Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of August 9, 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 or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

Cole Shooter,
Cole Shooter,

1. Lubbock City Council (link)

The Lubbock City Council met yesterday to discuss the budget, LP&L, and more. Read Cole Shooter's account below.

At their rather lengthy meeting Thursday night, the Lubbock City Council heard from a number of citizens unhappy about the City-owned Lubbock Power & Light, gave further approval to two annexation sites, and approved a severance package to Lubbock’s former city manager.

One Lubbock resident chided the Council on her high electric bill, saying “I went last month to get some assistance, and guess what? I can’t get but $100 for an entire year for assistance. I own my home. I own my car; I have no debt, so I don’t get any help. It doesn’t matter than I’m 70, or that I live on a fixed income, or that I’m a widow. They could care less.”

Resident Bill Curnow weighed in as well.

“What is clear is that it’s never LP&L’s fault…it’s never their fault. They never apologize for these things. It’s always someone else’s fault. It’s Xcel Energy’s fault for what happened a few weeks ago. It’s never LP&L’s fault,” said Curnow.

He continued, saying “They have a very clear cultural problem within that organization. It’s not the boots on the ground; it’s not the front line CSRs, but somewhere, somehow, a corporate culture of arrogance has set in and begun to metastasize. What little goodwill they had dissipated in minutes a few weeks ago. It’s going to take years to earn it back…a lot of work has to be done to repair the relationship between LP&L and its owners.”

Overall, 15 people addressed the Council about LP&L’s rates.

The Council unanimously approved a resolution to suspend a $30 fee LP&L charged in order to set up a payment plan for those that couldn’t afford to pay their higher bills in a single lump sum. The suspension was made retroactive back to June 1st, so those that have already paid the fee will have the funds credited back to their account.

The Council also heard the first of two public hearings on two different annexations.

The first public hearing was for annexation of approximately 80 acres adjacent to the City limits, just north of Farm-to-Market Road 1585 and east of Flint Avenue. Most of this annexation parcel, if completely approved by the Council in future meetings, will be an extension of Betenbough Homes’ Bella Mia subdivision. This item passed 6-1, with District 1 Councilman Victor Hernandez voting against the measure.

The second public hearing was for annexation of approximately 76 acres one half-mile south of Farm-to-Market 1585, just east of Quaker Avenue. The parcel, owned by Ford Development, will be used as another portion of the group’s Kelsey Park neighborhood, which is currently in development north of the annexation site. This particular annexation public hearing passed 5-2, with Hernandez and District 6 Councilwoman Latrelle Joy in opposition.

Another public hearing will be held on these annexation measures at the next Lubbock City Council meeting on August 22nd.

The Council also approved the severance package of former Lubbock City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld, who was terminated by the Council on July 15th.

The package, which comes to nearly $351,000, is expected to settle the issue, according to Lubbock MayorGlen Robertson.

“That settles all monies owed to Ms. Dumbauld, and it’s got releases on both parties for any future action,” said Robertson.

The severance package was part of Ms. Dumbauld’s original hiring in 2005.

Robertson continued, saying “My understanding, is that the severance agreement kicks in because she was not fired for cause. If we had fired her for cause under the severance agreement, we wouldn’t have had to pay for it.”

The Council also heard the initial options for the search of Lubbock’s next permanent city manager, but has chosen to hold off on making any decisions on whether or not the search will be handled by the City of Lubbock Human Resources department or by an outside firm.

The City’s Human Resources department says they expect the search and hiring process to take six to 12 months.

The cost of hiring an outside firm according to Adam Young of the AJ would be at least $25,000.

2. The Race for 2016 (link)

According to the Washington Post, Iowa will be a very busy place this weekend with several events featuring possible candidates for 2016.

It will ramp up in the next couple of days with several events featuring the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Rick Santorum, and Emily’s List, a group that works to elect women who support abortion rights, and has launched a campaign to elect a female president.

Emily’s List will will bring its “Madam President” campaign to Des Moines on Friday. Group President Stephanie Schriock will be joined by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and other supporters in a town hall meeting that will be moderated by O. Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa.

Of course, any discussion about a female president in 2016 must necessarily begin and end with Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state would be the instant front-runner for the Democratic nomination if she runs. The Emily’s List campaign is one of many we’ll-have-your-back signals Democratic groups are sending to Clinton in the hopes of prodding her to make a bid.

The 2016 race won’t be far from the minds of Iowans on the Republican side, either. Rick Santorum, the 2012 presidential candidate who squeaked out a narrow victory over Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses last year, is in Iowa Thursday. He hasn’t ruled out another bid for president.

But if he does make another run for the White House, Santorum’s road to the nomination would probably be difficult. A promising crop of new potential Republican contenders has emerged, including Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to name a few.

In other words, the potential 2016 field looks far more formidable than the 2012 field.

Another potential 2016 candidate who has made a splash in recent months will be in Iowa on Saturday, too. We’re talking about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), the fiery tea party freshman whose outspoken conservatism has quickly made him one of the country’s most controversial political figures.

Cruz will make his visit to Iowa in as many months to attend a meeting hosted by the Family Leader, a conservative evangelical group led by Iowa activist Bob Vander Plaats. Cruz and his father will speak at the “Leadership Summit” in Ames on Saturday. So will Santorum.

Cruz has quickly become a love-him-or-hate-him figure in Washington, owing to his strict conservative positions. He appeared in South Carolina earlier this year and will travel to New Hampshire later this month. Both are, like Iowa, early presidential nominating states.

Also scheduled to speak at the Family Leader summit is Joe Miller, a tea party-backed conservative activist and attorney who defeated Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in the 2010 Senate primary, only to lose to her write-in campaign in the general election. Miller has filed papers to run for the Senate once again in 2014.

Even Donald Trump will address the summit. The chances Trump will run for presidentare slim, but he likes to keep his name in the conversation.

Sure, it may be early but some of these politicians will be looking for any kind of buzz they can get. Personally, I'd like to see Santorum step off the stage and let some new blood take over. Expect all eyes and news headlines to be on Senator Ted Cruz.

3. Are These Parents Crazy? (link)

I'm not a parent, but what is with parents these days that they just can't let go? Even for a week or two? The Wall Street Journal has an article about parents who check out pictures of their kids online all the time while they are at camp. I understand the feeling of wanting to keep in touch, but isn't this a bit extreme?

Before Nancy Corson Schwartz put her 10-year-old son, Harry, on a bus bound for sleep-away camp in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, she gave him a warning: "If you don't give me the thumbs-up, I'm never going to sleep."

At 3 a.m. ever since, Ms. Corson Schwartz has rolled over in her bed in Franklin Lakes, N.J., logged into the camp's photo gallery on her laptop and started scrolling through the day's feed of 800 pictures. Her reward? Photos of Harry hanging with his bunkmates, playing roller hockey and bouncing on a floating trampoline—all with his thumb in the air.

"That thumb has to be so tired, it's up there in every picture," said Ms. Corson Schwartz. "I told him, 'You want a phone? You want a TV in your room? It is priceless what you've done for me this summer.' "

Stalking the camp photo gallery has become a rite of summer for parents. Most residential camps upload images and videos shot by staff photographers to secure websites every day.

The idea was to provide a window into camp, where cellphones and email are often restricted. Instead, parents who have paid upward of $10,000 so their kids can unplug for a screen-free summer, spend hours on camp websites to catch glimpses of them.

Once proof of life has been established, parents analyze facial expressions and body language with the intensity of Cold War Kremlinologists. Is that smile real or fake? Why is she standing apart from her bunk-mates? Whose shirt is he wearing?

Camp directors have discovered that a picture can be worth a thousand words to an anxious mom or dad. "I had a parent say that although she spoke to her son and everything sounded fine…the housekeeper felt he didn't look like himself—he looked sad," said Jay Jacobs, owner of Timber Lake Camp in Shandaken, N.Y.

The usual response to such calls is to dispatch a staff member to ask the child why he or she wasn't smiling. "I'll say, 'You didn't look so happy' and they'll say 'Yeah, we just lost the soccer game,' " said Debby Shriber, director of Crane Lake Camp in West Stockbridge, Mass.

Reassurance can be costly. Some parents had complained that there weren't enough photos of their kids on the website for Camp Harlam in Kunkletown, Pa. To appease them, director Aaron Selkow spent an extra $15,000 this year to hire two more photographers and a communications coordinator. At Tyler Hill Camp in the Poconos, owner Wendy Siegel invested $8,000 in iPads and training for head counselors, so they could use the devices to email pictures and short movies to parents this summer.

Too much?

Other Top Stories:

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