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By W. Gardner Selby May 3, 2011

Max Nofziger says Austin City Council bereft of South Austinites

When Max Nofziger, a South Austin resident seeking to rejoin the Austin City Council, was asked whether the city should stop electing council members by citywide vote, he answered that he’d prefer a mix of members chosen at-large and from single-member districts.

Pitching his case, Nofziger is quoted in the just-published "Voters Guide" from the League of Women Voters of the Austin Area: "Currently, there is no one from South Austin on the (Austin City) Council!"

We left a message for Nofziger, a council member from mid-1987 to mid-1996, then re-read a Jan. 23 Austin American-Statesman news article supporting his claim.

The story revealed Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s desire to seek a voter-approved reorganization of the council resulting in six members elected from regional districts plus two members and the mayor elected citywide.

Currently, the story said, "three council members live in or near downtown, two live in East Austin, one lives in Hyde Park, and Leffingwell lives northwest." And, the story continues: "None lives south" of the Colorado River, which separates South Austin from the rest of the city.

Next, we contacted Matt Curtis, the mayor’s communications director, who told us no one has moved since that article was published. Curtis said Leffingwell lives in the Balcones  Drive part of West Austin and among other council members, Sheryl Cole lives in Wilshire Woods, Laura Morrison resides in Old West Austin, Chris Riley is downtown, Randy Shade lives in Clarksville and Bill Spelman hails from Hyde Park. Council Member Mike Martinez told us he lives in the Senate Hills part of East Austin, but plans to move later this year to East 11th Street near Chicon.

Curtis said the latest South Austinites on the council, Betty Dunkerley and Jennifer Kim, finished their terms in June 2008.

As we closed this check, Nofziger called to say he’d originally heard from local activists that the council now lacks South Austin residents.

We rate his statement True.

Featured Fact-check

Our Sources

Austin American-Statesman, news article, "Mayor to push for district representation on council," Jan. 23, 2011

Telephone interviews, Matt Curtis, communications director, Office of the Mayor, Austin, April 28 and 29, 2011

Telephone interview, Mike Martinez, Austin City Council member, April 29, 2011

Telephone interviews, Max Nofziger, Austin, April 28 and 29, 2011

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Max Nofziger says Austin City Council bereft of South Austinites

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