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The land use code has been a controversial subject, as it determines how land can be used in the city, including the types, sizes and locations of new buildings.
As the Nov. 3 election approaches, many Austin City Council candidates are taking a stance on what to do with the code. We asked Austonia newsletter readers if they supported the current draft, and the majority voted "No."
Of the 60 readers who responded, 90% voted against the current draft of the code. Opponents commented that they disapprove of increased density.
"They are changing land codes with intention of making more affordable homes but that isn't really what it does. In our neighborhood, builders can take lots, make more dense housing, but then just give money into a fund for affordable hous[ing]... thus creating more dense neighborhoods without creating more affordable housing. ... So we feel the pain with more traffic, etc., but doesn't actually make it more affordable for this neighborhood."
On the other hand, 10% voted in favor of the current draft. Some readers wrote that increased density is a good thing.
"We need to find ways for more people to live in the city. This means finding ways to fit more than strip malls and single family homes in as many neighborhoods as possible. I would like the [land development code] to change even *more* than what's proposed but I also believe incrementalism is the name of the game."
Next week, you can expect a story from Austonia about the land-use code.
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Matthew McConaughey is reportedly weighing a run for Texas governor in 2022.
The Austin resident and Oscar winner has been "quietly making calls to influential people in Texas political circles, including a deep-pocketed moderate Republican and energy CEO" as he decides whether to run, according to Politico.
McConaughey said a gubernatorial run is "a true consideration" while on a March episode of Houston's "The Balanced Voice" podcast.
Although most political strategists doubt McConaughey's commitment and viability as a candidate, some are still intrigued by the possibility.
"I find it improbable, but it's not out of the question," Karl Rove, a top Republican strategist with a long history in Austin, told the political news site. He added that the big question is whether McConaughey would run as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent.
Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin-based GOP strategist, told Politico he's surprised McConaughey isn't being taken more seriously. "Celebrity in this country counts for a lot," he said. "It's not like some C-list actor no one likes. He has an appeal."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to run for a third term and remains popular among Republican voters, 77% of whom approve of his performance as of April, according to the Texas Politics Project.
Some strategists believe an independent McConaughey run would benefit Abbott. But a recent poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found that McConaughey would beat Abbott, 45% to 33%, with 22% opting for someone else.
Mimi Swartz, an executive editor at Texas Monthly, mulled a McConaughey run in a recent opinion essay from the New York Times. "Texas may not be ready for a philosopher king as a candidate, much less governor," she wrote. "May the best man win, man."
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Some JuiceLand production facility workers and storefront employees are organizing to demand wage increases, better working conditions (including air conditioning in the warehouse) and pay transparency, among other asks. They are also calling on staff to strike and customers to boycott the Austin-based company until their demands are met.
JuiceLand responded on Saturday. "We are listening," the company wrote on their Instagram story. "JuiceLand crew now makes guaranteed $15 an hour or more companywide."
JuiceLand, which was founded in 2001 by Matt Shook and now has 35 locations in Austin, Houston and Dallas, acknowledged the rising cost of living across Texas and the added stress of the pandemic in an email to employees on Saturday, part of which @juicelandworkersrights shared on social media. "There's no denying that times are tough and financial security means more now than ever," the company wrote.
Organized JuiceLand workers rejected this proposal, according to a recent post on the @juicelandworkersrights Instagram account, and reiterated their demands.
"Cost of living in Austin is rising exponentially and will only continue to get worse with the tech boom," the post read. "$15 is barely a sustainable living."