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AED revises endorsements in districts 6 & 9
Since the publication of our story on the latest round of Austin Environmental Democrats endorsements, president Ted Siff tells us there is new information. Though the group initially said it did not endorse any candidate in the District 6 race, a review of their bylaws showed that they endorsed both Matt Stillwell and Jimmy Flannigan. Because there are more than two candidates in the District 6 race, only 40 percent of the vote is required to earn an endorsement, not 60 percent. That information had AED reviewing previous endorsements, as well, and they found a similar situation in the District 9 race. Though the group previously said they did not endorse a candidate in that race, both Kathie Tovo and Chris Riley earned more than 40 percent of the vote, and have been belatedly co-endorsed by the Austin Environmental Democrats.
District 3 keeps up the mudslinging
The bickering continued in District 3 on Thursday, when candidate Shaun Ireland called out opponent Jose Valera for not voting in Austin. Ireland said the lack of voting is “disappointing.” In a news release, Ireland said that Valera has only voted twice as an adult, and not in any of Austin's local municipal or bond elections. He noted that Valera's voter registration was currently suspended due to inactivity. "Austinites expect candidates and public officials to vote on a regular basis. Valera's voting history denotes a dereliction of civic duty,” wrote Ireland. Valera pointed out that he has served his country since the age of 18, first at West Point Academy, then as a combat arms officer in Iraq. He said his voting record has no bearing on how he would serve the district as a Council member. The accusation of “dereliction of civic duty” against Valera comes from what some might consider an odd source — Ireland's record shows that he first voted in Austin fairly recently, in 2011. However, campaign staff explained that Ireland had voted consistently since turning 18, but only registered in Austin when he moved here three years ago. Prior to that, Ireland voted in Nacogdoches.
Elfant counts 50,000 new voters
Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant said Thursday his office has counted 49,800 new voter registrations this year, but because they are behind in processing, he expects the number to go well above 50,000. He said registrations are high for a midterm election year. He noted that in 2012, Travis County had 635,000 registered voters. After the election, the office purged about 40,000 of those. “This is the fastest we’ve dug out (from a purge),” Elfant said, noting that he expected considerably more residents to register before the Oct. 6 deadline. Anyone who needs information on how to register or a registration form can go to the county website and download the form.
Firefighters take step toward appeal
Austin firefighters have asked U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel to reconsider his ruling to not allow the union, IAFF Local 975, to intervene in a lawsuit between the U.S. Department of Justice and the City of Austin. The city has agreed to a settlement of claims over discrimination against minorities, but firefighters have opposed it on the grounds that the 2013 hiring practices were fair to all. Firefighters claim the proposed settlement will hand over hiring decisions to the Justice Department and prevent firefighters from bargaining on the hiring process. The city says that is not true. In addition, several individual firefighters are asking to intervene because they say the failure to negotiate could result in the loss of opportunities for promotion. The motion is the first step in the union’s march to New Orleans, where members hope the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will overturn the judge’s decision. In addition, firefighters are asking Yeakel to postpone a “fairness hearing” currently set for Oct. 29.
Latest Headlines for Saturday, September 20
Hello, I’m Liz, and I’m editor-in-chief now. A lot of you may already be familiar with me — I’ve been writing for the Monitor (and In Fact Daily) for about four years. I’ll still be doing that, because otherwise it…
The three City Council candidates vying to represent Austin’s most central district focused on issues of affordability and housing during Thursday night’s forum. The City of Austin presented the event in partnership with the Ethics Review Commission and the League…
Though they may not be a bad idea, it just may not be the right time for micro units in Austin. That was the sentiment at the Planning Commission Codes and Ordinances committee Tuesday, where commissioners voted unanimously to deny…
Whispers Roundup is a weekly column of items from our reporters’ notebooks. ANC plans mega-forum next week … The Austin Neighborhoods Council will hold its candidate forum next week. Following the forum, ANC will vote on its endorsements, which will…
Officials with the city’s Public Works Department said Thursday that renovations to the first and second floors of City Hall are between 70 and 80 percent complete, and should be usable by late October. Construction began in July on the…
The complete video of the Ballot Boxing: District 4 forum is posted here.
Council candidates vying for the District 4 seat listed safety, sidewalks and affordability as top priorities facing Austin’s densest district in a forum Wednesday, co-hosted by the Austin Monitor and our partners at KUT, KXAN, the Austin Chronicle and Univision. Candidates…
In a Wednesday busy with political activity, both the Austin Environmental Democrats and the Central Austin Democrats weighed in with endorsements for this year’s City Council race. In their final round of endorsements for the Austin City Council, Austin Environmental…