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The Council Meeting From Purgatory

Bring a pillow and wear your hard hat

By Michael King, Fri., April 27, 2012

Taxicab ordinance revisions are just two of the 142 items on today's City Council agenda.
Taxicab ordinance revisions are just two of the 142 items on today's City Council agenda.
Photo by Jana Birchum

The City Hall buzz is that today's City Council meeting (Thursday, April 26) will be a doozy, and not just because a reverend from the Church of Scientology is giving the invocation. There are no fewer than 142 items (including three tacked on in an addendum), so it's touching to see the agenda anticipate adjournment following 5:30pm music and proclamations. Ain't gonna happen.

There are dozens of contracts to be awarded – always a likely category to be pulled from the consent agenda for closer consideration (or filibustered by a random citizen), and third readings on the taxicab ordinance revisions (Items 64 and 65) that caused heartburn last time around – maybe they've found an antacid, but don't bet on it. Items 68 and 69 propose additional charter propositions (for the November ballot) coming out of the task force recommendations: moving city elections to November, and council appointment of the city attorney (currently the city manager's hire). Item 73 would direct the city manager to bring a "comprehensive air quality ordinance" proposal back to council in August; that's not likely to be controversial on its face, but it should provide an opportunity for plenty of heavy self-congratulatory breathing. Chris Riley's raising the flag on eliminating minimum parking requirements in the Central Business District (Item 74), which follows Professor Donald Shoup's educational visit (see "Point Austin: 'Free' Is Much Too Expensive," April 6), but this move is unlikely to be welcome in all public quarters, so we'll see who fails to salute. (Several less controversial bike proposals follow.)

That's all supposed to happen before the morning briefings (on the Imagine Austin Com­pre­hensive Plan and Permanent Support­ive Housing finance), to be followed by zoning actions and a couple of dozen zoning hearings – what snakes are hidden in that underbrush? If they escape that minefield by 4pm (ha!), Items 121-139 are all scheduled public hearings, including both the extension of Austin Pets Alive!'s sinecure at the Town Lake Animal Center, and what would have been the revisiting of the teetering Green Water Treatment Plant deal – that was reportedly pulled late Tuesday, and is now rescheduled for sometime in late May (after the May 12 election).

There's plenty more where all that came from. Bring a pillow and wear your hard hat.

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