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Must reads: Texas watchdog journalism roundup for May 16, 2017

Border killing by U.S. marines
Credit: San Antonio Express-News

Investigative stories across Texas that uncovered hidden facts about child abuse, millions of dollars in lost taxpayer dollars, and a controversial shooting on the Texas border.

Border killing 20 years ago changed military tactics | San Antonio Express-News

“On an overcast Tuesday afternoon 20 years ago, Esequiel Hernandez, a quiet, gangly teenager who grew up in this dusty border hamlet, set out after school on his regular walk to the Rio Grande with his herd of goats and an old .22 rifle. Heading back, with storm clouds gathering, he was trailed through the brush by four armed and heavily camouflaged Marines. The surveillance team from Camp Pendleton in California had been sent in secretly days earlier to watch for drug smugglers along the river.” Story by John MacCormack

Broken System

“With the issue of child abuse at near-critical levels in Bexar County, KSAT’s Defenders investigative unit decided to shine a light on this dark and deeply affecting issue. The Defenders interviewed dozens of people – from judges and local law enforcement to Child Protective Services agents, nonprofit advocates and foster parents, to the actual survivors of abuse and neglect themselves – to learn first-hand why and how this epidemic has remained unaddressed for so long.” Stories by Myra Arthur, Dillon Collier and Tim Gerber

Lost Money | Houston Chronicle

“Houston has collected $130 million in local taxes over the last decade to help provide affordable housing for low-income families, but has little to show for it. For many projects, city housing officials cannot say how many families were helped or whether their homes still qualify as affordable for low-income residents. Records are so chaotic that it took dozens of public information requests over 10 months for the Chronicle to connect spending to outcomes. The results have been underwhelming.” Story by Rebecca Elliott and Mike Morris

Mayor Ivy Taylor wins over East Side voters except in her own backyard | San Antonio Express-News

“In the May 6 general election, Mayor Ivy Taylor enjoyed support across most of the city, but not in her own backyard. Taylor lives in Dignowity Hill, a neighborhood and historic district just east of downtown, between Cherry Street and New Braunfels Avenue. It is among the inner city’s fastest-changing and rapidly redeveloping areas; Taylor was its representative as District 2 councilwoman for five years. This month, she lost the precinct that includes Dignowity Hill to District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg.” Story by Vianna Davila.

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