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Leading Off (8/19/20)

, the state dumps more COVID data, and a plastic fire rages in Grand Prairie

“Failure in Leadership” at Dallas Police Department. The Dallas City Council finally questioned the Dallas police chief on her department’s brutal response to initial weeks of protests over of the murder of George Floyd and widespread police brutality in cities throughout America. Read this report on the meeting, and ask yourself when was the last time an entity charged with investigating its own criminal behavior produced a fair and honest assessment of its own crimes? Well, surprise, it appears DPD has also failed to hold itself to account. Now the ball is in the council’s court. Will it find the moral courage the moment demands to implement real police oversight and accountability, or will the Texas governor step in to strip locally elected officials of their power to manage their own police departments?

COVID Testing And Data SNAFUs Continue. Confidence in public officials’ ability to communicate clear, trustworthy data is key to responding to any public health emergency. Texas is failing that test. Yesterday, another trove of backlogged COVID positive tests were added to the books. That makes 8,000 new cases for Dallas County in three days. Collin County has declared it has “no confidence” in the state’s numbers as Texas health officials blame software issues on missing 350,000 positive cases. The county said there were 237 new COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday, but will we find out in a few weeks that there are actually more? Regardless, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins admitted that while the state’s incompetency will generate understandable confusion, “the underlying science and the medical recommendations to you and the public are sound.” In other words, wear your mask, hide under your bed, and hope the nightmare ends soon.

Bankrupt J.C. Penny Backs Out of Mall Deal. It appears that even in a world of re-imagined shopping malls the troubled retailer can’t chart a future.

Massive Grand Prairie Plastic Fire Still Burning. Or at least it was as of around 7 a.m. The fire started around midnight at Poly-America, a manufacturer of polyethylene products like trash bags and plastic sheeting. Not only do those chemical compounds release toxic gases when they burn, but plastic fires are very difficult to put out. One concern: the football field-sized blaze could weaken power line towers and cause them to topple onto the President George Bush Turnpike.