Latest Headlines for Tuesday, February 7

Ice storm communication sparks emergency performance review of city manager

The breakdown in the city’s communication to residents and employees during last week’s disastrous ice storm appears to be the main motivation behind City Council’s push to evaluate the performance of City Manager Spencer Cronk. Mayor Kirk Watson added the…

The ice storm damaged some kinds of trees more than others

The ice storm did not affect all of Austin equally. While damaged trees and power outages occurred across town, they seemed to concentrate in certain parts of the city, especially on the west side. There are many reasons for this.…

Downtown Commission votes to form graffiti working group

At the most recent Downtown Commission meeting on Jan. 18, members agreed to form a working group to address what Chair August Harris deemed a “rapid increase in graffiti around our community.”  During a sprawling discussion of the topic, commissioners…

Developer unveils conceptual designs for HealthSouth redevelopment

The Economic Development Department and developer Aspen Heights Partners kicked off the stakeholder engagement process by unveiling the conceptual plans for the redevelopment of the former HealthSouth site at 12th and Red River streets at the Design Commission on Jan. 23.…

Featured Collection: police contract negotiations

City, police union resume labor contract negotiations

The city of Austin and the Austin Police Association returned to the bargaining table Wednesday after a brief hiatus stemming from an impasse on oversight provisions. The city initiated the pause early this month after the police union said it…

Ice storm damage to get Council attention at Tuesday work session

Tuesday’s City Council work session looks like it will be heavily focused on discussion about the impact of last week’s ice storm, which disrupted power to more than 250,000 people at some point during the three-day freeze. The city and…

CM Vela proposes one-year police labor contract extension

As the city of Austin and the Austin Police Association continue to negotiate a new, four-year labor contract, several Council members have endorsed a short-term extension of the current agreement that would allow voters a chance to weigh in.  District…

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Neighborhood plan amendment stirs debate about growth along East Cesar Chavez

A neighborhood plan amendment heard by the Planning Commission on Jan. 24 highlighted diverging attitudes around how the Holly neighborhood, anchored by East Cesar Chavez Street, should change.  At issue is a request to change the future land use map…

Exodus: Census shows musicians leaving Austin over affordability

Austin’s political and business leaders now have clear data to back up years of anecdotal evidence that local musicians are being driven out of the city due to the high cost of living and the general affordability crisis. The cost…

Austin Police Department Budget, 2012-2022

During the 2020-21 budget process, City Council cut $31.5 million from APD’s budget, citing the protests and “community outcry against the disproportionate impact of police violence on Black Americans, Latinx Americans and other non-white ethnic communities,” according to the approved…

Winter storm prompts widespread power outages, with no estimate of restoration

Another historic winter storm left more than 147,000 Austin Energy customers without power and more than 100 work crews struggling to repair downed power lines, with no estimate of when the outages would be resolved.  “We had hoped to make…

Plans for cocktail lounge on Guadalupe draw neighborhood concerns

Residents of the Heritage neighborhood showed up in force last Tuesday at the Planning Commission to object to a proposed cocktail lounge at 3100 Guadalupe St.  The site, currently home to a dry cleaners, is set to be transformed into…

children at day care

Council approves measures to help child care providers

At its first meeting of the year, City Council voted unanimously to direct the city manager to work on ways to lower the barriers to setting up new child care facilities and reduce parking requirements for such businesses. Council Member…

New cultural arts awards bring opportunities, disappointment for applicants

Staff in the city’s Cultural Arts Division prepared themselves to hear some frustration in response to the selection of the first recipients of a radically structured system for awarding arts contracts. During last week’s Arts Commission meeting, staffers reviewed the steps…

NONPROFIT SPOTLIGHT

Nonprofit spotlight: Four questions for American Gateways

American Gateways ensures access to the justice system for low-income immigrants. We serve 23 counties in Central Texas and provide high-quality legal representation and accurate information about what is happening in our immigration system. What is the mission of American…