Forrest Wilder

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is the editor of the Observer. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

By Forrest Wilder:

Environment

The Texas Legislature’s Chainsaw Massacre

In the name of “liberty,” Senate Republicans are hacking down local rules protecting trees — except when they’re making exceptions for themselves.

At least 90 cities and counties in Texas have ordinances protecting trees. San Antonio has an ordinance. Weatherford has an ordinance. Austin has an ordinance. So do the verdantly named North Texas burgs of Little Elm, Mesquite and Oak Point. … Read More

Politics

Never Say Sine Die: Legislature Returns to Ideological Special Session Agenda

As if the regular session wasn’t terrible enough, Governor Greg Abbott has called lawmakers back for another 30 days of hell.

If your town suddenly seems emptied of crooks, scoundrels and liars, it’s probably because state lawmakers are trickling back into Austin for a very special legislative session that begins Tuesday. One sign that they’re back in town: political fundraisers involving … Read More

Border

Greg Abbott’s Latino Problem

The governor is looking strong in his re-election bid but his support for Senate Bill 4 may be doing serious damage to the Texas GOP.

Greg Abbott announced his re-election campaign in San Antonio on Friday. Despite my eternal mystification as to why Abbott wants to be governor (he seems to be largely animated by fears of his base and Dan Patrick), there’s little doubt … Read More

Criminal Justice

Why We Hired a Civil Rights Reporter

Introducing Michael Barajas, the Observer’s new civil rights reporter

Over the last five years, federal courts have repeatedly ruled that the Texas Legislature intentionally discriminated against racial minorities. That’s a high bar. Courts are often reticent to impute motives to lawmakers, but the racial animus is evidently impossible to … Read More

House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio)
Border

Joe Straus and the House Moderates Could’ve Stopped the ‘Show Me Your Papers’ Bill

Who's to blame for Senate Bill 4? For my money, there is no better place to start than Speaker Joe Straus and the so-called moderates in the Texas House.

Many believed it wouldn’t happen, but on Thursday, the Texas House passed legislation that in spirit and letter is awfully similar to SB 1070, the “show me your papers” law that properly branded Arizona an anti-Latino pariah. As Chris Hooks … Read More

Best of 2016

The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘Just Like Every Other Kid’

Under attack from Texas politicians, trans kids and their parents talk back.

Editor’s Note: If there was a collective “Person of the Year” for the Texas LGBT community in 2016, it was undoubtedly the parents of transgender children. Faced with a seemingly endless barrage of hateful, anti-trans “bathroom” rhetoric from Republican state … Read More

Best of 2016

The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘Above the Law’

Pamela Elliott was the new sheriff in town. But instead of law and order, she brought chaos.

Editor’s Note: Rural America is too often forgotten or ignored by the media. Journalists and major media outlets are in the big cities. Reporters usually come from urban backgrounds. Small-town newspapers are, I regret to inform, often reluctant to rock … Read More

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