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Results Roll in for Local Runoff Elections Across Texas: Your Texas Roundup

Plus: A bathroom bill could jeopardize Dallas’s candidacy for the 2018 NFL draft, the U.S.S. Gabrielle Giffords gets sent into service from Galveston, and alt-right protesters mobilize in Texas.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“Yes we went on this call. No… she did not get them for free.”

—Waco Police Sergeant Patrick Swanton on Facebook, according to KCEN. At 11 p.m. on Friday, the Waco Police sent two officers to respond to a 911 call from a woman in a restaurant drive-thru, who complained that her chicken nuggets took too long to cook and demanded to know why she couldn’t get them for free. 


BIG NEWS


Ron Jenkins/Getty

Decision Day
Texans across the state voted in local runoff elections over the weekend. The biggest races were the mayoral runoffs in San Antonio and El Paso. In Alamo City, Councilman Ron Nirenberg beat incumbent Ivy Taylor by a whopping ten points, according to the San Antonio Express-News, putting an end to a mayoral race that had become pretty snippy. Nirenberg is a political independent but was generally viewed as the more progressive candidate, compared to Taylor, who votes in Democratic primaries but is markedly more conservative than the party she votes with. Taylor’s campaign focused on painting Nirenberg as a liberal outcast, but San Antonians apparently were unmoved. In El Paso, former Republican state Representative Dee Margo beat businessman David Saucedo to fill the mayoral post after incumbent Oscar Leeser decided not to seek reelection. According to the El Paso Times, the city only 31,255 people casted ballots on Saturday, just 8.6 percent of registered voters, the lowest turnout ever for an El Paso mayoral runoff election. Meanwhile, Dallas ousted a few city council members amid an ongoing voter fraud investigation. According to the Dallas Morning News, voters in Dallas shook up their city council, unseating three incumbents on Saturday. But the results weren’t official until Sunday night, thanks to extra precautions being taken while the city continues to investigate allegations of voter fraud in West Dallas, after some have folks said someone else cast mail-in ballots in their names during the May election. Pasadena, though, seems fine with more of the same, electing City Councilman Jeff Wagner for mayor, filling in for his political ally Johnny Isbell, who controlled city politics for decades but was term-limited. A federal judge recently ruled that Pasadena and Isbell intentionally discriminated against Hispanic voters with a since-scrapped redistricting plan for the city council elections. “Voters in Pasadena don’t seem to be ready for change,” University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s hard to persuade voters about change in a local election.” And in Pearland, 91-year-old incumbent Tom Reid held on against challenger Quintin Wiltz. Reid has been Pearland’s mayor for a total of 34 years, according to KHOU.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Draft Bust
With bathroom bill legislation looming over the upcoming special session of the Texas Lege, one of the first shoes appears poised to drop should Texas implement the law. Multiple anonymous sources told the Dallas Morning News that the NFL is closely watching what happens in the special session, and whether Dallas gets to host the 2018 NFL draft will likely depend on the fate of the bathroom bill. The league won’t decide on the 2018 NFL draft’s location until later in the summer or in the early fall, so it gets to see how things play out in Texas before making its decision. According to the Morning News, the Cowboys are considered to be leading the pack of cities vying to land the draft. As the Morning News notes, the NFL is hardly “drawing a line in the ideological sand” over the bathroom bill, and it probably won’t publicly enter the fractious debate that has wracked the Lege of late. But the NFL’s people are working “behind the scenes” to make sure that if Texas does pass discriminatory legislation, they won’t host an event like next year’s draft.

Anchors Away
The USS Gabrielle Giffords was officially sent into service on Saturday in Galveston, with the Navy’s newest battle ship celebrated in a huge commissioning ceremony on the island, graced by the presence of the boat’s namesake, former Arizona U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot to the head during a mass shooting six years ago. “The USS Gabrielle Giffords is strong and tough, just like her crew,” Giffords at the ceremony, according to the Galveston Daily News. “I thought of you in my darkest days.” Construction of the 419-feet long, $475 million ship started in 2014, and she’ll be stationed in San Diego after departing Galveston on Monday. She received quite a send-off: in addition to Giffords, other attendees included Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and his wife, and actress Olivia Munn, and Jon Bon Jovi and news anchor Katie Couric were among the attendees at a Friday night gala at the San Luis Resort. The ship was commissioned in Galveston because it’s close to Gifford’s former home where she lived with her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

Freak Show
A few alt-right protests took place in Texas over the weekend, with anti-Muslim protesters marching against “Sharia law” in Austin and Dallas, and armed protesters protecting a statue in Houston from a threat that didn’t actually exist. Austin’s version of a national “Anti-Sharia” protest movement was notably small according to the Washington Post, as a few dozen protesters had to simply stand near the Capitol’s gates because they didn’t have permits to march anywhere, becoming fish in a barrel for “a much larger group of counterprotesters who mocked and harangued them for hours.” Meanwhile, armed anti-Muslim protesters disturbingly showed up outside a mosque in Richardson, according to WFAA. In Houston, a bunch of alt-righters rallied outside the city’s Sam Houston Monument in Hermann Park on Saturday, mobilizing in response to a threat from the Antifa to bring down the statue, according to the Houston Press. The “Antifa threat,” however, was a hoax perpetrated by the alt-right itself just to spur a dust-up. It apparently duped enough people—and the local media—to make for a pretty big turnout on Saturday. The gathering was complete with infighting among protesters, some of whom brought shiny “Roman armor,” held handmade wooden shields or wore shin guards (gotta protect the shins from those pesky statue-topplers). Houston Chronicle editorial writer Evan Mintz did a good job capturing the crowd of mostly “Internet weirdos” on his Twitter feed.


WHAT WE’RE READING


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

El Paso’s got a big power plant problem El Paso Times

Please wish the Monahans Sandhills State Park a happy sixtieth birthday KWES

Watch Sadie the Chihuahua scare off a home invader in Arlington Fort Worth Star-Telegram

How a “bubble boy” baby in 2017 has benefitted from another child born without an immune system decades earlier Houston Chronicle

The drug Fentanyl presents a new scary set of challenges to Texas law enforcement Austin American-Statesman

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  • José

    The Anti-Sharia movement would have a lot more credibility if it opposed all forms of religious based laws, those which have no secular purpose. While the Sharia scare is wildly exaggerated, in Texas there are many who seek to impose their extreme interpretation of Christianity on an unwilling public. Until then let’s call these folks what they really are, anti-Muslim bigots.

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    • Patrick Swanton on Facebook, according to KCEN. At 11 p.m. on Friday, the Waco Police sent two officers to respond to a 911 call from a woman in a restaurant drive-thru, who complained that her chicken nuggets took too long to cook and demanded to know why she couldn’t get them for free.

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