Stories by Jo Clifton

Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Mayor touts justice agenda, Project Connect in State of the City speech

Although “the current state of our city is anxious, troubled and hurting,” Mayor Steve Adler said during Wednesday’s State of the City address, the city has “a once-in-a-century opportunity to no longer be bound by who we were a year…

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Audit accuses parks department leaders of waste

The Office of the City Auditor released a report Tuesday accusing Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly McNeeley and Assistant Director Liana Kallivoka of giving another employee a “special privilege,” improperly using more than $22,000 worth of sick leave and wasting $39,000 of…

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Subdivision change initiated to help homeowner

Council Member Kathie Tovo and her staff have been trying for more than a year to help two constituents in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood solve a complicated subdivision problem that prevents them from building an addition to their 486-square-foot home.…

Friday, July 31, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council OKs short contract to clean up homeless camps

Ten people signed up to tell Council on Wednesday they were opposed to awarding a three-year contract to Relief Enterprise of Texas Inc. for “removal of debris and cleanup services under bridge overpasses, under bridges, and in the transportation right…

Thursday, July 30, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council approves condemnation of Bull Creek property

With the exception of Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, who was off the virtual dais, Council unanimously approved filing eminent domain proceedings to acquire what the city describes as the final piece of property needed to complete the Upper Bull Creek…

Wednesday, July 29, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Owner resists city plans for eminent domain to complete Bull Creek Greenbelt

David Kahn, the owner of 11-plus acres of scenic property along Bull Creek in Northwest Austin, will be calling in today to oppose a proposed City Council decision to file eminent domain proceedings to acquire the land to complete the…

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Rodriguez concedes, calls for unity, Eckhardt headed to Texas Senate

Eddie Rodriguez announced Monday that he was opting out of an uphill battle for the Senate District 14 seat against former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt. Instead, Rodriguez said he would focus his efforts “on winning a Democratic majority and…

Friday, July 17, 2020 by Jo Clifton

PAC readies to oppose rail bond

The political action committee Our Mobility Our Future, whose backers plan to oppose a proposition on the November ballot to fund the Project Connect transit system, reported this week that they had collected more than $98,000 during the reporting period…

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Updated: Runoff likely in Senate District 14 race

With six candidates vying to take the place of Senate District 14’s Kirk Watson, it seemed reasonable to assume there would be a runoff, most likely between two popular Democrats: former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and state Rep. Eddie…

Monday, July 13, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Manager proposes tax hike, 2 percent employee raise

Presenting a budget with a 2 percent employee pay raise and no layoffs and a 3.5 percent property tax increase, City Manager Spencer Cronk told Council Monday that his budget proposal meets the twin crises of the pandemic that has…

Friday, July 10, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Is money going to decide Travis County races?

With early voting ending today for Tuesday’s Travis County runoff elections, the Democratic candidates for district attorney and county attorney were busy making phone calls trying to coax pandemic-weary voters to the polls. They were also filing campaign finance reports…

Thursday, July 9, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Council seeks to add teeth to virus regulations

Mayor Steve Adler is proposing two ordinances: one would authorize the city health authority – in this case Dr. Mark Escott – to adopt rules protecting people from Covid 19 and create a class C misdemeanor with a fine of…

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 by Jo Clifton

City stepping back from bulk pickups

As cases of Covid-19 continue to spread through the community, it becomes more onerous for many essential workers to do their jobs, including those who provide trash, recycling and compost collection services.As the twice-yearly curbside collection of bulk items and large…

Thursday, July 2, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Misunderstanding may lower vote-by-mail numbers

As if worries about the coronavirus were not enough, some Travis County voters inadvertently failed to ask for the correct ballot when applying to vote by mail. As a result, some voters will get a ballot only for the Texas…

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Bee Cave Council member sues over removal

A member of the Bee Cave City Council who was removed from office on June 17, five weeks after being sworn in for a two-year term, filed suit against the city as well as the mayor and Council members who…

Friday, June 26, 2020 by Jo Clifton

With virus surging, Cronk revises return-to-work plan

City Manager Spencer Cronk announced Thursday that he was postponing reintegrating city employees back into the workplace for a month due to concerns about the increase in Covid-19 cases. Instead of starting on June 29, the first phase is now…

Friday, June 26, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Housing, Planning & Zoning departments to merge

Under a plan proposed by Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales Thursday, the city’s Planning and Zoning Department would be merged with the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which starts in October. The new department’s…

Tuesday, June 23, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Former Council Member Berl Handcox, who broke the color barrier, dies at 88

Berl Handcox, Austin’s first elected African American City Council member since Reconstruction, has died at the age of 88. Handcox was elected as part of the seven-member Council on May 1, 1971, and reelected on April 7, 1973. He received…

Thursday, June 18, 2020 by Jo Clifton

Eckhardt leads in poll but trails in fundraising

According to a poll released by the Sarah Eckhardt campaign, the former Travis County judge has a wide lead in the race for Senate District 14 over both of her closest rivals, state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and former City Council…

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 by Jo Clifton

DeBeauvoir: More than 25,000 ballots in the mail

If you are one of more than 25,000 Travis County registered voters who requested to vote by mail in the July 14 primary runoff and special election, your ballot is likely on its way to you. Travis County Clerk Dana…

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