Fri., April 5, 2013
› In one of the stranger AISD board meetings Monday night (call it the April Fools' Effect), the district lost then won the support of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce for its upcoming $890 million bond proposal; the GACC said it would drop its announced support if the board didn't promise a hard date for its facility plan (the Chamber advocates closing supposedly underutilized schools) – and after the board hedged on a date, the Chamber balked and then re-reversed itself. Now that's solidarity.
› There's no City Council meeting this week, as dust still settles from last week's repeal of the project duration ordinance, a vote to codify the Downtown Density Bonus Program, and the briefing on the Barton Springs Improvement Project. See "Council: Walking With the Dead."
› It's almost budget time at City Hall – formal presentations to Council begin April 18 – and as is traditional, the Austin Police Department has fired the first shot with initial estimates to the Public Safety Commission of wanting to add 90, 116, or more officers over the next two years, with particular attention to the growth of "special events" – music festivals, vehicle races, and such.
› On Tuesday, a Travis County grand jury issued misdemeanor indictments against Antonio Buehler and Sarah Dickerson of the Peaceful Streets Project, in connection with several incidents over the past year involving disputes with Austin police officers. The grand jury declined to issue a felony indictment of Buehler for interfering with a DWI arrest on Jan. 1, 2012, but did return indictments against him for failure to obey a lawful order, a Class C misdemeanor, for that incident and three others.
› F. Scott McCown, longtime executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, is leaving the organization this summer to serve as a clinical professor and director of the Children's Rights Clinic at the UT Law School. McCown, a former Travis County district judge, will teach law students who are representing children in court in Child Protective Services cases.
› With pressure building at the Capitol to find some way to expand Medicaid and make a dent in the huge population of uninsured Texans, Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, and (of course) Sen. Ted Cruz met this week to denounce the notion, likening accepting federal dollars to drug addiction. See "Lege Lines."
› The Third Court of Appeals has ruled that the Sunset Farms landfill near Manor can continue operations and rise another 75 feet despite appeals from nearby residents; the court supported a permit granted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, saying that residential development is relatively distant. See "Then There's This," March 22, 2013, and Oct. 5, 2012.
› We survived another April 1, with official proclamations on Mayor Lee Leffingwell's sartorial excellence and violation of the "Dancing Quorum" at City Council – but we may not survive another one, since North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has apparently taken an unhealthy interest in Austin's future. See the Newsdesk blog for more.