KETR

John Kanelis

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By JOHN KANELIS

I must admit that I am still angry with the 2019 Texas Legislature, which in itself is no great flash. A lot of Texans are angry with legislators for a lot of reasons.

My main source of anger stems from legislators' decision to pull the plug on red-light cameras that cities have deployed to help police enforce traffic laws. I mean, too many motorists are none too inclined to obey red lights at intersections which are intended to order motorists to stop and not proceed until the light turns green.

Brandon Thibodeaux / Texas Tribune

By JOHN KANELIS

This is a story I didn’t see coming.

Texas long has been known as a sort of unofficial “capital” of the prison-construction industry. Now the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is closing some of the units, apparently for good.

The reason? A decline in the state prison population and an apparent inability to staff the prison units adequately.

Miquel Guiterrez / Texas Tribune

By JOHN KANELIS

I am inclined as a general rule to oppose Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s world view on most matters.

However, on the issue of seeking to remove one state’s non-essential travel ban to Texas because of our state’s strong stand in favor of “religious liberty,” I believe he is onto something.

What constitutes “essential travel”? I suppose one example would be in the event of a natural disaster emergency, in which firefighters or other first responders travel from California to Texas to lend aid.

How Will Bloomberg Strategy Play in Texas?

Feb 7, 2020
Texas Tribune

The Super Tuesday Democratic Party primary presidential race is just a shade less than a month away.

On March 3, Texans will get to vote for who should be the next Democratic nominee for the presidency. The Texas ballot is going to include a name that’s been missing from ballots that will precede this huge political event.

Michael Bloomberg is the man of the hour. Or at least he wants to be the man of the hour – or the man of the primary – at the end of that quite important election.

Farmersville Begins Search for Home Rule Authority

Feb 3, 2020

Local control is best. That’s the mantra of city governments everywhere, regardless of location or the political leanings of its governing body.

So it is, then, that Farmersville – a growing Collin County community – is beginning to wrestle with the best way to achieve complete local control. Its City Council wants to enact a home rule charter, moving the city away from the “general law” rules mandated by Texas statute.

City welcomes new housing units in Princeton.
John Kanelis / KETR

By JOHN KANELIS

A little more than a year ago, my wife and I made one of the key decisions of our married life when we found a house in Princeton, Texas and, with the help of our Realtor daughter-in-law, purchased it.

We knew going into this purchase that we were moving into a community on the move. It is a fast-growing city that over time will cease being an insignificant burg that straddles U.S. Highway 380 in Collin County.

A billboard on Interstate 20 outside of Waskom displays an anti-abortion message.
Ben Fenton / The Texas Tribune

Three Texas communities -- Big Spring, Colorado City and Rusk -- have thumbed their collective noses at a legal activity that I acknowledge fully has its sworn enemies.

Farmersville posts a "notice of potential quorum" in advance of any event that might draw more than a majority of City Council members into the same room.
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You want transparency in local government? You want to see how a certain city in North Texas handles any potential questions about whether its elected governing body is meeting in "secret," or conducting public business "illegally"?

The issue of guns - who should have them, and where - is the issue that resurfaces with every tragedy such as the one in White Settlement.
KUT

I could have lived an entire lifetime without hearing the words that opened our Sunday morning worship service in church.

Farmersville’s recycling program saved 66,000 gallons of petroleum, 3,000 trees and 1.2 million gallons of water in 2018.
John Kanelis

Recycling is a way of life in many North Texas communities, although many other communities have yet to get into the game.

Farmersville and Princeton are two Collin County cities that have discovered the benefit of recycling and the environmental awareness that the activity promotes within individual families.

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen likely broke a campaign finance law when he met with Empower Texans guru Michael Quinn Sullivan.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

I guess the verdict is in on Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s secret meeting with a right-wing activist.

The speaker likely broke a campaign finance law when he met with Empower Texans guru Michael Quinn Sullivan, offered up the names of 10 fellow Republican legislators that Empower Texans could try to defeat in the 2020 election and then offered the right-wing PAC a media pass, giving the PAC immediate access to House members working on the floor of the chamber.

The House General Investigating Committee issued the report, then closed its investigation.

Interstate 35 no longer offers drivers a laid-back experience between Dallas and Austin.
Daniel Reese / StateImpact Texas

My retirement journey has brought my wife and me to the Dallas-Fort Worth Mega-Metroplex, where we now call home.

Farmersville posts a "notice of potential quorum" in advance of any event that might draw more than a majority of City Council members into the same room.
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Farmersville Independent School District trustees have decided to take a bit of a leap of faith.

“Pieces were ripped off the building and they tore through the building like torpedoes,” Rev. Haney said.
John Kanelis

Do not ever tell the Rev. Chet Haney that God doesn’t answer prayers.

Farmersville posts a "notice of potential quorum" in advance of any event that might draw more than a majority of City Council members into the same room.
provided image

Farmersville residents are getting a chance once again to see what the city’s police force must do to serve and protect them.

John Kanelis
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Maybe spending a sunny November morning listening to a couple of geezers talking about journalism and politics isn't the ultimate public radio experience, but if nothing else, it's very public radio.

UT’s investigation found evidence of coerced, heavy alcohol consumption; sleep deprivation; hitting members with paddle boards; and forcing members to ingest unwanted substances.
Martin Do Nascimento / KUT

I guess I missed out on a lot of “fun” while attending college back in the day.

Judge Randy Moore expressed optimism that the exterior of the courthouse will be completed “a year from now.”
John Kanelis

Fannin County Judge Randy Moore is what one might call a pragmatic idealist.

Farmersville posts a "notice of potential quorum" in advance of any event that might draw more than a majority of City Council members into the same room.
provided image

Farmersville City Council gets an earful on occasion from residents who contend they don’t always know all there is to know about what the council is doing on residents’ behalf.

Speaker Dennis Bonnen in the House on March 27, 2019.
Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

When you ascend to the role of speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, you preside over a body of disparate political views. Republicans and Democrats seek to work together -- most of the time -- for the common good. They need a speaker they can trust to say and do the right thing at all times, in public and in private.

“I said terrible things that are embarrassing to the members, to the House, and to me personally," Bonnen said.
Gabriel C. Perez / KUT

Dennis Bonnen is toast as speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

If not, though, the Angleton Republican should be toast. As in, he appears to be losing favor with Republicans who comprise most of the lawmakers in the Texas House. Pressure is building for Bonnen to resign his speakership; I won’t endorse a notion that he quit the House, given that his role in the Legislature is up to the voters who sent him there.

The speakership is another matter. He became speaker at the start of the 2019 Legislature because a majority of House members voted him in.

New homebuilding in progress near Lowe Elementary School in Princeton.
John Kanelis

Imagine that you’re running a public educational system. Parents with school-age children are moving into your community in a steady, almost breakneck pace. Where do you put those children? How do you accommodate your school system’s new neighbors?

Members of the Rockwall County Commisioners Court awarded themselves a hefty raise.
provided image

I stumbled upon an item in the Dallas Morning News online edition that, to be honest, made my jaw drop damn near into my lap.

Does an unblemished record expunge Briles from the scandal that took him away from a winning Division I college football program?
NPR / NPR

Here it comes, sports fans.

Piece of Mind: Stand Tall Against NRA, Dan Patrick

Sep 22, 2019
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, listens as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, right, gives his State of the State Address in the House Chamber, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in Austin, Texas.
AP

Hell must have frozen over during the night. Or … the sun rose in the west. Or …  something else totally out of the ordinary occurred.

Piece of Mind: Cokie Roberts: A Giant Has Passed On

Sep 18, 2019
Due to NPR salaries being so low, few men were willing to take jobs there. This resulted in a roster of young female talent now considered among the most respected names in radio: Nina Totenberg, Cokie Roberts, Linda Wertheimer, and Susan Stamberg.
NPR

Cokie Roberts was born to do what she did.

After a month of allegations and denials about a political meeting between a conservative activist, the speaker of the Texas House and a committee chairman, there's still a missing link: proof.
NPR

Ross Ramsey, one of the top guns at the Texas Tribune, has it exactly right. Empower Texans main man, Michael Quinn Sullivan, needs to release the full recording of a meeting he allegedly had with two key Texas legislative Republicans.

Piece of Mind: Mr. Sam Knew His Place

Aug 21, 2019
Sam Rayburn worked with eight different presidents: four Democrats, four Republicans.
John Kanelis / KETR

The plaque pictured below offers an important civics lesson. It tells of the late Sam Rayburn's role as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and also as a rank-and-file member of the legislative branch of the federal government.

Princeton’s 2010 census total stood at 6,708 residents, but that number is expected to more than double in the 2020 census.
John Kanelis

Princeton City Hall is a non-descript structure on U.S. 380. The City Council meets there. The city administrative offices are located inside the structure the city leases from the building owner.

In interviews with the Wall Street Journal, Baylor University regents shared previously undisclosed details of an investigation into the "horrifying" sexual assault allegations against football players at the school.
Pixabay / public domain

School is about to begin in Texas, which means that football season also is nearly upon us. I don’t know about you, but I might be looking with just a little bit more interest than usual at Mount Vernon High School, waiting to see how the team performs in its first season under the coaching leadership of a guy who – although he is a brilliant coach – shouldn’t have this job.

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