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The Lead: Council Open Meetings Settlement, Austin Charter Election, 2013 Lege Preview

Good morning. Let's get to it this breezy, sunny Thursday, with some of KUT's  morning stories. 

​And here's two big overnight stories from Austin:

  • City Leaders Signing Deals To Avoid Charges In Open Meetings Saga (Statesman)
Mayor Lee Leffingwell and a lawyer representing Council Member Mike Martinez confirmed to the American-Statesman on Wednesday that they had entered into a “compliance agreement” with prosecutors in the Travis County Attorney’s Office. The deal, which has been offered to other council members as well, caps a two-year inquiry and an embarrassing saga at City Hall. … Turner and Brian Roark, an attorney representing Leffingwell, declined to publicly release the document Wednesday because they didn’t know if other county members had signed it yet. Travis County Assistant Attorney Mack Martinez declined to comment other than to say, “There has not been a conclusion to our case.”

The Chronicle weighs in on November's ballot items, including the city’s propositions. Notably, it endorses Prop 4 (the 8-2-1 scenario for geographic representation) but urges readers to vote no on Prop 3 (the 10-1 scenario for representation). Here’s the Chronicle’s reasoning:

While it's certainly past time for this now large city to enact districting, we believe a mixed or hybrid system (e.g., Prop. 4) would better serve the interests of all citizens – including geographically dispersed minority groups – and is more likely to have the broad support of the Austin public. And while we do not oppose in principle an "independent" redistricting commission, it should not be one imposed by a single ballot phrase standing in for quite complex and unexamined legislation lacking public vetting and never subject to public debate and review.

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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