Commentary roundup: What newspapers around the state are saying

·5 min read
Gov. Greg Abbott, right, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, left, backed by other Republican governors, military leaders and law enforcement officers, lead a press conference on the U.S. border in Mission, Oct. 6, 2021, to speak on what they described as a crisis at the border. [Aaron E. Martinez/AMERICAN-STATESMAN/FILE]
Gov. Greg Abbott, right, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, left, backed by other Republican governors, military leaders and law enforcement officers, lead a press conference on the U.S. border in Mission, Oct. 6, 2021, to speak on what they described as a crisis at the border. [Aaron E. Martinez/AMERICAN-STATESMAN/FILE]

Houston Chronicle

Aug. 3 editorial, "Abbott’s Operation Lone Star looks like a payday to cartels."

A recent New York Times article called migrants an “irresistible moneymaker” for cartels, noting that the smuggling industry has grown from a roughly $500 million business in 2018 to upwards of $13 billion today, according to Homeland Security Investigations. What had been the territory of a lone coyote has turned into a sophisticated, transnational operation that preys on desperation.

“These are very vulnerable people, they’re heavily targeted by organized crime, by petty crime…even by the authorities that are there to protect them,” explained Crystal Sandoval, director of strategic initiatives with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso.

It’s not surprising that enforcement encounters are up, says Taylor Levy, a California-based immigration lawyer who worked for years in El Paso and now advises other attorneys working along the border. “What Operation Lone Star, Title 42 and now this new executive order have created is just a really big boom economy for the cartels.”

Tough talk in Texas might sell but the folks getting paid are criminals.

— Houston Chronicle Editorial Board

San Antonio Express-News

Aug. 3 editorial, "Texas Lege needs to use surplus funds on schools."

Texas is rolling in the dough, with an extra $27 billion in state funds expected when the Legislature convenes in January.

That’s a good thing, especially if lawmakers prioritize the monumental needs of our schools. In the aftermath of the pandemic and the murders of 19 elementary students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, adequate public school funding has taken on a heightened level of urgency.

Schools need to hire and retain teachers, better ensure safety and shore up mental health resources. These are each costly efforts for cash-strapped schools, but the state’s coffers are brimming.

While Gov. Greg Abbott and others have promised property tax cuts — something we support — funding these education needs must come first.

— San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board

Dallas Morning News

Aug. 1 editorial, "Redistricting can be a fairer, more representative process if voters demand it."

As voters, we elect the people who represent us. If only that were completely true.

Political gerrymandering, which courts have upheld as legal, allows politicians to pick their voters, in essence seeding districts with voters of like mind and creating safe districts that minimize competition, encourage elected officials to pay less attention to the interests of political minorities and institutionalize gridlock.

It would be exceedingly naive to think that partisanship can be entirely removed from redistricting. A fact of American politics is that the party in power at map-drawing time puts a heavy thumb on the scale. And that’s because the system virtually guarantees that the spoils go to the victors.

It doesn’t have to be that way, which is the key takeaway of the research from Math for Unbiased Maps TX, a group of SMU researchers who studied bias in voting district maps. As Texas prepared for redistricting last year, the group randomly computer-generated 1.5 million possible maps in accordance with redistricting rules and compared those maps to the ones that Texas GOP lawmakers drew.

Their conclusion? It would be difficult to draw more biased maps than the ones the politicians concocted.

— Dallas Morning News Editorial Board

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Aug. 5 editorial, "Conservative event brings Trump circus to Texas. GOP leaders would be wise to stay away."

Where are all the common sense members of the Republican Party? Mysteriously missing from this list and a weekend visit to the great state of Texas.

Which brings us back to our own leaders. In addition to those mentioned, three local members of Congress - Rep. Michael Burgess of Pilot Point, Rep. Beth Van Duyne of Irving and Rep. Roger Williams of Austin. Neither they nor the statewide officials appearing are synonymous with the views or character traits of someone like (Reps. Lauren) Boebert and (Marjorie Taylor) Greene. But they diminish themselves and the appeal of Texas conservatism by mixing it with conspiratorial nonsense.

And of course, there's Trump. His obsession with false theories about the 2020 election disqualified him from serious consideration long ago. But the latest revelations of the congressional Jan. 6 committee indicate the extent to which, at minimum, he considered actions that could have amounted to an attempt to overthrow the legitimate processes of government.

He is no longer fit to be president. What's more, the GOP does not need to embrace him: There are plenty of other sound, sane, viable Republicans who could run and represent the party well.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial Board

The Gainesville Daily Register

Aug. 2 editorial, "A new school year awaits."

It is that time of year again — teachers and staff are preparing classrooms, parents are quarreling with their kids over clothes and school supplies and the rest of us are itching for Friday Night Lights.

We at the Register embrace the advent of the 2022-23 school year across Cooke County. We are keen to resume writing stories about bright students, hard working teachers, class projects and, as we noted above, high school sports.

It’s been a long, hot, dry summer and we’re ready to write about some fun stuff.

We share with you, Dear Reader, the hope that teachers, students, staff and administrators can get on with their work free of outside complications and with minimal (or no) intrusion from COVID-19.

If there is any trepidation, it comes from the looming fall electoral races and return of the Legislature in January. As you no doubt read in Tuesday’s print edition and on the Register’s website, there are troubling signs that Republicans may stick their noses even deeper into the governance of local school districts and classrooms. It’s not enough that the state cuts aid to local districts whenever their local tax revenues improve; now they insist that parents are being shut out of the children’s education.

— The Gainesville Daily Register

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Austin American-Statesman Commentary Roundup: August 7, 2022