Free TV channels
This time of year, the satellite companies negotiate with major media companies to broadcast local high-definition channels that come over the air for free. In return, the satellite companies charge their customers for what is normally free.
If the satellite and cable customers like to have movie and sports channels -- and don't mind paying for the free HD channels -- that is their decision.
I had satellite service in the past, but disconnected it 10 years ago. The HD channels I now receive are all of the local stations plus their substations from which they broadcast for free. This is a total of 29 channels, plus an additional 14 other channels that consist of religious, shopping, Westerns, cooking, business, police stories, sci-fi and four movie stations.
I receive these channels off an antenna I bought in 2003 from one of the big-box stores for $23. On weekends, I get all the college ball games, track and field and bull riding. On Sundays, I get five to seven pro games and auto racing. These are all free.
I'm just letting you know that you don't have to pay the satellite companies for something that is free unless you want to watch the major movie channels.
On Nov. 7, Denton voters overwhelmingly ratified a charter calling for a new, tougher city ethics ordinance.
Even before the results were certified, city officials reached out to an Austin attorney who worked with the Charter Review Committee on municipal ethics to help draft this new ordinance.
This noted attorney well understands that city ethics ordinances are first and foremost about citizen trust in elected officials.
He provided a thoughtful proposal calling for a small citizens group to work with him customizing a draft ordinance to meet the community's needs before sending it to full council for any final amendments and approval. At least one public hearing was scheduled under his plan.
Sounds good, right? Well, not so fast.
Inexplicably, during a slapdash council work session barely a week after the election, council members decided that no citizen committee would be needed after all. Instead, council members themselves would take charge of the drafting and approval.
Yes, there would still be a (dog-and-pony) public hearing, but the complete lack of trust shown the community that day couldn't have been more evident and documented.
Now we're left with a council majority (not all) that looked the other way during recent ethical shenanigans in charge of writing their own rules moving forward. How comforting!
Time will tell whether Denton gets a meaningful ethics ordinance or a watered-down, ambiguous puff piece of an ordinance similar to the meaningless ethics resolution responsible for so many ethical casualties in the past.