Columns/Opinions

Wed
01
Apr

Holding government accountable

By Kelley Shannon
 
Private university police beat a man suspected of stealing a bicycle. The violent episode was captured on a dash camera, but when questions arose, the police refused to release the complete video. City officials used their personal email accounts to discuss government business, just as Hillary Clinton did as secretary of state.
 

 

Wed
25
Mar

Town goes up in flames twice in four decades

By Bartee Haile

 

Ninety-nine years ago this week, the second major fire in four decades destroyed downtown Paris leaving 5,000 residents of the northeast Texas town homeless. Founded in 1844 on 50 acres donated by a pioneer merchant, the original inhabitants changed the name of the settlement from Pinhook to Paris. On the eve of secession, the community was a cattle and farming center of 700, a figure that more than tripled by 1877.
 
Wed
25
Mar

House passes human border security, trafficking bills

By Ed Sterling

 

Bills to address the illegal importation and exploitation of persons and to protect the state’s border with Mexico moved through the Texas House last week. They were the first major statewide legislation to be approved by the body since Jan. 13, the opening day of the 140-day session.
 
Wed
18
Mar

Lawmakers seek to control elements of state spending

By Ed Sterling
 
Debates over the Texas House and Senate versions of the state budget lie ahead, and movement toward setting budget controls to blend into a final, agreed-upon budget for 2016-2017 emerged in low-numbered bills filed last week.

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Wed
18
Mar

Vote against amnesty plan

By Roger Williams
 
Our president has bullied, disrespected and taunted a Congress that is by law an equal to his executive branch. When it was time to take this vote, I could not fold my hand to a president who thinks the Constitution does not apply to him. I could not give in to a president who prefers to create law rather than enforce it – not to mention, refuse to enforce law that directly affects my district and Texas.

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Wed
11
Mar

Senate bills aim for tax, debt relief

by Ed Sterling

A trio of powerful state senators, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, on March 5 jointly announced the filing of legislation they coauthored to cut taxes and pay off state debt. Patrick, who presides over the 31-member Senate, Senate Finance Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound; Senate Business & Commerce Chair Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler; and Senate Finance Vice Chair Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, each delivered brief statements. Patrick said the state constitution limits spending to no more than the growth of the Texas economy and appropriations intended to cut taxes or reduce state debt also count against the spending cap. e legislation, in the form of a bill and a joint resolution, if passed and signed into law, would allow voters to decide whether or not to exempt tax cuts and debt payments from the state’s constitutional spending limit.

Wed
11
Mar

American need to learn how to be active citizens

by Lee Hamilton

Solving problems in our democracy requires bringing different points of view together, talking face-to-face with others who may differ with you, and learning that these differences can exist without personal animosity. e question usually comes toward the end of a public meeting. Some knotty problem is being discussed, and someone in the audience will raise his or her hand and ask, “Okay, so what can I do about it?” I love that question. Not because I’ve ever answered it to my satisfaction, but because it bespeaks such a constructive outlook. Democracy is no spectator sport and citizens are not passive consumers. I’m always invigorated by running into people who understand this. But that doesn’t make answering the question any easier.

Wed
04
Mar

Lynch mobs brings shame to two Texas towns

By Bartee Haile

The March 3, 1910 trial of Allen Brooks, a black man in his sixties charged with molesting a three year old white girl, was interrupted by a Dallas lynch mob hellbent on dispensing its own barbaric brand of justice.  According to the Handbook f Texas, the last word  on all things Texan, therewere 492 lynchings in Texas between 1862 and 1930. Most were carried out in the dead of night far from prying eyes, but more than a few  illegal “executions” tookplace in broad daylight before thousands of spectators. On the day of the trial, Sheriff Arthur Ledbetter secretly brought Allen Brooks back to Dallas from McKinney, where he had been sent for safekeeping. With everyone in law enforcement expecting trouble, the police commissioner put the entire force at Ledbetter’s disposal. But the sheriff, confident his 150 deputies were a match for any mob, asked only for a couple dozen officers

Wed
04
Mar

Senate panel passes legislation to fund state highway

The Senate Transportation Committee on Feb. 25 tentatively approved two pieces of legislation that would take a portion of various motor vehicle related taxes and dedicate that money to road and bridge construction and maintenance.  Senate Bill 5, enablinglegislation, and Senate Joint  Resolution 5, which wouldput a constitutional amendment  on the November statewideballot, are meant to  help cover the shortfall in thestate highway funding program.  According to Senatedocuments, the two measures  work together to dedicatea portion of the motor vehicle sales tax and other taxes associated with vehicle use, but not the gas tax, to TxDOT so the agency “can  reasonably predict and planprojects six to 10 years into the future, to replace congestion and to preserve our system.”

Wed
25
Feb

Dallas love triangle ended with murder in 1941

By Bartee Haile

On Feb. 23, 1942, the estranged wife of a Dallas newspaper columnist went on trial for the fatal shooting of her husband’s not-so-secret lover. Back in 1979, D Magazine talked a former employee of The Dispatch into reminiscing about Dallas’ gone but not forgotten tabloid that drove the establishment nuts and kept its readers entertained. No one had to twist Al Harting’s arm, however. He liked nothing better than to relive those wild and crazy days as a reporter for The Dispatch.

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