STAFF EDITORIAL: Report Card appreciates economic foresight, airport security
Mayor’s plan to prevent city budget problems: A The Houston Chronicle reported on Thursday that Houston Mayor Bill White and City Controller Annise Parker have proposed a plan that will help to offset damage done to the city’s budget due to any forthcoming economic recession. As a preventive measure to offset any significant decrease in sales tax revenues, the city will scale back new construction on municipal facilities and infrastructure enhancement. UH’s own Barton Smith of the Institute for Regional Forecasting helps to advise White on matters of tax revenue. "We don’t want to be reacting to circumstances after the fact. We don’t want to be telling our citizens that we didn’t notice there was a recession coming down the pike and therefore we have to raise taxes in order to meet an obligation that we did not defer," White said. Houston has remained relatively unaffected by the worst effects of the current economic crisis, which can mostly be attributed to the increased activity in the petroleum industry. Of course, this won’t last forever, and, thankfully, our city’s leadership realizes this. Kudos to White for understanding that enlightened prevention and good advice can make for solid policy. TSA prevents passenger from boarding plane with arsenal: A A man was arrested on Thursday trying to board a flight at a Long Island airport with a pipe bomb, a knife, fireworks and "suspicious" electronics, all in his carry-on luggage. As reported by The Associated Press, the affected terminal was evacuated and the man was taken into FBI custody, where he remains after being denied bail, by U.S. Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson, who called the man’s actions "bizarre." He claimed that he didn’t intend to use the items on the flight to Las Vegas, but he had hoped that the device would "cause a giant smoke cloud, a flash of light and hopefully a loud noise." It’s difficult to believe, in this era of permanently heightened threat levels, that someone would attempt to bring a bottle of water on the plane, much less a homemade bomb. Let’s chalk this up to the wonders of modern X-ray machines and the diligence of the Transportation Security Administration’s employees.