Fri., Oct. 25, 2013
› City Council meets today (Oct. 24) with the headline wrangling most likely over proposed changes in the city's economic incentives program, potentially requiring living wages and a proposed loan bank for small subcontractors. See "City Council: Bad Apples."
› Late Tuesday, the Austin Police Department announced that veteran APD Detective Charles Kleinert, still under investigation for the July shooting of Larry Eugene Jackson Jr., has resigned. That ends the departmental inquiry, but a criminal investigation of the shooting continues.
› Closing arguments wrapped up Wednesday morning in the lawsuit challenging HB 2, the law adding new restrictions on abortion and scheduled to take effect Oct. 29. Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights organizations say the new law will severely restrict access to legal abortion for Texas women. See "Tears for Texas Women" for more.
› Travis County Commissioners Tuesday voted 4-0 to endorse construction of the SH 45 toll road over the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer – reversing a 2010 vote to withdraw support for the road. Margaret Gómez, who is running for re-election next year, provided the fourth vote, although the proposal would have passed with three. Ron Davis was absent.
› In other toll road news, Moody's Investors Service Inc. has again downgraded the credit rating of SH 130 Concession Company LLC, because of "inadequate" traffic growth on the road. They also warned of the "high likelihood" of a default next June.
› Turnout in the Nov. 5 election got off to a predictably sluggish start, with only 5,214 (0.84%) of Travis County's 618,200 voters casting their ballot in the first two days of early voting.
› The House District 50 race went negative, with Democratic rivals Celia Israel and Jade Chang Sheppard trading angry email blasts over Israel's support from the generally pro-Republican Texas Association of Realtors. Israel fired back that, unlike Sheppard, she supports a progressive statewide income tax.
› 800,000: That's how many documents UT Regent Wallace Hall has requested from UT, according to testimony delivered to the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations on Oct. 22, with one full-time staffer doing nothing but handling his open records requests. Hall faces possible impeachment for staging a witch hunt against UT President Bill Powers.
› Democrats are jubilant after Bexar County Judge Carlo Key switched parties, accusing his former colleagues in the Republican party of committing "ideological character assassination, ... pettiness and bigotry."
› Detroit rocker Ted Nugent announced this week he is now treasurer for former state Rep. Sid Miller's campaign to become Texas agriculture commissioner. Although the Nuge is a regular pro-gun talk show conservative pundit, this is the first-ever formal campaign role for the chicken hawk draft dodger who once became legal guardian of his 17-year-old girlfriend.
› Ted Cruz may not have many friends left in Washington, but he still has fans in the Lone Star State. On his homecoming tour through Texas this week, he has received several standing ovations, one Green Eggs and Ham-themed cake, and more than a few Democratic side eyes.