I ventured to City Hall this morning to pay a bill and noticed some campaign signs sprinkled around the complex.
Signs for two Amarillo school board candidates caught my eye: Mary Faulkner and John Ben Blanchard.
Why take note of those? A little word on each of them. It said “re-elect.”
Hmmm. Faulkner and Blanchard do serve on the AISD board of trustees. They’re incumbents — having been appointed to their posts by their colleagues on the board. But they haven’t been elected to anything. Thus, the term “re-elect” smacks of, well, misrepresentation.
They’re both fine school board members. They’re smart and dedicated to the children of the school district. But they ought to know better than to suggest that voters have a chance to re-elect them a body to which neither of them has been elected in the first place.
The words “retain” or “return” are more accurate and, yes, more truthful.
Tom Pauken called this morning, chuckling out loud about the mini-tempest over Karl Rove’s appearance tonight at West Texas A&M University.
Pauken is a former Texas Republican Party chairman. He was controversial in his day, leading the party sharply to the right. He’s a conservative’s conservative — who has little regard for the “neocons” who dominated the administration of President George W. Bush.
Why the chuckle? Well, when Pauken was Texas GOP chair, one of his main adversaries was one Karl Rove. “He was always taking shots at me,” Pauken recalled in our conversation.
So, on this day, Rove — who made quite a few enemies while masterminding Bush’s two presidential election victories — is drawing brickbats from Democratic loyalists in the Panhandle just because he is speaking at WT’s convocation.
Pauken, meanwhile, is delivering the same kind of address this very evening up the road a bit, at Frank Phillips College in Borger. And no one’s said a word about Pauken’s appearance, even though he once was considered to be a “controversial” party chairman, even among his fellow Republicans.
We need to find a cure for amnesia.
President Obama promised the most transparent administration in U.S. presidential history.
Why not, then, show us those pictures of that ill-advised fly-over in New York City?
Most of us know the story: The Boeing 747 used as Air Force One flew low over NYC for some picture-taking. The White House, the Pentagon or someone wanted to take pictures of the airplane flying over the city’s impressive skyline. In this post 9/11 world, of course, the event stirred up intense anxiety in New York.
The president said he was angry about it.
But now we learn that the fly-over cost about 300 grand — of public money. But the White House says it won’t release the pictures taken during the ridiculous demonstration.
Why not? It’s our money. We deserve to see the pictures.
It is true that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t all that big a deal. But the president has relied heavily on symbols, first during his winning campaign and in the first months of his administration.
His refusal to release the pictures is, well, symbolic of the same old secrecy that plagued his immediate predecessor’s presidency.
OK, I did it.
I voted early today for the Amarillo City Commission. The election judges at City Hall were just as nice as those who work on Election Day. I went through the drill, again just as I do on the actual voting day.
But I’m still holding my breath, more or less, with my choices for mayor and city commissioner. The reason I like voting on the final day of balloting is because I don’t want any unpleasant surprises to erupt prior to Election Day.
At least I have a good reason. I’ll be unavailable to vote this Saturday. I had to do it early because I want my voice heard on this critical election. City Hall, of course, is where officials make decisions that have a direct, tangible impact on our lives.
But I’ll monitor the election results from afar this upcoming weekend — and hope that my candidates don’t make me regret casting my vote for them.
I just have returned from Midland, where I discovered yet another major West Texas city that has a highway loop that serves as, well, a loop.
It’s Loop 250 and it circles Midland across Interstate 20.
Lubbock has an honest-to-goodness loop, too. It’s Loop 289 and it circles the Hub City across Interstate 27.
How did those cities accomplish this bit of highway engineering, while Amarillo’s so-called “loop” serves as just another busy street, particularly along its western stretch, from I-40 to Hollywood Road? But, by golly, we hung the Loop 335 label on our so-called “loop” — even though it doesn’t serve as a loop the way it ostensibly was designed to do.
It will be years, if ever, before Loop 335 becomes an actual controlled-access thoroughfare that encircles Amarillo. Transportation officials, last I heard, are trying to figure out a way to extend the loop farther west. More private property will need to be purchased, or condemned.
Of course, there’s been next to zero public discussion on the rest of the 43 miles of Loop 335 that could be developed much as Soncy Road has been developed. Try getting across Soncy around 5:30 in the afternoon. You’ll grow old waiting for a break in the traffic.
Meanwhile, the potential extention of Loop 335 farther west of town looms.
Just one request here: Don’t mess with Cadillac Ranch.
I’m still steamed over Gov. Perry’s implied threat of secession.
He spoke to that Tax Day “tea party” rally in Austin and all but said that Texans could secede from the United States if they get angry enough over our government’s tax policies. Had he asked me, though, here’s what I would have had him say:
Thank you, my fellow Texans, for turning out on this glorious day to rally against the government’s free-spending ways.
I see some signs out there saying things like “Secede Now.” You might think you want to pull out of the greatest nation on the planet. But remember, we did that once and look what happened. The nation fell into a Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history.
Look, folks, I know you’re upset with the president’s policies. Same with Congress. You’re angry at the bailouts. But secession creates many more problems for us than it solves. We need to stand together, one nation united, to change the policies we deem to be inappropriate. I plan to call President Obama right after this rally and express my concern — and my support for him and his efforts to right our ship of state. That’s what good Americans ought to do. Unlike some of the blowhards in my party, I don’t want the president to fail, for that would have dire consequences for the nation.
Secede from the greatest nation on Earth? You gotta be kidding!
No, the answer lies in working with the federal government, not against it.
But our governor said nothing like that. Instead, he tossed out all that red meat to the crowd.
And to those who think he misspoke: That was no gaffe. A tough re-election campaign is coming up over the horizon and the governor is energizing his base.