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Dear <<First Name>>,

First thing first, if you have not early voted please make a plan to go to the polls. Your last day to early vote is Friday, Nov 4th. Election Day is November 8th! You'll notice a theme throughout this newsletter and that is that you NEED to vote. Now, a recap of our busy October.  


 
October In Review

 
Affordable Housing:
In the midst of Austin's affordability crisis, mobile homes are one of the most affordable home ownership options. As mobile home parks continue to develop along our eastern crescent we must ensure they are developing in fair and responsible ways. So last month, I introduced two new resolutions regarding mobile homes. 

   The first resolution, which council passed on Oct. 20th, aimed to amend city code to address the lack of recreational areas for families who live in mobile home parks. It outlines requirements for both new and existing mobile home parks that:
  • requires new mobile home parks to include a playground and at least one other type of recreation facility or area;
  • requires new mobile home parks to provide community open space that can be used for community gardens or other open space activities;
  • requires an existing mobile home park owner or licensee to provide areas where park residents can grow fruit and vegetables; and
  • limits the ability of a mobile home park owner or licensee to charge a fee for residents to use the playground, recreation facility or area. 
You can follow this link to hear a recent interview I did with Syeda Hasan from KUT. 
 
     The second resolution, which passed council on October 20th, addresses a gap in our city's current home repair program. For those of you who don't know, the City of Austin runs a program that will help home owners make much-needed repairs to their house to bring it up to code and make it safe, livable, and healthy. Currently the eligibility rules for this program exclude owners of manufactured homes. The resolution directed the City Manager to identify potential funding options along with eligibility guidelines and then report back to the Housing and Community Development Committee.

Like all homes, Mobile homes require continued maintenance and repair. This is especially important for mobile home owners seeking to move to another mobile home park in which lease agreements are contingent upon the condition of their home. 



Identifying Usable City Real Estate(Passed):
On a different front in the fight for affordable housing, I was happy to co-sponsor a resolution written by Mayor Pro-Temp Kathie Tovo that directs our City Manager to identify properties within the City's real estate portfolio suitable for development as affordable housing, live/work space, and emergency shelters.

The City Manager was given further direction to return to the Housing and Community Development Committee and to City Council by January 1, 2017, with at least three potential projects that could be developed on underutilized city tracts and to provide recommendations for timeline, financing, and other related matters.


If we are going to solve our housing crisis we need to use all available resources - and that includes our own land. It is through this endeavor that we can assume a larger role in helping solve our affordability crisis to ensure permanent affordability.


Resolution Condemning Hate Speech (Passed):
With the kind of negative rhetoric at our national level it is important for all Austinites to know that this city council supports them in condemning bigotry or hate speech of any kind. So during our October 13th meeting, City Council passed a resolution openly condemning hate speech and violence toward Muslims, immigrants and people of color. I was proud to co-sponsor the resolution, proposed by Council Member Casar, that acknowledges the Muslim community's invaluable contributions to our economy, our social life, our political life, and our culture.

This item resolves that:
"The City Council of Austin condemns all hateful speech and violent action directed at Muslims, those perceived to be Muslims, immigrants and people of color. The City Council of Austin commits to pursuing a policy agenda that affirms civil and human rights..."

I'm proud to say this resolution passed Austin's council with no dissenting votes. You can read more about it in this article from The Daily Texan.

Capmetro Eliminating Premium Fares:

On October 24th, the CapMetro board of directors voted unanimously to eliminate the Premium category of the agency’s fare structure, which will take effect Jan. 8, 2017. Currently, the Premium fare includes two MetroRapid routes and nine Flyer routes, all of which feature fewer stops compared to Local service. With this change, all Local, MetroRapid and Flyer service will cost $1.25 for a Single Ride, $2.50 for a Day Pass, $11.25 for a 7-Day Pass, and $41.25 for a 31-Day Pass.

The fare reduction will be the first service initiative implemented as part of Connections 2025, a year-long comprehensive planning study that involved a top-to-bottom review of the agency’s entire bus system. The goal of the fare reduction is to enhance connectivity within the bus network to make it easier for customers to move around the system. 

Other News


Affordable Care Act Enrollment Is Open:
On November 1st, I joined with the wonderful staff and volunteers from the Latino Healthcare Forum to kick-off the open enrollment period. This Austin non-profit has for the last 5 years attempted to enroll the hard-to-reach non English speaking individuals in our community. Not only do they offer FREE multilingual assistance in getting Health Insurance, they can also assist you with CHIP, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and much more. If you or anyone you know needs to enroll in any of these programs stop by their office located at 6601 Felix Ave or make an appointment by calling 512.386.7777.

Open enrollment is only back until January 31, 2017! Act by December 15 for January 1 coverage. Before enrolling, you can preview plans with personalized price estimates and find out if you may qualify for savings.

Visiting with staff of the Latino HealthCare Forum.
 
BASTA
If you are a tenant experiencing any problems or issues, BASTA (Building and Strengthening Tenant Action / Buscando Accion y Soladaridad que Transforme el Arrendamiento) is a newly-formed organization that is committed to helping Austin renters work with their neighbors to ensure that all Austinites have access to safe and affordable housing. They act as a resource for tenants and can put you in touch with the appropriate departments and agencies to help resolve problems you encounter in regard to property maintenance or tenants’ rights. You can reach them by phone at 512.522.9984 or at basta@bastaaustin.org.
 

Grants for Neighborhood Development
The Neighborhood Partnering Program has 4 programs that can help maintain and revitalize your neighborhood: The Neighborhood Cost Share Program, The Grant Assistance Program, The Parking Benefit Project Coordination Program, and The Adopt-A-Median Program. If you have an idea or project in mind for your neighborhood, here is the link with more info: http://www.austintexas.gov/neighborhoodpartnering

 

Vote! Vote! Vote!
I'll end the newsletter the same way I started....go vote. Not to put too much pressure on you, but the fate of our city, our county, our state, and our country depend on you voting. If you are eligible to vote you have no excuse not to.

"Well, I don't know when or where to vote?"
If you need information about voting locations, poll times, or anything else just follow this link: Travis County Election Info.

"Also, I dont have a ride to the polls?"
Capmetro will be providing riders with an easy way of getting to the polls on Election Day. Free rides will be offered on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8 on all MetroBus, MetroRapid, MetroExpress, MetroRail and MetroAccess services. Please note – MetroAccess subscribers will need to call 512-852-7272 to schedule their trips. Find a Capital Metro route that will take you to your polling location by using the Capital Metro Trip Planner or the CapMetro App. You can download a list of Capital Metro routes that service polling locations. If you have any question just call the GO Line at 512-474-1200.
 

As always, if you need assistance with city issues, please call my office at 512.978.2103. We are glad to help.

All the best,

Pio
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Upcoming Events



November 9th:
Housing and Community Development Council Committee 

November 11th:
Austins Veterans Parade 

November 12th:
Texas vs
West Virginia


November 14th:

November 19th:
Curanderismo: Indigenous Healing Workshop

November 19th:
Texas Vs Kansas

Thanksgiving Day!

November 24th:
Turkey Trot

November 25th:
Texas Vs TCU (Hook 'Em!)

November 26th:
Chuy's 28th Annual Children Giving to Children Parade
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Council Member Renteria, District 3. · 301 W. 2nd Street · Austin, Tx 78701 · USA

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