What’s important to residents of City Council District 7, and what do we think about key issues? To find out, AustinDistrict7.org went to the North Star neighborhood, a surrogate for several neighborhoods between Braker and Parmer. We block-walked single-family homes in the neighborhood, collecting a dozen quick-hit interviews.
Once every two years, CAN surveys the community to find out what CAN products and services they value and how they think we can improve. Please take a few minutes to click on the survey link from the CAN website www.canatx.org.
Responses from this link are anonymous. The survey will remain open
through March 25th
Immigration Communities Working Together - Austin Town Hall Meeting
Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 3:00pm
Terrazas Branch, Austin Public Library
1105 E. Cesar Chavez St
Austin, Texas 78702
There are a lot of amazing people and organizations working for immigration
in Austin and we want to gather together to talk about our various struggles and how we can all work together to help each other out in the many immigration needs throughout the city.
We would love for us to come together with our community for a Town Hall
meeting over immigration issues. Our goals for this Town Hall are to build
community, reach out, build coalitions, share resources, share your stories,
what you are involved in, and how everyone in the room can help. We would like
to develop campaigns around the issues that are important to us all. We hope
that you can join us.
Hay una gran cantidad de personas y organizaciones increíbles que trabajan
por el los temas de inmigración en Austin y queremos reunir para hablar de
nuestras diversas luchas y cómo podemos trabajar juntos para ayudarse unos a
otros en las múltiples necesidades inmigración en toda la ciudad.
Nos encantaría que nos unamos con nuestra comunidad para una reunión para
hablar sobre temas de inmigración. Nuestros objetivos para este Ayuntamiento son
construir difundir esta idea, construir coaliciones, compartir recursos,
compartir sus historias, lo que está siendo parte, y como todo presente en la
habitación puede ayudar. Nos gustaría desarrollar campañas sobre los temas que
son importantes para todos nosotros. Esperamos que nos pueda acompañar.
Next District 4 Meeting is Monday, March 24, 6:30 pm at St. John's Community Center, 7500 Blessing Ave.
We started off our last District 4 meeting, February 17 at ShowPlace Lanes, with Melinda Schiera summarizing what we had itemized as our area's priorities going forward into the new 10-1 representation at City Council from the first meeting
Click Read more...
Project Connect proposes $164M bus, train system to connect Austin with suburbs
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the full list of projects
includes an $82 million bus line between Hutto and Austin, a $58.1 extension to the MetroRapid bus lines to Georgetown (through Round Rock) and Pflugerville, $12 million in new park-and-ride facilities in the North Austin area, a $4 million bus line between Georgetown and Austin, two lines in the Manor area for $2.7 million, a $2.4 million bus from Webberville, a $1.5 million line between Round Rock and Austin and a $1.2 million line from Hutto to Round Rock.
Article and Map here:
We usually don't quote ANC comments out of context, but this provides some useful context and links to documentation that shows why Austin is failing to provide affordability to Austinites:
Bill and Dave make excellent points. (Bill Bunch, Save Our Springs, and Dave
Shapiro, Western Trails)
Increased development and density over the aquifers and recharge zones
causes more runoff, erosion, and pollution. It also reduces recharge into the
aquifers. I see these impacts first-hand in my own neighborhood.
We should be careful not to conclude that increased density results in
more affordable housing or less sprawl. The density of my neighborhood has
greatly increased over the past 10 years, yet housing in my neighborhood is
significantly less affordable. Low- and moderate-income families are moving to
the suburbs because they can't afford to live in Austin. Families that want to
live in single-family homes are moving to the suburbs because single-family
homes in Austin's urban neighborhoods are rapidly disappearing.
Housing prices and income are the biggest components of housing
affordability, not increased density. Housing prices have increased faster in
Austin than most other large US cities primarily because of rapid growth. At the
same time, incomes for low- and moderate-income families are stagnant. Rapidly rising housing prices and stagnant incomes are the root causes for the housing affordability crisis in Austin, not density.
The City's economic development incentives and rapid-growth policies
have not helped low- and moderate-income families. A January 31, 2014, report in The Business Journals noted that Austin ranks #33rd-highest in income inequity in 102 major U.S. markets. It also indicated that the top 20% of households in Austin earn 49.9% of all household income in Austin.
Here's a link to the report in the Business Journals: http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/news/2014/01/31/gini-indexes-of-income-inequality-in.html
A 2012 study by the New York Times indicates that: "incentives do not
actually cause companies to choose locations over others. Rather, companies
typically select locations based on factors such as workforce, proximity to
markets and access to qualified suppliers, then pit jurisdictions against one
another to extract tax benefits and other incentives."
The New York Times study found that: "there is virtually no association
between economic development incentives and any measure of economic performance. We found no statistically significant association between economic development incentives per capita and average wages or incomes; none between incentives andcollege grads or knowledge workers; and none between incentives and the state unemployment rate."
Here's a link to information about the New York Time study on economic
A 2011 study by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy found "property tax
incentives to be counterproductive, being all too frequently given to companies
that would have chosen the same location anyway. So instead of creating new jobs or spurring employment, the main effect of incentives is simply to deplete a community's tax base."
Here's a link to the Lincoln Institute study: http://www.planetizen.com/node/57440
Although Texas gives out more economic development incentives than any
other state, it has the third-highest proportion of hourly jobs paying at or
below minimum wage and the 11th-highest poverty rate among states. Most of the job growth in Austin over the past 10 years has been in industries paying
employees less than $30,000 per year.
A report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that the extreme
poverty rate in Austin rose from 10% to 15% between 2006 and 2012, worse than the other major cities in Texas. Here's a link to the Annie E. Casey Foundation report:
The City Council should address the housing affordability crisis by
promoting moderate growth policies, granting higher property tax exemptions for seniors and the disabled, and focusing economic polices on training and higher paying jobs for low- and middle-income families.
Zilker Neighborhood Resident
Extremely low-income households, those that earn 30% of the Median
Family Income, have a difficult time finding an affordable place to live in
every community. According to the Urban Institute, that challenge is even
greater for households in this community. The Institute looked at the 100
most populous counties in the U.S. to compare the number of extremely low-income
households to the number of rental units affordable for these households.
Travis County ranked 5th worst among the 100 counties. The study found
there are only 13 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely
low-income renters in Travis County.
Households in Suffolk County, the "best" county on the list, still face
a sizable housing gap. Suffolk, which is home to Boston, has only 50 units
of affordable and available for every 100 extremely low-income households.
As former South Austinite, it took our family some time to adapt to the "less weird" feel of North Austin. But even with its neatly manicured appearance, after five years, we have discovered enough family friendly gems to have regular adventures. We love the outdoors and also flock to air conditioned spots during the summer. Here are some of our family's favorite discoveries north of the river.
Daniel Llanes, who lives in 78702, one of the most rapidly gentrifying
zipcodes in Austin, has posted an interesting New York Time's piece on how
cities are beginning to grapple with gentrification:
Not surprisingly, the City of Austin isn't even looking at these kind of solutions.
The Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA), whose lobbyists have driven the
City's policy on development and housing for decades, is back at it. RECA is
insisting tht CodeNext, the City's overhaul of city zoning, should allow
the free market (and the roll back of several inconvenient ordinances like
the McMansion and the Heritage Tree Ordinance) to 'fix' Austin's
see RECA's stance on Code Next:
The problem with RECA's insistence that a free market is the best solution
for Austin is this theory has already been disproven.
(Click Read more)
The League of Women Voters of the Austin Area is hosting a program about
genetically modified organisms and the agriculture industry. It will be
held from 3 to 5 pm, Sunday, March 9, at Riverbend Church, 4214 N. Capitol of
Texas Highway, 78746.
The program is free and open to the public and will be in Riverbend's
Plaza View Room. From Loop 360, turn on Cedar Street and then onto the Riverbend Church campus.
•Kent Stewart, research chemist and member of one of the first committees to
evaluate the safety of GMO foods, will speak on "Genetically Modified Organisms: The Latest Step in a Long History of Animal and Plant Breeding."
•Julie Z. Ansley, Travis County agriculture extension agent, will cover two topics: "Understanding Our Nation's Agricultural Agencies from Partnerships to Funding" and "All About the Beef Industry."
more info: www.lwvaustin.org