Recent editorials from Texas newspapers
Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Texas newspapers:
Houston Chronicle. Jan. 14, 2019.
It’s an annual rite of winter in Houston that each Martin Luther King Jr. Day, people must decide which parade to attend. The day may pay tribute to an icon for unity, but it has also provided a backdrop for the two parades’ founders to show very little of the brotherly love King promoted.
This editorial board last summer asked the city to consider producing its own official parade, coordinated by its special events staff with the two feuding parade directors hired as consultants after they shut down their events. It’s clear now that isn’t going to happen.
The Original MLK Jr. Birthday Parade was started in 1978 by Ovide Duncantell, a local civil rights activist and founder of the Houston Black Heritage Society. Duncantell helped lead the campaign to have South Park Boulevard renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. He died Oct. 25 at age 82.
The MLK Grande Parade was started 25 years ago by a former Black Heritage Society volunteer, Charles Stamps. He has used his entrepreneurial skill to build an event that this year boasts more than 50 “partners,” including Boeing, Navy Federal Credit Union, Southwest Airlines and Sheraton hotels.
The Original MLK Parade has fewer sponsors, but it has an important one — the city of Houston. Mayor Sylvester Turner announced in July that the dueling parades were “not a reflection of Dr. King’s legacy” and that the older event would be the one officially recognized by the city.
That decision couldn’t have been easy for Turner, who may be risking support from voters who don’t agree with his parade choice. Any question that the decision would have political implications seemed to be answered when two expected mayoral candidates — attorney Tony Buzbee and Bill King, who lost to Turner in 2015 — were named MLK Grande Parade grand marshals.
Firefighters union president Marty Lancton, who has clashed with Turner over pay parity, is also a Grande Parade honoree this year. Stamps says Lancton’s selection wasn’t a jab at Turner. “Marty has been an active participant for years,” Stamps said.
For his part, King says he has had a relationship with the MLK Grande Parade ever since he was asked to give a speech to its organizers 10 years ago. Regarding Buzbee, Stamps says it’s not unusual for politicians, including Turner, to be involved with the parades.
Leaving politics out of it, there will still be two King Day parades this year. People trying to choose which one to attend may find some guidance in King’s own words: “Unity has never meant uniformity.” Choose whichever parade works best for you and have a good time.
San Antonio Express-News. Jan. 14, 2019.
The bathroom bill was unlikely to resurface in 2019.
Nevertheless, we were pleased to see newly minted House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, give the idea of a bathroom bill 2.0 the big flush.
“I would be very discouraged if a distraction of that type derailed the opportunity of significant school finance reform or property tax reform,” he said.
Notice he said “distraction of that type.” He didn’t simply single out the bathroom bill, which sought to dictate the bathrooms transgender people use and was as unnecessary as it was discriminatory. It put Texas in a bad light. It potentially would have led to an economic boycott. But because the bathroom bill was deemed a priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott, it distracted lawmakers from dealing with real issues last legislative session. Instead of making headway on school finance, state lawmakers were arguing about policing potties.
Patrick has previously said the bathroom bill fight is over, and Abbott said it was not a priority while campaigning for re-election last year. So, the bathroom bill was likely never coming back, even if certain groups still support it.
But that doesn’t preclude other potentially discriminatory or unnecessarily controversial legislation from rearing its ugly head this session. And that’s why Bonnen’s broad choice of words is welcome. “Distraction of that type” is bigger than the bathroom bill. It means legislation that is inherently divisive, corrosive and unnecessary.
Flush it all and focus on school finance, property taxes, criminal justice reforms and other real Texas issues. It’s the right tone from the new House Speaker.
Midland Reporter-Telegram. Jan. 14, 2019.
The majors are coming. The majors are coming.
ExxonMobil “planted its flag as the most active driller” in 2018,” Blum wrote. This “supermajor” has plans to surpass 600,000 barrels a day in the Permian by 2025.
Chevron reported its “Permian production spiked 80 percent within 12 months,” according to Blum.
Shell, he wrote, is acquiring acreage in an attempt to be a bigger fish, and it is likely one of those companies will end up making a deal to acquire Midland-based Endeavor for at least $8 billion and make Autry C. Stephens “super” rich.
These are exciting times.
We hope that as the supermajors plant even bigger flags in the West Texas ground, they remember who they are replacing. Our worry is that as the supermajors devour the smaller companies ripe for the picking, our community loses integral partners. These business decisions taking place in some boardroom (often outside the Basin) will impact not only who’s drilling where, but who’s giving to whom.
We have been told the supermajors have signed on to Permian Strategic Partnership, which is committed to providing more than $100 million over the next several years as seed money to spur additional private sector investment. So, we say “thank you” for what you are doing there. But what’s next?
We hope the supermajors not only attempt to out-produce Concho or Pioneer Natural Resources in the fields, but they outperform those companies in the community. We hope they are as involved in our community as they are in their corporate offices. Are they giving to the Midland Independent School District, Midland College and other educational entities across the city? Are they helping to underwrite initiatives that help this community make progress?
The worst-case scenario is that the supermajors take over companies that are the backbone of educational and community philanthropy and limit their giving because higher-level corporate offices are elsewhere.
There are countless people and companies in Midland today that not only define how things are done in the fields but also set the standard when it came to philanthropy and community participation. If those supermajors want to continue that tradition, then we certainly welcome them with open arms. Otherwise, someone might need to gas up the SUV.