Just after 10am on Monday, May 14, Austin City Council Member Bill Spelman stepped behind the podium in the press conference room at Austin City Hall. To his left stood Council Member Chris Riley and Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole. Spelman and Cole were fresh off re-election victories; Spelman managed to avoid a run-off in a very crowded field, and Cole defeated her sole opponent by roughly 40 points. The singular mix of celebration and relief that accompanies victory was palpable. But not just because of the election. After 18 years without council action, two years of preparation, several crowded weeks of tedious public work sessions, and – at that point still – no clear end in sight, Spelman, Cole, and Riley were putting forward their vision of what it would take to save Austin Energy.

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