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Reporter’s Notebook: It’s the little things

Monday, April 24, 2017 by Austin Monitor

Honorifics Olympics… Mayor Steve Adler appears to be having a tough time deciding how to refer to Council Member Alison Alter on the dais. The mayor tends to address his Council colleagues as “Mr.” or “Ms.” during meetings, but on at least one occasion during the most recent Council meeting he began to say “Ms. Alter” before switching to “Dr. Alter,” in reference to Alter’s PhD in political economy from Harvard. In other instances he has referred to her as “Council Member Alter.” He also evaded this dilemma over honorifics with Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, the other PhD on Council, by always referring to her by her title, “Mayor Pro Tem.” We will be monitoring the mayor’s evolution on this issue.

When it rains it floods… At its meeting last week, the Travis County Commissioners Court gave the OK to an interlocal agreement with Hays County that is the first step in a regional collaboration on flood mitigation. For the last two years, since the devastating flooding over Memorial Day Weekend 2015, jurisdictions across Central Texas have been looking at ways they could work together to tackle the problem. One of the major recommendations of the city of Austin’s Flood Mitigation Task Force final report last summer was for the city and surrounding counties to pool their ideas and resources. The interlocal agreement is a step in that direction. “We are committed to a regional partnership on flood control projects and risk mitigation solutions that are mutually beneficial to the residents of both Travis and Hays County,” said Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt. The court also approved a trio of flood mitigation projects at an estimated cost of nearly $6 million. Find out more at a Travis County and Emergency Services District #11 meeting on May 17 at 6 p.m. Eckhardt, along with other county reps, will be available to talk preparedness, response and mitigation strategies. They haven’t announced a venue yet, but it will be somewhere in Southeast Travis County.

You’re very welcome… Council Member Ann Kitchen, in a Friday post on the City Council Message Board, invited her colleagues to join her at the upcoming Mobility Committee meeting May 3. Board Chair Kitchen pointed out two items of particular interest that are due to be brought up. The first is a discussion of the 2016 Mobility Bond and which funded projects should be given priority. The second is a briefing from the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Project Connect Phase One. On the menu for that talk are high-capacity transit, public engagement activities and the corridor evaluation process. Kitchen helpfully reminds her colleagues that the meeting takes place in the Boards and Commissions Room, beginning at 3 p.m.

This week’s Reporter’s Notebook comes from the notebooks of Jack Craver and Nina Hernandez.

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