Thoughts on Viernes…08092013

So, We’re Supporting Pre-K?

Well, I’m still waiting for questions to be answered, but I’m seeing that some good people (Sheriff Adrian Garcia) have come out in support of a Pre-K initiative that will increase the property tax rate by a penny at Harris County Department of Education. Like I’ve stated from the get-go, it’s not that I’m against good programs, it’s just that I want political accountability to be a major part of this. The backdrop on which the Sheriff presented this (an orange jumpsuit from the jail) is quite compelling, though.

One thing is for sure, they’ve surpassed the number of signatures needed on their petition to obtain ballot status. The debate, though, is far from over. Meanwhile, I need to contact some of my favorite elected officials to check their feelings on this whole thing.

The Student-Athlete Money Thing

The whole Manziel thing is going to stir up that tired old debate about whether we should pay college athletes for their athletic services. Bottom line:  They are getting paid!  Tuition, books, room/board at A&M, personalized advising and tutoring services, among other things comes out to about $22,000+ per year. Add to that the privilege of playing college ball for a state university, free travel to games, etc., and they’re getting a pretty damn good deal. We’re talking about over $100,000 in value. And if they take personal responsibility for their academics, a pretty damn good college degree.

Schools like the UTs and A&Ms of the world generate tens of millions in football and other sports revenues. Much of it goes to running practically self-sustaining athletic departments (including women’s sports which usually don’t get on TV), which is one of the reasons they can pay their coaches those astronomical amounts. Strong alumni groups, increased (by) student fees, and seat licenses provide added money to do things like add 20,000 seats to Kyle Field for $450,000,000. But for the rest of the schools in Texas, it is not as easy, yet, they keep their programs going and growing. And not all schools get to profit off of popular player memorabilia, although that seems to have stopped, too.

The thing if student-athletes are suffering, they’re still doing better than most students on financial aid, unless they’re only offered a partial scholarship like some of those poor track and field athletes. Much like they don’t need to be paid, they should not be allowed to enrich themselves while they receive a benefit from the university they represent. Let’s face it, I don’t care if you’re a Heisman winner or a lowly JUCO athlete, you still fall under the rank of amateur. Let’s keep it that way. (Of course, the Manziel thing is still under investigation.)

The Dome Thing Is Gonna Cost Us?

So, there might be a couple of tax hikes on the ballot in November. One is to teach our youngest kids early with the hopes that they become productive citizens, the other is to save what has become an unusable icon of the community.

What we are fast realizing is that, whether it is Harris County or Houston, we’re already in dire need of infrastructure investment of epic proportions which would require tax hikes. Driving on major thoroughfares that are falling apart while spending hundreds of millions on one facility is one thing that bothers me, as well as my car. But no one has the political ganas to raise taxes to pay for that sort of stuff. One thing is for sure, it’ll take a costly campaign to make the dome thing happen. Let’s see who gets to sell it to the people.

P.S. And no, I’m not against the dome. I just like to prioritize things.

Music Break:  The Latin Breed f/ Jay Perez (’89) ~ Oldies Medley

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