Austin Already Audits: Today's City Council agenda (Oct. 4) looks light on time and flashpoints. There may be tweaking of the allocation policy for the Historic Preservation Fund, a resolution for a legislative change to confirm the city's use of a sobriety center in lieu of arrest, and approval of the city auditor's audit plan for 2019. See "Would You Like to Swap a Vowel?" Oct. 5.
Coverage for Choice: Also at Council, Kathie Tovo and Leslie Pool, joined by leaders of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and the Lilith Fund, plan to introduce a resolution calling for the repeal of abortion insurance coverage bans, adopted into law by the Texas Legislature last year with no exception for rape or incest.
Transit Speed Bumps? Capital Metro CEO Randy Clarke unveiled the new Project Connect vision this week – a fully electrified regional transit system with dedicated lanes and new park-and-ride facilities. Raising some transit advocates' eyebrows was Clarke's description of autonomous rapid transit (i.e., driverless buses) "with the benefits of light rail" ... but no actual light rail.
Rethinking Our Climate: October is officially Climate Change Awareness Month for the city of Austin, including the annual Green Cup Challenge for businesses to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and the Mayor's Carbon Reduction Challenge, in which Austinites can suggest ideas via the new "Rethink" mobile app.
Criner Stays Put: Meechaiel Criner's bid for a new trial was shut down quickly Tuesday by District Judge David Wahlberg, who noted that "circumstantial evidence of this defendant's guilt was overwhelming." Criner's attorneys cited new evidence unknown to either side, which Wahlberg acknowledged but called "nothing more than a rabbit trail." Criner was convicted in July of the 2016 on-campus murder of UT freshman Haruka Weiser.
R.I.P. Carol Lee: Public Safety Commissioners convened Monday for the first time since the passing of their colleague Carol Lee, who died of lung cancer on Sept. 12. Known for her community activism, Lee joined the PSC last summer, having previously served on the Parks and Recreation Board.
Dusterhoft on Leave: The Statesman reported Wednesday that Austin Police Commander Jason Dusterhoft was placed on administrative leave after an employee at the Yellow Rose accused him of assault. Both APD Internal Affairs and the Travis County District Attorney's Office are looking into the allegations.
Austin Nobel Winner: Former Austinite and Texas Ex Jim Allison, now a professor at UT's MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, is one of the winners of this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on cancer immunotherapy. He also plays a mean harmonica.