry

A University of Nebraska study has produced a U.S. Drought Monitor survey that provides some grim news for West and South Texas.

Three significant cities in the region are running out of water.


Are you ready for this, Lubbock, McAllen and Harlingen? Of the five cities profiled, the other two are in Colorado: Pueblo and Colorado Springs, according to the study.

What do all these communities have in common? They’re all served by the once-massive Ogallala Aquifer, which sprawls under 11 states from Texas to the Dakotas.

The good news — if you’ll forgive the parochial nature of this observation — is that Amarillo isn’t among the endangered cities list.

But what about our neighbor to the south, Lubbock? Not so good there, the Drought Monitor says.

MSN.com reports: “Nearly half of the Lubbock area has been in a state of exceptional drought since 2011, conditions that are worse than any other U.S. city with a population of 75,000 or more. During that time, more than three-quarters of the area has been under exceptional drought in an average week.”

Lake Meredith, which once supplied Lubbock with surface water, is out of commission. The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority has stopped pumping from the lake because, um, it’s running out of water. Last I heard it was down to 26 feet — and receding. CRMWA has purchased an enormous amount of groundwater rights from T. Boone Pickens. Amarillo, meanwhile, is purchasing water rights on its own while trying secure water security for the next century or two.

I’m guessing that Lubbock is heading toward some serious water rationing. Get ready, South Plains residents.