The Lead
8:57 am
Mon March 4, 2013

The Lead: 10-1 Review Panel Drawing, Texas' Sequester, Austin’s Kite Festival

Good morning. Central Texas is under a hazardous weather outlook due to warm temperatures and dry, gusty winds, per the National Weather Service. The winds will continue tomorrow, but in the form of a cold front – meaning today’s unseasonable highs in the mid-80s will drop into the 60s Tuesday.

Lead Story: As the City of Austin initiates the process of drawing single-member city council districts, City Auditor Kenneth Mory is hosting a public drawing today to select the city’s first Applicant Review Panel.

The Applicant Review Panel is assigned to select the 60 most qualified applicants to serve on a Citizens Redistricting Commission – the group charged with drawing the new district boundaries.

Out of 81 applicants from residents, the City Auditor has determined only 14 applicants met the qualifications to serve on the review panel. And out of those 14, only three will serve on the panel.

The panel will review the 540 Austinites who applied to serve on the Citizens Redistricting Commission. From those applicants, only 14 will make the cut, as determined by the Applicant Review Panel. (A little confused? Click here for an overview of the process.)

Austin voters approved Proposition 3 last November, which moves the city council from at-large to geographic representation.  Seeking a diverse set of volunteers has been one of the city’s biggest priorities.

Sequester’s Texas Impact: Across-the-board federal spending cuts started taking effect at Saturday at midnight. And two members Congress from Central Texas say they’re trying to limit the impact on military installations.

Republicans Roger Williams and John Carter say they want the House to pass a special appropriations bill to let military leaders control where the cuts occur.

“They’ll still be sequestered,” says Rep. Carter. “And they’ll still have to pay their share of the cuts. The difference will be that they can decide how they’re going to use the various accounts that they’re working in.”

Texas has more than 130,000 active military personnel, more than any other state. 

Go Fly a Kite: Sunday saw the 85th annual Zilker Kite Festival. Southern winds from 10 to 15 mph, with plenty of higher gusts, meant good weather for thousands of kite flyers.

Below, check out a slideshow of Austinites’ photos KUT News found on Flickr.