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Reporter’s Notebook: Return of the hat

Monday, May 8, 2017 by Austin Monitor

Return of the Commission Commission?… Once upon a time, there was a Boards and Commissions Transition Task Force that put together a long report on how the city might best manage its boards and commissions in light of the switch to single-member districts and came up with about 44 pages of recommendations. Now some members of that task force are asking for the “new” City Council to take a look at those recommendations that, somewhat ironically, got lost in the transition. Council Member Ora Houston posted part of a letter she received from a member of the task force asking for a revisit on the City Council Message Board. That letter explains, “The only thing the old Council adopted was expanding the number appointed by Council from 7 to 11 and automatically extended terms so that the new Council had time to make their appointments. We had a lot of other recommendations that Mayor Leffingwell didn’t want to discuss saying the new Council should make those decisions. But the new Council never got the presentation.” Though it remains up in the air whether this will be tackled soon, the Austin Monitor will keep our readers apprised of any developments, or meta-developments.

All hat… It happened again. For at least the second time, Mayor Steve Adler addressed Council Member Jimmy Flannigan by the name of his predecessor and political nemesis, former Council Member Don Zimmerman. This time, however, the District 6 representative was prepared. He reached under his desk and brandished a tiny fedora hat that he placed on his head saying, “I was prepared for months.” The fedora was Zimmerman’s trademark accessory; it was the subject of an online video Flannigan made, “Hat Enough?” An aide to Flannigan told the Austin Monitor that the Council member received the tiny hat as a gift “after the last time the Mayor called him by his not-given name.”

Good one… City Council members took a minute to sing “Happy Birthday” to their colleague at their most recent meeting, as is traditional. This time, Council was celebrating Council Member Greg Casar’s birthday. Casar was recently arrested for protesting the “sanctuary cities” bill – a fact that Mayor Steve Adler acknowledged with a joke that they should give him a cake “with a file in it.” Casar, who is the youngest member of Council at 28 years old quipped, “I didn’t have any gray hair till I started hanging out with you.”

So close… After some back and forth, it looks like there will be a City Council meeting this week, though it also looks like it will be very abbreviated. Though most Council members seem amenable to canceling the meeting due to a very light agenda, there are some public hearings that need to take place. As a compromise, Council has opted to start the meeting late instead, and the current plan is to convene at 2 p.m. on Thursday and finish up by 5 p.m.

This week’s Reporter’s Notebook comes from the notebooks of Jack Craver and Elizabeth Pagano.

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