News Roundup: Lines, Trials, and Schools
No Fun at Fun Fun; Rick Perry goes to court; and more
By the News Staff,
6:37AM, Mon. Nov. 10, 2014
Fun Fun Fun Fest endured a logistical nightmare the likes of which the beloved festival’s never seen Friday (Nov. 8) when a holdup at the ticket will-call booth created a line down Riverside Drive and eventually across the South First Street bridge. Many of those expecting to pickup prepurchased tickets waited up to three hours until festival organizers at Transmission Events eventually opened the gates and let anybody standing in line into the grounds without going through the standard ticket check-in process. Despite many missing out on shows they specifically paid to see, the popular production company posted a notice onto Facebook Friday evening explaining that it would not reissue refunds to those who eventually attended the festival. For a more, see Kevin Curtin’s report at Earache.
City Council held fire on a couple of potential votes last Thursday (Nov. 7), specifically because CM Bill Spelman was absent. When it appeared they would deadlock on a decision concerning the CodeNEXT overhaul, that vote was postponed, as was a vote on allowances for "microunits" in residential areas. Prior to the meeting, Spelman issued a press release, announcing: "Two weeks ago, I had surgery to remove a small growth on my adrenal gland. The operation was successful, and after some follow up treatment for an infection, I am recovering at home.” Spelman had hoped to attend Thursday's meeting, but was apparently not sufficiently recovered to do so. In August of 2012, Spelman had surgery to remove a tumor on his pancreas.
Gov. Rick Perry finally appeared in court last week to face charges of abuse-of-power for his veto of funding for the Travis County District Attorney's Public Integrity Unit after D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign. Perry's lawyers argued that the charges should be dismissed, for various reasons, including that special prosecutor Michael McCrum was not properly sworn in. This was the first hearing that required Perry's personal attendance, and he was defiant afterward, defending his veto as breaking no laws. McCrum asked that Judge Bert Richardson allow the case to proceed to trial; Richardson is expected to rule this week. Texans for Public Justice, the watchdog group that filed the original complaint against Perry, released a statement on the hearing: "[Perry's] lawyers served up a windbag of bluster and a platter of red herring to a Republican judge who didn't appear to buy it."
No marriage equality in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee, at least for now. The 6th Circuit upheld gay marriage bans in those four states last Thursday (Nov. 6). The 6th Circuit is the first circuit court to uphold such a ban; other courts have struck them down. The 5th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Texas, has yet to rule on the matter. However, the circuit split makes it much more likely the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue in the near future.
Jamarl Tyler pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault on a peace officer and will serve eight years of deferred adjudication probation for an Oct. 2013 incident in which the 44-year-old was shot in the chest (he’s since fully recovered) by three policemen who responded to a call concerning Tyler’s shooting a neighbor in the leg. The three officers arrived on the scene to find Tyler holding a rifle. When they told him to release the gun he turned and pointed it toward them, causing the officers to fire. A Travis County grand jury declined to issue any indictments against the three officers – Michael Decker, Cecil Jones, and Cory Knop – though they’ve since been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation – standard with all officer-involved shootings.
Austin ISD held a dedication ceremony this weekend for its latest school, the Jaime D. Padron Elementary on Rundberg. Named after Austin PD Officer Padron, who was killed in the line of duty at a North Austin Walmart in 2012, this is the second AISD elementary campus to open along Rundberg in just over a year, to deal with the area's rapidly expanding student population. However, while the Guerrero-Thompson campus was a new build, Padron (which opened in August) is a converted manufacturing warehouse facility. With 57 classrooms, it is AISD's biggest elementary, and came at the relative bargain price of $30.45 million. As large land parcels become a rarity with city limits, AISD may increasingly turn to such conversion projects for new campuses, although they are not always popular. District 7 Trustee Robert Schneider previously shut down a plan from other board members to set up Southwest Austin's long-awaited new high school as a health center in a converted strip mall.