Chad’s Morning Brief: Lubbock’s Debt Gets High Credit Rating, California Could Decide the GOP Primary, & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of March 16, 2012. Give us your feedback below and tune in to Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty for these and many more topics from 6-9 am.
1. City of Lubbock Receives a High Credit Rating (link)
Over $1 billion dollars in debt and climbing, but the City of Lubbock has received a high credit rating. According to KCBD:
The City is about to borrow $89 million for various projects and Fitch also looked at $945 million of current debt. All of the debt is rated ‘AA+' which is "very high credit quality."
Fitch says, "Overall debt levels are above average." While that is reason for concern, Fitch also says, "the city's sales tax receipts continued to grow despite the recession." The property tax base has also shown slow and steady growth.
"The city's overall debt burden at $2,870 per capita," and Fitch says the city plans to spend $410 million on capital projects between now and 2016, not including Lubbock Power & Light.
The Mayor has said before that having city debt is just part of the business. His competitor in the Mayoral election says that citizens should be concerned. What do you think?
2. California May Decide it All (link)
Could California be the deciding factor in the GOP primary? Some are saying yes.
California’s June 5 primary, despite being the second-to-last contest, is looking more and more like it may determine whether Mitt Romney can win the Republican nomination or whether the party goes to its August convention without a nominee.
“If Gingrich drops out and Santorum can go at Romney one on one, it could be competitive all the way to California, in which case California would pretty much decide the nomination,” said John Ryder, a Republican National Committeeman from Tennessee who is an expert on the delegate process.
Part of the reason is the state’s sheer size. Because states are given three delegates to the Republican National Convention for every congressional district they have, California has a whopping 172 delegates. That’s more than 15 percent of the delegates needed to win the nomination.
California is technically a winner-take-all state, but because basically all of its delegates are awarded by congressional district, there is the possibility that they get sliced up any number of ways.
That said, Romney is a strong early favorite in the state, leading every poll there this year and by 20 points in the most recent poll. What’s more, the state’s more moderate brand of Republicanism and highly urban population seem to play right into his hands.
The article does overlook the State of Texas and our primary on May 29th and I predict that IF the primary lasts until then, Texas will have a big say in how it all turns out. You could see Santorum win Texas and Romney win California.
How ticked off would conservatives be if it was California that decided it all?
3. Cruz Speaks out Against Agenda 21 (link)
How much does the average Texan care or know about Agenda 21? Probably not much, but U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz is talking about it.
There's one, though, that may cause a spate of head-scratching among even the most well-informed voters. Called Agenda 21, it's described by U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz as a “globalist plan that tries to subvert the U.S. Constitution and the liberties we all cherish as Americans.”
“Agenda 21,” Cruz says on his campaign website, “is wrong and must be stopped.”
Agenda 21 is a nonbinding resolution the United Nations passed at the 1992 “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro. It is a 100-page catalog of proposals designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources, combat urban sprawl and conserve open space.
The U.S., during the Bush administration, was one of 178 nations that adopted the agenda. A voluntary action plan, it's neither a treaty nor a legally binding document.
The Republican Party has issued a dire warning about this “destructive and insidious” plan. A document approved by the Republican National Committee on Jan. 13 warns of “a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering and global political control,” as well as “socialist/communist redistribution of wealth.”
Again, I don't know if the issue will help Cruz on the campaign trail, but every vote matters right?
4. Feds to Officially Halt Funding for Women's Health Program (link)
This whole fight is over Planned Parenthood. It's amazing how much the federal government is in love with that one organization.
Federal health officials announced Thursday what state leaders have predicted for weeks: that they are halting funding for Texas' Women's Health Program.
Cindy Mann, director of the federal Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, said Texas left her agency no other choice by forging ahead with a rule designed to force Planned Parenthood clinics out of the program
"We have no choice but to not renew their program," Mann said. "... We very much regret that the state of Texas has taken this course."
The Obama administration believes Texas' plan to exclude Planned Parenthood from the program violates a federal law that lets Medicaid patients choose their own providers; the state's Republican leadership ardently disagrees, and says this is another example of federal overreach into a state decision.
“Texans send a substantial amount of our tax dollars to Washington, D.C., and it is unconscionable that the Obama administration has essentially told Texas it will send our tax dollars back to fund this program only if we violate state law and include its pro-abortion allies," Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement.
Now the big question, where will Texas find the money to cover the costs?
5. Dumb story of the morning (link)
A great read on what some people try to sneak onto planes.
Most airline passengers pack a toothbrush and fresh underwear in their luggage, while others carry land mines, grenade launchers, swords and mortar shells.
Not only does the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confiscate four handguns a day among the contraband it takes from airline customers, its agents once seized a stun gun concealed as lipstick and found a dagger hidden inside a hairbrush, according to weekly updates on The TSA blog.
"If I'm going with the weirdest, it would have to be the guy who had all the snakes in his pants," recalled Bob Burns, 41, who writes online for the agency as Blogger Bob.
Grenade launchers and mortar shells? Really?
After 8 years, a Texas mom and son are reunited.
A Texas mother whose infant son vanished eight years ago will soon be reunited with him, after authorities found the boy living with his former babysitter and her family in another part of the state.
Miguel Morin disappeared in late 2004, when he was just 8 months old.
His mother told Houston television station KPRC that the two may be reunited later this week. Authorities said she must first undergo a DNA test, even though they're sure of his identity.
"I want to hold him in my arms and let him know who I am," said Auboni Champion-Morin, who lives in Houston. "I hope he can feel the same thing I feel for him."
The former babysitter, 26-year-old Krystle Rochelle Tanner, was arrested Monday on a kidnapping charge. She was being held in jail in San Augustine, a community about 140 miles northeast of Houston.
Rarely do stories like this have a good ending.
Other Top Stories:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of Lubbock’s First News with Chad Hasty. Tune in mornings 6-9am 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.