Stories by Jo Clifton

Monday, February 22, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Save Austin Now sues city over ballot language

Three Austin voters who signed a petition to put a public camping ban on the May 1 ballot have filed suit against the city to force a change in the ballot language. Linda Durnin, Eric Krohn and Michael Lovins allege…

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Storm deals heavy blow to Austin Energy, other utilities

With roughly 40 percent of its customers without power Monday, Austin Energy and other local officials worked to explain what happened when an unprecedented winter storm swept through the entire state, leaving roughly 2 million Texans without electricity. The Electric…

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Winter weather shuts down the city

The storm that brought Austin to a standstill continues to impact city operations this week. Services are closed across the city due to extreme weather with an expectation that more winter is on the way. City officials announced Monday that…

Friday, February 12, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council rejects meeting to consider adding ballot measure

After a majority of Council members told City Attorney Anne Morgan they did not believe a special called meeting on Friday night was necessary, Morgan advised Mayor Steve Adler that the mayor would not have a quorum to consider the…

Thursday, February 11, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council to consider proposition fix at Friday night meeting

City Council is scheduled to meet once again this Friday night to consider one more possible ordinance to place on the May 1 ballot. On Tuesday night, after a long day of making decisions about how to word eight proposed…

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Camping ban, strong-mayor proposal set for May 1 ballot

Austin voters who go to the polls on May 1 will have no candidates to vote for. Instead, they will have numerous questions to answer about how Austin’s government should be run and whether to reinstate the ban on camping, sitting…

Monday, February 8, 2021 by Jo Clifton

After OK by Austin, ESD vote goes to Travis County

City Council voted unanimously Thursday to allow voters in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction within Emergency Services District 2 to vote on whether to create Travis County Emergency Services District 17. If approved by voters, the vote would authorize creation of…

Friday, February 5, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Council approves District 6 hotel purchase for homeless

After hearing from scores of citizens, both in favor of and opposed to the purchase, City Council voted 10-1 Thursday to buy a hotel in far Northwest Austin for conversion to permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness. The…

Thursday, February 4, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Former Commissioner Ron Davis dies at 75

Former Travis County Commissioner Ron Davis, who is remembered for his staunch advocacy on environmental issues, died Tuesday at age 75. Davis served on the Commissioners Court from to 1998 to 2016 representing Precinct 1 in eastern Travis County. His…

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 by Jo Clifton

What we could be seeing on a May ballot

Austin voters will likely have a lot to think about before going to the polls on May 1. City Clerk Jannette Goodall has already certified two petitions – one from Austinites for Progressive Reform and another from the Austin Firefighters Association…

Monday, February 1, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Pier property rezoning wins final OK

City Council gave final approval at Wednesday’s meeting to rezone a small piece of property on Lake Austin at 1703 River Hills Drive. The property sits in District 10 Council Member Alison Alter’s district and she made the motion to…

Thursday, January 28, 2021 by Jo Clifton

HealthSouth redevelopment moves forward

As she made the motion to move the HealthSouth project forward Wednesday, Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison added some requests to Council Member Kathie Tovo’s long list of asks for the team working on the exclusive negotiating agreement with Aspen…

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 by Jo Clifton

Tovo crafts complex motion for HealthSouth talks

At today’s meeting, City Council will finally consider negotiating an exclusive agreement with Aspen Heights Partners for the company to lease and redevelop the city-owned HealthSouth property at 1215 Red River and 606 E. 12th St. Council Member Kathie Tovo…

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 by Jo Clifton

City watching bills that would cut its authority

As has been the case for several sessions, Austin is facing numerous challenges as the Texas Legislature begins to do its business. Due to Covid, this session will present new challenges, not just for city advocates, but for members and…

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…

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