Austin
8:33 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/3/12: Single Member Districts Endorsed, Millions for Gulf Coast

Committee Supports Expanding City Council, District Representation

Yesterday, a city committee recommended a major change to the Austin City Council: That it expand from seven members to 11, and members move from city-wide (at-large) representation to district representation.  The recommendation was far from unanimous, passing on an 8-7 vote.

The city council-appointed Charter Revision Committee has spent several months reviewing Austin's local government policies, and district representation has dominated their discussions.  But Austin voters have repeatedly rejected district representation, and now it will be the council's decision whether to put the proposal to voters in November. 

Several Austinites told the committee that the needs of their neighborhoods fall on deaf ears at City Hall, and district representation is overdue. The "10-1 plan" the board narrowly recommended – 10 district seats and a citywide mayor, with a districts map to be drawn by an impartial citizens panel – is virtually identical to a plan proposed by a separate citizens group, Austinites for Geographic Representation.  However, other members of the committee unsuccessfully pushed for a third way – a mix of citywide and district seats – which failed along a similarly close vote, according to The Austin Chronicle.

Compensation Coming for Deepwater Horizon Spill

Texas is geared to receive at least $100 million from BP as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  That amount would go towards financing cleanup along the Texas Gulf Coast. There have been myriad suggestions as to what Texas should do with the $100 million, which has yet to be allocated.

The Lone Star state could receive additional funds. As The Texas Tribune reports, “Texas can also seek a chunk of an additional $500 million in BP funds that the federal government will disburse to Gulf States.”   

Additional federal funding will also go towards assisting Gulf shores. The National Resources Conservation Service is issuing up to $50 million in aid to ranchers and farmers along the Gulf’s coast. Companies responsible for the spill – including BP and Transocean – stand to be fined under the Clean Water Act. A trial in a federal court in New Orleans on Feb. 27 will determine the amount the companies will pay.

Vince Young to Dance with the Stars?

End zone dances may be a thing of the past, but the Argentine Tango, Rumba, and Charleston are all in Vince Young’s future.

The former UT quarterback  and current backup QB with the Philadelphia Eagles, sent a (since deleted) tweet to his followers that he had been invited to compete on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. The Dallas Morning-News caught Young’s tweet before it was removed, which reads: "Twitter fam I have been invited to b on Dancing with the Stars what do y'all think about that lol........."

It’s an interesting move for the much-beloved DWTS, whose former NFLers had all (with the exception of Hines Ward) hung up their helmets for good.  It remains to be seen whether Young can balance both the demands of the football field and that of his future dancing partner.