Herman: Lupe Valdez and ‘newspaper language’


Meepzat nipzor, kunder Pflugerville zingo calamari rondo kronanian.

Oops. Sorry. Forgive me for slipping into the patois of my people, the jargon of journalism, a mysterious vocabulary branded recently by a Texas gubernatorial candidate as “newspaper language.” Frankly, I didn’t know there was such a thing.

But Democrat Lupe Valdez, during the May 11 debate with runoff foe Andrew White, cited her lack of familiarity with “newspaper language” as a reason she’s gone oh-for-Texas in picking up newspaper endorsements.

RELATED: Valdez holds her own debating White, but questions on readiness remain

Debate moderator Gromer Jeffers of The Dallas Morning News, following up an audience-submitted question, asked Valdez about “some of the criticism from some newspapers and quite frankly some Democrats that you’re not as sharp on issues as Andrew White.”

“Well,” Valdez replied, “it’s not that I’m not as sharp because I am just as sharp. The problem may be that I don’t talk newspaper language. I talk people language.”

Herewith, then, highlights from Valdez’s recent session with Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board members Shelley Kofler and Bud Kennedy. For those who don’t speak “newspaper language,” I’ll translate the questions into “people language.”

We’ll start with school finance, a topic on which White supports legalizing casino gambling at existing pari-mutuel tracks.

Kennedy question (newspaper language): “What’s in your specific plan and what do you think of gambling?

(Translation into people language): “What’s in your specific plan and what do you think of gambling?”

Valdez: “Well, I think that gambling, just as a few other things, has to be left up to the local community. The local community decides what it is they want. There are some communities that will never be in favor of gambling yet there’s others that will be. It’s up to the local communities. I’m for local rule in most of these areas.”

Kennedy question (newspaper language): “Are you for or against gambling in Texas?”

(People language): “Are you for or against gambling in Texas?”

Valdez: “You know, I’m a law enforcement person. … . I’ve seen the effects of gambling but I’ve also seen the benefits of gambling. So, again, I’m going to say it’s up to the local folks to decide what it is that they prefer. If some of those folks want gambling, then they should be able to do that. On the other hand we shouldn’t force it on folks who do not want it.”

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

Kofler question (newspaper language): “As governor, you know, you would have a bully pulpit to say, ‘I support this’ or ‘I don’t support this.’ ‘I think casino gambling is a good way to do this.’ (or) ‘I oppose it.’ How would you come down on it?”

(People language): Ditto.

Valdez: “Well I think there’s other resources. There’s new resources that we can look at to bring funds into the state. Renewable energy and, of course, looking at the tax code. We need to continue looking at the tax code to scrub the old loopholes. There’s, I can’t remember, I actually looked at the number of loopholes that are in the taxes. There’s a whole bunch of loopholes. We should look and make sure that those are still valid for our current day.”

Kennedy question (newspaper language): “I want to ask you about infrastructure in the state. First, toll roads. Dallas-Fort Worth needs help both with LBJ (freeway), with completing I-35 North in Tarrant County around the Alliance area. What’s your view of the state’s funding of toll roads and should it continue? Should it end?”

(Translation unnecessary.)

Valdez: “I think the toll roads are like a two-edge sword, you know, they’re necessary but they end up being the roads for the well-to-do. A person, the everyday Texan who is struggling, is not going to spend the money to find a faster way to get somewhere. They’re going to use their money for other things. Although, I do think it should be up to the local governing areas, the local cities, the local government, whether they’re going to put up the toll roads or not because I do think, as I mentioned before, it’s a two-edge sword. In some cases, you need the toll roads, but the people who need them the most are not going to be able to use them.”

Having cleared that up (?) the discussion moved on. Let’s fast forward to tuition at state universities and colleges.

Kofler: “And who should set the tuition rate? It’s currently something that universities and colleges do. Previously the Legislature did it. Who do you think should set tuition rates?”

Valdez: “I think it should be forces from all sides should come in and come to the table and argue their position and come to a conclusion. Time and time again, as (Dallas County) sheriff, I had to bring in several groups to come out with a final decision and I always started out by saying, ‘You’re not going to get everything you want when we come to the table, but we’re going to come out with a reasonable solution.’ And we should do the same for tuition.”

Kofler: “Who should get the final say: Lawmakers or the university?”

Valdez: “I think it’s a combination of both. I think it’s a combination of the lawmakers with the university input.”

After interviewing both candidates, the Fort Worth paper endorsed White and said “throughout the conversation, Valdez seemed to search for answers and what she came up with was often simplistic.”

In her closing statement, Valdez proclaimed herself the candidate of the “everyday Texan.” She talks a lot about “everyday people.” Seems like kind of a broad category that includes folks of varying interests, political and otherwise.

“Different strokes for different folks,” Sly and the Family Stone sang in their 1968 hit “Everyday People.” “So on and so on and scooby dooby dooby.”

Scooby dooby dooby? Is that newspaper language?



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Young: Is this the moment of truth for Trump’s EPA? No way
Young: Is this the moment of truth for Trump’s EPA? No way

James Hansen was stunningly prescient. Thirty years ago, in 1988, the NASA scientist testified to Congress that the planet would warm 1.9 degrees by 2017. So, how close was he? You judge. NASA figures show global temperatures climbed 1.6 degrees since 1988. Yes, that’s what one calls truth, as opposed to what President Donald Trump’s Environmental...
Herman: Where you don’t have the right to say whatever you want to say
Herman: Where you don’t have the right to say whatever you want to say

Hello. Today, on a platform provided to me by a private employer with rules for what’s published on said platform, I’d like to share with you something that several people have been sharing in recent days. These are rules established for publishing on the website of another private, non-governmental entity here in Austin. Here it is, copied...
Opinion: Action must be taken to address black community’s problems

During the weekend of Aug. 4-5 (and the preceding Friday night), 12 Chicagoans were shot dead, and 62 others were shot and wounded, the Chicago Tribune reported. Before last week’s mayhem, 1,718 Chicagoans had been shot since the beginning of the year, and 306 had been murdered. Adding to this tragedy is the fact that Chicago’s clearance...
Letters to the editor: Aug. 14, 2018
Letters to the editor: Aug. 14, 2018

Re: Aug. 8 article, “Greg Abbott tweets bogus Winston Churchill quotation about anti-fascists.” Instead of misattributing a quote to Winston Churchill, perhaps Gov. Greg Abbott should have posted: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross,” a quote often erroneously attributed to Sinclair...
Facebook comments: Aug. 14, 2018
Facebook comments: Aug. 14, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Melissa B. Taboada, Education Commissioner Mike Morath recently recommended the state create a system that authorizes districts to move to a tiered pay plan, which pays more to teachers considered high-performing, to recruit more top college graduates to the profession. Though a Dallas program was touted...
More Stories