Fri., Feb. 25, 2011
• City Council is quiet this week, with its next regular meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 3. Last week's agenda was dominated by approval of a start for the Waller Creek Tunnel Project and a resolution questioning body scanners at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport; see "City Hall Hustle," and "Money Flows to Waller Creek."
• The Office of the City Auditor has released a report "strongly" suggesting that short-term vacation rentals aren't paying their share of the city's Hotel Occupancy Tax. For more, see "The Daily Hustle: 2/23/11," at austinchronicle.com/newsdesk.
• Former APD Officer Leonardo Quintana, who fatally shot Nathaniel Sanders II in 2009, was back in arbitration this week trying to get his job back for a second time after he was charged with a domestic violence incident involving his former fiancée Lori Noriega (also an APD officer).
• From four legs to four wheels: Austin-based Formula One United States Grand Prix has appointed Steve Sexton, former CEO of Churchill Downs, as its new president.
• Monday marked what would have been the 75th birthday of the late Barbara Jordan, Texas' first black senator and the first Southern black woman to serve in the U.S. House. To commemorate her trailblazing achievements, the U.S. Postal Service has chosen Jordan as this year's Black Heritage stamp honoree.
• U.S. House Republicans voted Feb. 18 to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that, if implemented, would effectively deny millions of Americans access to cancer, diabetes, and anemia screenings; STD testing; contraception; and flu and tetanus vaccines. Texas lawmakers are also taking aim at the agency; see "LegeLand: Defunding Planned Parenthood."
• Republican think-tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation is proposing replacing the current Medicaid system with a sliding-scale system of subsidies to encourage people below 175% of the federal poverty level to buy private health insurance. The big winners under such a measure? The health insurance industry.
• Republican Congressman Michael Burgess has stripped the "Doggett Amendment" from the federal EduJobs bill, in theory ending a stalemate between Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Gov. Rick Perry. The Travis County Democrat penned the amendment last year to stop Perry from using education cash to backfill other parts of the budget, as he had done with the federal stimulus cash.
• "We are all Wisconsin now." Several hundred union members and supporters joined a candlelight march from the Texas AFL-CIO headquarters to the Capitol on Monday, Feb. 21, in support of Wisconsin public employees fighting to keep their right to collective bargaining.
• U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday, Feb. 23, a reversal in the Obama administration's stance toward the Defense of Marriage Act – declaring that the portion excluding same-sex couples from the definition of "marriage" is unconstitutional, and therefore the Department of Justice will no longer defend the law in court.