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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,724

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Republican lawmaker takes aim at public schools

Rep. Kelly Townsend wants school district employees and board members investigated at the whim of any legislator who questions the legality of their policies. And she wants the Attorney General’s Office to do the job despite the strain already imposed on the office by existing law.

The Mesa Republican’s proposal in House Bill 2018 would expand a 2016 law that allows any state legislator to ask the attorney general to investigate an ordinance, regulation, order or other action taken by a municipality or county to determine whether it is in compliance with state law.

The bill would require the attorney general to investigate any policy, procedure or other official action taken by a school district governing board or any school district employee that lawmakers allege violates state law. If investigators find the law has been broken, the superintendent of public instruction would be directed to withhold up to $5,000 per violation from offending districts’ state funding.

The existing law, passed as SB1487, requires that the investigation be completed within 30 days of a legislator’s request, a timeframe Townsend has adopted in HB2018. And that may spell hardship for investigators.

Read more: https://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2018/12/26/republican-lawmaker-takes-aim-at-public-schools/

Videos: Migrant children dragged, pushed at Southwest Key shelter

Videos from a Southwest Key shelter for migrant children show staffers dragging and pushing children, incidents that occurred shortly before the federal government suspended the shelter's operations early this fall.

The Arizona Republic obtained the videos from the Arizona Department of Health Services under state public-records law.

Southwest Key had reported the mid-September incidents, which involved three children and numerous staffers at the Youngtown shelter, to state authorities, as well as local law-enforcement and federal officials, but declined to publicly provide details at the time.

Southwest Key ultimately closed the shelter, called Hacienda Del Sol, in late October. That came in the wake of negotiations with state health authorities over potential revocation of all 13 licenses that Southwest Key holds in Arizona, because of the company's lapses in background checks for staff.

Read more: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2018/12/28/migrant-kids-dragged-shoved-video-footage-arizona-shelter/2436296002/

Company faces possible $2.2M fine for inaction at Denton site holding low-level radioactive waste

State officials have proposed a $10,000-per-day fine to U.S. Radiopharmaceuticals, the Utah-based company ordered last summer to clean up low-level radioactive waste it has stored in Denton for nearly a decade.

The fine, which caps at $2.2 million, is part of a violation notice issued Dec. 18 by the Texas Department of State Health Services. In the notice, state officials wrote that the company has not submitted a decommissioning plan nor made a good-faith effort to start the cleanup. A copy was provided to city leaders Friday and obtained by the Denton Record-Chronicle.

The company’s president, Paul Crowe, did not return a request for comment sent over the weekend. Denton attorney Adam Whitten said his firm no longer represents the company in Texas.

City government officials have not received any additional information other than the copy of the violation notice, said Jessica Rogers, city spokeswoman.

Read more: https://www.dentonrc.com/news/company-faces-possible-million-fine-for-inaction-at-denton-site/article_baac6f34-ea32-541c-ac29-92c5baaa5eba.html

Hidalgo police chief arrested on domestic violence charge

Hidalgo Police Chief Rodolfo “Rudy” Espinoza was arrested early Thursday morning on a domestic violence charge following an incident in which the sheriff’s office was called to a Mission residence.

A deputy arrived to the Inspiration Road home at 11:39 p.m. Wednesday, according to the probable cause affidavit tied to the arrest, and Espinoza’s common-law wife told the deputy Espinoza had allegedly grabbed her by the neck.

The woman told the deputy she and Espinoza, 64, had lived together for more than a year, and “they began to argue when she returned home from (a) party.”

The party took place across the river in Reynosa earlier Wednesday, and the woman “did not tell Rodolfo that she was going,” according to the affidavit.

Read more: https://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/hidalgo-police-chief-arrested-on-domestic-violence-charge/article_56cc5bf4-0a29-11e9-949e-2379651ed77c.html

Sen. Johnny Isakson contacted FBI on behalf of MiMedx CEO

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson contacted the FBI last year on behalf of a politically connected Atlanta area CEO engaged in a battle with a short-seller who had criticized the CEO and his Cobb County company, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Isakson confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Georgia’s senior senator called the bureau in October 2017 about a complaint filed by then-MiMedx CEO Parker “Pete” Petit against Marc Cohodes, a California-based investor who had alleged misconduct and financial mismanagement by Petit’s company.

Petit had alleged Cohodes sent threatening tweets. In December of last year, a pair of FBI agents arrived at Cohodes’ home and warned him to stop.

Cohodes alleged Petit used his political connections to silence a critic. He denied threatening Petit and said that the tweets were taken out of context. Petit has been a campaign donor to Isakson and other Republicans in addition to being the 2016 campaign finance chairman in Georgia for President Donald Trump.

Read more: https://politics.myajc.com/business/isakson-contacted-fbi-behalf-mimedx-ceo/4Hohq4lYI5Y3CvX2HHYx6I/

Myrtle Beach man named in federal complaint alleging $2 billion in tax fraud

The federal government is attempting to crack down on a controversial tax practice, and it’s targeting a Myrtle Beach man in a complaint alleging more than $2 billion in fraudulent deductions.

Ralph Teal Jr., of Myrtle Beach, and EcoVest Capital Inc., a company with Teal on its board, are among six defendants named in a complaint filed Dec. 18 by the Department of Justice in the Northern District of Georgia seeking an order to stop them “from organizing, promoting, or selling an allegedly abusive conservation easement syndication tax scheme,” according to a DOJ press release.

S.C. State Director for The Nature Conservancy Mark Robertson explained that conservation easements are permanent agreements by a landowner to preserve land in its natural habitat, such as farmland or forest. In exchange for landowners giving up future development rights, they can receive tax deductions typically equal to the difference between the value of the property before and after the restrictions are imposed.

The DOJ alleges in its 80-page complaint that Teal and his associates have illegally taken advantage of conservation easements through an elaborate, “highly structured” 11-step process that generally involves creating a limited liability company to take control of a property, having an appraiser come in and grossly overvalue the property, recruiting customers to buy in as partners, finalizing the conservation easement and then distributing the subsequent tax deductions to its customers.

Read more: https://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article223634420.html

South Carolina utility's customers fired their board after pay scandal. Now, they're taking over

ST. MATTHEWS -- Back in July, when the board of her electric cooperative hid in a backroom to avoid angry customers at its monthly meeting, Barbara Weston grabbed a microphone and announced she was starting the meeting herself.

Standing before 80 other Tri-County Electric customers, the 64-year-old Eastover resident aired their collective grievances: The co-op’s part-time board had paid themselves handsomely at the expense of Tri-County’s customer-owners, given themselves health and life insurance, and rigged the election process for board members to protect themselves.

“That’s our money,” she shouted. “It is not fair. It is not right, and we are not trusting them with any more of our money or our time.”

Six months and a customer revolt later, Weston now leads the Midlands co-op’s board. The retired teacher and eight other newly elected directors took their seats in Tri-County’s board room for the first time Thursday night, electing Weston as board president with their first vote.

Read more: https://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article223616545.html

Santee Cooper accuses SCE&G of civil fraud in failed, $9 billion nuclear project

COLUMBIA, SC -- Santee Cooper is accusing SCE&G — its partner in their $9 billion failed attempt to build a nuclear power plant — of civil fraud, misconduct and numerous “breaches of duties” in connection with the unfinished twin nuclear reactors.

In 2011, the two utilities, which together provide electricity to millions of South Carolinians, signed an agreement giving SCE&G authority to oversee all aspects of construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County.

But SCE&G broke that agreement with “various fraudulent acts,” including “dishonesty, bad faith, unfair dealing and the unlawful appropriation of Santee Cooper’s money by design,” Santee Cooper wrote this week in a legal filing in state court.

Over the past 17 months, SCE&G and Santee Cooper have been buffeted by news reports and hearings into mismanagement, waste and other flaws that plagued the V.C. Summer project before the utilities canceled the venture in July 2017.

Read more: https://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article223664035.html

South Carolina bill would send convicted 'porch pirates' to prison up to 5 years

COLUMBIA — It’s time for South Carolina to crack down on thieves who take packages off people’s doorstep, says state Rep. Cezar McKnight.

His proposed “Defense Against Porch Pirates Act” would make such thievery a felony, punishable by up to $5,000 and five years in prison.

“It’s a serious problem,” said McKnight, D-Kingstree. “We need something to catch the public’s attention and make it known South Carolina takes it seriously.”

His bill takes it so seriously, it makes anyone convicted of “package theft” ineligible for either probation or pre-trial intervention, a diversionary program that allows first-time offenders charged with a nonviolent crime to keep their record clean.

Read more: https://www.postandcourier.com/politics/sc-bill-would-send-convicted-porch-pirates-to-prison-up/article_f18d12a8-0a94-11e9-bb21-331610691e57.html

No more paperwork: Estonia edges toward digital government

TALLINN, Estonia — In the Estonian capital of Tallinn, three-day-old Oskar Lunde sleeps soundly in his hospital cot, snuggled into a lime green blanket decorated with red butterflies. Across the room, his father turns on a laptop.

“Now we will register our child,” Andrejs Lunde says with gravity as he inserts his ID card into the card reader. His wife, Olga, looks on proudly.

And just like that, Oskar is Estonia’s newest citizen. No paper. No fuss.

This Baltic nation of 1.3 million people is engaged in an ambitious project to make government administration completely digital to reduce bureaucracy, increase transparency and boost economic growth. As more countries shift their services online, Estonia’s experiment offers a glimpse of how interacting with the state might be for future generations.

Read more: https://www.starnewsonline.com/zz/news/20181226/no-more-paperwork-estonia-edges-toward-digital-government/1
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