Public Notice: Criminal Behavior

Ken Paxton has to go – plus a bucket of warm spit

Public Notice: Criminal Behavior

At press time, Texas' criminally indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton remains the lone holdout refusing to join 53 other state and territorial attorneys general in signing letters condemning the "lawless violence" at the U.S. Capitol last week. "The events of January 6 represent a direct, physical challenge to the rule of law and our democratic republic itself," read the letter sent Tuesday. But apparently that sort of thing doesn't faze our state's leading law enforcement official.

So, I have seldom been prouder than to have had that man's smirking face on the cover of our issue that was on the stands all the past week – not because of the crime he remains under indictment for; nor for his crime of sedition last Wednes­day, but for a story about another of his clearly unethical dalliances with extralegal behavior that makes me just slap my head in wonder that this deeply corrupted and amoral human being could be OUR STATE'S LEADING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL.

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Because ... it just needs to be called out. As often as it takes.

In other news:


I was surprised by the way the AISD Board of Trustees split on their first contested votes since its four new members were seated. The new guard are widely expected to shake things up on a board criticized for its reticence to show leadership, its deference to the administration, and in particular for not standing up for equity during last session's school closure decisions. But after a somewhat fraught – if also largely symbolic – set of votes Monday night (well, technically Tuesday morning), it appears as if the status quo still has some clout.

The issue was the election of new board officers, and in particular the vice presidency. (Recall John Nance Garner's observation that "the [U.S] vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm spit." Then note that we're talking here about the school board vice presidency, and you will see why I said the vote was "largely symbolic." But still.)

Things started off at 2:15am after another lengthy executive session, with Yasmin Wagner nominating Geronimo Rodriguez to remain as board president; with newly seated Trustee Ofelia Zapata seconding, and no other nominees, that vote passed 7-0-2, with newbies Kevin Foster and Noelita Lugo abstaining. That was likely the writing on the wall, or the vote that doomed Foster's own bid for an insurgent vice presidency. He was nominated by Lynn Boswell, another newcomer seen as an ally of Lugo and Foster, but lost a 5-4 vote to Wagner, who had LaTisha Anderson nominating her, and Zapata providing the deciding vote.

That split between Foster and Anderson, the board's two African Americans representing East Austin, is one story worth following. Another is Zapata, a longtime East Austin activist who bested two more establishment candidates to win the seat, and who will likely be a wild card, and a swing vote on more issues than a bucket of warm spit.

Send gossip, dirt, innuendo, rumors, and other useful grist to nbarbaro@austinchronicle.com.

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