• As the Chronicle went to press, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo announced the 15-day suspension of officer Leonardo Quintana for the fatal shooting of teenager Nathaniel Sanders II in May. The action was in direct response to Quintana's failure to activate the dashboard camera in the squad car when he arrived in the parking lot of the Eastside apartments where the shooting occurred. Quintana was cleared of all other alleged policy violations, including whether he properly identified himself and whether his use of force was justified. Family members and community leaders expressed outrage over the mild disciplinary action.
• Capital Metro bus fares will increase starting Jan. 18, 2010, seven months ahead of schedule. The transit authority board approved the fare hike – the second in less than a year – on Wednesday, raising the price of a single ride from 75 cents to $1.
• City Council held a special meeting Wednesday to address changes and challenges affecting Austin Energy. General Manager Roger Duncan said the city is exploring a change in rate structures, offering new products and services and re-evaluating the GreenChoice program.
• Council holds a regular meeting Thursday, with the Grayco Partners South Shore PUD, planned between Riverside Drive and the waterfront, looming over the zoning agenda. Up for third and final reading, it previously passed on a 5-2 vote, with Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council Member Laura Morrison dissenting. For more City Council action, see "City Counseling."
• One PUD that council won't be considering – ever – is Wildflower Commons, which is officially off the table, In Fact Daily reported last week. Quoting Mayor Lee Leffingwell, the online newsletter said the developer had withdrawn the zoning application and intends to build within the confines of an earlier development agreement on the southwest Austin site.
• The audit of the Austin Revitalization Authority has finally come in, pinpointing "inconsistent financial planning" and "the lack of a shared understanding" between the ARA and the city as responsible for the authority's project delays. See "Naked City."
• Texans approved all 11 constitutional amendments on the Nov. 3 ballot with the lowest voter turnout in eight years (see "Election? Apparently."). On the same day, the GOP took two governor's races, in Virginia and New Jersey, while Democrats increased their congressional majority when Bill Owens won New York's 23rd Congressional District (after ranking Republicans – including Gov. Rick Perry – backed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava).
• Houston is heading for a mayoral run-off. After a seven-way race to replace Senate hopeful Bill White, city Controller Annise Parker and former City Attorney Gene Locke will face off again later this year. If Parker wins, she'll be the first openly gay woman to become mayor of a major American city. Locke would be Houston's second African-American mayor.
Quote of the Week
"There is a message in last night's returns for Democrats in Washington: Slow down and change directions."
– Republican Senate hopeful Roger Williams, ignoring the fact that the Democrats actually increased their congressional majority in the Nov. 3 elections