Austin City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan was confronted by members of the Wind Therapy Freedom Riders group while leaving a campaign event at Springwoods Park on Anderson Mill Road on Saturday.
While leaving a block-walking event, Flannigan was surrounded by around a half dozen members of the motorcycle-riding group, at least one of whom had a "white power" symbol on their bike, according to a press release issued by his campaign.
Flannigan later posted a video filmed from inside his car, which shows the leader of the group swearing at him and demanding to know why Flannigan called him a racist. Flannigan told Austonia that he did not call the leader a racist.
"It seemed clear from my perspective that ... this was all an attempt on their part to create a media moment," Flannigan said, adding that he was able to leave the event shortly after he stopped filming.
This is the harassment my opponents think is ok... this is the attacks and intimidation my opponents think is ok.… https://t.co/MIpB7FdQck— Jimmy Flannigan (@Jimmy Flannigan) 1605994585.0
Wind Therapy Freedom Riders appeared to threaten Flannigan with a lawsuit on their Twitter account after the confrontation.
Hey @JimmyFlannigan I’ll be happy to do an in person interview at any news station of your choosing. Let’s do this… https://t.co/EF7jBnMTiJ— WTFrs - Wind Therapy Freedom Riders (@WTFrs - Wind Therapy Freedom Riders) 1606052729.0
Wind Therapy Freedom Riders members were among those "Back the Blue" supporters photographed with Austin Police Department officers in front of City Hall earlier this month. The photo—which also included Trump supporters, critics of Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Flannigan's opponent, Mackenzie Kelly—drew criticism of APD because some of the protesters displayed white supremacist hand signals.
The Wind Therapy Freedom Riders released a statement in which they said "members of the 'proud boys' organizations jumped into the picture unbeknownst to us.'" The Proud Boys have been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Kelly's campaign did not respond to an immediate request for comment about the incident between Flannigan and the Wind Therapy Freedom Riders.
Flannigan said these two events together indicate an increasingly aggressive style of local campaigning that he attributed to Trumpism.
"The only way to stop this is to ensure that it doesn't work," he said. "This style of political intimidation will continue if it wins elections."
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Lately, the crypto market is looking shaky.
The price of bitcoin fell by more than half from its high, the digital currency luna crashed to $0 and a type of so-called stablecoin TerraUSD has been described as dead.
Reporting from the LA Times notes that experts seeing a correlation between traditional markets and the cryptocurrency market is high right now, with plunges in one being followed by a plunge in the other. On Wednesday, stocks had their worst day in more than two years with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1,164 points.
Crypto’s volatility has long been questioned, especially after SXSW this year was filled with Web3 enthusiasts and displays.
With 8% of Texans owning Bitcoin and many others involved in the local crypto and Web3 scene, what are they feeling amid the crash?
In a written comment to Austonia, ATX DAO said a positive with the downturn is that “most of the speculative moneygrab type projects get washed out of the market, and the quality projects that deliver real value remain and gather more attention.”
The group went on to say it could work to their advantage as they carry out their latest project: a mural at Native Hostel that will have an NFT version. They’ll use sales toward donations to HOPE Outdoor Gallery, a local nonprofit that supports artists and creatives.
Meanwhile, Yagub Rahimov, a founder of an Austin-based Web3 company explains that they aren’t really impacted by the crash.
Since the company known as Tested Web functions as a Web3 online reputation marketplace, it is utilizing blockchain technology without tokenizing.
“We are a share to earn marketplace. That means that any activity that users have on tested web.com, we will be rewarding,” Rahimov said. “Those rewards are coming in the form of rewards points. And every quarter they can opt in to receive either a gift card or a check. We are not issuing any cryptocurrency. That's one of the important elements that I believe we got it right that way.”
With recent developments at Tested Web, Rahimov says he “couldn’t be happier.” After struggling to find tech talent in early spring, he’s had a hiring spree in the last 10 days and received a $1 million grant and partnership with Silent Notary, a blockchain-powered validation provider.
But his recent business success aside, Rahimov is noticing what’s happening in the markets and predicts that the correlation between the crypto market and traditional one will be broken.
“The way Bitcoin was introduced back in 2009, it was as a reply or response to the 2008 market crash,” Rahimov said. “And it really feels like we are in 2007, 2008, actually, early, early days of the market crash. And if it becomes that way, very likely that the winner is going to be those of decentralized parties.”
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Barton Springs Pool is on a condensed schedule while the city tries to fill out its lifeguard roster.
The popular pool is currently closed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays while it navigates a lifeguard shortage. The city is offering bonuses to new applicants who can start by early June.
Austin Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Jodi Jay said there are 207 lifeguards ready to work and 100 incoming but the department needs 750 to be fully staffed.
Zoom out: The pandemic has had a lasting impact on hiring—in 2019, the city was able to hire 850 lifeguards. The Aquatic Department has been unable to match those numbers since it reopened training classes in spring of 2021.
Why it matters: The city needs at least 400 lifeguards, plus 30 with open water certification, to open pools on a modified schedule by June 4. Without hitting that mark, some facilities could limit hours or close.
The job pays between $16-19 an hour, anyone over 15 can get certified and there are bonuses on the table:
- $500 bonus if you get certified and start working by June 6.
- $500 bonus if you work through August 14.
- $250 bonus if you get advanced certification.