The Austin American Statesman Editorial Board, in their October 20th editorial, urged the Austin City Council to “push the Code Next pause button until concerns are addressed”. They wrote “forging ahead as public trust is collapsing only will widen an information gap that already threatens to engulf the process.”
Remarkably, the Editorial Board continued, “The decision over CodeNext should be made by Austin’s 10-1 council, elected from districts to represent neighborhoods and their interests. But if the council continues to display a tin ear, no one can blame Austin residents for opting for a referendum on CodeNext.”
We wonder if the Mayor or Councilmember Ann Kitchen even read the editorial.
Recently, at a community meeting with Kitchen and Mayor Steve Adler, the Mayor attempted to make a case that the CodeNEXT petition could undermine the 10-1 system for geographic representation.
Also at this meeting Ms. Kitchen said, “CodeNEXT is not an appropriate question for a petition.”
Is it possible that Adler and Kitchen don’t remember just how, after 6 failures at the polls, Austinites finally won geographic representation and the first independent citizens redistricting commission in the state of Texas?
It was a petition to force a public vote supported by a broad spectrum of organizations in Austin who had little agreement on anything else but geographic representation. Because citizens petitions are only allowed at the municipal level in Texas, they are a limited tool but unquestionably our most powerful tool. This is why politicos will give deference to them while trying to stop them.
Do you think that Ann Kitchen forgot that she fought 10-1 by insisting on the so-called “8-2-1” plan? That plan included unrepresentative at-large districts and would have allowed the Council to draw their own districts. This plan was simply put on the ballot by the Council. Citizens had to gather 20,000 valid signatures to ensure ballot access for 10-1.
The truth is that both these politicos’ careers benefited from 10-1. Kitchen’s career was in fact revived by 10-1. Alder claimed the mantle of the “10-1 Council” when he won election in 2014, though he lifted not a finger to help.
We are here to tell you the truth and nothing but the truth.
Truthfully, the “10-1 Council” has a number of members who are desperately seeking a project — any project — that they can use to show the world that they’re doing something – anything — about affordability.
The truth is that there is that affordability in Austin has already collapsed and it will continue to do so unless and until we address the driving force of the problem – a convluted morass of policies, practices and programs to subsidize unfettered growth. (For more on the central Texas growth machine, go here.)
Keep your eyes on Amazon, but get your feet and mouth going on CodeNEXT.
We need more petitions signed and we need funds to ensure you have the right to vote on CodeNEXT.
Linda Curtis is one of many thousands priced out of Austin over the last 15 years and lives in Bastrop, Texas.