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Occupy Austin holds a general assembly meeting Monday, Sept. 3 – its first gathering since last week's news that the Austin Police had surreptitiously embedded officers into the group.
Occupy Austin holds a general assembly meeting Monday, Sept. 3 – its first gathering since last week's news that the Austin Police had surreptitiously embedded officers into the group. (Photo by John Anderson)

› No regular City Council meeting this week, as members are knee-deep in budget review – final adoption readings are scheduled for Sept. 10-12, with questions remaining about tax rate, bond spending, public safety costs, park funding, wildfire prevention, and lots more. Check the council budget questions on the Budget Office page at www.austintexas.gov/finance.

› Speaking of budgets, Capital Metro has proposed a FY 2013 budget of $274.4 million, which it describes as "balanced without reducing service levels or raising fares." Public hearings and open houses are scheduled throughout September, with a board vote on the agenda for Sept. 24. Details at www.capmetro.org/budget2013.

› The city of Austin is back in Stage 2 drought status, just six weeks after lifting outdoor watering restrictions (over objections from environmentalists). Under Stage 2, residents and businesses are limited to once-weekly yard-waterings.

› The Longhorn Network is reaching more Austin homes after striking a deal with AT&T U-verse; previously, the only local carrier was Grande. However, after a year of broadcasting, the ESPN-run network is still not carried by Time Warner, Dish, or DirectTV.

› Did an undercover Austin Police detective induce members of Occupy Austin to commit felony obstruction of a roadway during a demonstration in Houston last December? Or did he and two colleagues intervene in the interest of public safety? A hearing pending in Houston has been postponed until Sept. 25. See "APD Infiltrates Occupy."

› At a standing-room-only Tuesday hearing, supporters of the current federal-state partnership Women's Health Program spoke out against the Health and Human Services Com­mis­sion's proposed rules for a new version that would be exclusively state-run, exclude Planned Parent­hood as a provider, and prohibit all discussion of abortion; see "Lawmakers, Citizens Speak Against Proposed Women's Health Care Rules."

› Travis County district judges have named a new county auditor to replace veteran Susan Spa­ta­ro, who was forced out of her position. The judges didn't have to look far: Successor Nicki Riley used to be a chief assistant to Spataro.

› Texas Republicans suffered a double blow last week after D.C. courts rejected both their gerrymandered redistricting maps and their voter ID law for reducing minority voting rights. The two measures effectively derailed the last legislative session, and now seem set to return and wreck the 2013 session as well. See "Point Austin" and "Federal Court Rejects Voter ID Law," Newsdesk blog, Aug. 30.

› Sealing his reputation as the Democrats' leading hope in Texas – and potentially beyond – San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro gave the opening night keynote speech at the Democratic Nation­al Convention on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Chronicle cartoonist Jen Sorensen is reporting from the field; see "DNC Roundup," and follow along on Twitter @SorensenJen.

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