Chad’s Morning Brief: Lubbock’s Electric Utility Board, Voter ID in Texas, & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of May 24, 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. Lubbock's Electric Utility Board Wants More $$$
Well, that didn't take long did it? Summer hasn't even hit yet and Lubbock's Electric Utility Board wants the City Council to raise rates. The reason? LP&L doesn't have enough money. Of course it doesn't! LP&L makes it's money during the hot Summer months and we haven't gotten to those yet. This could be the first real test for Mayor Glen Robertson who is on record as saying he doesn't believe in a rate increase before September 30 which is the end of the fiscal year.
According to the report, residential customers would pay nearly $10 more a month on average if the increase were to go through. The board wants the rates to increase on July 1, during the Summer and when people see their most expensive bills.
We will discuss this a lot on today's show.
2. Abbott Drops Opposition to Depositions in Voter ID Case (link)
I must admit, I was a little surprised to hear the news today that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott dropped his, and the State's opposition to the DoJ's request to take depositions from state lawmakers over the Voter ID case. The move is expected to speed things up though, and Abbott claims that's why the move was made.
But now, Abbott has decided to stop trying to prevent the depositions, said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for Abbott.
"In order to move the case forward without delay, the State agreed to allow depositions to proceed," Strickland said in a statement.
The Justice Department has asked for depositions from the author of the voter ID measure, Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay; its House sponsor, Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring; various legislative staffers; and other lawmakers.
Fraser's and Harless' offices had no comment, and a Justice Department spokeswoman didn't respond to questions.
3. Tax Pledges (link)
Should politicians make anti-tax pledges? That's the question that the Texas Tribune asked and you might be surprised by the answers they got.
Just over a third of those polled — 36 percent — agreed that "candidates should pledge not to raise taxes before the primary elections." But 47 percent went the other way, agreeing that "candidates should not make pledges before the fiscal situation is clear.
The numbers behind those numbers, however, are revealing: The split illustrates the divide between those who identify themselves as conservatives and those who don't. Voters who identified themselves as Democrats were strongly against anti-tax pledges like the one promoted recently by Gov. Rick Perry, with 70 percent saying candidates shouldn't sign up. Voters who identify with the GOP were slightly in favor, with 48 percent saying candidates should sign and 41 percent saying they shouldn't. Voters who identify with the Tea Party over the other two parties — just fewer than a fifth of those polled — were strongly in favor: 60 percent said candidates should sign the pledges, and 37 percent said they shouldn't.
I look at these pledges as pandering sometimes. Sure it's good to see a candidate pledge no higher taxes, but it's not like they will go to jail if they go back on their word. It's our job as citizens to hold them to their promises.
4. Romney Backs Vouchers (link)
This will not make teachers unions happy at all. Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he would expand Washington's voucher program. Romney will also push for more school choice.
Mr. Romney announced the push on education in a speech in Washington as he made overtures to Hispanic voters, who regularly tell pollsters that access to education is one of their top concerns — even above immigration — and who generally support vouchers.
“Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a Third World education. And America’s minority children suffer the most,” Mr. Romney said in a speech to the Latino Coalition, a conservative Hispanic organization. “This is the civil rights issue of our era. And it’s the great challenge of our time.”
And he declared war on teachers unions, saying they “are the clearest example of a group that has lost its way.” He said Mr. Obama is too beholden to the unions to be able to reform the school system.
“President Obama has been unable to stand up to union bosses — and unwilling to stand up for kids,” Mr. Romney said, accusing the president of putting the unions’ campaign donations ahead of the needs of students those teachers are teaching.
Good to hear Romney standing up to the unions. If he teams up with Chris Christie, the unions should be very worried.
5. Dumb Story of the Morning (link)
Principal goes a bit overboard.
Hours after she suspended about 65 students for riding their bikes to school on the last day of their senior year, Kevin “Gravy” Canup from 105.3 HOT-FM arrived Tuesday night at a school board meeting with a new bicycle, donated by the Grand Rapids Bicycle Company.
More than 200 students and parents erupted in cheers.
“I understand her position as the principal she needs to be in charge of all of us,” said Stephanie Rasch, 18, who participated in the Tuesday morning bike ride and was later suspended for the day. “But it’s really not her worry how we get to school.”
The senior students took part in the morning ride, which began at the Walker Fitness and Ice Center and ended at the high school. The students had police escorts and enjoyed donuts provided by Walker Mayor Rob VerHeulen, who rode in a police cruiser leading the group.
Parents lined the 3-mile route, taking pictures and cheering for their sons and daughters.
Students arrived at school to find administrators with a different sentiment. They were gathered into an auditorium where Pennington spoke and shared her worries with their safety and not knowing about the ride.
“It was like two minutes of what she had to say and then she said, ‘just get out of here.’” Rasch said of the suspensions.
She and others missed a traditional “senior walk” — their last chance to pass through the school’s halls and say goodbye to teachers and underclassman.
More than 200 parents and students packed the Kenowa Hills administration building tonight for a planned board work session. The board room filled with an overflow crowd, leading administrators to move the group to a middle school auditorium nearby.
Pennington did not come forward publicly and was not seen in the crowd.
Man rescues woman on NY Subway.
Do as superdad says, not as superdad does.
An upper West Side father who repeatedly warned his kids about subway safety jumped to the tracks and rescued an unconscious woman Saturday as his three screaming children watched in disbelief.
“I guess it’s mildly ironic — to do the exact opposite of what I’m preaching,” said Greg Wetzel, 40, a few hours after the dramatic 12:45 p.m. rescue.
Wetzel hoisted the woman to the platform, where other straphangers helped pull her to safety just 60 seconds before an uptown No. 1 train roared into the station.
“He didn’t hesitate,” said witness Trish O’Sullivan. “The guy was really amazing. This guy was like a real hero.”
The upper West Sider was out with his sons, ages 6 and 7, and his 4-year-old daughter when they went into the W. 72nd St. subway station.
He spotted some commotion out of the corner of his eye, and walked down the platform to see the woman lying on the tracks below.
“It was just the right thing to do,” he said of his heroic decision. “If you see someone on the tracks, it’s hard not to do something.”
The 50-year-old woman was taken to Roosevelt Hospital.
The self-effacing Wetzel said the incident probably reinforced the message of subterranean wariness better than any lecture.
“The lesson, I guess, is they saw first-hand what happened,” he said. “That should give them a healthy fear of the platform.”
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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.