Editorials

As Trump pulls back on a border wall, some aren’t pleased

As Trump pulls back on a border wall, some aren’t pleased

A boy runs up toward the U.S. border fence from his backyard in San Benito in June. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP) Like the twisting Rio Grande, President Trump’s position on a border wall is changing course. The president, who made the promise of a “big, beautiful border wall” one of the cornerstone promises of his campaign, significantly ...

Viewpoints: Central Texas pushing back against state, federal policies

With recent news of President Donald Trump’s retreat on the landmark Paris climate agreement and the U.S. Justice Department teaming up with the state of Texas to force Austin and Travis County to obey Senate Bill 4 — which local law enforcement says would make Austin less safe — there is good reason to fret. That is especially true, given that Gov. Greg Abbott has called a special...
Viewpoints: Why Senate should go back to drawing board for health bill

Viewpoints: Why Senate should go back to drawing board for health bill

Senate Republicans promised to write a different – if not better — health care bill after the House delivered its widely criticized attempt at an Affordable Care Act repeal in May. Instead, the Mitch McConnell-led Senate proposes much of the same: a bill, named the Better Care Reconciliation Act, that would provide tax breaks for the wealthy and would hit even harder than the House version...
Viewpoints: Legislature should end illusion and provide real tax cuts

Viewpoints: Legislature should end illusion and provide real tax cuts

To successfully pull off their stunts and tricks before audiences, great magicians employ the art of misdirection. The same is true for some politicians, such as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has crafted a clever misdirection in the form of Senate Bill 2. Patrick, a Houston Republican, claims the measure “would bring about the largest property tax reform in history,” and in so doing...
Viewpoints: AISD trustees should take more time to call bond election

Viewpoints: AISD trustees should take more time to call bond election

The Austin school board on Monday is expected to call for a November election on a bond package that at least for now totals nearly $1.1 billion and is clouded by uncertainty. Trustees should delay the vote. Several factors warrant slowing the process. Some projects the board is weighing, such as relocating Eastside Memorial High School to the Old Anderson campus and creating a new medical magnet...
The trouble with Trump’s bragging

The trouble with Trump’s bragging

President Donald Trump attends a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images) Some of the worst advice I ever got came from my father.
Viewpoints: CPS leaders should focus on stability to build on progress

Viewpoints: CPS leaders should focus on stability to build on progress

Some of the long-sought changes necessary to overhaul the state’s embattled child protection agency — such as more staff and better pay — are steadily but slowly taking shape. But agency leaders must not lose sight of those who stand to have the greatest impact on improving care for some of the state’s most troubled children: its staff members. The latest sign of overhaul at...
Abbott’s target on individuality of cities is anti-Texan

Abbott’s target on individuality of cities is anti-Texan

Here we go again. The Texas Legislature’s assault on cities is headed for another round. With a few choice words last week, Gov. Greg Abbott summoned legislators back for another session in July, taking aim at local control and delivering another political punch at the very entities that greatly contribute to the economic success of Texas — its large cities. “I’m calling for...
Viewpoints: Austin took punches from Legislature — but not all was bad

Viewpoints: Austin took punches from Legislature — but not all was bad

Texas Republicans proved once again this legislative session that local control is not as sacred an issue as they claim. Instead, a GOP-led Legislature passed measures that overrule cities’ home rule and open the door for future state interference on a host of local issues big and small. The state’s overreach threatens to harm long-fought efforts by previous lawmakers and local and business...
Legislature endangers all Texas children with ‘bathroom bill’ myopia

Legislature endangers all Texas children with ‘bathroom bill’ myopia

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senate Republicans would have us believe that few issues require the immediate attention of state lawmakers more than regulating which bathrooms transgender Texans can use. Such urgency for a manufactured problem conjured by Republicans has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with mandating the type of bathrooms transgender Texans, including students, can use in...
New hospital promising; leaders now must avoid another two-tier system

New hospital promising; leaders now must avoid another two-tier system

Welcome, Austin’s newest hospital, Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas. The hospital, which opens today, is the result of years of planning, generous donations and a 2012 proposition approved by voters that steered $54 million in property taxes to health care projects, including $35 million for a medical school. That proposition was delivered on a promise that Central Health...
Austin school district voters need choices for bonds, not an ultimatum

Austin school district voters need choices for bonds, not an ultimatum

We urge Austin school district trustees to craft a bond package that is transparent, efficient and equitable and avoid waging an all-or-nothing gamble that might backfire with voters and leave schools — some in deep disrepair — in the lurch. Unfortunately, some school leaders seem headed in that direction by leaning toward a bond package on the Nov. 7 ballot that would offer voters a single...
Commentary: Texas House members have chance to save open government

Commentary: Texas House members have chance to save open government

Keeping our Texas Public Information Act operating effectively takes effort. That’s why open government advocates have worked with public officials and businesses over the past year to fine-tune the landmark state law. Transparency legislation resulting from these work sessions emerged out of frank discussions – and with an understanding that some compromise is necessary. Now, state lawmakers...
As SB4 legal fight looms, all Texans could suffer

As SB4 legal fight looms, all Texans could suffer

Reason is a guiding principle in any productive government. But where was reason when Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law one of the most divisive and intrusive pieces of Texas legislation in recent history: Senate Bill 4, banning so-called sanctuary cities? The new law, which takes effect Sept. 1, allows local law enforcement to question a person’s immigration status during a detainment, which...
UT pledges to fix alerts, but more focus needed on preventing danger

UT pledges to fix alerts, but more focus needed on preventing danger

The University of Texas, shaken to its core again by violence and death, has more work to do in improving campus safety. It’s a challenge that requires cooperation of police, administrators and students. Last week, first-year student Harrison Brown, 19, was fatally stabbed in an attack police say was committed by a fellow student. The suspect, biology junior Kendrex J. White, 21, also is accused...
Bonds will help local school districts with growth

Bonds will help local school districts with growth

Saturday is Election Day for several Central Texas school districts and cities. Though the date may have escaped the minds of many, as is often the case in nonpresidential elections, it is an important one with important local issues on the ballots. They range from selecting the next mayor to deciding on school bonds and choosing local school board members. As Central Texas continues to grow, more...
Reasons, voices opposing ban on sanctuary city outweighed support

Reasons, voices opposing ban on sanctuary city outweighed support

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday May 1, 2017. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN Gov. Greg Abbott made it clear soon after taking office in January 2015 that eliminating so-called sanctuary cities was one of his priorities for the 85th Texas Legislature.
Largest Round Rock ISD bond vote calls for big choices from taxpayers

Largest Round Rock ISD bond vote calls for big choices from taxpayers

Round Rock Independent School District taxpayers will head to the polls Saturday to vote on a $572.1 million bond package that school leaders say will help the district address its ongoing growth issues. Half a billion dollars is not chump change, but the district makes a fair request, given its needs. Through the district’s bond referendum, Round Rock will be able to simultaneously address...
For Texas, judging Trump’s 100 days means more than counting wins

For Texas, judging Trump’s 100 days means more than counting wins

Taking stock of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, which ended Saturday, is not as easy as adding up promises kept and promises broken. Sure, as comedic fodder Trump has killed it with audiences watching Alec Baldwin impersonate the president in hilarious skits on “Saturday Night Live” — including one that looks back at Trump’s first 100 days. “The...

EDITORIAL: LASA, Kealing magnets opens for more Austin blacks, Latinos

The Austin Independent School District has taken a bold step in addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in its acclaimed Liberal Arts and Science Academy and Kealing Middle School magnet program. It’s about time. Now, we urge AISD trustees and Austin schools Superintendent Paul Cruz to take another giant step by establishing a middle school and high school — on par with LASA...
Editorial: Doors of Austin’s LASA, Kealing magnets open for more blacks, Latinos

Editorial: Doors of Austin’s LASA, Kealing magnets open for more blacks, Latinos

The Austin Independent School District has taken a bold step in addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in its acclaimed Liberal Arts and Science Academy and Kealing Middle School magnet program. It’s about time. Now, we urge Austin ISD trustees and Superintendent Paul Cruz to take another giant step by establishing a middle school and high school — on par with LASA and Kealing...
Viewpoints: CPS overhaul needs holistic solutions, hearty funding

Viewpoints: CPS overhaul needs holistic solutions, hearty funding

The question has been asked: Is the job of a Child Protective Services investigator – or any job at the agency, for that matter –the toughest job in Texas? The answer depends on whom you ask. One thing is for certain: It doesn’t have to be. Whether or not the job – be that of caseworker, supervisor or front-line administrator – continues to be seen as among the worst...
Preserving Muny as a golf course is worth the effort

Preserving Muny as a golf course is worth the effort

The future of the Austin’s Lions Municipal Golf Course, which sits on land the city leases from the University of Texas, hinges on what happens locally or at the Legislature. In this case, the better option for the golf course, also known Muny, is the one that preserves its nationally recognized history in the nation’s civil rights movement. Preserving Muny pits two powerful interests...
Viewpoints: A border wall riddled with holes in logic

Viewpoints: A border wall riddled with holes in logic

Oh, where to begin with President Trump’s ballyhooed vision of a towering, impregnable and “beautiful” wall along the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico? Rarely has a project promised so much when clear-eyed thinking should tell us that if built, the wall is likely doomed to epic failure. We all know the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But while...
A border wall riddled with holes in logic

A border wall riddled with holes in logic

Oh, where to begin with President Trump’s ballyhooed vision of a towering, impregnable and “beautiful” wall along the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico? Rarely has a project promised so much when clear-eyed thinking should tell us that if built, the wall is likely doomed to epic failure. We all know the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But while...
Phillips: How Austin ISD botched decision to move an acclaimed academy

Phillips: How Austin ISD botched decision to move an acclaimed academy

It is a simple question: Who made the decision to move the Liberal Arts and Science Academy from the campus of Lyndon Baines Johnson High School in East Austin? We now know the answer: It was Austin school district Superintendent Paul Cruz. But until Wednesday, the answer had been elusive, as Austin ISD District 1 Trustee Edmund “Ted” Gordon can tell you. For two months, he had been asking...
Campus rape survey reflects a need to change culture at UT-Austin

Campus rape survey reflects a need to change culture at UT-Austin

There was a time when colleges and universities addressed sexual assaults on their campuses quietly and behind the scenes — or ignored them altogether. That is no longer the case, as many colleges and universities are rightly bringing those issues to light. The University of Texas is among those that are embracing transparency and taking steps to address sexual assaults involving students. To...
Austin abandons transparency in search for a new city manager

Austin abandons transparency in search for a new city manager

The Austin City Council should reverse its decision to conduct a secret search for the next city manager to lead Austin, one of the fastest-growing metropolises in the nation. A closed search would obstruct Austin residents from having a meaningful say in the selection of a manager charged with running most every aspect of city government, either directly or indirectly. It’s a job that helps...
Phillips: Adler goes to Washington for answers on immigration, grants

Phillips: Adler goes to Washington for answers on immigration, grants

I was reminded of one of my all-time favorite films, “Mr. Smith goes to Washington,” when Austin Mayor Steve Adler told me of his trek to the nation’s capital to get an explanation of why Austin is at risk of losing tens of millions of dollars in federal money when it has not broken any state or federal immigration laws. The plots are different in the two stories with Jimmy Stewart&rsquo...
GOP replacement for Obamacare would leave Americans, Texans stranded

GOP replacement for Obamacare would leave Americans, Texans stranded

The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has flaws. That much is clear. Instead of fixing and improving it so Obamacare continues to be sustainable going forward, Republicans led by House Speaker Paul Ryan are proposing to replace it with a measure that would further break the nation’s health care system. Interestingly, the GOP plan has been attacked from the right and left, albeit for different...
GOP health care plan goes up in smoke; now fix Obamacare

GOP health care plan goes up in smoke; now fix Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has flaws. That much is clear. But its replacement, the American Health Care Act, would have further broken the nation’s health care system. Instead of fixing and improving Obamacare so it continues to be sustainable going forward, Republicans led by House Speaker Paul Ryan wasted time and clout with a proposal that put politics ahead of people. No wonder...
Voices: My ACA experience

Voices: My ACA experience

Devin Williams, a chiropractor and nurse practitioner at the Clinical Educational Center at University Medical Center Brackenridge, screen Juventina Martinez for knee pain in March.
No matter what they’re called, vouchers won’t improve public schools

No matter what they’re called, vouchers won’t improve public schools

As the saying goes, a rose by any other name still smells as sweet. Similarly, vouchers by any other name still stink. You would think that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other lawmakers in love with vouchers would know as much by now, after more than a decade of pushing to get them passed into law. Instead, they continue romanticizing them as the answer for improving public schools, especially low-performing...
Central Texas says goodbye to four whose lives touched so many

Central Texas says goodbye to four whose lives touched so many

We join Central Texans in mourning the loss of four beloved people whose lives were deeply rooted in their families and communities. Saying goodbye, especially to those lost unexpectedly, is tough. This week, funeral services were held for Kenneth Hoffman, 82, and his wife, Peggy Hoffman, 73, both of Lockhart, who were among four people killed last week when their charter bus was struck by a freight...
DA’s cooperative approach with ICE and sheriff improves public safety

DA’s cooperative approach with ICE and sheriff improves public safety

In the tug of war between the Travis County sheriff’s office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement over new jail policies that limit cooperation between the two entities, neither apparently flagged a key flaw in the legal system that hindered justice: procedures for jail, bail and immigration enforcement that collectively can delay or block justice. Then the case of Hugo Gallardo-Gonzalez...
Bill would remove pensions from Texas officials convicted of felonies

Bill would remove pensions from Texas officials convicted of felonies

For some time, Republican and Democrat lawmakers have worked together to overhaul ethics laws governing Texas elected officials, such as a provision that would strip pensions from elected officials convicted of felonies. That is allowed under the current system but wouldn’t be legal under Senate Bill 14, which sailed through the Texas Senate last month and is awaiting action by the House. Receiving...

Viewpoints: Bill would deny pensions to officials convicted of felony

For some time, Republican and Democrat lawmakers have worked together to overhaul ethics laws governing Texas elected officials, such as a provision that would strip pensions from elected officials convicted of felonies. That is allowed under the current system but wouldn’t be legal under Senate Bill 14, which sailed through the Texas Senate last month and is awaiting action by the House. ...
A Trump immigration curveball? More like whiplash

A Trump immigration curveball? More like whiplash

In this March 3, 2015 photo, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers escort an arrestee in an apartment building, in the Bronx borough of New York, during a series of early-morning raids.

New immigration enforcement policies miss the mark

The Trump administration unveiled on Tuesday memos outlining broader, more aggressive immigration enforcement policies that allow the federal government to deport millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally, even if they have not committed serious crimes. The new enforcement directives come with what will certainly be an enormous price tag — such as billions of dollars to hire thousands...
Shining a light on police relations with blacks starts with The Talk

Shining a light on police relations with blacks starts with The Talk

This year, as in recent years, Austin topped a key national list for the best place to live in the country. But if you are African-American, the Austin experience has another foreboding side that requires black parents to provide special training for their children. They do that through The Talk. That discussion, which happens with children at early ages through their teens, aims to keep them safe...
A pledge to reflect a dynamic and diverse Austin

A pledge to reflect a dynamic and diverse Austin

Austin, I feel like I know you. Oh sure, you’re a left-tilting oasis in the vast Texas expanse. But I would never sell you short, Austin; you’re much more complicated and nuanced than that. I know this from living here much of my adult life, nearly 25 years of it working here in the newsroom of the Austin American-Statesman: Time can be a blur, betraying foolish thoughts that it will always...
Removing predatory teachers starts with transparency, clear policies

Removing predatory teachers starts with transparency, clear policies

Accusations of teachers having improper relationships with students have become more common. Yet, only a few of the hundreds of teachers in Texas accused of inappropriate behavior ever make headlines. When they do, it’s most likely those teachers will end up with a criminal record. Many others don’t. While there are no foreseeable changes to the inescapable world of social media that has...
Viewpoints: ‘Sanctuary cities’ ban weakens Texas morally, economically

Viewpoints: ‘Sanctuary cities’ ban weakens Texas morally, economically

If Texas Republican lawmakers were listening to police chiefs of major cities — including Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth — they would know that Senate Bill 4, which is aimed at banning so-called sanctuary cities, would hinder rather than help officers keep communities safe. If they were listening to Texas faith-based communities, including the Diocese of Austin, they would...
State ban on ‘sanctuary cities’ weakens Texas morally and economically

State ban on ‘sanctuary cities’ weakens Texas morally and economically

If Texas Republican lawmakers were listening to police chiefs of major cities — including Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth — they would know that Senate Bill 4, which is aimed at banning so-called sanctuary cities, would hinder rather than help officers keep communities safe. If they were listening to Texas faith-based communities, including the Diocese of Austin, they would...
Viewpoints: First rollout of CodeNEXT leaves questions unanswered

Viewpoints: First rollout of CodeNEXT leaves questions unanswered

With so much missing from the CodeNEXT proposal to overhaul and streamline Austin’s zoning and land-use regulations, there is no way to reasonably assess the proposal or whether it fulfills its promise to marry the city’s zoning code with its lofty Imagine Austin plan. That kind of analysis will have to come later, when the city releases more details and zoning maps that specify what can...
First rollout of CodeNEXT still leaves many questions unanswered

First rollout of CodeNEXT still leaves many questions unanswered

With so much missing from the CodeNEXT proposal to overhaul and streamline Austin’s zoning and land-use regulations, there is no way to reasonably assess the proposal or whether it fulfills its promise to marry the city’s zoning code with its lofty Imagine Austin plan. That kind of analysis will have to come later, when the city releases more details and zoning maps that specify what can...
Suspensions alone won’t solve behavior problems of young students

Suspensions alone won’t solve behavior problems of young students

Austin Independent School District Superintendent Paul Cruz has proposed a ban on suspensions for students in prekindergarten through second grade with provisions that still allow campus administrators and teachers the flexibility to maintain the safety, welfare and integrity of their classrooms. In an attempt to reduce suspensions and phase out sending unruly students home, the district will provide...
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