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The Que Que

The Que Que: Domestic partnerships pass split Council, Milton Lee returns as Perry’s dump pick, ICE’s Secure Communities Task Force a bust, ACS shakeup

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Lee, who made his exit as CEO of San Antonio’s city-owned power utility last year, enjoyed a rocky tenure. One of the chief architects of the proposed expansion of the South Texas (nuclear) Project, now on hold as the Fukushima radioactive dust continues to settle, Lee helped implement years of aggravated attrition at CPS, forcing the exit of hundreds of employees and prompting a lawsuit from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers alleging dozens of cases of sex-, age-, and race-based discrimination.

Karen Hadden, director of the Austin-based SEED Coalition, said Lee’s appointment to the radwaste commission raises serious questions, given the gravity of decisions the commission will make in the coming years – namely, whether or not to make WCS the nation’s radwaste dumping grounds. Lee’s track record for environmental concern, she claims, is dubious, pointing to Lee’s role in helping form the Climate Policy Group, which consisted mostly of publicly-owned utilities heavily invested in coal power. Under Lee, the utility spent more than $120,000 lobbying against cap-and-trade policies through member dues to the CPG and trips to Washington D.C.

What’s notable, but unsurprising, is whom Perry failed to reappoint — Bobby Gregory, the commission’s persistent opposing voice, who had been a thorn in the side of radwaste expansionists. Perry had tried to coax Gregory off the radwaste commission by offering him a prestigious board-of-regents appointment, which would have conveniently required him to step down from the radwaste commission before it voted on whether to open up the West Texas dump to waste from an additional 34 states, something Gregory openly opposed (the commission ultimately passed the proposal).


ICE’s Secure Communities Task Force a bust

Critics have long complained that Immigration and Customs’ Secure Communities program snares far too many immigrants who commit minor offenses or leads to the deportation of those charged with crimes that are never actually convicted. Some in law enforcement have also approached the program with hesitancy, fearing the erosion of trust between their officers and the largely immigrant communities they police. After hosting a series of regional meetings, a federal task force set up to review the contentious immigration enforcement program was finally set to issue its report last week, advising Immigration and Customs Enforcement how to fix the program. Then five of the task force’s 19 members resigned in protest, taking their names off a report they claim fails to address serious problems. “I believe it does not go far enough in making specific and enforceable recommendations that would repair the damaged relationship between immigrants and local police,” said former task force member Arturo Venegas, a retired Sacramento police chief and director of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative. “What’s more, immigrants charged with more serious offenses, but never convicted, have no protection in the task force report. It seems we are agreeing to turn the long-stand principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ on its head for certain groups of people.”

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