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Stories by Jack Craver

Friday, December 14, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council hopes to reduce car use with two initiatives

At its last meeting of the year Thursday, City Council approved two measures aimed at encouraging people to get out of their cars.One item, crafted by Council Member Delia Garza, instructs the city manager to put together a working group…

Thursday, December 13, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council ponders ways to make meetings shorter, less confusing

As part of its ongoing efforts to make government more efficient and productive, City Council is discussing potential changes to how meetings are run.The conversation was kicked off by the city’s CFO Elaine Hart, who highlighted a number of ways…

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by Jack Craver

Natasha Harper-Madison easily prevails in District 1

After finishing in a virtual tie in the general election, Natasha Harper-Madison easily defeated Mariana Salazar to become the next Council member for District 1 in East and Northeast Austin.Harper-Madison carried the low-turnout runoff election 72 percent to 28 percent,…

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by Jack Craver

Renteria bests sister Almanza again

Council Member Pio Renteria held on to his seat the same way he won it four years ago: by beating his sister.The incumbent representative of District 3, which covers much of Central East and Southeast Austin, easily won re-election in…

Monday, December 10, 2018 by Jack Craver

Vision Zero advocates look to Legislature to help reduce traffic deaths

In 2015, Austin hit a record high in road deaths: 102. In the two subsequent years, things have improved, with 79 and 76 people perishing in 2016 and 2017, respectively. By the beginning of December, 69 had died this year…

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by Jack Craver

After being stymied by Abbott, Council moves ahead on east side housing initiative

Hobbled by Gov. Greg Abbott in their attempts to create more homestead preservation districts that would set aside tax revenue for affordable housing in gentrifying areas, a number of City Council members are trying to maximize the impact of the…

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by Jack Craver

Report: West Campus needs more lights

Two and a half years after the murder of a UT student spurred calls to improve safety in the West Campus neighborhood, campus safety advocates and city transportation officials say it’s time for the city to improve lighting in the…

Monday, December 3, 2018 by Jack Craver

Austin teachers fear less planning time, increased class sizes

About two dozen teachers showed up to the Nov. 26 meeting of the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees to voice their concerns about a proposal floated by the district that would reduce the teacher-to-student ratio in middle schools…

Friday, November 30, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council approves 100-year water conservation road map

On Thursday, City Council unanimously adopted a plan to guide Austin’s water use for the next century.“This is a tremendous moment for Austin,” said David Foster, director of Texas Clean Water Action. “If we pass this plan, Austin will become…

Thursday, November 29, 2018 by Jack Craver

Should the city move to a two-year budget?

Every week that City Council holds a Thursday meeting, Council members meet Tuesday for a “work session” to discuss items that they plan to vote on at the meeting. In recent months, however, Council has also begun setting aside an…

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council members offer mixed reviews of displacement task force recommendations

City Council took its first look Tuesday at a long list of recommendations from a task force focused on reducing displacement of Austin’s low- and middle-income populations.The report that was unanimously approved by the Anti-Displacement Task Force includes 107 ideas…

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by Jack Craver

AISD board approves one Confederate name change, delays others

Eight months after voting to find new names for five facilities named after veterans of the Confederate military, the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees on Monday approved renaming one building, but punted on the remaining four.As a result…

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 by Jack Craver

Council approves 18 townhouses in Northeast Austin

In spite of opposition from neighbors who fear flooding and increased traffic, at its Nov. 15 meeting City Council overwhelmingly approved a rezoning to allow the construction of 18 new homes on a vacant lot at 10300 Dessau Road.The site…

Friday, November 16, 2018 by Jack Craver

Minimum lot sizes: A roadblock for affordable housing?

Last week, Austin voters approved a record-busting $250 million for affordable housing, but a discussion during Thursday’s City Council meeting showed that building new housing isn’t simply a matter of having enough money.At issue is a small piece of vacant…

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by Jack Craver

To conserve water amid warming climate, city envisions major underground storage system

For four years, volunteer members of the Integrated Water Resource Task Force have been crafting a plan to conserve Austin’s water supply over the next century.While experts have long warned that a warming climate, coupled with a growing population, poses…

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 by Jack Craver

Which areas of Austin killed Props J and K?

Last week, Austin voters approved nine of 11 propositions on the ballot, including seven bond measures totaling $925 million, a proposition that made small spelling corrections to the city charter and a proposition authorizing City Council to set rules for…

Thursday, November 8, 2018 by Jack Craver

City tries to get developers to embrace ‘great urban design’

While the most often discussed aim of density bonuses has been to create affordable housing, the city also hopes to use them as a way to encourage other community benefits, including superior design.“We’re trying to shift the narrative and shift…

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by Jack Craver

District 1 runoff: Mariana Salazar and Natasha Harper-Madison

With less than a percentage point separating them, Natasha Harper-Madison and Mariana Salazar will advance to a December runoff election for East Austin’s District 1 seat.In the end, Salazar had 5,673 votes (or 26.01 percent), with Harper-Madison behind at 5,469…

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by Jack Craver

Another brother-sister runoff in East Austin’s District 3

Council Member Pio Renteria finished way ahead of multiple opponents in his bid for re-election in East Austin’s District 3.Renteria won 47.71 percent of the vote, while his sister, Susana Almanza, came in a distant second place, with 21.32 percent.“I…

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 by Jack Craver

Property owners who forfeit landmark status will have to pay more

Owning a property that has been designated a historic landmark has its benefits and its drawbacks.The city of Austin, Travis County and the Austin Independent School District all offer hefty property tax exemptions for landmark properties – with the expectation…

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