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Stories by Jack Craver

Thursday, November 16, 2017 by Jack Craver

Is it time for Austin to have a ‘strong mayor’?

It’s a common refrain in city political debates: Austin is a big city and it’s time it started acting like one, whether that means building mass transit, allowing taller buildings or adopting single-member City Council districts.For Roger Borgelt, a member…

Friday, November 10, 2017 by Jack Craver

2nd Street gets another five years of free parking

For at least another five years, patrons of businesses located in the downtown Second Street District will continue getting two hours of free parking in the City Hall parking garage.After a lengthy debate Thursday, City Council voted to renew a…

Thursday, November 9, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council welcomes idea of Major League Soccer

City Council members are intrigued by the prospect of Austin welcoming its first professional sports team, but so far none of them are suggesting the city offer the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer anything but a warm, Texas welcome.“I…

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 by Jack Craver

Alter: Council is letting garbage company rewrite lobbying rules

City Council Member Alison Alter said Tuesday that her colleagues were allowing one company to rewrite city lobbying rules, suggesting that an ongoing rewrite of the Anti-Lobbying Ordinance was largely the result of bullying by Texas Disposal Systems, a waste…

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 by Jack Craver

Commission fails to endorse police contract

Citing a lack of information, the Public Safety Commission on Monday declined to endorse the union contract recently hammered out between the Austin Police Association and city labor negotiators.In addition to concerns expressed by some commissioners about shortcomings of the…

Thursday, November 2, 2017 by Jack Craver

Water quality groups wade carefully into CodeNEXT debate

While the Austin environmental community appears divided on what to do about CodeNEXT, three green groups say the proposed overhaul of the Land Development Code will strengthen water quality protections in a number of key ways.In a statement released Tuesday,…

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 by Jack Craver

Report: ‘No-kill’ policy an asset to Austin

An analysis prepared by researchers at the University of Denver argues that the benefits of Austin’s “no-kill” policy outweigh its costs.The decision to no longer euthanize stray dogs and cats has certainly cost city taxpayers, but those dollars do not…

Thursday, October 26, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council members question free parking for Second Street stores

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo isn’t sure whether shoppers on Second Street should get free parking courtesy of the city of Austin anymore.At a City Council meeting last week, Tovo questioned city staff about its recommendation that Council renew contracts…

Friday, October 20, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council continues to wait on new lobbying rules

On Thursday, Council Member Leslie Pool, who has been leading efforts to make changes to the city’s Anti-Lobbying Ordinance, told her colleagues that stakeholders are close to reaching an agreement over new rules.“We’re achieving really good progress,” she said.City Council…

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council looks to roll back CURE zoning

Driven by concerns over gentrification, City Council is poised to do away with the final remnants of a policy that was put in place two decades ago to encourage redevelopment downtown.The central urban redevelopment (CURE) combining district that Council adopted…

Monday, October 16, 2017 by Jack Craver

Texas Disposal Systems unhappy with proposed new lobbying rules

City Council is scheduled to take up a recommendation from city staff at its meeting on Thursday that will make changes to the longtime Anti-Lobbying Ordinance in response to problems the city has encountered with its waste contracts.The main problem…

Friday, October 13, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council pushes ahead with CodeNEXT contract

City Council has voted to authorize spending what is supposed to be the final chunk of money allocated for the consultants hired to craft CodeNEXT, the rewrite of the city’s Land Development Code.The $2.27 million will go to Opticos Design…

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 by Jack Craver

Push on at Council to delay CodeNEXT vote

Council Member Leslie Pool is pushing to further delay a vote on CodeNEXT, the controversial rewrite of Austin’s Land Development Code that is already years behind schedule.In a message to fellow City Council members Monday evening, Pool suggested rethinking the…

Friday, October 6, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council approves resolution condemning Columbus, celebrating indigenous peoples

City Council jumped into the long-standing debate over Columbus Day when it approved a resolution this week in favor of recognizing the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.The vote was purely symbolic. Columbus Day has never been an…

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 by Jack Craver

Police chief describes new community policing focus

The Austin Police Department is no longer recruiting new officers by promising them an action-packed thrill ride.In a presentation to City Council members on Tuesday, Interim Police Chief Brian Manley described the video that the department used as part of…

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council will soon interview city manager candidates

In the next month, City Council will likely interview six to eight finalists to be the next city manager during two meetings that will be closed to the public.In a Tuesday discussion with Steve Newton of Russell Reynolds Associates, the…

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 by Jack Craver

Firefighters union touts increased diversity

Austin is far from having a fire department that reflects the diversity of the city, but it’s made significant strides since the U.S. Department of Justice sued the Austin Fire Department over its hiring practices.Days after clashing with a City…

Friday, September 29, 2017 by Jack Craver

Council voices concerns over Visit Austin spending on alcohol, events

A report that the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau (known as Visit Austin) has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on jewelry, alcohol and meals at fancy restaurants prompted City Council to delay approval of the nonprofit agency’s marketing…

Friday, September 22, 2017 by Jack Craver

Austin risking federal sanctions over ozone levels

Despite a rapidly rising population, Austin’s air is significantly less polluted than it was 20 years ago.In a presentation to the Electric Utility Commission on Monday, Andrew Hoekzema, director of regional services at the Capital Area Council of Governments, said…

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by Jack Craver

How much do Council members spend on travel?

Late last Wednesday, as City Council neared the end of its wrangling over the Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget, Council Member Ellen Troxclair made what she framed as a modest request of her colleagues.The budget presented by staff included a $6,000…

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