Thu July 10, 2014 1:12 pm By Paul Burka

My colleague Skip Hollandsworth has written a timely story for the upcoming August issue that was posted online this morning. Titled "Is This the Most Dangerous Man in Texas?" it's about UT Regent Wallace Hall, the impeachment process, and the resignation of William Powers, the president of UT-Austin. Hollandsworth recounts several fascinating moments, including this meeting between UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and Powers:

In the fall of 2013, Cigarroa had Powers come to his office to discuss Hall’s allegations about the admissions process, and according to knowledgeable sources, the exchange turned testy when Cigarroa asked how Pitts’s son had gotten into UT law school. Powers fired back that Cigarroa’s own daughter had received the same consideration when she was admitted into the program. Cigarroa was livid. His daughter was a Harvard graduate who had top grades and a high LSAT score. He stood up and reportedly stepped toward Powers, as if he were going to punch him. The meeting quickly ended.

As I wrote yesterday, Powers is claiming victory regarding the events of the past few days: he will outlast Rick Perry, and he will be on the job during the legislative session. But I would predict that there is more to come on both fronts, for the Regents and for UT-Austin.



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Wed July 9, 2014 11:38 pm By Paul Burka

UT president Bill Powers has been under pressure from UT regents for months, if not years, but the outcome of the debate over his future is now clear. Powers was the winner, and Rick Perry was the loser.

Powers got everything he wanted:

(1) His chosen departure date (June 6, 2015). Perry wanted Powers gone as early as the Fourth of July weekend.

(2) Powers' term in office will outlast Perry's. Powers will serve through the 2015 legislative session. Perry will be long gone by then, leaving him with no influence on who becomes the next president of UT-Austin.

(AP Image / Ricardo Brazziell)

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Wed July 9, 2014 12:52 pm By Paul Burka

It is with deep regret that BurkaBlog bids farewell to State Senator Robert Duncan. As most readers know by now, Duncan resigned his seat to become chancellor at the Texas Tech University System.

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Tue July 8, 2014 9:55 am By Paul Burka

Wendy Davis is asleep at the switch again. The Obama administration has opened a new front on the battle over Medicaid expansion. By 2016, says the White House, states that have adopted expansion will have saved $4.3 billion. In addition, expansion states would have experienced 3.3 million annual physicians' visits, 176,000 more cholesterol screenings, 44,000 more mammograms, and 97,000 fewer people experiencing depression. This ought to be a heaven-sent opportunity for Davis to distinguish herself from Abbott. Expansion would have saved Texas $3.1B in 2014, $10.4B by 2017. And yet, the state's Republican leaders are willing to allow their hatred for Barack Obama to get in the way of improving Texans' health, not to mention providing billions of dollars for doctors and hospitals.

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Thu July 3, 2014 12:03 pm By Erica Grieder

Just a quick note that at 1 pm today, my colleague Brian Sweany and I are going to talk with Krys Boyd on KERA's Think about Texas Monthly's August cover package on Rick Perry. You can listen live via KERA's website, or check the segment's link later for a podcast version. 

It should be an interesting discussion. After all these years, Perry continues to inspire strong feelings on both sides of the aisle, as evidenced by the email Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson recently sent to the Austin American-Statesman's Ken Herman: "I lament the fact that our governor could now pass for a West Coast metrosexual and has embarrassed us all with his sartorial change of direction." 

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