› City Council takes a break from official meetings until Dec. 8 (with a work session Dec. 6), when the various amendments of the Downtown Austin Plan are expected to return. For more, see "Beside the Point."
› While council rests, the 2012 Charter Revision Committee will be busy today, with members discuss various proposals for single-member districts at the Austin Community College Pinnacle Campus (Nov. 17, 6:30pm). The committee's next meeting will be Thursday, Dec. 1, 6pm, at the Carver Branch Library; you can also weigh in online at www.austintexas.gov/charter/involved.htm.
› City campaign season officially began Nov. 14 (first fundraising day for the May election), and the lines are beginning to form. Mayor Lee Leffingwell announced for re-election Wednesday, and on Thursday (today), Council Member Bill Spelman will officially declare he won't challenge Leffingwell but will run for re-election to his Place 5 seat. Place 6 Council Member Sheryl Cole told us she anticipates making a decision "relatively soon" whether to run for mayor or stick with her council race. Place 4's Laura Morrison, who is not up for re-election, said, "Several people have encouraged me to run [for mayor], but I'm happy where I am, and I plan to enjoy this term." Place 2 council member and social-media maven Mike Martinez announced via Facebook that he will formally announce for re-election today (Thursday).
› On Tuesday, families in Austin ISD's Eastside Memorial Vertical Team gathered at Brooke Elementary to discuss the district's proposal to hand their campuses over to the IDEA Public Schools charter group, the South Texas nonprofit credited with improving public schools there. On Wednesday, the Statesman reported on a Penn State study (disputed by IDEA and AISD) reflecting that the charter's results are not as positive as claimed.
› Also in AISD news, the district hosts a community meeting on single-sex schools Saturday, 10am-noon, at the LBJ High School cafeteria. At their Nov. 21 meeting, the trustees are scheduled to vote on the proposed Facility Master Plan "framework" that could include either or both of these options.
› As the national Occupy movement reaches its two-month mark, a concerted attempt by several big-city mayors to use armed police to clear the protestors has mostly backfired, giving the popular protests new energy – just in time for an international day of protest today, Nov. 17.
› More dismal polling news for Gov. Rick Perry, who this week announced that he intends to make the federal government more like that of Texas – infrequent and ineffective. The latest Gallup poll shows a zero "Positive Intensity Score" – meaning an equal number of Republicans have a strongly unfavorable opinion of him as have a strongly favorable view. Pundits now place him fifth in a four-horse race (see "Perry's Poll Dance") and fading fast. On the positive side, he's becoming a regular comedy feature of late-night TV.
› Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones may regret her decision to jump from the U.S. Senate race to challenging Republican state Sen. Jeff Wentworth: The veteran San Antonio legislator, who represents southwest Travis County, leads her three-to-one in new polling.