Naked City

News briefs from Austin, the region, and beyond

Last weekend's Texas Book Festival featured a presentation by some of Texas' most celebrated stewards of the environment, gathered here in a stairway to mark the occasion of their reunion and presentation of a new book, <i>The Texas Legacy Project: Stories of Courage & Conservation</i>. The folks shown here include neighborhood/enviro leader Mary Arnold, sustainable building guru Gail Vittori, attorney/former state Rep. Frances Sissy Farenthold, botanist Scooter Cheatham, and Texans for Public Justice head Craig McDonald.
Last weekend's Texas Book Festival featured a presentation by some of Texas' most celebrated stewards of the environment, gathered here in a stairway to mark the occasion of their reunion and presentation of a new book, The Texas Legacy Project: Stories of Courage & Conservation. The folks shown here include neighborhood/enviro leader Mary Arnold, sustainable building guru Gail Vittori, attorney/former state Rep. Frances "Sissy" Farenthold, botanist Scooter Cheatham, and Texans for Public Justice head Craig McDonald. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

sir Smith Follows Suit

Lawyers representing Sir Smith have filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court, claiming that Smith was wounded unnecessarily during the May 2009 incident in which then-Austin Police Officer Leonardo Quintana shot and killed Nathaniel Sanders II. According to the suit, filed Oct. 18 by San Antonio lawyer Michael Miller, Quintana's violation of department policies is what led to Sanders' unnecessary death and the wounding of Smith. Both Smith and Sanders were asleep in a station wagon outside an East Austin apartment complex at the time of the incident. Quintana said that he tried to rouse Sanders, who then awoke and grabbed for a gun, causing the officer to fear for his life and fire his weapon several times. Hit twice, Sanders died at the scene. The shooting woke Smith, who was then also shot by Quintana as he fled from the car. According to Smith's new lawsuit, Quintana acted recklessly in firing at Smith, who "posed no imminent threat of death or serious injury to Quintana." – Jordan Smith

Cap Metro Chiefs Say Ciao

Chief Financial Officer Randy Hume and engineering chief John Almond have resigned from Capital Metro at new President/CEO Linda Watson's request. That's not too surprising, considering financial problems that occurred partly on Hume's watch and rail construction delays under Almond. "After being on the ground for the last couple of months, I've been very carefully evaluating the agency," Watson said, "and I determined that it was time to move in a different direction." Asked to specifically identify what motivated her to send the pair packing, Watson said, "It wasn't necessarily looking at past performance, but it's more related to ... what I feel [are] the skill sets needed for the future." Apparently, those skill sets are found in Billy Hamilton, the widely respected former deputy state comptroller brought on board in February on a temporary contract to help the agency get its financial house in order. Hamilton will now stay a little longer and assume some of Hume's duties. "It was really just a lucky opportunity to get someone of his caliber in the financial area," Watson said. Given Hamilton's other consulting commitments, he is unlikely to be a permanent hire; the agency is still hunting for a ­replacement. – Lee Nichols

Preserving Austin

The National Trust for Historic Pres­er­vation is in town this week filming people talking about their favorite places in Austin. The project, called Austin Unscripted, will document answers to such questions as: What places define Austin, and what should Austin's future look like? If those questions sound familiar, that's because the city has spent a lot of time lately posing similar questions as it drafts the Austin Comprehensive Plan (see "Comp Plan Combo Platter," Oct. 1). The What Is Austin? campaign, which formed to encourage participation in the comp plan process, is backing Austin Unscripted as yet another way to capture public sentiment about what makes Austin special. To participate, stop by a meet-up or visit www.preservationnation.org/austinunscripted. (Haven't yet completed the comp plan survey? See www.cityofaustin.org/compplan.) Meet-ups: Friday: Wheatsville Co-op, 3101 Guadalupe, 11:30am-1:30pm; Waterloo Records, 600-A N. Lamar, 2:30-4:30pm; East End 4th Friday, 1106 E. 11th, 6-8pm. Saturday: Downtown Farmers' Market, Republic Square Park, 9-11am; Torchy's, 1311 S. First, noon-2pm; Hey Cupcake!, 1600 block of South Congress, 3-5pm; What Is Austin? Happy Hour at Cheer Up Charlie's, 1104 E. Sixth, 6-8pm. Sunday: Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1206 E. Ninth, 8-10am; Ebenezer Baptist Church, 1010 E. 10th, 9-10am; HOPE Market, 414 Waller, 11am-1pm; PODER, 2604 E. Cesar Chavez, 2-4pm. Monday: Renaissance Market, Guadalupe (across from UT campus), 11:30am-1:30pm; Quack's 43rd Street Bakery, 411 E. 43rd, 4-6pm. – Nora Ankrum

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Sir Smith, Capital Metro, Austin Comprehensive Plan, Leonardo Quintana, Nathaniel Sanders II, Randy Hume, John Almond, Linda Watson, Austin Unscripted

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