The State of Texas: September 4, 2014
Hundreds of people, including motorcycle clubs and “uniformed first responders from departments across Texas” paid their last respects Tuesday to the Elmendorf police chief who was shot to death in August. Serving more than four decades, Michael Pimentel touched the lives of a lot of Texans, as the San Antonio Express-News article on the funeral clearly demonstrates.
Back at It — The fight that will never ends goes into Round 100 when the U.S. Court of Appeals takes up the Texas abortion debate next week. As before, the Fifth Circuit will “consider whether to allow Texas to enforce a key provision of a new law that the providers say would lead to the closure of most abortion clinics in the state,” reports the Texas Tribune. And a “decision from the 5th Circuit could allow the regulation to go into effect as the case goes through the appeals process.” In the meantime, abortion providers are gearing up for a few re-openings after more than half of the clinics were shuttered following the passage of HB2, including the McAllen clinic that was closed in March because it couldn’t obtain the strict admitting privileges. “The last provider of abortions in the vast Rio Grande Valley when new state restrictions forced it to stop last fall, will start operating again by this weekend,” according to the New York Times. But the clinic could be shuttered again as soon as September 12. Or until the next successful appeal is made.
Car Trouble — Sure, it was never a done deal and, yes, Elon Musk has been teasing states like he was the only single man in an entire Brazilian town, but Texas seemed so close to getting its very own gigafactory. Alas, it is not to be. “Tesla has chosen Nevada as the site for the [$5 billion] plant, which is expected to create about 6,500 jobs. Nevada officials are planning a news conference in Carson City on Thursday to formally announce Tesla’s decision,” according to the Austin American-Statesman. More than anything, the move prevents Governor Rick Perry from making the ultimate pro-business victory lap through California and swing states. But hey, there’s always Space X.
No Problems Here — One federal agengy investigated another federal agency and found that everything is a-ok. Surprise. “A federal investigation that included surprise inspections was unable to substantiate 16 accusations by advocacy groups that the government packed into frigid cells children caught crossing the border alone, made them sleep on hard floors and provided inadequate food or medical care,” according to the Associated Press. “Other claims about treatment of the children are still under review, according to the Homeland Security Department.” The “surprise” inspections happened at more than fifty facilities in Texas and New Mexico. Even though migrants crossing the border might be a bunch of privileged whiners, ACLU and other groups “said more than 80 percent of the immigrants complained that they received inadequate food and water, about half were denied medical care, and about one of every four was physically abused.” As far as unsubstantiated claims go, that sure is a lot of complaints of “systematic abuse.”
Walk In The Park — Say goodbye to Dallas’s Fair Park, at least where the city’s control is concerned. “The Dallas City Council on Wednesday offered broad support for a proposal to hand over Fair Park’s operations and management to a private, nonprofit group,” reports the Dallas Morning News. It looks to be a pretty huge overhaul to the compound and “topping the list was the idea to overhaul Fair Park’s labyrinth governance structure and replace it with a model that’s been successful at the Dallas Zoo. Other proposals included improving access to Fair Park and establishing a community park on its southern side.” If you’re worried that Fair Park might be renamed Mutual Life Insurance Park, or some other such monstrous name, fear not. “The task force proposes to cut through that maze by creating a new nonprofit that would be the park’s sole governing body. The group would still report to the city, and its board would represent the various stakeholders in and around Fair Park. But with its own executive director and staff, the nonprofit alone would handle scheduling, maintenance, operations and marketing.” Recommendations for moving forward with the plan will be made in the coming weeks.
Welcome To NYC, Y’all — It’s only taken about one hundred years, but Neiman Marcus is finally heading to the Big Apple. “The luxury department store will open a 250,000-square-foot location in Hudson Yards, in a new retail complex … on the west side of Manhattan,” reports Fortune magazine. “Neiman’s decision to plunge into the most competitive U.S. luxury retail market comes at the ripe old age of 107. Until now, the Dallas-based company had been wary of entering an already crowded New York market and cannibalizing the sales of its sister store, Bergdorf Goodman.” While the rest of the country might still be recovering from that little thing known as the Great Recession, the luxury retail market is apparently booming in New York City. And there are few better luxury retail operations than Neiman Marcus. Maybe this year you’ll have the opportunity to purchase the Empire State building from NM’s Christmas Book.