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The Lead: Occupy Austin’s Tent City, SXSW Impact, Austin's November Elections

Good morning and a happy Friday. A cold front should blow in around midnight, meaning weekend lows plummeting into the 40s. Here’s some recent stories from KUT News.  

Here’s some more Austin and Texas stories folks are talking about:

  • As Voters Weigh Austin District Plans, a Question Lingers: Who Should Draw the Boundaries? (Statesman)
One of the two plans voters will consider Nov. 6 — switching the council from seven citywide members to 10 district representatives and a citywide mayor — calls for a commission of citizens with no paid ties to city politics to draw the district lines. Critics say that approach, added to the ballot by a citizens’ petition effort, has several possible pitfalls, including strict criteria that could disqualify too many people from serving. The other plan — eight district representatives and three citywide seats, including a mayor — doesn’t say who would draw the lines, but the City Council would likely be involved. Detractors worry that would lead to the council manipulating the lines for political gain.

  • High School Stakes: Austin ISD Election Could Shape a New Direction for the District (Austin Chronicle)
Historically, the AISD elections have been held in May, but in 2011 the board voted to move its elections into the Novem­ber cycle. For the first time, district leadership will be selected at the same time as the U.S. president, and voter turnout for these races is likely to reach record levels. If the new board changes direction and begins seriously challenging the administration, the effects could be tectonic. AISD wields a billion-dollar budget and has a huge influence on Austin's development and population. As one political consultant noted, this is the first time in years that AISD elections have been watercooler talk among the campaign pros.

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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