Where has Austin grown?

Following the deaths of two police officers last week to Covid, the Fire Dept announced its first loss to the pandemic: The fire department says that 78% of those who responded to a recent survey are vaccinated, but many firefighters didn’t respond to the survey. Back in April, the department reported that 60% of its uniformed … Continue reading Where has Austin grown?

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FAR out of downtown?

A couple weeks ago the Design Commission recommended changes to the Downtown Density Bonus, the program that offers developers increased height in exchange for some “community benefits,” notably fees to fund affordable housing. Right now, different parts of downtown are subject to different limits on Floor to Area Ratio, which governs the amount of floor space there can be on a lot. In most of downtown, the … Continue reading FAR out of downtown?

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The ballot language doesn’t matter

Yesterday Council voted unanimously to put the Save Austin Now’s proposed police staffing mandate on the ballot. Despite evidence that SAN’s paid petition-gatherers misled people into thinking they were supporting a referendum focused on police reform and training, the city clerk explained that the only way to get signatures thrown out is if individuals who … Continue reading The ballot language doesn’t matter

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Money to play with: Council’s hunt for spare change begins

So last week City Council kicked off the annual budget process. This is where they review and make changes to the budget proposed by the city manager. Remember, even though the city budget is $4.5 billion, only a quarter of that money ($1.2 billion) is the General Fund, which is funded by property and sales taxes. … Continue reading Money to play with: Council’s hunt for spare change begins

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20 homes in Crestview

A couple weeks ago the Planning Commission recommended adding desperately-needed housing to a high-opportunity area that is zoned to the city’s best schools, is within walking distance to frequent transit and is along the future Project Connect light rail route. In a few weeks City Council will almost certainly turn down this opportunity and instead … Continue reading 20 homes in Crestview

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The cops come for the budget

Yesterday Save Austin Now submitted over 25,000 signatures to put an initiative on the November 2021 ballot to set a minimum staffing requirement for the Austin Police Dept. From the Statesman: The proposal from Save Austin Now requires that the city: Employ at least two sworn officers for every 1,000 residents. Enroll no fewer than three … Continue reading The cops come for the budget

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Mack attack ceasefire: Mackenzie & Mackowiak make up … sort of

Last night the war of words between CM Mackenzie Kelly and a couple of her biggest boosters got even weirder. Kelly’s vanquished foe Jimmy Flannigan even got involved, cheering Kelly’s apparent break from her allies: To which Kelly responded with a GIF she made of the alleged grifters themselves: Mackowiak and the co-founder of Save … Continue reading Mack attack ceasefire: Mackenzie & Mackowiak make up … sort of

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An encampment cleared … who gets credit?

I didn’t realize the enormous encampment just a few blocks from where I live had been cleared yesterday afternoon until I saw people on Twitter fighting about who should get credit for it. And then I saw the Statesman: Austin officials closed a second homeless encampment, relocating dozens of people, to a city-owned hotel, and, in … Continue reading An encampment cleared … who gets credit?

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Cronk “refunds” APD

So on Friday City Manager Spencer Cronk released his proposed FY 2021-22 budget. As expected, he has proposed restoring the police department’s funding to its 2019 level to avoid “catastrophic” (his words) financial penalties from the state. The ease with which the budget is being restored illustrates how overstated the whole “defunding” thing was last summer, … Continue reading Cronk “refunds” APD

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Save Austin Now shifts the goal posts

Those who supported Prop B, notably Save Austin Now, the PAC led by GOP operative Matt Mackowiak, stressed that their goal was not to “criminalize” homelessness. The camping that had been allowed to proliferate, they argued, was a threat to the housed and unhoused alike. After Prop B passed, the group was outraged when APD … Continue reading Save Austin Now shifts the goal posts

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