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Bond elections are one area of control LISD has over its finances. These monies help build and maintain our buildings and technology. The last bond election was in 2008 for $697 million dollars. I personally was against this bond, not that our kids don’t deserve the best, they certainly do, but this bond package promised more than it could give and now that the money is about to run out, many of us are left wondering why our classrooms were never built. The truth is, the wording on the bond never promised anything to anyone, it was essentially a blank check to the district. This bond election was the catalyst to move me from a parent of an elementary student to a frequent visitor and speaker at school board meetings.
Last year, LISD formed a facilities committee, a group of community members who volunteered their time to look at the buildings LISD owns and produce a budget to maintain those buildings. As committee members we were invited to walk the buildings and talk with their principals or managers about what their individual needs were. A special thanks to Representatives from PBK Architects for walking each and every building while keeping organized notes for us to refer back to. Every wish was documented in what ended up being many 3 inch binders worth of information. The committee sat down over several months and prioritized those wishes. By the time the final calculations were made, LISD’s wishes total approximately $500 million dollars to repair or replace our current buildings. I anticipate LISD calling another bond election within the next three years.
The Supreme Court is currently deciding the issue of same-sex marriage.
I am a terminally heterosexual Navy veteran and I support same-sex marriage.
I know several gay and lesbian veterans. We wore our country's uniform and took the same oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
In 2008 I watched Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva's testimony to the House Armed Services Committee regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a policy that banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military until it was repealed in 2011. Sergeant Alva was the first Marine wounded in Iraq and received a Purple Heart.
He is also openly gay.
If gays and lesbians can serve in our armed forces and if necessary make the ultimate sacrifice, then surely we can allow them to marry the person they love.
In addition, I have gay family members; one on my mother's side and one on my father's side. I strongly believe in their equal rights because they are people that I deeply care about.
I am standing on the right side of history, and I encourage my fellow Texans to join me.
The time of year is upon when local elected officials, read school board and city councils, are up for reelection. I had the privilege of serving in Highland Village from 2006-2012. No one person has all the answers about running for local office, but there are several things I would like to share from my experiences that may help the aspiring candidate.
First off is that if you have to do a sell job on the members of your family, you might want to reconsider a run for public office. It is essential for your family to be one hundred percent behind you. Reluctance will not do. Only full force enthusiasm should describe your close friends and family’s ideas about your candidacy. These folks support will be essential during a campaign and after you are elected.
Far too often, we hear that any attempt to design reasonable gun control, is an affront to our Second Amendment rights and a deprivation of our liberties.
What about the innocent victims of gun violence, and the shattered lives of their families and friends? Were their "Unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," of a lesser value than Second Amendment rights?
In an attempt to prevent future massacres of school children and teachers, some government officials now naively suggest having armed marshals and arming teachers in our schools rather than trying to find genuine, practical solutions. Maybe, someone will suggest that students should be required to wear flak jackets or bullet proof vests?
There has never been a better time than now, to have a serious and honest conversation about keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally unstable, and reducing their use in crime. The concerns of gun owners should be part of that conversation and for once, so should the concerns of teachers, parents and all who are concerned about gun violence.
Do Israelis have the right to be frightened by the experience of the Nazi Holocaust and to do all they can to prevent a repetition of that nightmare? Absolutely.
Do Israelis and their American friends have the right to be on high alert and to take it seriously when groups like Hamas and demagogues like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to wipe Israel off the face of the map? Of course.
Do the people of Israel have the right to be angry and to protect themselves when rockets are launched against civilians in Jerusalem and elsewhere? No doubt.
Do they have the right to fight back hard against groups that embrace murderous attacks on unarmed victims like Hamas, Hezbollah and, before that, the Palestinian Liberation Organization? Certainly.
Those rights, however, do not imply an unchecked moral license, utilizing a massive technological advantage, to rain murder and mayhem from the skies of Gaza.
This past week, civilian deaths from Israeli air raids in that overcrowded strip of poverty and misery has neared 100, with more than 800 wounded, including more than 200 children. Israelis can claim they are just going after the terrorists with their wide-scale bombings. But Americans made similar claims when they exterminated a village called My Lai in South Vietnam in 1968. In the weeks leading up to that slaughter, American soldiers in the region near My Lai had been killed in sneak attacks by a persistent enemy. Enraged and terrorized, those troops felt they had earned complete moral authority as they gunned down the unarmed and the helpless in that sad collection of hamlets.
To those who signed the Texas Secession Petition, thank you for your honesty.
Your petition signature on the very week that America remembers the sacrifices that our veterans have made for our county, is a testament of you utter disrespect to those who have fought for our freedom
Thank your for bringing back bad memories of the flag burners of the 1960's. For it is your Secession signatures that have made you the flag burners of today.
What is preventative medical care and how can it help lower health care costs on the front lines of medicine? Preventative medical care can take many forms. It can be identification and treatment of medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes before complications of these common diseases develop. Identifying these conditions early helps to decrease costs of caring for the most severe complications such as heart and kidney disease. But in addition to this type of preventative medicine, there are preventative measures that can decrease the costs of surgical care as well.
Cancer screenings are the perfect example of a way to help decrease surgical costs. Breast cancer screening with mammogram not only saves lives and increases the survival of breast cancer patients. It helps identify the cancer at an earlier stage where treatments can be less invasive both before and after surgery. Aggressive skin cancer surveillance and mole removal can help identify pre cancerous skin lesions and avoid larger more expensive surgical treatments. And colonoscopy as a screening tool can identify polyps before they become colon cancer. This can save health care dollars by avoiding surgery and/or post-operative treatments. There are other examples beyond cancer screenings.
The West Nile Virus outbreak in our area is an unprecedented public health emergency. Bing Burton, the director of the Denton County Health Department is a very measured and pragmatic expert in public health. I have worked with Dr. Burton on the Denton County Public Health Advisory Board and let me assure you he does not take the recommendation for aerial spraying lightly. This spraying is certainly not a magic bullet, but is a more advanced step to help control West Nile. Everyday we make judgements based on a risk benefit analysis. I urge municipalities to support aerial spraying at this time because the risk benefit scale is tipped heavily in favor of spraying. The ravages of the West Nile virus are well documented. If there are measures that can be taken to limit the effects on our citizens, I would strongly urge support for these measures including aerial spraying.
Earlier this week, the Lewisville City Council discussed a potential public smoking ordinance at its monthly meeting. Councilman John Gorena, who opposes the ordinance as a “rights” issue, immediately jumped into the fray, but seemed not to understand a number of points made by other members. Critics of the smoking ordinance, including Councilman Gorena and Steve Hill, do not want to acknowledge the problems with these arguments.
The Slippery Slope Almost inevitably, the slippery slope argument comes into play whenever these kinds of ordinances are discussed. If you can “ban smoking”, they say, what’s next, banning deep V-neck shirts? Oh wait, we already did that. Surely Councilman Gorena knows that comparing a ban on smoking to limit the effects of second-hand smoke on employees and children to restrictions on fatty foods and sodas is not even remotely a legitimate comparison, and yet he still ignored the facetiousness of the Gilmore’s "second-hand carbs" comment. When he tried to use this argument at the council retreat, Councilman Gilmore responded with the same retort. You can watch that entire discussion here:
Denton County early voting begins May 14 and Election Day will be May 29. I would like to encourage my friends, neighbors and colleagues to support Will Travis for Denton County Sherriff in the Republican primary. Will came to my house, knocked on my door and he shared with me and my family the reasons he is running for Sherriff. I was extremely impresed, as Will Travis has not a political bone in his body. You will not hear buzzwords or catchphrases from Will. He has been blessed with a career in law enforcement as well as a successful business locally. Will wants to serve the people of Denton County and to that end he is out in the community meeting folks and knocking on doors to gain grassroots support. Again I would ask you to join me in supporting Will Travis for Denton County Sherriff. Will has my full support and endorsement in his campaign.