The Austin Chronicle

The Daily Hustle: 12/16/10

By Wells Dunbar, December 16, 2010, 12:25pm, Newsdesk

Update: Not terribly much to report at City Council this morning, aside from announcing the postponement of several zoning items later this afternoon – good, since taking up the Hyde Park historic district and a public hearing over the WTP4 shaft will certainly eat up lots of time.

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid's D'Ann Johnson spoke on Items 62 and 63, which set a base fare based on taxi trips from the airport, and clean up fees for messy passengers. Calling it “better than nothing, which is what we have right now,” she still called the fees too low (for instance, Item 62 sets airport fees based on a four mile fare, while Johnson said six miles was a more realistic distance).

Item 24, which beefs up prohibitions against selling dogs and cats, drew opposition from animal advocates worried it would ironically harm the city's no-kill policies, one speaker hyperbolically warning it would “kill no-kill” by requiring strays be given away (whereas a minimal fee would ensure the pet would be more of an investment), and that restricting pet donations to 501 c3 nonprofits would neuter their abilities. Council didn't agree, approving the measure unanimously.

Also pulled from consent, to pass unanimously, were items 4 (parking for library employees), 21 and 22 (creating 12 new EMS employees), and 23 (the city's wish list for the upcoming Texas Legislature).

But maybe the most noteworthy moment came at the beginning of the meeting, where Mike Martinez and Randi Shade eulogized Jennifer Gale. The transgendered, homeless City Council regular died two years ago on the street – ironically, just hours after she sang a Christmas carol to council's Public Health and Human Services subcommittee.

Martinez and Shade said they will affix a placard in the front row of council chambers in her memory. Moreover, both suggested a donation to House the Homeless' thermal underwear drive as a great gift to the less fortunate this holiday season.

Original post: Why is the last mile the hardest mile?

City Council meets today for their final meeting of 2010, a 98-item behemoth, including votes on public safety cameras Downtown, a historic district in Hyde Park, and a hearing on WTP4's Jollyville shaft.

We'll update this space later; until then, check out the agenda preview. See ya later!

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