The Austin Chronicle


December 2, 2011, News

• City Council keeps chilling, with no meeting scheduled this week. They return soon, with meetings on Dec. 8 and 15 to close out the year. If that's left you desperate for wonking, you could do worse than tonight's meeting of the Charter Revision Committee (Thursday, Dec. 1, 6pm, Carver Branch Library, 1161 Angelina), expected to delve deep into potential geographic representation scenarios for future council elections.

• Speaking of council elections: On Wednesday, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole announced she is running for re-election to her Place 6 council seat, ending speculation she'd mount a challenge to Mayor Lee Leffingwell this spring. As Cole was the last sitting council member to rule out a run against Leffingwell, those looking to unseat him expand their reach beyond the dais. One name currently churning in the rumor mill is former Council Member Brigid Shea.

• Don't celebrate too soon: Austinites have reason to be thankful for the federal court's rewrite of a congressional redistricting map that would have pitted Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett against San Antonio state Rep. Joaquin Castro. (The old GOP-drawn map pitched them against each other along I-35, but now Doggett is safe in Congressional District 25, while Castro is running to replace retiring Dem Charlie Gonzalez in CD 20.) But as Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force Chair Domingo Garcia put it, "Attorney General Abbott is acting like the Grinch who wants to steal Christmas from all Texans," in response to the state's request to the U.S. Supreme Court to block new voting maps (see "Doggett, Travis Returned to Normalcy").

Ken "Amnesia" Anderson says he just can't remember what he did or did not do in prosecuting the 1987 Christine Morton murder case that ended with the conviction of her husband, Michael Morton, exonerated recently by DNA evidence after 25 years' imprisonment. Anderson says he believes he turned over all exculpatory evidence to Morton's attorneys but can't remember the details – although he bragged about the conviction in his 1997 book, Crime in Texas (see "A Possible Tip for Tips in Murder Case").

• Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry once again opened his mouth and inserted his foot this week, asking New Hampshire students "who are going to be over 21 on November 12th" to support him next year – cheerfully forgetting that the voting age is 18 and the 2012 election is on Nov. 6. But he did campaign with Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigration hysteric and self-appointed birther investigator; presumably Perry hopes he can save his dying campaign by having somebody even crazier on his right hand.

• In other campaign news, Herman "The Herminator" Cain appears to be foundering as yet another woman – Atlanta resident Ginger White – has alleged his "inappropriate" sexual conduct (this time consensual), a longtime affair with her that ended a few months before his campaign began. Cain's campaign issued contradictory denials and told the media to mind its own business, then announced a pending "re-evaluation" of his situation. As Cain's polls plunge, acknowledged serial adulterer Newt Gingrich rises in the Anybody but Romney GOP carousel.

• The pretrial hearings in the murder trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan continue at Fort Hood, as military judge Col. Gregory Gross denied a motion from the defense to recuse himself. Gross and his family were on the base when the shooting occurred.

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