Headlines

• As soon as City Council passed last week's incentives package for Hanger Orthopedic Group, along came another one. L.A.-based LegalZoom is considering relocating to Austin, and council will hear about potential economic incentives for the company Feb. 11. For more, see "City Hall Hustle."

Capital Metro announced Wednesday that President Obama's proposed 2011 fiscal year budget includes a recommendation of $24 million for its "bus rapid transit" project. If passed, this funding would add to the $13.4 million already allocated for MetroRapid, bringing the total to 80% of the $47 million needed. Bus rapid transit consists of limited-stop buses equipped with technology allowing them to change traffic lights to green. Service is scheduled to begin in 2012.

• Mayor Lee Leffingwell on Tuesday delivered his state of the city address to the Real Estate Council of Austin, warning that Austin is no longer "a sleepy little college town" and must start thinking and planning like a major city. See "Naked City."

• University of Texas President Bill Powers faced a 2½-hour grilling Tuesday from students and the Austin community over the decision by Texas Union officials to close the Cactus Cafe and end the informal classes program. See "'A' Is for Axed" and "Off the Record," Music.

• District Judge Stephen Yelenosky on Monday threw out a case against the Lower Colorado River Authority, ruling the agency was protected by the state's sovereign immunity statutes. The San Antonio Water System had sued the LCRA for $1.2 billion for allegedly breaching a complex water-sharing deal.

• Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed a motion to have the city of Pflugerville and three other Texas cities removed from a lawsuit challenging the broadest terms of the Texas Open Meetings Act (see "Does the Open Meetings Act Go Too Far?," Jan. 8). Abbott's filing argues that cities have no First Amendment rights (thus giving them fewer legal protections than corporations).

• Democrat and former Houston Mayor Bill White is winning the fundraising stage of the race to be governor. In his latest reports, covering January, he raised $755,067, beating Republican primary contenders Gov. Rick Perry ($734,365) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison ($269,940). White will face his lead opponent in the Democratic primary, Farouk Shami, in a debate to be broadcast live statewide from Fort Worth on Monday, Feb. 8. In Austin, tune in to KLRU or KVUE at 7pm.

• The state has gone without a gas tax hike since 1991. So at a joint meeting of Senate and House committees Monday, lawmakers heard testimony from local elected officials and anti-toll-road activists calling for an increase before the state runs out of money for roads and railways.

Headlines
Photo by John Anderson

• The nation's top brass testified Tuesday in support of President Obama's call for the repeal of the armed forces' "don't ask, don't tell" policy, with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff telling a Senate committee that it's wrong to force men and women to "lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."

Quote of the Week

"What's most troubling with respect to closing the Cactus and ending the informal classes is the potential damage to our community's involve­ment in university life."

– Rep. Elliott Naish­tat, at a Tuesday forum. See "'A' Is for Axed."

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