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Red State, Public Beaches, and Sports Monday: Houston Matters for Monday, Oct. 13, 2014

The GOP has had such a stranglehold on statewide offices here in Texas for so many years now that it’s hard to imagine a time when it was any different. Sure, Ann Richards was Governor of Texas for a while there, but she seems very much like the Democratic exception to the Republican rule. How […]

Red State bookThe GOP has had such a stranglehold on statewide offices here in Texas for so many years now that it’s hard to imagine a time when it was any different. Sure, Ann Richards was Governor of Texas for a while there, but she seems very much like the Democratic exception to the Republican rule.

How did it happen? How has Texas remained so “red” for so long? It’s a topic political scientist and former Texas Republican party executive director Dr. Wayne Thorburn explores in his new book Red State: An Insider’s Story of How the GOP Came to Dominate Texas Politics. 

On this edition of Houston Matters, we talk with Thorburn about his book, and about the past, present, and future of the GOP in Texas.

Also this hour: a conversation about the Texas Open Beaches Act. Passed in 1959 and added to the state constitution in 2009, it guarantees the public the right to free and unrestricted access to Texas beaches along the state’s 367 miles of coastline. Those beaches are basically defined as the areas from the water to the vegetation lines. But what happens when those beaches disappear – either gradually from erosion or suddenly in the aftermath of a storm or hurricane? Does a home that was once farther from the beach suddenly become public property now that it’s right on the water?

That’s what brought Carol Severance to court. Severance owns several rental homes on Galveston Island. After Hurricane Rita pushed the vegetation line behind her house in 2005, her homes became public property. Severance sued, and in 2010, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in her favor, muddying the waters over how Texas’ Open Beaches Act is applied and interpreted.

Plus: After a short week, the Houston Texans have a few extra days to prepare for their next game, a week from tonight in Pittsburgh. We discuss last Thursday’s loss to the Colts, and what a longer-than-usual layoff means for the Texans, as CultureMap Houston sports columnist M.K. Bower joins us for our regular Monday sports round-up. We also discuss the fascinating and dramatic Major League Baseball playoffs.

 

 

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