The Austin Chronicle

Top 10 Local Stories

The top 10 Austin-area stories

By Michael King, January 2, 2015, News

1) TAKE 10 ... plus one, and you've got a new City Council: Political newcomer Steve Adler ascends to the mayor's seat, and 10 new Council members (including one returnee) will try on the dais for size. See "Top 10 City Council Stories."

2) SXSW TRAGEDY The annual multimedia celebration was devastated by a DWI-crash that killed several people and wounded more, with legal, political, and festival reverberations continuing. See "Top 10 Criminal Justice Stories."

3) TURKEY SHOOT White supremacist Steve McQuilliams shot up Downtown on Thanksgiving Friday, hitting the Mexican Consulate, a federal building, and APD headquarters – and was finally shot and killed in what appeared to be "suicide by cop." See "Top 10 Criminal Justice Stories."

4) SUN RISING A megawatt at a time, Austin Energy is steadily being dragged into the solar age, and the latest Generation Plan promises 55% renewables by 2025. See "Top 10 City Council Stories."

5) DE-RAILED In November, after years of "Project Connect" planning, a major transportation bond that included an initial urban rail line was soundly defeated. It's back to the drawing board in 2015, 2016, 2017 ... take it on down the line.

6) CREEKSIDE BLUES The 2013 Halloween flood left devastation in the Onion Creek area, and it was more than a year before Council voted an extended buyout of the ruined homes – let's hope they get it done before the next big deluge.

7) WALLER WADING The long-awaited Waller Creek Project promises a flood control defense, a revitalized Downtown East, and a major public space – if it can just be accomplished without blocking somebody's(?) precious view of the Capitol.

8) WHERE'S THE FIRE? After a protracted dispute, the city acceded to a U.S. Depart­ment of Justice consent decree of Austin Fire Department hiring, over the strong objections of the Firefighters Association – now we'll begin to see if minority hiring is actually accomplished. See "Top 10 City Council Stories."

9) LOCAL DIASPORA Census trends confirmed that despite the city's explosive growth, Austin's African-American population is declining – unique among growing cities nationwide, and amplifying concerns about vanishing residential affordability and cultural diminution.

10) HOW COME S-COMM? Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton dug in his heels on the "Secure Communities" federal immigration program, City Council balked and made other plans – and then Obama pulled the plug, with the outcome still undetermined. See "Top 10 Criminal Justice Stories."

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