Joe Chacon, right, at a press conference yesterday announcing his selection as chief. At left is Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano, who will serve as Chacon’s immediate supervisor.

Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk yesterday named Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon as the new permanent chief of the Austin Police Department, a decision that was immediately criticized by the Austin Police union.

“After hearing from so many of you, and following an extensive and rigorous recruitment process, I’m confident Interim Chief Joseph Chacon is the right person to lead our City’s police department to achieve results, build trust and transparency, and accomplish equitable public safety outcomes for all Austin residents and visitors,” said Cronk.

Chacon beat out two other finalists for the position, Emada Tingirides and Avery Moore.

APD Chief Joe Chacon on a call with journalists, Sep. 13, 2021

Interim Austin Police Chief Joe Chacon says there are three main drivers behind the recent spike in homicides in Austin, which surpassed the city’s 1984 record high over the September 11 weekend.

In a teleconference with journalists Monday, September 13, Chacon implicitly criticized the city council for cutting police staffing last year, as well as the county’s chief felony prosecutor and local judges for allowing violent offenders to go free on personal recognizance (PR) bonds.

He also cited a proliferation of guns and weapons violations.

Chacon’s frank remarks could imperil his chances of winning the position of permanent chief, for…

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an emergency appeal from Texas abortion providers, leaving in place a Texas law that took effect Wednesday banning abortions after about six weeks. Texas law previously allowed for abortions as late as 20 weeks.

The ruling came late Wednesday night on the court’s so-called ‘shadow docket,’ which consists of cases decided outside of the court’s regular docket without oral argument. “The application for injunctive relief… is denied,” the order says.

It’s being described by some commentators as a major blow to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that established a right to abortion-though the…

Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), left, and Lieutenant Dan Patrick celebrate the passing of Senate Bill 1, an overhaul of the Texas Election Code.

A bill that prompted a weeks-long Democratic walkout from the Texas House of Representatives in July and August has passed the legislature.

Republican bill author Bryan Hughes, a senator from the Tyler area, says the bill will make it “easy to vote, hard to cheat,” while Democrats argue that it restricts access to the polls in ways that will limit democratic participation.

The House passed the bill last Friday, after which the two chambers ironed out their differences and took final votes yesterday. The governor has indicated that he will sign it.

The new law, known as Senate Bill 1…

U.S. District Judge J. Campbell Barker during his Senate confirmation hearing, May 9, 2018.

A judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has ordered the Biden Administration to reverse itself after it rescinded a funding agreement, known as a Medicaid 1115 waiver, which had been negotiated under the Trump Administration.

The 1115 waiver reimburses hospitals for the uncompensated care that they provide to patients without health insurance and pays for health care projects that serve low-income Texans. The extension approved under the Trump Administration would have lasted until 2030.

But the Biden Administration determined that rescinding the agreement would push Texas toward expanding Medicaid, according to federal officials cited…

By Daniel Van Oudenaren

The Texas House of Representatives could soon get into uncharted legal territory over arrest warrants issued for missing Democrats, some of whom have returned to Texas from Washington, DC, thus putting them within reach of state law enforcement.

Under the state constitution, the House is given vague legal authority to “compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as [it] may provide.”

The House rules elaborate on that, laying out a procedure called a “call of the house,” which is basically a vote to lock the doors and prevent members from…

Transgender rights activists at the Texas Capitol, May 26, 2021

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has issued a finding that state law prohibits certain genital surgeries on children, saying also that it will enforce the ban.

The finding not only has implications for medical practitioners in Texas but potentially also could be invoked in removal proceedings against parents who seek such surgeries out-of-state.

DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters wrote in a public letter Wednesday, “Genital mutilation of a child through reassignment surgery is child abuse, subject to all rules and procedures pertaining to child abuse. Such mutilation may cause a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical…

The Fall of the Alamo (1903) by Robert Onderdonk depicts Davy Crockett wielding his rifle as a club against Mexican troops who breached the walls of the mission.

By James Banks

In January 1846, President James Polk ordered Zachary Taylor to advance troops to a remote part of Texas still unequivocally claimed by Mexico; the goal was to provoke an attack. In June 2021, authors Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford released Forget the Alamo to do the same.

The book purports to be a debunking of the traditional Texas history of the 1836 Alamo siege — a version that the authors refer to as the Heroic Anglo Narrative. But the authors also never tire of goading the usual suspects of today’s Texas politics. They line up…

Rinaldi’s election to the Texas GOP’s top post represents a win for the Empower Texans wing of the party.

A former two-term state legislator who has fiercely criticized Governor Greg Abbott and Republican leaders in the legislature has won election to the Texas GOP chairmanship.

The 64-member State Republican Executive Committee chose Rinaldi in a single round of voting, giving him 34 votes compared to 21 votes for the runner-up, David Covey, president of the state county chairmen’s association.

Rinaldi is a lawyer who represented Northwest Dallas County in the Texas House from 2015 to 2019. He was a member of the Freedom Caucus, which clashed constantly with Republic leadership in the House during the 2017 legislative session.


ICE agents make arrests during an anti-gang operation in Dallas, 2014 (USG/Public Domain).

Four Texas sheriffs and an association of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are suing President Joe Biden and his administration over a policy discouraging the deportation of some immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally.

The case stems from a February 18 memorandum that instructed ICE officers to refrain from placing immigrants who are unlawfully present in the United States into removal proceedings unless they fall into certain priority categories.

Those who qualify for deportation include immigrants who pose a national security risk and those convicted of certain felonies, including murder, rape, drug trafficking, and a theft or burglary offense…

Honest Austin

Original reporting on local Austin news, Texas politics, and the economy.

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