Eric Johnson and the New-look Dallas City Hall, Beto O'Rourke's Reversal, Decision Time for Gov. Greg Abbott

Good morning!Here are the top political headlines from Austin, Washington, the campaign trail and Dallas.Points from Dallas1. Saturday's runoff election marked a new beginning at Dallas City Hall, says political writer Gromer Jeffers Jr.Mayor-elect Eric Johnson and a reconstituted City Council believe they now have the opportunity to tackle systemic Dallas problems without being saddled with warring factions, wedge issues and personal animus. Here, Gromer explains why.The reset comes after Johnson overwhelmed council member Scott Griggs in the mayoral runoff.2. Perhaps more stunning was the rejection of council member Philip Kingston, the often bombastic ally of Griggs who was ousted from the council by David Blewett. Blewett said voters in District 14 -- which covers parts of downtown, Oak Lawn, East Dallas, Deep Ellum and Uptown -- made it clear that they had grown tired of Kingston's political style.Three other council runoffs were also decided Saturday.3. Metro columnist Sharon Grigsby says she walked out of Johnson's election night party with new hope for a changing city. Maybe, she writes, with Johnson and a new-look council in power, this is the year we all let go of the "us vs. them" rope and instead be bound by what's best for all of Dallas.4. Metro columnist Robert Wilonsky writes that we can only hope Johnson, backed by the monied and isolated, will stitch together a city that feels more torn apart than ever. Because of the wealth gap that only grows wider. Because we build only a fraction of a fraction of the affordable and permanent supportive housing we need to shelter the least of us. Because one out of every three children in this city grows up in poverty. Because the streets are third-world miserable. Because development has led to so much displacement.Because because because.5. Architecture critic Mark Lamster has written an open letter to the mayor-elect, with 10 ways to make Dallas better. He says now Johnson's troubles really begin, with this weekend's storm, leaving trees down and power out across the city, a good premonition of what he's in for.6. Three years -- and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills -- later, Dallas officials are ready to settle the lawsuit filed by the porn expo they banned from the convention center. The City Council is set to vote Wednesday to cut Exxxotica's parent company, Three Expo Events, and its attorney a $650,000 check to make their federal case disappear.7. A new high-rise could come to the affluent Preston Hollow neighborhood in North Dallas under a plan tentatively approved last week. Over the objections of some neighbors who believe traffic will worsen on and around Northwest Highway, the City Plan Commission overwhelmingly approved a zoning plan that would effectively double the number of condominium units allowed on the 14-acre parcel.8. Many prominent conservative figures from around the country who gathered in Dallas last week for Turning Point USA's fifth annual Young Women's Leadership Summit agree: Being a conservative in America is hard.The event featured several speakers, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, political commentator Candace Owens, National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch and Fox News host Jeanine Pirro.Points from the trail1. Stung by complaints that he stayed neutral in a West Texas congressional race a fellow Democrat lost by just 926 votes, presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke reversed course -- vowing Wednesday night to support Gina Ortiz Jones next year against his friend across the aisle, Rep. Will Hurd.Points from Austin1. With Johnson about to be the mayor of Dallas, several contenders are lining up to replace him in the Texas House. Here are the names of some people interested in representing the district, which includes parts of West Dallas, southern Dallas and East Dallas.2. A new Texas poll found that voters approve of Gov. Greg Abbott's job performance by a margin of more than 2 to 1.The Quinnipiac University poll, released last week, also found Texas voters largely agree with Roe vs. Wade and back increasing the legal age to smoke, and they don't want businesses to be allowed to refuse service to people based on their sexual orientation. Here's more from the poll results.3. The beloved Texas Cowboys of the University of Texas, the all-male, highly elite school spirit squad known for blasting Smokey the Cannon at games, told school administrators Thursday that they would not appeal a six-year suspension handed down after a hazing investigation.But UT officials left open the possibility that the suspension could be lifted early, according to documents made public from an open-records request.Bob's breakdownBob Garrett is the Austin bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News. A fifth-generation Texan, he has covered state government and politics for decades. Here, Bob offers his take from the Capitol. Two weeks into the governor's allotted time for signing or vetoing bills, with just five days left, Gov. Greg Abbott has the power of life or death over legislation. And he relishes reminding people of that. "Now it's time for decisions. Decisions. We'll see what I do," Abbott said, a bit mischievously, in a video he tweeted at noon Saturday. The GOP governor waved his arms at stacks of file folders on his desk. Self-made videos are how he recently announced he signed bills banning red light cameras, broadening how many grocery stores can home-deliver wine and ale and delivering "good news" to occupational-license holders who have student loan debt. Over the next three days, he'll travel to sites carefully chosen by his advance people to sign the session's major bills on school finance, property taxes and (in Houston) Hurricane Harvey. Then he'll wrap up with a budget proclamation late in the week. Spoiler alert: He'll line-item veto some spending, after a few staunch conservatives moaned of budget bloat. Saturday will bring the topper: A "Beer 2 Go" signing ceremony at an Austin craft brewery. Governors have policy analysts who closely track bills - and give lawmakers feedback - during the session. They also recommend which ones the governor should sign. Abbott, though, has cultivated an image that he alone leafs through every page of the more than 1,400 measures sent to his desk, vigilantly scouring for error and foolishness, said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. "It's for show - a modern, social-media show of his diligence and care," Jillson said. "But if he's going to do that, he's got to fire that policy staff - because they must not be doing anything!" A postscript: While Sunday's his deadline, Abbott - like Rick Perry before him - can hold fake bill signing ceremonies. Though he's already signed the bills, he can act like he's signing them, as he autographs a -- legally meaningless -- statement of support. Look for some of those as the Summer of Decisions, Decisions drags on ... Points from Washington1. The political risks of President Donald Trump's threat of tariffs on Mexican imports were huge, strategists say. So was the relief among fellow Republicans when Trump announced Friday night that he "indefinitely suspended" the tariffs.Most top Texas Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, had distanced themselves from Trump's tariff threat, even as they embraced his aim -- curbing migration that has overwhelmed the Border Patrol and other federal agencies.The pain of 5% tariffs set to begin Monday would have been tolerable. But the 25% tariffs Trump threatened in coming months would have pinched farmers, manufacturers and consumers, costing more than 100,000 jobs in Texas alone, and alienating voters he can ill afford to lose.2. Even with the deal, uncertainty looms for auto suppliers along the border. They were already trying to figure out how to coexist with a president who calls himself the "tariff man" and is willing to use the strategy as a diplomatic whip, even if it stings U.S. manufacturers and consumers.3. U.S. Rep. Ron Wright, R-Arlington, says on a video released by an abortion rights group that women commit murder if they have an abortion and should "absolutely" be punished. In a prepared statement, he insisted that -- despite what he said in the video -- his comments were not directed at women who receive abortions.4. Why are Whataburger, J.C. Penney and other Texas businesses, big and small, crying foul over this goof in the 2017 tax revamp?"Some people are calling it a mistake -- I don't know if it's a mistake," said Ken Kades, whose company owns a few dozen McDonald's franchises in greater Houston, along with a handful in Waco. "I do know that it's very hurtful to small business."Tell usCurious Texas, an ongoing project from The Dallas Morning News, invites you to join our reporting process. You can ask us questions about politics, the Texas Legislature or elections, and we'll have our reporters answer them.Recommended readingFrom the Texas Tribune: Gov. Greg Abbott claimed in a tweet Sunday that "critics" of the state's maternal mortality rate had lied about it, citing a year-old article that described how reports about the number of women in Texas dying from pregnancy-related complications were based on faulty data. But what led to initial reports that Texas' maternal mortality rate was far higher? Problems with the state's own data.👋 That's all for this morning! For up-to-the-minute news and analysis, check out the love! If you like this newsletter, please forward this email to a friend and check out our other newsletters here.Do you have feedback? Send your thoughts, questions, praise and corrections to  Continue reading...

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