Archive for July, 2007

Todd Klein Town Hall Meeting, Part Zero

I attended the District 3 Town Hall meeting, and it was a good experience because I got to see people actually getting involved with their elected leaders face-to-face. The meeting covered lots of ground, from soccer to streets to MHMR, in addition to the expected big topics of the bond proposal, red light cameras, crime, and taxes.

District 3 Councilman Todd Klein was joined by District 2 Councilman Floyd Price — whose district begins across the street from Oakwood Baptist, the meeting location — and a good cross-section of city staff. Councilman Klein really impressed me with this Town Hall debut. He listened well and promised individual meetings with citizens who had concerns beyond the scope of a single public meeting. Overall, I think the whole panel did a good job of responding to citizen questions and complaints.

I took some video of the event, and I’ll try to put some clips online over the next few days. It was my first time videotaping such an event, so I’ll probably have to hunt around for usable clips. Bear with me; I think some important things were said.

Dallas Morning News Catches on… Will the A-J?

Looks like the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board published an editorial about the need to change course in Iraq. In the past, they have been big supporters of the Bush foreign policy; critics agree that this is a significant reversal in position. Color me surprised!

From the editorial:

Americans are being asked for a level of patience that they do not have and that the White House has not earned. It is time for Iraqi troops to take over this fight, even if it means risking full-blown civil war.

And wow, they also have an editorial urging Congress to pass a “20 percent renewable energy standard.”

Did this newspaper dinosaur evolve while I wasn’t looking, or what?

LDP School Supplies Drive

The Lubbock County Democratic Party is having its annual school supplies drive. All money collected for the drive goes toward buying school supplies at bargain prices and distributing them to families in need on Saturday, August 18. Last year, over 1,000 students were given a full set of required school supplies.

You can donate securely online (via actblue) at:

http://actblue.com/page/ldpschoolsupplies

Even a few bucks will buy dozens of folders, pencils, or spiral notebooks. If you’re looking for a very direct, efficient way to help area children in need, this is it.

Roger Williams to Run Victory PAC

Former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams will be at the helm of the Republicans’ biggest PAC in Texas — Texas Victory PAC. They are a statewide coordinated campaign that focuses on voter contact activities (phonebanking, mail, canvassing) and conservative message-spreading. Pratt had him on-air for a segment today (after a particularly offensive first hour, maybe worthy of another post).

Folks, this is a big deal because Williams is probably the most connected person in the State after his (moderately disasterous) stint at SoS. Sen. Cornyn is more vulnerable than he has ever been before, but the machine-right is gearing up for the race very early and very well.

We’ve got our work cut out for us.

City Staff Squabbles, Part Zero

I was at a party this weekend, and the Dixon Platt “wrongful termination” hearing was a frequent conversation topic. I met a few people who worked with him before, and their comments gave a common view: he’s… probably not getting his job back, and that’s… probably a good thing.

It’s time for him to find something else to do for a living, and it’s time for the City staff to move on.

Briscoe County: 3,000 MW Wind Farm?

The Amarillo Globe-News ran a story yesterday about a new wind farm planned in Briscoe County (registation required) that could generate around 3,000 megawatts. We’re talking about a project on the order of 1,500 or so wind turbines that could power about 3/4 million homes. This will absolutely dwarf the current “world’s largest wind farm” near Abilene, which puts out about 735 megawatts. The big players involved are ShellEnergy and Luminant (a TXU company).

What was interesting to me about this news is why TXU says they got involved. They claim that they currently purchase 705 megawatts of wind power to deliver to their customers and are about to purchase 209 megawatts more. That means that consumers can put pressure on energy companies to pursue green sources of energy. Check out tools like carbonfund.org/, which you can use to offset your non-green power consumption by purchasing green blocks of power. If consumers everywhere demand that a reasonable portion of their power come from green sources, it just might happen.

The Amarillo Globe-News article mentions an interesting twist to this whole project: a silver lining for our depleting Ogallala Aquifer. The turbines could be used to pump air underground, which will compress it. From the article:

The compressed air is then released to turn generators, producing power when the wind is not blowing or demand is too great for the wind to keep up with.

With major wind energy projects popping up in every direction, Lubbock will have to make serious progress on wind energy just to catch up. We need to get on the ERCOT grid ASAP and get our (many, many) local developers on board with investing in wind farms. It’s a guaranteed winning investment!

TDW Hosts Joe Heflin

Just came back from a wonderful lunch meeting of our local chapter of Texas Democratic Women that featured State House Representative Joe Heflin as the speaker. He told the group about his experiences in this past legislative session and about plans for the future.

One of the things I like best about Joe Heflin is his strong stance on public education. He is one of the key representatives responsible for keeping vouchers out of Texas. Rural residents, like Joe’s constituents, especially have no use for vouchers; they would just be taking tax dollars away from their already struggling schools. Our public schools, even the rural ones, work well when they are funded properly.

Texas Democratic Women is a great grassroots organization, and the South Plains chapter is the fastest-growing in the whole state. Check ‘em out!

Lubbock Will Get a New Animal Shelter!

Kudos to the Lubbock City Council for getting the ball rolling on a new animal shelter (with an appropriate amount of money this time). Word is that it will be a 3.5 million dollar facility at about 42nd and Milwaukee, and construction will likely start in early 2008.

I would also like to add that newly elected Councilman Todd Klein is doing an excellent job of keeping his campaign promises. He voted against red light cameras when the opportunity arose, and now the city is committed to build a new animal shelter. Go Todd!

Here are some current resources for humane animal care in Lubbock:

And here are links to more media coverage about the animal shelter:

Hastings on 50th St to Close

Tonight I participated in the mad rush that is a liquidation sale at the 50th St. Hastings. It has been one of my favorite stores to shop at because of its late hours and wide range of products. Throughout the years several of my friends have worked there. I can honestly say I will miss it when it closes.

Rumor has it that the building owner wanted Hastings to sign another 10-year lease, which the company did not want to do because the margin of profit at the store was not high enough for that long of a commitment. I respect the choices of the businesses, even though I am sad to see the store go.

I have a hunch that we will see a new Hastings store in Southwest Lubbock soon…

The store closing got me thinking: this sort of thing is exactly why I don’t want to see our public education system privatized. Picture a low-performing school with declining attendance. The responsible, public system of education would try to find and fix the problems at the school and correct them for the good of the community. A private system of education would likely close the school and seek out better, more profitable schools — undoubtedly in Southwest Lubbock! After all, competition between schools will send the students to the best schools, right? Never mind the gaping holes in our community that business will judge “not worth the risk,” right?

It makes me sick to my stomach to think about an education system with no accountability to the community.

Jesus Camp

Jesus Camp

Last night, Lubbock Democracy for America hosted a public screening of Jesus Camp. This is a very important film, and it is difficult to watch. My heart goes out to the kids in the film and others like them who are being broken down and indoctrinated with cultish ideals all over America.

This film describes a phenomenon that I have seen many times here in Lubbock. I have been approached in the mall by trained children (with teenage minders waiting several yards away) asking me if I have accepted Jesus as my personal savior and if they could pray for me. As a kid, I remember friends who would go away in the summer to church camp and come back… different. I really wonder if the parents that send their kids to these camps know exactly what happens there. I imagine some do and some don’t.

Watch the trailer and see for yourself what can happen at Jesus Camp.


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