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The QueQue

The QueQue: Electric bill help in San Antonio, Open records fights in Alamo Heights, Smith protective of Canseco in redistricting, 152-0: CPS Energy’s Beneby lauded by Sierra Club

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Reveley says she was motivated to seek the committee’s emails (roughly 500 pages, highlights of which she’s planning to post on her personal blog at ... password: pass123) out of concern for possibly slanderous speech against her by Joseph. Instead, she claims to have found “proof of Open Meetings violations.” Alamo Heights City Attorney Michael Brennan failed to return a request for comment.


Smith protective of Canseco in redistricting

In more email news … Surprise! Republicans have been trying to unseat Dems by watering down the voting power of minorites in their redrawn voting maps and they don’t want to get busted for it. More then 400 pages unsealed in a federal redistricting lawsuit last week show key GOP staffers and members of Congress swapping articles, map proposals, and questions about the process, hoping to build the strongest map for GOP contenders while avoiding intervention by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In February, after State Rep. Burt Solomons was named chair of the House Redistricting Committee, Eric Opiela, a lawyer with the Texas GOP Congressional Delegation, wrote a top staffer with Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, asking whom the committee would hire as an attorney to oversee redistricting. “I take it Burt won’t hire someone adverse to our interests … ”

By May, Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, the delegation’s point man on Texas redistricting, was asking if he could swap parts of his conservative district with Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, hoping to help out a newly elected friend entrenched in a contested district – one of several exchanges showing Smith’s persistent worry over Canseco keeping his seat. After Smith asked about the swap, Smith’s lawyer, Opiela, wrote back, “I don’t think we mess with quico’s district – for your sake and his. He is barely performing (or not depending on your measure) right now; add Rs (which will be Anglos) and you put a neon sign on it telling the court to redraw it. Bring down your numbers and you’ll have a Dem opponent every time.” Smith would later write, “And I think u kno I will sacrifice whatever I need to help quico.”

In another exchange, Smith’s attorney sent out an email referencing statements by Nina Perales, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s vice president of litigation, charging that GOP gerrymandering didn’t increase Latino-opportunity districts despite massive Hispanic growth in Texas over the past decade. Smith wrote his lawyer and other key state GOP staffers, saying the newly formed District 35 should assuage those claims, ending the message with, “Assume the AG is totally on board?” Straus’ lawyer wrote back hours later, “Yes. We’re working very closely with the AG.”

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