Fri., July 16, 2010
• City Council doesn't meet again until July 28, but work continues behind the scenes on initiatives to revamp the city's social service contracting process and plans for a November transportation bond election. See "City Hall Hustle."
• The city appears ready to settle a lawsuit with the family of Nathaniel Sanders II, the teenager killed by since-fired Austin Police Officer Leonardo Quintana. See "Sanders Family to Settle With City?"
• Austin will get a new city website ... someday ... but piecemeal improvements continue to the site. The city recently launched a new boards and commissions portal, listing agendas, approved meeting minutes, and more. Visit www.cityofaustin.org/cityclerk/bc_info_center.htm.
• Fishy story: Zilker Botanical Garden managers recently announced that 13 koi fish were stolen late last month from the park's Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden; the colorful Japanese carp can fetch a few hundred a pop, although this particular variety of fish were valued between $150 and $200, according to park officials.
• The brouhaha over a contested remodel at 1915 David St. finally died at the Board of Adjustment on Monday; attorney Mike McHone withdrew his client's permits and his requested appeals – after fighting the Original West University Neighborhood Association for 10 months.
• Campaign finance reports for the November general election are due today (Thursday, July 15), so get ready for a torrent of donor-related smear stories.
• Should the State Board of Education close the book on textbooks? A recent poll conducted for the Texas Freedom Network showed 72% of respondents believe teachers and academic scholars, not the SBOE, should write curriculum and textbook standards.
• Mayor Lee Leffingwell (right) has set the 3C Challenge to encourage Austinites to cut their daily water consumption from an average of 167 gallons a day to the Texas Water Development Board's target of 140 gallons by 2020.Austin Water customers who take the pledge to "Commit, Calculate and Conserve" could win a new energy-efficient washing machine and dryer.
Quote of the Week
"The program is no longer geared toward protecting rare gems and has turned into a racket that the wealthy are manipulating to avoid taxes."
– Alfred Stanley, in an e-mail follow-up to his comments to Travis County Commissioners on historic property tax exemptions
Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.