Fri., Jan. 18, 2013
• City Council meets today (Jan. 17) with some leftovers – zoning battles, including the Downtown Austin Hotel brouhaha – and some talk about affordable housing, Citizens United, and 2012's spike in traffic fatalities. For more, see "Council Notes: Funky Illuminations," and "Hotel Project Sparks Downtown Skirmish."
• If today is Thursday, disgraced local cycling champion Lance Armstrong should be baring his soul to TV queen Oprah Winfrey, in a two-night interview recorded in Austin Monday that reportedly addresses his use of performance-enhancing drugs in bicycling competitions. Armstrong needs rehabilitation, and Winfrey needs eyes on her Oprah Winfrey Network – is this a win-win scenario?
• Austin ISD trustees are considering putting a $890 million bond proposal on the May ballot. On Jan. 14 the district's Citizens Bond Advisory Committee presented draft proposals that would put $264 million into overcrowding relief, plus $145 million for academic, fine arts, and athletics facilities; $132 million for health, environment, and technology; and $349 million in repairs and renovations. You can ask questions and provide feedback at public hearings the next two Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm: Jan. 22 at Crockett High cafeteria, 5601 Manchaca Rd., and Jan. 29 at Reagan High cafeteria, 7104 Berkman Dr.
• After a couple of sessions of discussion, the Travis County Commissioners Court decided to leave the current Saxet Gun Show contract with the Expo Center in place for 2013 (subject to ongoing negotiations). See "Guns & Ammo ... and Austin Politics."
• On Monday, Austin defense attorney Keith Hampton filed an appeal in state district court on behalf of Fran Keller, convicted in 1992 and sentenced to 48 years in the notorious Oak Hill Day Care child abuse case. The brief claims that Keller was a victim of public hysteria, bungled prosecution, and concealed evidence. See "Appeal Filed in Day Care Abuse Case."
• Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 21. AISD schools and offices will be closed for the holiday, as will city and county offices.
• You have until Thursday, Jan. 31, to pay your property tax bill before delinquency fees set in. Check your bill online at www.traviscountytax.org, and make checks payable to your new tax assessor-collector, Bruce Elfant (but don't worry if you sent one to Tina Morton; that'll work too).
• City and community leaders Wednesday celebrated the groundbreaking of an affordable housing development at 3101 E. 12th. The new project – part of a 2000 settlement agreement between the city and Anderson Community Development Corp. – will include 24 units with monthly rents ranging from $500 to $800.
• The U.S. Supreme Court has once again pushed back its decision whether to rule on the constitutionality of Texas' most recent redistricting. SCOTUS had been expected to announce Jan. 14 whether it would hear a challenge to the maps, but the justices punted and have given no new indication on whether they will review the case.