Statesman Endorsements for Austin Mayoral and City Council Races

On Sunday, the Austin American Statesman released their endorsements: Brewster McCracken, Chris Riley, Bill Spelman, Mike Martinez, and Sheryl Cole.

Brewster with Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim Leage

Brewster with Richard Linklater and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League

/link to drafthouse [just because :-)]

Chris Riley Has Broad Support Throughout Austin

Chris Riley For Austin City Council Place 1

Chris Riley For Austin City Council Place 1

DANA board member Greg Anderson - “I think out of all the candidates running, Chris best understands the problems which we as a society are facing. Chris understands the need for sustainable communities: walkable, dense and vibrant places where there are options other than driving.”

Chris Riley continues to pick up a breadth of community support: Burnt Orange Report, Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, and NOKOA The Observer have all recently announced their support of Chris.  These are in addition to being endorsed by the majority of Democratic clubs, local public safety unions, as well as numerous other civic organizations and community groups.

Single Member Districts



State Senator Jeff Wentworth is sponsoring Senate Bill 1618 which would mandate single-member districts for municipalities with more than 500,000 people.  Austin City Council has called a special session today to hear from staff and legal council.

Here is a pdf of the bill.

David Buttross and Affordable Housing

I met David Buttross for the first time this past Saturday at the Urban is Core candidate forum.  At the dais, David’s responses were refreshingly crisp and practical. Now, those won’t win him an Austin mayoral election, but the benefit of ‘underdog’ candidates, especially those who are as successful as David is, is to reality check the front running candidates.

For example, an issue that local politicians love to pander to but can’t quite solve is affordable housing.  Realizing the difficult reality of placing affordable housing where land is expensive, David’s message is clear:

You can’t have affordable housing:
1) Without density to increase housing stock
2) Without mass transit to connect people

I’ve always been frustrated by local politicians that call for more affordable housing and simultaneously denigrate density in their own neighborhood.  I’ve always held that you can achieve affordable housing by fixing onerous SF-3/McMansion zoning, mitigating NIMBY-ism by spreading affordable housing everywhere, then organically grow mass-transit to connect people to where they want to go.


Austin Super Forum – Martinez and Spelman Prepared

The Austinist has published Councilmember Mike Martinez’s and candidate Bill Spelman’s written responses to 22 questions in preparation for the Urban Is Core Super Forum this Saturday.

Generally, I find their responses encouraging.  Progressive on land use and transportation issues.  Realistic on social service issues.

Bill Spelman responds
Mike Martinez responds

UPDATE: complete list of responses below

McCracken: response
Leffingwell: response
Ingalls: response
Buttross: response
Strayhorn: No response

Place 1:
Riley: response
Cavazos: response

Place 2:
Martinez: response
Quintero: No response

Place 5:
Spellman: response

Place 6:
Cole: response
Osemene: response

Austin's McCracken and Leffingwell Rhyme Off At Mohawk

Austin's McCracken and Leffingwell Rhyme Off At Mohawk

Lil' Leffy v MC Crack

You’ve heard of Lil’ Wayne?  How about Lil’ Leffy?  On April 21st, the Austin Chronicle is sponsoring “The Hustle For Mayor” candidate forum at Mohawk in downtown Austin.  Will we get to witness Lee ‘lil leffy’ Leffingwell and Brewster ‘Micky Crack’ McCracken grab the mic and spit the illest, most hunker-downest, sustainabilitized, verbal gymnastics ever heard in a mayoral election?

DJ Mel will be breakin’ necks from the tables.

This is happening.

Lil' Leffy v MC Crack

Lil' Leffy v Micky Crack

No Development Permit Extensions Says Austin City Council

According to the ABJ, Austin City Council has voted against one-time development permit extensions which would extend the time frame real estate developers had to commence with their project from three to five years.  Sponsored by the newest Council Members on the dais, Randi Shade and Laura Morrison were not around in 2006-2007 to vote on urban infill projects.

Development permits will likely expire before any rebound in the capital markets.  If the land where the development was to occur has already been razed (Marriott), then the outcome of this ruling is most likely blight – empty lots, not generating property taxes, and often surrounded by chain link fence.

A far better solution would have been to levy fines or taxes on undeveloped land.   Because, you know, that could have generated money for the city!

Link to agenda item

Coordinated Urban Candidate Forum – April 4th

In what could become the most attended and media covered of all the candidate forums, mark your calendar for the coordinated Urban Candidate Forum.

On Saturday, April 4th the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association will co-host a forum to learn where the city council and mayoral candidates stand on the issues that affect Austin and its urban core. The major candidates will debate such issues as economic development, the livability of the downtown neighborhood, public spaces, urban rail, and parking.

DANA is combining forces with:

-Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA),
-Congress for New Urbanism (CNU),
-Alliance for Public Transportation,
-Old Austin Neighborhood Association (OANA),
-Austin Parks Foundation,
-Austin Metro Trails and Greenways,
-6ixth Street Austin,

Complimentary coffee, water, and light breakfast items will be provided.

WHEN: Saturday, April 4th, 10 am – 1:30 pm

WHERE: St. David’s Episcopal Church @ 304 E. 7th Street (map)

Paid parking will be available in the St. David’s garage. You may also plan your trip using Capital Metro’s trip planner. Enter the church at the intersection of 8th & San Jacinto.

Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS ® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 9/15/14 4:53 PM PDT. Neither the Board nor ACTRIS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. All data is provided “AS IS” and with all faults. Data maintained by the Board or ACTRIS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

Information being provided is for consumers’ personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing.

This IDX solution is (c) Diverse Solutions 2014.