Friday, August 29, 2014

Proper way to remove drunk official | Last Word

You can’t blame Gov. Rick Perry and his supporters for attacking as political the indictment brought against him for trying to pressure Austin District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunk-driving conviction.

When politicians are indicted, they almost always decry the indictments as political.

That is not to say that the indictment of Perry is justified.

We won’t be able to reach an informed opinion on that until we learn what evidence caused the grand jury to vote to indict.

Even when the evidence comes out, opinions will be mixed, just as there were mixed opinions as to whether Lehmberg should have resigned in the wake of her arrest and her egregious drunken behavior toward the arresting officers.

But one thing is clear: The Texas constitution gives no role to the governor in removing her or any other local officer.

The reason is historical.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s indictment | Aug. 22, 2014

Last week's indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry is being called a political persecution by his Republican allies and flimsy by even some Democrats and liberal media. We delve into the controversy with two top Austin reporters who have been covering the story. And Evan Smith, Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Tribune, talks about the national political theater the indictment has provoked.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Legal follies make great stories | Last Word

Two San Antonio lawyers made news last week in ways that took me down memory lane and reminded me of what a wonderful city this is for people in my line of work. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

City eyes professional football team | Aug. 15, 2014

San Antonio may once again be a bargaining chip for another professional football team. The Oakland Raiders say they want to move here but many believe they just want a new stadium in their current city. Even so, it looks like local leaders are mounting a full-court press to try to make it happen. We hear from two Express-News reporters who lead the pack in reporting this story.

Friday, August 15, 2014

City Council establishes another first | Last Word

When Ivy Taylor was chosen by her City Council colleagues to serve as mayor last month, Henry Cisneros called it an “historic move.”

He noted that it made San Antonio the largest American city to choose an African-American mayor.

Cisneros is no strangers to “firsts.”

When he was elected mayor in 1981, it was the first time the position had been held by … an Aggie.

This week San Antonio City Council established another first.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Congressmen on immigration surge | Aug. 8, 2014

Two Texas Democratic congressmen have stood out in the debate over what to do about the surge of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S. border.

Rep. Joaquin Castro challenged a decision to send up to a thousand National Guardsman to the border. Rep. Henry Cuellar coauthored a bill that would have made it significantly harder for arriving children to stay any length of time.

Friday, August 8, 2014

What could an NFL team do for us? | Last Word

The recent flurry over the mere possibility that the Oakland Raiders might be interested in moving to San Antonio brought to mind a conversation I had 25 years ago with Mayor Henry Cisneros.

We were sitting in the back room of a Mexican restaurant and he was making the pitch that San Antonio really, really needed an NFL team. 

I’d be lying if I said I still had my notes, but one part of the conversation lodged in my memory.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fallout from dropped streetcar project | Aug. 1, 2014

In face of a petition drive that might have forced a public vote on a city streetcar project, San Antonio's new mayor, Ivy Taylor, said the city is backing out. County Judge Nelson Wolff, one of the project's most vocal cheerleaders, said county-appointed members of the VIA transit board would also be asked to cancel it. Journalists Vianna Davila and Gilbert Garcia discuss ramifications.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Should State Rep. Villarreal resign? | Last Word

My friends at the San Antonio Express-News this week editorialized that State Rep. Mike Villarreal should resign before Aug. 21 in order to run for mayor.

Why?  So that taxpayers could avoid spending $80,000 to $100,000 on a special election to replace him.

If Villarreal resigned before that date, Democratic precinct chairmen from his legislative district would choose a candidate for the November ballot.

Since no republican ran in the primary for this seat, whomever the precinct chairmen chose would serve in the next Legislature.

If Villarreal didn’t resign by Aug. 21, Gov. Rick Perry would schedule a special election, most likely in December.

It's possible Villarreal will have announced his decision in the brief period between the taping of this commentary and its airing.

As a citizen who happens to live in Villarreal’s district, I found the argument unpersuasive.

Friday, July 25, 2014

What the Confederate flag means | Last Word

Earlier this week I listened to an interview on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Texas journalist Chris Tomlinson.

He is now a business columnist for the Houston Chronicle, but Tomlinson spent the early part of his career covering the end of apartheid in South Africa, the genocide in Rwanda, and conflicts in other parts of Africa as well as Asia.

In the middle of the interview, Tomlinson paraphrased a statement by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Tutu had been a prominent voice in the fight against apartheid.

When the brutal system of enforcing the subjugation of blacks was ended, Tutu was appointed to lead the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The wisdom voiced by Tutu and quoted by Tomlinson was this: