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Reporter’s Notebook: Running late

Monday, June 22, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

Council still behind on appointments… Many of the city’s current boards and commissions have met for the last time, and in just over a week their memberships will expire. But the question remains: Are the new commissions ready? Not quite. According to the running tally of 42 commissions kept on the city’s website, not one City Council member has made all of his/her appointments as of June 18. How has each office done? Council Member Ora Houston has made 26 appointments, Council Member Delia Garza has made 20 appointments, Council Member Pio Renteria has made 30 appointments, Council Member Greg Casar has made 26 appointments, Council Member Ann Kitchen has made 37 appointments, Council Member Don Zimmerman has made 24 appointments, Council Member Leslie Pool has made 33 appointments, Council Member Ellen Troxclair has made 24 appointments, Council Member Sheri Gallo has made 15 appointments and Mayor Steve Adler has made 11 appointments. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo has made 14 appointments according to the spreadsheet, though as the only returning member of Council, she has standing appointments already and therefore was not starting from scratch. Austin’s City Clerk Jannette Goodall had originally hoped all the nominations would be in by the end of May.

Animal commissioners say city manager’s homework is late… At the request of Commissioner Larry Tucker, Animal Advisory Commission members will write a letter to City Manager Marc Ott chiding him on his failure to meet deadlines for resolutions related to animals in the city. At their May 21 meeting, City Council members passed a resolution asking Ott to investigate hiring paid dog walkers at the city’s animal shelters in time for the Health and Humans Services Committee meeting on June 1. No presentation on dog walking was made to the committee at that time. Ott also missed his deadline to present a progress report on how the city is handling its coyote population; Council members passed that resolution at their August 28, 2014, meeting and directed Ott to present his findings in February.

Neighborhood continues to hate PUD… At its last meeting, the Northwest Austin Civic Association adopted a resolution reiterating its concerns about the proposed Austin Oaks Planned Unit Development at MoPac and Spicewood Springs Road. The resolution (which is available in its entirety here) reaffirms the NWACA board’s opposition to the project. According to a press release about the resolution, “Neighbors overwhelmingly oppose the current rezoning request. The resolution also requests that the City host and the developer fund a charrette process, recognizing the interest expressed in the surveys and in community discussion about working together to ensure there is responsible development of this property, consistent with neighborhood character and needs. The community would like input in how that development is completed.” Though the Zoning and Platting Commission had the PUD on its last agenda, that meeting was canceled.

So that’s what it stands for… Council Member Ora Houston has made no secret of her distaste for acronyms since her election. This past Thursday, she elaborated on that stance with a sign that turned her own name into an acronym against acronyms. The yellow sign, which read “Omit Ridiculous Acronyms,” remained in place throughout the duration of the meeting.

This week’s Reporter’s Notebook items come from the notebooks of Audrey McGlinchy and Elizabeth Pagano.

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