For anyone who has ever witnessed Councilman John Gorena take one position only to turn 180 degrees to another position all within one uninterrupted commentary, Monday night set a new personal best. This happened during the discussion of the Fair Share clean air resolution. It took just nine seconds for Gorena to spin around on his position, which in turn, left everyone’s heads spinning.
For the record, at the city council meeting Gorena said, “Uh, I’mmago along with these guys, to vote for it, ‘cause if I vote against it, it doesn’t really matter anyway, and for princi-. You know what, I take that back. For principle I’m going to vote against it . . . .” Don’t believe it? Check the council video at 2:30:41 through 2:30:49. Nine seconds.
For those not aware, this is hardly the first time Gorena has gone down one path and then, inexplicably, flip-floped his position for no apparent reason or new information. Perhaps the answer lies in Gorena’s love of hearing himself talk. His mouth starts moving before his brain is engaged. What is not the explanation is a lack of opportunity to prepare those thoughts. City council agendas must be posted by the Friday prior to the Monday meeting, along with a typically huge packet of support documents to review. There is plenty of time to think over every agenda item in advance.
I attended an “Aim For Success” parent preview held at one of our local middle schools and found the Plano based “abstinence-only” program to be very seductive. There is probably not a single parent that doesn’t want their teen to abstain from sex. The thought that you can simply tell them to not have sex until they are married and have that be the end of it is very appealing. But at some point, I would bet that most parents would like for their children to have happy, fulfilling sex lives with committed partners and I’m not sure that “Aim For Success” really prepares them for such an eventuality. As the parent of two teenaged boys and a six-year-old daughter, I want more for my kids.
The founder and President of “Aim For Success,” Marilyn Morris, was very clear about why she started this company. In her presentation, she used her own life as an example, telling us that she began the company because she became pregnant as a senior in high school, which ruined her chances of becoming a tennis star. Even though she married the young man and they now have two grown daughters and five grandchildren, she has regrets. This is why she has embraced an abstinence only approach. While the program gives some good and useful advice, the simplistic and fear-based approach of the program is somewhat naïve at best and possibly harmful.
Statistically, Texas rates are well above the national average for just about every risky behavior according to a recent study done by The Texas Freedom Network and Texas State University. These studies seem to indicate that this is precisely because of our “abstinence only” obsession. By the time our kids leave high school, over 50% of them have had sex and, while we would all like to think that it’s not my kid, the odds are against us. The “Aim For Success” program seems to ignore Texas statistics altogether and only gives raw national numbers without any context. A national number of teen pregnancies of 2,041 sounds like a lot but not knowing the total number of teens in the US, this number is completely useless even though it sounds big and scary.
Last night, in a 3 - 1 vote, the Lewisville City Council passed a resolution calling on TCEQ to hold the natural gas industry in North Texas to their fair share of emissions cuts required to bring North Texas into compliance with ozone standards under the Clean Air Act.
Emissions of NOx and VOCs react at ground level to form ozone, which is hazardous to human health, and contributes to asthma and other respiratory problems.
The resolution was proposed by newly-elected Councilman TJ Gilmore, and was opposed by his former rival Councilman John Gorena, who would apparently prefer that you and I put up with bans on gas-powered lawn equipment or charcoal lighter fluid use, so that the natural gas industry can pollute unimpeded.
Update 6/16/11: I have received a response from Rep. Parker. It is now included in this post below the original letter.
Dear Representative Parker,
We have met briefly a few times before, but I’ll reintroduce myself just in case. My name is Brandon Cooper, and I grew up in a part of Lewisville that currently lies in House District 63. While I was in school for my undergraduate degree at the University of North Texas, I came to you with some concerns regarding tuition deregulation in Texas. Though we approached the subject from different perspectives, you and your staff were gracious enough to ask me to come to Austin to talk about the issue to the House Committee on Higher Education. A couple of years later, when I was applying for graduate school, your office was nice enough to provide a letter of recommendation for me. I greatly appreciate your support as well as your staff’s in these ventures.
I write to you today not to pick on any partisan issue, but rather to discuss the subject of voter registration. Of course, I have been a registered voter since I became eligible at age 18. Since then, however, my address has changed a few times and I have had to re-register, as is the case in most states. The process in Texas is, to say the least, awkward.
To get to my major concern: there is no online voter registration in Texas.