Austin City Council

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Half a dozen posters depicting that British hit band the Beatles color the walls of Justin Estep’s office on Rutherford Lane in North Austin. It brings some levity to an otherwise tense space.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: Alison Alter trounced incumbent City Council Member Sheri Gallo on Tuesday with the help of an energized Travis County Democratic Party, as well as neighbors angry over development proposals for the Grove at Shoal Creek and the Austin Oaks planned unit developments.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Today is runoff election day in the Austin area. You'll be forgiven if you didn't even know there was a runoff election.

Only about 3 percent of registered voters cast a ballot during the early voting period. If you vote today, you'll likely just see two races on the ballot – both for places on the Austin Community College board of trustees. But for those who live in northwest Austin, there’s a third race – this one for city council.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Last week, when the contentious case for the Grove at Shoal Creek returned yet again to City Hall, City Council made welcome progress – but not quite when people expected it. Council was supposed to start its discussion at 9 a.m. But as with many high-profile zoning cases, the discussion started hours later and lasted until late at night. One resident, Frances McIntyre, took notice.


Courtesy of Austin Public LIbrary.

From the Austin Monitor: City Council will consider what is hoped to be the final spending increase for the long-in-the-works Austin Central Library on Thursday, with the total price tag for the project set to fall somewhere just under $126.6 million.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

In the wake of the presidential election, several Austin City Council members have decided to speak out in support of the city’s minority populations. 

Audrey McGlinchy via Twitter

Flanked by city colleagues and leaders in both academia and the nonprofit world Wednesday, Mayor Steve Adler introduced the city of Austin to its newest task force: a group that will combat “institutional racism.” The group will be made up of local community leaders in education, immigration and housing.

Leslie Pool Wins District 7

Nov 9, 2016
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: Tuesday night, incumbent Leslie Pool easily won her District 7 seat for City Council against challenger and political newcomer Natalie Gauldin. Early voting results Tuesday evening solidly placed her in the lead by 40 percent, giving rise to dinnertime cheers from her supporters.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: District 4 City Council Member Greg Casar, the youngest member ever elected to the City Council, claimed another victory last night, beating two opponents who seemed almost invisible.

District 2 Council Member Delia Garza – Council’s first Latina, elected during her first run for office in 2014 – also easily defeated two opponents who were barely visible during the campaign.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: In District 10, City Council Member Sheri Gallo and challenger Alison Alter are headed for a December runoff, with Gallo garnering more than 48 percent of the vote to Alter’s 35.52 percent. The other candidates in the race, Robert Walker and Nicholas Virden, received 14.1 percent and slightly more than 2 percent, respectively.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: It’s anybody’s guess whether the city’s $720 million transportation bond proposition, known as Proposition 1, will win voter approval next week, but if it does not, it won’t be because of lack of funding.

Move Austin Forward, the political action committee supporting the bond, has reported total political expenditures of more than $701,000. The campaign reported it had received nearly $482,000 in contributions and maintained about $75,000 in the bank as of Saturday.

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: Poll numbers for City Council Member Don Zimmerman and challenger Jimmy Flannigan show the two neck and neck in a race to represent District 6, according to two surveys conducted in September and October for the Austin Monitor by Public Policy Polling of North Carolina.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

In a late Friday ruling, a district judge sided with a local activist against the City of Austin, voiding a December vote taken by city council members on the housing development Pilot Knob. Called Easton Park, the development plans to offer 1,500 apartments and 6,500 single-family homes in southeast Travis County.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Traversing parts of North Lamar Boulevard as a bicyclist or pedestrian – or, even as a driver – can be alarming. The speed limit is high, and substantial barriers exist neither between pedestrians and cars nor between cars going north and those headed south.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Growth and the interests of real estate developers commanded the discussion among candidates vying to represent Austin’s wealthiest district Tuesday night. City Council Member Sheri Gallo, who has held the District 10 Council seat since she was elected in 2014, sat alongside candidates Alison Alter, Nick Virden and Rob Walker fielding questions from residents.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin residents are no strangers to orange cones dotting the highways or construction cranes in the sky. But one KUT listener wondered: Why does it take so long to get anything built around here? 


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

In a repeat match of their neck-and-neck 2014 race, Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman and challenger Jimmy Flannigan met Tuesday night beneath a giant screen at the Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline.

There was no feature on the bill, but that was alright. The two candidates vying for District 6 representative provided ample entertainment.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

District 10 is Austin’s wealthiest district – it boasts an annual median family income of $131,100. It’s one of the city’s most sprawling districts, stretching from MoPac to Lake Travis.

The race for District 10 is the most crowded among the five districts on the ballot. Council member Sheri Gallo is the current representative, and she faces three challengers – all who, like Gallo, tout fiscal responsibility, but with some added twists. It's a field of candidates who seem to straddle the political aisle; purple people, if you will.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: After weeks of back-and-forth with city staff and three days of wrangling for dollars and cents on the dais, City Council approved a $3.7 billion budget Wednesday evening for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2016-2017.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Austin’s District 6 is one of the city’s wealthiest – the median family income falls around $86,000 a year. It also boasts the largest number of Asian residents in the city.

Council Member Don Zimmerman represents Austin’s northernmost district. He has served as a resounding voice of fiscal conservatism, often abstaining from votes because of a general aversion for government spending.


Jenna VonHofe for KUT

Austin’s District 4 is one of its most diverse – more than 65 percent of residents are Hispanic, and nearly 10 percent of the district is African-American.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Complaints we hear citywide about affordability are magnified in Austin’s District 2.

The southeast district has some of the lowest-income residents, with a median family income of $42,650. The district also boasts the largest Hispanic population – a point of pride for current council member Delia Garza, Austin’s first Latina local representative.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

From the Austin Monitor:The price tag of Austin’s second-largest transportation bond proposal ever has been pegged at $720 million, but extra costs could pile as high as $20 million if voters approve the package in November.

The central piece of the plan calls for $482 million to be spent on projects along seven major corridors in town. Of those seven roadways, five include portions that are currently controlled and maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation.

It's been two years since the Austin City Council was overhauled from 6 at-large council seats to 10 single member districts - plus the mayor. Now, 5 of those new seats are up for re-election.

To help voters learn more about incumbents running for re-election – and those challenging to replace them – KUT News and the Austin Monitor have set up candidate forums in each of the districts up for grabs in November.

Callie Hernandez for KUT

The candidates for Austin’s next city manager will be vetted by nearly a million people. At least, that’s how necessary council members and city staff have said public input is to the process of hiring Austin’s newest city manager in roughly a decade.


Callie Hernandez for KUT

The deadline for council candidates to place their names on the November ballot came and went today. Here’s a list of who’s running in the five districts where seats are up for election (incumbents are indicated as such):

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

It’s official. Austin voters will decide on a $720 million transportation bond come November 8. Council members took a final vote on the ballot language this afternoon, after nearly two hours of discussion. The final count? Seven council members for, three abstaining, one hard no.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Mayor Steve Adler has christened a $720 million transportation bond the "Go Big Corridor Plan." So it begs the question, is this really that big? Seattle recently placed on a ballot a $54 billion transportation bond. But judging by other news reports, that number seems like an anomaly among municipal bond programs. 

Regardless, there's plenty to unpack when we discuss the "bigness" of this bond. 


Pu Ying Huang/KUT

The Austin City Council approved a measure Thursday clarifying the process municipal judges use to deem someone incapable of paying a municipal fine –emphasizing community service as an alternative to jail time for unpaid fines.

District 2 Council Member Delia Garza brought the item forward in an effort to reduce the number of people being sent to jail for unpaid fines.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Over the years I've been defined as many things: a woman, a mother, a grandmother. I've been an activist, a professional and a retiree. Now, I'm a public servant in Austin on the city council. My district has more African Americans than any other in the city. 

Over the years, as you may imagine, some of my roles have changed. But least one remains: I'm a mother – no matter how old my son and daughter may be.

I imagine most parents are like me. That's why my heart breaks when I try to step into the shoes of the parents, family and friends whose loved ones have been killed. 

 


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