Naked City

Off the Desk

When Austin Rep. Sherri Greenberg made official what had been rumored for months -- that she would not seek re-election to the Texas House of Reps, the name that emerged as her most likely successor was that of Ann Kitchen. To which many people may have responded, "Ann who?" But Kitchen, while not a household name, is active in a number of circles around town. A health-care consultant and former assistant attorney general under Jim Mattox and Dan Morales, the Barton Hills resident (who is married to political consultant Mark Yznaga) is among what could be a huge field of contenders for the District 48 seat. Another early prospect is Shannon Noble, an attorney with Scanlan Buckle & Young and lobbyist for various public interest groups, who Tuesday confirmed her intention to run for the seat. Jeremy Warren, aide to Houston Rep. Rodney Ellis, says he is "still actively considering" whether to make a bid for the post. Community volunteer Mandy Dealey and lawyer Jim Rodman are other potentials. And that's just talking about the Democrats. Republicans eyeing the seat include attorneys Craig Douglas and Jill Warren, lobbyist Humero Lucero and CPA Coulter Baker. Local GOP leaders have wanted to reclaim this district, which covers Southwest Austin and parts of the northwest, since Greenberg snatched it away from them a decade ago. But political consultant David Butts, who will work for Kitchen in this race, insists the turf is still strongly Democratic. "The Republicans," he says, "may spend a small fortune trying to disprove that, and the Democrats may spend a fortune trying to prove themselves right." Indeed, money will be the operative word -- some estimates have placed the seat's price tag as high as a half-million dollars. Butts says the minimum will be at least $200,000...

As lawyers for the city and Matthew McConaughey are said to be close to reaching an agreement on a noise complaint charge against the actor, some Austin police officers are privately expressing dismay over Chief Stan Knee's strong defense of the arresting officer, who entered McConaughey's home with neither an invitation nor a warrant -- a violation of APD's own policy (that's right, Knee's not from Texas). As one officer put it, "Thou shalt not enter a residence on a Class C misdemeanor"...

Dianne Hardy-Garcia, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, has flown off to Washington, D.C., where she'll spend the next five months organizing a big ol' gay and lesbian Millennium March on Washington, set for April. Her peace-brokering skills will be put to the test right as her tenure begins; she is entering a war zone of ideological and political infighting among organizers representing various gay advocacy groups from around the country. Hardy-Garcia initially said, no, thank you, when offered the job, but after much pleading and cajoling from the national planning committee, she decided to accept the challenge of such a heady task...

The city's condemnation of the BFI recycling facility in East Austin has reached its valuation stage -- and the price is almost $2 million more than what city officials want to pay. The condemnation is part of the city's commitment to move the facility out of the Bolm Road neighborhood, where residents have for years complained about the plant's noise and traffic. BFI, for its part, has agreed to leave, but not without some cooperation from the city. "We would like time to build another facility before closing down [the plant]," says BFI's Lynda Rife. She says the company is looking at potential sites off Johnny Morris Road and off Burleson Road. Meanwhile, the city and BFI continue to negotiate the $3.9 million valuation for the facility. BFI wants more, the city wants less.

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    City Manager Jesus Garza forms a top-level committee to oversee neighborhood services.

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    Hays County transportation plan goes back for further study; MoPac extension to San Marcos is tanked for time being.

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    Tobacco lawyers get a Nov. 19 deadline to decide whether to pursue the 15% fee in their original contract with the state.

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