BG Note | News - What We're Reading (May 22, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Identity politics, changing demographics take center stage in Sheryl Cole and Chito Vela's race in Austin (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

If Sheryl Cole wins Tuesday’s Democratic primary runoff for House District 46, she’d be favored to continue the Austin area’s 43-year legacy of having one legislative seat held by an African-American.
If Chito Vela wins, the Democratic-leaning district would be likely to see its first Hispanic representative since Hispanics became the district’s largest demographic group nearly two decades ago. In a race between two candidates with few major ideological differences, the question of racial representation has dominated the debate in the campaign’s final days.
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City contemplates restaurant inspection changes (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Under the new plan, those higher-risk establishments, essentially full-service restaurants, would be subject to inspections three times a year. However, consistently high-scoring establishments would be able to return to the twice-yearly inspection schedule. Medium-risk establishments, like fast-food restaurants, would typically be inspected twice yearly, though they could be inspected three times a year if they scored low on those inspections, or just once a year if their inspections were consistently high scoring. Finally, lower-risk businesses like convenience stores would be inspected annually, though they could be inspected twice a year if those inspections yielded lower scores.
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AISD Board President Kendall Pace resigns after text message controversy (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Kendall Pace, president of the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees, said this morning that she would resign from her position as president and as Place 9 trustee after controversial text messages she sent to another board trustee surfaced last week.
The Austin teachers’ union had called on Pace to resign over the texts, which included harsh language toward members of the education community and efforts by the district to close the achievement gap.
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Elfant to address Tax Office fraud investigation (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant will brief the Commissioners Court on Tuesday morning about the fraud investigation that landed seven people in jail on Friday, four of them Tax Office employees.

“There I will be able to provide details on the contingency plans that we have put in place and what the next steps are for the tax office moving forward,” Elfant said in a press release sent out on Monday morning.

The main Tax Office location on Airport Boulevard was open for business on Monday. However, four satellite offices remain closed as the Texas Department of Public Safety continues its investigation.

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Young pros to know: 2018 Austin Under 40 winners (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

The 20th annual Austin Under 40 Awards were handed out Saturday night, with immigration attorney Sujata Ajmera named 2018 Austinite of the Year.
Ajmera, who inspired the crowd of almost 1,000 attendees with her story of being the first Indian-American law partner in Austin, is a partner at Strasburger & Price LLP and was put in charge of the firm's nationwide immigration practice in 2016. She spends much of her days working with hurried and worried clients in the corporate world, shepherding them through immigration issues.
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Four races to watch in Tuesday’s runoff elections (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Runoff elections, ending the 2018 primary season, are being held Tuesday across the state. The polls are open from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. Voters can participate in a runoff if they participated in that party’s primary or didn’t vote at all in the primary. Here are four races to watch.: Valdez v. White: Who will Democrats nominate as their candidate to take on Gov. Greg Abbott in the fall — Lupe Valdez, the 70-year-old former Dallas County sheriff, who promises to rally Latinos to the polls, or 45-year-old Andrew White, a successful Houston entrepreneur and son of the late Gov. Mark White, who believes he has the middle-of-the-road profile of Democrats getting elected this year in red states?

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New study boosts local campaign for paid sick leave (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

The campaign to make mandatory paid sick leave a reality in San Antonio just got some statistical reinforcement. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has released a new study which finds that approximately 39 percent of San Antonio workers lack paid sick leave, a figure which puts San Antonio above the estimated national average of 36 percent. The study also determined that San Antonio has about 354,000 workers without paid sick leave, compared to 302,000 for Dallas and 223,000 for Austin. IWPR’s report determined that the percentages of San Antonians getting by without paid sick leave are particularly high for Latinos (43 percent) and those working in service occupations (62 percent).
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Border county judge candidate arrested after he allegedly makes cartel threat (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

A candidate in a hotly contested runoff to be a border county judge has turned himself in to police after he was accused of threatening to send a Mexican drug cartel after the county party chairman, according to authorities. The election is Tuesday. The candidate in the Democratic runoff for Maverick County judge, Rudy Bowles, left a voicemail Sunday afternoon for the chairman, Luis Ruiz, demanding a "list of the judges for each one of the precincts," Ruiz told police. "I need to know right away," Bowles said. "If you don’t call me within 30 minutes, I am going to call the damn Zetas from across the river and they’re going looking for you, OK. Call me please, I don’t want to have to do that."...
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Supreme Court upholds agreements that prevent employee class-action suits (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

The Supreme Court’s decision Monday allowing employers to keep employees from joining together in wage and hour disputes could have a dramatic and lasting impact on the American workforce. In a 5-4 ruling, the justices said arbitration agreements that bar employees from joining together in arbitration or a class-action lawsuit to settle labor disputes are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act. “The policy may be debatable but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch in the majority opinion.
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Dems grit their teeth and cheer for Trump on North Korea (Politico) LINK TO STORY

Democrats face a political minefield ahead of President Donald Trump’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: how to root for success for a president they usually want to see flounder. Trump is reportedly reevaluating the prospects for a significant denuclearization commitment from Kim, but if he manages to land a foreign policy coup that has eluded past presidents, it couldn’t come at a worse time for Democrats. The party is planning to center its midterm campaign message around the numerous scandals engulfing the administration. A successful meeting with Kim, however, would give Trump and the GOP — already encouraged by record-low unemployment and other positive economic indicators — a big morale boost just a few months before the November midterms.
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In Hard-Line Speech, Pompeo Criticizes Iran’s Behavior (New York Times) LINK TO STORY

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used his first major policy address to deliver a hard-line speech on Monday, in which he demanded that Iran change just about everything regarding its behavior on the world stage. He insisted that Iran end all nuclear enrichment programs and close its heavy water reactor, saying it did not have the right to such a program. He also appealed directly to the Iranian people, suggesting they should reject the clerical government in Tehran, the capital. “What has the Iranian revolution given to the Iranian people?” Mr. Pompeo asked at one point, and then offered an answer: “The hard grip of repression is all that millions of Iranians have ever known.”
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