wtp4

Jessie Wang for KUT News

Austin City Council begrudgingly parted with $15.5 million Thursday to help complete construction of Water Treatment Plant No. 4  in northwest Austin.

The controversial plant was designed to provide the city’s growing population with more drinking water. But it’s been controversial since its proposal as environmental groups opposed its construction. Now many of those activists are saying I told you so.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

The Austin City Council dusts off the cobwebs for its first full meeting in nearly a month. And it’s let quite a backlog pile up: today’s 120 item agenda is stuffed with items sure to inspire discussion. Here’s a look:

  • The main event: a $1.5 million economic incentives deal with credit card giant Visa.

The company plans to expand its operations in Austin and promises almost 800 new jobs. The city is offering $1.5 million in tax incentives; the state is offering some $8 million more.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/visodd

It’s one of the eternal questions in politics – whether to work within the system, or outside of it.

A local political activist is attempting a run within the confines of the existing power structure, even if it may have cost him his anarchist street cred.

Filing for this May’s City Council election recently closed, and we noted the large amount of contenders vying for Place 5: six candidates, not including incumbent Bill Spelman who is running for reelection.

One of those candidates is John Duffy. His website touts his anarchist credentials and involvement with Occupy Austin. Our curiosity was further piqued by a press release stating “As a self identified anarchist, my candidacy is a contradiction of terms, and has cost me a lot of ‘street cred’ with other anarchists.”

Photo courtesy of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Brewer Executed for Jasper Dragging Death

Documented white supremacist gang member Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed in Texas yesterday. Brewer was put to death for the high-profile dragging death of James Byrd Jr., an African American man, in Jasper, Texas.

Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News

The city of Austin received an estimate of the costs of halting construction of Austin’s Water Treatment plant four last month. Today, the City Auditor's office presented its impression of those numbers.

Council Member Bill  Spelman questioned Russell Needler with the Auditor's office.

"And it’s my understanding that in all cases you found that the costs developed in the report were necessary all those things that they’re talking about having to happen would in fact have to happen. Is that accurate?" Spelman asked

Needler responded, "Yes.”

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