MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

SB 4 Showdown

A federal judge heard arguments in a San Antonio court on Monday over the so-called sanctuary cities law that is set to go into effect in September. According to the San Antonio Express-News, the plaintiffs—which include Texas’s four major cities, a handful of border counties, immigration advocate groups, and the little border town of El Cenizo—argued the law is too vague to properly enforce. Additionally, the plaintiffs said that Senate Bill 4 would be detrimental to public health, education, and the economy of Texas without making communities safer. The state’s lawyers made the case that SB 4—which would ban sanctuary cities and punish elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities—is a moderate law that simply allows, rather than mandates, local law enforcement officers to ask a detained person about their immigration status.

Lone Star Snub

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook won the NBA MVP award on Monday night, beating out two Texas stars—James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN. The vote wasn’t really close, with Westbrook getting 69 of 101 first-place votes, Harden 22, Leonard 9—but both Texas players had strong cases. For one, both Harden and Leonard led their respective teams to a much better record than Westbrook’s Thunder. The Spurs won 61 games and the Rockets 55, while Oklahoma City finished pretty far behind both of them with a 47-35 record. And while Westbrook had a ridiculous statistical season, breaking a record with 42 triple-doubles, Harden and Leonard had statistically amazing seasons too. Harden’s season was similarly historic, with the bearded wonder nearly averaging a triple-double. Leonard, meanwhile, was really in his own class by playing MVP-level ball on both offense and defense. It’s been a decade since the last NBA MVP played for a Texas team, with the Dallas Maverick’s Dirk Nowitzki winning the award after the 2006 to 2007 season.

Crystal City Crackdown

The former mayor and ex-city manager of Crystal City—also known as “the most corrupt little town in America”—were convicted by a federal jury in Del Rio on Monday on multiple counts of corruption, including bribery, wire fraud, and conspiracy, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Mayor Ricardo Lopez and former city manager James Jonas were found guilty on all counts, with some of the charges carrying up to twenty years in prison. Their sentences have yet to be set. One hundred federal agents swept through the South Texas city last year and rounded up every local leader except for one city councilman, leaving the city’s political leadership in shambles and putting it in the national spotlight. They were all indicted shortly after, along with a businessman, for soliciting bribes. Everyone except Jonas and Lopez pleaded guilty, and the trial for the two men began a week ago. Prosecutors played recordings made by informants who taped the two men soliciting bribes.