Updated: Cruz versus Sadler tonight, education as chief concern for voters, bad Texas roads and more.
As Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Paul Sadler saddle up for their first U.S. Senate debate tonight, a new poll shows Cruz with a big head start.
The poll, from the Texas Lyceum, shows the Tea Party favorite leading Sadler 50 percent to 24 percent among likely voters, with 26 percent undecided just five weeks before Election Day. That’s a bigger lead than the Republican at the top of the ballot holds: Mitt Romney has a 58-39 edge on President Obama. (The margin of error is 3.8 percentage points.)
KERA's Shelley Kofler has more on those undecided voters.
It’s The Economy, Stupid! But In Texas, It’s Also The Schools
Folks looking for in-depth discussion of education issues when Obama and Romney square off tomorrow night will probably hear … well … crickets.
But that Texas Lyceum new poll shows a surprising number of Texans identify education as the most important issue facing the state. No shock that the economy is No. 1, with 19 percent of registered voters saying it’s the state’s top issue. But schools come in as a close second at 17 percent.
The poll also finds that 74 percent of Texans say they’d be willing to spend more tax dollars on improving education (as long as those dollars don’t go to pay administrators more). Interesting numbers, especially considering the wrangling in Austin and in courtrooms over school funding.
Arts District Comes Full Circle At DMA Tonight
What were you doing in 1984? Then with The New York Times, architecture critic Paul Goldberger was exploring the daylight-showered halls of a brand-new museum in Dallas, designed by New Yorker Edward Larrabee Barnes, that would become the first piece in the city’s long-planned Arts District.
The writer observed what the pristine, minimalist space said about Dallas’ attitude toward art:
"It is an immense, sprawling building of limestone, with a great vaulted space at its center, and it bespeaks a kind of self-assurance that is altogether different from the image most Easterners have of Dallas. This is not a nouveau-riche museum, or a pushy one, or a glittery one. It is a museum built by people who know about art and who know about monumentality, and who have shown respect for both.”
Tonight, our own Jeff Whittington begins the fourth season of the State of the Arts discussion series with a look at the Arts District -- and what its final pieces , City Performance Hall and the soon-to-open Klyde Warren Park, will mean for the city. Jeff will play host to panelists Veletta Forsythe Lill, who’s stepping down as the District’s executive director next month; Maria Muñoz-Blanco, director of the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs; and Mark Banta, president of Kyle Warren Park.
Jeff gives a sneak peek and details on how to get tickets at Art&Seek.
Naturally, the discussion takes place at the DMA.
-- Lyndsay Knecht
Texas Potholes: Bad News And Big Cost For Drivers
Bad roads and bridges in Texas are costing motorists more than $23 billion a year.
The study from the non-profit group TRIP says 45 percent of state and local roads are a bad ride. The report shows only 26 percent of the pavement in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is in the good category: 11 percent is rated poor.
The new bad-roads report warns that unless Texas invests in maintenance, repair and capacity, the cost of driving will continue to rise and so will the amount of time spent in gridlock. TRIP estimates if investment remains flat, the North Texas commute time will double in 15 years to 74 hours a year.
So much drive time, so much All Things Considered.
-- BJ Austin
Get Those Teeth Checked Between Classes, Kids
Did you know there was a dental clinic inside Vivian Field Middle School in Farmer’s Branch? It’s a smart move: Fourteen percent of kids in Texas haven’t seen a dentist, and tooth decay is five times more common than asthma among children.
KERA’s BJ Austin visited the in-school Community Dental Clinic, one of 13 such offices in Dallas and Collin Counties. Check out her story and get to know one 10-year-old who hadn’t gotten his teeth checked out until he found the clinic at Field.
-- Lyndsay Knecht
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