Friday, January 23, 2015

Do we deserve lower taxes? | Last Word



Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus all agree that Texans deserve tax cuts.

It’s a brilliant idea, if hardly original.

It’s a short step beyond taking Grover Norquist’s famous pledge.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What will happen to water safety tax? | Jan. 16, 2015



The Edwards Aquifer is and has been San Antonio's primary water resource. For the past 15 years, voters have approved a one-eighth cent addition to the local sales tax to ensure the safety of our water supply. Is that about to change? Rick Casey welcomes Mayor Ivy Taylor and Council Member Ron Nirenberg to discuss.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Foes of House Speaker aim to punish | Last Word



If the fantasies of many Texas Democrats had played out, San Antonio would become a powerhouse in Austin this coming week when state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte would be sworn in as lieutenant governor – one of the most powerful positions in Texas.

What’s more, San Antonians would occupy two of the three top positions in state government, with Representative Joe Straus as the powerful speaker of the House.

Of course, that didn’t happen.

Van de Putte was crushed in a Republican landslide last November, losing to Sen. Dan Patrick by nearly 20 percent and nearly a million votes.

But this week Straus was re-elected Speaker of the House in what might be called a super landslide with a strange twist.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ushering in the political new year | Jan. 9, 2015



The new year has barely begun and politics have already taken center stage – though with a whimper. A special election held this week to elect a state senator and representative drew less than 5 percent of voters and only yielded runoffs. Meanwhile, the lineup for the May mayor's race appears to have solidified, if not exactly started to sprint.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Making lawyers the bad guys | Last Word



It must have seemed like a good idea to Walter Martinez, the former one-term state legislator and city councilman who last held office two decades ago.

He had decided to mount a political comeback by running for mayoral candidate Mike Villarreal’s legislative seat and he needed a catchy issue to overcome Diego Bernal, the frontrunner who had resigned from City Council to make the race.

He would, of course, fight for economic development and better schools, but every politician fights for economic development and better schools.

What else?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Using literature to train doctors | Dec. 19, 2014



For 15 years the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio has helped pioneer a movement toward using literature to train doctors, especially in areas of ethics and empathy. Hear from a San Antonio physician who has taught the medical school's course on "Medicine through Literature" for years. Also hear from the author of a book that is used in that course.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

News that shaped our city in 2014 | Dec. 12, 2014



It's been another good news year for San Antonio. Of course, when journalists say a good, they don't necessarily mean a year of “good news.” Join Rick Casey and two local newsmen for a look back at events that shaped San Antonio in 2014 and what we can expect in 2015.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Right way to investigate police killings | Last Word



When it comes to investigating killings by police officers – like the ones in Ferguson and Staten Island that have provoked nationwide protests – Seattle does it right.

And it makes little difference.

As we have repeatedly experienced in Texas, killings at the hands of police are, with rare exceptions, investigated by the police forces themselves.

The results are turned over to the district attorney who presents them in secret to a grand jury.

And the grand jury almost never indicts an officer.

Grand juries were designed by the English as a check on the power of sheriffs and prosecutors.

But with their subservient place in the law enforcement establishment and their secrecy, they are not a good device for fomenting confidence in that very law enforcement establishment.

Here’s how Seattle does it better.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Republicans pushing for Obamacare | Dec. 5, 2014



More than 10 Republican governors have agreed to expand Medicaid under President Obama's Affordable Care Act, and the list is growing. Meanwhile, some Republican-friendly groups in Texas are pushing the Legislature to do the same. Will Texas work some kind of a deal with the Obama Administration?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Is state of Texas mentally competent? | Last Word



Hours before Scott Panetti was scheduled to be executed Wednesday, a federal appeals court in New Orleans halted the proceedings to take up the issue of whether he is mentally competent enough to be killed.

The evidence is, however, that it is the state of Texas that should be subjected to a mental competency test.