Chad’s Morning Brief: Lubbock Power and Light Still in The News, Voter ID Sort of Prevents Someone From Voting, And Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of November 4, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Glad to Be Back
A big thanks to Carl Tepper and Paul Beane who filled in for me last week while I was on vacation. I heard they did a fantastic job which does not surprise me at all. It's nice to be able to leave the show in capable hands when I travel.
I went with my wife's family to Las Vegas and had a great time. If you think Las Vegas is crazy during the Summer, Winter, or Spring, try going for Halloween. Everything gets a little crazier and weirder. During our time in Las Vegas we had some great food and of course did a little gambling.
It's always nice to get away, but I'm glad to be back and glad to be able to discuss the issues of the day with you folks on the show.
Lubbock Power and Light
While I was away the drama surrounding Lubbock Power and Light decided to heat up and some in-fighting has broken out. According to KFYO News, the audit has been halted due to a conflict of interest.
An audit regarding allegations of bid rigging within Lubbock Power and Light has been stopped.
Early Friday afternoon,Lubbock Power and Lightissued an official statement regarding the investigation, which was initiated by the City’s Electric Utility Board on October 23rd.
The EUB chose the Houston-based law firm of Andrews Kurth to perform the audit.
According to the the City-owned utility, LP&L General Counsel Todd Kimbrough has been informed by the firm that Lubbock City ManagerJames Loomis and City Attorney Sam Medina have asked them to withdraw from any further work on the RFP audit due to the fact that the firm currently serves as bond counsel to the City of Lubbock.
LP&L says that all work that has been conducted on the audit of the utility’s RFP process is valid, and will be used in the report that will ultimately be presented to the EUB.
The EUB will discuss the issue and choose another auditor during their November 4th meeting, where they will also discuss the employment status of LP&L CEO Gary Zheng.
In a press release, LP&L said “It is the understanding of the utility that the audit process was nearing completion before being informed of this perceived conflict. The firm selected to complete the audit will be briefed and all work conducted up to this point will be given to the contracted firm.”
The controversy continues with LP&L’s bidding process, with EUB member and former Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal calling for the board to reject all bids for a new power generation station and start the process from the beginning.
LP&L’s complete press release is included below.
“For the past week and a half, the law firm of Andrews Kurth has been in the process of conducting a complete and thorough audit of Lubbock Power and Light’s RFP process as it pertains to future generation. The audit was initiated by the Electric Utility Board in a special called meeting held Wednesday, October 23 after issues were raised concerning the overall process.
“Andrews Kurth was chosen to conduct the audit based on their extensive experience and sterling reputation on energy matters. The General Counsel of LP&L has been informed by the firm that the City Manager and City Attorney for Lubbock have asked them to withdraw from any further work on the RFP audit due to the fact that the firm currently serves as bond counsel to the City of Lubbock.
“The work that has been conducted on the audit of LP&L’s RFP process up to this point is valid and will be used in the greater report that will ultimately be presented to the Electric Utility Board. The Board will discuss the matter in their already scheduled meeting on Monday, November 4th in order to determine an alternate third party to complete the audit.
“It is the understanding of the utility that the audit process was nearing completion before being informed of this perceived conflict. The firm selected to complete the audit will be briefed and all work conducted up to this point will be given to the contracted firm.
“Transparency and accountability are vital and are the driving forces behind the decision to conduct such a comprehensive review of the process. LP&L and the Electric Utility Board remain committed to a thorough review process and moving forward to bring the audit to a satisfactory completion. LP&L and the Electric Utility Board remain focused on the long-term goal of providing a reliable source of affordable electricity for the citizens of Lubbock for many years to come.”
According to the AJ, EUB member Marc McDougal has come out swinging against LP&L's CEO.
And the issue has prompted board member Marc McDougal on Thursday, Oct. 31, to criticize Zheng for a recent interview he had with a local blogger, in which Zheng seemed to question the investigation of LP&L’s bidding process.
“I hope you will keep in mind, there are some people who want to kill this thing. I think potentially they may financially benefit. They may personally benefit,” Zheng said, according to a blog posted early Thursday morning.
McDougal, however, said the statement is incorrect.
“The statement Gary made regarding anyone who opposes this must have a personal benefit is ludicrous and untrue,” McDougal said during a news conference Thursday afternoon. “There are many valid reasons to oppose this. The simple appearance of what has taken place, as far as I’m concerned, makes the board’s best option to reject all bids.”
Investigating bidding process
In a statement released late Thursday, Zheng praised the board for launching a 30-day investigation last week into allegations of bid rigging, and expressed regret for any “misunderstanding.”
“In regards to statements that have been made concerning the RFP (request for proposals) process itself and my role in that process, the Electric Utility Board voted unanimously this past week to hire a completely independent third-party firm to conduct a thorough audit of these matters,” Zheng said in the statement. “I applaud their decision to do so and will wait for the conclusion of their review.”
Zheng continued: “It is clear there was a misunderstanding that may have come from the interview I conducted this week. It was not my intent to attack any member of the LP&L board. I have no information or reason to believe that any member of the Electric Utility Board has any ulterior motive in regards to the RFP for future generation.”
I truly believe the only motivation by each and every board member is to do everything in their power to assure that Lubbock has a reliable and affordable supply of electricity for the future.”
It would not surprise me to see more fireworks today.
Finally! They Found Someone Harmed By Voter ID... Sort Of
Well the Fort Worth Star Telegram finally found someone who couldn't vote because of Voter ID. AND he is elderly! AND a former elected official. He's white though, so they missed out on that.
Former House Speaker Jim Wright was denied a voter ID card Saturday at a Texas Department of Public Safety office.
“Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn’t give me an ID,” Wright said.
The legendary Texas political figure says that he has worked things out with DPS and that he will get a state-issued personal identification card in time for him to vote Tuesday in the state and local elections.
But after the difficulty he had this weekend getting a proper ID card, Wright, 90, expressed concern that such problems could deter others from voting and stifle turnout. After spending much of his life fighting to make it easier to vote, the Democratic Party icon said he is troubled by what he’s seeing happen under the state’s new voter ID law.
“I earnestly hope these unduly stringent requirements on voters won’t dramatically reduce the number of people who vote,” Wright told theStar-Telegram. “I think they will reduce the number to some extent.”
Wright and his assistant, Norma Ritchson, went to the DPS office on Woodway Drive to get a State of Texas Election Identification Certificate. Wright said he realized earlier in the week that the photo identifications he had — a Texas driver’s license that expired in 2010 and a TCU faculty ID — do not satisfy requirements of the voter ID law, enacted in 2011 by the Legislature. DPS officials concurred.
But Wright and Ritchson will return to the office Monday with a certified copy of Wright’s birth certificate, which the DPS employees assured them would be good enough for the Texas personal identification card, designed specifically for people who do not drive.
“It can be used for anything, not just voting,” Ritchson said.
While Wright will be able to vote, Ritchson worried that others of his age may find the obstacles and inconvenience she and Wright encountered so off-putting that they just don’t vote.
“I’ve been thinking about the people who are in retirement homes,” Ritchson said. “I’ve read that this is the lowest early voter turnout in a long time and I wonder if this [ID requirement] is the cause. We’ve tried so hard to make voting easy, and now the Texas Legislature has made it harder by making you have a photo ID.”
WOW! What a great BS story this is. You are telling me that an elected official just completely forgot about this new law? Give me a break. Sounds like Mr. Wright should have checked his ID back in 2010 when it expired. As for the claim that turnout is down... not true according to the Telegram.
Other Top Stories:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.