Friday, July 18, 2014

Reminder on why we need newspapers | Last Word

It’s fashionable to bash newspapers these days.

Actually, it’s always been fashionable to bash newspapers.

And often they’ve earned it.

I, of course, am a newspaper addict.

Fortunately, my addiction remains a cheap one.

You can get the Express-News – a product of the work of hundreds of people here and hundreds more around the world – delivered to your doorstep for less than half the price of a cup of Starbuck’s.

I rarely read a day’s edition without finding something to carp about.

But I also am regularly reminded why I wouldn’t do without it.

This week’s stunning reminder was a three-part series by writer Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje and photographer Bob Owen.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Candidates to replace mayor, Part 1 | July 11, 2014

It looks like a special City Council session could be scheduled for the week after next to pick an interim mayor to replace Julian Castro until next May's election.

The City Charter says council members must select a mayor from among themselves. At least half the council would enjoy the appointment, but two members emerged as leading candidates. We talk to one this week, and the other next week.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mayor's race has frontrunner | Last Word

The race for interim mayor is not the only campaign under way in the wake of Mayor Julian Castro’s Senate confirmation for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Next spring’s non-interim mayor’s race is also under way – and from where I stand it appears we already have a frontrunner.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Immigrant children pour into Texas | June 27, 2014

Tens of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children are pouring into Texas and across the southwest U.S. border. Republicans and Democrats agree this is a humanitarian crisis.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas gubernatorial Candidate Greg Abbott were in San Antonio this week blaming the surge on President Obama's policies. But is it more complicated than that? Rick Casey explores the issue.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

VA Veterans Hospitals face heat | June 6, 2014

The Veterans Administration is under fire for allegations that patients have faced excessive waits at some VA hospitals, and that employees kept secret lists to try to cover up the delays. The allegations have raised fresh concerns about the administration's management of a department that has been struggling to keep up with an influx of veterans returning home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Friday, June 6, 2014

Highest-priced homes taxed far less | Last Word

Mikal Watts has been in the news a fair amount lately.

Lawsuits accuse the highly successful and highly controversial lawyer of listing thousands of phantom clients in the fishing industry for claims against BP in its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf.

Now Watts is in the newspaper for putting his Dominion home up for sale.

What caught my eye was not the $12 million price tag Watts put on his home.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Republicans had nasty run-off | May 30, 2014

A lot of Republican politicians claim Ronald Reagan as their patron saint, but in recent months many have not been following the "11th Commandment" he preached: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It's been an unusually nasty run-off season in Reagan's party. But did it work?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Political Slime of the Year Award | Last Word

A lot of republicans hold Ronald Reagan up as their patron saint these days, but many of them here in Texas are not obeying the 11th Commandment he famously promoted.

The seemingly endless run-off campaign that ended Tuesday featured a veritable mudslide of biblical proportions.

So who gets the prize for hurling the wackiest and most rancid glob of untreated sewage in the pursuit of being elected to a position of honor and statesmanship?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's next after mayor leaves job? | May 23, 2014

Mayor Julian Castro is likely to be the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He has denied interest in the job in the past but has apparently changed his mind. Meanwhile, at least seven council members appear eager to replace him, and an uncounted number of politicians outside City Hall are exploring the possibilities. We look into next steps.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Why next mayor may not be the best | Last Word

Two metaphors come to mind as I consider the process through which City Council will choose a successor should Mayor Julian Castro run off to Washington.

The first metaphor is a Papal Conclave, the ornate and arcane process through which the College of Cardinals selects a pope.

The cardinals are locked up in the Sistine Chapel.

After every seven ballots, they take time off to pray so the Holy Spirit can guide them.

Before casting their vote on each ballot, each cardinal says, in Latin, "I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge that my vote is given to the one who before God I think SHOULD be elected."

If, after 28 ballots, nobody gets the two-thirds vote necessary, then the top two vote-getters are named as finalists.

It will be somewhat different at City Hall.