Category: Viewpoints

‘Dark Store’ Lawsuits Hit County Appraiser

A chain of big-box stores in Texas is suing for big property tax markdowns, asserting that its buildings are comparable to empty stores. The “Dark Store Theory,” litigated successfully in several Midwestern states, has landed in the Lone Star State. Lowe’s wants Bexar County to reduce the appraisals at its 10 San Antonio area stores, currently set at $82 per square foot. Lawsuits are pending or threatened in Houston and other jurisdictions, seeking to cut valuations by half. “If we lose, where does it stop?” asked Bexar County Chief Appraiser Mike Amezquita. “All big box stores will do the same thing. Then it will be apartment buildings, hotels and offices — all the dominoes will fall.” Big-box storeowners maintain their properties are so specific and unique that if they moved out, the structures would go vacant (“dark”). Using the state’s “equal and uniform” property value guidance, Lowe’s rival Home Depot recently settled for $65 per square foot — less than appraisal districts’ median “market value.” Unofficially, Lowe’s indicated it would be accept a median value of around $50 per square foot. “Even as local governments across the country continue to bend over backwards to attract and accommodate big-box development, these stores are consistently a terrible deal for the towns and cities where they locate,” argues Olivia LaVecchia, researcher at the nonpartisan Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Lowe’s legal representatives did...

Read More

Social Media’s Challenge to Democracy

  I’ve been involved in politics for the better part of a lifetime, and have spoken at a lot of public meetings over the years. There’s one question, I think, that I’ve heard more than any other: “If I want to be an informed citizen, which sources of information should I consult?” For many years, I had a set answer for this. Read one or more of the respected national news sources, I’d respond: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Financial Times, The Economist, etc. I’m not sure how good that answer was at the time, but I know for certain it would be woefully inadequate now. Younger people, in particular, get far more of their information from social media than from traditional news sources. The internet and social media have upended our expectations of what it means to be well informed. Platforms and websites that take advantage of online and mobile connectivity are like a fire hose, providing enormous quantities of information, opinion, news, statements, videos, images, analysis, charts, graphs — all of it instantly available. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other platforms have become the way many of our citizens communicate. They have become a force for mobilizing large groups of people to apply political pressure on short notice. The question is, what impact does this have on the public dialogue, and...

Read More

Reflections from Red Oak Ranch

  I saw Lucinda, the calf we have raised from birth, outside the back fence along with a whole lot of other calves.  This was unusual because this is the first time I have seen her with the other calves.  She just doesn’t seem to mix well with them, maybe because she was in the corral for so long and didn’t grow up knowing how to make friends.  She is now seven months old and it was a joy to see her for the first time with the “group”.  I called to her and here she came!  I walked outside the gate and started petting her and rubbing her under her neck.  She acted as if she had nothing else she wanted to do but stand there and let me rub and scratch on her. All of a sudden the other calves were watching what was going on and seemed really interested in it.  I talked to her and the calves softly and told them I would pet them too if they would come up to me so I could do that.  Some of them came up but of course they would have nothing to do with me as soon as I reached out to them.  Suddenly from the back of the pack, came a good-sized bull calf marching straight for me.  He was not lowering his head or...

Read More

Dear Editor- Another Write-in Candidate

  Dear Editor, As if one person trying to overturn an election isn’t enough, now we have two!  Well, the same thing can be said for Gerald Manning as was said about Cooper Daniel…it is unethical to do this.  Mr. Manning stated he wanted to do something for his community. I wonder why Mr. Manning didn’t think to do this before the election?  Why is this happening?  One of the reasons, in this particular case, I believe, is because Freestone County has a system of one party elections.  Whatever party people believe is going to be in power for that election period, that’s the party everyone runs on.  So, as a result, more times than not there are probably going to be run-off elections.  Each party puts forth their platform with not only what they want to do for “the people” but also what they believe in.  So, when people are switching parties like crazy that means they don’t really stand for anything.  This is a sad thing for Freestone County although most people probably don’t agree with that.  When the election is over along with any run-off elections, the winners should not have to worry about “Johnny Come Lately” sneaking up on them trying to take their win away from them.  I understand, but may be wrong; the votes had to be certified within not more than 14...

Read More

It Seems to Me: Discipleship Model for the New Testament Church

When Paul found it necessary to leave the island of Crete, he left Titus in his place of leadership. Paul tasked Titus with finding and developing leadership for the various churches on the island. The first chapter of Titus makes it very clear that it is more important to look for character than skill in establishing church leadership. Paul went on to say tell Titus that he must be ready to both exhort and train good teachers but also to reprove false teachers. We must heed the instruction found here and elsewhere that the goal of reproving is always to restore the false teacher to a place of sound doctrine. In Titus 2 Paul turned his attention to establishing a model or a template for discipleship in the church. He listed five groups: older men, older women, younger women, young men, and bond-servants. Each group was instructed to be self-controlled, temperate, and worthy of respect. Love, faith, and perseverance were held up as admirable traits. Honesty and purity were promoted. Hard work and respect for authority were commanded. Getting along with other people and preventing arguments is to be one of our goals. All of these are admirable qualities for all people, Christian or not. Paul pointed out that a failure to exhibit these characteristics reflects poorly on Christ. He even put it more bluntly; failure to do so...

Read More

Download The Official Go Fairfield App

itunes button

google play button

Pin It on Pinterest