Leslie Pool

 

Leslie Pool participates in a District 7 candidate debate in 2016.
Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Leslie Pool was elected as an Austin City Council member in 2014, representing District 7. She was re-elected in 2016.

Pool attended Grove City College in Pennsylvania and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin. She’s lived in Austin for almost four decades.

Before joining the City Council, Pool worked for two U.S. congressmen, in the Travis County Constable’s Office, and with the National Wildlife Federation. She helped found the Bull Creek Road Coalition and has served on several committee boards, such as the Austin Energy Oversight Committee and the Committee on Open Space, Environment and Sustainability.

Pool sponsored the Austin Community Climate Plan, which sets actions to reduce emissions in Austin, and has pushed for a greater investment in solar energy for Austin homes. She also co-sponsored the Fair Chance Hiring initiative.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin City Council members agreed Tuesday to move ahead with the process of renaming roads named after Confederate leaders, following violence at a white supremacist rally last weekend in Charlottesville, Va.  

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Nine-year-old Janiyah Johnson shows off her lung capacity.

“Count! Quickly!” she shouts at a reporter who dutifully begins counting the young girl’s time underwater. At her very best, she spends 14 seconds fully submerged.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Austin homeowners could see higher property tax bills next year. 

Under the city's proposed $3.9 billion budget, most residents with a median-value home ($305,510) would pay an additional $118 in property taxes compared to last year. Utility fees would rise, too – with median-value homeowners seeing an additional $60 annually in fees.

The proposed budget also aims to increase the city’s permitting capacity, while maintaining current service levels across the board.

Chris Hunkeler via Flickr

The group that manages almost all of the Texas electric grid has decided it's a good idea to build out more transmission lines in West Texas. That in itself might not sound like a big deal, but the reason behind it is. KUT's Mose Buchele joins Morning Edition host Jennifer Stayton to explain.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT

For much of her life as a homeowner, Joan Reames never noticed the drainage charge on her monthly utility bill. Then the city revised the system in 2015. 

Reames said the monthly fee for her condo complex suddenly increased by more than $2,000. The city bills her homeowner’s association and then the cost is split among the residents.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

After hours of debate last night, Austin City Council gave final approval to one of this year’s most divisive zoning cases. The Austin Oaks planned unit development, or PUD, will bring new housing, retail, office space and parkland to the current site of an office park near Spicewood Springs Road and MoPac. Last night’s vote was 8-2. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Stand atop the hill at the northeast corner of the Texas State Cemetery, and you’ll have a clear view of the Texas State Capitol. It rises alongside a row of trees, now leafless, and a Texas flag. That view, some City Council members say, demands protection.

Marufish/Flickr

Imagine a house. Now imagine the roof. What do you see? Some shingles. Maybe a chimney? But really there’s so much more.

District 7 City Council Member Leslie Pool has sponsored a resolution to make more Austin homes solar-ready. Part of that means leaving roof space on new construction without the pipes and vents that prevent solar panels from being installed.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: After more than two years of fierce debate among neighbors, a developer and City Hall leaders, City Council finally approved the Grove at Shoal Creek, a massive planned unit development to be built on 75 acres of vacant land at the corner of Bull Creek Road and 45th Street.

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.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

After months of discussion, and more after-hours debate and testimony at City Hall the Austin City Council is moving forward with plans for a controversial development known as the Grove at Shoal Creek.

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.

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.

Council Inches Closer to Action on the Grove

Oct 12, 2016
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For several months now, the Austin City Council’s decision about whether to approve the zoning for the Grove at Shoal Creek, a proposed 75-acre mixed-use development, has driven hours of debate and faced numerous delays. So, why is it taking so long?


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

City auditors told the Austin City Council Wednesday that the office processing citizen complaints against officers of the Austin Police Department needs to do a better job. But the office also may need more power to improve.


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Candidates for the District 7 City Council seat faced off Tuesday night in front of a full audience at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema: Village. Incumbent Leslie Pool, who has represented the north central district since her win in 2014, fielded questions from residents alongside opponent and political newcomer Natalie Gauldin.

Audrey McGlinchy (left) | Leslie Pool campaign, via Facebook

You could classify Austin’s District 7 as the "middle district"  – it falls smack dab between the city’s lowest and highest income districts, with an annual median family income around $74,000. Half (around 56%) of district residents rent their homes. It’s also geographically central and narrow, stretching from the city’s North Loop area to the boundaries of Pflugerville.

Council Member Leslie Pool represents Austin’s District 7. This year, Pool faces only one challenger: Natalie Gauldin, a former teacher and current technical writer.

Nasha Lee for KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: City Council voted unanimously Monday to adopt a new set of electricity rates for residents and businesses served by Austin Energy, the city-owned utility.

The vote was the culmination of an eight-month process, starting with a rate proposal submitted by the utility in January, followed by months of back and forth between AE and more than two dozen “intervenors” representing businesses, consumer groups and environmental advocates.

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):

Mengwen Cao for KUT

For some Austin residents in the Windsor Park neighborhood, the problems began two years ago. That's when charter school Austin Achieve built a new school right next to the neighborhood — 16 feet away from some homes, to be exact. 


Audrey McGlinchy / KUT

It looks like either way you slice it, there will be a mobility bond up for a public vote in November. The real question is, what will Austin voters be deciding on? 

Mayor Steve Adler has drafted one proposal, while Council Members Greg Casar and Leslie Pool have written another. And then there's Council member Ann Kitchen's proposal.  

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon/KUT

UPDATE: After our story was originally published, we heard from several members of Flood Mitigation Task Force, who disputed the assertions made by some task force members, including the group’s chairman, who said the final report lacked prioritization.

An executive summary of the report, not available at Monday’s meeting of the Council's Public Utilities committee, whittles down the nearly 200 recommendations into 19 high priority ones. Topping that list is the creation of a city-wide policy that prioritizes life, safety and property when it comes to flooding. The task force recommends that the city then consider this when making upcoming budget decisions.

In conversations with other members of the task force, some took issue with chairman Matt Reinstra’s presentation of the report to the Public Utilities Committee. At that time, he did not present the executive summary to council members because it had not yet been finalized by the task force.

“Many of the things he mentioned as recommendations were very minor things that were in there,” said task force member Ken Jacob. “We’re trying to come forward and say this is important. This is something you, the council, needs to pay attention to and the city needs to pay attention to because it’s a big issue.”

Jacob also cautioned against considering too heavily the report’s note that, at the city’s current rate of improvements, it would cost $2 to $4 billion to address local flooding issues.

“The numbers are just estimates [staff] were able to pull out there,” said Jacob. “And they’re going to have to do more work on that to finalize it.”

ORIGINAL STORY: Nearly a year after floodwaters wrecked businesses and homes in Austin over Memorial Day, members of the city’s Public Utilities Committee heard a rundown of a report from the city’s Flood Mitigation Task Force.

It’s a 89-page document bursting with nearly 200 recommendations for city staff – among them, suggestions to replace aging storm drainage systems and enhancing public outreach by the city’s Watershed Protection Department. According to the report, the total cost of these recommendations ranges from $2 billion to $4 billion.


Miguel Guitierrez Jr. / KUT

At the City of Austin’s budget season opener Wednesday, council members heard again of Austin’s two cities: the city’s widening economic divisions amidst claims that the city is “an economic star.”

“This is extraordinary growth,” economic consultant Jon Hockenyos told council members as he pointed out a 4.6 percent increase in jobs last year, plus an anticipated 7 to 8 percent gain in personal income in the coming year. “It is hard to imagine any other community that has consistently grown in the aggregate that the Austin metro area has.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

In Austin’s Shoal Creek neighborhood, residents are divided over the prospect of a massive new mixed-use development. While some welcome the growth, others say the proposal hasn’t been properly vetted. But take a walk around the Shoal Creek neighborhood, and you can clearly see that, for or against, the residents are all concerned.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr. / KUT

Austin City Council members will decide Thursday whether to revisit an affordable housing deal approved by vote in December. But just how they might go about reconsidering it is complicated.

The deal – called Pilot Knob – would move anywhere from $50 to $80 million dollars normally slotted for Austin Water’s coffers and put it into the city’s affordable housing trust fund. That financial information though, many council members have said, was not available to them at that December vote.

Mike Blizzard via Twitter

When word first broke that a local political action committee calling itself Austin4All had enough signatures to recall City Council Member Ann Kitchen, most of her colleagues came out in force. Standing outside City Hall on Feb. 1, some council members joked they would be next.


flickr/poolsafely

From the Austin Monitor: To date, Austin’s billboards have remained as static as the code that regulates them. But some are calling for changes that could allow digital billboards in the city.

Flickr/JVK

Every five years Austin Energy reevaluates the rates it charges customers. That process will begin in the spring when, for the first time, there will be an independent advocate at the table speaking for Austin Energy customers.


Some Austin City Council members will be up for reelection next year. That means they can start raising campaign money in May 2016.

Council members have already started talking about how to make that process more transparent – along with something else that influences city policy.

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