"Study, delay, no money, not worth it, other priorities," these are just some of the excuses for inaction in regards to our regional flooding problem.
It's time to stop talking and start doing. Estimates by experts say around $20 billion is what is needed to make our region significantly safer from 100, 200, 500 year floods that seem to now arrive on a yearly basis. Now $20 billion is a lot of money, but not compared to the Harvey disaster which will cost us over $150 billion to recover from.
The experts tell us that there are projects everyone knows we need and can start tomorrow - price tag $1 billion - add a third reservoir, repair, clean up and strengthen Barker and Addicks Reservoirs and complete the Braes Bayou planned projects, currently delayed until 2022 due to no money, and start the buy back program.
The money can come from the State of Texas, our counties affected and half from the federal government.
It's past time our leaders step up to the plate and do what needs to be done now.
Failing here courts a voter revolt in forthcoming elections with a lot of career politicians being sent into involuntary retirement.
HPD Chief Acevedo, Policeman Or Politician?
First, let me say Art Acevedo is a friendly and outgoing person and very personable. However, there is no place in his job description to be criticizing Texas laws. He is not an elected leader, he is appointed.
There are honest differences in SB4 Sanctuary City legislation and it is supported by the majority of Texas voters.
Remember Chief, you swore to uphold the laws of Texas and you are not doing that. If you object to them and if that is your goal, quit and run for office.
Anti-Free Speech Movement Spreads To Texas
First California, New York, Connecticut, and now Texas. The University of North Texas President, Neal Smatresk and 80 anti-1st Amendment faculty members oppose a speech by Donald Trump Jr. They say it is because he shows disrespect towards women, people of color and members of the LGBT community.
At TCR, we don't anticipate the speech going into those areas and if he does, don't go and listen.
The things that trouble us: (1) paying Trump Jr. $100,000 for a speech sounds outrageous. (2) That a university is supposed to be a place for diversity of ideas, respectful discourse, and not a place where so-called politically incorrect speech is not to be allowed.
Any university president who doesn't support the latter should quit or be fired.
Political Correctness Disease Engulfs
The Dallas Independent School District
DISD, with some schools on the brink of State takeover, leading the state with the most low performing schools, now has turned its attention to kowtow to political correctness by changing school names at the cost of millions of dollars, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The district has a list of so called "problematic names to review and oust. Let's see who they are targeting:
Benjamin Franklin: Former slaveowner and early abolitionist
William Travis: Defender of the Alamo
James Hogg: Governor of Texas after the Civil War
Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes: Supreme Court Justice who authored opinions some leftists don't approve of.
No wonder DISD is a failing district. Maybe they should spend the money on improving core education skills among their students. Just pathetic.
Peoples Republic Of Austin Changes Name Of Federal Holiday; Columbus Day!
We at TCR continue to be astounded at the craziness of the left-wing politically correct Austin City Council. Last week, having nothing better to do (we guess) they voted to rename Columbus Day as "Indigenous Peoples Day."
But some good news, there is an island of sanity, Ellen Troxclair, District 8, Austin City Council. Her comments follow:
"the resolution has zero tangible impact...It's important to recognize the good and bad parts of our history... There is nothing we can do to change the fact that the Federal Government is going to recognize Columbus Day."
Ellen voted no, the only one, and that tells you how far gone the Austin City Council has become.
I Used To Think Gun Control Was The Answer,
My Research Told Me Otherwise
By Leah Libresco
Note from Bruce Bialosky: I don't frequently send out a column written by others, but this column by Leah Libresco is so good. Considering the source it comes from makes it a must read. To its credit, the Washington Post ran the column. It conforms to much of what I found when I wrote on guns last year, but is even better.
This comes on the heels of the worst mass murder in the history of our country by a disgusting madman who did an act of pure evil.
I am also going to do something I rarely do. I am going to make a prediction. There will be a bill passed and signed outlawing bump stocks. There is near zero support for these devices. These are contrary to the laws outlawing automatic weapons. How the ATF during the Obama Administration allowed these is beyond me. I do not mean to blame Obama or the ATF, but it was really, really stupid to allow these devices.
Please read and pass on to those who know little about guns so they can become enlightened:
Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.
Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I'd lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.
I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn't prove much about what America's policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.
When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an "assault weapon." It's an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.
As for silencers - they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don't make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.
As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. I couldn't even answer my most desperate question: If I had a friend who had guns in his home and a history of suicide attempts, was there anything I could do that would help?
However, the next-largest set of gun deaths - 1 in 5 - were young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides. These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence. And the last notable group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.
By the time we published our project, I didn't believe in many of the interventions I'd heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don't want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can't endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.
Instead, I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.
Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.
Even the most data-driven practices, such as New Orleans' plan to identify gang members for intervention based on previous arrests and weapons seizures, wind up more personal than most policies floated. The young men at risk can be identified by an algorithm, but they have to be disarmed one by one, personally - not en masse as though they were all interchangeable. A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible. We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.
Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site. She is the author of Arriving at Amen.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8, replaying Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Monday at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
About Your Editor
10-19-2017: State of Harris County's Criminal Justice System - With Guests: Judge Paula Goodhart (Harris County Criminal Court), Tucker Graves (President, Harris County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association), Harris County District Attorney, Kim Ogg.
10-26-2017: The 85th Texas Legislature and Its Aftermath - With Guests: State Senator Paul Bettencourt, Rep. Garnet Coleman and State Senator Sylvia Garcia.
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 twenty-first year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last sixteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 13 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 15th 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.