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AM Update: Austin Election Recap, MoPac Toll Lanes Meeting, Drug Violence in Nuevo Leon

The scene Saturday at Scholz Garten, the Leffingwell campaign's election night spot.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News
The scene Saturday at Scholz Garten, the Leffingwell campaign's election night spot.

Low-Turnout Election Returns Incumbents to Council

Voters returned all four incumbents on the Austin City Council – including Mayor Lee Leffingwell – to the dais on Saturday.

The council members’ fates were revealed as soon as early voting totals were released, with the incumbents – Leffingwell, Place 2 council member Mike Martinez, Place 5 council member Bill Spelman, and Place 6 council member Sheryl Cole – all leading by comfortable margins.

Many of the council members commented on the exceedingly low-turnout in the election – just under five percent in early voting, and roughly the same amount on election day. Similarly, many of the council members also endorsed the idea of moving municipal elections to November, and moving to a form of geographic representation for the city council. Voters will most likely have a chance to vote on those proposals this November.

You can read all of KUT News’ election night coverage. And don’t put away that voter registration card just yet – early voting in Texas primary elections begin today. 

Public Meeting Over Proposed MoPac Toll Lanes

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is holding a public hearing today about federal funding they want to spend on making changes to MoPac.

The proposal would put a toll lane in each direction from Cesar Chavez to Parmer Lane — which CAMPO hopes would help traffic move faster.

The public hearing is at 6 p.m. in Room 3.102 the Thompson Conference Center on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Three community meetings will also be held in the next two weeks and you can make your comments online.

More Violence Near U.S.-Mexico Border

Forty-nine bodies were found on a highway Sunday outside of Monterrey, Mexico about 75 miles southwest of the Roma, Texas border crossing, according toThe Associated Press.

The bodies had been decapitated and the hands and feet were chopped off, making identification difficult. Forty-three men and six women were among the dead. A few had tattoos popular among drug traffickers.

State security with Nuevo Leon says the Zetas drug cartel took responsibility for the killings. Drug gangs often abandon bodies in public places as warnings to their rivals.

Officials believe the victims were killed within the last few days.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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