Stories by Jo Clifton

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 by Jo Clifton

City’s vaccination task gets harder

Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott has been advising City Council members and Travis County commissioners that there was more demand than the city had available vaccine for all the Travis County residents who want to be protected…

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Neighbors nix liquor store at south-side mini mart

Last December, the Galindo Neighborhood Association told the city it had no objection to a zoning change that would allow for the development of a liquor store at the Sunrise Mini Mart at 913-915 W. Oltorf St. By March, opinions…

Monday, April 12, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council barely OKs eminent domain for U.S. 290 expansion

With just six members voting in the affirmative last Thursday, City Council authorized staff to move forward with eminent domain proceedings to purchase new right of way in order to move wastewater lines that are in the path of the…

Thursday, April 8, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Neighbors tell ACC board: No concrete plant here

Neighbors of Austin Community College’s Pinnacle campus in Oak Hill begged the ACC Board of Trustees to reverse its apparent decision to allow a Texas Department of Transportation contractor to operate a concrete batch plantĀ on the campus. About 20 neighbors…

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Mayor, City Council express opposition to state legislation

Mayor Steve Adler and several City Council members expressed their frustration with the Legislature at Tuesday’s work session, after Intergovernmental Relations Officer Brie Franco described legislation aimed at curbing Austin’s authority to govern itself. Among Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s announced…

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council stresses need for cooperation in forming strategic plan for homelessness

After hearing the results of a follow-up audit related to the city’s efforts to help the homeless, Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Leslie Pool both stressed the need for other segments of the community to get involved in resolving…

Friday, April 2, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Ballot item backers report $100K in donations

Austinites for Progressive Reform, the group that’s sponsoring propositions D, E, F, G and H on the May 1 ballot, has reported raising more than $100,000 since the beginning of the year to fund its campaigns. The group has spent…

Thursday, April 1, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Mayors, environmental groups oppose strong-mayor plan

Three former Austin mayors and six local environmental organizations have announced their oppositionĀ to Proposition F, the charter amendment that would change Austin’s Council-manager form of government to a system that would eliminate the city manager and give the mayor the…

Thursday, April 1, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Should mayoral election be moved to presidential years?

When voters cast their votes on the May 1 ballot, they will have a chance to weigh in on the question of whether Austin’s mayor should be elected in November of presidential election years, instead of on a cycle that…

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Environmentalists, city say sewage will harm Barton Creek

Houston developer Stephen Cleveland has requested a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to dump partially treated sewage into Long Branch, a tributary of Barton Creek. Although TCEQ has issued a draft permit, environmental organizations and the city…

Friday, March 26, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs $22 million in low-income housing bonds

After hearing complaints Thursday from several of her constituents, District 2 City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes announced during Council’s meeting as the board of the Austin Housing Finance Corporation that she would vote against bond funding for a 179-unit, low-income,…

Thursday, March 25, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Uproar over update of plumbing, mechanical codes

Every four years, the city’s Development Services and Austin Code departments go through a process of updating their technical codes related to plumbing, heating and air-conditioning design, installation and inspection. And with those updates comes a renewal of the battle…

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Brodie Oaks developer explains plans

Barshop & Oles and Houston investment firm Lionstone Investments are proposing a complete transformation of the Brodie Oaks shopping center. Their vision, as described to City Council Tuesday by urban planner Rebecca Leonard of Lionheart Places, would transform an old…

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Firefighters push for passage of arbitration amendment with Proposition A

Most politically involved Austinites are thinking about Proposition B, the camping ban, or Proposition F, which would eliminate the current city manager form of government and create a “strong-mayor” system. But Austin firefighters are hoping voters will pay attention to…

Friday, March 19, 2021 by Jo Clifton

No on B aims to fight with Republicans

A new political action committee called Homes Not Handcuffs has announced its presence in Austin with an email declaring that “every part of Travis County’s big tent Democratic Party” is joining together to oppose Proposition B in the No on…

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Proposed concrete plant at ACC upsets neighbors

When Cynthia Wilcox, president of the Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods, heard the news that there would soon be a functioning concrete plant at the Austin Community College Pinnacle campus near her home she felt “completely blindsided.” Wilcox reached out…

Friday, March 12, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Rescue plan gives Central Texas $500 million

According to U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin), Travis County is set to receive $247.08 million and the city of Austin an estimated $195.8 million under the American Rescue Plan, approved by Congress and signed yesterday by President Joe Biden. The…

Thursday, March 11, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Adler, Brown say they won’t back down as Paxton threatens suit

Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown Wednesday threatening a lawsuit if Austin and Travis County do not rescind rules devised by Austin’s health authority to slow the spread of…

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 by Jo Clifton

New PAC starts to fight strong-mayor plan

It’s that time of year, Austin voters. The redbud trees have come out, signaling spring. Also coming out in time to remind us that we have choices to make in the May election are people paid to knock on our…

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Some Council members object to Flannigan’s new role at ACE

City Council approved a resolution last week granting consent for Austin Convention Enterprises to apply for a federal loan to help front-line employees working at the downtown Austin Hilton Hotel. Assistant City Attorney Lee Crawford made it clear that if…

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