Alexi Lalas Sighted! Mayor Steve Adler declared Tuesday "Austin FC Day" in honor of the new Major League Soccer team to begin play at McKalla Place sometime in 2021 – although there's still that matter of an opposing petition, of curious provenance, determined to put the stadium deal to a public referendum. Now let's start a fight over the word "football" ...
Feds' Free Rides: As of Jan. 16, all federal employees can ride Cap Metro for free until the government shutdown ends. About 13,000 federal employees working in the Austin area will be able to use Cap Metro's bus, MetroRail, and MetroAccess services without charge by showing drivers or fare inspectors their federal government employee ID.
Rape Case Dilemma: The Austin Police Department held a press conference Wednesday afternoon regarding the full audit on the department's rape case clearances from the Texas Department of Public Safety. See online for a full breakdown.
Animal Services Shuffle: Lee Ann Shenefiel, the city's acting chief animal services officer, announced last week she'll vacate her post to take another job beginning Feb. 1. Kimberly McNeeley, who'd been filling in for Sara Hensley as Parks and Recreation Department director, takes up the mantle next week. Newly appointed Assistant City Manager Christopher Shorter will work on recruiting a permanent chief.
Death Watch: Stay The state's first execution of the year, scheduled for Jan. 15, has been stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. On Monday, the CCA granted Blaine Milam's stay request, citing recent changes in bite mark science and the law surrounding intellectual disability. Robert Jennings is now slated to be the first to die by the state's hand in 2019 on Jan. 30.
Castro Jumps In: Julián Castro, former San Antonio mayor and HUD secretary under Obama, announced he's running for president. Castro called for a Green New Deal to combat climate change and Medicare for All. "I'm running for president because it's time for new leadership, it's time for new energy, and it's time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities that I had are available to every American," he said.
Census Question Axed: U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of New York has ordered the Trump administration to not ask about citizenship status in the 2020 census. The judge called the White House's attempts to raise the question, which it has clearly lied about to Congress, an "egregious" violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. Undercounting as a result of the question put in jeopardy an estimated $43 billion in census-guided federal funds for Texas; the case is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.