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Council Wrap: 10-1 plan heads to ballot, pedestrian bridge approved

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TWC News: Council Wrap: 10-1 plan heads to ballot, pedestrian bridge approved
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10-1 city redistricting plan

The Austin City Council could soon have a very different look.

The 10-1 city council plan, put forth by the group Austinites for Geographic Representation, will officially be on the November ballot after its unanimous approval by council on Thursday.

If approved, the plan would change the way that Austinites are represented in their city government. It would create 10 districts, each represented by a single council member, with a mayor elected at large.

Come November, voters will have the choice between the 10-1 plan and an 8-2-1 plan, which includes eight single-member districts with two at-large council members and one at-large mayor.

Inside chambers, some accused the council members of trying to kill the 10-1 plan by placing the 8-2-1 plan on the same ballot.

"8-2-1 is a system that retains at-large seats and provides a continuing power base for the traditional power precincts," Les Aisenmen with The Gray Panthers said.

A political expert who supports the measures say if passed, everyone in Austin would have a chance to be heard.

"Whether you are rich, middle class, or frankly not doing that well, working class, you're going to have an opportunity to elect someone to this city council," Peck Young, Director of the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies, said.

If either plan passes in November, the vote would eliminate the decades old "gentleman's agreement" which designates one seat on the dais for a Hispanic representative and another to an African-American.


Barton Creek pedestrian bridge

Pedestrians and cyclists will soon have a new way to cross Loop 360 at MoPac Expressway.

City council voted unanimously to approve $2 million for the construction of a new pedestrian bridge along MoPac across Loop 360, making it easier for people to access both sides of the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Work on the trail is expected to be completed by 2015.


Civil service system heads to November ballot

Austin voters will decide in November if city employees will have access to a civil service system, allowing workers to unionize.

Austin’s City Council voted Thursday morning to add the proposed city charter amendment to the November ballot, leaving the final decision in the hands of the voters.

Council member Laura Morrison sponsored the amendment, with council member Mike Martinez and Bill Spelman co-sponsoring.

The proposed amendment was submitted by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. If passed, it would change the way all city employees are hired and make the process similar to the way firefighters and police are hired.


ACL decision postponed

Also Thursday, city council voted to postpone the decision to expand the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival to a second weekend.

It was revealed last week that the festival's promoter, C3 Presents, was in talks with the city to add the additional dates to the popular fall music festival.

If the 2013 festival is extended, ACL would take place Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-13 next year.

City council will take the decision up again on August 16.

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