Half of Austin City Council's 10 seats—Districts 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10—are up for election this November, and after Monday's filing deadline, 20 candidates will be competing for a spot on the (virtual) dais.
Elected members will be tasked with rewriting the city's land use code, considering further cuts to the Austin Police Department's budget and, if voters approve a tax rate increase, implementing the $7.1 billion Project Connect transit plan.
City council seats are nonpartisan, although all current members are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Austin residents can plug in their address to find their council district here.
Here's a list of who's running:
District 2 Council Member Delia Garza will vacate her seat to serve as Travis County attorney. She won the Democratic primary for the position in July, and there is no Republican candidate.
Four candidates are vying to replace Garza on council, including David Chincanchan, former chief of staff for District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria; Vanessa Fuentes, who works for the American Heart Association and said one of her top priorities would be improving health equity in Austin; Casey Ramos, a boxer who lost to Garza in 2016; and Alex Strenger, a pedicab driver who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2018 and has advocated for building a dome around Austin to keep out Californians.
This district covers Southeast Austin.
District 4 Council Member Greg Casar is running for re-election against Louis C. Herrin III, a civil engineer who ran against Casar in 2016 and 2014, and Ramesses II Setepenre, a licensed massage therapist. While on the council, Casar has been a vocal proponent for the recent cuts to the Austin Police Department's budget, paid sick leave and a historic affordable housing bond.
This district includes parts of northeast and north central Austin.
District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan will face off against Deedra Harrison, a consultant; Mackenzie Kelly, a client care manager who unsuccessfully ran against Flannigan in 2014 and opposes public camping and recent cuts to Austin's police department; and Dr. Jennifer Musthaler, a physician. Flannigan's reelection campaign platform includes public safety reform, regional mobility, affordability and social justice.
This district covers parts of northwest Austin.
District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool will face off against one opponent, education adviser Morgan Witt, this election. Pool's priorities include environmental sustainability and preserving Austin neighborhoods' character. Witt, a renter who claims to be the "truly progressive" candidate, supports improving mobility and forming Austin's zoning code to allow for more diversity of housing.
This district includes parts of north central Austin.
District 10 Council Member Alison Alter faces the most crowded field, with six other candidates running for her seat. Her opponents are Ben Easton, a writer who ran unsuccessfully as a Libertarian candidate for the Texas House in 2016; Belinda Greene, who works in sales; Pooja Sethi, an attorney whose campaign platform includes community-driven transit and police reform; Robert Thomas, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2014 and whose platform includes reinstating the police academy and public camping ban; Noel Tristan, a business owner; and Jennifer Virden, who opposes council's recent cut to police funding and the "astronomical" cost of Project Connect.
This district covers West Austin.
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The Texas French Bread Bakery, located on 2900 Rio Grande Street, has been completely destroyed after a fire erupted on Monday night.
The Austin Fire Department responded to the fire just before 11 p.m., where they arrived to see flames coming from the roof of the bakery. Firefighters fought the fire for about an hour before the roof collapsed.
While no one was injured in the fire, firefighters say the historic building was completely totaled.
Texas French Bread just went up in flames pic.twitter.com/agXqKN3c00
— Jordan (@AimIessFriend) January 25, 2022
AFD determined that the fire was accidental and caused by mechanical failure. AFD said the damages amounted to $1.6 million total: $1.1 million in structural damage and $500,000 in damage to the contents of the bakery.
This year, Texas French Bread will celebrate 40 years of business. Before the bakery occupied the building, it was the Rome Inn, a music venue that hosted 1970s artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Austin's first major league team is ready to extend its reach with a new collaborative sports complex The Pitch, an Austin FC destination packed with local food, beverages and Verde fervor is set to open in Northeast Austin in February.
The Pitch, a collaboration between Austin FC and Karlin Real Estate, among other entities, will be located in the 50-acre Parmer Pond District, which already hosts the club's practice facility St. David's Performance Center.
Dubbed a "true destination" for both soccer fans and the community, The Pitch will consist of multilevel shipping containers designed by Mark Odom Studio that will carve out into a 1,200-seat stadium complete with a soccer pitch made of turf, food and beverage options and a five-acre "Parmer Pond" featuring jogging trails.
Made from multilevel shipping containers, The Pitch will include food and a 1,200-seat soccer pitch made from artificial turf. (The Pitch)
“The launch of Karlin’s new food and entertainment experience will greatly enhance the Parmer development while perfectly complimenting St. David’s Performance Center,” Austin FC founder Anthony Precourt said. "The Pitch... will offer a strong variety of food options and gathering spaces for guests who will utilize St. David’s Performance Center and Parmer Field for a variety of events.”
The Pitch project lead Dave Greeley, who helped come up with the concept, is a former president of Austin FC parent company, Two Oak Ventures.
“The vision behind The Pitch at the Parmer Pond District is to be a first-of-its-kind sports, dining and entertainment destination,” said Dave Greeley, The Pitch project lead and Team Orbis president. “This will be an unmatched experience for Parmer Austin tenants, Austin FC and club supporters, and the community."
With its proximity to the practice center, the venture hopes to contribute to the growing "soccer city" of Austin during Austin FC matches and youth games with the Austin FC Academy hosted at the St. David's Performance Center.
The Pitch hopes to converge both community and club interests with Austin FC. (The Pitch)
In addition to the soccer pitch, stadium and pond, The Pitch will provide a foody experience made by the creative team behind Austin staples like Fareground and Easy Tiger. The complex will offer local bites including:
- Ranger Burger, which offers beers and burgers made from highly-coveted Wagyu beef direct from Ranger Cattle in East Austin
- Ga Roti, which merges flavors from Northern Vietnam with the culinary techniques of France to create a unique rotisserie chicken joint
- Taco Flats, a local taco chain serving Mexico City-style tacos, micheladas and more
- Sand Bar, which fulfills its namesake with beauty cocktails, local beers and a sand volleyball court
- Coffee Club, a coffee shop and bakery
- Corner Kick Bar, the soccer-focused main bar of The Pitch complete with "tunes, TVs and (a) beer garden"
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