In this week's roundup of Dallas and Texas news, Texas seems hellbent on becoming a super-spreader state. Volunteers are going door-to-door to try and increase vaccinations. AT&T says one thing and does another. The post office is raising rates. And the convention center needs an intervention.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Texas COVID report
Texas is not looking good on the COVID front. Here are three bad examples:
- Big deaths. According to the Texas Tribune, Texas has seen nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths since February. All but 43 were unvaccinated. COVID-19 cases have been surging in Texas and nationally — mostly among unvaccinated people — as the highly contagious delta variant has become dominant. Less than 43 percent of Texans have been fully vaccinated.
- Big cases. Texas is one of three states, along with Florida and Missouri, that are driving the pandemic in the U.S. According to Yahoo News, 40 percent of all new cases in the U.S. this week have been recorded in these three backwater states.
- Big cooties. Ashley Moody, the Republican attorney general of Florida, tested positive for COVID-19, four days after she visited Texas for a press conference on the U.S.-Mexico border with Gov. Greg Abbott. Moody was in close contact with dozens of state law enforcement officers.
Dallas County volunteers are now going door-to-door, to encourage people to get vaccinated.
"The County is doubling down on efforts to make sure that everyone knows about the vaccine, have access to it. A lot of people do not have information, or enough information, or may have questions on the vaccine," a spokesman from Dallas County Health and Human Services tells WFAA.
They're visiting areas such as South Dallas where vaccination rates are low.
There's been a big increase in COVID cases with the Delta variant, and they're finding that most of those cases are among people who haven't been vaccinated.
AT&T and Greg
Dallas-based AT&T has come out publicly in support of voting rights, but an Accountable.US review found that the AT&T Texas PAC made a $100,000 contribution to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott- on the very same day Abbott called for a special session to pass a voter suppression bill.
In April 2021, AT&T CEO John Stankey made a statement saying, "We believe the right to vote is sacred and we support voting laws that make it easier for more Americans to vote in free, fair and secure elections."
Abbott is not the only beneficiary. AT&T-affiliated PACs have contributed more than $360,000 to the campaigns of the 15 members of the Texas House and Senate committees that have advanced voting restriction bills during the special 2021 summer session.
Post office increase
The U.S. Postal Service will increase the price of first-class stamps from 55 cents to 58 cents, effective August 29.
They're also going to lower their timetable on delivery, meaning that it will take longer to get your mail. The most affected customers will be in California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Maine, as well as rural customers. The slower delivery standards are expected to save money.
Stop the convention center
The City of Dallas is still pushing to "transform" the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas with a 10-year master plan they think will generate revenue. Two open houses have been held, in April and July. Now the Asian American Contractors Association of Texas is hosting a webinar on July 27, from 11 am-12:30 pm, featuring the convention center's director and project manager.
"If you don't want to spend another $400 million on the convention center where you already owe a billion, it's a good time to write your council rep," suggests ex council member Philip Kingston, who also notes that "BTW, the convention center lost us more than $70 million in 2019."