PoliTex

Will political civility return, now that the presidential election is over?

Trump, Obama meet for first time at White House

President Obama promised president-elect Donald Trump that his team would help ensure a smooth transition to power: "....we now are going to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed then the country succeeds." Trump said, "I
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President Obama promised president-elect Donald Trump that his team would help ensure a smooth transition to power: "....we now are going to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed then the country succeeds." Trump said, "I

The votes are in and counted.

The 2016 presidential election is in the books, and Republican Donald Trump will be sworn in as the next president on Jan. 20.

So after a campaign that saw personal insults and name-calling become more common than ever, can Americans find a way to revive political civility?

“All bets are off,” said Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “In the age of social media, much like with nuclear war, pre-emptive and preventive strikes are optimal.

“There will be a race to the bottom in civility in American politics from here on in, and that can’t mean anything good,” he said. “We’ve seen an election where both sides of the aisle actively and consciously chose to believe what they wanted. In that environment critiques, insults and slander become facts unto themselves.”

Justice Seeker

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, will be honored with a Justice Seeker Award by the Dallas Peace and Justice Center during a Dec. 1 peacemaker awards dinner at the Park Plaza Tower in Dallas.

Veasey will be honored for “upholding the rights of all voters as the lead plaintiff in Veasey v. Abbott,” according to a statement about the event. “Congressman Veasey took on the 2013 Texas voter ID law, which was struck down by one of the most conservative courts in the country.

Need information?

Want to know more about what public meetings and public records you can access?

There’s a one-day Open Government Seminar on Wednesday in Denton for Texans to learn all about it. It’s hosted by the nonprofit FOI Foundation, with help from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office and the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas.

For more information, go online to the FOI Foundation of Texas website at www.foift.org or call the FOI Foundation office at 512-377-1575.

“This seminar highlighting Texas’ open government laws helps to inform citizens of their rights and responsibilities as they participate in our democracy,” said Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

The seminar begins at 9:15 a.m. at the University Union at UNT and includes sessions on the Texas Public Information Act and Texas Open Meetings Act.

For more information, go to the FOI Foundation of Texas website at www.foift.org or call 512-377-1575.

New database

Want to know what Texas cities and entities can use eminent domain?

There’s a website for that.

The Texas comptroller’s office recently launched a statewide eminent domain database, which shows which entities have decided to exercise eminent domain.

“This is clearly an area in which transparency is absolutely essential,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “Knowing who can use eminent domain is the first step to ensuring that this potentially oppressive power is used wisely.”

The database, which contains more than 5,000 entities, was developed because of Senate Bill 1812, passed in 2015. It details each entity, including the date they believe they were believed to exercise eminent domain. For more information, go to the eminent domain database.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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