City Council meets today (Thursday, March 8) with an unusually light agenda, albeit with a handful of matters that might provoke debate: a "Strategic Plan" to amend and adopt, a public hearing on (reducing) Austin Water rates, and the usual spate of zoning cases. "Council: Spring Has Sprung," Mar. 9.
Travis County Dems got their (early) vote on: Among 10 Texas counties with the most registered voters, Travis saw the highest spike in Democratic voter turnout, with more than 6% of the voting age population (56,426 voters) hitting polls early, a four-percentage-point increase from the 2014 election. Overall in Texas, Dem early voting turnout more than doubled from four years ago, while GOP turnout increased less than 15%.
An immigrant woman held at T. Don Hutto detention center has filed suit in Austin federal court against the center for failing to adequately treat her physical and mental conditions. Laura Monterrosa claims she was sexually abused by a prison guard and faced retaliation, including solitary confinement, from private detention center employees. If Hutto does not release her, lawyers urge them to at least refrain from forcing her into more isolation.
Staff Shake-up: After a turbulent year, Texas Monthly editor-in-chief Tim Taliaferro will step down to become its chief innovation officer while Rich Oppel, former Austin American-Statesman editor, will be the mag's interim head editor. Taliaferro saw backlash from the Columbia Journalism Review for reportedly blurring ethical lines in coverage, and last year claimed Texans "don't care" about politics.
The Austin American-Statesman confirmed Tuesday the hot media rumor that the paper has been sold by Cox Enterprises (Atlanta) to GateHouse Media, for $47.5 million. GateHouse is a subsidiary of New Media Investment Group (New York), and both companies have a reputation for radical cost-cutting at the newspapers it acquires. See "It's Official," Mar. 9.
Vote On CodeNEXT? IndyAustin, the political action committee staunchly against the ongoing rewrite of the city's land use code, said Monday that it has accumulated enough signatures to force an election on the proposed language, and plans to submit their petition to the city clerk before the end of March.