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Stories by Chad Swiatecki

Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Adler: Challenge to state’s sanctuary cities law ‘almost a certainty’

The state’s proposed sanctuary cities legislation faces an almost certain and likely quick challenge in court, Mayor Steve Adler said Wednesday after returning from his trip to Washington, D.C., to discuss the issue with federal law enforcement officials. The Texas…

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Innovation Office touts permitting, recycling progress with tight budget looming

The city’s Innovation Office continues to appeal both to Austin’s tech community and departments throughout local government as it moves forward with work to improve service for the city’s much-maligned permitting process for residents and business people. A July rollout…

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Friday, April 21, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Study: Red River music venues face ‘11th hour’ endangerment

A key piece of Austin’s live music scene is at a crisis point and at risk of disappearing in the coming years if dramatic action isn’t taken soon. Those are the findings included in a nearly complete report by the…

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Thursday, April 20, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Traffic, affordability plague Austin in latest Zandan Poll

Traffic and transit woes continue to be the bane of most Austinites’ existence, but the latest edition of a long-running community survey suggests those frustrations are easing, at least a little bit. The newest Zandan Poll – started 30 years…

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Convention center advocates taking pro-expansion message to community

A new coalition of Austin business, political and civic leaders is putting its support behind the proposed expansion of the Austin Convention Center and will be taking the message to local groups in the coming months. Known as A New Vision for…

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Monday, April 17, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Music omnibus advances as venues await agent of change, licensing moves

The city is touring its early progress in enacting pieces of the Music & Creative Ecosystem Omnibus, a slate of actions designed to protect Austin creatives and venues from further eroding under development pressure. Presentations to the city’s Arts and…

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Friday, April 14, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Ethics commission sets final hearing for former music department staffer

Austin’s Ethics Review Commission will hold a final hearing next month to determine whether a former music office employee attempted to inappropriately pay herself out of city coffers. The complaint against Ashley Buchanan, who worked as an employee in the…

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Friday, April 14, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

City approves Merck incentives, waits for decision on IT hub

Austin will provide up to $856,000 in economic incentives to pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp & Dohme if the company chooses Austin as the site for a proposed information technology hub. By a 7-3-1 vote, City Council approved a Chapter 380…

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

New UT arena slated for downtown, but questions linger

A big piece of downtown Austin’s future fell into place on Friday with the announcement that the arena that will replace the Frank Erwin Center will be located close to the current arena on the University of Texas’ eastern border…

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Parking price jump almost certain as study heads to city officials

Increased pricing for street-front parking is almost a certainty in downtown Austin’s near future. That tactic was one of more than a dozen recommended by a consulting firm tasked with solving the parking crunch that plagues many areas of Austin’s…

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Monday, April 10, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Pharma giant’s proposed incentives draw questions in first review

City Council members have tended away from using incentives packages in recent years, averaging one approval per year to lure large employers to the area. Based on questioning and feedback from an initial discussion last week, it appears that 2017’s…

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Friday, April 7, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Downtown drug crisis pushes Adler, Council to pledge increased support

Austin’s police and public health departments will have extra budget and other resources available soon to help them focus on ending an increase in the use of the synthetic drug K2 downtown. At a press conference Thursday, Mayor Steve Adler…

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Thursday, April 6, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Creative community supporters pushing live/work CodeNEXT additions

Austin creatives are stepping up their push to amend future drafts of CodeNEXT so that the city’s future building and development road map makes specific allowances for music and artistic spaces. Dave Sullivan, a member of the CodeNEXT advisory group…

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Friday, March 31, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Looking for history: Austin’s public squares

From Lyndon B. Johnson announcing his first Senate campaign in Wooldridge Square to Booker T. Washington speaking there in 1911, some of Austin’s most historic moments and stories are set to be preserved in the city’s three original public square…

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Thursday, March 30, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Can Austin innovate itself out of long meetings?

Given the recent tilt toward performance art at City Council meetings – those poor eggs! – and running times that are the longest among major cities in Texas, it seems like the last thing Austin needs is more citizen participation…

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Monday, March 27, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Decision on unmarked graves, chapel at Oakwood Cemetery coming in April

Austin officials plan to have an idea next month of how to move forward with construction work on the chapel at Oakwood Cemetery that was halted in November when unrecorded burial sites were discovered under the building. Austin’s Parks and…

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Monday, March 27, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

CodeNEXT tech talk focuses on familiar topics

Planning consultant Peter Park picked an apt way to describe Austin’s current building code while talking to a room full of technology entrepreneurs and stakeholders at Austin’s Capital Factory. “The (operating system) is kind of broken, and to get the…

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Friday, March 24, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Council seeks more details from long-term housing plan

Some City Council members felt underwhelmed with the latest version of the city’s Strategic Housing Plan, one puzzle piece in an assortment of plans and codes city leaders are hoping will help solve Austin’s affordability and transportation woes over the…

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Examining Austin’s “smart city” bona fides

Austin’s reputation as one of the nation’s smartest cities went under the microscope Sunday, with policy and academic experts examining the technology, educational, housing and transportation components – and the city’s shifting needs as it grows – that combine to…

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Adler: A blue Texas “all but inevitable”

It’s something of an old saw in the political world that progressive cities in otherwise red states are like “a blueberry in a bowl of tomato soup.” Austin Mayor Steve Adler and his mayoral colleagues on Friday’s “America’s Mayors: Holding…

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