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The Brief: April 29, 2014

In another sign of troubled times among the leadership at the University of Texas System, word emerged Monday night that a regent clandestinely recorded a discussion with Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa during an executive session in August.

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa at a Board of Regents meeting in Austin.

The Big Conversation

In another sign of troubled times among the leadership at the University of Texas System, word emerged Monday night that a regent clandestinely recorded a discussion with Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa during an executive session in August.

"System officials declined to identify the board member who performed the clandestine taping, though they confirmed the tape's existence was later divulged by the person who recorded it," the Tribune's Reeve Hamilton reported. "Multiple people with ties to the system told The Texas Tribune that the regent who made the recording was Alex Cranberg, who was appointed to the board by Gov. Rick Perry in 2011."

Hamilton further noted that other regents, including Chairman Paul Foster, were not aware they were being recorded. Hamilton talked to a pair of former chairmen of the board of regents who disagreed as to the severity of the transgression. One, James Huffines, said it should make the regent consider resigning. The other, Charles Miller, described the episode as "unusual, but not necessarily wrong."

Cigarroa said in February that he would resign his position as chancellor and return to his surgical career once a successor is found. A UT System spokeswoman told Hamilton that "all members of the board have been advised that executive sessions should not be recorded."

The Day Ahead

•    The Tribune will livestream a panel discussion entitled Keeping the Lights On in Texas on the future of the state's electric grid. The noon hour discussion at St. Mary's University in San Antonio will be moderated by the Tribune's energy reporter Jim Malewitz.

•    The Texas Public Policy Foundation will host a panel discussion in the Capitol Extension at 11:30 a.m. on leveraging technological and medical advances to reduce crime.

•    GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott is in Lubbock to promote the second phase of his education policy proposals.

Today in the Trib

Laszlo Bock: The TT Interview: "Google's senior vice president of people operations talks with the Tribune about creating the next Silicon Valley in Texas, whether college is worth it and how universities can better prepare students for the workforce."

Texas Touts Lighter Regs in Wooing California Firms: "Gov. Rick Perry often touts the state's 'smart regulations' to businesses from California. While entrepreneurs in Texas often find fewer regulatory obstacles, some argue the Texas approach has hidden costs that aren’t worth the sacrifice."

Conservatives Make Their Case in Bid for SD-4 Seat: "State Rep. Brandon Creighton, businessman Gordy Bunch, former state Sen. Michael Galloway and state Rep. Steve Toth are looking to replace Sen. Tommy Williams in a May 10 special election."

Perry Baptized Anew in Historic Creek: "As he ponders whether to run for president again, Gov. Rick Perry has renewed his faith by getting baptized in the spring waters once used to wash the sins off Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas."

Video: For Landowners, BLM Dispute Raises Concerns: "As a federal agency decides what to do with the 90,000 acres it says it controls along a 116-mile stretch of the Red River, Texans who have been managing land in the area say they feel paralyzed."


Texas grants $40 million in incentives to aid Toyota relocation, The Dallas Morning News

Rep criticizes Dewhurst, Patterson for attention to Red River spat, Houston Chronicle

Barton to file immigration bill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

UT regents name former Alabama president sole finalist for inaugural UT-RGV presidency, McAllen Monitor

Embattled agency's director hires sex offenders' lawyer, Houston Chronicle

Alabama-Coushattas try to cut a deal with the feds, San Antonio Express-News

Oldest-ever congressman faces biggest challenge, The Associated Press

Quote to Note

"Your learning curve is affecting my livelihood."

— Wichita County landowner Terry McAlister to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management representative. McAlister has about 1,000 acres among the 90,000 acres that the federal agency considers public land.

News From Home

•    Registration for the Sept. 19-21 Texas Tribune Festival begins Thursday, May 1. As an added incentive, we offer for a short time an early-bird rate of $150, which works out to a 50 percent discount off the walk-up rate. In addition, students and educators can attend for just $50.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival On the Road presents a one-day symposium on STEM Education at UT-Dallas, 5/5

•    A Conversation With Rep. Dan Branch, Candidate for Attorney General at the Austin Club, 5/8

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at Midland College in Midland, 5/13

•    A Conversation With Steve Patterson, UT Men's Athletic Director at the Austin Club, 5/15

•    A Conversation With Sen. Glenn Hegar, Candidate for State Comptroller at the Austin Club, 5/29

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

Disclosure: Paul Foster is a major donor to The Texas Tribune. The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. James Huffines is president of PlainsCapital Bank, which was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2012 and 2011. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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Energy Environment Politics Brandon Creighton David Dewhurst Greg Abbott Joe Barton Rick Perry