Axios San Antonio

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Wednesday is here. You're doing great.

β˜” Today's weather: Cloudy with a chance of rain. High near 65.

🍯 Tastes like: Lavender and honey latte

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios San Antonio members Emily Calderon Galdeano and Kyle Watson!

Today's newsletter is 969 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: New office tackles crime outside Police Department

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The city of San Antonio has created a new office to examine how programs and policies outside the Police Department impact crime, a City Council member request more than two years in the making.

Why it matters: The office is the city's latest attempt to expand its public safety approach beyond traditional police work since 2020, when the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked protests across the country and calls to rethink approaches to crime.

Catch up quick: District 2 Councilmember Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, a progressive who represents the East Side, submitted a request in January 2022 to create such an office.

  • He campaigned in 2021 on a promise to reimagine public safety and hold police accountable. He is one of the council's biggest critics of the Police Department.

The latest: City manager Erik Walsh announced the creation of the Office of Integrated Community Safety in a February memo released to the public yesterday.

Flashback: At a September council committee meeting, city staff did not recommend creating an office, saying existing city work on violence prevention addressed the intent of McKee-Rodriguez's request.

  • McKee-Rodriguez disagreed.

What they're saying: McKee-Rodriguez said he's excited to finally see such an office come to fruition, and that this week marked a change.

  • "Establishing this office signals that the city is committed to enhancing community safety by engaging in it holistically and leading the charge to address social conditions that contribute to crime," McKee-Rodriguez said in a statement.

Zoom in: Employees in the new office will evaluate how city actions and programs β€” like youth and workforce development and infrastructure improvements β€” affect crime.

What's next: The office is expected to be a permanent fixture in San Antonio and will report regularly to the council's Public Safety Committee.

  • "I think this is a huge step in the right direction in holistically addressing public safety," District 7 Councilmember Marina Alderete Gavito said.

Go deeper

2. Texas immigration law back on hold, for now

At the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico this week. Photo: Christian Torres/Anadolu via Getty Images

Texas' strict new immigration law giving state police the power to arrest people suspected of illegally crossing the Mexico border was back on hold late last night, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court said it could take effect.

Why it matters: The law was challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice over concerns that it encroached on the federal government's authority over immigration, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.

  • Immigration advocacy organizations have also said the law could lead to racial profiling.

The latest: The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Texas could immediately begin enforcing Senate Bill 4 until a federal appeals court heard legal challenges against it.

  • The ruling marked a major victory for Gov. Greg Abbott and his fellow Republicans, who have made the recent increase in illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border a central issue in the 2024 elections.
  • But, late last night, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked the law from taking effect in a 2-1 order. The court is scheduled to hear challenges against the law today.

What they're saying: Abbott had called the Supreme Court decision a "positive development," while acknowledging that the case isn't fully settled.

How it works: The law makes it a state crime to illegally cross the Texas-Mexico border between ports of entry and allows state police to arrest people if there's probable cause to believe they recently crossed the border.

  • Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to six months in jail and could face felony charges and up to 20 years in prison for subsequent offenses.
  • The law also grants judges the power to order an undocumented person to return to Mexico.

What's next: Mexico will not accept repatriations from Texas, Roberto Velasco Álvarez, with Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Zoom in

3. Inside the Loop

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Police believe they found the bodies of a missing woman and her 3-year-old son yesterday morning near Tom Slick Park, in an apparent murder-suicide.

  • An Amber Alert had been issued for the child before a scheduled custody hearing. (KSAT)

😞 The Jim's Restaurant on Broadway near Hildebrand Avenue closed this month after 53 years in business. (MySA)

πŸ“Ί Sichuan House is the latest San Antonio restaurant to get a visit from Guy Fieri on his show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." The episode will air on March 29. (Express-News πŸ”’)

4. Fiesta Fiesta's new home

The usual Fiesta Fiesta sights. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios

Fiesta Fiesta, the official kickoff to the city's largest event, will be hosted at the Alamodome's HEB Plaza for the first time this year.

Driving the news: Steve Rosenauer, executive director of the Fiesta Commission, announced the relocation yesterday during a media day.

  • The 10-day-long event is less than a month away.

The intrigue: Rosenauer did not provide a reason for the move.

Flashback: The free party was hosted in front of the Alamo and Hemisfair for years before it moved to Travis Park last year.

  • Some Fiesta fans were not enthusiastic about the change.

What's next: Fiesta Fiesta will take place on April 18.

  • Guests can expect live music, medal buying and swapping, food and drinks for sale and lots of cascaron-cracking.

5. β˜• River City roasts: Drippy's Coffee

The beautiful blue truck on a sunny Saturday morning. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

πŸ‘‹ Megan here! Like many of you, I require a daily cup of coffee to kick-start my day.

  • Wednesdays are hard. So I'll be bringing you occasional recommendations for some of the best, and most unique, caffeinated drinks to get you past that midweek slump.

We're starting with Drippy's Coffee, a new truck on West Grayson Street near Pearl.

  • There's no shortage of cute coffee trucks in this growing area, but Drippy's already stands out.

Zoom in: I tried a basic drip coffee and a seasonal latte called The Pollinator.

  • The drip tasted more like a pour-over, with distinct flavor notes of plum and honey. The barista told me it was a single-origin coffee from Nicaragua.
  • The Pollinator is flavored with lavender and local honey. It was a perfect, slightly sweetened and very smooth pick-me-up that avoided crossing into "candy coffee" territory.

The bottom line: It's worth going out of your way for this truck's unique drinks and well-done basics.

Thanks to our editor Chloe Gonzales and copy editors Steven Patrick and Yasmeen Altaji.

πŸŽ‰ Madalyn is organizing her Fiesta plans and coordinating outfits. It's that serious.

🎬 Megan loved seeing "Love Lies Bleeding" in the theater.