Kathie Tovo

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Kathie Tovo will serve her third term on the Austin City Council after winning a relatively easy victory over three opponents Tuesday, finishing with almost 53 percent of the vote. Her closest challenger, Danielle Skidmore, garnered almost 32 percent of the vote, with two other candidates each winning less than 10 percent.

Mayor Steve Adler has shored up a second term as mayor of Austin. Incumbent Council Member Kathie Tovo appears to have been re-elected to her District 9 seat. In District 3, Council Member Sabino "Pio" Renteria teeters on the edge of securing his re-election, but will likely head to a runoff against his sister, Susana Almanza. Districts 1 and 8 are headed to runoff elections in December.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

There are five Austin City Council seats up for grabs in the November election, along with a race for mayor. To help get you ready to vote, KUT is publishing overviews of each race.

Here are the candidates running for District 9, which runs through Central Austin from the Hyde Park neighborhood to the Oltorf Street area.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

An industrial-sized fridge hums in the background as Hannah Frankel, 28, gives a tour of her housing cooperative, pointing out the shared kitchen, pantry and meeting rooms.

“We consistently have a waitlist,” she says. “We consistently have a great demand.”

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Becca Dobberfuhl has a name for her Bouldin Creek home.

“It’s all this rusty, rusty, rusty color,” she says. “And the house is a modern house, and it has a box-like look to it so we call it the ‘Rusty Box.’”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

Austin City Council is looking at using city-owned buildings as temporary homeless shelters.

The idea comes from Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, who says overcrowding at downtown shelters has led to harsh conditions for people experiencing homelessness.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The Austin City Council has approved some changes to the review process for the city’s new land development code, known as CodeNEXT, allowing for additional scrutiny at City Hall before its planned adoption in April of next year.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

For many Austin artists, finding affordable space to create is an enormous concern. The Austin City Council is set to consider a plan Thursday to help them out.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Results of a survey show a drop in the population of Austinites experiencing homelessness.

The annual tally, released yesterday by Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), counted 2,036 people during the January survey.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Next week, the city of Austin is set to release the first draft of CodeNEXT, a much-awaited overhaul of the land development code. These rules govern everything from parking to how neighborhoods look. But as the change rolls in, some city leaders worry Austin’s affordable housing may be at risk.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: After more than two years of fierce debate among neighbors, a developer and City Hall leaders, City Council finally approved the Grove at Shoal Creek, a massive planned unit development to be built on 75 acres of vacant land at the corner of Bull Creek Road and 45th Street.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUTX

People picked up in Austin for public intoxication downtown may no longer be headed straight to jail or the emergency room. Austin and Travis County leaders are moving forward with plans to open a sobriety center.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Thousands of students at UT-Austin protested campus carry today using a tactic that could be described as unorthodox, if not unprecedented on the Forty Acres: They brandished dildos by the hundreds on the Main Mall.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

City officials are looking at expanding a tool to bring more affordable housing to Austin neighborhoods.

That tool is called a “density bonus.” Here’s how it works: The city grants developers certain privileges, like building more housing units or taller buildings than are typically allowed. In return, the development must provide a public benefit, like adding some units designated to be rented at below-market rates.

Gabriel Cristóval Pérez / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: While most of Austin slept early Friday morning, City Council gave the green light to a mobility bond with little historical precedent.

Just after 1:30 a.m., following a tortuous and fraught discussion marked by simmering tensions that at times neared outright hostility, Council voted 8-3 to direct staff to prepare ballot language for a $720 million grab bag of road, sidewalk, bike and transit infrastructure.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

With the promise of rain, Upper Onion Creek resident Ken Jacob says neighbors of his can be found with their eyes to the creek and the internet – where rain gauge levels are updated. So it’s essential to someone like Jacob, who serves on the city’s Flood Mitigation Task Force, that the city continue to discuss flood mitigation.


City leaders are considering a change that could add more affordable housing throughout Austin using the state’s Homestead Preservation District (HPD) designation.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Austin City Council members may have been overly optimistic that a 9-year-old’s karaoke machine could carry their comments to reporters. Nonetheless, they pushed on.

Armed both with a “singing machine” borrowed from Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo’s daughter and with printed versions of the two currently competing ride-hailing ordinances, five council members gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday.

Flickr/JVK

Every five years Austin Energy reevaluates the rates it charges customers. That process will begin in the spring when, for the first time, there will be an independent advocate at the table speaking for Austin Energy customers.


Council Pursues Unusual Process for STRs

Sep 23, 2015
KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: The debate over short-term rentals isn’t over in Austin. Not even close. After approving a series of recommendations for future restrictions Tuesday, City Council delayed further action on its ongoing resolution until Oct. 8.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From the Austin Monitor: Mayor Steve Adler reported Wednesday that his campaign still owes him more than $418,315. Adler’s campaign finance report indicates that he paid himself back $31,077 in January. However, the campaign has no money remaining to repay the rest.

Other mayors in the same situation, such as former Mayor Lee Leffingwell, have relied on fundraising after they left office to recoup some of their expenses. Leffingwell reported Wednesday that he had repaid himself $56,000 this year, leaving a debt close to $35,000.

Campaign finance reports were due on Wednesday from all City Council members and all Council candidates who had not previously closed down their accounts, as well as anyone else still spending or collecting funds.

flickr.com/gjmj

Despite the fact that views among City Council members run the gamut as far as implementing a homestead tax exemption, they opted in a 7-4 vote to meet in the middle early Friday morning, approving a 6 percent exemption for this year and expressing an intent to increase it to 20 percent over the course of four years.

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council Members Greg Casar, Delia Garza and Ora Houston cast the dissenting votes.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

The city's first council under the 10-1 plan was finalized last night. Austin voters elected the remaining seven council members and the Mayor of Austin. The new council is, for the first time, majority female, with seven female council members. The only incumbent in the bunch, Council Member Kathie Tovo – who's also a likely shoe-in for the position of Mayor Pro Tem.

The remaining nine council members, and Mayor-elect Steve Adler, may not be so familiar. Below, you can find detailed biographies of each of the newly-elected 10-1 council members and an interactive map with voting totals – including their previous experience in government, their employment history and (for some) their previous work with other council candidates.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Current Austin City Council Member Chris Riley is withdrawing from a runoff election with another current Council Member, Kathie Tovo.

In Tuesday's election for the District 9 seat, Tovo won 49.05 percent of the vote -- just shy of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Riley earned 40.41 percent and the third candidate, Erin McGann, won 10.53 percent.

In a statement announcing his withdrawal, Riley congratulated Tovo on a hard-fought campaign.

Joy Diaz

Updated throughout with Final Totals.

The race to be Austin's next mayor is not over yet. It's headed to a Dec. 16 run-off election because neither of the top two vote-getters received more than 50 percent of the total. Just two city council members have been elected – the top two candidates from the other districts will also head to the run-off.

A total of 78 candidates campaigned in the city’s first election under the 10-1 system of geographic representation.

Mayor of Austin: Steve Adler came out on top in the race for mayor with 36.76 percent. Mike Martinez garnered 29.63 percent of the vote. The run-off election is Dec. 16.

District 1: Ora Houston was just short of the votes needed to win District 1 outright. She received 49.12 percent of the vote. DeWayne Lofton came in second with 14.41 percent of the vote. This race will head to a run-off.

District 2: Delia Garza won District 2 with 65.76 percent of the vote.

District 3: Susana Almanza led the race with 20.99 percent of the vote. She will face her brother, Sabino "Pio" Renteria, in a  run-off. Renteria earned 18.80 percent of the vote.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The three District 9 candidates met last night in another installment of the Ballot Boxing, a series of in-district City Council candidate forums hosted by KUT, the Austin Monitor, Univision 62, KXAN and the Austin Chronicle

Bryan Winter/KUT News

Nearly two years after Austinites passed the 10-1 plan – which allows voters to elect city council members from their respective geographic district while the mayor is still elected by all voters – the plan has arrived at its penultimate step: The ballot is set. 

In total, 78 candidates submitted their names for voter approval ahead of the city and county elections in November. The ballot features some familiar faces, with current council members Chris Riley and Kathie Tovo pitted against each other in District 9 as well as a Sheryl Cole vs. Mike Martinez match up in the at-large race for mayor. 

Below you can find a full list of the candidates on the ballot listed by filing date:

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

This article is written by KUT's Austin City Hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor (formerly In Fact Daily). 

The City of Austin’s General Fund ended fiscal year 2013 with a $14.2 million surplus. That figure amounts to a roughly 1 percent variance from projections made by city staff.

Despite the positive figure, Austin’s Chief Financial Officer Elaine Hart told members of the Council’s Audit and Finance Committee Wednesday that management was not planning on coming forward with a mid-year budget adjustment.

UW Green Futures Lab/Scan Design Foundation/Gehl Architects

The Austin City Council had parking on its mind today. And now Austin is one step closer to eliminating minimum parking requirements for many downtown businesses, and looking at a program could to lessen the number of cars entering downtown. 

Pilot Parking Program

The council heard a briefing on parking program encouraging businesses to reduce car commuting. The program could begin as soon as April, if the council approves a measure next week.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

An admittedly wonky but far-reaching undertaking at the City of Austin is getting started – and the question of lobbyists’ roles in what happens next is putting pressure on the Austin City Council.

All development in Austin is governed by city code – zoning, land uses and just about everything conceivable in the built environment. The Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan – the recently-passed blueprint for the city’s long-term growth – calls for a revision of the city’s dense, endlessly-amended development code, and in December the council obliged. Late last year, it passed a resolution calling for an 11-member advisory group to craft changes and revisions to the code.

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