The Opticos Team developing this major overhaul of Austin’s land development code, promised to get ‘er done for $2 million. Last Thursday, the Council majority gave Opticos $2 million more – for a new total of $8 million. What did they produce? CodeWreck, according to ace planner Jim Duncan.
Duncan, a nationally renowned planning consultant who lives in Austin, gave the city all kinds of advice on how to streamline the code that determine what can be build where in the city. Duncan’s plan allows for more density…but within reason. But the perpetual hogs at the public trough in the real estate lobby (read: land speculators) have apparently decided they wanted it all – density and sprawl.
Now we have 1387 pages — about the length of War and Peace — indicating monumental disrespect for the citizens of Austin. This is why we want to let Austin decide by putting CodeNEXT on the ballot for a public vote.
Ready to Print out that CodeNEXT petition, go here ===>> Mail it or bring it to us at any upcoming events on our “Find Us” page.
What does this spell for Austin? San Francisco at least has rent control. Oh, did we mention that Opticos is San Francisco based?
More on CodeNEXT organizing here in The Austin Bulldog.
We are canceling our “Turn In, Tune In” event tomorrow (Friday October 20, 2017) AND inviting you instead to join us for Community Not Commodity’s: Surviving CodeNEXT Rally at City Hall next Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 5:30 to 8 pm. Event Details here. Or share this flier SURVIVING CodeNEXT RALLY Oct. 24, 2017.
IndyAustin’s own David Jones will be one of the speakers. David is a renter. Since 2003, he has advocated for other renters, only to see how the city’s pedal-to-the-metal growth policies continue driving modest income residents out. He’s also one of the nicest guys on the planet.
IndyAustin’s David and Linda Curtis, who was priced out of Austin in 2002, will be petitioning together at the Gay Pride Fest this Saturday, October 21, 2017, from noon to 7 pm at Fiesta Gardens. Look for The Papoose Petition Wagon. (see below)
Papoose is the model name for this Scotsman vintage trailer Indy Austin uses as its petition wagon.
Come on now – homeowners and renters alike: print out the CodeNEXT petition here and bring it to either event!
In this newsletter (click on these links):
Enjoy, y’all, but don’t forget those petitions — democracy is not a spectator sport! They’re all on our home page.
Without further ado, the growth machine cometh.
Click on Groucho to watch our favorite video, Hot Air Adler.
IndyAustin is fighting for your right to vote on the big-ticket items like CodeNEXT — yes, Vote YES, on Prop J! (Have you seen our Yes on J video?!)
IndyAustin will continue to fight for your right to vote on the $100s of millions in property tax exemptions for the sucker-soccer stadium. (Go here to our petition page).
There needs to be a regional movement to stop the destructive plans of the central Texas growth machine.
Those plans include bringing the “California Water Model” to Central Texas. They want to continue to build a megalopolis between Williamson and Bexar counties with water exported out of the eastern rural counties.
Did the growth machine not notice that California is now trying to reverse 50-years of such disastrous groundwater policy?
As we wrote earlier, Austin has been pushing hyper-growth for a long time. The comprehensive land development code overhaul known as CodeNEXT was not about reasonable density, it’s about the real estate machine wanting both density and sprawl, they want it all.
Are we being unfair to Mayor Steve Adler?
In this video “I Oppose the San Antone Hose,” at about 1-minute, learn about Adler’s presentation at the 2015 Growth Summit in San Marcos. He bragged about Austin being the fastest growing city in the U.S..This is despite making affordability out of reach for the many, evidenced by the exodus of the African-American population. Adler was egging on then San Antonio Mayor, Ivy Taylor, in front of the growth lobby. She soon got the boot from San Antonio voters.
Fact is that no city could keep up with competition of scorched earth growth policies going on now between the cities of Austin and San Antonio. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg is hysterical to stop three San Antonio Firefighter-led ballot measures (Props A, B and C). Prop A — reasonable petition requirements for referenda (a petition for a public vote to reverse Council decisions) is in the bullseye. The growth machine has amassed a $2 million+ war chest to shoot down all three props. They are working overtime to protect their investment in the destructive $3.4B Vista Ridge “San Antone Hose” (See San Antonio First site here.)
Have you seen those anti-Prop J ads/signs saying, “Don’t Trump Austin?” Truth is that IF The Donald were involved – and he isn’t – he is famously, a high-rise developer, and therefore more likely to support the anti-Prop J pro-growth machine people making these manipulative claims.
Just remember what this is really about —
ending public votes via the petition process.
It’s also about dazing and confusing Austin while cashing in on Austin’s affordability crisis.
Give Adler and his manipulators in the growth machine the boot!
Vote Yes on Prop J. (More here at Let Us Vote Austin site here.)
Join us on the petition trails! Call us at 512.535.0989 or email us at contact@IndyAustin.org.
Remember Austn is not just one big real estate play. Some of us are actually trying to live here.
Here’s where we parked information about our gaffe on Monday, including our apology sent directly to Mayor Steve Adler. And we meant it.
That’s what San Antonio sensibly told Amazon.
Is reasonable to ask why a private trade organization was reported by the Statesman today – namely, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce — to have “submitted the city’s proposal for Amazon’s H2Q project”?
Are we being picky to ask what are the real implications of bringing 50,000 new employees (not including others they bring with them) to Austin?
Is it unreasonable to ask Mayor Steve Adler to live up to his pledge to support a 90% local hiring requirement for companies receiving tax subsidies from the city? (He made that pledge in 2014 to ChangeAustin.org.)
Here’s what our own former Travis County Judge, Bill Aleshire, had to say about this “deal”. Thanks Bill, for continuing to tell us the truth – it’s about making growth pay for itself, just like developer whistle-blowers Brian Rodgers and Ed Wendler, Jr. tried to tell those land speculators for years who now want it all – density and sprawl:
Amazon’s 300,000 reasons to sign CodeNEXT Petition
CNBC sites studies that have found that Amazon-sized tech companies create a “clustering effect.” This clustering, estimates conclude, could add 300,000 people and to Austin. That’d be an additional quarter million on top of the 50,000 employees that’d work in HQ2.
How would this be good for Austin? Everyone knows it wouldn’t. That is, everyone but Mayor Steve Adler, the Greater Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Austin Growth Machine. The Growth Machine is an informal network of real estate entrepreneurs, Austin politicians, and organizations dedicated to Austin’s hyper-in-migration growth.
Rejecting Amazon, San Antonio’s Mayor Ron Nirenberg saw the truth. Meanwhile, Austin Mayor Steve Adler to the Austin Monitor that we need “more conversation” about inviting Amazon here. He has left the door open for the Austin Chamber to woo Bezos.
Read what a Seattle resident recently wrote about Amazon, the home of its first headquarters to warn us about H2Q:
“I hope that cities eager to lure Amazon’s second headquarters are ready for the Amazon fallout we’ve experienced in Seattle, skyrocketing housing costs that push residents out of the home buying and rental markets; worsening traffic gridlock; an increased gap between the rich, middle class and poor; and the dulling of any unique local character that the city is desperately trying to retain,” Susan Fairoof, Seattle Times letter to the editor published Sept. 15.
What CodeNEXT and Amazon Share
Both “deals,” Amazon and CodeNEXT, invoke that wicked “g” word: gentrification. Meaning the displacement of poor, modest income and elderly people. But what we’re hearing most from folks signing the petition for the right to vote on CodeNEXT is the other “g” word: growth. While the city obsesses over bringing the world here, it is driving Austin mad. But when we just mention Amazon coming to Austin, they all but dive into hissy fit.
If Amazon decides to land in Austin and Austinites win the right to vote on CodeNEXT in November, the City may ready for a mass voter revolt. And the City’s continued fight against transparency makes voter revolt even more likely. Read this week’s The Austin Bulldog, City of Austin Fighting Transparency.
CodeNEXT’s Third Draft Due Out on Monday
CodeNEXT’s third and last draft is due for release on Monday, February 12. But this the Chronicle’s article “CodeNEXT: Outlook Bleak” highlighted gridlock due to decision-making among city commission appointees. Now, what might be the city’s solution? Though we won’t wager on Amazon coming to Austin, how’d you like to bet on the City bulldozing their commissioners and the rest of us on CodeNEXT? That is why, our best advice to you, dear Austin, is volunteer and bring your clipboards.
State Senator Kirk Watson and Austin Mayor Steve Adler
Adler’s Tutor Kirk Watson
Steve Adler has taken from Kirk Watson’s playbook. He says one thing to your face, while working behind the scenes, having others do the dirty work for him. While running for Mayor in 1997, Watson worked behind the scenes (unsuccessfully) to stop the citizen’s petition for campaign finance reform. We called it Austinites for a Little Less Corruption. Since Watson kept his fingerprints off all evidence, you’ll have to trust us, he was on the scene. Now, finally, Watson’s serious improprieties at Central Health have come to light. Serious wrong-doing has been alleged. It’s now in court. The Austin Bulldog puts the bite on it here.
It took city watchdogs about a decade to discover that Kirk Watson institutionalized open government violations at the City of Austin. Instead the “walking quorum” blew up on Mayor Lee Leffingwell, not Watson.
Handling CodeNEXT and Amazon, Adler again took a page from Watson’s playbook. While Austinites fight among themselves, density versus sprawl, really the growth machine wants it all. Although Adler repeatedly says he doesn’t support CodeNEXT yet, he opposes your right to vote on it. He says, “we need more conversation” about Amazon coming to Austin. See the Austin Monitor’s Whispers. Meanwhile, it appears that Adler has let the Austin Chamber operate behind closed doors to woo Amazon.
Amazon meets Austin Closed Government
Amazon is requiring that cities sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. This media report indicates that these NDAs, “largely bar them from revealing anything to the public about the next steps in the search process.” Given how often the City violates the Texas Open Meetings Act, even the behemoth Amazon should worry.
Aleshire Files Public Information Requests
Therefore open government attorney, Bill Aleshire, on behalf of IndyAustin, has filed these public information requests with the City of Austin. We believe the city must provide by February 16th:
- A copy of any record (minutes, correspondence, resolutions, press releases, etc.) that shows action taken by the Austin City Council or by the Mayor or Council members individually to authorize, endorse, or coordinate with the City government any bid for Amazon to locate here, and
- A copy of any Non-Disclosure Agreements regarding Amazon’s HQ2 offices signed by any City of Austin official or employee.
Hey Austin, quit smoking the growth weed
Do this, dear Austin!
It’s for our own good.
You can also print out the petition, or order one mailed to you—all from this page.
- You can also contact Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos (at Jeff@Amazon.com). Warn him about getting Amazon stuck in the middle of a local and very heated battle between Austin voters and their government.
Rodgers and Wendler made the destructive ways of the Austin Growth Machine very understandable for us. Lots of their work is parked at the League of Independent Voters Cost of Growth page here.
Read Bill Aleshire’s September 2017 Commentary: Austin tax incentives in the Austin American-Statesman.
For background on a local hiring requirement for companies receiving subsidies from the City, read our recent Klep Blog piece: “Message to Adler – Stop Smoking the Growth Weed”.
Austin, take back your town.