The Austin Chronicle


May 27, 2016, News

No regular City Council meeting this week – the next is June 9, when big-ticket items for the Austin Police Department (e.g., body cameras) will return for a decision – but committees and the budget work sessions march on. See "Council: Getting at Affordability," May 27.

Also in the wings is a potential transportation bond package for November that Mayor Steve Adler hopes will focus on transit corridor improvements, some highway projects, and multimodal options that will also support housing density. See "Spitting Into Fires," May 27.

A new transportation network company, RideAustin, announced its formation this week, a ridesharing effort that might actually deserve the name. Planned as a nonprofit venture that will follow the city's current regulations, RideAustin has begun enrolling drivers and plans to begin service in June. See "Solving the Right Problems," May 27.

APD Officer Albert Arevalo won an appeal of his indefinite suspension when an independent arbitrator reduced the discipline to a 180-day suspension (an amount of time which he's already served). Arevalo, 38, had his position terminated from the force for getting arrested on DWI charges after getting pulled over for driving 91 mph on MoPac last May.

Lee Elementary will still be Lee Elemen­tary, just a different Lee. Austin ISD trustees voted 8-1 to rename the campus from Robert E. Lee (Confederate general) to Russell Lee (noted Depression-era photographer and UT lecturer). Trustee Paul Saldaña wanted the school named after Bettie Mann, the school's first African-American teacher, but she gets the kindergarten hall instead.

Travis County may be getting a not-so-new new courthouse. After voters rejected the $287 million bond package required for a new building last year, county commissioners voted 3-0 on Tuesday to start taking bids on the vacant lot originally proposed (at 300 Guadalupe) and are looking for another site. Current top contender? The unoccupied historic federal courthouse at 200 W. Eighth.

More than half of Texas women have not heard of recent statewide abortion laws, including the multipart House Bill 2, due to widespread misconceptions about abortion safety, says new research by the UT-Austin-based Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP).

Death row inmate Timothy Foster was granted a new trial after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Georgia native's 1987 murder trial was tainted by prosecutorial efforts to bar African-Americans from serving on the jury.

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