Top 10 Local Political Stories
The city's biggest stories
1) Money Didn't Buy Love A lengthy battle over "transportation network" or "ride-hailing" companies ended with a May 7, 56-44% defeat of Uber and Lyft's $10 million attempt to impose their own ordinance on city government. Will the victory last? Legislators generally come cheaper. (See "Top 10 City Council Stories.")
2) Farewell to the Chief In late November, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo announced he would accept the same position in Houston, ending nearly a decade as an occasionally embattled but popular leader. (See "Top 10 Criminal Justice Stories." )
3) Naked Panic On Feb. 8, APD Officer Geoffrey Freeman fatally shot 17-year-old David Joseph, a few seconds after coming upon the naked teenager on the street in a Northeast Austin neighborhood. APD Chief Acevedo fired Freeman, who appealed and later accepted a settlement. (See "Top 10 Criminal Justice Stories.")
4) Ott Moves On After nearly nine years, City Manager Marc Ott accepted the executive directorship of the International City/County Management Association. Interim successor, former CFO Elaine Hart, will enjoy plenty of honeymoon.
5) Mobility Now Despite a rushed run-up and widespread skepticism about the details, Mayor Steve Adler successfully campaigned for a November transportation bond that passed more easily than anticipated, at 59%. (See "Top 10 City Council Stories.")
6) How Blue Is the Bubble? Local elections (Nov. 8) mostly held to type, with Democrats dominating Austin and Travis County, but only three of five incumbents returning to City Council. District 6's Don "Tea Party" Zimmerman was evicted, by his own curmudgeonly record and his relentless challenger, Jimmy Flannigan, while incumbent Sheri Gallo (D10) led in the general election but was upset in a run-off by Alison Alter. (See "Top 10 City Council Stories.")
7) Blinded by Science In mid-June, APD shut down its DNA Lab for "four to six months" after harsh scrutiny from the Texas Forensic Science Commission and claims of both inadequate resources and faulty procedures. (See "Top 10 Criminal Justice Stories.")
8) Glocks and Cocks The arrival of open carry in Texas and campus carry at UT moved both gun fetishists and public safety advocates into public activism, highlighted by a nationally headlined "Cocks Not Glocks" student protest, featuring hundreds of dildos.
9) Dukes Descending In September, longtime Austin state Rep. Dawnna Dukes announced her pending resignation, triggering a yet-to-be-scheduled special election and a changing of the guard in an entrenched Democratic district. (Dukes' own clouded future also remains uncertain.)
10) Triumph of Folly In his brief reign (May-August) as Travis County Republican Party chairman, scabrous conspiracy theorist, misogynist, and sex-obsessed Robert Morrow embarrassed the local GOP but eerily prefigured its presidential victory: Idiocracy rules.