Stories by Jo Clifton

Thursday, January 21, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Small group funding push for strong mayor

Andrew Allison, founder and treasurer of the political action committee seeking to replace Austin’s Council-manager form of government with a strong-mayor system, has contributed $25,000 to the committee and loaned it $92,000, according to documents filed with the Austin city…

Wednesday, January 20, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Consumer advocate seeks audit of Austin Energy program

Consumer advocate Paul Robbins, who has argued for years that Austin Energy is wasting money and inadequately screening participants in its Customer Assistance Program, is asking City Auditor Corrie Stokes to audit the program for wasted expenditures. The program, which…

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Audit shows problems with city pagers

According to a report issued by the Office of the City Auditor, the city is not effectively managing many of the 1,600-plus pagers issued to city employees. The result, auditors say, is unnecessary spending and the possibility that the lack…

Friday, January 15, 2021 by Jo Clifton

District attorney details civil rights cases

Travis County District Attorney José Garza released information Thursday related to every case against local police officers pending in the office’s Civil Rights Unit. The information involves cases such as the deaths of Javier Ambler in March 2019 and Michael…

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Austin firefighters donate to protect pensions

The political action committee for Austin firefighters was busy the last month of 2020, donating more than $50,000 to Texas lawmakers. Their donations included $10,000 to Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), who was elected Tuesday to be speaker of the Texas…

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Groups ready to battle over strong mayor

The group Austinites for Progressive Reform, which wants to replace Austin’s council-manager form of government with a strong mayor form of governance, submitted 24,000 signatures to City Clerk Jannette Goodall on Monday in an effort to place four charter amendments on…

Monday, January 11, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Covid impacted Austin parks concessions

Like many other enterprises, concessions operating in Zilker Park and along Lady Bird Lake suffered various financial impacts last year due to Covid-19, according to a report from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Gross sales generated by Town Lake Park concessions fell…

Friday, January 8, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Mayor Steve Adler: Reflections on a challenging year

At the start of 2020, Mayor Steve Adler was thinking about how to convince his colleagues to pass a new Land Development Code and how to convince the public to vote for a $7 billion mass transit bond proposal in…

Thursday, January 7, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Alison Alter: ‘Excited to begin again in 2021’

While 2020 was a challenging year for every member of the Austin City Council, it was particularly challenging for District 10’s Alison Alter and District 6’s Jimmy Flannigan, who had to defend their seats in the purple areas of the…

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Leslie Pool: Governing not for the faint of heart

The year 2020 has been a stressful year for almost everyone. For those considering running for a seat on City Council at some point in time, District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool has some advice. As she told the Austin…

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Greg Casar: 2020 was the ‘hardest year’

“I was wrong,” Council Member Greg Casar said. He was recalling his observations of 2017, the first year of the Trump presidency. At the time, he’d called it “a hellish year” – but that was before he knew what a…

Tuesday, December 22, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Abbott plots DPS takeover of APD

Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Twitter Monday that he had received draft language to seize Austin’s Police Department and put it under the control of the Texas Department of Public Safety “just in time for Christmas.” The Austin Police Association,…

Thursday, December 17, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Unions line up to oppose ‘strong mayor’ plan

Fifteen community leaders, including nine representing labor unions, have written to Andrew Allison, the chair of a political action committee behind a suite of proposed charter amendments that would remake Austin city government, asking him to end his campaign to…

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Alter wins reelection in tight District 10 race

Incumbent District 10 City Council Member Alison Alter pulled out a win over her conservative challenger, Jennifer Virden, in Tuesday’s runoff election. The race was too close to call early in the evening, but at the end of the night…

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Pier on Lake Austin rezoning takes next step

The new owners of the once popular Pier restaurant on Lake Austin will have to wait at least until January to get the zoning change they need to repair 20 boat slips on the marina at 1703 River Hills Road.…

Friday, December 11, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs contract for Ullrich repairs

After a considerable amount of discussion at its Thursday meeting, City Council approved a contract of more than $22 million, plus a 10 percent contingency, for a joint venture to rebuild the electrical pump station serving the Ullrich water treatment…

Thursday, December 10, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Garza questions penalties in water reuse rules

City Council is poised to adopt two ordinances at today’s meeting establishing regulations for on-site water reuse systems as well as water cooling towers. Council has unanimously supported the ideas behind the Water Forward plan that are aimed at reducing…

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Adler, Pool voice support for cadet class this spring

With Austin police officers either retiring or simply quitting the force in record numbers this year, Mayor Steve Adler told his colleagues at Tuesday’s City Council work session that he really wants to have a cadet class this spring. Council…

Wednesday, December 9, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Reports reveal party loyalties

Even though City Council elections are generally nonpartisan, Austin’s incumbent Council members, Alison Alter and Jimmy Flannigan, both Democrats, have made it clear that they, not their Republican opponents, represent the voice of the people. Their runoff opponents, Jennifer Virden…

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 by Jo Clifton

East side cold storage zoning put on ice

At the urging of Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, City Council agreed last Thursday to postpone consideration of a zoning change for an industrial property at 6215 1/2 Johnny Morris Road that might serve as a cold storage facility. The 14-acre…

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