Austin Election: Bonds, Props and More

Austin voters face a full ballot this election.

Aside from the presidential race and a slew of downballot contests, Austinites also face 18 city propositions. The props include 11 changes to the City Charter which have the potential to radically alter Austin's form of government, local elections, and much more. Most attention has focused on Prop 3 and Prop 4, which would bring geographic representation to the Austin City Council.

Austin voters will also decide on seven bond spending propositions, which include funds earmarked for transportation & mobility, open space & watershed protection, parks & recreation, affordable housing, public safety, health & human services and cultural arts facilities.

And the local healthcare district, Central Health, is also floating a tax proposal of its own to finance a medical school for Austin.

KUT News has compiled its reporting on local ballot initiatives below. Early voting is underway and runs through Friday, Nov.2. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.  

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UT Medical School
12:09 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Construction of UT's New Dell Medical School Kicks Off

A rendering of the new Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, part of the cluster of complexes accompanying UT's new Dell Medical School.
youtube.com/user/setonfamily

Update: Among the speakers at today's dedication: UT-Austin President Bill Powers, Dell Medical School Dean Dr. Clay Johnston, and State Sen. Kirk Watson, who helped lead the push for the medical school.

“Make no mistake. Today isn’t just about three new buildings on our skyline," Sen. Watson said. "Our community will be different – healthier and stronger – thanks to this project we’re launching today."

Johnston said that the school's launch offers the chance to design everything from the ground up.

"We have a responsibility to take advantage of our newness, to test out different ways of doing things that could become models for the rest of the country."

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On My Block
6:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Austin: What's the One Thing That Would Make Life On Your Block Better?

What one thing would make life on your block better? KUT wants to hear from you.

What's the one thing that would make life on your block better?

As Austin prepares for its first elections with 10 new geographic districts, KUT is diving deeply into District One, which covers large parts of East Austin. But we want to hear from you, regardless of where you live. Tell us: What would make life better on your block? 

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Transportation
1:58 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Get Ready for This Red River Street Closure That Lasts Into 2015

The Frank Erwin Center sits in the center of the stretch of Red River Street that will remain closed until 2015.
Larry D. Moore, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Nv8200p

You may want to take a drive along Red River Street this weekend: it’s your last chance before the street is realigned to make way for UT-Austin's new Dell Medical School.

Starting Monday, Red River Street will be closed from Martin Luther King Boulevard to 15th Street – and it’s not scheduled to re-open until January.

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Education
1:27 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Interview: Dr. Clay Johnston on Innovations at Dell Medical School

Dr. Clay Johnston (center), speaking after being named inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School.
KUT News

The Dell Medical School at UT Austin is scheduled to open for classes in 2016. The man leading the school to that opening is newly appointed dean, Dr. Clay Johnston.

Johnston spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown about what needs to happen before classes begin – and more importantly, how the new medical school will break the mold for student education and patient care.

"We can't treat this as our one opportunity to change things," Johnston says. "The reality is that academia – at least in medicine – moves very, very slowly. So we want to create the structures, the culture, that allow us to continually move, to be nimble and move forward."

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Politics
8:10 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Austin's Political Players Look to Gain Seats on New City Council

Austin's switch to geographic representation has groups traditionally locked out of City Hall eying seats on the council dais.

This article was co-produced as part of an ongoing City Hall reporting partnership between the Austin Monitor and KUT. Listen to the audio story broadcast on KUT in the player below. 

With single-member districts soon to become a reality, Austin City Council candidates are already lining up to crowd what promises to be a very full November ballot. Austin's political insiders and outsiders alike are trying to get a handle on an election that promises to shape the city for years to come.

Roger Borgelt is vice chairman of the Travis County Republican Party. He also served as co-chair of the Austinites for Geographic Representation – the group responsible for getting 10-1 on the ballot. He says that he is excited about the promise of more localized, neighborhood representation, as well as the possibility of conservatives (or at least fiscal conservatives) taking some of the 11 open City Council seats.

 

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UT Austin
2:01 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

UT Names Dean for Dell Medical School

Dr. Clay Johnston will lead UT’s Dell Medical School. He comes to Austin from the University of California, San Francisco.
KUT News

The Dell Medical School has a dean.

Ending a months-long search, UT President Bill Powers announced this morning that Dr. S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston has been named inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Dr. Johnston, a neurologist who currently serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor of Research at the University of California, San Francisco, says that he is excited to have the rare opportunity to build a medical school from the ground-up.

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UT Medical School
4:53 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

How Race & Ethnicity Could Help Shape UT's Medical School Curriculum

Health advocates argue UT's Dell Medical School should offer a curriculum that factors in societal issues.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

When the University of Texas’ new Dell Medical School opens its doors in 2016, it will be the first new medical school at a leading research university in over fifty years. And its creation offers significant possibilities for doctors, educators and public health advocates. 

“We see this as an exciting opportunity to rethink medical education from the ground up,” says New York University professor Helena Hansen, one of the participants at this week’s conference on racial and ethnic health disparities. “Because you’re starting a program from scratch here in Austin, you can think very big.” 

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University of Texas
8:56 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Interview: Bill Powers on Funding, Philanthropy & UT’s New Med School

From left to right: UT-Austin President Bill Powers, UT spokesperson Gary Susswein and KUT’s David Brown in the KUT studios at the Belo Center for New Media.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr. takes on another role this October: chairman of the elite Association of American Universities, a prominent pedestal from which to shape the national conversation about higher education. 

Austin just might have heard a sneak preview of where he plans to go with that discussion, through his annual State of the University address delivered last week.

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Health
8:33 am
Thu August 8, 2013

How Central Health, Seton & UT's Medical School Want to Change Health Care Forever

UT's medical school is one player in a community-wide effort to improve health and health care.
flickr.com/ejmc

Launching a new medical school is a major undertaking. But launching the University of Texas’ new medical school – in tandem with a new model of treating the sick and preventing illness – is even bigger.

When Austin voters approved Proposition 1 last year, increasing the property tax collected by Central Health, the measure was commonly referred to as the medical school initiative. But instead of financing the building of a medical school, taxpayer dollars are going toward a new medical program aiding the uninsured and under-insured. And yes, UT’s Dell Medical School is a part of that.

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Medical School
4:01 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Now Hiring: Inaugural Dean for UT's New Medical School

UT is launching a speedy search for a med school dean.
flickr.com/bigbirdz

Calling all big shots: University of Texas administrators have begun the search for the inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School, hoping to fill the office by early next year.

UT released a 21-page document Monday detailing the necessary qualifications for applicants. The document describes the ideal candidate as an inspiring “leader among leaders,” comfortable with serving in the public eye and representing the school to local media and community leaders.

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Education
4:53 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Bill Powers: First UT Medical School Class in 2016

This image shows the first phase of UT's Dell Medical School site plans.
University of Texas

The first University of Texas medical student class could be here as early as fall 2016. The UT Board of Regents unanimously approved plans for the school at a meeting earlier today.

Though construction has not begun, UT President Bill Powers says he’s hopeful that the school will be ready by 2016 and the teaching hospital by 2017. Until then, UT has a laundry list of things to do. 

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Medical School
12:33 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

First Look at UT Medical School: New Hospital on Red River, Erwin Center Could Be Demolished

UT's proposed medical school buildout could remove the Frank Erwin Center.
University of Texas

Update: The full University of Texas System Board of Regents has voted to move forward with a plan for the future of its flagship campus – including the medical school. The plan passed without discussion. 

Update (May 8, 11:51 a.m.): A committee of the UT System Board of Regents approved an update to the university's master plan, including plans for UT's medical school, new teaching buildings and more. The plan could eventually move the Frank Erwin Center.

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City Hall Hustle
2:55 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

City Hall Hustle: The Long, Winding Road to 10-1

A detail of a map plotting the applicants for the city's Applicant Review Panel, which will help select the group that draws Austin's districts.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

The Hustle on the move toward geographic representation

After seven tries and several decades, geographic representation is finally coming to the City of Austin. And as the city prepares, the vortex of activity swirls around … none other than three certified public accountants.

That’s the Applicant Review Panel. It’s a group of three CPAs, randomly selected from a group of applicants, who will vet applicants for the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. That’s the group that will ultimately draw the district lines.

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Education
6:38 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

UT-Austin Seeks Dean For New Medical School

UT Austin announced its 18-member search committee Thursday morning for its first medical school dean.
Liang Shi, KUT News

Eighteen people will make up a search committee for the University of Texas at Austin's Dell Medical School's founding dean.

Like most search committees, the one for the inaugural medical school dean is composed of local deans at UT, professors and students. This search committee also has deans from other universities in the UT System and members from Seton Healthcare Family and Central Health, who are partners in the new medical school initiative.

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Geographic Representation
1:59 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Last Call for 10-1 Applicants - And CPAs! (Update)

Application forms can be found online and at city facilities including the Austin libraries, recreation and senior facilities, and City Hall.
City of Austin, KUT News

Update: City Auditor Kenneth Mory says only nine of the 66 people who have applied to sit on a redistricting review panel are qualified to serve – and all of those people are white.

A three-person panel of accountants is being assembled to select a pool of qualified applicants that may serve on the redistricting commission. (Click here for an overview of the redistricting process.) Mory says it has been hard to get qualified CPAs interested because it is tax season. And many CPAs have or want to work with the city – which would be a conflict of interest.

Mory says he thinks his office has done as much as possible to recruit a diverse group.

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Geographic Representation
2:13 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

First Step in Austin's Redistricting Process: A Diverse Commission

A detail of a map released by the City Auditor's office, plotting where redistricrting commission applicants live.
KUT News

This summer, Austin will begin drawing its first city council districts.

The long slog towards geographic representation has been an uphill one: a fight to get the measure on the ballot, a hard-fought campaign and, once the measure was approved, fear an all-volunteer committee to draw council districts would fail to attract diverse and representative candidates. But with the help of the city auditor and community groups, the list of applicants has swelled from fewer than a hundred nearly two weeks ago to just under 250 at last count on Feb. 14.

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Education
6:15 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Powers: UT Ready to Begin Search for Medical School Dean

UT is ready to begin searching for a medical school dean, William Powers Jr. said Wednesday.
Justin Dehn, Texas Tribune

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers told the UT Board of Regents on Wednesday that his school is ready to begin searching for a medical school dean.

A UT-Austin medical school, expected to open in either 2015 or 2016, is beginning to get off the ground. In May, the Board of Regents pledged $30 million per year for the next eight years. In November, Travis County voters approved Proposition 1, which will contribute about $25 million annually to the school. And more recently, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation pledged $50 million to the school.

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Austin City Council
5:16 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

City Council Allocates Austin's $14 Million Budget Surplus (Update)

Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole offers her thoughts on the budget to her colleagues.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

Update: In a protracted and somewhat testy meeting, the Austin City Council budgeted and allocated the sum of the city’s $14 million budget surplus.

The day’s big winner? Affordable housing initiatives, which were earmarked for $10 million. Wildfire fuel mitigation received a little over $1 million, the Child Inc. after-school program received $557,000, and a pilot program for 24 hour patrol of the Hike & Bike Trail received $350,000. You can view a complete list of the council’s actions.

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Austin
5:33 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Diversity Lacking Among Austin's District Commission Applicants

The next Austin City Council will be chosen by district.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Austin’s city auditor is practically begging more people to apply to be on the board that will draw the first geographic districts for the City Council. So far, fewer than 100 have applied, and they are overwhelmingly white and male.

It’s not the kind of wide participation proponents of the charter amendment that created district representation had in mind. But it’s similar to what happened in San Diego, a city that was just redistricted in 2011.

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Education
2:42 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Lawmakers Take Steps Toward Medical School in Rio Grande Valley

UT System Chairmen Gene Powell addresses the media at a press conference at the capitol Monday morning. Powell is in support of new legislation that would merge UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville and create a medical school for South Texas.
Bobby Blanchard KUT News

In a move state rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, equated to taking lemons and making lemonade, some members of the Texas House, Senate and UT System Board of Regents are hoping to combine UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville into a single university that touches all major metropolitan areas of the Rio Grande Valley.

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