Austin City Council

Nathan Bernier / KUT

If an Austin police officer stops someone for a nonviolent misdemeanor – such as possessing a small amount of marijuana or driving without a valid license – the officer has a choice: issue a citation or arrest the person. Simply put, the officer has discretion.

Austin City Council members voted 9-0 (two council members were not present) Thursday to do away with some of this discretion. Proponents cited police data that show black and Hispanic people stopped for low-level offenses are more likely than white people to be arrested than cited.

ATXN

There’s an old adage: Nothing screams comedy like line-item contract bid awards.

That is not a true statement. That was a joke. And it wasn’t funny.

The tedium of local government contracts – particularly, on the line-item level – doesn’t leave an audience in peals of uncontrollable, full-body-heave, bladder-evacuative laughter. It doesn’t inspire the mirth or hysteria or even mild bemusement.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The race to fill the District 1 seat in November is wide open after Austin City Council Member Ora Houston announced today she would not seek re-election.

Callie Hernandez / KUT

The Austin City Council is set to vote tomorrow on adopting the city manager’s recommendation for a 2018 bond package. Austin voters would decide on whether to approve the $816 million referendum this November. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The Austin City Council will vote this Thursday on a package of proposals designed to make the capital city Texas’ first “freedom city.”

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Austin City Council members are fine-tuning their goals for a new land-development code at a meeting Tuesday, and they’re trying to do it in a respectful manner. 

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Austin City Council members early this morning did not accept the changes asked for in a citizen-led petition that would have required all comprehensive zoning changes, including CodeNEXT, be put to a public vote. Now council must decide before Aug. 20 whether to put the petition on a November ballot.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Austin voters now have a clearer roadmap for a slate of bond-funded projects intended to relieve congestion and improve city infrastructure on a massive scale.

With little more than a guarantee from the Austin City Council, voters overwhelmingly approved a $720-million mobility-focused bond in 2016. Council voted Thursday to approve a construction plan for some of those projects, which will build out new bike lanes, sidewalks and road redesigns.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

David Jones has been renting his apartment in North Austin for four years. He's grown an impressive herb garden on his front porch: Rows of parsley, oregano and thyme line one side. He’s a veteran on a fixed income, and his housing story hasn’t been an easy one.

“In 1999, I was renting a house here in Austin,” Jones said. “I came home on a Friday evening, and there was a notice to vacate – eviction notice – on my door. I panicked, and I moved all my stuff by that Monday.”

Gabriel C. Pérez

Austin Public Health has released an interactive map showing child care and pre-K facilities throughout Travis County, and indicating which centers have received certain national or state accreditation.  

Council Member Delia Garza said where child care centers are located in the city affects everyone – not just those with young children.

Stefan Keith for KUT

City leaders are weighing the possibility of putting an affordable housing bond on the ballot this November. A city task force is recommending a $161 million bond, but some Austin City Council members want to almost double that amount.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is trying to figure out how the latest draft of the proposed land development code, known as CodeNEXT, could shape the future of affordable housing.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Members of the Austin City Council want to formally appoint interim Police Chief Brian Manley as the city's permanent chief. If a resolution is approved, City Manager Spencer Cronk would need to make the final hiring decision.

Shortly after the announcement yesterday of the death of Austin's serial bomber, City Council Member Delia Garza made the call to hire Manley permanently.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When Lauren Johnson started job-hunting in the early 1990s, she walked from business to business filling out applications by hand. “It’ll be so much easier someday when this is all computerized,” she remembers thinking.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As the number of demolitions soars in Austin, the city is considering changing the way it issues permits to make sure teardowns are done safely and people affected are properly notified.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

After passing rules that require all private employers to offer workers six to eight paid sick days a year, the City of Austin has agreed to extend its own policy to all local government employees. Previously, temporary employees, like lifeguards and crossing guards, were not covered.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Mayor Steve Adler will give his 2018 State of the City address Tuesday evening. We’re not sure what he’ll say, but read through Adler’s three previous speeches and you’ll find more than one theme or phrase repeated.

So, to help you follow along – and to add some excitement to what is usually a dry event – we’ve created several State of the City BINGO (though, we replaced B-I-N-G-O with A-D-L-E-R – because, duh) cards. Print them out or play online (click to highlight a square). You can also turn it into a drinking game, although KUT would never promote alcohol consumption.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Austin City Council members voted early Friday to require all private employers in the city to provide employees at least six to eight days of paid sick leave, depending on the size of the company. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Mornings at Hoover’s Cooking are spent hammering beef to make it thin enough for the restaurant’s best-selling dish: chicken fried steak.

“Other things that are good sellers are our fried catfish … and pork chops,” said Hoover Alexander, who has owned the restaurant on Manor Road since 1998.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

Less than a week out from the release of the latest version of CodeNEXT, city commissions are weighing in on what they’d like to see in this latest draft of Austin’s land development code.

The Zoning and Platting Commission laid out its plan last night for gathering public feedback on the new rules, which would regulate everything from parking requirements to the types of housing that can be built in Austin. Commissioners want to hold at least two public meetings in different parts of town, possibly holding a combined hearing with the city’s Planning Commission.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Welcome to Austin, Spencer.

We’re a vibrant city nestled in the Texas Hill Country that combines tech-minded innovation with the laid-back feel of a college town. And – you may or may not have heard – we’re always trying to keep it weird. You may or may not have also heard, we’re a pretty big deal these days, and it’s easy to understand why.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin’s Equity Office is considering how to make good on a report published last April that laid out more than 200 recommendations for how the city can combat institutional racism.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

Austin’s police union says it’s ready to resume contract negotiations after the City Council rejected a new five-year contract in December. 

Courtesy of the City of Austin

When incoming City Manager Spencer Cronk moves to Austin next month, he'll have some help. 

Austin City Council members are scheduled to vote Thursday on a compensation package for Cronk, who is coming from Minneapolis and starts Feb. 12.

Campaign finance reports reveal that Austin Mayor Steve Adler is the only member of the City Council who has begun seriously fundraising for re-election.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

The Austin Police Association says it won’t renegotiate its contract with the city before it expires at the end of the month. After months of negotiation, the Austin City Council voted last week to reject the contract, which dictates pay, discipline and oversight for police officers.

Callie Hernandez for KUT

The Austin City Council is scheduled to decide today who will fill the highest ranking unelected position at city hall. Spencer Cronk and Howard Lazarus are the two remaining candidates for city manager.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is moving forward with plans for the region’s first-ever fair housing assessment. The effort aims to shed light on issues of housing discrimination across Central Texas.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Austin City Council members voted unanimously to send a five-year contract between the city and the local police union back to the negotiating table late Wednesday. 

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin City Council will not release the names of the finalists vying for the vacant city manager position today.

Council members went to great lengths to keep the selection process secretive last week. After criticism, the council, candidates and the search firm tasked with finding a city manager agreed to make the names public by no later than today. Mayor Steve Adler said that reveal will have to wait – as one of the five candidates has dropped out of the running. 

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