Austin

Austin
12:09 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

District 4 Council Candidate Laura Pressley's Views Include 9/11 Conspiracy

"Something was planted in the buildings," Pressley said in June 2012.
Credit pressleyforaustin.com

Austin City Council District 4 Candidate Laura Pressley has come under scrutiny for some of her views, including a 'Fluoride Free' campaign for the city's drinking water and claims that electricity smart meters cause her legs to twitch.

These and several other views of Pressley's were cataloged this week by the Austin Chronicle. And there's another wrinkle to the candidate's perspectives: A newly-discovered recording shows that Pressley also claims that the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were actually a controlled demolition. 

Pressley made her views known at an event two years ago at the alternative bookstore Brave New Books titled '9/11 Debate: How Strong is the Evidence of a Larger Conspiracy?' Pressley jumped in during a question and answer session after the panel had concluded and attacked panelist Daniel Krawisz for not knowing about a "study" that linked traces of explosives found at the site of the destruction to explosives used by the U.S. military.

You can listen to the full exchange here:


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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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2014 Elections
12:10 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Mayor’s Race Turns Ugly with Labor PAC Attack

A photo of the mayoral candidates at the Ballot Boxing mayoral forum on October 15.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From The Austin Monitor:

Austin City Council politics has hit the big time, with an out-of-state political action committee making numerous negative phone calls into the city to lambaste mayoral candidate Steve Adler.

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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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2014 Elections
1:18 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Austin-Grown Voting App Looks to Test Here and Expand Nationally

The Voting App aims to "empower" voters by providing information on local, county, state and national candidates.
Andrew Weber/KUT

Joe Santori was never a particularly political guy. He designed videogames.

The most he worried about fair representation or mapping data was whether or not the Green Lantern Corps was properly represented or if a map would clutter users’ screens in “DC Universe Online,” a massively multiplayer online role-playing game he worked on in 2011.

But in 2012, Santori got a gig working on the Texas Secretary of State’s Vote Texas app. It was, he says, remarkably similar: data for multiple parties had to be readily available on a screen, like in MMORPGs, and that data had to be specific to where that user was.

Santori decided that kind of data would be useful to Austin voters, and he set out on his own project: The Voting App.

Today, Santori’s firm ThinkVoting debuted The Voting App, a resource to view mock ballots, the League of Women Voters’ voting guide and candidate information across all of Austin’s 10 new geographic districts.

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10-1
12:48 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Gentrification Challenges the Long-Held Character of District 3

Photos are courtesy of (counter-clockwise) Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT (top left, middle left) and Veronica Zaragovia/KUT (bottom two and top right)

Austinites have begun casting votes in the city's first election based on newly drawn geographic districts.

To help voters make their choice at the polls, we're looking at each of the city's 10 new districts and at some of their needs.

Today, we’ll look at District 3 – which includes big portions of Central Austin, but also goes east of I-35 and stretches into the Montopolis area –which is desirable, centrally located and one of the most gentrified areas of Austin.

Eliot Tretter is a former Austinite who teaches geography in Canada at the University of Calgary. But, before he left Austin a year ago, he published several articles and a book about the gentrification of East Austin. Tretter says gentrification – like many things – can’t be viewed in absolute terms of good or bad. What's clear, he says, is that it disproportionately hurts communities of color.

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10-1
2:07 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Austin's New District 2 Council Member Faces an Old Problem: Infrastructure

Photos courtesy of (counter-clockwise) John Shapley/KUT, Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon (top left and middle left), Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT, Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT, Bryan Winter/KUT

As Austin voters head to the polls this Election Day they'll choose a city council candidate to represent their own geographic district.

So far, many of the candidates have promised to be the "voice" of their district and to fight for district-specific needs at City Hall. All this week and next, we’re looking at each of the city's ten districts to look at each district's unique needs.

Circuit of the Americas is one of the landmarks of District 2 – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is in there too.

The district is long, stretching from Southeast Austin off of Highway 71 and
east of I-35. Last summer Ron Potts, who had recently retired from the city's Code Compliance Department, took KUT on a tour of the district.

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2014 Elections
1:48 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

District 4 Candidate Greg Casar Rejects Tea Party Endorsement

Credit Austin Monitor

Though early voting started on Monday, the race to City Council hasn’t come to a halt. Over the weekend, an endorsement from the Austin Tea Party had District 4 candidate Greg Casar crying foul and issuing allegations that the whole thing was a stunt to help his opponent win.

The Austin Tea Party sent out a flurry of messages on Twitter Saturday proclaiming their endorsement of Casar for District 4. Austin Tea Party Organizer Dean Wright also sent an email directly to Casar.

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10-1
2:24 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

How Transportation & Investment Could Bring New Opportunities to Austin's District 1

All photos are courtesy of Filipa Rodrigues for KUT except the bottom center which is courtesy of Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Today, KUT starts taking a look at each of Austin's ten districts -- and their unique needs.

This is the first time Austinites will elect their council members from the city's newly drawn geographic districts.

District One stretches from Central Austin, north to Howard Lane and into the vast open fields east of State Highway 130.

It's also called the "African American Opportunity District," because it's the district with the largest share of African American voters in the city.

Eric Tang with UT Austin's Institute for Urban Policy, Research and Analysis released a report earlier this year detailing why Austin is the only major US city that over the last decade has seen a decline in its African American population. Tang says African Americans "face persistent inequalities" in three major areas: public education, policing and the job market.

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Ebola
2:02 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

UT-Austin Student Being Monitored for Ebola Symptoms, Has Low Risk of Infection (Update)

Credit Todd Wiseman/Phil Moyer via Texas Tribune

Officials from the University of Texas at Austin and Travis County say a female UT-Austin student was on board the Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to Dallas which carried the Dallas area Ebola-affected nurse Amber Vinson.

The Travis County Health and Human Services Department is monitoring for symptoms of Ebola.  The student was not in close contact with Vinson and she is not showing symptoms of the virus. Officials urge there’s a “low risk” she contracted the virus because she was out of the three-foot radius around Vinson referred to as the "zone of concern" by officials.

The student will not attend classes at UT-Austin until after Nov. 3, according to UT Campus Safety and Security.

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Austin ISD
1:41 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Austin School Board's At-Large Candidates Discuss Budget, Teacher Contracts in Forum

Three of the five candidates for the Austin School Board's at-large spot met last night.
Credit Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Three of the five candidates for the at-large Austin School Board seat discussed teacher pay, magnet programs and the superintendent search at a forum last night, but many of the candidates’ answers focused on the budget.

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2014 Elections
12:56 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Meet the Candidates Running for Mayor of Austin

Austin voters will choose a new mayor on November 4, 2014.

KUT's Nathan Bernier sat invited the candidates running for the highest office in the City of Austin to our studios to speak with us about their visions for Austin.

Seven of the eight candidates talked about how they'll deal with issues such as affordability, traffic and transportation,  public education in an expanding city,  and why they want to be Mayor of Austin.

Still can't decide which candidate's getting your vote on Election Day? Below we've got the full audio and archived video of KUT's Ballot Boxing mayoral forum courtesy of KXAN.

Austin
10:40 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Austin Legalizes Ridesharing Services

So-called transportation networking companies are now legal in Austin.
Wikimedia Commons

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft can now legally operate in Austin.

The Austin City Council passed an ordinance Thursday establishing rules for the so-called transportation network companies (TNCs), and the city will negotiate contracts with the companies to address major issues that arose during the debate on Council Member Chris Riley's ordinance, including insurance for drivers, surge pricing and increasing TNC service to Austin's disabled community.

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2014 Elections
8:17 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Ballot Boxing: The Austin City Council District Forums

KUT partnered with the Austin Monitor, Univision 62, KXAN and the Austin Chronicle for our series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums to allow voters to get to know the candidates running in the new 10-1 geographic representative system.

Below you can listen to recordings of each of the 10 City Council candidate forums and view archived video of the forums courtesy of KXAN.

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2014 Elections
12:06 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing Mayoral Forum

Mayoral candidates joined KUT's Nathan Bernier, KXAN's Shannon Wolfson and The Austin Monitor's Michael Kanin for the final Ballot Boxing forum last night.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The Ballot Boxing series came to a close last night with our mayoral forum at the Belo Center for New Media on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Six candidates for Austin mayor were joined KUT's Nathan Bernier and co-moderators Shannon Wolfson of KXAN and Michael Kanin of The Austin Monitor for a 90 minute forum to discuss transportation, property taxes, city-backed incentives, public safety and the future of the Austin City Council.

KUT would like to thank our partners at Rock N Roll Rentals for supplying sound equipment and setup for all of the 11 Ballot Boxing forums, as well as our media partners at The Austin Chronicle, The Austin Monitor, KXAN and Univision 62 for their help throughout the series.

You can listen to a recording of the forum below and view photos from the event above.

Google Fiber
4:12 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Google Announces December Fiber Signups for South Austin

A map of the area in South and Southeast Austin that will be eligible for Google Fiber service.
Google Fiber

After months of anticipation, Google announced today that it will open up signups for its gigabit-speed Google Fiber Internet service in December, starting with neighborhoods in South and Southeast Austin.

“We can only launch one seventh of the city at the time,” Mark Strama, head of Google Fiber’s Austin operations, said of the slow rollout. “The network will include 3000 miles of new fiber optic cables. It’s like going to Canada and back.”

According to Strama, new users that live in South and Southeast Austin can signup for Google Fiber by the end of the year. The company says the process is taking longer because the fiber network had to be planned and designed from scratch.

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