Austin City Hall

Callie Hernandez/KUT News

From the Austin Monitor:

On Thursday, City Council temporarily backed away from a plan that could have members voting to reduce their own salaries.

Council members voted 11-0 to postpone action on the resolution until their Jan. 29 meeting. The resolution directs the city manager to change the current office budgeting structure to allow Council members to decrease their individual compensation and shift funds within their offices. Mayor Steve Adler explained that the postponement will give Council members the opportunity to take a closer look at the proposition, then address it further at next week’s Tuesday work session.

Joy Diaz/KUT News

Buried under the Austin City Hall building is a time capsule.

Today, that capsule is ten years old. The box is scheduled to be opened in 2105.

Since it’s very likely you and I won’t be alive 90 years from now, KUT asked the people who filled up the box to reveal some of the things that are in it.

It's hard to imagine the Austin of 2105, when the capsule is supposed to be opened.

If you just consider that we double our population every 20 years, you can picture how crowded Austin is likely to become.

Bryan Winter/KUT

Austin City Council hopefuls are trickling into City Hall to file for a place on the ballot.

The application period, opened yesterday, goes through August 18. While currently just a handful of people have filed, the election is generating excitement that's hard to come by in local politics

Jannette Goodall is Austin's City Clerk. But if you didn't know that, you'd think she's a wedding planner – for months, Goodall and her staff have been prepping for this moment. "You're kind of planning for the big ball, you know? It's kind of fun," she says.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

The Skroks are here. They're a youthful, all-male brass band in town from one of Austin's sister cities, Angers, France.

So what brings an overseas band to Austin? Exactly what appeals to young bands across the world: touring, playing music and meeting fans.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

The Network of Asian American Organizations estimates there are about 4,000 people in the Filipino community in the Austin metro area. Some had direct ties to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Central Texans involved in the Network of Asian American Organizations and other supporters gathered at Austin City Hall on Tuesday to hold a candlelight vigil for the victims and to raise money for the recovery.

KUT's Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon took these photos at the candlelight vigil:

Update: Austin’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission voted unanimously last night to certify the district maps for future city council elections.

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.

Check out this interactive version of the district map:

View Larger Map

Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission

After some last minute changes, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission unanimously approved a map for Austin’s new City Council districts last night.

Most changes to the map were relatively minor, especially compared to previous revisions. South Austin District Five, for instance, was extended to reach up to Lady Bird Lake.

Callie Hernandez/KUT News

The City of Austin will soon name a leader for its newly created Innovation Office.

So what exactly will this person do – and does Austin need one?

Innovation – like sustainability, transparency, and social responsibility – are buzzwords the public sector is appropriating from the business world. Austin established its own Office of Sustainability in 2010.

KUT News

You know those property tax breaks that Austin uses to lure companies like Apple and Visa to town? A Washington, D.C., group says the city is doing a pretty good job of letting us know how those deals pan out.

The nonprofit research center Good Jobs First gave Austin’s program 100 out of 100 for disclosing annual activity online and for providing third-party audits of each company receiving taxpayer incentives. 

Callie Hernandez, KUT News

Austin is completely rewriting its building, zoning and land use codes for the first time in almost 30 years. The Land Development Code has remained virtually untouched for so long, in part, because of its length and complexity.

Jackie Goodman is so familiar with the Land Development Code that the acronym LDC just rolls off her tongue. During her 12 years on the Austin City Council and even more on the Planning Commission, the LDC was Goodman’s go-to document. So she can explain what’s in it.

courtesy Kit O'Connell

Austin City Hall is ready for its close-up.

As seen in the photo above, the building has been rechristened Maricopa County Courthouse for the day. No, it has nothing to do with controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio; instead, an episode of ABC Family teen soap opera “The Lying Game” – filmed in Austin, but set in Scottsdale – is being filmed there.  

City staff tells KUT News production crews have changed the sign outside, and decorated the City Council chambers to resemble a courtroom. 

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News.

Austin got its long-awaited glimpse at the new Willie Nelson statue on Friday.

The April 20th unveiling of the statue was captured by photographer Jeff Heimsath for KUT News. On hand for the commemoration of the eight-foot tall, one-ton statue was the Red-Headed Stranger himself, who treated the audience to a song.

Occupy Austin has experimented with several tactics following a prohibition on camping that drove it from City Hall: speaking to the Austin school board on behalf of teachers opposed to a proposed charter school that wish to remain anonymous; “occupying” the inside of City Hall to voice grievances with their removal; and even launching a “guerilla gardening” initiative.  

But, like other "Occupy" groups across the country, the physical occupation of a place – and the manner in which the group was removed – remains a concern as well.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/mikecogh

The removal of Occupy Austin’s semi-permanent encampment from City Hall on Friday night caught many off guard – most of all, the Occupiers themselves.

The Occupy Austin Twitter account stated they received the city's “Notice of Change to City Hall Building Use Policy," at approximately  10 p.m.  – the new cut-off time for assembly at the City Hall plaza.

“We have made these revisions in an effort to balance the interests of City residents in having access to the City Hall property for legitimate purposes with our need to manage the increasing problems at City Hall related to criminal activity, damage to City property, and health concerns,” City Manager Marc Ott wrote in a memo outlining the changes.

Photo by KUT News

Two members of the Occupy Austin protest have filed a lawsuit against the city, after they were banned from returning to City Hall Plaza. 

Rudy Sanchez and Kris Sleeman were arrested at City Hall in October and told they could not return.

They filed a lawsuit in federal court this morning, alleging the city's "ban" infringes on their First Amendment rights.

Photo provided by the office of City Council Member Laura Morrison

A group of Tibetan monks is creating a work of religious art in Austin City Hall this week. They started on their sacred sand mandala on Monday and will continue through Friday.

On Friday at 5:30, the monks will dismantle the sand mandala and the public is invited to participate. Here's what that ceremony looked like when they did it in Omaha, Nebraska.