The Austin Chronicle


June 1, 2012, News

City Council's next regular meeting is June 7, when it's expected to make a final decision on the long-vexing Austin Energy rate case and maybe address the controversy over short-term rentals. Recent work sessions have reflected progress on the rate case, and they're working on urban rail – can they put together and sell a winnable package for November? For more, see "Council: Green WTP Redevelopment, and a Few Other Things."

› The rise of the tea party has not subsided, at least in Texas. Once considered a shoo-in to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutch­i­son, Lite Guv David Dewhurst finds himself facing a nasty run-off against former Solicitor General Ted Cruz; with an exhausted-electorate turnout, that could mean anything. Also, Mitt Rom­ney won his ceremonial presidential nomination in absentia, against various mostly withdrawn opponents and Ron Paul, who managed only 12% in his home state. For more, see Chronicle primary coverage.

› Closer to home, former Williamson County attorney Jana Duty handily upset incumbent WilCo District Attorney John Bradley, largely because of Bradley's over-the-top law-and-order posturing, which led him to deny for six years a DNA analysis in the notorious Michael Morton case – keeping an innocent man in prison.

› In Travis County we'll see another rematch in November between Democratic Commissioner Karen Huber and former GOP Commish Gerald Daugherty, who's mounted a campaign to reclaim the seat he lost to Huber four years ago.

› Tuesday's election turned the Legislature on its head, with 17 House members facing runoffs and 17 newcomers winning outright because of no opposition on the November ballot. The more things change ....

› The Austin Planetarium group has made a formal request to the Texas Facilities Com­mis­sion to let them turn the empty lot opposite the Blanton Museum of Art into an astronomy and science museum. Austin is the only one of America's 50 largest cities without a planetarium.

› City Council last week agreed to a $42 million sale of the Downtown property formerly home to the Green Water Treatment Plant to Trammell Crow as part of a far-reaching development agreement that includes an affordable housing component – but now a petition is circulating to spare heritage trees on the property. See "Then There's This."

Ken Zarifis has become the new president of local teachers union Education Austin after beating co-President Rae Nwosu by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in last week's election. Two current board members, Montserrat Garibay and Trasel Underwood, become the new vice presidents.

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