The Upper Boggy Creek Neighborhood Plan -- stretching between MLK, Airport, and I-35 -- was presented in draft form at a community open house last weekend. After (and if) three other pending Eastside plans -- for Central East Austin, Rosewood, and Holly -- are all approved by the City Council in October, the UBC plan will be next in line.
For the second week in a row, state Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander has canceled a press conference to present her progress report on Austin ISD -- subject of a scathing audit in 1999. Gus Garcia -- who succeeded the former Carole McLellan as school board president 25 years ago, when she resigned to run for mayor -- also canceled his press events this week. Garcia officially filed for mayor on Tuesday at 11am.
Marty Akins left the gubernatorial race Wednesday and switched to the comptroller race. Akins says he did it for Democratic Party unity (and, we surmise, to avoid getting pounded by Tony Sanchez's bank account) and he supports Sanchez's bid for governor.
According to the Service Employees International Union, the average wage for employees of Argenbright Security -- the airport screeners at Austin-Bergstrom and Chicago-O'Hare, as well as at Newark and Washington-Dulles -- is $6 an hour. Managers earn just a couple of dollars more. Argenbright, founded in Atlanta but sold last year to British-based Securicor (specialists in "offender management," as well as aviation security), denied to the London Sunday Times that it underpays U.S. workers, but reports show that Securicor's workers at London's three airports make two to three times as much as their Yankee counterparts.
A Web poll on CNN's site last week asked "What are your feelings now about Tuesday's terrorist attacks?" The choices available were: Shock; Sorrow; Anger. No, you weren't allowed to feel more than one emotion. The Chronicle would like to conduct a poll of its own: What is your opinion of simplistic Web polls conducted by "news" organizations?: A) They're stupid; B) They're stupid; C) They're stupid. Please choose only one.
Conservative Christian preacher Jerry Falwell blamed last week's terrorism on liberals: "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'" Falwell later apologized for the remarks.
Actually, most news organizations have reported that, in fact, the attack was carried out by religious fundamentalists.
The Sept. 11 terrorists' plot may be closer to home than the East Coast. The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that a San Antonio physician had been detained for questioning by federal authorities, and the San Antonio Express-News reported that those authorities suspect he may have provided funds to the hijackers. No charges have been filed as of press time.
Another top-level Austin Museum of Art official has resigned. Director of Development Molly Hipp had been rumored to be the next to follow former director Elizabeth Ferrer out the door. Hipp submitted her resignation Wednesday, according to AMOA chief Bill McLellan.
The nimda virus that knocked out portions of the Internet on Tuesday nailed In Fact Daily, the online Austin politics newsletter. The site was back up in a few hours, but was back down again Wednesday morning.
A new species of salamander has been identified in Barton Springs. A group of UT-Austin, UT-Arlington, and city of Austin biologists have just published a species description of the Austin Blind Salamander (Eurycea waterlooensis) in the latest issue of the scientific journal Herpetologica.
On Sept. 17 the Austin Police Department put into service the city's new, non-emergency phone number, 311, designed to ease the call load on the 911 system. The new number should be used for all non-emergency police calls, such as illegally parked cars, animal control calls, and property crimes that are not currently in progress.
Planned Parenthood has some plans of its own, including construction of a new, two-building facility in South Austin. In addition to consolidating three existing sites and housing administrative offices and an education center, the new facility on Ben White will offer abortion services, currently referred out to other providers. That will make it the first Planned Parenthood branch in Austin to offer abortions; currently the closest are in San Antonio and Waco. Communications Manager Danielle Tierney says she anticipates "some kind of response" from pro-lifers, "but folks who want to conduct demonstrations won't be able to do so on the property."
In other news, Planned Parenthood will hold its Rubber Baron Bash benefit on Monday, Sept. 24 from 6:30-8:30pm at Momo's, 618 W. Sixth. Marcia Ball will perform. Bring a Jackson for admission.
Southwest Airlines's most recent E-update -- signed off with "LUV" -- warmly and fuzzily reassures recipients that "the safety and security of [our] customers has always been our primary focus." Are the jobs of Southwest's 32,000 employees equally sound? "We've never had a layoff in 30 years, and we're doing everything we can to prevent that right now," says spokesperson Christine Connelly. And if the cash flow slows, will CEO Jim Parker take a pay cut? "I really don't know," Connelly says.
As part of her community service requirements for underage drinking with twin sister Jenna at an Austin Mexican restaurant last May, Barbara Bush the Younger put in a full workday at Goodwill. No word on whether she picked up any cool vintage clothing at rock-bottom prices, but she did get a discount of a different sort last week when the charges were wiped off her criminal record. In addition to staying out of trouble, Barbara had to attend alcohol awareness class and pay a small fine. Jenna has until Oct. 6 to complete atonement for her juvenile delinquency, which includes an attempt to borrow someone else's ID to buy liquor.
Has Austin traffic been getting on your nerves, stirring up those anti-auto feelings? Put your mettle to the pedal and ride a bike in celebration of World Car-Free Day, Sept. 21, a second annual holiday spearheaded by the Prague organization Car Busters (www.carbusters. ecn.cz/). Last year, car opponents in more than 15 countries dropped pro-environmental banners, staged critical masses, and blocked city streets for the holiday. For the pranksters among you, Adbusters magazine has posted a high-resolution pdf of a DMV parking ticket on its web site (adbusters.org/campaigns/urbanspace/ ticket.html). Slap it on the windshield of that special someone you love -- or in this case, the stranger whose car you don't.