Todays Fair Shots - May 9th, 2017
1-John Patrick: SB 4 'Bad for Working People, Bad for Business, and Bad for Texas'
2-Krugman: Everything About 'TrumpCare' Is a Lie, "'Including 'a,' 'and,' and 'the'"
3-Against Anti-Union Ugliness, Fire Fighters Win Civil Service Election in Arlington
4-Saturday Marks 'Stamp Out Hunger' Food Drive
5-Plainview Newspaper Notes Visit to Capitol by Correctional Officers
6-St. Mary's University Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Birth of Henry B. Gonzalez
1) Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 4, the so-called "sanctuary cities" bill, in a hastily announced live five-minute Facebook feed on Sunday.
That preemptive action, which postponed but didn't stave off protests that continued today, was followed by an announcement by Attorney General Ken Paxton that Texas is suing for a federal court declaration that the law is constitutional.
Usually, when priority items from a governor are signed into law, it is cause for the governor to celebrate, not retreat into privacy. The Texas AFL-CIO posted this news release on the signing:
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, whose city is the defendant in the Attorney General's lawsuit noted in item 1, had a strong response:
For five months, we've been on the sidelines while the legislature has treated Austin's safety like a political football. I'm glad the action is moving to court where it's not about politics, it's about the law. A judge will decide whether the United States of America or Texas determines federal immigration policy and whether local police and prosecutors have the discretion to keep their communities safe. I was elected by the people of Austin, and I will continue to speak on their behalf.
2) New York Times columnist Paul Krugman invoked George Orwell's novel 1984 in blasting passage of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. House.
This is truly one of those, "But tell us what you really think" columns:
There have been many bad laws in U.S. history. Some bills were poorly conceived; some were cruel and unjust; some were sold on false pretenses. Some were all of the above.
But has there ever been anything like Trumpcare, the health legislation Republicans rammed through the House last week? It's a miserably designed law, full of unintended consequences. It's a moral disaster, snatching health care from tens of millions mainly to give the very wealthy a near-trillion-dollar tax cut.
What really stands out, however, is the Orwell-level dishonesty of the whole effort. As far as I can tell, every word Republicans, from Trump on down, have said about their bill - about why they want to replace Obamacare, about what their replacement would do, and about how it would work - is a lie, including "a," "and" and "the."...
This was a Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength moment. And it may be the shape of things to come.
Read more: http://nyti.ms/2psQ43x
3) Congratulations to our Brothers and Sisters in the Fire Fighters on winning an election to obtain civil service protections in Arlington.
The vote of the people followed a vicious anti-union campaign by the Mayor, City Council majority and some usual suspects. The good news is that the entire union movement rose up to defend the Fire Fighters from an onslaught of unwarranted attacks.
The Arlington Voice reports the success came on the third try and provoked the sour grapes-flavored wrath of a leader of the opposition:
A proposition to transition the Arlington Fire Department to a state civil service model was approved with approximately 54 percent in support.
Rejected by voters twice before, the proposition overcame a well-funded opposition campaign, which had the support of eight of nine council members.
"We put a lot of effort into this and had over 100 firefighters out at the polls today," said David Crow, president of the Arlington Professional Firefighters Association (APFA). "We're encouraged by the feedback."
Arlington joins a growing list of Texas cities, including Fort Worth and Dallas, which use a civil service system.
A three-person, city manager-appointed commission will be responsible for the Department's personnel and discipline process. APFA members have suggested the Department's current process of promoting firefighters is dysfunctional and lends itself to favorability issues.
The proposition has met opposition from a majority of the City Council, but District 1 Councilman Charlie Parker has been particularly vocal.
"It's very disappointing when 190 firefighters can ruin an award-winning fire department," Parker said.
The City is expected to begin the transition to civil service in October.
Read more: http://bit.ly/2qiQf5v
4) This Saturday marks the annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive, led in large part by the National Association of Letter Carriers and the unions of the AFL-CIO.
As in the past, your local letter carrier will pick up nonperishable goods that you leave next to your mailbox in time for pickup. The donations will be delivered to local food banks.
The drive collects millions of pounds of food each year that goes to people who are struggling to support their families. Please make sure this is marked on your calendar and your reminder mechanisms. We will revisit this later in the week.
5) Rachel Rekowski, the Communications Director for the Texas Fair Shot Coalition, has shadowed union visitors as they come to the Capitol to speak to lawmakers about their concerns. The Plainview Herald posted one of her outstanding articles on a visit by correctional officers:
6) The 100th anniversary of the birth of U.S. Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez was commemorated at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, where Gonzalez left an indelible mark representing working families and those in poverty.
Gonzalez, the first Mexican-American congressman from Texas, served 37 years in the U.S. House. Before that, he made such a historic mark in the Texas Senate that his portrait is included on the Senate walls.
When I lived in San Antonio, Henry B. was my congressman. Though I'm no fan of U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, my current rep, in one lifetime I have been blessed to be represented by Rep. Allard K. Lowenstein, for whom I delivered flyers during his first congressional campaign, Rep. Gonzalez and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, whom I still think of as my "real rep." They each had something in common: You really, truly mattered to them.
The San Antonio College Ranger reports former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros discussed Gonzalez's legacy at the final event in a running celebration of the congressman's life:
He recalled Gonzalez's work in Austin as a state senator when in 1957 he successfully filibustered for 36 hours a set of bills to enact school segregation in Texas.
"He saw what was done in Dixie states and he was not going to let that happen here," Cisneros said.
Maria R. Gomez and her daughter Rosemary Stuart attended this event to share with Charlie Gonzalez, one of Henry B. Gonzalez's sons, the special place in their hearts they have for the late congressman, who was known for advocating for all people.
Stuart said in 1968, her mother lost all of her savings to a scam when a lawyer promised to obtain her documentation to legally work in this country in exchange for money.
Gomez's husband, a painter at the Hilton Palacio Del Rio, who had previously received documentation, recommended she reach out to Gonzalez for assistance.
Gomez wrote to Gonzalez about the issue and he ensured her paperwork was pro-cessed accordingly, Stuart said.
Read more: http://bit.ly/2qK8JeZ