Naked City

Off the Desk

If Place 6 Council Member Willie Lewis thought he had a lock on the Austin Police Association PAC endorsement of his re-election candidacy, he was mistaken. But he shouldn't have been surprised. The APA members this week threw their weight behind one of their own, Danny Thomas, who's been with APD for 21 years. "As a working police officer, Danny knows the traffic problems in this city better than most anyone," said APA PAC Chair Sean Mannix. "He understands that it is critical to the safety of our residents that we find long-term and short-term solutions to our congested streets and highways." Lewis' political consultant, Todd Main, brushed off the news this way: "While Willie has voted for everything the police ever wanted, they don't have a good track record of making political endorsements," Main said. "They didn't endorse Willie the first time he ran, and he won; they didn't endorse Bill Spelman, and he won, and they didn't endorse Beverly Griffith, and she won." Apart from Lewis and Thomas, the only other Place 6 candidate to announce so far is insurance agent Nelson Linder. See this week's "Council Watch" for the latest developments in the Place 5 council race, where Bill Spelman announced he won't seek re-election ...

The whole town knew it was a done deal before the deal was ever sealed, but on Friday, officials from the city and Computer Sciences Corp. finally put their respective John Hancocks on the documents designed to keep the pair honest during the course of their public-private marriage -- which began in earnest long before the contract was signed. The arrangement calls for three new CSC buildings, a new City Hall, a public plaza, and ground-floor retail opportunities, which are supposed to put a new face on downtown's bare-boned west end. Despite the project's relatively broad-based booster appeal, the new deal is not without its skeptics. Local activist Paul Robbins is as skeptical today as he was when the plan was first introduced. "There will be things that go wrong that we can't predict -- cost overruns, traffic jams, and construction delays and errors," he said. "And since the Austin community was never really consulted and had no input, they will be much less likely to tolerate the problems." In a broader sense, he added, the city may be becoming overreliant on the local computer industry's good economic fortune of late. "What happens," he asks, "when the computer industry takes a dive? We could end up like Detroit did in the late 1970s."

One computer geek who refuses to take a dive (despite antitrust police efforts) is Bill Gates. The Microsoft king will appear via satellite at the Austin Convention Center on Thursday for the Windows 2000 launch. Registration starts at 10am. For details, call 877/673-8368, or go to http://www.microsoft.com/events.

If you're a civic-minded individual looking for extra pocket change, the local Democratic and Republican parties have sent out an all-points bulletin in search of able bodies and minds to assist with the March 14 primary election. There are lots of positions open -- from election judges, to clerks, to ballot counters. Some jobs pay $5.15 an hour, while others pay as much as $7 and change. Only registered voters need apply. For specifics, contact one of these three: Travis County Democratic Party, 477-7500; Travis County Elections, 473-9553; or Travis County Republican Party, 420-9556. In a similar vein, the Texas Democratic Party needs volunteers to help with a big mailout Friday afternoon at party headquarters; call 478-9800.

  • More of the Story

  • Naked City

    The latest Texas Performance Review says AISD schools are operating under capacity, but AISD says their methodology masks school crowding.

    Naked City

    Austin Energy debates plans, initiated in the last budget cycle, to start burying above-ground power lines.

    Naked City

    Round Rock residents decry the western alignment proposed for SH130 and plead the case for an eastern alignment before the Texas Turnpike Authority.
  • Naked City

    For many reasons, George W. Bush shouldn't win this week's primary in South Carolina. But he will, because McCain lacks the resources and party backing to keep his campaign going.

    Naked City

    Most Texas representatives fare poorly on the League of Conservation Voters' annual national environmental scorecard.

    Naked City

    Action Items

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle