Public Notice: The Battle Is Joined

Life inside the Campaign War Zone

Public Notice

Among 11 City Council races (see below), the Mayor's race continues to generate the most headlines – notably, the proposal for a 20% homestead exemption on city property taxes, which Steve Adler has embraced, Mike Martinez and Sheryl Cole decried, and which is quick becoming a litmus-test question on the campaign trail. Martinez's campaign, in particular, has been blasting Adler daily for "tax breaks for millionaires" that would raise the cost to apartments – and therefore presumably renters – by an average of $78 a year. Martinez couches it in martial terms: he's defending Austinites against Adler's "attack on middle class families." Adler doubled down on Tuesday, releasing an eight-point "Affordability Agenda" so bold and and extensive that it required 9 bullet points. Meanwhile Cole, I suspect, feels as strongly about the issue as either of her opponents, but her style is better suited to the campaign release she issued Wed­nes­day, titled: "The Nerd in Me" (explaining that she supports the Bull Creek land purchase, but wants to go slow on it). Martinez and Adler continue to look like the front-runners, but with two months to go in the race, does Cole have enough time to let them punch themselves out, and emerge as the sensible middle ground – the "PTA mom" who's not as scary as the two angry daddies? Time will tell.

Texans for Greg Abbott accused gubernatorial opponent Wendy Davis of a "Flip-Flop Fumble" this week, saying she "can't keep her story straight" about an important issue: NFL football. The Sept. 4 release noted that Davis recently said "Go Cowboys!" after Emmitt Smith gave $10,000 to the pro-Democratic Texas Victory Committee, but she had posted "Go Pats!!!" on the New England Patriots Facebook page during last year's playoffs, raising the specter of having a sitting governor who roots for two different football teams, depending on who's playing. (Perhaps, for instance, one that's her hometown team, and one that has a chance in hell of making the playoffs.)

The Planning and Devel­opment Review Department will hold a public meeting to discuss regulations on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs, also known as granny flats or secondary dwellings), and possible code amendments to reduce regulatory barriers for ADUs of less than 500 square feet. This is in response to a City Council resolution from June, directing the City Manager to develop recommendations for such an ordinance. The meeting is Thursday, Sept. 18, 7-9pm at 505 Barton Springs Rd. Room 325 (Training Room). To submit written comments or for more info, contact Ming Chu at 512/974-6413, or ming-ru.chu@austintexas.gov.

The Austin Animal Center and the Austin Humane Society are teaming with Animal Planet and the ASPCA to waive all adoption fees for dogs and cats this month, up to a $25,000 cap – which should last just about through this weekend. The "ROAR to Their Rescue" program, which kicked off Sept. 1, will run indefinitely until each market reaches a $25,000 cap in fee-waived adoptions.

Our "Ballot Boxing" City Council forum series started Monday evening with the District 1 candidates, meeting at Wesley United Methodist Church. Judging from the passions of those on the dais, and the audience reactions, the biggest issue facing D1, the designated African-American opportunity district, is that District 1 residents really want the Austin police to stop shooting them. Seems like a reasonable request – perhaps even the sort of thing that goes without saying. But it's odd how things you take for granted in some parts of town look very different to some Austin residents.

Michael Cargill (himself a gun shop owner, so presumably not squeamish about firearms) talked about being stopped for "driving while black" when he first moved to Austin. And grandmotherly Ora Houston said she has to tell her son – who's in law enforcement himself, in another part of the country – to be careful of any dealings with Austin police, because things are "different" here. Hmm.

We press forward with the District 2 forum, happening at Dove Springs Rec. Center as we go to press Wednesday, then Districts 3 & 4 this coming week.


Send gossip, dirt, innuendo, bar charts, and other useful grist to nbarbaro@austinchronicle.com.


"Ballot Boxing" Upcoming Forums

The Chronicle has teamed with KUT, KXAN, Univision, and the Austin Monitor to bring you a series of 10-1 City Council candidate forums. Each forum will begin at 7pm, is free, and will include audience participation. Those interested in attending should sign up in advance.

D3: Mon., Sept. 15 The North Door

D4: Wed., Sept. 17 Marchesa Theatre

D5: Mon., Sept. 22 ACC South Austin

D6: Tue., Sept. 23 Alamo Lakeline

D8: Mon., Sept. 29 Alamo Slaughter

D7: Thu., Oct. 2 Alamo Village

D9: Mon., Oct. 6 KUT Studio 1A

D10: Wed., Oct. 8 LCRA Headquarters

Mayor: Wed., Oct. 15 KUT Moody Auditorium

Send gossip, dirt, innuendo, rumors, and other useful grist to nbarbaro@austinchronicle.com.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

City Council, November 2014 Election, Mayor, Mike Martinez, Sheryl Cole, Steve Adler, property taxes, homestead exemption, state, Texas governor, Greg Abbott, Wendy Davis, granny flats, Austin Animal Center, District 1, 10-1, Austin Police Department, Michael Cargill, Ora Houston, Mayoral & City Council

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