Daniel Guerra

News Intern

Daniel Guerra is an intern at KUT News

Photo by Daniel Guerra for KUT News

A re-election rally held today for City Council member Mike Martinez focused on the long debated Gentlemen’s Agreement.  For decades, that unwritten, unenforceable agreement among Austin’s political players has stipulated that two seats on the City Council be reserved for one black member and one Hispanic member.

Martinez is one of four council members up for re-election in May; although neither Martinez or his surrogates mentioned his opposition in Place 2 by name, the incumbent is being challenged by Laura Pressley, an Anglo woman. Place 2 incumbent Sheryl Cole, the council member serving in the African-American seat “reserved” under the Gentlemen’s Agreement, is also being challenged by an Anglo candidate, Shaun Ireland.

When we last checked in on fundraising by Austin City Council and mayoral candidates, the incumbents showed a huge fundraising advantage. And unsurprisingly,  recently filed "30 day out" campaign finance reports from the candidates show that's still the case.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell has about $104,000 cash on hand. Challenger Brigid Shea has about $53,000 remaining in her coffers. Mayoral candidate Clay Dafoe listed only $637 on hand.

Council member Mike Martinez holds a huge fundraising advantage over challenger Laura Pressley, with $92,000 remaining compared to her $4,100.

Image courtesy austintexas.gov

This weekend's your last chance to take the City of Austin’s online survey seeking input on how money in a possible November bond referendum should be spent.

The city’s Bond Election Advisory Task Force received a list of projects city departments feel should be funded in a bond package. That list was released in February, totaling at a cost of nearly $1.5 billion. The proposed projects are being weighted by need and urgency, and compared against a set of designated values (cost-effectiveness, geographic balance, environmental protection, and more).

There are numerous projects for parks, libraries, community centers, and EMS center improvements. Among the items on the list include $78 million for a new Austin Police Department headquarters, $50 million for I-35 improvements, and $10 million for a Sabine Street “promenade” at Waller Creek.  

Photo courtesy flickr.com/youngandwithit

Austin goes to the dogs this weekend as the city attempts to break four canine-related Guinness World Records on Saturday at Auditorium Shores.

The 14th Annual Mighty Texas Dog Walk will try to break several records: the World’s Largest Dog Walk, the Biggest Hairball, the Most Dogs Wearing the Same Bandana, and the Most Dogs Sitting at Once.  The three-mile dog walk along Lady Bird Lake will include water stops for both pooches and people.  

11,256 dogs participated in the event in 2010, which was thought to be the record. According to the Guinness World Book of Records, the largest dog walk was held in Great Britain that same year.  That walk had 18,113 dogs with 178 types of breeds.  The organizers of the British event claim that record was broken yet again in 2011 with a tally of 22,742 dogs.  

Photo courtesy Randall Chancellor, bit.ly/HEYSXE

UT men's basketball player J’Covan Brown will forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft.  Brown said in a statement that “the time has come for me to pursue a career in professional basketball and take care of my daughter, Jordyn.”

Brown’s average of 20.1 points a game led the Big 12 this past season. His move makes 10 Longhorns to leave school early for a shot at the big leagues since 2006. Brown was also an Academic All-Big 12 Team selection.