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Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism
 

Stories by Sean Saldaña

Gary Spellman looks to disrupt Austin politics

With hair to his shoulders, an aggressive distaste for politics and officially $0 raised, Gary Spellman is hardly what one imagines when envisioning a typical candidate for elected office – something he embraces wholeheartedly. Recounting an interaction, he says, “I…

Kirk Watson, a 'fixture' of Central Texas, wants to be mayor again

The way Kirk Watson tells it, his career in public office started with bad news. After working behind the scenes in Texas Democratic politics and in the state bureaucracy for a few years, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in…

Virden positions herself as the 'common-sense' candidate for mayor

Jennifer Virden is about as much of an Austinite as someone can be. Born and raised in Northwest Hills, she’s eager to tell potential constituents how she went to Doss Elementary, that she’s an Anderson Trojan, and that she holds…

District 9 City Council candidates chat with the 'Monitor': Part II

Editor’s Note: Austin City Council’s District 9 is thought to be one of the more competitive races this local election season. Monitor reporter Sean Saldaña sat down with each of the six candidates to explore their thinking on some of the big issues.…

Featured Collection: Sixth Street

Stream reveals details of six possible new Sixth Street music venues

Stream Realty Partners is eyeing the possibility of turning at least six of its properties on East Sixth Street into music venues, including a plan to convert the former Buffalo Billiards space into a daytime food hall with music in the evenings.…

district 9 map

District 9 City Council candidates chat with the 'Monitor': Part I

Editor’s Note: Monitor reporter Sean Saldaña sat down with the candidates for City Council’s District 9 seat to explore their thinking on some of the big issues. For a comprehensive list of the candidates’ policy positions, visit their websites. This is…

Celia Israel seeks to be a progressive voice for Austin

Celia Israel announced her run for mayor early, on January 11, almost a full 10 months before election day. She said her motivation to run was her desire to tackle the biggest issues facing Austin today: affordability and transportation. Israel…

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Phil Brual, the UT Austin student running for mayor

On Nov. 8, Austin will elect a new mayor, and already a number of high-profile candidates have entered the race.  And among those candidates is Phil Brual, a 21-year-old University of Texas student born and raised in Austin.   In many…

As the pandemic drags on, 24/7 dining makes a return to Austin

Last month, Bennu Coffee was able to reach a milestone it had been after for months: resuming the 24/7 hours of operation it had gained a reputation for among Austinites. At the moment, only Bennu’s Highland location is open around…

Austin Police Department Budget, 2012-2022

During the 2020-21 budget process, City Council cut $31.5 million from APD’s budget, citing the protests and “community outcry against the disproportionate impact of police violence on Black Americans, Latinx Americans and other non-white ethnic communities,” according to the approved…

City Council to meet for special session on housing supply

City Council is convening Nov. 30 to discuss what Mayor Steve Adler has called one of Austin’s “greatest present challenges” – housing supply. In a City Council Message Board post co-authored with Council Member Alison Alter last Wednesday, Adler outlined…

How the Historic Landmark Commission works to preserve Austin’s history

The Historic Landmark Commission is an all-volunteer, 11-member board appointed by members of City Council. The commission reviews applications for heritage grants, considers historic designations, weighs the merits of tax exemption applications, and acts generally as an advocate for historic…

How Capital Metro is able to offer free rides

Last month, Capital Metro announced that for the month of October, it would waive all bus and train fares as a way to encourage people to use public transit and to ease recent service interruptions. The decision to waive fees…

Study reveals positive developments for LGBT Austinites

On Tuesday, Austin’s LGBTQ+ Quality of Life Commission presented its first ever LGBTQIA+ quality of life study to City Council. Overall, the report paints a nuanced but optimistic picture for LGBT Austinites. The report, which has been in the works…

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