Austin City Council will welcome a new member and welcome back a reelected incumbent to its dais after Tuesday's runoff election for Districts 6 and 10. Both races largely hinged on how the candidates felt about two divisive issues: police reform and homelessness.
Mackenzie Kelly was one of three candidates who challenged Flannigan in the Nov. 3 election, running to his right. Kelly led by 677 votes when Flannigan conceded, although Election Day votes were still being counted.
District 10 Council Member Alison Alter faced six challengers during the Nov. 3 election, ultimately facing off against conservative candidate Jennifer Virden on Tuesday. She won in a close race, with 577 more votes than her opponent.
Kelly and Alter will be tasked with rewriting the city's land use code, which continues to divide the council; considering further cuts to APD's budget, an issue in which Kelly will be outnumbered by her colleagues; and implementing Project Connect, a $7.1 billion overhaul of the city's transit system.
A new face for District 6
Kelly, a client care manager who ran against Flannigan in 2014, opposes recent cuts to the police department budget and council's decision to overturn the city's camping ban. Flannigan supported both policies.
"From standing courageously behind our law enforcement community to demanding safer conditions for our homeless population to fighting for transparency at City Hall, the voice of Northwest Austin has been heard," Kelly said in a statement tweeted by Andy Hogue, who was on her campaign team.
Mackenzie gives her victory speech! https://t.co/56GHHiKAn3— Andy Hogue (@Andy Hogue)1608090524.0
Kelly will be the lone conservative council member, following in the footsteps of Ellen Troxclair, whose term representing Southwest Austin's District 8 ended in 2018.
Kelly has drawn criticism from her opponent and others for posing in a photo with protesters who displayed white supremacist hand signals and members of the Wind Therapy Freedom Riders motorcycle group, members of which later accosted Flannigan at a campaign last month.
Flannigan was the first openly gay manr and the first Williamson County resident to serve on Austin City Council. He also served as chair of the public safety committee and was a vocal supporter of police reforms.
"The work that we're doing is important, and I'm proud of the work that I've done the last four years for this district," Flannigan said during a concession speech at his virtual watch party. "Just because the path to equality isn't straight doesn't mean we're on the wrong path."
Alter stays in place
Alter describes herself as a progressive Democrat and has spent her three years on council advocating for preservationist land use and parks. She voted to cut APD's budget but opposed the council's decision to overturn the city's camping ban.
The choice for District 10 is clear. Vote ALTER if you want experience, integrity, and proven leadership. https://t.co/OpYo50uWB9— Council Member Alter (@Council Member Alter)1608045905.0
Virden, a real estate broker and general contractor, also opposed the camping ban. But she clashed with Alter on other issues, such as efforts to defund APD and Project Connect, both of which she opposed.
As voting comes to an end and we await the results, I want to thank everyone for their support and for believing in me and what I stand for!— Jennifer Virden for Austin City Council D10 (@Jennifer Virden for Austin City Council D10)1608079303.0
This story has been updated to clarify that Flannigan was the first openly gay man to serve on Austin City Council. Randi Shade, who was elected in 2008, was the first openly gay member.
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Austin FC couldn't find the stamina to fight off a 2-0 loss against LAFC for their inaugural match on Saturday.
The match, which saw No. 21 Austin FC go head-to-head with No. 2 LAFC in Los Angeles, was broadcast nationally on FOX and FOX Deportes.
Salute the support. 👏
It's only the beginning for @AustinFC. pic.twitter.com/TduorqYr2y
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 18, 2021
Eleven players took the stage as Austin FC players for the first time, with five starters making their MLS debut. "Ringleader" Alex Ring took the captain's armband and wore it well. The defensive midfielder could be seen leading his teammates through their first ever match, but it wasn't enough to stage an Austin takeover in LA.
In the signature style of Head Coach Josh Wolff, the team played with quickness and intensity, nearly connecting on several fast breaks. It was harder for them to stay in front, however, something that Wolff credits with quick decision making and a tough LAFC defense.
"We have a quick attacking team, but I think when you make quick attacks and it fizzles it's just about some decision making," Wolff said. "Are we in position to finish attacks? If not, can we reestablish our attack and get stuff better?"
The club was given some generous breaks from No. 2 LAFC, who had one or both of their star DPs out for the half. While forward Diego Rossi is out for the entire match due to a hamstring injury, Carlos Vela was accidentally pulled too soon on what turned out to be a miscommunication.
"He gave us the sign that he needed to come off," LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said on broadcast. "I can't say more than maybe it's my fault."
LA pulled some dramatics and slowly gained more possession throughout the half, but ATXFC's defense wasn't initially as shaky as it seemed in preseason. Jhohan Romana has pulled his weight in getting the ball out of goal, and a 34-year old Matt Besler held his own in center back.
As the second half commenced, however, it became clear that LAFC had the advantage over Austin's first major league team.
Goalkeeper Brad Stuver had his work cut out for him, fending off 24 shot attempts, 11 of which were on goal. He didn't have much time to prepare, either: in the first 30 seconds of play, Stuver had already made a save to keep the match 0-0.
LAFC finally connected in the 61st minute of play as Corey Baird shot one into the bottom right corner. The team capitalized off their momentum and put one past Stuver a second time, drawing roars of approval from the LAFC crowd.
While some last-minute attempts from Jon Gallagher and others were made, Austin FC didn't have the endurance to bring a tie. After seven additional minutes of stoppage time, the club lost their first match 2-0.
While the scoreboard tells one story, Wolff said that the team did well considering the skill of LAFC and the pressure of their club debut.
"We've got to be realistic," Wolff said. "This is the first time this organization has been in front of TV with an opportunity to show itself and I think there were some promising moments. And we're going to maximize those and continue to try to develop those, but there's lots to build on."
The team may have lost, but it still won the support of thousands of Verde fans, dozens of which made it to watch their team's first match. When Stuver and the team made it to bthe stadium, Los Verdes fans were already there to show support, and Stuver said his wife saw the same back in Austin.
"The moment that we pulled into the stadium, we saw Black and Verde fans cheering us on as we got to the stadium," Stuver said. "During warm up, you can just look around and see different groups sitting in different sections of the stadium and it's just truly amazing to see the support in our first game. We know that we want to give the fans everything, because this we play for the city and we play for them."