Naked City

Beyond City Limits

A dozen or so close relatives of Austin state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos joined U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett Monday afternoon to announce the "Unity Is Our Strength" rally against congressional redistricting and in support of the exiled Texas 11 -- to be held Saturday at 11:30am on the south steps of the Capitol. The senator's son Joseph Barrientos read a statement supporting his father's action and thanking those who had responded with support for the Barrientos family. "We know that this issue is about democracy itself and not just about Democrats and Republicans," said Barrientos. "We respect my father's decision to use all available and lawful means to prevent the dilution of Austin's voice in Congress." Doggett -- who would likely lose his seat in the map currently under consideration by the Senate -- invited everyone to the Saturday rally, which will be preceded by a 10am gathering at Waterloo Park and a march to the Capitol. -- M.K.

Several representatives of the American GI Forum -- "the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S." -- visited the Senate Democrats in Albuquerque Tuesday to offer support and to discuss threats to state funding for the forum's veteran counseling and training program. Forum members organized protests at the Senate's redistricting field hearing in Brownsville; shortly thereafter, Gov. Rick Perry announced that he was stopping $300,000 in discretionary federal funds that had underwritten the veteran programs. The GI Forum announced that it was forced to close offices in Austin, Fort Worth, and Dallas. Asked about the decision at his Tuesday press conference, Perry said that "all those grants are being looked at" for accountability "parameters and guidelines" and that the GI Forum grant "was not being treated any differently." -- M.K.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that the legal actions surrounding state Rep. Jaime Capelo, D-Corpus Christi, have gotten curiouser and curiouser. In a legal affidavit, a Citgo Petroleum attorney had said he was told by former Capelo partners that Capelo had gotten a $100,000 kickback to settle a client's personal-injury lawsuit against the oil company and had resigned from his law firm (Chaves Gonzales and Hoblit) when the payment was discovered. Capelo first said that the $100,000 had been payment for a medical-malpractice referral prior to his joining the firm -- at which point he was sued by another former law partner seeking his missing share of those proceeds. On Monday, Capelo countersued, saying the entire controversy is retaliation against him by other attorneys for his legislative support of tort reform. Capelo's pleadings allege, "Various attorneys ... have vilified and disparaged Representative Capelo privately ... and to the public, and threatened to ruin him and his firm politically as well as professionally." -- M.K.

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