City Council meets today, April 6, with a relatively light agenda but a few Items with chewable gristle: an economic incentives proposal for big pharma firm Merck, the formal release of the Mayor's Task Force report on systemic racism, the Strategic Housing Plan, and the return of an APD body camera contract. See "In the Name of Innovation."
ICE Strikes Again: ICE agents arrested 24 people in the Austin-Waco area during a recent sweep, which picked up 153 immigrants in South/Central Texas overall. Unlike the February raids, the 12-day operation (March 20-31) led to arrests of only those with previous criminal convictions, officials say.
Longtime local activist and public official, John Treviño, the first Chicano elected to City Council (1975-88), who became mayor pro tem (with a brief tenure as acting mayor) and also served as a Capital Metro trustee, passed away Tuesday. He was 78. Treviño was a harbinger and catalyst of progressive politics in Austin. His namesake metropolitan park is on FM 969 in East Austin.
R.I.P. Charles Akins: AISD teachers, administrators, and trustees have offered tributes to groundbreaking educator Charles Akins, who died on March 29. Akins was the first black teacher hired at Johnston High School after the campus desegregated in 1964, and then went on to be the district's first black principal.
Build, Baby, Build: An Austin-based company is among more than 700 bidders who have offered their services to help build Trump's proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The company, Black Security Products LLC, built a portion of the current fencing between the border. When asked by the Statesman if he fears backlash for the proposal, president Stephen Neusch said, "It doesn't bother me at all. I laugh about it. We're in the anti-terrorism business."
Kosher in the Clink: Texas prisons will guarantee kosher meals for observant Jewish inmates. Max Moussazadeh, serving a 75-year sentence related to a 1993 murder, sued the Department of Criminal Justice in 2005, arguing TDCJ's previous refusal violated both federal and state law, but withdrew his suit on Friday after the department agreed to change its rules.
States vs. Perry: As Texas governor, Rick Perry boasted about suing the federal government. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Ten states and New York City are suing Perry in his role as Energy Secretary over his suspension of domestic appliance efficiency standards.
National Security Councilman: A Tuesday shakeup of Trump's National Security Council put Perry on the high-stakes assembly.