occupy austin

Good morning and a happy Friday. A cold front should blow in around midnight, meaning weekend lows plummeting into the 40s. Here’s some recent stories from KUT News.  

Here’s some more Austin and Texas stories folks are talking about:

  • As Voters Weigh Austin District Plans, a Question Lingers: Who Should Draw the Boundaries? (Statesman)

One of the two plans voters will consider Nov. 6 — switching the council from seven citywide members to 10 district representatives and a citywide mayor — calls for a commission of citizens with no paid ties to city politics to draw the district lines. Critics say that approach, added to the ballot by a citizens’ petition effort, has several possible pitfalls, including strict criteria that could disqualify too many people from serving.

The other plan — eight district representatives and three citywide seats, including a mayor — doesn’t say who would draw the lines, but the City Council would likely be involved. Detractors worry that would lead to the council manipulating the lines for political gain.

KUT News

A federal judge says the City of Austin can no longer ban people from City Hall's plaza.

The case revolves around a practice that came to light last year, amid the Occupy Austin protest at City Hall. Some Occupy members were issued criminal trespass notices and told they were banned from the plaza, sometimes for up to two years.

Two Occupiers - Rodolfo Sanchez and Kristopher Sleeman - took the city to court.


After a weekend of rain, your Monday should be mostly dry. On Sunday, most parts of Central Texas saw an inch to two inches of rain. Here's a roundup of some of today's happenings:

Education Activists Occupy Austin

Austin education activists plan to gather at Austin City Hall this evening to rally for the Chicago teachers strike.

Occupy AISD will rally from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in an event that organizers say will connect the disputes in Chicago to issues facing Austin schools.

The education rally will be part of a day-long celebration of Occupy Austin by protesters to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

KUT News

Amidst the tarps, sleeping bags, and food wrappers at City Hall during the Occupy Austin protests last fall, three people were not who they appeared to be.  Not occupiers, but infiltrators.

Known as "Butch," "Dirk," and "Rick," all three were undercover officers with the Austin Police Department.

Occupiers say that "Butch," aka APD detective Shannon Dowell, went beyond infiltration and actively encouraged members of the movement to create and deploy a homemade device called a "lockbox."  The device enables protestors to anchor themselves to each other, or an object, in a way that is almost police-proof.  Several protestors used the devices in a protest at the Houston port, and were arrested on felony obstruction charges.


Update: KUT News has received a statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Here's DPS Media and Communications Press Secretary Tom Vinger: 

On 08/09, at approximately 6p.m., Corey Williams and Audrey Steiner were arrested for Criminal Mischief, class C misdemeanor.  Williams and Steiner were observed chalking the sidewalks at 11th Street and Congress Avenue across from the Capitol. 

The charges might be enhanced to a class B misdemeanor if the cost to the city of Austin is $50 or more but less than $500.  This is based on the cost to clean the chalk off of the sidewalks. 

According to the Criminal Mischief law (28.03), “a person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner, intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings on the tangible property of the owner.”

Original post: Two supporters of Occupy Austin were arrested downtown yesterday, charged with criminal mischief for what appears to be drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.

Several photos were posted to the Occupy Austin Facebook page, showing the arrest of two individuals.