City Council convenes today, Thursday, June 24, to tackle a crowded agenda of 152 items, cramming in recycling contract deliberations, Mobile Loaves & Fishes' proposed RV park for the homeless, and more before a monthlong hiatus; see "Naked City" and "City Hall Hustle."

Bonding and budget talk dominates City Hall, as Mayor Lee Leffingwell outlined his intention to bundle elections on capital improvement projects and urban rail together in 2012; meanwhile, city staff keeps hacking away on the city's 2011 budget; see "Hitting the Budget Barbells."

• Two major vacancies were filled this week: Linda S. Watson was tapped to lead Capital Metro, and Lucia Athens was picked to fill the city's newly created position of chief sustainability officer.

• Local green energy advocates aren't particularly enthusiastic about the three outside finalists City Manager Marc Ott has chosen to move to the next round in the competition to fill the general manager position at Austin Energy; see "AE Finalists: California Dreamin'."

Photo by John Anderson

• The Austin ISD board of trustees voted June 21 to keep its current leadership structure in place, with Mark Williams as president, Vince Torres as vice president, and Lori Moya as secretary. The board also certified the June 12 election results that placed Tamala Barksdale in the at-large board seat vacated by retiring trustee Karen Dulaney Smith.

• The Cathedral of Junk (above) is going ... to stay. After announcing last week that he would dismantle the South Austin landmark, owner/artist Vince Hannemann reversed his position, vowing to continue to work with the city to obtain a building permit for the structure. The cathedral will undergo a series of engineering tests before reopening to the public.

• Austin's "Tree Lady" will be on hand Tuesday when the city officially names a grove of trees in her honor. The Margaret Hoffman Oaks Park is located on a small triangular plot just south of City Hall along Lady Bird Lake; Hoffman, who served on the council in the mid-Seventies, is recognized for her lifelong efforts to preserve and honor Austin's "oldest residents." The ceremony gets under way at 12:30pm at City Hall.

• Montopolis residents will meet with city police monitor (and judge-elect) Cliff Brown and other staffers to discuss the office's role in police oversight and the steps it takes in reviewing police misconduct allegations. The meeting is at 6pm Monday, June 28, at the Austin Community College Riverside Campus, 1020 Grove Blvd.


Quote of the Week

"And if anything I said ... has been misconstrued to the opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction."

– Texas Rep. Joe Barton, mangling an apology for apologizing to BP's CEO for a "$20 billion shakedown" at the White House

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