Cheer Up Charlies
"...City Council held a fairly efficient meeting Thursday, clearing a few decks and adjourning at a reasonable 7:15pm. It helped that they punted until next week the subject likely to suck the most time and cause the most heartburn: Short-Term Rental regulations..."
"...Although not everyone's ready to concede just yet, it appears as though the new City Council is finally here, and it looks almost nothing like the old one. Also newly arrived: three trustees on the AISD board, as well as one on the ACC board...."
"...Last Thursday’s City Council meeting featured the usual brace of postponements, but moved forward on a couple of Big Ideas: Mayor Steve Adler’s “Go Big” Mobility Bond and an attempt to lessen the burden on a beleaguered group: poor folks caught in the grim cycle of the Austin Municipal Court...."
"...At 94 items, Thursday’s City Council meeting agenda is about as lengthy as they come. It’s your chance to weigh in on the budget planning – public hearings begin in the early evening – along the way, the Mobility Bond is up for final approval, and plenty more on the to-do list...."
"...Democratic activist and city Solid Waste Advisory Council member Rick Cofer announced in an e-mail to supporters tonight that he is dropping out of the race for Austin City Council Place 1, leaving Chris Riley and Perla Cavazos to duke it out for the seat Lee Leffingwell is vacating to run for mayor. Cofer's announcement follows after the jump:..."
"...Take a look at today's City Council agenda, and you might groan at first: Decker Lake Golf? Homestead exemptions? Haven't we been here before?..."
"...BREAKING NEWS: Instead of referring the matter to a grand jury, the Travis County attorney’s office today handed down stunning findings in his investigation into whether the Austin City Council violated state Open Meetings Act laws: Guilty, on all counts...."
"...It's only fitting that the last City Council meeting before the summer break would clock in at a mind-boggling 17 hours, and include approval of a $925 million bond proposal that includes a historic $250 million in affordable housing dollars, deregulation of the taxi industry, an extended Austin Rowing Club row, and a decision at long last to start negotiating a deal that would bring Major League Soccer to Austin (p.12). With their adjournment just before 4am on Friday, June 29, members officially clocked out for the July recess, in which they'll take a well-deserved breather from briefings, public hearings, their own interpersonal squabbles, and, of course, CodeNEXT..."
"...It is not heavy agenda time for the new, 2017 City Council – the next regularly scheduled, full business meeting won't occur until Jan. 26 – but tomorrow's special-called meeting (Jan..."
"...It's been a full week at City Council, with the regular work session Tuesday, a budget work session Wednesday, and today's regular meeting (Aug. 11), which includes 30 zoning cases (Items 38-68) as well as an overflowing plate of other matters..."
"...If Austin were to achieve perfection, what would it look like? Cheap housing, a store on every block just across the street from a club, and a cop on every corner with spare time to shoot the breeze. After months of interminable meetings driven by the double distraction of transportation network companies and short-term rentals, Council met on March 3 to ponder the future – or rather, to tell staff to start some pondering for them...."
"...On Tuesday afternoon, after much pushing and pulling, as well as a good deal of hemming and hawing, City Council accomplished its most important annual task of adopting the annual budget: FY 2013-14, which goes into effect Oct. 1..."
"...City Council formally inaugurates the new year next week, with its first regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1 (work session Jan..."
"...1) OUT WITH THE OLD ... After a prolonged campaign including December run-offs, swirling around ongoing business, the last seven-member, at-large City Council held its final meeting and said Farewell-to-All-That, while reflecting on accomplishments and what comes next...."
"...In this week's News Roundup, a man who repeatedly shot at an APD helicopter is taken down by a police sniper; Rick Perry has some interesting members of his RickPAC; the new Council gets going; and more...."
"...City Council won’t gather together again officially until the New Year – Jan. 23, 2014 (following a work session Jan..."
"...On Friday, the Economic Development Department (EDD) revealed its re-draft on Agent of Change and Outdoor Music Venue (OMV) permits, the latter blindsiding local venue stakeholders with a significant rewrite of city code regarding sound. As of this week, both policy proposals are scheduled to go to City Council Thursday, June 15...."
"...There's no shortage of controversy in the race for City Council District 10. This week, incumbent Sheri Gallo is being accused by her opponent of purposely omitting two voting locations where challenger Alison Alter polled well (including one in Alter's home district) during the Nov..."
"...In a celebratory Monday evening special called meeting of the Austin City Council, Mayor Lee Leffingwell and two council members – Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and Place 2's Mike Martinez – were sworn in to new terms. (Place 5's Bill Spelman had a time conflict, and was sworn in earlier Monday.)..."
"...You might want to begin prepping for this week’s City Council meeting with featured musician Susan Arbuckle’s “Everything She Needs”; by the middle of the 70-Item agenda, you may well find yourself singing ruefully, “So Much More to Come.”..."
"...Thursday evening, City Council closed the deal with National Instruments Corp. to provide 10 years of personal and property tax rebates in return for a major expansion and capital investment, and 1,000 new high-paying jobs...."
"...City Council has been sued. Just before 2pm on Friday afternoon, Fred Lewis of Community Not Commodity, and fellow plaintiffs Nelson Linder, Susana Almanza, Jane and Gilbert Rivera, P..."
"...Agenda highlights for the Thursday, Feb. 14 meeting Item 2: Resolving Austin won't participate in the South Texas nuke expansion, i.e., the Meeker-mentum murderer. Item 3: Setting May 10's City Council and charter elections..."
"...City Council voted this afternoon to reject a petition that would have put the CodeNEXT zoning rewrite onto the November general election ballot. Members voted 6-4 against the resolution, a not-surprising tally, considering the factions on the dais...."
"...Sheri Gallo: AFA, APA, Austin Apartment Association, Home Builders Association of Greater Austin, Real Estate Council of Austin, HDR Inc. PAC, Bruce Todd, Lee Leffingwell, Ron Mullen, Lee Cooke, Frank Cooksey..."
"...Agenda highlights for the Thursday, July 26 City Council meeting. Items 2-4: Austin Energy rebates to AMD, Samsung and Applied Materials. Why not? Item 16: Adopting the Austin Music Memorial Guidelines..."
"...Although it's been out of the headlines for a week or two, City Council remains knee-deep in deliberations over the fiscal year 2017 city budget. In its largest incarnation, that's the $3.7 billion "All Funds" octopus, which includes not only the operational expenses or "General Fund" budget, but the "enterprise" departments, which are income-generating and essentially self-funding: most prominently, the utilities Austin Energy and Austin Water, but also the airport (Aviation) and the Convention Center..."
"...City Council's 10-1 format is now into its fourth year, meaning it's graduated from the toddler stage and into early childhood. Already we're seeing some telltale signs of slowed development: Council still has trouble sharing and making compromises, and are occasionally prone to temper tantrums (particularly when they've had too long of a day)..."
"...Could City Council's regularly scheduled work sessions – called in response to the Crisis of Austin's Democracy – actually have the effect of making Thursday's council meetings less transparent? That's one of the quixotic questions on the Hustle's mind, and while it certainly isn't an intended result, it wouldn't be surprising – considering the through-the-looking-glass atmosphere at City Hall as of late...."
"...The dust hasn't settled yet from last Thursday's City Council meeting (Aug. 18), and most of the headlines have concerned District 6 Council Member Don Zimmerman's lecture to schoolchildren and their parents about not "living off others." CM Delia Garza's denunciation during the meeting was followed the next day by her extensive Facebook post, and another one by CM Greg Casar (see "Zimmerman Does It Again," Aug..."
"...She opposed the Water Treatment Plant No. 4 project (under construction, but still an issue in yet another election cycle), and she believes that the City Council's willingness to grant corporate "giveaways" (particularly the Congress Avenue convention hotel fee waivers and the Formula One project infrastructure) have undermined the city's finances and "paid corporations to come here" that would have relocated anyway...."
"...A relatively brief, largely uncontroversial City Council agenda usually isn't the focus of much official scrutiny. But that's not the case this week, with council scheduling a public work session – the first of many likely – the day before its regular meeting, as a result of the ongoing City Hall open meetings controversy...."
"...1) As the Dais Turns The year's most dramatic shift was the May council election, led by the symbolism of neighborhood champion Laura Morrison taking the Place 4 seat of stat-quo preserver Betty Dunkerley. Place 3's Jennifer Kim, defeated by newcomer Randi Shade, was consigned to the one-term dustbin, and the influence of Responsible Growth for Northcross crested and waned..."
"...1) Send in the Clowns All year long, the pending retirement of incumbent City Manager Toby Futrell was the City Hall soap opera, complete with an ever-retreating exit date and backstage tears over council's determination to just get on with it. As the new year dawns, they're still looking, but we gave them the three-ring formula back in August: "Betty Dunkerley told the Statesman Austin needs a 'magician,' while some lobbyist or another said they'd have big shoes to fill..."
"...There's no City Council meeting this week, following a March 24 meeting that looked to be productive but ended by postponing the most controversial questions (e.g., the Midtown Live loan proposal; the Design Standards public hearing; precise amendments to the Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance) for another day. City Manager Toby Futrell had pulled the Midtown Live proposal a "forgivable" $750,000 loan to the burned-out Eastside night club, to support rebuilding, expansion, and increased booking of live music from the agenda a couple of days before, following widespread negative public reaction as well as opposition voiced most specifically by Council Member Brewster McCracken..."
"...Austin voters are fortunate to have two strong, experienced candidates for mayor in incumbent Adler and former Council Member Laura Morrison. To some degree, they are alike: Both are very hardworking, personally committed to their visions of the city's best interests, and deeply versed in the complexities of city policy..."
"...1) Just Don't Call It "Sharing" As Mayor Steve Adler put it, the citywide public argument over "ridesharing" "sucked all the oxygen out of the room." In May, after two years of wrangling and several months of City Council hearings, petitions, and an explosion of campaign spending, Uber and Lyft were defeated at the polls...."
"...1) 10-1 AT LAST It was a long time coming: After a couple of decades, seven city votes, and a Rube Goldberg mapping process – a grownup city now has grownup City Council districts...."
"...There's no regular City Council meeting this week – the next is Thursday, March 2 – and it's a good moment for a brief break, as last Thursday's session featured a couple of moments of tense melodrama and some prolonged disputation over matters that might not have seemed like flash points until council members begin to wade into them. In the morning, a proposal to increase nonprofit funding for immigrant legal defense sparked a tense exchange between Council Members Greg Casar and Ellen Troxclair – and a veiled, much later rebuke from Mayor Steve Adler against "getting too close" to personal attacks on the dais..."
"...The newest incarnation of the City Council resumes public brainstorming this week, although the next regular meeting is not scheduled until Jan. 26..."
"...The new 10-1 City Council got a year of governance under its belt – with a slow start but more effectiveness over time – and began to reflect a greater range of public priorities. 2) Selling Short..."
"...1) Districts! After seven tries over many years – and a bitter campaign between competing versions – Austin voters finally decided it's time to end the at-large Council system and elect 10 members from actual districts. Now the real fun begins – drawing-and-quartering followed by a whole new wave of 2014 campaigns...."
"...She's taken the leadership position on the Waller Creek Project, and voters' judgment to an extent will depend on whether they're convinced that it's a progressive infrastructure and development venture or a sacrifice of the Red River district for an upscale private boondoggle. Holding the de facto African-American seat, she's been a strong advocate on minority issues and has hesitated to fully support single-member districts if SMDs cannot be shown to improve African-American influence – and like all four of the incumbents running, has declined to declare a position until the discussion arrives at council..."
"...1) Opened Pandora's Box A "walking quorum" complaint to the County Attorney's Office from local activist Brian Rodgers – bolstered by flame-fanning by the Austin Bulldog – put council communications under microscopic scrutiny, changed the way meetings are held, and drowned city staff in a flood of open records requests, all while undermining cooperation among an already fractious council...."
"...Item 36, sponsored by Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, and Council Member Bill Spelman, would name the entirety of the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail the "Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail." Providing a history lesson in miniature, the draft resolution states Roy Butler – Austin's first popularly elected mayor (prior to that, council members designated a member from among themselves) – and his wife were instrumental in launching the trail project. Soon after Butler's 1971 election, the resolution notes, "while in London for an international conference of mayors, Mrs..."
"...1) KEYPOINT CARNAGE The sprawling Nathaniel Sanders II saga spread to City Hall as City Manager Marc Ott canned longtime City Attorney David Smith over his futile advice to suppress the incendiary KeyPoint Government Solutions report. Council's decision to renege on the Sanders family's lawsuit settlement sprayed kerosene on an already roaring (and still burning) firestorm...."
"...After a few weeks away, the City Council returns today, Thursday, June 11, to a torrential backlog of unfinished business. Here's a tip-off to what the day's looking like: A briefing on the city's $45 million "menu" of potential budget cuts isn't even the main attraction..."
"...WHEREAS, this Council supports the men and women serving in the armed forces and honors their commitment to our nation's safety and security; and..."
"...He also helped create a joint agency environmental justice task force to study the cause and effect of environmental racism, which was instrumental in shutting down the East Austin Tank Farm. While some may complain that the crystal ball on Watson is a little murky, the record of Councilmember Ronney Reynolds as a lockstep vote for developers is clear as a cowbell..."
"...This November may mean the end of the line for five district leaders who served on the first 10-1 City Council. Each of the five incumbents face at least one challenger for their seat at the dais, and there could be more by the time the filing deadline hits this Monday, Aug..."