City of Austin http://kut.org en After Report Faults Halloween Flood Response, Is More Accountability Needed? http://kut.org/post/after-report-faults-halloween-flood-response-more-accountability-needed <p>In Austin, it’s almost certain a flood will hit in the future. What we don’t know is when.</p><p>In preparation for the next flood, the City of Austin evaluated the last one <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-travis-county-works-rebuild-devastating-halloween-floods">– the deadly 2013 Halloween flood</a> that hit the Onion Creek neighborhood the hardest. Travis County and the City of Austin emerged from that report with <a href="http://kut.org/post/report-lists-over-100-lessons-austins-deadly-halloween-floods">a list of over 100 items</a> deserving greater scrutiny.</p><p>The report,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1112954-city-of-austin-amp-travis-county-2013-halloween.html">available here</a>,&nbsp;cites dozens of instances of miscommunication among flood responders.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/144714838&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:40:06 +0000 Joy Diaz 10220 at http://kut.org After Report Faults Halloween Flood Response, Is More Accountability Needed? Report Lists Over 100 Lessons From Austin's Deadly Halloween Floods http://kut.org/post/report-lists-over-100-lessons-austins-deadly-halloween-floods <p>It’s taken the City of Austin and Travis County almost six months to finalize a report detailing <span style="line-height: 1.5;">emergency response to the 2013 Halloween floods:&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">what worked, what needs improvement and what – flat out – did not work.</span></p><p><a href="http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/edims/pio/document.cfm?id=208521" style="line-height: 1.5;">See the full report here [PDF].</a></p><p>The report repeatedly highlights communication problems: between agencies, then between first responders, then with the general public. There was no clear channel of communication. There was no awareness about the kind of people who lived in the affected area either: a majority-minority community that does not primarily communicate using English.</p><p> Sun, 13 Apr 2014 21:33:58 +0000 Joy Diaz 10205 at http://kut.org Report Lists Over 100 Lessons From Austin's Deadly Halloween Floods City, Firefighters Union Headed for Mediation in Hiring Dispute http://kut.org/post/city-firefighters-union-headed-mediation-hiring-dispute <p><em>This article is written by KUT's City Hall reporting partner, the</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/">Austin Monitor</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>The Austin Firefighters Association (AFA) – the union for City of Austin’s firefighters – and city management are headed to federal mediation over lingering accusations of hiring discrimination. Asked how long the mediation process might take AFA head Bob Nicks Tuesday declined to speculate.</p><p>Also, at Tuesday’s work session Council Member Mike Martinez, former head of the firefighters union, announced from the dais that city staff had requested a week’s postponement for council ratification of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.</p><p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:47:02 +0000 Mike Kanin 9851 at http://kut.org City, Firefighters Union Headed for Mediation in Hiring Dispute Onion Creek Residents Worry About Mold After Halloween Floods http://kut.org/post/onion-creek-residents-worry-about-mold-after-halloween-floods <p>The mostly uninhabited neighborhood of Onion Creek in southeast Austin has experienced some growth.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">But it’s growth the few neighbors who are back do not welcome.</span></p><p>Mold and mildew is growing in many of the homes that were left uninhabited after last year’s floods, which could create health problems for those living in Onion Creek.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/132124323&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 14:41:33 +0000 Joy Diaz 9674 at http://kut.org Onion Creek Residents Worry About Mold After Halloween Floods MLK Day Cleanup Rids Flood-Stricken Onion Creek Park of Debris http://kut.org/post/mlk-day-cleanup-rids-flood-stricken-onion-creek-park-debris <p>The flood-stricken neighborhood of Onion Creek honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today by cleaning a community park that’s been covered with debris since last year’s Halloween flood.</p><p>Metallic doors, glass from broken windows, gas tanks were among the many items strewn about the park.&nbsp;Mary-Lee&nbsp;Plumb-Mentjes&nbsp;filled an entire bucket with broken glass. “I’ve always picked up trash,”&nbsp;Plumb-Mentjes&nbsp;said. “We’ve been given two hands [and] I feel we should use [them] when we see something,”</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F130514912&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 21:06:53 +0000 Joy Diaz 9594 at http://kut.org MLK Day Cleanup Rids Flood-Stricken Onion Creek Park of Debris MLK Day 2014 Events and Closures http://kut.org/post/mlk-day-2014-events-and-closures <p><strong>Austin’s Annual Community Celebration:</strong></p><p>The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march from the University of Texas at Austin campus to Huston-Tillotson University starts at 9 a.m. Marchers will meet at the MLK statue near Speedway and West 23<sup>rd</sup> Street at UT.</p><p>An <a href="http://www.mlkcelebration.com/" target="_blank">MLK Day festival</a> begins at Huston-Tillotson after the march. It runs until 3 p.m.</p><p>There will be some road and lane closures for the march and festival – affected roadways include the I-35 frontage roads, North Congress Avenue and 11<sup>th</sup> Street.</p><p><a href="http://austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Transportation/Special_Events/MAP_MLK2014_v2.pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a> to see the full parade route.</p><p> Mon, 20 Jan 2014 14:34:57 +0000 Laura Rice 9589 at http://kut.org MLK Day 2014 Events and Closures Why Some Flood Homeowners Think Twice Before Selling to the City of Austin http://kut.org/post/why-some-flood-homeowners-think-twice-selling-city-austin <p>The city of Austin has made offers to buy at least two dozen homes <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-travis-county-works-rebuild-devastating-halloween-floods" target="_blank">damaged by the Halloween flood</a>. Why then, are some homeowners refusing to sell?</p><p>Floods are nothing new in South East Austin’s Onion Creek neighborhood. And neither is the <a href="http://austintexas.gov/department/onion-creek" target="_blank">city’s buyout program.</a> It began back in 1998. The idea has always been to buy homes in the floodplain using taxpayer money to avoid future loss of life and property damages.</p><p>Terry Morris, a contractor and a real estate agent in Austin, owns a duplex in Onion Creek that’s been on the city’s buyout list for years. He recently opted out of the program. <iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/129740380&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 12:48:25 +0000 Joy Diaz 9565 at http://kut.org Why Some Flood Homeowners Think Twice Before Selling to the City of Austin MAP: With 10-1 Map In the Books, Austin Concludes Redistricting (Update) http://kut.org/post/map-10-1-map-books-austin-concludes-redistricting-update <p><strong>Update: </strong>Austin’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission voted unanimously last night to certify the district maps for future city council elections.</p><p>The group split the city into ten districts. Starting next November, voters in each district will elect a single city council member. Previously, all council members were elected at-large.</p><p>Check out this interactive version of the district map:</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="440" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="https://maps.google.com/maps?q=http:%2F%2Faustinredistricting.org%2FFinal%2Fab9Plan1120.kmz&amp;hl=en&amp;sll=30.2961,-97.732971&amp;sspn=0.608281,1.014862&amp;t=h&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;ll=30.295832,-97.733002&amp;spn=0.521726,0.797882&amp;z=10&amp;output=embed" width="580"></iframe><br /><em><small><a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?q=http:%2F%2Faustinredistricting.org%2FFinal%2Fab9Plan1120.kmz&amp;hl=en&amp;sll=30.2961,-97.732971&amp;sspn=0.608281,1.014862&amp;t=h&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;ll=30.295832,-97.733002&amp;spn=0.521726,0.797882&amp;z=10&amp;source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small></em></p><p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 13:49:59 +0000 Carrie Powell & Laura Rice 9263 at http://kut.org Austin's Getting a Chief Innovation Officer. (So What the Heck Does That Mean?) http://kut.org/post/austins-getting-chief-innovation-officer-so-what-heck-does-mean <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The City of Austin will soon name a leader for its newly created Innovation Office.</span></p><p>So what exactly will this person do – and does Austin need one?</p><p>Innovation – like sustainability, transparency, and social responsibility – are buzzwords the public sector is appropriating from the&nbsp;business world. Austin established its own <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/sustainability">Office of Sustainability</a> in 2010.</p><p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 22:29:32 +0000 Carrie Powell 9210 at http://kut.org Austin's Getting a Chief Innovation Officer. (So What the Heck Does That Mean?) Do Austin Policies Help or Hurt Affordable Housing? http://kut.org/post/do-austin-policies-help-or-hurt-affordable-housing <p>Austin&rsquo;s the fastest-growing large city in the country.</p><p>All of the city&rsquo;s socio-economic groups are growing &ndash; from the very affluent to people with lower incomes. It&rsquo;s those low-income&nbsp;Austinites&nbsp;who struggle to find housing as prices climb higher.</p><p>Starting next week, Austin voters will decide whether to approve&nbsp;<a href="http://kut.org/post/learn-more-about-austins-65-million-affordable-housing-vote-tonight">$65 million in bonds</a>&nbsp;to pay for affordable housing initiatives.&nbsp;But regardless of the election results, the need is not likely to go away soon.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/115466251" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 15 Oct 2013 15:50:24 +0000 Joy Diaz 8938 at http://kut.org Do Austin Policies Help or Hurt Affordable Housing? Austin Charges ACL $53,000. Chicago Has Lollapalooza Pay 28 Times That http://kut.org/post/austin-charges-acl-53000-chicago-has-lollapalooza-pay-28-times <p>The Austin City Limits Music Festival isn&rsquo;t the only production put on by parent company&nbsp;<a href="http://www.c3presents.com//">C3 Presents</a>. In addition to booking and promoting Austin concerts throughout the year, C3 also puts on Chicago&rsquo;s annual <a href="http://www.lollapalooza.com/">Lollapalooza</a> music festival.</p><p>Like ACL, Lollapalooza is hosted on public parkland, requiring a contract with the city. So how do the contracts compare? KUT scoured C3&rsquo;s deals with Austin and Chicago to find out.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F114937389&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 11 Oct 2013 21:14:16 +0000 Tyler Pratt & Wells Dunbar 8914 at http://kut.org Austin Charges ACL $53,000. Chicago Has Lollapalooza Pay 28 Times That Austin's Urban Farm Proposals Have Some Neighbors Crying Foul http://kut.org/post/austins-urban-farm-proposals-have-some-neighbors-crying-foul <p>After dishing the dirt for months, new regulations are in the offing for Austin&#39;s urban farms.</p><p>Last week, Austin&rsquo;s Planning Commission recommended a set of revisions to the city&rsquo;s urban farm ordinance. And while the proposed changes would establish stricter criteria on raising some livestock, some East Austin residents say the proposals don&rsquo;t go far enough.</p><p> Mon, 30 Sep 2013 20:48:20 +0000 Ryan Groves 8807 at http://kut.org Austin's Urban Farm Proposals Have Some Neighbors Crying Foul The Challenging Task of Cleaning Up Dove Springs http://kut.org/post/challenging-task-cleaning-dove-springs <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F107945752" width="100%"></iframe></p><div><em>The Dove Springs neighborhood in southeast Austin runs from Ben White to William Cannon, bound by Montopolis and Pleasant Valley on the east, and Interstate 35 on the west.&nbsp;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>One of the issues affecting Dove Springs is its appearance. Piles of trash, broken fences and overgrown weeds and grass contribute to its visual blight.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><p> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:46:51 +0000 Joy Diaz 8573 at http://kut.org The Challenging Task of Cleaning Up Dove Springs Austin Redistricting Group Asks: How Should We Draw District Maps? http://kut.org/post/austin-redistricting-group-asks-how-should-we-draw-district-maps <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Last November, Austin voters approved a plan to fundamentally change the city’s elections and form of government: Right now, all City Council members run citywide and represent all of Austin. But after&nbsp;</span><a href="http://kutnews.org/post/now-prop-3-passed-backers-look-stay-part-process" style="line-height: 1.5;">the passage of Prop 3</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, beginning next year, they’ll be elected by district.</span></p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 21:15:51 +0000 Wells Dunbar 8488 at http://kut.org Austin Redistricting Group Asks: How Should We Draw District Maps? How Do Austin Property Taxes Compare Statewide? http://kut.org/post/how-do-austin-property-taxes-compare-statewide <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F106211483" width="100%"></iframe></p><p></p><p>Of the six largest cities in Texas, Austin is the one with the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tml.org/Surveys/pdfsurveys/2013taxndebt.pdf">lowest property tax rate</a>. But does that tell the whole story?</p><p> Mon, 19 Aug 2013 21:52:58 +0000 Joy Diaz 8508 at http://kut.org How Do Austin Property Taxes Compare Statewide?