The State of Texas: April 30, 2015
Quote of the Day
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Hispanic panhandler”
Lupe Loses – One of the most notorious law officials in recent Texas history just saw another hit in his case. “A federal appeals court . . . ruled against former Hidalgo County sheriff Lupe Treviño in his attempt to reduce his five-year prison term,” according to the McAllen Monitor. “Treviño, 65, had appealed the five-year sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, who went beyond federal sentencing guidelines in handing down his punishment, saying he’d abused the public’s trust in his position.” The Appeals Court didn’t even bother waiting for oral arguments before handing down its decision. The only thing left for Treviño now is to appeal his case to the Supreme Court. But even if they did agree to hear it, he’d probably be out by the time they did.
Farewell, Fiesta – Say goodbye to the Hispanic grocery chain, Fiesta, at least when it comes to Texas ownership. “In a deal that could reinvigorate the aging retail icon, an out-of-state investment firm has purchased the chain with the announced intention of ‘building value,’” writes the Houston Chronicle. “Little is known about the new owner’s specific plans for the stores or what is ahead for the some 8,000 Fiesta Mart employees. The buyer, Washington, D.C.-based Acon Investments, declined to be interviewed about its plans for the sixty Texas stores it acquired, including 34 in the Houston area.” As the story notes, Fiesta, founded in 1972, was one of the first—if not the first—grocery chain to recognize the importance of and cater to the Hispanic market. Since Fiesta was founded, however, more than one grocery retailer has attempted to expand its market into the Hispanic community as well. But maybe Fiesta will be in good hands? The investment company’s previous efforts include the gag gift shop Spencer’s and the cheapo pop-up store Spirit Halloween.
Top-Down Conspiracy – Last week it was just a crazy rumor. Now, talk of the military takeover has gotten so intense, even the White House is responding. To be fair, it was sort of a forced conversation, as was Governor Greg Abbott’s directive to the Texas National Guard to keep an eye on the federal military. “When asked about Abbott’s actions on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that ‘in no way will the constitutional rights or civil liberties of any American citizen be infringed upon while this exercise is being conducted,’” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “When Earnest was asked Wednesday if Abbott’s move was a result of ‘paranoia,’ he did not answer directly, but did say that the military personnel won’t be incognito. They’ll be wearing arm bands.”
Blue Bellghazi Continues – Now that Blue Bell is under the microscope, even more unfortunate details are being revealed about its plants. According to health records, “state health inspectors found crickets in a storage room, dirty mop buckets, and mildew at Blue Bell’s ice cream production plant in Brenham,” writes the Dallas Morning News. “The Texas Department of State Health Services found more than a dozen issues during inspections conducted from Jan., 1, 2011, to April 15, 2015,” although “a health department spokeswoman has repeatedly described the iconic Texas company’s inspection track record over the years as ‘good’ with ‘very few issues, and none that required a warning letter or penalty.’” It’s true that, on paper, health code violations often look far worse than they actually are. But when you’ve got a potentially deadly bacteria swimming through your product, “good” just ain’t good enough.
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