The Austin Chronicle


November 30, 2012, News

City Council doesn't meet this week, but a weighty agenda is set for Dec. 6, with a public hearing on whether to give an economic incentive deal to Visa Inc. (see "Point Austin: Questions for Visa"), and a council vote on whether to pour more money into WTP4. See "Next Week's Council: It's a Porker" and "Then There's This."

› Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that the state wants to seize the nearly 1,700 acres bought in 2003 by the Mormon-breakaway sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, alleging the property was purchased to hide the group's polygamist practices involving underage girls. See "State Seeks to Seize FLDS Compound," Newsdesk, Nov. 28.

› A court of inquiry intended to determine whether current Williamson County District Judge Ken Anderson knowingly withheld exculpatory evidence from Michael Morton's defense that could have spared him wrongful conviction and nearly a quarter century behind bars has been postponed until Feb. 4 and is expected to last a week.

› Gov. Rick Perry this week tapped his chief of staff, Jeffrey Boyd, to serve on the Texas Supreme Court, replacing Justice Dale Wain­wright, who resigned with two years left to serve in his term in order to return to private practice. Boyd's appointment is effective Dec. 3; he'll be replaced by Employee Retirement System of Texas Executive Director Ann Bishop.

› Perry also called on his liaison on border and Mexico affairs, John Steen, to become secretary of state, replacing Hope Andrade.

› Meanwhile, Austin Republican Michael McCaul was recommended to become chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen gave testimony on Nov. 26 in the long-running school finance lawsuit. She described the impact on the district of the $60 million cut in state funding and argued that the state's Robin Hood recapture system makes it harder for districts to convince voters to cover the losses.

› Starting Nov. 29, city of Austin curbside recycling customers can start adding more recyclables to their bins: aluminum baking tins, trays, and pie plates (clean of food residue), plus clean balls of aluminum foil 2 inches or larger.

› It's a new battle of the Alamo as the Daughters of the Republic of Texas take aim at Attorney General Greg Abbott after he issued a scathing report on how they run Texas' most famous historical monument. Abbott alleged financial mismanagement and that they allowed the Alamo to fall into disrepair; the Daughters claim he ignores changes made since 2010.

› As the post-election reality sets in, some high-ranking Republicans are scurrying away from Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist and his budget-destroying Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which he and his Tea Party-loving secret donors have used to force the GOP to the right for almost three decades.

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