The Austin Chronicle


July 1, 2016, News

City Council began its summer break this week, after a marathon meeting last Thursday that endorsed a major transportation bond, increased the property tax homestead exemption, and approved the purchase of body cameras for Austin Police Department officers, among other things. See "Council: Escape From City Hall!," July 1.

Three challengers of incumbent council members have now filed campaign treasurer appointments, the first step in entering the races for City Council: Natalie Gauldin – best known as a supporter of the Grove PUD – has entered the race against District 7's Leslie Pool. She joins Casey Ramos (D2) and Jimmy Flannigan (D6); Wesley Faulkner, who told the Chronicle he intends to run in District 2, had not filed a CTA as of June 29.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the family of David Joseph against the city of Austin and former APD officer Geoffrey Freeman, who shot and killed the naked and unarmed teenager during a February incident in North Austin. Freeman didn't face criminal charges in the case, but was fired from the department after an investigation found his use of deadly force unjustified.

Rodney Reed's case has been sent back down to his trial court in Bastrop County for additional fact-finding regarding evidence Reed seeks to have tested for DNA. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued the order on Wednesday, June 29, giving the lower court 60 days to report back on whether or not such testing is feasible.

More road work begins as the Texas Department of Transportation launched a $79 million expansion and rehab of I-35 at the Stassney and William Cannon intersections. The four-year project comes soon after TxDOT broke ground on the massive extension of U.S. 183 between U.S. 290 and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, as well as the overdue MoPac revitalization.

A Travis County grand jury decided on Tuesday, June 28, not to indict APD Officer Carlos Lopez in the July 5, 2015, shooting death of Michael McGregor Holt. Lopez shot and killed Holt after Holt fired several rounds inside the Downtown Omni Hotel, killing a taxi driver.

In an unsurprising ruling, anti-LGBT Attorney General Ken Paxton deemed transgender-inclusive guidelines recently approved by a Fort Worth school district in violation of state law because, in some cases, they allow school employees to withhold information about students from their parents. "Limiting parents' access to information in this way impairs their ability to 'actively participate' in the children's education," Paxton wrote. The AG opinion came at the request of equally anti-LGBT Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who called for the resignation of the Ft. Worth superintendent.

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