Run-offs, run-offs, and more run-offs. The City Council campaign results are in, and eight of the 10 races will go to run-offs. The mayor's race proved no different: Candidates Mike Martinez and Steve Adler advance to the final round.
Council returns to the dais today to tackle 129 agenda items, including the adoption of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, an ordinance to ban "source-of-income discrimination" in housing rentals, and the return of both the "coyote conflict management strategy" and CodeNEXT. See "Council: Back to the Future!" Nov. 7, 2014.
Austin Convention Center needs more space, according to a city Real Estate Services memo. They suggest acquiring neighboring properties, known as Block 8 and currently home to the Christian Science Reading Room and Casa Chapala.
APD Officer Jermaine Hopkins had his position terminated Oct. 30 for a series of violations including insubordination, unreasonable disruption of a workplace, and acts bringing discredit upon the Department. Details are laid out in a 96-page memo we're just beginning to sink our teeth into. Two weeks ago Hopkins testified in Municipal Court on behalf of Peaceful Streets Project co-founder Antonio Buehler.
Death row inmate Alfred Dewayne Brown had his conviction overturned Wednesday after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the Harris County District Attorney's Office withheld evidence favorable to Brown's case. Brown was convicted in 2005 of killing Houston Police Officer Charles R. Clark, though he maintains he was at his girlfriend's apartment the morning of the shooting – and had phone records that could prove it.
The legislative landscape changed a little in Tuesday's election, with Democrats losing three House seats, but still holding 52 – just enough to deploy the two-thirds rule to block bad bills. However, across the dome, Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick has previously pledged that no Dem will hold a Senate committee chair.
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by condemned inmate Rodney Reed, convicted for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites in Bastrop County. Reed's attorneys argued that he had received incompetent counsel, and that investigators ignored a more likely suspect, Stites' fiancé Jimmy Fennel. Reed is scheduled to be executed Jan. 14.
The Texas Ethics Commission voted unanimously to approve a rule calling for greater transparency of "dark money" groups: requiring them to disclose donors if they spend more than 25% on politicking. Just a few days later, the Lake Travis Citizens Council filed a federal suit challenging the rule. The group describes itself as dedicated to making "life better for citizens, businesses, and communities in the Lake Travis area."
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently announced it would hear oral arguments in the second lawsuit aimed at defeating parts of Texas' abortion law, House Bill 2, on the week of Jan. 5. The circuit court plans to hear arguments in the case against the state's ban on marriage equality that week, as well.