Background Investigation: Bill Spelman

HomeElectionsBackground InvestigationBackground Investigation: Bill Spelman

Here’s What the Public Records Say About the Council Member Running for Re-election

Updated Thursday, May 3, 2012 11:05am
Updated 12:05pm, Monday, May 7, 2012.
Bill Spelman
Bill Spelman

Campaign season is in full swing for candidates vying for a seat on the Austin City Council, and Council Member Bill Spelman faces more opposition than any of his fellow incumbents.

Six citizens—all first-time City Council candidates—have signed up to challenge Spelman for Place 5, a seat the University of Texas at Austin professor has held since June 2009.

As the May 12 election approaches, The Austin Bulldog went to work researching Spelman’s personal and political background in an effort to educate Austin residents about their City Council candidates. We used an organized plan to find, copy, and publish every public record we found, and compiled news articles from The Austin Bulldog and other publications.

We invite readers to study the documents and let us know if there are any important details we overlooked, or areas that warrant further investigation.

Campaign donations exceed $31,000

Spelman was initially elected to the City Council for a three-year term in May 1997 by winning a runoff against businessman Manuel Zuniga.

He made headlines at the time for accepting a $25,000 campaign contribution from Eagles vocalist and drummer Don Henley. Election laws have since changed so no individual can donate more than $350 to a council campaign.

After a nine-year hiatus, Spelman ran unopposed in 2009, raising $64,689, and spending $58,066.

According to his January 17, 2012, campaign finance report, Spelman raised $31,460 and spent $6,439 during the November 14 to December 31, 2011, reporting period this election season.

All of his challengers filed for election after January 17, and have yet to release campaign finance reports. The next report is due April 12.

Entrepreneur Tina Cannon and Dominic Chavez, senior director of external communications for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating board, have been the most active challengers so far.

Spelman’s other challengers are: David Yepez Conley, film art director and property manager; John Duffy, an Occupy Austin activist; Robert “Bo” Prudente, transportation safety professional at Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, and John Rubine, a hospitality professional.

The reason why Spelman attracted so many challengers is at least partially due to the city’s well-known gentlemen’s agreement, which unofficially reserves two seats for Hispanic and African American members. Council Members Sheryl Cole and Mike Martinez, who are both up for re-election, currently hold these seats.

Duffy, for example, told KUT News on March 12 that he decided to challenge Spelman because, “Bill Spelman is a white male and I am a white male. … I do not want to be wiping out that diversity from the board.”

Other candidates chose Spelman based on past council decisions. Chavez and Cannon said they disagreed with Spelman’s views on public safety and his vote to keep elections in May. Chavez, a South Austin resident, also felt residents outside of Austin’s central city core needed a council representative. No one on the current City Council, including Spelman, resides south of the river, an area that is home to about 40 percent of Austin’s population.

So far, lawyer-lobbyist David Armbrust is the only person who has bundled contributions for Spelman’s 2012 campaign. Armbrust bundled a total of $11,200 for Spelman between November 14 and December 31. (Bundlers are individuals who solicit and obtain contributions of $200 or more from five or more people.)

Armbrust, of Armbrust & Brown PLLC, has also bundled contributions for Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Cole, and Martinez during this election season.

Armbrust is a registered city lobbyist with 15 clients involved in building, real estate and real estate development, financial services, hotels, property management, energy, and waste disposal.

He was also a bundler in Spelman’s 2009 campaign, as were William Reagan, president of Reagan National Advertising; Channy Soeur, CEO at CAS Consulting and Services, whose daughter Michelle Soeur works in the mayor’s office; Nikelle Meade, attorney with Brown McCarroll LLP and a registered city lobbyist; and H.R. “Mickey” Bentley, CEO of Fox Chapel realty company.

According to a March 26 post in the Burnt Orange Report, Spelman has not garnered as many endorsements as expected so far: The Austin Firefighters Association PAC, Better Austin Today PAC, University Democrats, and Austin Progressive Coalition all opted to issue no endorsement for Place 5. Spelman did, however, receive the endorsement of the Austin Central Labor Council, Austin/Travis County EMS Employee Association PAC, Central Austin Democrats and the Network of Asian American Organizations PAC.

None of his opponents have received any big endorsements so far, but Cannon tied with Spelman during the University Democrat’s voting, resulting in neither getting the endorsement.

Spelman sued ACC board secretary

A search of court records revealed that Spelman was involved in two lawsuits related to a 1996 run for the Austin Community College Board of Trustees.

According to district court records, Spelman sued Beverly Watts Davis, secretary of the ACC board of trustees, in 1996 for declaring Spelman ineligible to run in the board election without a hearing.

Spelman filed an application for a place on the ACC ballot prior to deadline, and was told his application complied with Election Code requirements, according to court records.

Spelman told The Austin Bulldog that he printed his name on the ACC documents, but did not provide a cursive signature.

“So the question is: Was writing my name three times in block printing, did that count as a signature, or did I actually have to use cursive writing for it to count?” Spelman said.

On April 1 that year, Larry Bassett, ACC election administrator,  delivered a letter to Spelman signed by Davis stating that he did not sign his application, and his name would be removed from the ballot, the lawsuit stated.

According to the lawsuit, Spelman “suffered mental anguish, humiliation and embarrassment” as a result of ACC declaring him ineligible to run.

A district court ruled that it didn’t have the power to decide the case regardless of whether the claims had merit.

Spelman’s case went to the Texas Supreme Court but before a ruling was handed down, Watts Davis sent Spelman a letter saying she had accepted his application and directed that his name be placed on the ballot, according to an Austin American-Statesman report April 5, 1996.

Statesman news archives confirm that Spelman was placed on the ACC board ballot in 1996, and lost a close race against incumbent trustee Della May Moore.

Spelman sued for money owed on campaign signs

Also in 1996, Robert Hernandez, with marketing and design company RBH Direct, sued Spelman alleging that Spelman did not pay him money owed for producing campaign yard signs and mail-outs.

According to documents filed in Travis County court, Hernandez orally agreed with Spelman that he would produce and mail out literature and yard signs for a specified amount.

Hernandez said in court documents that Spelman initially refused to pay for his work, but Spelman eventually paid $1,500 of the $2,607 owed.

Hernandez sued for the $1,107 still owed, attorney fees, and pre-judgment and post-judgment interest.

“(Hernandez) delivered them late and, so far as I can tell, did not have them printed by a union shop, which was part of the agreement, so I held up some of the payment for us to work out a settlement,” Spelman said.

Spelman failed to appear in court for the trial and the court ruled in Hernandez’s favor in October 1996, and ordered Spelman to pay a total of $1,736, which included $400 in attorney’s fees and $173 in court costs.

“I said, ‘Okay, take the money,’” Spelman said. “We worked out a settlement, and Robert, so far as I know, is happy as clams.”

Ethics complaint

The Texas Ethics Commission determined August 11, 2011, that Spelman violated the state Election Code by incorrectly reporting the amount of contributions maintained in two campaign finance reports, failing to list the full names of six contributors donating a total of $1,480, and not including the full names of people or entities that received a total of $1,980 in campaign funds.

Six Houston-area Tea Party members filed the complaint against Spelman—as well as separate complaints against Mayor Lee Leffingwell and the other council members—after the Austin City Council decided to end city business with Arizona in protest of the state’s controversial immigration law, according to a July 24, 2010, article in the Austin American-Statesman.

“This is minor-league harassment, but we’ll respond and make sure we correct any violations,” Spelman said to the Statesman at the time.

The commission ordered Spelman to pay a $250 civil penalty, according to the ordered resolution. Spelman said he corrected the campaign finance reports and paid the fine.

Education background

Spelman has served as a public affairs professor at the University of Texas at Austin since 1988.

A Los Angeles native, he obtained a bachelor’s in political science in 1978 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and master’s and doctorate degrees in public policy from Harvard University. UCLA and Harvard confirmed that Spelman attended and received degrees from these universities.

One of his opponents in the City Council race, Tina Cannon, criticized Spelman’s extensive background in academia, saying, “It’s one thing to write policies sitting in your office. It’s another thing to actually have boots on the ground and live it everyday.”

In response to this comment, Spelman pointed to his experience training, or directing the training, of 13,000 police officers in community policing as executive director of the Texas Institute for Public Problem Solving from 1997 to 2005. Also, as a senior research associate with the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington D.C. from 1979 to 1988, Spelman said he went to police departments around the country and “worked in a very dirt-under-the-fingernails way to develop new and affective ways of catching crooks and preventing crime.”

Spelman added, “I’ve been on the City Council for almost six years now, and I think that counts as real world experience, especially when you’re talking about running for City Council.”

Controversial public safety proposals

Spelman has faced similar criticisms before, particularly after he questioned in September whether hiring 49 more police officers—as Austin Police Department (APD) leaders had requested—was the best way to ensure safety and the most affective use of taxpayer dollars.

Hiring the 49 police officers would allow the city to maintain its standard of two officers per 1,000 residents, but Spelman argued that the city should not hire simply based on population increases.

Spelman instead proposed hiring 33 officers and 14 civilian APD employees, including 9-1-1 call-takers, and funding a drug treatment program for returning ex-offenders.

“There is very little evidence that adding sworn police officers reduces your crime rate, “ Spelman said. “I felt we could get more bang for the buck by moving the money around a little bit, than just by hiring more sworn officers and not hiring more civilian staff to help them out, and not put any money into drug treatment.”

A September 13, 2011, Statesman article reported Mayor Lee Leffingwell saying in response to Spelman’s proposal that there are “experts who sit behind a desk and analyze things,” but others have “done the job and been out in the field for years” and believe that 49 more officers are needed.

The City Council did not pass Spelman’s proposal, which has also elicited criticisms from opponents Cannon and Chavez this election season.

“I think he’s dead wrong on that proposal,” said Chavez, noting that experts have said the I-35 corridor is a major focal point for drug distribution. “I think I speak for a great deal of this community, particularly the outlying areas. They want to make sure that their neighborhoods, schools, and businesses are safe.”

Spelman has been heavily involved in public safety issues for decades, particularly in community policing—techniques that focus on building relationships between police officers and the public to help solve neighborhood crime problems.

During his first council term, Spelman announced in April 1999 that he would create a diverse focus group to research starting a citizen board that reviews complaints against police officers. The Austin City Council appointed the 10-member Police Oversight Focus Group in June 1999.

The Police Oversight Focus Group consisted of uniformed police officers, police activists, and former Mayor Roy Butler, who headed the Greater Austin Crime Commission. With the help of professional mediators, the group met weekly for six months and heard from a variety of experts. Also during that time, members of the group attended a national conference on civilian oversight of police and traveled to the California to get a firsthand look at how civilian oversight worked in five Bay Area cities before making recommendations to the Austin City Council.

The focus group’s recommendations were then addressed in negotiations between the city and the Austin Police Association as part of the meet-and-confer process. Agreement was reached to establish the Office of Police Monitor, hire a police monitor and staff, and establish a Citizen Review Panel to hear complaints and make recommendations, and the City Council approved the arrangement.

The move did not occur without some controversy, as police oversight activists and union officials clashed over certain details, such as what information in police misconduct investigations should be public and who should oversee the Citizen Review Panel.

The city’s first police monitor started work in February 2002. The Office of the Police Monitor is an independent City of Austin administrative office that is not part of the APD but deals exclusively with cases related to alleged violations of APD departmental policy.

Political background

Travis County voting records indicate that Spelman is politically active and has voted in Democratic primaries dating back to 1990.

After serving two years on the Austin Water and Wastewater Commission and a failed run for a spot on Austin Community College’s Board of Trustees, Spelman was elected to Place 5 on the Austin City Council in 1997, largely with the support of neighborhood groups and environmental activists.

He raised some concerns within the Hispanic community for seeking the Place 5 seat, which had been held by a Hispanic for more than two decades. That issue was diffused by the fact that Gus Garcia, who had held the Place 5 seat since 1991, had opted to run for re-election in Place 2 in 1997, in hopes of getting a second Hispanic elected. Garcia won the Place 2 seat without a runoff, but Spelman’s runoff victory over Manuel Zuniga prevented Garcia’s plan from succeeding.

The only time the City Council has had two Hispanics was from November 2001 to June 2003, after Garcia was elected mayor to serve out the unexpired term of Kirk Watson (now a state senator) and Raul Alvarez was on the council.

According to an August 15, 1997, Statesman article, Spelman further agitated several Hispanic community members when he replaced a Hispanic on the Planning Commission with a white woman.

Spelman said at the time his choice was solely based on who could best tackle challenges on the commission, particularly several upcoming city annexations. The person he appointed, environmental and land use attorney Rachael Rawlins, worked for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (later renamed the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), and was a former city land planner and Travis Heights Neighborhood Association president.

After leaving his initial council post in 2000 to focus on family and teaching, Spelman began serving on the board of Liveable City, a nonprofit focused on quality-of-life issues in Austin. Other board members, then and now, include his wife, Niyanta Spelman, and Brigid Shea, a former City Council member who is now running against Leffingwell for mayor.

Spelman has been described by colleagues, the media, and even himself as a “wild card” council member, because his votes on issues are often less predictable than his council colleagues.

He voted for a $750,000 settlement with the family of teenager Nathaniel Sanders II, who was shot and killed by police.

He unsuccessfully fought against building the controversial $500 million Water Treatment Plant 4 in October 2009, siding with environmental activists and arguing it was unnecessary and would raise water rates. However, Spelman voted to continue building the plant in September 2011 because stopping construction would add up to $155 million to the project’s cost, according to a September 22, 2011, Statesman article.

When confronted with the option of ignoring the City Charter and moving city elections to November in an effort to save money and boost voter turnout, Spelman voted to keep city elections in May unless voters authorized a change. This is a stark contrast to at least two of his campaign challengers. Cannon and Chavez both said they would have voted to move city elections to November.

“Not only did (keeping elections in May) cost us more money, but it was a direct attempt to maintain that small constituency that keeps electing him rather than opening it up and making voting available to more people,” Chavez said at his campaign kickoff.

Among Spelman’s notable council initiatives was the Neighborhood Partnering Program he and Council Member Sheryl Cole launched in May 2010. The city partners with neighborhood associations on various improvement projects, an idea Spelman advocated for in his 2009 campaign.

The program “gives neighborhoods a chance to decide for themselves what public works they need,” Spelman said at his January 2012 re-election campaign kickoff.

Spelman, along with Council Member Martinez, also successfully pushed for an ordinance that would require construction workers to get rest breaks.

However, two initiatives he championed and helped pass are now being challenged in court.

Spelman pushed for a city ordinance passed in 2010 that required some pregnancy centers to post entrance signs stating they don’t refer clients to abortion or birth control services, according to a January 27 Statesman article. The council repealed the ordinance on January 26, 2012, and replaced it with a new one that instead requires the centers to specify on signs whether they offer medical services under a licensed health care provider.

“(Women) need to know there are significant limitations to the kind of help offered in the crisis pregnancy center,” Spelman said at his re-election campaign kickoff.

According to the Statesman article, four centers that were subject to the original ordinance sued the city last year, arguing the ordinance “violated their constitutional rights and targeted them for their Christian views against abortion and contraception.” The centers are still moving forward with the lawsuits despite the changed wording.

Spelman also sponsored two resolutions—which passed the council August 18, 2011—that regulate payday lenders by limiting the amount they can give in cash advances and the number of times a person can refinance a loan.

The Statesman reported on October 13, 2011, that the Consumer Service Alliance of Texas, a trade association for payday lenders, or “credit access businesses,” as they describe themselves, filed a lawsuit in Travis County district court over the ordinance, arguing the state already regulates the industry. The lawsuit also charges that city officials violated the Texas Open Meetings Act by discussing the subject in closed meetings.

Spelman nevertheless touted the new city ordinance as one of his top successes on City Council, saying at his re-election kickoff, “Congress has not yet dealt with the dramatic increase in payday lending, but 400 percent interest-rate charges pose an imminent threat to the well-being of thousands of Austinites, almost all of them of modest means. The Lege did not act. We did.”

Open meetings investigation

Travis County Attorney David Escamilla announced in January 2011 that his office is investigating a complaint that Spelman, the mayor and his fellow city council members engaged in private, one-on-one and two-on-one meetings to deliberate city business—a possible violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

If proven, a violation of the act—created to prevent elected officials from deliberating in secret—would be punishable by a $100 to $500 fine, confinement in the county jail for one to six months, or both the fine and confinement.

The Austin Bulldog broke the story on January 25, 2011, about the private meetings being held in which every council member met with every other council member to discuss city business right before each council meeting.

In an interview with The Austin Bulldog at the time, Spelman said the meetings started in 1997 when Kirk Watson was elected to mayor because Watson “thought we’d make better decisions if we had a chance to chew on issues in private and just get a sense for what’s really at issue.”

Spelman admitted to participating in these meetings scheduled every week and said they can influence his opinion on city issues.

“Fairly often I will have one point of view, and I’ll discuss it with another council member, and they will suggest a different point of view, and I’ll have to think about it differently than I did before—which is what they’re (these meetings are) for,” Spelman said.

Two days after The Austin Bulldog’s story broke, the Statesman reported in a January 27, 2011, article that Spelman did not full comply with a Texas law that requires elected officials to take a one-hour course on open meetings laws and submit a certificate of completion within 90 days of taking office.

Spelman, as well as then-Council Member Randi Shade, had no certificates filed at City Hall the morning of January 26, 2011. Spelman told the Statesman that he took the required course but had not filed the certificate with the city clerk’s office as required by law. He filed the paperwork that same afternoon.

Now, 14 months have elapsed and the open meetings investigation has not been completed.

“The investigation is still ongoing, and we hope to complete it in the near future,” Escamilla said, in a story The Austin Bulldog published on January 25, 2012, to note the investigation was a year old.

With a statute of limitations of two years on the misdemeanor offenses, the seven members who were on the City Council when the story broke remain in legal limbo until Escamilla wraps up his investigation and determines how he will proceed.

E-mail exchanges spark ill will

A month after the private meetings story broke, thousands of e-mail exchanges between the mayor and council members were released in response to open records requests filed by The Austin Bulldog and Austin American-Statesman.

Unlike many of his council colleagues, Spelman did not make any derogatory remarks in the released e-mails. However, one of his fellow council members made unflattering comments about him.

According to an April 9, 2011 Statesman article, Shade accused Spelman of continuing his “political grandstanding” opposition to Water Treatment Plant 4 so the Save Our Springs Alliance, an environmental group, could use the issue to raise money. Shade, who lost her re-election campaign to Kathie Tovo in June 2011, made the comment in an e-mail chain between Leffingwell, Martinez, and Leffingwell’s chief of staff, Mark Nathan.

In a separate e-mail exchange with Martinez and Leffingwell, Shade wrote, “at least we know Spelman’s wonkiness is genetic,” according to a February 26, 2011, Statesman article.

On March 1, 2011, The Austin Bulldog sued Leffingwell, each council member, and the City of Austin for not releasing all e-mail exchanges requested under the Texas Public Information Act.

The city said it would not turn over e-mails about city business elected officials sent or received on personal e-mail accounts. As a result of the lawsuit, however, the mayor and council members eventually released varying amounts of these e-mails.

The Austin Bulldog also filed an open records request with UT Austin to obtain copies of Spelman’s e-mails from his university account that involved his work as a council member, but the records were not released. Spelman said he “occasionally” uses his university e-mail account for sending and receiving messages that involve his council duties.

As a result of The Austin Bulldog’s lawsuit, Spelman eventually released more than 200 pages of e-mails sent or received on his UT account that involved city business.

In The Austin Bulldog’s later open records request for e-mails exchanged by the mayor and council members during 2009, some of the 2,400 pages of city e-mails obtained showed that council members may have communicated among themselves about city business in numbers equaling or exceeding a quorum, a possible open meetings violation.

The county attorney’s investigation and The Austin Bulldog’s lawsuit are both ongoing and may reemerge as campaign issues for the May 2012 election.

The Data

William Glenn Spelman

Age: 54

Birth date: June 9, 1957

Current Office: Place 5 council member since June 2009; also served on as Place 5 council member from June 1997 to June 2000

Office sought: Place 5 council member

Office salary: The city pays council members $64,043 a year plus a $5,400 annual car allowance, but Spelman receives no council salary. As a UT professor, Spelman is a state employee, and Section 40(b) of the Texas Constitution prohibits state employees from being paid a salary to serve as “members of the governing bodies of school districts, cities, towns, or other local governmental districts.”

However, Spelman’s office is still allocated the same amount of money as the other council members, so he sometimes has extra money to spare. In September 2011, for example, he transferred $40,000 from his budget to the Austin Public Library to pay for an electronic resource database and downloadable materials.

Office e-mail: [email protected]

Office telephone: 512-974-2256

Career: Public policy professor at UT Austin since 1988; senior research associate with the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington D.C. from 1979 to 1988; executive director of the Texas Institute for Public Problem Solving from 1997 to 2005

Board of directors, current: Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Texas Municipal League, City of Austin Employees’ Retirement System, City of Austin delegate for the National League of Cities, where he sits on the transportation policy board.

Board of directors/organizations, past: Liveable City, Austin Water and Wastewater Commission, former member of the National League of Cities public safety and crime prevention steering committee, chair of Waller Creek Citizens Advisory Committee, chair of the City of Austin’s Committee on Board and Commissions.

Liveable City corporate records (seven pages)

Business records for Niyanta Patel Spelman (wife)

Affordable Housing Visions for Texas Inc.

East Village Community Inc.

Hyde Park Neighborhood Association


Rainforest Partnership

Texas Community Investment Corporation




2012 January and February

Campaign finance reports

2009 re-election campaign, 127 pages

2012 re-election campaign, 37 pages (through December 31, 2011)

Campaign staff

Jim Wick, campaign manger

Martha Smiley, campaign treasurer

Shawn Badgley

David Butts

Mark Yznaga

City staff

Heidi Gerbracht, policy director [email protected]

Barksdale English, policy aide barksdale.english@austintexas.gov

Deena Estrada-Salinas, constituent services aide [email protected]

Council committees: Audit and Finance Committee, Judicial Committee

Education: Doctorate John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (1988); master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University (1984); bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles (1978)

Education records


2009 city e-mail account

2009 city e-mails on UT account

2010 city e-mail account from Communications and Technology Management search

2010 and January 2011 city e-mail account


Robert Hernandez dba RBH Direct v. William Spelman

William Spelman v. Beverly Watts Davis

Marriage records

Spelman married Niyanta Patel in April 1997, according to Travis County marriage records. She is executive director of the Rainforest Partnership Inc., a nonprofit that helps protect tropical rainforests.

He was previously married to Nancy La Vigne, whom he married in November 1991. La Vigne is director of the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute. (The Austin Bulldog could not locate a divorce decree in Texas) La Vigne filed for divorce from Spelman in New Jersey and the divorce was granted in February 1995. To read the complaint and judgment of divorce, click here. (Updated 12:05pm, Monday, May 7, 2012.)

Marriage records

Personal financial statements

Bill Spelman 2008 through 2011, 46 pages (City Code)

Bill Spelman 2009 through 2010, 74 pages (Local Government Code, Chapter 145)

Personnel records, University of Texas at Austin (pending open records request)

Political party: Spelman has voted in Democratic primaries since 1990.

Voter registration and voter history

Property records: According to real estate records, Spelman owns three properties in Austin worth a combined $641,589. Spelman lives in the Hyde Park area at 3802 Avenue F. He owns a condo at East Village Condominiums, 1200 E. 11th Street, and a house at 1712 E. 38th St. Spelman indicated in his personal financial statements that he owns four tracts of undeveloped ranch land in Irion County, Texas.

Travis Central Appraisal District Records

Travis County Grantee Records (property acquired) 42 pages

Travis County Grantor Records (property sold) 148 pages

Travis County Property Tax Records

Texas Ethics Commission Order and Agreed Resolution

University of Texas Personnel File (added Thursday, May 3, 2012 11:05am) 178 pages

Web pages:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/billspelman

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/william-spelman/b/77b/607

Website: http://www.billspelman.org/

City of Austin bio: http://www.austintexas.gov/biography/council-member-place-5 (The biography is no longer published.)

UT faculty bio: http://www.utexas.edu/lbj/directory/faculty/william-spelman

Stories involving Spelman

Links to stories (most recent first). Note: Most Austin American-Statesman articles are linked here through the Austin Public Library online databases. Access is free but requires a library card number to view. You must log in on the library site for these links to work. Or, alternatively, Statesman articles can be accessed by searching the newspaper’s online archives and creating a user account.

Chavez Targets Spelman in Council Contest, The Austin Bulldog, March 7, 2012

Tina Cannon Challenges Bill Spelman, The Austin Bulldog, February 20, 2012

New challenger to Spelman aligns with suburban voters, Statesman archives, February 15, 2012

Here’s How the Mayor and Council Spent: Council Budgets Pay for Trips Here and Abroad, Even a $40,000 Transfer to Help the City Library, The Austin Bulldog, February 5, 2012

City rewrites disputed law, Statesman archives, Jan. 27, 2012

Open Meetings Investigation a Year Old Today: County Attorney Says Investigation of Whether City Violated Open Meetings Act is Still Ongoing, The Austin Bulldog, January 25, 2012

Bill Spelman’s Re-election Campaign Kickoff Draws an Appreciative Crowd, The Austin Bulldog, January 19, 2012

Martinez, Spelman launch re-election campaigns for City Council, Austin American-Statesman, November 17, 2011

Faith-based pregnancy centers sue over sign ordinance, Statesman archives, October 7, 2011

Council won’t freeze water treatment plant, Statesman archives, September 22, 2011

Police staffing ratio standard draws council member’s fire, Statesman archives, August 11, 2011

Activists’ hunt for payback nets small fines, Statesman archives, July, 4, 2011

Treasure Trove of Public Documents Made Available in Searchable Format: E-mails, Text Messages, Meeting Notes Obtained Through Open Records, Lawsuit, The Austin Bulldog, May 12, 2011

The Austin Bulldog Files Civil Complaint Against City of Austin and Council Members: Travis County Attorney David Escamilla Has Legal Authority to Force Compliance, The Austin Bulldog, March 23, 2011

Council Member Spelman’s City E-mails on UT Account Will Not Be Provided: University of Texas Will Seek Opinion From Texas Attorney General to Withhold, The Austin Bulldog, March 18, 2011

The Austin Bulldog Files Lawsuit to Compel Compliance With the Law: Mayor and City Council Members Not in Compliance With Statutes for Public Information, Records Retention, The Austin Bulldog, March 2, 2011

Council Member Bill Spelman Goes On the Record About Private Meetings, The Austin Bulldog, February 20, 1011

Open records flub snares 2, Statesman archives, January 27, 2011

Open Meetings, Closed Minds: Private Meetings to Discuss Public Business Shows Austin City Council May Be Violating Open Meetings Act, The Austin Bulldog, January 25, 2011

Construction workers must get rest breaks, City Council says, Statesman archives, July 30, 2010

Council stance on immigration inspires men to file claims, Statesman archives, July 24, 2010

Council OKs building water treatment plant, Statesman archives, October 23, 2009

Neighborhood investment idea holds promise, Statesman archives, September 26, 2009

Former council member has a new take on job, Statesman archives, April 13, 2009

Liveable City is its name; a better quality of life in Austin is its aim, Statesman archives, June 26, 2002

Doubts arise about police oversight plan, Statesman archives, February 25, 2001

Spelman won’t seek a second council term, Statesman archives, February 14, 2000

The police and public oversight, Statesman archive, May 5, 1999

Council rookies easing their way into issues, Statesman archives, October 2, 1997

Spelman’s salary goes back to the city: State law bars UT professor from collecting compensation as City Council member, Statesman archives, September 17, 1997

Racism alleged in commission appointments: Planning Commission change leaves no Hispanic members, Statesman archives, August 15, 1997

Eastside issues are priority for “green” City Council, Statesman archives, July 23, 1997

Rocker, real estate put cash in runoff, Statesman archives, May 29, 1997

Place 5 candidates give views, Statesman archives, April 17, 1997

UT professor joins City Council race: Spelman’s Place 5 candidacy further undercuts past ethnic conventions, Statesman archives, February 25, 1997

ACC adds Spelman’s name to trustee ballot, Statesman archives, April 5, 1996

ACC candidate takes case to high court; Texas Supreme Court to decide if Spelman can be on ballot despite missing signature on a form, Statesman archive, April 4, 1996

Editor Ken Martin contributed to this article.

This report was made possible by contributions to The Austin Bulldog, which operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to provide investigative reporting in the public interest. You can help sustain this kind of reporting by making a tax-deductible contribution.

Congratulations. It looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the end of articles. Now that you’re informed on this topic we want your feedback.

Related Content

Austin City Manager: Dallas discard vs Austin retread

Council members make policy. The city manager’s job is to implement those policies. A great city manager can get that done and keep the ship...

Will lawsuit blow up Project Connect train tracks?

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit Dirty Martin’s et al v. Mayor Kirk Watson et al claim they’re victims of a bait-and-switch scheme because Project Connect...

Austin city manager finalist Platt drops out

Kansas City TV station KMBC 9 News reported this morning that the City Council of Kansas City last night voted for Mayor Quinton Lucas...



What's really going on in government?

Keep up with the best investigative reporting in Austin.

Donate to the Bulldog

Our critical accountability journalism wouldn't be possible without the generous donations of hundreds of Austinites. Join them and become a supporter today!