Fri., Jan. 31, 2014
› Icy weather Tuesday morning forced City Council to cancel its work session, leaving several discussion-worthy issues up in the air. Among them: a resolution to gauge residents' ability to pay for general fund services, proposed incentives for AthenaHealth, a settlement agreement on firefighter hiring, and more (See "Council Notes").
› Easy come, easy go. Two candidates abruptly left the mayoral race last week after running brief campaigns. Both former I Live Here, I Give Here director Patsy Woods Martin and Family Eldercare honcho Bill McLellan bowed out, citing procedural and personal concerns. McLellan threw his support behind attorney Stephen Adler.
› Cold rain and bad road design conspired to shut Austin down twice in the last week. Frozen bridges and overpasses led to dozens of street closures, plus 245 vehicle collisions on Jan. 24 and 274 on Jan. 28 – including two APD units that got rear-ended while attending to accidents.
› APD Officer John Gabrielson is on administrative leave while the department investigates a shooting he was involved in Saturday afternoon. Police say Gabrielson fired at Fernando Estrada, who tried to run him over in a gas station parking lot off Rundberg Lane. A motorist flagged down Gabrielson to report that Estrada had hit several vehicles while trying to flee the scene. No one was injured in the shooting.
› Celia Israel became the latest member of the Travis County Democratic legislative delegation Jan. 28, beating Republican Mike VanDeWalle in the run-off special election in House District 50. However, the pair will face off again for the seat in the November general election (p.14).
› Sen. Wendy Davis' children have fired back at Republican attempts to smear her mothering skills. On Jan. 28, both daughters released open letters, with younger sister Dru writing, "Whatever happened, whatever difficult things she and my dad went through, she was always there." See Tuesday's online Newsdesk for more.
› Lessons in leadership: Gov. Rick Perry attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and caused headlines this week by claiming that he had always supported decriminalizing pot. However, he made no statement on the weather conditions that basically shut down the Texas economy for two days. See "Perry Chills on Pot Decriminalization."
› More high times. Breaking ranks with three other GOP contenders for Lieutenant Governor, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said he would support legalizing medical marijuana for qualified patients on a doctor's recommendation.
› Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst emerged as the seeming winner of the Jan. 27 televised debate for the March Republican primary, but the real loser may have been science. All four candidates – Dewhurst, Patterson, Houston Sen. Dan Patrick, and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples – say they want creationism taught in public schools.