• You've waited so long for this moment – early voting starts Monday, April 27, for the May 9 city election destined to deliver a new mayor and at least two new council members. See "Carole's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2," "Do the Hustle for Mayor," and austinchronicle.com/elections for details.

• Breaking (yet not surprising) news: The city of Austin is staring down the barrel of a $30 million budget shortfall. At press time Wednesday, City Manager Marc Ott laid out the bare-bones situation for City Council. See "City Counseling."

• It's about damn time: Barbara Jordan, the groundbreaking Texas politician who led the charge to impeach President Nixon, will finally be honored with a statue on the University of Texas campus, where she mentored hundreds of students during her tenure as an LBJ School professor. The monument will be unveiled April 24.

Photo by Jana Birchum

• Austin Independent School District showed a respectable increase in high school graduation rates between 1995 and 2005, a new report shows. The study, conducted by an arm of the group that publishes Education Week, found that 59% of the class of 2005 graduated – a nearly 12 percentage-point hike over AISD's 1995 graduation rate.

• Gov. Rick Perry is back on the national stage – this time as the butt of late-night talk-show jokes. The guv's comments about the possibility of secession at last week's tea party tax protests have drawn nationwide condemnation and many rounds of guffaws.

• The Austin-based voting rights lawsuit brought by Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 is set for oral argument April 29 before the U.S. Supreme Court. The MUD board is challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act.

• Two milestones for the 81st Legislature: One, the House passed its $178 billion version of the state budget, with a record unanimous vote, and two, the governor signed the first bill of the session into law. See "On the Lege."


Forbes magazine has named Austin-Round Rock as No. 1 on its list of best big cities for jobs not because employment increased but because there was no net loss of positions (someone might also want to tell Forbes that Austin and Round Rock are actually two different cities).

The Daily Texan announced that Jeffrey Mikeska, who drew the cartoon strip Rocket Surgeon for the paper for 2½ years, lost his battle with cancer last week. Mikeska, who graduated in December 2008, was 25.

Quote of the Week

Photo by Jana Birchum

"My name is LL, and I speak for the trees.

Mess with Barton Springs, I'll cut you off at the knees.

I run five miles every day before dawn.

I better not catch you overwaterin' your lawn."

– LL Cool Lee Leffingwell, at the Chronicle's Hustle for Mayor forum at the Mohawk. See "City Hall Hustle."

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