City Council meets today, Dec. 13, for its final meeting of the year. Expect discussions on the APD's staffing plan, transfer of ETJ land to Dripping Springs, and rules regarding city officials and gifts.
APD: Diversity Schmiversity: Chief Brian Manley announced he would appoint Todd Smith and Rich Guajardo as new assistant chiefs. This means there'll be no female or African-American chiefs on the executive team.
Paxton Case Continues: Prosecutors appointed to lead the criminal case against Attorney General Ken Paxton are fighting to keep their involvement alive after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently prevented them from receiving payment. On Mon., Dec. 3, attorney Brian Wice requested more time to ask the CCA to rehear the case.
Nearly 90 children in Texas died due to abuse or neglect in day care over the past decade, and more than 450 others were sexually abused, according to a Statesman investigation. A spokesperson for Gov. Greg Abbott has said he will work with lawmakers to find solutions this session.
So Long, Nadine: Legendary beauty, writer, activist, and raconteur Nadine Eckhardt passed away Dec. 8. A founding mother of Austin's Scholz-Garten-liberal-intelligentsia, Eckhardt was known for her political acumen, her marriages to novelist Billy Lee Brammer and Congressman Bob Eckhardt, and her daughter, Travis Co. Judge Sarah Eckhardt.
A Rare Verdict: Kendrex White was found not guilty by reason of insanity Tue., Dec. 11, for the May 2017 knife attack on the UT campus that left student Harrison Brown dead and three others injured. Defense attorneys and prosecutors had agreed that White was severely mentally ill and could not distinguish right from wrong at the time of the attack.
UT Sexual Misconduct: UT Los Angeles Director Phil Nemy was put on administrative leave Fri., Dec. 7, following reporting in The Daily Texan. In 2013, Nemy was found guilty of sexual misconduct by the university and was "reprimanded and received counseling," according to a UT statement, but kept his job. UT Moody College of Communication Dean Jay Bernhardt placed Nemy on leave "pending investigation ... into new allegations."
Crickets from APD regarding last week's DPS audit of APD's sexual assault case clearance. On Dec. 4, Chief Manley said the findings were expected by last Fri., Dec. 7., but so far they haven't been released. APD PIO told us Monday night, "I don't have an answer today, but will follow up tomorrow." We're still waiting.
Death Watch Texas: executed its 13th and final man of 2018 Tuesday night, Dec. 11, after the state Court of Criminal Appeals denied Alvin Braziel's final appeals. In his final statement, Braziel apologized to the woman he raped and whose husband he killed.
ACC Offers Help: Students attending Virginia College in North Austin no longer have a school to attend after Education Corporation of America closed their 16 campuses across the state (including the sole Austin location). Austin Community College is offering help to any affected students, noting that they offer degree and certification programs that align with those taught at Virginia College. Interested students can call ACC's College Destination Center at 512/223-7747 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. The center is open Mon.-Thu., 8am-7pm, Fri., 8am-5pm, and Sat. 10am-4pm. Or see www.austincc.edu/virginiacollege for more info.
No C.D.A. To Go: The long-simmering proposal to merge the Travis County District Attorney and County Attorney Offices never quite became soup, as Commissioners Court failed to add the notion to its legislative agenda for 2019. Commissioners will now consider whether to move all criminal prosecutions into the D.A.'s office. For more, see "D.A./C.A. Merger Proposal Fails."