After millions and millions spent on flood prevention and the Houston drainage fee, we still experienced recent massive floods. Is there anyone who can explain what happened and why?
TCR guesses: Back to the drawing board. How about a pipeline to California for water and ship the excess there for a reasonable fee?
Too Many Presidential Candidates Or Too Few,
Which Party Would You Rather Be?
With Senator Lindsey Graham's announcement, we now have nine GOP candidates with potential out there with the likes of Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal.
On the Democrat side, we have the presumed likely candidate Hillary Clinton, along with Bernie Sanders, Governor Martin O'Malley and former U.S. Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee.
TCR's take: We have a deeper bench than they do and we'd rather have choices instead of an attempted coronation. In the end, our candidate will be better for it.
HISD Scores Continue To Stagnate,
Shows More Money Thrown At A Problem
Is Not Necessarily The Answer
For Houston Independent School District taxpayers who are spending more than ever to educate Houston's children, it's another kick in the gut.
According to the Houston Chronicle in a May 27, 2015, article by Ericka Mellon entitled "HISD Continues Pattern Of Stagnating Test Scores," "Student test scores in Houston ISD mostly declined or stayed flat from last year, with the district seeing bigger drops than the state average on the high-stakes exams, according to elementary and middle school results released."
TCR Comment: HISD is not succeeding, despite more money and millions in new facilities. Maybe we need school choice for our kids.
American Youth Not Interested In Politics
The May 16, 2015, Economist article "Not Running, But Fleeing" reported the millennials aged 18 to 34 seem to be losing faith in electoral politics as a way of tackling society's problems, which raises some interesting questions.
"Now researchers have started pondering a related question: if young people cannot be bothered to vote, will they see any point in running for political office? Early findings are triggering some alarm. Earlier this month two political scientists, Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox, published "Running From Office: Why Young Americans Are Turned Off To Politics," a book analyzing the political ambitions of more than 4,000 high-school and university students. Overall, only about one in nine young people in their study could seriously imagine running for office. Youth disdain was sharpest when contemplating Congress and the federal government. But local, non-party offices were not immune. Asked to pick three possible jobs from a list of 20, students ranked 'mayor of a city or town' 17th: above 'member of congress' but below even such despised trades as journalism. No democracy thrives on apathy. But America is usually dependent on citizen-legislators. Counting school boards, parks commissions and so on, the country is home to almost 520,000 elected officials. Professors Lawless and Fox worry about the 25% of students who have no opinions about politics. They fret about the roughly 60% who have negative views of it, and so try to avoid the subject. Unfamiliarity breeds contempt, the professors discover: those who tune out politics are most likely to think politicians are all awful (people in politics are 'squirrelly,' a Texan student told them, flatly)."
TCR Comment: The young voters are up for grabs, and we conservatives need to be relevant to them.
Legislative Victory: Senator Huffman's
Juvenile Sealing Reform Passes
One of the holes in the Texas law regarding sealing of juvenile delinquency records has allowed thousands of qualified juveniles to drop through the cracks, never obtaining sealing to which they are entitled.
Senator Joan Huffman heard about the problem, and working with juvenile Judges Schneider, Phillips and Devlin and with your Editor, developed and ultimately passed SB 1707, which will take the burden off the juvenile and put it on the State of Texas. Hopefully, the result will be that no one falls through the cracks any longer and has an unnecessary criminal record.
Thoughts On The Legislature, Part I
By Judge Rory R. Olsen
Back in the mid-1980s I testified at my first legislative hearing. Ever since then I have been involved with the legislative process in some way.
I visited the legislature multiple times during the legislative session just ended. I observed a number of interesting phenomena that I would like to share.
This column will deal with legislative hearings and their aftermath.
When I was in law school back when Richard Nixon was president, we learned the phrase, "notice and hearing," which is one of the guiding principles of due process. I have always been comforted by the notion that before a bill can become law; each house of the Texas Legislature will hold a public hearing on the bill after giving adequate notice of the hearing to the public. Oftentimes no one comes to speak. If someone does appear, too often the speaker will be representing a fringe group that a rather marginal viewpoint and little substantive knowledge and no input on the bill. But occasionally a speaker will come who will have something of value to say, thereby affecting the proposed legislation.
After the speakers have said their piece, the committee may vote right then and there. Often the committee may wait for a bit and authorize a committee substitute bill at their next meeting. Many times the committee substitute will reflect testimony given at the hearing.
In the legislative session just passed I twice appeared before the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee. Both times I was shocked to learn that the committee had already prepared a substitute bill, long before the public hearing. As far as I can tell, the public's comments - mine included - had no effect on the bill. Nor did the committee intend to give the public comments a chance to affect the committee's substitute bill.
Maybe that is how they do things in Austin nowadays. But it seems to be a mite peculiar to me - sort of like the scene in many a Western movie where the coffin maker starts making a coffin and the county starts building a scaffold in the vacant space next to the courthouse just as a murder trial is about to begin.
The notion of preparing a committee substitute bill before the public hearing does not sit well with me. Maybe a legislator would be nice enough to write a column in response to this column and explain how they do things in Austin.
Judge Rory R. Olsen is the presiding judge of Harris County (Texas) Probate Court at Law No. 3.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland, liberal commentator David Jones and moderator Linda Lorelle on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8.1, replaying Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8.1, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
Senators Paul Bettencourt and Sylvia Garcia on the the just ended legislative session.
2016 Presidential Primary Preview show.
The current show as well as past shows are available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his sixteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last fourteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 12 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 13th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.