Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick calls out "poor journalistic standards," UT might remove its Confederate leader statues from campus; Houston is a melting pot; and more.
The Texas Monthly creates a list every year of the best and worst state legislators after the session ends as another way of "holding our legislators accountable for their actions." The 2015 rankings, however, didn't sit well with one legislator — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. He issued a press release Wednesday criticizing The Monthly, saying "the article offers its readers nothing but hyperbole and cheap shots." Texas Monthly editor Brian Sweany told KERA that Patrick's release is unprecedented. According to The Monthly's blog post, the annual feature includes write-ups on each of the Best and Worst picks, "and in some cases, the reasons may surprise you." The list also contains "honorable and dishonorable mentions; Furniture; assessments of Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus; and a look at Representative Charlie Geren, our biennial Bull of the Brazos." Patrick thinks "The writers of the article failed to recognize that this was one of the most productive and successful sessions in history." You can find the list in The Texas Monthly July issue on newsstands today. Perhaps, flip to Patrick's "assessment" in the print product. It's not his first time on the list.
UT President set an Aug. 1 deadline for formal requests on whether to remove Confederate statues from campus or not. Statues of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and Southern generals Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston were vandalized Monday night with red paint reading "Black lives matter" and "Bump All the Chumps." Now that the statues have been cleaned, the campus has to decide whether they should stay. According to The Texas Tribune: “That graffiti has been accompanied by more formal outcry. An online petition asking for the removal of the Davis’ statue collected more than 1,500 signature within 24 hours Sunday.” According to KUT: “UT Austin's Student Government and Graduate Student Assembly want the statue of Davis removed and placed in a museum. Earlier this week, Fenves met with students to discuss their concerns.” [Texas Tribune, Associated Press and KUT]
Good meeting and looking forward to working with you https://t.co/EQ6GaasyYN
— Greg Fenves (@gregfenves) June 22, 2015
There’s something in the water in Texas, and most likely in the food, too. Unfortunately, it's feces. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that 54 cases of Cyclosporiasis — an intestinal infection caused by ingesting food and water contaminated with fecal matter — have been reported with Travis County carrying the majority of the count, at 23. “The alert says reports of the illness have been high in Texas each of the past three summers. But state health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams says a surge like the one over the last week is unusual.” Read more about Cyclosporiasis. [The Associated Press]
Dallas County DA Susan Hawk announced Wednesday an expansion of the Sexual Assault Unit. “The move comes in collaboration with Dallas Police Department, which is receiving grant funding to process more than 4,000 rape kits held by the DPD. Under the grant, 65 kits will be tested each week, potentially creating hundreds of new sexual assault cases for the DA’s office over the next two years,” according to the press release from the DA office. The expansion will include an added attorney and investigator, and Hawk said the office will seek grant money to add two additional attorneys, an investigator and a victim’s advocate to help with the expected increase of cold cases following the employment of the testing kits. Last year, the Sexual Assault Unit received 209 cases and over the next 18 months, the unit anticipates 400 additional cases. Here's the release.
Houston is the most racially diverse city in the country, but it hasn’t always been that way. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson toured Houston with Stephen Klineberg, the founding director of the Kinder Institute on Urban Research. Diversity spread following the collapse of the city’s oil boom in the early ‘80s. “After 1982, the Anglo population of Harris County stopped growing,” said Klineberg. “And all the growth, of the most rapidly growing city in America, has been from the influx of African Americans, Latinos and Asians. And this biracial southern city dominated by white men has become, in the last 30 years, the single most ethnically diverse major metropolitan area in the entire country.” Before that drastic demographic shift, Houston was 74 percent white, 20 percent African American, 6 percent Latino and 0.5 percent Asian in 1960. Read more here. [Here & Now]