Politics

By Ian white

JUDGE Lonnie Cox formally objected on Monday to court-ordered mediation in his case against county judge Mark Henry for firing county justice administration department director Bonnie Quiroga one year ago.
Cox filed his objection in the state’s first court of appeals, which one week earlier told the warring parties to go to mediation after receiving an appeal from Henry and the county commissioners against an injunction imposed upon them at the beginning of the month.
The injunction, ordered by visiting judge Sharolyn Wood while sitting in Cox’s own 56th district court in Galveston, was written to prevent the county breaking up the department and keeping Quiroga out of her office.
It ordered the county to fully reinstate her and pay her at her full salary rate from June 8, when Cox, other judges and county sheriff Henry Trochesset arranged her return after a layoff of almost 11 months.
The county refuses to obey the order, claiming that its appeal nullifies it, and has not only withheld Quiroga’s pay but also last week locked her out of the organization’s computer system.
In their objection to mediation, Cox and his attorney, Mark Stevens, claim that those and other actions represent more than just intransigence and that the court should exercise its jurisdiction in the case without delay.
The county, too, is crying foul in the case and The Post will provide a more fully detailed account of the most recent trading of blows in Sunday’s edition.

By Lora-Marie Bernard

LEGISLATION that blocks federal funding for “sanctuary cities” passed the US house of representatives in a 241-179 vote on Thursday.
The act, co-sponsored by the county’s congressman, district-14 representative Randy Weber, evokes the case of a California woman who was killed this month by a man who had previous felony convictions and had been deported five times. California Republican congressman Duncan Hunter authored the bill.
Weber said the bill would penalize cities that don’t follow the letter of the law.
“What happened to Kate Steinle could have been prevented,” Hunter said after the vote.
“We cannot allow people who break the law to seek refuge and hide
from justice.”
The enforce-the-law-for-sanctuary-cities act amends the immigration and nationality act to deny criminal alien funding to a state or local subdivision that skirts or ignores current immigration laws. Funding is also denied for hindering local-government officials from gathering immigration-status information.
Criminal alien funding represents about $800m per year, Hunter said.
“It’s simple,” he said. “If you don’t comply with the law, as it stands now, then you don’t receive coveted federal money intended for enforcement.”
Supporters of the act said that sanctuary cities are misguided in their attempts to safeguard people’s liberty.
“These sanctuary-city policies may sound good to some people but many are realizing they ultimately create unsafe, violent communities,” North Dakota congressman Kevin Cramera a Republican, said. “You simply
cannot have policies designed to attract criminals and expect a different outcome.”
Weber said the denial of federal funding would be justified in order to prevent the release of convicted illegal aliens.
“If sanctuary cities disregard the rule of law and fail to protect their citizens from criminal illegal aliens, they should not be afforded federal tax dollars,” he said.
“While this is a strong first step, there is much more that can be done.”

Bernard, Lora-Marie             Lora-Marie Bernard

TEXAS’ two US senators sparred on the senate floor in Washington on Sunday, arguing over an obscure federal agency that funds foreign customers who want to buy US goods.
The Export-Import Bank battle has brewed for weeks under Ted Cruz’s leadership. Cruz, a presidential candidate, calls it a corporate welfare system rife with cronyism. He said it promotes corporate wealth over taxpayer protection.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent agency that provides financial aid and insurance for the export of United States goods and services. It was established in 1934 and has existed as an independent institution since 1945. Hailed as having bipartisan support, it is set to sunset tomorrow, Thursday, which Cruz would like to see happen.
News reports have said that wealthy industrialist David Koch and several Koch-backed organizations support Cruz’s efforts, while some insiders believe the bank has bipartisan support for renewal under the proposed export-import reform and reauthorization act.
The act seeks to limit Ex-Im Bank’s loan capacity to $135 billion and extend the agency until 2019. Its proposed reforms target taxpayer protection, promotion of small businesses, modernization and other subjects.
John Cornyn, the senate majority whip, opposed fellow Republican Cruz on Sunday after the junior senator blasted majority leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of lying about the movement of the bank’s legislation.
Cruz had issued his first blow against McConnell on Friday, recounting his charges from the floor on Sunday.
“I would note that, in the course of that speech I described an explicit promise the majority leader had made to me and to all 53 Republican senators” the senator said.
“Neither the majority leader, nor the senator from Utah, nor the senator from Tennessee, has disputed that the majority leader, in front of every Republican senator, made that promise, looking me in the eyes – namely, that there was no deal on the Export-Import Bank, that its proponents could offer it in the regular order and there would be no special preferences whatsoever.
“We saw on Friday that promise was false.”
Cornyn responded: “I have listened to the comments of my colleague, the junior senator of Texas, both last week and this week, and I would have to say he is mistaken.”
Cornyn questioned where the other senators were who believed they had been lied to.
“First of all, if, in fact, the majority leader had somehow misrepresented to the 54 senators what the facts are with regard to the Ex-Im Bank, I suspect we would find other voices joining that of the junior senator, but I hear no one else making such a similar accusation,” he said.
The state’s senior senator’s battle tactics continued even as he admitted that he would also vote against the renewal legislation.
“Secondly, I would just say to my colleague that there is an alternative explanation,” he said. “There is an alternative explanation. As the majority leader has said time and time again, anytime 65 senators want to do something here in the senate, sooner or later they are going to get their way. Indeed, that represents the vote in support of the Ex-Im Bank – something I will end up voting against but where I realize that majorities will carry the day eventually.”

Cornyn, John                 John Cornyn

Cruz,Ted web ready               Ted Cruz

Perry takes issue with Trump’s border visit

ON THE HEELS of Donald Trump’s visit to Laredo last week, former Texas governor Rick Perry belittled the move and said the billionaire businessman should apologize to state officials who work to maintain border control.
He also blasted Trump’s headline-making remarks about Mexican immigrants.
“I hope he will explain to the Hispanic Americans he meets why he thinks they are rapists and murderers,” Perry said last week.
“And I hope he will apologize for ridiculing the selfless work of the men and women of the Texas department of public safety, Texas Rangers, Texas game wardens and Texas National Guard to protect our communities in the face of the federal government’s failure to secure the border.”
Perry’s efforts while governor included a constant battle with president Barack Obama about the border. In his message about Trump’s visit, he said the real-estate mogul should learn more about the nuances of border patrol before making an opinion.
“Unlike Donald Trump, I have been battling the federal government over border security for years,” Perry said. “Border security is a federal responsibility but, when it became clear Washington wouldn’t act, I told President Obama, if he wouldn’t secure the border, Texas would.
Perry boasted that Texas has dedicated nearly $1 billion to border security and bolstered resources to high-target areas such as the Rio Grande region, which he said accounts for more than 50 per cent of illegal crossings on the entire US-Mexico border, and more than 70 per cent of illegal border crossings in Texas.
But the former governor did say he welcomes Trump’s interest in the state’s work.
“While he is there, I hope he will explain to the people of Laredo why he thinks they should be on the hook to secure our country’s border with Mexico rather than the federal government,” Perry said during the businessman’s border visit last week.

Deadline looming for Hewitt award

NOMINATIONS are still open for a county city’s prestigious community volunteer award.
Kind-hearted citizens can be nominated for League City’s 2015 Arthur Hewitt Volunteer Spirit award until next Tuesday, August 4.
The award is open to all volunteers who participated in a city-related cause or project between July 1 last year and June 30.
Volunteers don’t have to live or work in League City to qualify for the award but they do need to have made a significant contribution to the city through the projects they took on.
Examples of qualifying projects during the 12-month period include Helen Hall library, the city’s volunteer fire department, its animal shelter, the Leaders Make Readers program and volunteers in policing.
Information about the award and nomination process is available on the city website at leaguecity.com/spiritaward.

Popular tree stays healthy

THE GHIRARDI Oak in League City is green and healthy, according to the latest report from arborist Heather McKnight.
In the report, released on Friday, McKnight and parks superintendent Rusty Bolen noted that the tree has seen no changes during the past several weeks.
The pair, who inspect the tree biweekly, said they had replaced the tree’s irrigation tube because it had split.
“We did notice the continued and more pronounced settling around the perimeter of the root ball, they wrote.
“We will fill in this area with organic material mulch in the fall.”
They also reported that Hess Landscape Construction has requested the release of its bond upon completion of a project undertaken at the site of the tree.
“However, we are still waiting for the contractor to perform the final pruning,” the report said.

Houston postpones water supply repairs

THE COUNTY’S largest city lifted water restrictions last week but called on its residents to conserve water during the dog days of summer.
The city of League City lifted its stage-2 water restrictions after the city of Houston said it would postpone work on water-supply lines until further notice.
Houston has been repairing water lines for several months, during which League City residents have been placed under various stages of water conservation.
“The city thanks our residents and businesses for their cooperation and support,” League City’s city manager, Mark Rohr, said.
For information about water restrictions and line repairs I the city, visit www.leaguecity.com.

Lottery awards $7.5m prize

A LOTTERY player has claimed the first of three top prizes worth $7.5m in Texas’ scratch-off Diamond Dollars game.
The Texas Lottery office said on Friday that a Beaumont man who requested minimum publicity had claimed the top prize. The shop where he bought the winning scratch-off card is eligible for a $10,000 retailer bonus.
The Diamond Dollars game offers more than $142.7m in prizes and the overall odds of winning any prize in the game are one in 2.52, including break-even prizes.
The Texas Lottery, which began in 1992, has generated $23 billion in revenue for the state. The office has distributed $46 billion in prizes to players.
Since 1997, the lottery has contributed $17 billion to the state’s foundation school fund, which supports public education.

Texaslottery

Sterling,Ed             Ed Sterling

STATE governor Greg Abbott has instructed the Texas Rangers to help FBI agents investigate the arrest and death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois resident who had driven to Hempstead in response to a job offer from Prairie View A&M University.
“Our hearts and prayers remain with the Bland family for their tragic loss,” Abbott wrote in a July 22 statement regarding Bland’s arrest and death. “The family deserves answers.”
He added: “The Texas Rangers, working in coordination with the FBI, will conduct a full and thorough investigation that will deliver those answers and work toward the ultimate goal of ensuring justice in this case.”
On July 10, Bland was pulled over by a Texas state trooper, arrested and placed in the Waller County jail in Hempstead. Three days later she was found dead in her cell. Local authorities conducted an autopsy and reported suicide as the cause of death.
Bland’s family ordered an independent autopsy.
On July 21, Texas department-of-public-safety officials briefed state leaders on the investigation. “DPS has been working closely with the family of Ms Bland during this investigation and the department extends our sincere condolences for their tragic loss,” DPS director Steven McCraw said.
“It is important that her family has confidence in the efficacy of this investigation, which is why the Waller County sheriff’s office and district attorney originally requested investigative assistance from the Texas Rangers. It’s also why DPS requested the FBI assist in this investigation.”
The DPS posted on its website the state trooper’s dash-camera video from the traffic stop. Also, video footage showing activity in the jail at the time of the discovery of the body was widely broadcast.

abbott,greg courtesy texasgopvote.com webready               Greg Abbott

Court dismisses Perry coercion charge

FORMER state governor Rick Perry is off the hook for half of a felony indictment levied against him for actions he took while in office in 2013.
On Friday, Texas’ third-district court of appeals dismissed one count of the two-count felony indictment, which was handed down in August 2014 by a Travis County grand jury.
The appeals court threw out the indictment’s count of official coercion against Perry for demanding the resignation of the head of the state’s public integrity unit, Travis County district attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, in spring 2013 after she was jailed for drunken driving.
At the time, Lehmberg apologized for her actions but refused to resign, after which Perry vetoed the unit’s $7.5m in state funding.
Texans For Public Justice, an Austin-based government watchdog organization, filed the original criminal complaints against Perry. The second count, alleging abuse of power, remains pending and could be set for a court date later this year.

Unemployment falls as jobs rise throughout state

GROWTH in the seasonally adjusted number of Texas’ jobs continued for a straight month last month, according to the state’s workforce commission
TWC said last week that Texas added 16,700 nonagricultural jobs in June and that the state has added jobs in 56 of the past 57 months.
The figures include 53,600 positions added in the first half of 2015 and, in the year to June, Texas saw an increase of 269,900 jobs, the commission said.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.2 per cent, down from 4.3 per cent in May, the lowest rate of unemployment for the state since July 2007, according to the agency.

Miller blasts change in beef rule

TEXAS agriculture commissioner Sid Miller has spoken out against a rule change by the US department of agriculture that late last month lifted a ban on importing beef from known foot-and-mouth-disease regions.
The rule change, made by the department’s animal and plant health inspection service, allows the importation of beef from northern Argentina and 14 of Brazil’s 27 states, areas that Miller says have a known history of the deadly disease.
“The USA has not suffered from a case of foot-and-mouth disease since 1929, in part because of our nation’s bans against animal and meat imports from countries dealing with the disease,” he said last week.

Business trend still upwards

THE NUMBER of new Texas business formations continued to grow in the first half of 2015, according to Texas secretary of state Carlos Cascos.
Between January 1 and June 30, he said, some 83,235 certificates of formation were filed with his office to form for-profit and professional corporations, professional associations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships.
The volume was an almost 4-per-cent increase from the 80,039 certificates of formation filed in the first six months of 2014, Cascos said.

By Lora-Marie Bernard

US SENATOR Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign claimed the Texas politician leads the Republican race on Monday as staff members said he and his supporters have raised more than $50m for next year’s battle for the White House.
First the campaign issued a statement titled “Thanks to you” that said it had raised more than $14m from 175,000 contributors.
Then, a few hours later, Jeff Roe, a conservative political consultant for Cruz, reiterated reports that independent political action committees have raised more than $37m supporting the senator.
The committees, known as super PACs, cannot donate the money to his campaign fund but can spend it advocating for him or against his rivals.
“The aggregate total of over $51m means that, along with Ted’s strong support from the conservative grassroots across the country, Ted will have the resources, the manpower and the energy to compete vigorously in all early state contests, as well as nationally in the Super Tuesday states on March 1,” Roe said.
The announcements came after Friday’s Fox News survey showed billionaire businessman Donald Trump leading in Republican polls in spite of his controversial statements about former presidential candidate John McCain.
The poll showed Trump followed by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. It did not mention Cruz.
A recent New York Times report stated that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have each raised more than Cruz. But it said neither of them has raised as much as Jeb Bush, reporting that super PACs supporting him have raised $103m.
The distinction was not lost on the Cruz team, which noted that the ultra-conservative candidate’s campaign has raised its money from all 50 states and from more than 120,000 unique contributors.
“In fact, we’ve had donations come from nearly half of all zip codes in the United States at an average of $81 per donation,” one of the team’s Monday announcements said.
Another blow came last week when the New York Times said it would not include a book by Cruz on its bestseller list. The media giant said it was because of claims that his sales were not from individual purchases. It said Republican authors have a history of gaming the system.
Roe said the problem hasn’t stopped the sale of the books and the Cruz presidential website said Amazon is supporting Cruz in his call for the establishment list to review its policies.
“As you may recall, last week, the New York Times chose not to include Ted’s new book, A Time For Truth, on its bestseller list, even though it outsold 18 of 20 books featured on it, claiming evidence of ‘strategic bulk purchases’ that the Times has been unable to produce,” Roe’s announcement said.
“But I’m happy to report that, just like so many times before, courageous conservatives standing together have made a huge impact.”
The Cruz team said A Time For Truth would be featured on the New York Times bestseller list in the coming week.
The team’s Monday announcements also referenced a new term, “Washington cartel”, used by Cruz to describe the national political scene in his presidential-campaign literature.
It’s a term that also shows up when he casts votes on bills in the senate.
“One thing is clear – the American people are fed up with career politicians in both parties and are joining this movement to break the Washington Cartel and bring power back to the people,” the campaign said in one of the statements.