The State of Texas: College Football Is Back
Plus: Dallas Police Chief David Brown announces his retirement, Donald Trump loses key Hispanic supporters, and San Antonio approves a controversial police union contract.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I’m an old Johnny Appleseed.”
—Fort Worth’s Opal Lee to WFAA. On Thursday, Lee, who is ninety-years-old and goes by “Miss Opal,” started a 1,400-mile walk to the White House to raise awareness about Juneteenth. Lee says she plans on walking five miles each morning and five each night. She’s been training for her trek by walking a few miles each day inside a big box store.
Legends of the Fall
It’s the opening weekend of college football, and Texas’s top teams are playing in some of the first week’s most anticipated games. On Saturday at 11 in the morning, number fifteen Houston hosts number three Oklahoma in what could be one of the biggest games in UH’s history. While a loss would be a major blow to their playoff hopes, the game’s importance goes beyond the Cougars’ success this season: a coveted spot in the Big 12 conference could be on the line, and a win against Big 12 power Oklahoma could go a long way toward the Cougars’s power conference dreams. Saturday afternoon, Texas A&M takes on number 16 UCLA at home. FOX Sports says this could be “the most important game” of the weekend, calling it an “elimination game” with the national championship “on the line.” Regardless of the hype, Aggie students will have to cheer on their team from new seats (sort of) after the athletics department recently nixed the tradition of “stepping on the wood” (Aggie-ese for standing on the bleachers). Friday night, number 23 Baylor has a cupcake matchup at home against Northwestern State, but it’s also the first big chance for the Bears to put last year’s scandal-ridden season behind them, something they’ve had trouble doing so far. Number thirteen TCU takes on South Dakota State at home on Saturday night. On Sunday evening, number ten Notre Dame visits Austin to play the University of Texas in yet another highly-anticipated game. We still don’t know who will take the majority of snaps under center for the Longhorns, but we do know that a win would put the program on the path toward redemption after a few disappointing seasons. A win could also help save coach Charlie Strong’s job. Strong’s wild Twitter alter ego, @ChuckFnStrong, sounded pretty confident in a must-read interview with Texas Monthly earlier this week: “I feel great going into the game. If you think about it Notra Dame is a mixture of two very unimportant countries, those being France and Ireland. One of them is always drunk and the other one is Ireland.” Solid game plan, coach.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Dallas Police Chief David Brown announced on Thursday that he will be retiring in October. As the Dallas Morning News notes, Brown is going out on top, amid a surge of support and national recognition following his role in responding to July’s horrific mass shooting, which left five Dallas law enforcement officers dead. The news of Brown’s retirement plans came as a big surprise to just about everyone. In typical Brown fashion, the police chief slipped the news out on Twitter, and then, without uttering a word to the press, disappeared back out of the limelight, which he has always preferred. Brown spent 33 years with the Dallas Police Department and was appointed as chief in May 2010. According to the Morning News, Brown is the longest-serving police chief Dallas has had since 1960. He helped mold Dallas’s police department into a national model for community policing, taking important steps to repair the department’s broken relationship with communities of color in particular. Brown’s legacy will be more than what happened in July. Excessive force complaints have fallen 80 percent between 2009 and 2013, officer-involved shootings have decreased, and overall crime rates in Dallas are at a fifty-year low.
In a major speech earlier this week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump returned to the controversial hard-line stance on immigration from earlier in his campaign. Trump recently appeared to have softened his immigration stance, but the fiery speech pretty much undid that, and it also lost him the support of important Hispanic backers in Texas. According to the Austin American-Statesman, four out of the six Texans on Trump’s 23-member Hispanic advisory council said they were extremely disappointed in Trump’s remarks, with three of the advisers telling the Statesman outright that they no longer support Trump for president (the fourth indicated he would still support Trump despite the candidate’s “moral mistakes” because he disliked Hillary Clinton even more than Trump, while the other two didn’t respond to the Statesman‘s phone calls).
On Thursday, San Antonio’s City Council approved a controversial new contract with the city’s police union, the San Antonio Police Officers Association. According to the San Antonio Current, the contract “includes just about everything the San Antonio Police Officers Association wanted in the first place,” including an increase in officer wages and an eight-year evergreen clause that keeps the collective-bargaining agreement in place if negotiations stall in the future, but the contract “doesn’t include any reforms to the department’s disciplinary process,” which was something activists and some local political leaders had called for. According to the San Antonio Express-News, the contract contains a policy that requires short-term suspensions to be turned into written reprimands after two years, and also limits the police chief’s ability to use an officer’s disciplinary history when administering punishment. “The proposed police contract is incomplete,” Congressman Joaquín Castro said last week. “Of the three main issues up for negotiation—salary, benefits and accountability reform—only the first two have been addressed.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
The New York Times just discovered Midland’s 67-year-old Summer Mummers theater tradition New York Times
Cattle rustlers hit up Houston’s suburbs Houston Chronicle
A Vietnamese refugee made it from Amarillo to the Big 12 as a football referee Amarillo Globe-News
Texas set a new state record for its longest streak of not executing anyone Fusion
Harris County jails are deadly and understaffed Huffington Post