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Recent editorials from Texas newspapers

May 15, 2018

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Texas newspapers:

Odessa American. May 13, 2018.

If you have not ventured out to the Chris Kyle memorial situated near Mission Fitness and the VA Clinic area off of what was called Highway 191 you are missing out.

Take the short drive on what is now called the Chris Kyle Memorial Highway and get out of the car and look around and know that your friends and neighbors came up with this beautiful area, raised the money for it and built it.

The statue is a lovely testament to how quickly Odessans came together to create and finance an impressive memorial. Kyle, the veteran of “American Sniper” fame, was born in Odessa.

The 2,800 square-foot Chris Kyle Memorial Plaza, made of granite and Texas limestone, is near the Veterans’ Clinic on the property of Medical Center Hospital.

Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, recently joined state and local dignitaries at the memorial as Highway 191 was renamed after her late husband.

Ector County’s stretch of Highway 191 was officially named in honor of the decorated Navy SEAL veteran and sniper “I thought it was such a beautiful addition to this memorial plaza,” Taya Kyle said, just behind the statue of her late husband after the ceremony.

The statue was first unveiled in July 2016 at the memorial plaza and now, a sign aside the highway near the Midland County line, along with an opposite sign at the intersection of 42nd Street and Kermit Highway to the west, stand naming the stretch of 191 after the famed veteran whose autobiography “American Sniper” became a best-seller and was being adapted into the movie of the same name before his death in 2013.

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf and State Sen. Kel Seliger also spoke at the dedication, after Landgraf pushed a bill to dedicate the highway through the Texas House of Representatives last year, before Seliger pushed the bill through the Texas Senate.

“He’s a native son of Odessa, a true American hero, and we wanted the highway that runs next to the Chris Kyle Memorial Plaza to also bear his name,” Landgraf said.

We thank both Seliger and Landgraf for the work they put in to make this happen.

We also thank the committee that worked hard to put together the plans and financing for the memorial, which celebrates not just Kyle but all veterans.

Taya Kyle said she was glad to be back, and glad that the statue’s unveiling wasn’t the end of the memorial project, but that the project has carried on and continues to grow. She also pointed out that it is a place of healing for all veterans.

“I really appreciate the people of Odessa,” Taya Kyle said. “I think they’ve gone above and beyond. They wanted to do a statue but they’ve gone above and beyond with the whole plaza — the way they’re planning on lighting it up, and having the highway, and being next to a center for wellness.

Those interested in the Chris Kyle Memorial Committee’s projects can learn more by visiting OdessaChamber.com/Chris-Kyle-Memorial .


Corpus Christi Caller-Times. May 14, 2018.

Thank you, Refugio girls track team, for turning the duty of giving equal time into an honor, a privilege and a joy.

In December, you will recall how we celebrated the Refugio Bobcats football team’s season as perhaps the greatest in school history despite its loss in the title game. Most likely you agreed. We gave the football team much credit for overcoming adversity and helping your hurricane-ravaged city’s recovery. And they deserved it.

In our tribute to the football team, we talked about all the hard physical work the players put into helping Refugio recover from Hurricane Harvey. We have no doubt that you girls have done your share of hard physical work in the recovery effort. You are strong-shouldered, strong-legged and strong-backed too. You proved that.

Hurricane Harvey has been the defining event in your senior class’ year. Your town still lives with its devastation. No doubt it took a huge toll on each individual member of your track team, and continues to do so.

But then, on Saturday, you redefined Refugio High School 2017-18. Now it’s the year that the Refugio Bobcats girls track team won the state championship. The last time that happened was 1992, the last year of the George H.W. Bush administration, a decade or more before most of you were born.

See? When you make history, as you have done, being put in historic perspective comes with the territory.

Two of you, sprinter and triple jumper Alexa Valenzuela, and long- and high jumper Jai’lin King, deserve special recognition for their exploits — Valenzuela for three gold medals, in the 100, 200 and triple jump, and King for her gold medal in the long jump. We’re sure that coach Katie Green is looking forward to another season with Valenzuela and three more with Green.

We hope colleges and universities took notice of your entire team and will offer athletic scholarships, and we hope you parlay those into successful careers in whatever fields of study you choose.

Now, back to what we said earlier about equal time: This editorial tribute is our humble contribution. We hope your school, your families and your city do the same — celebrate you like they would a state championship in football.

Saturday night, a few hours after your victory was assured, “Saturday Night Live” guest host Amy Schumer gave a monologue during which she said: “Ladies, remember how we were raised with the illusion of equality?” She was joking — and laying down some serious social commentary. She was speaking on your behalf, for equality.

Our final observation on your behalf, for equality, is that you have no equal.


The Dallas Morning News. May 14, 2018.

Here’s some helpful perspective as hundreds of thousands of fans travel deep into southern Dallas this week for the AT&T Byron Nelson at its new home at the Trinity Forest Golf Club:

While the tournament is the biggest thing to happen in what’s historically been a forgotten part of the city, it’s just that — a cool, fun happening. Even a string of PGA Tour events won’t convert directly into economic development and quality-of-life improvements that so many parts of southern Dallas desperately need.

But it would be foolish to think the Byron Nelson’s move is no big deal.

Mayor Mike Rawlings, who gave us a golf-cart tour of the Trinity Forest club last week, notes, “The decision by the heavy hitters behind this tournament — AT&T, the Salesmanship Club, the PGA — that this is where they want to be sends a powerful message about this part of our city and its future.”

Many naysayers said it would never happen. Yet the tournament tees off this week, on its 50th anniversary — a proof point for all the voices, including this newspaper, that believe in the southern half of the city and continue to focus on it.

The exposure from roughly 250,000 visitors over five days — not to mention those watching on TV — will help demystify a part of the city that boasts North Texas’ most beautiful topography and is home to outdoor recreational oases such as the Trinity River Audubon Center and the Great Trinity Forest trails.

The hope is that the Byron Nelson will have not just the halo effect of generating curiosity, especially among those whose knowledge of southern Dallas is limited to the State Fair of Texas and the Bishop Arts District, but also will create a constructive ripple effect.

Stakeholders are determined to not be another example of white privilege trampling on surrounding communities, which have been kicked around for generations. They acknowledge that they still have much to learn about finding ways to link with the area’s residents, businesses and institutions.

We couldn’t agree more. In fact, how that goal is accomplished is more important than even how much money the tournament raises.

The Salesmanship Club of Dallas operates the Byron Nelson tournament, using the event as its major fundraiser to power the Oak Cliff-based Momentous Institute.

Momentous, which has long been in the business of improving the social-emotional health of children and their families, has deep experience listening and partnering within neighborhoods. Its track record of plugging in on meaningful efforts, not fly-by initiatives, gives us confidence that those behind the Byron will live up to their promises.

Michelle Kinder, Momentous executive director, told us: “This move into southern Dallas represents stepping into the larger community picture, with more responsibility and more commitment. We talk about the need for Dallas to be as good a place for kids as it is for business. That can’t happen until we begin partnering with and elevating communities that today feel invisible.”

Well said. Once the inaugural southern Dallas tournament is in the books, we look forward to the next chapters.


Houston Chronicle. May 15, 2018.

“Hey boss, I quit. Now, pay me for the next two years of work I’m not going to do.”

Try that line out where you work and see where it gets you. Hard to imagine that logic paying off — unless you’re a disgraced executive at the Katy Independent School District.

Superintendent Lance Hindt, who’s spent the past few weeks fending off accusations that he bullied fellow students when he was a youngster, will walk away from his job with an eye-popping severance payout. The blame lies not with the outgoing superintendent, but with the Katy Independent School District board of trustees. Voters need to remember that elected school board members have squandered three-quarters of million taxpayer dollars, money they could’ve put to better use hiring a new superintendent.

In case you haven’t followed this story, it all began with an accusation from a businessman who appeared at a Katy ISD meeting and accused Hindt of bullying him decades ago while they both were in junior high school. After the accusation attracted nationwide attention, a circuit court judge in Alabama who went to high school with Hindt said the superintendent had been a “vicious bully” who used to brag about beating up people.

Hindt responded by sending a letter to the district’s employees, apologizing for the negative attention the controversy generated, admitting he did “dumb things” when he was young and decrying what he described as distortions of the truth. But his letter offered no apology to the men he was accused of bullying, and the allegations continued to generate a firestorm of criticism.

Last week, Hindt dramatically announced his resignation, citing a “relentless smear campaign” against him. The KISD board of trustees was outspoken in its support of Hindt; it was already taking the bizarre step of hiring a law firm to pursue a possible defamation case against citizens complaining about him. After Hindt announced his resignation, the board amended his contract and decided to give him a whopping severance check equivalent to two years of his salary: $750,000.

Let’s put that in context. That’s more than the Astros are paying Carlos Correa the year after he helped Houston win the World Series. More important, $750,000 would pay the annual salaries of more than a dozen Katy ISD teachers. Unlike Hindt, they would continue working for their pay.

Katy ISD has struggled with a big spending reputation after it built a $70 million football stadium, which was originally budgeted at $99 million. Voters had to look past that when they rightly approved a $609 million bond issue last year. Next time Katy ISD trustees face re-election, voters need to hold them to account for the check they wrote to an employee who’s walking out the door.


Amarillo Globe-News. May 15, 2018.

When it comes to the rights of the states, it is interesting (or confusing) what is considered a right and what is not.

On Monday, the highest court in the land — the U.S. Supreme Court — declared that gambling on sports should be determined by individual states, getting rid of a decades-old federal law that prohibited some states from having sports gambling.

In other words, states have the authority to allow betting on sports. Or not to allow betting on sports. It is up to the states.

However, on other issues — states do not enjoy such rights.

For example, take the issue of marriage.

States do not enjoy the right to address this particular issue. Five members of the U.S. Supreme Court determined in 2015 that they must enact what amounts to a marriage law which applies nationwide — no state’s rights here.

The point here is not whether sports gambling is good or bad. The point is how (or why) the U.S. Supreme Court decides when state have rights, and when it determines states do not.

The federal government has no right to define marriage in any way, shape or form. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court sees fit to define marriage for the entire nation. Again — no state’s rights here.

This is what Justice Samuel Alito had to say about the aforementioned 6-3 ruling on states and sports betting, “The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make.” (From cnn.com)

We do not disagree with Alito’s reasoning.

However, it too often seems that the U.S. Supreme Court picks and chooses when to acknowledge the rights of states (and when not to) without rhyme or reason.

This is what the Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

It is interesting that the founding fathers did not deem it necessary to address the institution of marriage (which did exist in the late 1700s) in any way in this nation’s founding documents.

Yet just a few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court found it constitutional to define marriage for every state in the Union. But hey, if states want to allow residents to bet on the Super Bowl — go right ahead.

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