Tag Archives: austin

One take on improving Austin affordability

Brigid Shea’s recent Statesman editorial implies that Austin’s affordability issues are substantially driven by municipal taxes and rates.  The author bemoans that: “In the coming year, Austin residents will see an average $150 increase on their water and electric bills … Continue reading

Posted in Economics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Three choices not two

The City Council voted today to place an 8 single-member district and 2 at-large option on the November ballot.  This is in addition to the 10 single-member/’Independent’ re-districting commission/various other implementationalia plan that Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) petitioned onto … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy Reform | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

What does empirical political science tell us about single-member districts?

In Austin, SMD proponents claim that a new electoral scheme will (1) improve the delivery of public services by creating geographic representation, (2) increase the proportion of Latinos elected to the City Council, and (3) address relatively low voter turnout … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy Reform | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Some suggestions for the Statesman on their Austin Economy series

The Statesman’s review of the Austin economic climate is a much-needed profile and (to some extent) evaluation of the city’s economy. There are four areas where the Statesman’s coverage could improve. 1. Don’t forget about sub-group income levels. Not everybody … Continue reading

Posted in Development, Economics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is empowering low-information partisans bad, exactly?

Over at Burnt Orange Report, there’s a discussion afoot about the pros and cons of moving our May municipal election to November. No one seems to dispute that the number of people voting for local office holders would increase if … Continue reading

Posted in Democracy Reform | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Austin’s homicide rate spike

The Statesman recently highlighted an increase in homicides from 22 in ’09 to 37 in ’10.  While the piece provided a compelling visualization with the long-term count of homicides in Austin, it did not provide data that adjusted for the … Continue reading

Posted in Public Safety | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Austin’s democracy deficit hurts local median income

Wells Dunbar’s tumblr post of demographic data from the City’s African-American Quality of Life Initiative reminded me that there’s a local democracy deficit concerning municipal policies that might help boost median income. I visualize the family median income data below.  … Continue reading

Posted in Development, Economics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

LegalZoom or LegalDoom?

The City Council is trying to decide whether or not to provide relocation incentives to LegalZoom, an online legal form provider. Here are the deal details.  The City pays out $20,000 for ten years for a nominal total of $200,000.  … Continue reading

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Learning from the Dallas Crime Stat Quality Crisis

Grits for Breakfast points out that Dallas is still in hot water over the accuracy of their crime stats. An editorial in the Dallas Morning News gets at the fundamental problem: No doubt [Police Chief David] Kunkle had good intentions … Continue reading

Posted in Public Safety | Tagged , , , ,

Really Need to Consider a Shift to Deliberative Polling and Citizen Juries

Katherine Gregor writes another excellent and detailed profile of Austin’s comprehensive planning process.   This quote by one of the members of the plan’s citizen advisers stuck out: The risk now is that the task force – rich in community activists … Continue reading

Posted in Development | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments