Debra Medina

Horns Down:  Aggies Still Aren’t Over it

Despite the fact that our 118-year-old rivalry with Texas A&M has been dead for over two years, the good folks over in Aggieland still haven’t quite come to terms with leaving behind their former nemesis in the Big 12. As this newspaper reported Monday, early Sunday morning, several UT monuments were spray-painted with Aggie-related graffiti. Among the targets were the LBJ Library and two outdoor sculptures. We get it, guys, you miss us, and you’re taking it out on our fancy monuments and pieces of public art. (High culture can be so disorienting and confusing, can’t it?) But you’ve got to come to terms with this rivalry being over. Spray-paint a thousand “howdys” on our campus, but we’re still not getting back together. 

Horns Up:  Powers Elected President of the AAU

Congratulations are in order for UT president Bill Powers, who was elected chair of the Association of American Universities, the preeminent University administration organization in the US, on Tuesday. His appointment follows a stint as the vice chair of the non-profit organization, a position he has held since 2012. To whom it may concern: firing (or otherwise ousting) the head of arguably the most prestigious group of university administrators in the Americas is probably not a good way to start a replacement search.

Horns Down:  Medina Doesn’t Get the Drought

In an editorial on the Texas Tribune website Tuesday, Debra Medina, head of the Tea Party group We Texans and current candidate for comptroller, made her case against Prop. 6. The proposition, a constitutional amendment designed to take money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help deal with current water shortages, is set to go to a popular vote in the Nov. 5 election. In the editorial, Medina lambasted Prop. 6, urging a “free market” solution to the current droughts. She concluded with a reference to October’s downpours, saying, “In light of recent rains, Texas will enjoy at least a brief reprieve from the severe drought and perhaps take the opportunity to ask better questions in preparation for the 2015 legislative session.” In case Medina hasn’t ventured down to Lake Travis recently, a reminder: The storms a few weeks ago added 50,000 acre-feet to Lakes Travis and Buchanan, bringing their water levels to a grand total of  35 percent full. The amount needed to reach capacity? One-and-half million acre-feet, a full 30 times what October’s ACL-drowning torrents added. Texas can’t endure two more years of solutionless drought while we wait for the next legislative session. Support Prop. 6 or not, it’s the only statewide solution on the table at the moment. 

Former Mayor Bill White shakes hands with Rep. Mark Strama after a rally for his gubernatorial candidacy at Sholtz Garten in December.

Photo Credit: Caleb Bryant Miller | Daily Texan Staff

As the gubernatorial primaries draw near, Democratic candidates Bill White and Farouk Shami are gearing up for their first debate Monday.

The debate, hosted by public broadcasting station KERA, will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at a CBS studio in Fort Worth in front of an audience. White, a former mayor of Houston, and Shami, a self-made businessman, will take questions from viewers through social-networking Web sites, reporters and live audience members.

Sherri Greenberg, economics lecturer and former member of the House of Representatives, said education, jobs and environmental issues will dominate Monday’s debate. Greenberg said the idea of fresh leadership will underscore both Shami’s and White’s answers.

“Both [candidates] are positioning themselves as agents of change,” Greenberg said. “Shami will say that he’s an outsider, and White will say that we need new blood in the governor’s office.”

Ally Smith, spokeswoman for White, said the candidates will probably focus more on debating the issues, not each others’ reputations, which happened during the Republican primary debate on Jan. 29 between Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina.

Viewers should also expect to hear candidates addressing a more student-friendly topic, Smith said.

“You didn’t hear anything about education in Friday’s debate, yet it’s the most important role of state government,” she said.

She said the long-term economic growth of Texas is dependent on having an educated workforce, which can be done by increasing high school graduation rates and reducing financial obstacles to higher education.

“We need to bring down the skyrocketing tuition increases,” White said in an interview with The Daily Texan. “We need to make sure young people are not prevented from going to college for financial reasons.”

Greenberg said Shami is not favored to win the Democratic nomination, but that hasn’t kept the underdog candidate from campaigning.

“I feel confident that after this debate, the Democratic primary will receive significantly more attention as people in Texas realize I am the only candidate who is not a career politician and who has real-life experience solving significant problems on a large scale,” Shami said in a prepared statement.