The new City Council rumbles into action today (Jan. 22) with a morning executive session and briefing and an evening Town Hall for public input on proposed changes in the committee and meeting structure. See "Public Notice" and "Council: Fire in the Hole."
AISD's leadership vacuum should be filled on Jan. 26, as trustees are expected to formally hire interim superintendent (and sole finalist) Paul Cruz for the currently vacant position of permanent superintendent.
It's musical chairs down at APD HQ again: Chief of Staff Raul Munguia retired Wednesday after nearly 30 years of service. Assistant Chief Brian Manley, a 24-year veteran, was promoted to take his place. Cmdr. Chris McIlvain steps into the assistant chief position once held by Manley.
Adios to Gov. Rick Perry, aloha to Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Speaker Joe Straus. The 84th Legislature rolled in with pomp and circumstance this week, a Congress Avenue parade, and the usual apprehensions for most of the populace. See "Lege Lines."
In his inaugural address, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made his ideological priorities clear: "I stand here with a servant's heart, respectful of all faiths, but as a Christian first, a conservative second, and a Republican third." Meanwhile, concerns are rising about who Patrick will really represent, as five days earlier he announced he had formed a new citizen advisory board to help him develop policy – one heavy with big business and lobbyists.
The two-thirds rule – the long-valued Senate process of requiring consensus to bring legislation to a vote - died on Jan. 21 after a 20-10 vote, with Brownsville Democrat Eddie Lucio Jr. joining 19 Republicans to lower the bar to three-fifths. Lucio was also the sole Senate Democrat to vote for abortion regulations last session.
A small crowd gathered during inaugural festivities Tuesday to urge Gov. Abbott to grant clemency to death row inmate Rodney Reed, currently set for execution in mid-March. Reed was found guilty of the 1996 rape and killing of Stacey Stites but has long since maintained his innocence. Many believe it was actually Stites' then-boyfriend Jimmy Fennell who committed the two crimes.
Dark money rules: Jan. 20 marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, opening the floodgates to anonymous cash dropping into elections.
Technocrat Elon Musk has announced that the first five-mile test track for his proposed near-supersonic Hyperloop public transit system will be built in Texas. Local rail fans, don't get too excited: The Tesla Motors founder plans the first working route for California.