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>>> RIGHT NOW, FROM KTAB NEWS, YOUR LOCAL ELECTION HEADQUARTERS, THIS IS “BIG COUNTRY POLITICS.” >>> WELL, THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE I’M VICTOR SOTELO WE START OUR BROADCAST WITH OUR EYE ON ABILENE THE CITY OF ABILENE SAYS IT IS NOW MORE THAN HALFWAY DONE WITH THE MULTIMILLION DOLLAR WATER METER REPLACEMENT PROJECT THAT STARTED A YEAR AGO NOW, 12 MONTHS LATER, KTAB’S DENEEKA HILL IS TALKING WITH HOME-OWNERS AND CITY OFFICIALS ABOUT WHY YOU COULD SEE AN INCREASE IN YOUR BILL >> HAS THE CITY COME THROUGH AND REPLACED YOUR METER? >> YES, THEY HAVE >> Reporter: THE CITY’S ADVANCED MOTHER INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT OR AMI IS NOW ABOUT 60% COMPLETE >> OTHER THAN A METER READER ACTUALLY HAVING TO GO OUT AND LIFT A LID AND LOOK AT A METER AND JOT THAT NUMBER DOWN, THIS INFORMATION WILL BE SENT ELECTRONICALLY >> Reporter: AMANDA POPE, PUBLIC INFORMATION COORDINATOR FOR THE UTILITIES DEPARTMENT SAYS THE SMART WATER METERS WILL PROVIDE A MORE ACCURATE READING >> WHERE OUR OLD METERS MAY AT A VERY LOW PRESSURE RATE MAY NOT HAVE BEEN CALCULATING ALL THE WATER FLOWING THROUGH, THE NEW METERS ARE VERY ACCURATE THEY ARE COLLECTING THAT DATA >> Reporter: WORKERS ARE KNOWING DOOR TO DOOR LEAVING DOOR HANGERS ON THE PLACES THEY’VE ALREADY COMPLETED AND IF YOU AREN’T SURE WHAT THOSE SMART WATER METERS LOOK LIKE, CHECK FOR THIS DISK IN YOUR FRONT YARD >> IT WAS DONE A LONG TIME AGO >> Reporter: FOR HOME-OWNERS LIKE BILL SIMONS, HE ISN’T TOO CONCERNED ABOUT A CHANGE IN HIS WATER BILL >> SOMETIMES, IT’S UP AND DOWN, BUT YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE YOU TAKE MORE SHOWERS OR, YOU KNOW, WASH MORE CLOTHES OR WHATEVER >> Reporter: BUT FOR OTHERS — >> WHAT WE’RE SEEING IS PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED HOW MUCH THEY ACTUALLY USE IN THE SUMMER >> Reporter: THE NEW METERS ARE STILL IN THE TESTING PHASE, MEANING WORKERS ARE MANUALLY CHECKING THEM AND COMPARING THEM TO THE NEW READINGS >> YOU SEE THEM ALL OVER TOWN, READING THEM SO I KIND OF FIGURE IT’S FOR CHECKING, TO MAKE SURE THAT THE BILLS ARE ALL COMPLETE >> Reporter: AND ONCE ALL THE TESTING IS COMPLETE >> THEY WILL ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO GO ONLINE AND SEE THEIR USAGE FOR THEMSELVES >> Reporter: IN ABILENE WITH COVERAGE YOU CAN COUNT ON, DENEEKA HILL, KTAB NEWS >> AND THE UTILITIES DEPARTMENT SAYS THERE WILL BE A PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT WHEN THEIR ONLINE PORTAL IS READY FOR CUSTOMERS TO REGISTER AND START MONITORING THEIR USAGE >>> ALL RIGHT, WELL, WE’VE BEEN REPORTING CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS FOR YOU SINCE MARCH, BUT THE DIFFERENT TESTS AND WHEN THEY WERE TAKEN AND THEN REPORTED CAN BE VERY CONFUSING, BUT NOW, THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS HAS DEVELOPED A NEW WAY TO MONITOR THE NUMBER OF COVID CASES IN THE STATE KTAB’S MOLLY CAPER WAS PART OF A ZOOM CONFERENCE CALL AND HAS MORE DETAILS FOR THAT STORY >> Reporter: WHETHER ROBIN TAYLOR WAS WALKING AROUND DOWNTOWN, SHE PROBABLY WASN’T THINKING ABOUT THE COVID NUMBERS, BUT AFTER WE ASKED HER, SHE SAID — >> MY SON IS IN SCHOOL HERE AND SECONDLY, MY HUSBAND SEES HIS PARENTS QUITE OFTEN AND THEY ARE IN THEIR 80s AND WE DO NOT WANT TO GIVE IT TO THEM >> Reporter: IT’S IMPORTANT FOR HER TO BE UP TO DATE ON THE CASES U.T. HAS BEEN BUILDING PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS TOOLS FOR THE STATE OF TEXAS SINCE THE SWINE FLU PANDEMIC BACK IN 2009 WITH THEIR PANDEMIC APP >> THE USER CAN PUT IN, THIS IS GOING TO BE A DEADLY PANDEMIC, A MILD PANDEMIC, IT’S GOING TO SPREAD QUICKLY, IT’S GOING TO SPREAD SLOWLY, AND THEN THEY CAN WATCH HOW IT MIGHT PLAY OUT ACROSS THE STATE AND SEE THE IMPACT OF DIFFERENT KINDS OF INTERVENTION MEASURES LIKE SCHOOLS >> Reporter: AND WITH COVID-19, LEADERS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN’S COVID-19 MODELING CONSORTIUM HAVE BEEN ADVISING LOCAL, STATE AND NATIONAL LEADERS, INCLUDING THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, AND THE WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE >> THE GOAL OF THE DASHBOARD IS TO PROVIDE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC, FOR SCHOOLS, FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS, HOSPITALS, AND POLICY MAKERS FROM LOCAL TO COUNTY TO ACROSS THE STATE TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND WHAT THE SITUATION IS AS IT UNFOLDS AND TO PROTECT OUR FAMILIES AND OUR COMMUNITIES GOING FORWARD >> WE HAVE PLATEAUED WE DON’T WANT TO GET TOO COMFORTABLE AND THEN HAVE THE NUMBERS SPIKE UP >> Reporter: AND THE U.T DASHBOARD WILL HELP PARENTS LIKE ROBIN STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE PROBABILITY OF FUTURE CASES TO KEEP HER FAMILY SAFE, AND WITH THE DASHBOARD — >> YOU CAN LOOK UP WHAT THE SITUATION IS IN YOUR OWN COMMUNITY >> SO LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE U.T. DASHBOARD YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO START BY SELECTING YOUR TEXAS ARE AREA LUCKILY, ABILENE IS FIRST SO GO AHEAD AND CLICK THAT THE FIRST ONE OVER HERE THAT YOU’LL SEE IS THE REPRODUCTION NUMBER, WHICH IS LESS THAN 1%, WHICH MEANS ACCORDING TO DR. MEYER, THE PANDEMIC SHOULD BE DECLINING IN THE AREA THE THIRD ONE OVER HERE IS THE 14 DAY CHANGE, WHICH IS CURRENTLY AT 2%, WHICH MEANS OVER THE PAST TWO WEEKS, WE’VE SEEN A 2% DECLINE IN CASES THERE’S OTHER INTERACTIVE MAPS YOU CAN LOOK UP ON THE WEBSITE IN ABILENE WITH COVERAGE YOU CAN

COUNT ON, KTAB NEWS >> AND TO SEE THE DASHBOARD FOR YOURSELF, YOU CAN LOG ONTO OUR WEBSITE AT WWW.BIGCOUNTRYHOMEPAGE.COM AND CLICK ON THAT LINK >>> STILL TO COME ON “BIG COUNTRY POLITICS,” A BIG DECISION MADE BY THE ABILENE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT THIS YEAR WHEN WE COME BACK, WE TALK TO THE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS WHO MADE A MOTION TO CHANGE FOUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NAMES HERE IN ABILENE WE’RE BACK IN TWO MINUTES >>> “BIG COUNTRY POLITICS” ON KTAB CONTINUES >>> ALL RIGHT, WELCOME BACK TO “BIG COUNTRY POLITICS.” WE ARE AT SEARS PARK WITH BILLY, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER THANK YOU FOR BEING ON THE SHOW IN FULL DISCLOSURE WE’RE RELATED, RIGHT? >> YES, WE ARE >> WE’RE COUSINS SO FULL DISCLOSURE HERE >> AND YOU ARE THE MOST HANDSOME OF BOTH, HOW’S THAT? >> THAT’S PERFECT TELL EVERYBODY SO I WANT TO GET STARTED WITH THE LAST SCHOOL BOARD MEETING AND I THINK THERE WAS A LITTLE CONFUSION AND I KNOW THAT’S GOING TO BE TAKEN CARE OF, BUT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THE SCHOOL BOARD WAS TRYING TO DECIDE THAT DAY, THERE WAS TALK ABOUT RENAMING SCHOOLS AND YOU’RE THE ONE WHO SAID HEY, LET’S JUST DECIDE IF WE’RE GOING TO DO IT RIGHT? >> THAT’S CORRECT >> TALK ABOUT THAT EXCHANGE >> WING WE WERE TRYING TO SOLVE A LOT OF SMALL ISSUES THAT WE CAN DO AFTER WE RENAME THE SCHOOLS, SO LET’S GO AHEAD AND RENAME THE SCHOOLS, AND THEN WE’LL GET ALL THE SMALL DETAILS IN AS WE MOVE FORWARD >> SO IT WASN’T TIME TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THE SCHOOLS WILL BE NAMED, BUT THE DECISION WAS LET’S JUST MAKE THE DECISION TO CHANGE THE NAMES >> EXACTLY, THAT’S THE WAY IT STARTED OUT IN THE END, WE VOTED ON A PROCESS TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE WE COULD CHANGE THE NAMES OF THE SCHOOLS AND ONCE WE DO THAT PROCESS AND AUTOMATICALLY THE NAMES OF THE SCHOOLS WILL BE CHANGED >> SO NOW, I WANT TO ASK YOU WHY DO YOU THINK AND WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO A LOT OF PEOPLE, NOT JUST HERE IN ABILENE, BUT THIS IS GOING ON ALL AROUND THE NATION WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO CHANGE THE NAMES OF THESE SCHOOLS FROM CONFEDERATE LEADERS? >> IT HAS TO DO WITH SUPPRESSION THE LEADERS THAT WE HAVE, THEY’RE PART OF HISTORY, WE CAN’T ERASE THAT AND WE DON’T WANT TO ERASE HISTORY WE’RE MAKING HISTORY BY DOING WHAT WE’RE DOING SO WHEN YOU HAVE A COMMUNITY, PART OF A COMMUNITY THAT FEELS SUPPRESSED BECAUSE OF THOSE NAMES AND BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY REPRESENT, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT REPRESENTATION OF SLAVERY WE’RE TALKING ABOUT REPRESENTATION OF SUPPRESSION OF INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO GROW AND IT’S IMPORTANT THAT EVERYONE FEELS LIKE THEY’RE PART OF THE COMMUNITY AND THAT THE COMMUNITY IS WORKING TOWARDS A BETTER COMMUNITY SO THAT’S THE REASON THE CHANGE IS IMPORTANT, BECAUSE WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER AND IT’S HARD TO DRIVE BY THESE SCHOOLS, EVEN KNOW THAT THEY EXIST AND THEY CAME ABOUT AT THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT THESE SCHOOLS WERE NAMED — I THINK ALL OF THEM WERE IN THE EARLY ’60s, MAYBE THE LATE ’50s THAT WAS THE START OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT OF ’65 SO WE FEEL AND A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL, WHEN I SAY WE, I’M TALKING ABOUT MYSELF, THAT THAT ERA OF NAMING SCHOOLS WAS DONE PREDOMINANTLY BY THE MAJORITY BECAUSE THERE WAS NO MINORITY PEOPLE OF COLOR ON THAT SCHOOL BOARD AND HAS NOT BEEN ANY UNTIL 1986, WHEN JUAN CARLOS RODRIGUEZ WAS OUR FIRST HISPANIC SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THAT WAS 100 YEARS AFTER THE SYSTEM WAS ESTABLISHED SO THIS KIND OF GOES TO SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE WE NEED TO BE MORE INCLUSIVE SO I FEEL AND A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL THAT IF WE CHANGE THESE NAMES AND MAKE THEM FOR LOCAL HEROES, PEOPLE THAT WE KNOW, WHETHER THEY’RE EDUCATORS, COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS, THAT’S WHAT WE WANT LIKE WE HAVE NOW, WE ALL KNOW WHO THE CLACK SISTERS WERE WE ALL KNOW WHO ORTIZ WAS WE ALL KNOW WHO SAM THOMAS WAS SO WE WANT TO DO THOSE KINDS OF THINGS >> AND THOSE ARE THE NAMES OF SCHOOLS THAT WE CURRENTLY HAVE, ALL THE NAMES YOU RATTLED OFF JUST NOW >> EXACTLY BECAUSE WE’VE CHANGED THE WAY — WE HAVE ALREADY ESTABLISHED A POLICY FOR NAMING SCHOOLS, WHICH WILL WORK FOR RENAMING SCHOOLS ALSO AND THAT POLICY IS REALLY NOT HEADED TOWARD NATIONAL FIGURES AS MUCH AS IT IS TOWARDS LOCAL FIGURES, EDUCATORS, ANYONE THAT HAS CONTRIBUTED TO ABILENE HAS MADE IT A BETTER CITY TO LIVE IN >> AND WE’RE OUTSIDE OF SEARS PARK I JUST WANT TO ADDRESS THE WEED EATING GOING ON WE’RE OUTSIDE, IT HAPPENS WE’LL HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THAT

SO YOU MENTIONED WE DIDN’T HAVE A MINORITY SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER UNTIL 1986 >> THAT’S CORRECT JUAN CARLOS WAS OUR FIRST SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER, AND AFTER HIM, IT WAS NEARLY 15 YEARS BEFORE WE HAD ANOTHER ONE AND THAT WAS SAMMY GARCIA AND THEN AFTER SAMMY, THEN I CAME ALONG AND THEN TIM DELAVEGA CAME ALONG AND PEOPLE OF COLOR, PERIOD WE’RE TALKING ABOUT VAL, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ELMO WRIGHT WE’VE HAD A TOTAL OF SIX INDIVIDUALS IN THE HISTORY OF AISD, WHICH IS 130 YEARS! WE’VE HAD SIX PEOPLE OF COLOR ON OUR BOARD THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT, AND I THINK ABILENE MAY NEED TO MOVE FORWARD AND LEAVE ALL OF THAT SUPPRESSION BEHIND US THIS IS A DIFFERENT COMMUNITY THAN IT WAS IN THE ’60s A LOT DIFFERENT COMMUNITY OUR POPULATION NOW IS A LITTLE OVER 27% HISPANIC, 13% AFRICAN AMERICAN THIS IS NOT ABILENE, TEXAS, OF 1960 THIS IS ABILENE, TEXAS, OF 2020 AND WE NEED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE TIMES AND WE ALL NEED TO WORK AS A COMMUNITY >> SO THE ARGUMENT AGAINST RENAMING SCHOOLS IS USUALLY WHAT YOU MENTIONED, WE DON’T WANT TO ERASE HISTORY BUT I GUESS THE OTHER SIDE TO THAT IS SOMETHING ELSE YOU MENTIONED IS BACK WHEN THOSE SCHOOLS REALLY ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, BUT HERE ESPECIALLY, BACK WHEN THOSE SCHOOLS WERE NAMED, IT WAS A DIFFERENT — IT WAS A DIFFERENT SCHOOL BOARD THERE WERE NO MINORITIES MAKING THOSE DECISIONS >> THAT’S CORRECT YOU KNOW, ANY WAY THAT WE LOOK AT IT, THE CIVIL WAR WAS A TRAGEDY AND WHEN WE, YOU KNOW — WE’RE NOT GOING TO ERASE HISTORY I MEAN, LOOK AT LINCOLN MIDDLE SCHOOL WE HAD A LINCOLN SCHOOL FOREVER IT’S GONE, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? YOU CAN GOOGLE IT ON YOUR PHONE AND PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS STILL ALIVE WE STILL HAVE HIS HISTORY SO WHEN WE CHANGE THESE NAMES, WE’RE NOT ELIMINATING HISTORY WE’RE ADDING TO HISTORY THE HISTORY IS WE WANT TO BE INCLUSIVE >> WE’RE TALKING WITH BILLY, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER, ABILENE AISD WHEN WE COME BACK, HE GREW UP HERE IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD AT SEARS PARK I WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT WITH YOU ABOUT THAT AND GROWING UP IN TIN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD >>> “BIG COUNTRY POLITICS” ON KTAB CONTINUES >> OKAY, WELCOME BACK TO “BIG COUNTRY POLITICS.” WE’RE CONTINUING OUR CONVERSATION WITH BILLY ENRIQUEZ, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER WE TALKED ABOUT THE PROCESS AND THE DECISION THE SCHOOL BOARD MADE TO CHANGE THE NAMES OF THOSE SCHOOLS THAT ARE NAMED AFTER CONFEDERATE LEADERS AND WE TALKED ABOUT WHY NOW, I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO CHANGE THOSE NAMES AND POSSIBLY RENAME THEM AFTER PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY YOU GREW UP HERE IN THIS COMMUNITY, SPECIFICALLY HERE AT SEARS PARK TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT >> WELL, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE FIRST MOVED HERE IN 1958, AMBLER WAS A DIRT ROAD >> AND NOW, IT’S A FOUR-LANE ROAD >> AND IT WENT TO TWO-LANE WITH ASPHALT, THE BRIDGE WASN’T THERE, YOU WENT UNDER AND UP SAME THING WITH VOGEL THIS WAS PRIMITIVE IT’S LIKE LIVING OUT IN THE COUNTRY BUT BECAUSE OF THE WAY THAT IT WAS SITUATED AND BECAUSE OF THE TIMES, THE COMMUNITY WAS REAL CLOSE KNIT EVERYONE KNEW EVERYONE, EVERYONE TOOK CARE OF EVERYONE’S KIDS, WE LOOKED AFTER EACH OTHER IT WAS A DIFFERENT WORLD AND DIFFERENT WORLD ALSO IN OPPORTUNITIES THE MIGRATION, NOT EVERYONE THAT IS A HISPANIC WAS BORN IN MEXICO, OKAY? WE HAVE TO CONSIDER THAT TEXAS BELONGED TO MEXICO, WITHOUT A DOUBT, BUT I WASN’T BORN IN MEXICO I WAS BORN IN TEXAS MY GRANDMOTHER AND GRANDFATHER, MY FATHER BORN IN MONAHANS >> THAT’S ALL MY FAMILY, AS WELL >> THAT’S WHERE WE ALL CAME FROM SO THERE’S A MISCONCEPTION THAT JUST BECAUSE WE’RE HISPANIC AND I’M 69 YEARS OLD, YOU KNOW MY GENERATION WERE BORN HERE IN TEXAS THEY WEREN’T BORN IN MEXICO THEY WERE BORN HERE OUR GENERATION BEFORE THAT, A LOT OF THEM CAME FROM MEXICO BECAUSE OF THE REVOLUTION IN 1910, SO WHAT WE’RE LOOKING AT IS THE WAY THAT PEOPLE WERE LOOKED AT BECAUSE OF THEIR HERITAGE, AND ALL OF THAT REALLY IT GOES BACK TO NOT HAVING A GOOD — FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD, FOR BEING IGNORANT TO THE FACT THAT THERE’S A LOT OF HISTORY OUT THERE

THERE’S A LOT OF HISTORY ON BOTH SIDES, YOU KNOW AS HISPANICS, OUR HISTORY IS VERY CLOSE IF YOU’RE A GERMAN AMERICAN, YOUR HISTORY IS CLOSE TO YOUR HEART, BUT IN DISTANCE, IT’S NOT PAST THE RIO GRANDE IT’S PAST THE ATLANTIC OCEAN SO OUR HISTORY IS EVER CHANGING ON A DAILY BASIS PEOPLE COME AND GO, AND THEY HAVE AN INFLUENCE HERE, BUT THE PROBLEM IS OUR OPPORTUNITIES HAVE NOT GONE IN THE SAME DIRECTION OUR OPPORTUNITIES HAVE BEEN LIMITED BECAUSE OF STEREOTYPING, BECAUSE OF OPPORTUNITIES NOT TO EXCEL IN EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE MISSED BECAUSE OF COLOR AND I WANT TO TELL YOU THAT MOST OF MY ROLE MODELS IN THE BUSINESS WORLD HAVE BEEN THE MAJORITY AND YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE WE, AS MINORITIES, HAVE NOT HAD THOSE OPPORTUNITIES TO AMASS ANY KIND OF WEALTH TO GIVE OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN OUR OWN SECTOR JUST IMAGINE, I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH NOT ONE, NOT ONE HISPANIC OR PERSON OF COLOR IN THE SYSTEM NEVER HAD A TEACHER THAT LOOKED LIKE ME I KNEW WHAT I COULD DO IF ROLE MODELING WAS IMPORTANT, I COULD WORK AS A CUSTODIAN, I COULD WORK IN THE CAFETERIA IN FOOD SERVICE THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THOSE JOBS, BUT WHAT I’M SAYING IS NOW AT LEAST OUR CHILDREN HAVE SOME ROLE MODELS IN THE DISTRICT THAT LOOK LIKE THEM, THAT CAN RELATE TO THAT, WITH AND NOT THAT OTHERS CAN’T RELATE, BUT YOU HAVE TO HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE I’VE BEEN TOLD MANY TIMES SO IT MEANS THAT AS AN ANGLO-AMERICAN, I CAN’T TEACH YOUR HISPANIC AMERICAN BECAUSE — I SAID NO, THAT’S NOT THE POINT I’M MAKING THE POINT I’M MAKING, IF WE CAN’T RELATE TO EACH OTHER, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT COLOR YOU COME FROM, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO TEACH THAT CHILD WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TEACHERS THAT LOOK LIKE OUR CHILDREN, THAT CAN RELATE TO SOME OF THE EXPERIENCES THAT THEY HAD, AND THEN THAT, THEY CAN TEACH THEM IN THE WAY THAT THEY CAN ACCEPT OR THAT THEY CAN RECOGNIZE IT MAKES A LOT OF DIFFERENCE AND WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS >> AND I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE SCHOOL BOARD SOMETHING YOU SAID IN THE LAST SEGMENT YOU GAVE A NUMBER OF HOW MANY MINORITY SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS WE HAVE HAD IN 130 YEARS OF HAVING THE AISD WHAT WAS THAT NUMBER AGAIN? >> SIX >> SIX MINORITY SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS IN 130 YEARS >> THAT’S RIGHT WE HAD TWO AFRICAN-AMERICANS, BOTH OF THEM WERE EDUCATORS AND THEN WE HAD FOUR HISPANICS STARTING WITH JUAN CARLOS RODRIGUEZ — >> LET ME ASK YOU THIS: WHAT WOULD YOU TELL PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF, MINORITIES HERE, WHO MAYBE THOUGHT ABOUT RUNNING, EITHER FOR SCHOOL BOARD, CITY COUNCIL, ANYTHING LIKE THAT, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEBODY THAT’S THINKING ABOUT IT? >> I THINK THE FIRST THING THAT I WOULD MENTION TO THEM IS DON’T DISREGARD YOUR COMMUNITY TO GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO GO BY THAT, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SELL OUT TO THE BIGGER COMMUNITY JUST TO BE IN A POSITION OF SERVING THE COMMUNITY, BECAUSE WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO DO HERE IS BUILD BRIDGES SO YOU WANT TO BUILD BRIDGES ALL THE WAY ACROSS I HAVE GOOD RELATIONSHIPS WITH EVERY COMMUNITY IN THIS CITY AND IT’S NOT BY CHANCE IT’S BECAUSE I’VE WANTED TO HAVE THOSE RELATIONSHIPS I’VE REACHED OUT AND THEY’VE REACHED OUT TO ME I’M A PERSON THAT THEY KNOW THEY CAN CALL UPON AND WE’LL TRY TO DO WHATEVER IS POSSIBLE TO HELP IN THE SITUATION, BUT WE DON’T NEED PEOPLE RUNNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD THAT CAN’T COVER THE SPECTRUM WELL, YOU REPRESENT THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY I REPRESENT ALL CHILDREN IN AISD AND SO DO MY OTHER SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS AND WHAT WE WANT, WE ALL HAVE AN AGENDA AND THAT AGENDA IS TO PROVIDE THE BEST EDUCATION WE CAN FOR EVERY CHILD THAT WE HAVE IN OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT SO I DON’T SERVE JUST THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY, BUT WHAT I DO SERVE IS PEOPLE THAT ARE UNDERSERVED AND ALL GROUPS, INCLUDING MYSELF, IN KNOWING THAT SOMEONE CALLS WITH AN ISSUE WITH AISD, THAT I CAN HELP THEM NAVIGATE THE SYSTEM TO RESOLVE WHATEVER THE ISSUE IS, WHETHER IT’S IN THEIR FAVOR OR NOT IN THEIR FAVOR, BUT AT LEAST THEY KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS IN MOVING FORWARD AND THAT HELPS MOVE FORWARD >> IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE SAYING IF YOU’RE THINKING OF RUNNING FOR SCHOOL BOARD, IF YOU THINK YOU’RE RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL OR ANY ELECTED OFFICE, IF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT RUNNING TO ADVOCATE FOR A CERTAIN GROUP,

THAT REALLY SHOULDN’T BE THE MINDSET YOU SHOULD BE RUNNING TO DO THE JOB >> THE THING ABOUT BEING A PARTICULAR GROUP IS THAT AT LEAST YOU HAVE SOME UNDERSTANDING OF SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT ARE IN THAT GROUP BUT WE INCORPORATE THAT BECAUSE OTHER COMMUNITIES HAVE THOSE SAME ISSUES WE’RE NOT SET APART THAT WE’RE THE ONLY ONES THAT HAVE THOSE ISSUES WE MAY BE, US AND AFRICAN AMERICANS M MAY BE THE ONLY — NOT HAVING CERTIFIED STAFF, TEACHERS REPRESENTING THE DISTRICT THAT LOOK LIKE THEM, AND THAT’S A TRUE STATEMENT WE DON’T HAVE APPROXIMATELY 89 TO 92% OF OUR CERTIFIED TEACHERS ARE WHITE OUR DISTRICT, OUR DISTRICT, STAND ALONE, HISPANIC IS PRIX FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN, 13% THERE IS CONSIDERED A MINORITY MAJORITY SCHOOL DISTRICT THINK ABOUT THAT WE DON’T HAVE THAT REPRESENTATION AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT THE TEACHERS THAT WE HAVE ARE NOT DOING A GOOD JOB I’M JUST SAYING THAT SOME OF THESE CHILDREN NEED A ROLE MODEL THAT CAN RELATE TO THEM, THAT HAVE HAD THE SAME EXPERIENCES, AND, YOU KNOW, HISPANICS AND AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE NOT THE ONLY SECTORS OF THIS COMMUNITY THAT HAVE BEEN UNDERSERVED WITHOUT A DOUBT I DEAL WITH EVERYONE IN THIS COMMUNITY AND BELIEVE ME, THERE’S ANGLO-AMERICANS IN THIS COMMUNITY, THEIR CHILDREN ARE ALSO UNDERSERVED POVERTY HAS NO LIM LIMITS ON RACE OR FINANCIAL STATUS >> DO YOU THINK THAT’S THE BIGGEST BARRIER RIGHT NOW? I THINK WE HAVE TIME FOR THIS ONE LAST QUESTION DO YOU THINK THAT’S THE BIGGEST BARRIER RIGHT NOW, IS POVERTY, AND THAT IS WHAT LED TO WHERE WE ARE NOW? >> I THINK THAT THAT’S A TRUE STATEMENT POVERTY — I MEAN, IF WE LOOK AT THE CENSUS TRACKS IN ABILENE, TEXAS WE’RE STANDING ON ONE OF THOSE CENSUS THAT HAS A LOT OF UNDERSERVED INDIVIDUALS, BUT SO DOES 7160 FLEE AND THAT’S ACU, AND THAT AREA, NOT ON THE HILL, BUT BELOW THAT SO ABILENE AS A CITY REALLY WE JUST BARELY MEET THE MEDIAN INCOME OUR HOUSING IS GOOD, BUT WE NEED MORE HOUSING, AFFORDABLE HOUSING THERE’S A CYCLE HERE THAT’S HARD TO STOP AND THAT’S CALLED POVERTY IT’S HARD TO STOP THE ONLY WAY THAT WE CAN PUT A HEDGE ON IT IS THROUGH EDUCATION AND WE’VE ALL HEARD THE MORE EDUCATION YOU HAVE, THE BETTER OFF YOU’RE GOING TO BE THAT’S TRUE, BUT IT DOESN’T PROVIDE IN SOME CASES OPPORTUNITY BECAUSE THE HEARTS AND THE MINDS OF THE INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE THE RESOURCES, THAT OWN THE BUSINESSES, THAT BUILD THE ECONOMY HAVE TO BE OPEN TO LETTING OTHER PEOPLE THAT DON’T LOOK LIKE THEM PARTICIPATE IN THEIR BUSINESS TO BE PART OF IT AND WE’VE GOT TO GO IN THAT DIRECTION, YOU KNOW THINGS ARE CHANGING ABILENE IS A GREAT COMMUNITY I HAVE FRIENDS ALL OVER THIS COMMUNITY AND I LOVE THE COMMUNITY WE HAVE SOME ISSUES BUT LET ME TELL YOU, WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE OF GOOD HEARTS THAN WE HAVE PEOPLE OF HARD HEARTS WE’VE PEOPLE THAT WANT TO MAKE CHANGES, BUT THEY’RE NOT THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE AND THAT’S NOT TO SAY ALL THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE DON’T WANT TO MAKE CHANGES THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE WANTS TO MOVE FORWARD WE ALWAYS HAVE THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT WANT TO RUN BLOCKS, THEY WANT TO KEEP THE OLD STUFF, THEY WANT TO KEEP IN CHARGE, THEY WANT TO BE LARGE AND IN CHARGE IT’S NOT GOING TO WORK THIS IS 2020 AND WE HAVE GOT TO MOVE FORWARD >> IS CHANGING THE NAMES OF THESE SCHOOLS WITH CONFEDERATE LEADERS A FIRST STEP TO THAT? >> I THINK THAT IT’S A BIG STEP BECAUSE IT SHOWS THAT WE’RE LETTING GO OF AN ERA THAT NEEDS TO BE LET GO OF WE HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN THE HOLOCAUST WE DON’T NEED TO FORGET ANY OF THAT BECAUSE HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF SO WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND THAT IF WE DON’T — IF WE’RE NOT CAREFUL, WE COULD SLIDE ALL THE WAY BACK AND IF WE LOOK AT THE NATIONAL POLITICS THAT ARE GOING ON, MY GOSH, THIS LOOKS LIKE THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF 1965 INONLY THING WE’RE MISSING IS THE DOGS AND THE FIRE HOSES BRING THOSE ON AND IT WILL LOOK LIKE THE PICTURES I SAW AS A KID ON NATIONAL TV WHEN THEY WERE HOSING DOWN AND BEATING PEOPLE UP AND DOGS TRYING TO EAT YOU WE AIN’T THERE, BUT IF WE’RE NOT CAREFUL, WE CAN ADE GET THERE >> THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE WE’LL BE BACK ON “BIG COUNTRY POLITICS.” >>> “BIG COUNTRY POLITICS” ON

KTAB CONTINUES >>> AND, OF COURSE, YOU JUST GOT THROUGH LISTENING TO BILLY ENRIQUEZ WHO MADE THE MOTION TO CHANGE THE NAME OF THE FOUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS THAT ARE NAMED AFTER CONFEDERATE LEADERS OF COURSE, REAGAN ELEMENTARY WILL BE SHUT DOWN SO THAT’S ONE THEY DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT CHANGING HOWEVER, THEY’RE STILL GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT AT THE NEXT SCHOOL BOARD MEETING SO STAY TUNED FOR THAT WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A LOT MORE COVERAGE ON THAT TOPIC AS WE — AS THEY TRY TO DECIDE WHICH NAMES THEY’RE GOING TO USE FOR THOSE THREE SCHOOLS, NOT FOUR, BECAUSE, AS I SAID, REAGAN WILL BE SHUTTING DOWN AND WE DO HAVE A STORY ON OUR WEBSITE, WWW.BIGCOUNTRYHOMEPAGE.COM, OF AN ABILENE FAMILY OF A SOLDIER WHO WAS KILLED IN ACTION AND THEY ARE ADVOCATING FOR THEIR FAMILY MEMBER TO BE ONE OF THOSE NAMES ALL RIGHT, THAT DOES IT FOR THIS WEEK’S “BIG COUNTRY POLITICS.” FOR ALL THE LATEST POLITICAL HEADLINES, YOU CAN ALWAYS GO TO WWW.BIGCOUNTRYHOMEPAGE.COM AND WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK, SAME TIME, SAME PLACE THANKS FOR WATCHING ♪ ♪

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