Equal Pay Issue Rockets into Governor’s Race
Mar10

Equal Pay Issue Rockets into Governor’s Race

Texas Democratic governor candidate Wendy Davis is pounding her Republican opponent today for refusing to say how he would act if the Legislature passed a bill mandating equal pay for women, 1200 WOAI news reports. The Legislature in 2013 did in fact pass an Equal Pay measure, but Governor Perry vetoed it, saying it would simply lead to more lawsuits against employers. “Greg Abbott needs to stop dodging and give a straight answer to his opposition to the Texas Equal Pay Act,” Davis said. When asked about the proposal by a Dallas TV station, Abbott refused to give a direct answer. Davis says in Texas, the average woman makes 82% of the wage made by the average man doing the same job. “A full day’s work is worth a full day’s pay, no matter what your gender,” Davis said. The comments show the importance to the Davis campaign of peeling off suburban women who have been the bedrock of the Republican ascendancy in Texas for the past two decades. “With more families than ever before relying on two incomes, they can’t afford to have one of their paychecks unfairly reduced just because one of them is a woman,” Davis...

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Laredo’s Next Class of Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees
Mar10

Laredo’s Next Class of Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2014 class of inductees for the City of Laredo Commission for Women Hall of Fame will be presented to the public for the first time. Every two years, the Laredo Commission for Women selects a class of outstanding women to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, recognizing them for their accomplishments for improving the Laredo community. “What an amazing group of women who have been selected as this year’s honorees,” said City of Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas. “They are not only leaders in their fields, but they also represent the best of Laredo.” Come meet this year’s 11 honorees and find out more about what they have done for Laredo. This year’s class includes: Arts, Media & Communication: Diana Rendon Gutierrez Maria Eugenia Lopez Education Diana Juarez Pamela Juarez Dr. Martha Villarreal Health & Human Services Leticia Gonzalez Law Enforcement Mucia Dovalina Clara Torres Leadership Maria de la Luz “Lucy” Cardenas Fay Mainhart Cynthia Haynes...

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Missing Medal
Sep06

Missing Medal

By Jay Root Texas Tribune Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated soldiers of World War II, was awarded almost every ribbon and medal available. His name can be found on a commemorative postage stamp, a veterans’ hospital and even the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But Murphy’s home state has never bestowed its highest military award, the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor. And for the second time in two years, an effort to give him one has fizzled. Now family members and supporters are wondering if Murphy, who died in 1971,  has been forgotten, along with other war veterans from what has been called the greatest generation. “I’m disappointed,” said Nadine Murphy Lokey, 82, Murphy’s only surviving sibling. “I think they had him in the history books at one time, but they’ve taken him out,” she said. If students do not learn about him “and people don’t talk about him, well, they forget.” Murphy received at least two dozen military decorations and awards, including the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and several Purple Hearts. The son of poor tenant farmers from Hunt County, in northeast Texas, Murphy dropped out of school as a teenager to help his family make ends meet. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Murphy tried to enlist in the Marines but was rejected because at about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 130 pounds, he was deemed underweight. A sister helped him alter his birth records so he could enlist at age 17, and in June 1942 he was inducted into the United States Army, according to published biographies. Murphy’s daring exploits seem almost like a video game caricature. He is said to have killed more than 200 Nazis. One of his most heralded acts of bravery, cited when he received the Medal of Honor, occurred in January 1945 near Holtzwihr, France. Under withering attack, Murphy climbed atop a burning tank destroyer, commandeered a .50-caliber machine gun and held off an entire German infantry company as it desperately tried to take him out. Asked over a field telephone how close the Nazis were to him, he is said to have replied, “Just hold the phone and I’ll let you talk to one of the bastards.” Murphy killed about 50 Nazis in that battle and ultimately forced the company to withdraw. An eyewitness, Pfc. Anthony Abramski, later said: “I expected to see the whole damn tank destroyer blow up under him any minute. For an hour he held off the enemy force single-handed, fighting against impossible odds.” Abramski called it the “greatest display of guts and courage I have...

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Minorities Drove Texas Growth, Census Figures Show
Sep06

Minorities Drove Texas Growth, Census Figures Show

By Ross Ramsey, Matt Stiles, Julián Aguilar and Ryan Murphy Texas Tribune The state’s explosive growth during the past decade was fueled by a boom in its minority population, which accounted for 89 percent of the total increase in population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Hispanics alone accounted for 65 percent of the state’s growth over the last 10 years.  Census officials said late last year that Texas grew 20.6 percent during the last decade, to 25,145,561. The new numbers released Thursday include data for counties and cities, all the way down to the city block level. The widely anticipated decennial population numbers will be used to determine several key issues from federal funding for state projects to business decisions based on populations and demographics.  The state’s Hispanic population grew 42 percent over the decade. The black population was up 22 percent. Both outgrew the white population in percentage terms and in raw numbers. The white population grew by 4.2 percent. And while Texas added 464,032 whites over the decade, it added 522,570 blacks and 2.8 million Hispanics. In 17 counties, the Hispanic population grew by more than 100 percent.  The white population in Texas now accounts for 45.3 percent of the total. Hispanics make up 37.6 percent of the population, blacks 11.8 percent and Asians 3.8 percent. The voting age population is a little different: 49.6 percent Anglo, 33.6 percent Hispanic, 11.4 percent black and 3.9 percent Asian.  City 2000 2010 Change Houston 1,953,631 2,099,451 7.5% San Antonio 1,144,646 1,327,407 16.0% Dallas 1,188,580 1,197,816 0.8% Austin 656,562 790,390 20.4% Fort Worth 534,694 741,206 38.6% El Paso 563,662 649,121 15.2% Arlington 332,969 365,438 9.8% Corpus Christi 277,454 305,215 10.0% Plano 222,030 259,841 17.0% Laredo 176,576 236,091 33.7    It’s not just the trend in Texas, but nationwide, according to Steve Murdock, a former U.S. census director and Texas state demographer who’s now at Rice University. Six of the first 11 states to receive data saw a decline in the white populations and an increase it their Hispanic populations. The shift in demographics signals what he says is a necessary cooperation between the two groups.  “You have this aging set of Anglos, literally aging off the end of their life chart who are going to need assistance in terms of Social Security, Medicare and in terms of direct care. At the same time, you have a young population that is overwhelmingly minority that needs the financial assistance through taxes and other factors of the older Anglo population to help get the education it needs to be competitive,” he said.  Don’t be surprised to see Texas experience growing pains, he...

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Hidalgo County Fights to Ensure Census Counts Everyone
Sep06

Hidalgo County Fights to Ensure Census Counts Everyone

By Corrie MacLaggan Texas Tribune Armed with maps, photos and data, Hidalgo County officials say they are fighting to undo the consequences of what they see as a dramatic undercount of the rapidly growing Rio Grande Valley county in the 2010 census.  In the overwhelmingly Hispanic county, where more than a third of residents have incomes below the federal poverty level, such population figures are crucial. They can translate into millions of dollars, as federal and state programs like Medicaid use population data to dole out money.  “We hope to have a tremendous impact on making sure that Hidalgo County gets their fair share,” said Rolando Rios, a San Antonio lawyer hired by Hidalgo County.   County officials fear that it is too late to get the 2010 census numbers changed, so they are targeting the annual population estimates that both the U.S. Census Bureau and the Texas State Data Center put out ahead of the 2020 census.  The Census Bureau, which checks its work across the country shortly after each decennial census, says it did not measure a statistically significant undercount or overcount in Hidalgo County in 2010.  Stacy Gimbel Vidal, a spokeswoman for the bureau, said it is dedicated to putting out the best population estimates and is aware of Hidalgo County’s concerns.   The 2010 census put Hidalgo County’s population at 774,769 people, a 36 percent increase from 2000. Rios says that it missed 25,000 to 70,000 people. Each of those people could have drawn about $3,000 in federal financing over 10 years, he said, meaning the county thinks it could miss out on as much as $210 million.  Evidence submitted by the county includes aerial photos, like one that shows a block that the census said had just 14 people, but had 152 rooftops. Rios said that means there could be 138 uncounted homes, which could include hundreds of uncounted people.   “They’re in Washington,” Rios said of census officials. “What do they know about what’s going on in Edinburg and down on the border?”  The census’ 2012 estimate showed that the population of Hidalgo County — which includes McAllen, Edinburg and Mission — grew to 806,552 people.  The bureau is still considering two challenges from the county over the 2010 census. It is not possible to change the apportionment of congressional seats, which is based on the decennial census, but the bureau could issue revised counts that could be used for future programs, Vidal said.  County officials are not holding their breath. The census considered two other 2010 challenges from the county, correcting errors on the location of housing units but leaving the county’s population count as...

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