Naked City

Beyond City Limits

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality caved under intense public pressure and agreed last week to do away with 55-mph speed limits in smog-choked Houston. -- M.C.M.

Mark McClellan, eldest son of State Comptroller and former Austin mayor Carole Keeton Rylander, has been nominated by President Bush to run the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The 39-year-old has both an M.D. from Harvard and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT, and also held a midlevel post in the Clinton Treasury Dept. Carole and first husband Barr McClellan (who divorced in 1977, when she was still president of the school board) have four sons; the youngest, Scott, is already in D.C. as Bush's deputy press secretary. -- M.C.M.

SBC Communications wasn't such a friendly neighborhood whatever last week. The big baby Bell announced plans to reach out and touch 20,000 workers with the pink slip, and at the same time blasted "outmoded regulations" (passed way back in ... 1996) for forcing it to open up its network to competitors. These rules, SBC says -- not the dismal performance of the telecom sector -- have cost it $1 billion in losses already this year. Analysts say the San Antonio-based giant, which has long had its way with Texas regulators, may focus its job cuts in states that haven't yet given SBC permission to offer long-distance service. -- M.C.M.

Killeen's KAKW-TV (Ch.62) will become Central Texas' Univision affiliate Oct. 14, and it expects to offer Austin's first Spanish-language local TV newscast as early as November. Several low-power Austin frequencies carry Univision and its sister network, TeleFutura, but KAKW would be the first full-power Spanish station in Austin, the nation's No. 22 Spanish-language media market. KAKW is moving its transmitter south into Williamson Co. to better serve Austin. However, since the station's license is still in Killeen, it's not a "must-carry" for Austin's Time Warner Cable; though TW carries the Univision network feed, it has "no plans" to add KAKW to its roster. -- M.C.M.

Three out of three: Not a new Texas Lottery game, but the number of lottery directors forced out amid controversy. Linda Cloud resigned last week after admitting she had, in fact, talked to Gov. Rick Perry's people about Lottery Commissioner Walter Criner, who quit earlier this year amid allegations of "inappropriate conduct" toward female employees. Cloud had told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram otherwise, which she now says was a lie, though Perry's office still maintains no such discussions took place. Cloud's two predecessors, Nora Linares and Lawrence Littwin, were both fired by the commission and between them received over $1 million in settlements from Gtech, the Rhode Island company that actually runs the lottery, who they claimed prompted their dismissals. -- M.C.M.

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