Polling scene
Photo by KUT News

It always comes as something of a shock to political junkies this time of year that not everyone’s a political junkie! (You may actually know people like this, yourself.)

Those in the political world (and those covering it) find themselves living from campaign claim to opposition counterclaim in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

Paul Workman is Running for House District 47
KUT News

House District 47 candidates Paul Workman says he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  In an e-mail from his campaign the 58-year-old Republican said the cancer was discovered during a recent routine  physical, and that he's been given an optimistic prognosis because the cancer was detected early.  He also says he's not dropping out of his race against Democratic incumbent Valinda Bolton.

Update 10:58 am: KUT has confirmed that Austin Police Officer Leonardo Quintana will return to work.

An independent arbitrator decided Quintana should not have been fired for a DWI arrest.

A spokeswoman with the City of Austin says Quintana’s firing has been reduced to a 15 day suspension.

Update 12:30 pm: The Austin Police Department just issued this statement expressing dismay at Quintana's reinstatement.

In this week's Tribcast, KUT's Ben Philpott, and the Texas Tribune's Evan Smith, Ross Ramsey and Elise Hu discuss early voting trends, the Perry/White interviews, third party candidates for governor and the youth vote.



Morning News Roundup

Oct 21, 2010
KUT News

A roundup of some of the stories worth checking out this morning.

Fort Hood Testimony Continues

Bill White TRS
Photo by Ian Dille KUT News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White lobbed more allegations of cronyism and corruption at incumbent Republican Governor Rick Perry. On Tuesday, Mayor White launched what his campaign dubbed their “October Surprise.”

The former Houston mayor spoke on the steps of the Teacher Retirement System building. TRS is the largest pension fund in the State, valued at over 100 billion dollars.

An APD officer who said, "We're gonna chase them out of town," in reference to homeless people is now backing off his remarks in an interview with KUT News.

"I don't want to say it was totally taken out of context," Christ told KUT. "I said, 'We can't chase them out of town, but we may be able to chase them out of a particular neighborhood.'"

homeless person in austin
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Homeless advocates are reeling this morning after comments made by an APD police officer to KVUE TV.  TV cameras followed APD officers as they shut down a homeless camp near Ben White and South Congress.  Police told KVUE that they were acting on complaints from local businesses.

Man at Don't Ask Don't Tell protest
Image courtesy Flickr user M.V. Jantzen http://www.flickr.com/photos/mvjantzen

A Pentagon spokesperson is telling media that military recruiters can now accept openly gay and lesbian applicants. The order follows a ruling by a federal judge that struck down the military's "don't ask don't tell" rule. CNN talked to the spokesperson:

The articles you read on the Texas Tribune website will soon be found in the pages of America's most influential newspaper, the New York Times. (The Trib is a reporting partner with KUT and our own Ben Philpott spends close to half his time there.)

TRS Building
Photo by Ian Dille for KUT News.

Today, in an event trumpeted by his campaign as its "October surprise," Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White held a press conferance on the front steps of the Teacher Retirement Systems (TRS) building in downtown Austin. The TRS manages a trust fund valued at over $100 billion on behalf of 1.3 million current and former Texas teachers.

The latest documentary by the guy who made "An Inconvenient Truth" has been in theaters almost a month, but it is still sending reverberations throughout the local education community. The reaction has been most defensive among proponents of traditional public schools, which the filmmaker skewers.

"Waiting for Superman" follows several children, mostly in urban school districts, who are not getting the education they need and are trying to enroll in charter schools.

The Statesman's front page story this morning made quite a splash by contributing to a recurring narrative in Austin life: People on the East Side lack not only equality of condition, but equality of opportunity as well.

Cleve Bryant
Photo courtesy UT Athletics. Used with permission.

University of Texas’ associate athletic director for football operations Cleve Bryant has taken a leave of absence while UT officials investigate what only being described as “an accusation” made against him.

UT Athletics confirms Bryant took an administrative leave of absence, but won’t say why.

A row of Dell desktop computers
Image courtesy Flickr user dontthinkfeel http://www.flickr.com/photos/dontthinkfeel/

Newsweek just released its second annual green ranking of America's 500 largest companies. Topping the list is Round Rock-based Dell, which employs about 16,000 people in Central Texas.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson holds a gun in front of an American flag
Photo courtesy Jerry Patterson campaign website

Gun-toting incumbent land commish Jerry Patterson is once again having a laugh over the idea of shooting his political opponents.  This time, the target is Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner, Hank Gilbert.

Dallas Morning News reporter Christy Hoppe reports how Patterson "shoots from the lip."

Dan Liu is a 16-year-old senior at Austin ISD's Liberal Arts and Science Academy at LBJ High School.  Yes, he's just 16 and going to graduate high school this Spring.  Liu and some of his friends at math camp won the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. It's a science competition for high school students.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White and Texas Governor Rick Perry
Photo illustration by Nathan Bernier for KUT

Early voting starts today and everything is running smoothly so far at Travis County polling stations.  That's not really a surprise, given that early voting rarely draws large crowds.

Capital Metro bus in downtown Austin
Photo by KUT News

Capital Metro is holding another public hearing tonight on a proposal to increase the price of taking public transit. The hikes are intended to help Cap Metro balance its FY 2011 budget. Most of the agency's operating revenue comes from local sales tax. Cap Metro says that's an unreliable source of income because of fluctuations in consumer spending.

Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services wants input on its plan for a healthy county at a Town Hall Meeting on October 19th.

In Austin and Travis County, 1 in 5 adults is overweight. And the HHS department is trying to lower that statistic. Using funds from a state grant, the department is working up a 3-year plan with input from doctors, non-profits, schools and parents.