Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Pardon me while I talk a little politics...

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Sometimes I get as mad as hell over the stupidity and two-faced arrogance of our elected and appointed officials.

When last month's electric bill arrived in my mailbox, I was surprised to see a lower amount on the "pay this" box. Lower as in pre-Katrina rates (our rates went up 40% after the hurricane and stayed there). In fact, it seemed downright suspicious. Having followed the machinations in Austin with interest, I knew that something HAD to be up. Well the penny (or the huge bag o' money) dropped yesterday when the Texas Air Quality Commission approved two new coal-fired power plants. The promises of a greener power company seem to be only empty wind. If only they'd harness that we wouldn't have any need for new power plants.

The other story I can't link to because it's behind a subscription wall. It's a letter to the editor from a former school board member blasting the new smoking ordinance in the city. He's complaining that the law violates the civil rights of smokers. (He says nothing about the civil rights of breathers.) His whine has the sound of the world's smallest violin, particularly since he gave me and several other parents an upbraiding at a school board meeting because we DARED to suggest that the calendar approval process left out the very parents who opposed it. Of course, we offered solutions to get more parents on both sides of the issue involved (some of which work well in other school districts), but we were shot down. It's okay to stifle free speech to get what you want, but if you don't get what you want, then obviously YOUR civil rights have been violated. Pot, meet kettle.

It would only be fair to mention that I see some merit in some of the reasoning by the less hot-headed folks in this debate. A separate smoking area with a properly-maintained filter system works. But with so many restaurants in the city, I wonder if the health department had the resources to inspect and monitor those systems? On one hand it hardly seems fair to punish business owners who spent major bucks installing and properly maintaining them. On the other, the dangers of second-hand smoke are well-documented.

Okay, rant mode off!

Filed under: Politics            
6/14/2007 9:02:35 AM
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