Joy Diaz

City Reporter

Joy Diaz has been a reporter with KUT on and off since 2005. Since joining KUT, Joy has covered education, healthcare and immigration. She is now the station’s city reporter.

Originally from Mexico, Joy moved to the U.S. in 1998 when her husband Luis was transferred from his job in Mexico City to train workers in a telecommunications plant in Virginia. While there, Joy worked for Roanoke's NPR station WVTF.

Joy speaks English and Spanish, which is a plus in a state like Texas. She graduated from Universidad de Cuautitlán Izcalli in Mexico City with a degree in journalism. In 2008 she took a break to devote herself to her two young children, before returning to the KUT studios. She loves reading, painting and spending time engaging with the community.  

Pages

2014 City Council Runoff Elections
11:29 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Scruggs, Troxclair & the Politically-Charged, Non-Partisan Race in District 8

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Still in the race for District 8's Austin City Council seat are Ellen Troxclair and Ed Scruggs, two candidates that are, for the most part, diametrically opposed from a political standpoint – though, technically, city elections are non-partisan.

Scruggs says he's a progressive with on-the-ground experience in D8, and hopes to expand affordable housing options and diversity in the district. Troxclair touts herself as a fiscal conservative, and believes her voice on city council could help Austin reduce unnecessary municipal spending and increase affordability in the district.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
2:13 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

District 7 Candidates Agree on Affordability, Diverge on Traffic

Mengwen Cao/KUT

It's the last week of early voting for the Austin City Council runoffs. So far, 27,000 people have cast a ballot, compared to about 100,000 Austinites who voted in the city's November election. 

In District 7, Jeb Boyt and Leslie Pool are the two candidates standing, heading into a runoff election on Dec. 16. Both Boyt and Pool say neighbors in District 7 are concerned with the state of their libraries and parks, but, as with almost every neighborhood in Austin, their main concern is affordability.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
9:41 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Zimmerman, Flannigan Offer Different Routes for Solving District 6's Traffic Woes

Mengwen Cao/KUT

Virtually everyone in Austin has the right to complain about traffic, but maybe none more so than those who live in District 6.

The district is one of the longest – going from Lake Travis all the way north to Jollyville, with some of the most congested roads from Parmer Lane to Ranch Road 2222 and FM 620.

District 6 candidates Don Zimmerman and Jimmy Flannigan agree that congestion is a crippling issue in the district, but that’s largely where their consensus concludes. KUT’s Joy Diaz sat down with both council candidates ahead of the Dec. 16 election runoff.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
11:12 am
Thu December 4, 2014

In District 4 Runoff, Issues Take a Backseat to Madcap Politics

The race for Austin City Council District 4 has arguably been the most contentious fight in the city's first 10-1 election, from negative campaigning to concerns over 9/11 beliefs. This election, North Central Austin voters will choose between Laura Pressley and Greg Casar in the District 4 runoff.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
11:04 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Sister-Brother Runoff Candidates Have Dueling Views for the Future of District 3

Candidates Susana Almanza and Sabino "Pio" Renteria at KUT's Ballot Boxing City Council candidate forum on Sept. 29.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

District 3 runoff candidates Susana Almanza and Sabino "Pio" Renteria have a lot in common. They’re both Southeast Austin-based community activists, they’ve both pushed to expand affordable housing efforts in Austin and, strangely enough, they’re siblings.

While they both hope to boost affordable housing stock and develop the burgeoning district responsibly, they plan to go about it in a different way if elected to the Austin City Council.

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Austin Energy
9:48 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Austin Energy Low-Income Assistance Program Benefits Some High-Earners

Austin Energy's program designed to benefit low-income customers has, some say, inadvertently benefitted wealthy customers.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/jvk

With hundreds of thousands of customers, Austin Energy must rely on computer programs to filter through their customer database when it sends out bills. As intricately as some of these systems are designed, there are a few recent instances in which those programs have led to unintended consequences.

If you're an Austin Energy customer you may have noticed one item on your bill called a "Community Benefit Charge,” a fee which partly helps low-income Austin Energy customers pay their bills. Some of that money, however, is actually going to wealthy customers.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
12:30 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

DeWayne Lofton & Ora Houston Push for African-American Engagement in D1 Runoff

Early voting in local runoff elections starts today. One of the seven Austin City Council races that will be decided in this election is in District 1, also known as Austin’s African-American Opportunity District.

Originally, nine people ran for this seat, but now the field’s been whittled down two contenders: Dwayne Lofton and Ora Houston.

Today, KUT will begin a series examining each Austin City Council runoff campaign as candidates try to get their supporters back to the polls.

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Austin
12:46 am
Thu November 20, 2014

A Marriage in Transition

Greg Abbink and Joan Henke were married in 2012. Greg was born a female. This summer, he decided to transition.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Tonight, in cities all around the world, people will gather together to remember those from the transgender community who have died. It's called the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Austin's memorial will be at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Tonight's speaker is Greg Abbink, the first transgender police officer in the Austin Police Department. He joined the force after serving in the Army. Back then, his name was Emily Abbink. This summer, Emily decided to transition her appearance to that of a male.

"Because even at five years old, I vividly remember asking my parents, 'Why did God make me a girl?'" he says. "I used to pray at night that I would wake up as a boy."

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Austin
10:41 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Looming State School Closure Leaves Austin's Most Vulnerable in Limbo

Judi Stonedale visits her 42 year-old daughter Julie Isbell at least once a week. Stonedale says her daughter gets outstanding care at ASSLC.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Eviction notices have gone out to 77 people who live at Austin's State Supported Living Center on 35th Street and MoPac. The state’s Sunset Advisory Commission has recommended closing the facility which opened in 1917 and services 28 counties in Central Texas.

All of the people who live at the center have serious developmental disabilities, and a handful have already moved out.

As the eviction notices come in, residents and their families are searching for new housing alternatives as the state prepares for a likely sale that could turn the 94-acre property into a mixed-use development. But some say the commission doesn’t have the final word in the facility’s closure, and promise to fight.

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2014 Mayoral Runoff
11:29 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Adler and Martinez Look to Ramp Up Fundraising Ahead of Mayoral Runoff

Both Mike Martinez and Steve Adler have sunk over $100,000 into their campaigns for Mayor of Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

There was a time when it didn't cost a whole lot to win a race for Austin mayor.

Up until the election of outgoing Mayor Lee Leffingwell, mayoral elections in Austin were typically won with less than $300,000 – sometimes with much less.

But with the city's rapid expansion and efforts to combat low voter turnout, this year's mayoral election has produced the most expensive campaigns in the office's history -- and it's not over.

For the next six weeks, run-off candidates Mike Martinez and Steve Adler are poised to ramp up their fundraising efforts in the hopes of luring voters to the polls for the Dec. 16 runoff.

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Austin
6:00 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Amid Unprecedented Number of City Candidates in Austin, You Only Need to Vote for Two

If you've felt overwhelmed by the unprecedented number of candidates running this political season, fear not.

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10-1
9:05 am
Mon November 3, 2014

In District 10, Worry on Both Sides of Debate Over Private Wells

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): Filipa Rodrigues for KUT, flickr.com/photos/atmtx , Filipa Rodrigues for KUT and flickr.com/photos/bougher7

This election, Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts. So, we’ve been taking a look at each of the city's 10 new districts.

In the final installment in our series, KUT's Joy Diaz takes a look at District 10, which covers Tarrytown, Spicewood Springs Road, Northwest Hills and ends just at U.S. Highway 183.

There are many issues District 10 neighbors would like the new Austin City Council to address, but water is one that gets folks here pretty animated. Specifically, how the city addresses the drilling of private wells.

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Austin
6:42 pm
Sat November 1, 2014

A Story of Survival: One Year After the Halloween Floods

From left to right: Lawrence Joiner, Acelee Joiner, Kailynn Childers, Alyssa Joiner, Natalie Lindsey, Isaac Jacobs, and Bene Jacobs.
Ilana Panich-Linsman, KUT News

It was still dark the morning of Halloween 2013 when hundreds of families in Onion Creek, a neighborhood in South East Austin, woke up to rising water in their homes.

Bene Jacobs and her family survived the flood by taking refuge on their neighbor's roof.

She remembers that morning clearly.

Bene and her partner Lawrence waded through the waters with their three children in tow. Ten-year-old Isaac was in Lawrence's arms. Isaac was born with special needs. His wheelchair would have been swept by the fast moving waters. Alyssa was five at the time and Acelee, a toddler.

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10-1
1:33 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Long-Term Problems of Short-Term Rentals in District 9

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT, City of Austin, Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT, flickr.com/photos/gold41 and Filipa Rodriguex for KUT.

Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts this election. We’ve been taking a look at each of those districts.

Today, we’ll a look at District 9, a compact district that touches Oltorf and goes up through downtown and the UT campus to just south of U.S. Highway 290.

At its heart is the Clarksville neighborhood, with its historic freedman's homes. It’s one of many district neighborhoods dealing with a problem some say robs the city of revenue, disrupts neighborhoods and lowers property values in the much-coveted, centrally-located district: short term rentals.

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10-1
1:15 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

In District 8, Years of Growing Frustration Over Elusive Traffic Solutions

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): Filipa Rodrigues for KUT, Mary Kang/KUT, Patrick Dentler/KUT, flickr.com/photos/danatx and flickr.com/photos/dawilson

This week, KUT is continuing its look at each of the city's 10 districts and at some of their unique needs.

Today, we're looking at District 8, which includes “the Y” at Oak Hill, where State Highway 71 and U.S. Highway 290 intersect, and stretches from Brodie Lane to Circle C and then goes all the way to Southwest Parkway.

The population in the district and surrounding areas has grown 200 percent from 1990 to 2010, according to city estimates, causing traffic along major roadways here to grow in tandem.

For years, many in District 8 have pushed for an extension of State Highway 45, saying that the southwestern extension of the highway could serve as a pressure valve to relieve congestion in Southwest Austin. Others have argued against the project, citing environmental concerns.

While the project shows signs of moving forward after years in limbo, some say more innovative, less costly solutions could do the job.

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10-1
3:33 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

In District 7, Concerns About Land Use and Affordable Housing

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): flickr.com/photos/jimnix, flickr.com/photos/ryry9379, Erik Reyna for KUT and Wikimedia Commons

Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts this election year. It’s a big change from the former at-large system.

This week, we’re continuing our look at each of the city's districts and their needs. Today, we’ll take a look at District Seven; a district that incorporates the hustle and bustle of the Domain, stretches as far south as 45th Street and as far north as Wells Branch Parkway, and includes Parmer Lane.

The district also borders a huge piece of land with a history older than the State of Texas.

The so-called Bull Creek tract has been on the minds of many in District 7 after the state indicated it would sell the land earlier this year. 

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Affordable Housing
12:14 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

For Some, Housing Vouchers a Needed Hand Toward Self-Sufficiency

Latoya Satterwhite started working at the Capital City Kids Daycare in 2011, but left the daycare. She came back after earning an associate's degree and now runs the daycare, and doesn't need Section 8 assistance anymore.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Thousands of people in Austin have applied for low-income housing vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 program since the city's waitlist reopened last week.

It’s been eight years since the subsidized housing program's wait list has accepted new applicants. That's because of limited affordable housing stock in Austin and demand for the program.

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10-1
1:28 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

After a Boom in Traffic, Commuters Hope District 6 Can Find a Cure for Congestion

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): flickr.com/craigallenphotography, flickr.com/byeagle, flickr.com/lemonfilmblog, Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts this election year. It’s a big change from the former at-large system.

This week, we’re continuing our look at each of the city's districts and their needs. Today, we look at District 6, a district that is geographically one of the longest, stretching from Lake Travis all the way to Jollyville on the Austin-Round Rock border.

Ranch to Market Road 620 follows the rocky canyons and rolling hills of District 6, snaking through most of the district's western edge the district.

But District 6 is much more than postcard scenery. It's a district made largely of commuters.

And what’s a marquee issue those voters care about? Traffic.

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10-1
12:22 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Ever-Present Development Divides a Transforming District 5

All photos courtesy of the City of Austin except for the bottom left and top right photos, which are courtesy of Anna Gonzalez and flickr.com/Bill78704

Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts this fall. And, with such a big change, we've been taking a closer look at each district.

Today, we look at District 5, which stretches from Onion Creek in South Austin to parts of Auditorium Shores downtown. At its heart is South Lamar, where lots of new construction is coming up, but this flurry of development is just the beginning.

The district and surrounding areas are currently planning to re-develop each of its neighborhoods into something called the "South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan,” which hopes to plan for inevitable future development, while preserving South Austin neighborhoods.

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10-1
11:44 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Commercial Vacancies Could Provide a Foundation for Growth in District 4

Photo are courtesy of (counter clockwise) flickr.com/annharkness, Audrey McGlinchy for KUT, John Shapley for KUT, Joy Diaz/KUT

Austin's new city council District 4 is one of the city's most compact districts, geographically speaking. It's easy to define as North Central Austin. One recognizable spot is Highland Mall, which, after its closure, started a chain of building closures and subsequent vacancies in the area.

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