• After a late meeting last week sorting through the Park PUD, a pulled music permit for Lustre Pearl, and more, City Council's off this week, returning Jan. 27. For more, see "City Hall Hustle" and "The Park Is in the PUD-ing."
• Place 4 Council Member Laura Morrison kicked off her campaign Tuesday night at Nuevo León; see "The Daily Hustle: 1/19/11" online for the full rundown. Meanwhile, fellow incumbent Randi Shade drew a challenger this week in Place 3 – Chris Nielsen, proprietor of Downtown golf cart shuttle service Capital Cruisers.
• Since last week's release of a draft proposal to mothball nine public schools, Austin ISD officials have been greeted with public outcry, and members of the district's Facility Master Plan Task Force have split over how they should proceed, with several appointees calling for a shift to administrative cuts before classroom closures. See "Closing Schools Won't Fix AISD Budget."
• Under a gloomy sky and an Aggie-maroon tent, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst were sworn in to office on the Capitol steps Jan. 18; while both cheered Texas' so-called economic miracle, lawmakers were filing a first draft of the budget that will slice billions of dollars from health care, universities, and public schools.
• Downballot races can often be the most brutal; one could be the 2012 Travis County constable contest where Precinct 4 incumbent Maria Canchola will be challenged in the Democratic primary by Ernest Pedraza – an Austin Police commander backed by former City Council Member Betty Dunkerley and other old hands. Pedraza announced Wednesday, while Canchola has already starting sending out campaign mailers.
• With Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison bowing out of a 2012 re-election run, there's no shortage of GOP wannabe replacements: So far, former Secretary of State Roger Williams and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz have entered the race, along with Railroad Commissioners Michael Williams and Elizabeth Ames Jones.
• A federal appeals court has backflipped on its 1996 decision banning the University of Texas from using affirmative action in student admissions, aligning itself with a 2003 Supreme Court ruling favoring affirmative action at the University of Michigan. Undaunted, opponents vow to take the UT case to the Supremes.
• Can't get enough of the Longhorns? The University of Texas has officially inked a 20-year deal with ESPN to provide round-the-clock Longhorn sports, an agreement that's expected to net enough revenue over time to help some nonathletic programs stay afloat in spite of legislative budget-slashing. The network debut will coincide with the kickoff of the fall football season.
Quote of the Week
"Sometimes they forget they are part of the United States."
– Living historian and Buffalo Soldier expert Nat Booker on the anti-Washington rhetoric during Tuesday's inaugural speeches by Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst