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Stories by Jo Clifton

Friday, August 17, 2018 by Jo Clifton

‘Godfather of progressive politics in Austin’ dies

Ken Wendler Jr., who has been described as the “godfather of progressive politics in Austin,” passed away on Aug. 13 at the age of 88.Wendler served as chairman of the Travis County Democratic Party from 1972 to 1980.Two of his…

Thursday, August 16, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Should Board of Adjustment have outside counsel?

Two members of the city’s Board of Adjustment argued strenuously in favor of providing outside legal counsel for the board when it is interpreting city code, but the assistant city attorney who has been advising the board for several years…

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Traffic law enforcement still a not topic

Even though traffic law enforcement and street safety is a top priority for the Austin Police Department, the majority of officers have little time to devote to such enforcement, given their other priorities, such as responding to citizens’ calls and…

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Reagan going to court over sign rule secrecy

Billy Reagan, the owner of Reagan Signs, the best-known billboard company in the city of Austin, is looking forward to going to court later this month to try to find out why the city won’t let him see communications between…

Thursday, August 9, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council seeks review of insurance appeals

Last month, Chuck Lesniak retired from the city of Austin after 28 years, most recently as the city’s environmental officer. However, his involvement with the city is continuing as he urges City Council to establish a third-party appeals process that…

Monday, August 6, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Lower public safety bill cuts tax growth

Austin taxpayers will catch a break from the typical sharp escalation of city taxes, utility bills and other fees, so that the owner of a median priced home of $332,366 will pay only about $78 more in 2019 than they…

Monday, July 30, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Cronk wants to change assistant city managers

City Manager Spencer Cronk announced via memo to department directors on Friday that he plans to make major changes in the city manager’s office.Cronk said he was appointing Chief Financial Officer Elaine Hart, who served as interim city manager for…

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Fourth candidate enters race for District 8

Frank Ward, 36, threw his hat in the ring for the District 8 City Council seat on Monday with the endorsement of the current occupant of that seat, Council Member Ellen Troxclair. Troxclair, the only Republican on the dais, recently…

Monday, July 23, 2018 by Jo Clifton

CodeNEXT testing: What to look for

Depending on who you ask, the testing of CodeNEXT, the rewrite of the city’s Land Development Code, is either an important exercise in moving the city toward more efficient construction or just an obscure game being played at City Hall.Members…

Monday, July 23, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Nuckols takes parting shot

Assistant County Attorney Tom Nuckols has stepped down from the Planning Commission, but in a statement provided to the Austin Monitor, he made it clear that he was not leaving the commission because Attorney General Ken Paxton sued him.A staunch…

Thursday, July 19, 2018 by Jo Clifton

CM Houston helps neighbors of Ferguson Crossing

City Council gave final approval to a zoning change that will allow a new warehouse complex in far-Northeast Austin and approved a conditional overlay to accommodate neighbors who live just across the street from the property but outside the city.Council…

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Mayor’s race outraises all others

Mayor Steve Adler and his chief opponent, former Council Member Laura Morrison, by far outraised the candidates in all the other races, as shown by the campaign finance reports filed on Monday.Of course, the mayor’s race is traditionally the most…

Thursday, July 12, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Troxclair decides not to seek re-election

Council Member Ellen Troxclair, the lone conservative on City Council, announced Wednesday that she would not be seeking re-election to her District 8 seat. Troxclair was elected as part of the first group of Council members elected from districts, and…

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs Koenig flood plain variance

Despite a recommendation from the city’s flood plain engineers that they deny the variances, City Council members voted 6-4 at their last meeting to grant variances allowing construction of an apartment complex, partially within the 25-year flood plain and partially…

Friday, July 6, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Most groups, Dripping Springs reach settlement

More than two and a half years after the city of Dripping Springs filed a request for a wastewater discharge permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that alarmed environmentalists and nearby landowners about potential damage to Onion Creek,…

Friday, July 6, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Groups criticize Paxton for suing commissioners

The people who urged Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to file suit to remove eight members of the Austin Planning Commission on Monday have nothing but praise for Paxton; however, other more business-oriented groups are not pleased with the legal…

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Paxton sues eight Planning commissioners

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday received approval from a Travis County district judge to move forward with a lawsuit seeking to remove eight of 13 members of Austin’s Planning Commission. Paxton did so at the urging of opponents…

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Audit shows employee wasted time, resources

When the Austin Code Department found evidence in late 2017 that one of its inspectors was using his city car to visit relatives outside the city and was not performing the inspections required by his job, the department referred the…

Monday, July 2, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Visit Austin audit revised

The City Council Audit and Finance Committee accepted the results of an audit of the contract between the city and Visit Austin at last week’s meeting. The audit did not find any significant contract compliance issues with Visit Austin, which…

Friday, June 29, 2018 by Jo Clifton

Austin hopes deregulation will save taxi companies

Austin’s City Council on Thursday approved a radical change in the city’s taxicab regulations that the Transportation Department drew up in the hopes of saving the industry.The most important of the changes is the deregulation of fares. That means each…

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