• A debate-style town hall over the need for Water Treatment Plant No. 4 is scheduled for 6pm today, Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Palmer Events Center. Camps for and against the construction of the new plant will make their case, and a quorum of the City Council is expected to attend. See "Point, Counterpoint."
• What's in the water? Late last week, the Austin Water Utility issued a notice saying a naturally occurring algae bloom in Lake Travis may be responsible for "an unusual taste and odor" in customers' water. The utility is treating the wet stuff with activated carbon.
• Tom "Smitty" Smith, the ubiquitous Texas director of enviro group Public Citizen, was bestowed with a Heinz Award, an accolade established by Teresa Heinz-Kerry to honor progressive causes. Smith was honored "for his work as one of the most effective renewable energy advocates in Texas" with a $100,000 prize.
• Lest we forget: Longtime activist Bert Cromack, a geophysicist who cared deeply about Austin and its environs – specifically the protection of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer – died Sept. 14 at 70. Cromack served several terms as president of the Save Barton Creek Association. R.I.P., Bert.
• The city's audit of the Austin Revitalization Authority has been pushed back yet again – consideration of the audit by the City Council's Audit & Finance Committee, scheduled for Tuesday, is now planned for Oct. 27.
• Austin Community College Trustee Veronica Rivera announced earlier this summer that she is stepping down to take a position in Washington, D.C., with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Last week, the rest of the board of trustees voted to leave Rivera's seat vacant until elections in May.
• The Democratic National Committee invaded Austin Sept. 10-12, with several high-ranking Democratic candidates kick-starting their campaigns before the national party. On the other side of the aisle, the Hands Off Texas gathering at the Capitol to protest the DNC's presence in Austin turned into a wash-out, with umbrellas nearly outnumbering banners. See "DNC Does the Texas Waltz."
• Two months after he was indicted in Travis County on campaign finance violations, Rep. Kino Flores, D-Mission, now says he won't seek re-election to the Texas House. Two Democratic hopefuls have emerged to replace him: Sergio Muñoz Jr., the son of the man from whom Flores took the seat in 1996; and Sonia Rodriguez, who lost to Flores in 2008.
• The long-running Republican campaign to dig up dirt on ACORN paid dividends after allegations of illegal activity in its D.C. and Baltimore offices. Gov. Rick Perry's re-election campaign immediately released a statement attacking "Sen. Kaycorn" (aka primary challenger Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison) for skipping a vote to strip its federal funding.
Quote of the Week
"It's not my business."
– Capital Metro Board Chair Margaret Gomez, asked if she was seeking information on why the transit agency fired union leader and bus driver Jay Wyatt