Petitioners filed suit yesterday seeking a Writ of Mandamus.
Representing us all, petitioners filed suit seeking a court to order the City of Austin to put the petition for your right to vote on CodeNEXT on the November ballot. This request for a Writ of Mandamus is very clear. It reiterates what we have told you all along. That is that the Council is obligated to put the measure on the ballot, without judgement.
Pay attention to these two words — “ministerial duty,” defined in Webster’s Legal Dictionary as:
A ministerial act or duty is a function performed without the use of judgment by the person performing the act or duty.
Now, IF the Council were to use their judgement on placing the petition on the ballot, they could have done so on their first vote. But the majority chose not to. And, at today’s final hearing on CodeNEXT, the Council members who are really listening can plainly see what’s going on. Austinites are very divided on CodeNEXT and likely mostly opposed to it. Is this why the majority has a listening problem?
Here is the list of speakers at today’s hearing. See the line up?
Total Citizens: 231
You can watch it here LIVE or if you miss it, go to the Archives.
Petitioners filed suit yesterday seeking an expedited case in Travis County District Court. And the petition signers Nelson Linder, Susana Almanza, Jane Rivera, Gilbert Rivera, Michael Hebert, Jeff Jack, Mary Ingle, and D. Lauren Ross, Ph.D., put their names forward to represent us all. This most importantly includes the nearly 26,000 verified voters who signed as certified by the Austin City Clerk on April 23.
We all owe many thanks to attorneys Fred Lewis and Bill Bunch (of Save Our Springs Alliance) for their efforts. Moreover, we appreciate how fast y’all moved!
Petitioners filed suit to defend democracy that we wrote here about last week.
Please volunteer with us by filling this out or just call us at 512.535.0989. Thank you all!
In the wee hours of the morning at 2 am the so-called “10-1 Council” majority brought new meaning to the term impervious cover.
Action Request: Given that 6 out of 10 Council members voted down the first of their 3 options for your right to vote on CodeNEXT, please take these two steps:
After you read this message, please contact the Mayor and appropriate Council member to either thank them or put them on notice.
Get out to the hearing tomorrow on CodeNEXT.
Mayor Adler and Council Members Kitchen, Casar, Flannigan, Renteria and Garza — voted to close the door on 1 of 3 steps the Council can take to do ensure Austin voters’ right to vote on CodeNEXT. That’s right. It ain’t over yet.
Four courageous Council members – Leslie Pool, Ora Houston, Allison Alter and Mayor Pro-Tem Kathie Tovo, stood truth to power. They voted to simply adopt the ordinance put forth in the CodeNEXT petition and give the voters a waiting period to review and then vote on whatever the Council passes on CodeNEXT (Read the petition here). Ellen Troxclair, having just had a baby, was unable to be present.
Mind you, standing up to this was not easy, given that City Legal brought in their outside attorney Robert Heath. The Mayor gave Heath early speaking privileges at 7:50 pm. Seen here – scroll down to Item 90 Part 1. The rest of us petitioners had to sit and wait until 2 am.
But who really took the cake was Councilmember Ann Kitchen. Kitchen, if you remember, led the battle to counter 10-1 with another plan that eliminated the first independent citizens redistricting commission in Texas. She lost that one. In this case, Kitchen boldly claimed that the CodeNEXT petition is “illegal,” so much as accusing her four colleagues that they were voting for an illegal petition. Thankfully, Councilmember Allison Alter diplomatically called Kitchen on it.
Note: It is not widely known that Kitchen is conflicted out on leading the charge against your right to vote on CodeNEXT. Her husband, Mark Yznaga, was a paid consultant on CodeNEXT. Yznaga showed up a little before 2 am to watch all of this.
Now for impervious cover in the wee hours
Bill Bunch of Save Our Springs in the wee hours speaks truth to power on the right to vote on CodeNEXT petition
Watch the 2 am testimony and pay close attention to Bill Bunch of Save Our Springs Alliance — scroll down to Item 90 Part 2 – scr. Bill points out that the same stonewalling by the City Council back in 1992 when the Council failed to keep the SOS initiative off the ballot. Bunch points out that Kitchen was there — on the side of the petitioners! Bunch also points out that calling it “illegal” to keep it off the ballot is not an option. The courts can only act when a petition is actually passed.
The Council’s Only Legal Options
The Council has to place one of these two options on the ballot: 1) the measure we petitioned for – our actual petition language, or 2) our petition language alongside the Council’s own counter proposal. Remember, the Council did that on 10-1. Austin voters passed 10-1, not the Council’s version.
Are you aware that three of the Council members who voted last night to “dis” as in disembowel your petition rights, Adler, Kitchen and Renteria are up for reelection in November? Though IndyAustin cannot, as a specific purpose PAC, tell you who to vote for we can encourage good people to step up and run.
There is plenty of time, by the way. The filing period for candidates to run for Mayor and Council in November starts on Monday, July 23, 2018. The last day a candidate may file is Monday, August 20, 2018 at 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, we will likely witness some on the Council continue digging a grave in the wee hours for your small “d” democratic right to vote. Geographic representation via “10-1” was just the beginning and not a panacea. Voters are going to have to keep stepping up to take back their town. The right to vote on CodeNEXT is your next opportunity.
We have just issued a Cease and Desist Warning to the Mayor, City Council, City Attorney and City Manager for interfering with the rights of citizens to petition on public property last Saturday – the Austin Public Library. The letter is signed by our attorney, Bill Aleshire, and two additional highly qualified attorneys, Fred Lewis and Bill Bunch.
We strongly feel that the city is now in violation of your constitutional right to voter initiative that is in the city charter itself! This initiative is for the right to vote on CodeNEXT.
On Saturday, petitioners collecting signatures for your right to vote on CodeNEXT were forced to leave library property or be cited for trespassing.
The library staffers are not to blame. The directive came from higher ups in the Austin Library System.
What does the content of the petition have to do with this, if petitioning itself is a barred activity?
But don’t get mad, Austin – get even. The only productive way to do that is to help us complete this petition drive.
If everyone receiving this message gets just a few signatures, we will swamp the city with petitions when we file in mid to late March.
Early Voting Polls: Tues. Feb 20 thru Friday, March 2
But try to reach us first at 512-657-2089 or send a message to contact@IndyAustin.org
(Please Note: You must remain outside the 100 foot markers at the polls, be polite and, in no way, interfere with voters. Therefore, we want you to ask them to sign on the way out of the voting poll.)
We can do this, Austin. That’s how we did 10-1 in 2014 and we’ll do it again with CodeNEXT in 2018!
Join IndyAustin folks at this event put on by Community Not Commodity. Our own David Jones will be speaking at this event!
David is a longtime health and wellness advocate, a renter himself who advocates or Austin renters.
Join us outside Austin City Hall for a rally in protest of the controversial CodeNEXT process! Free food & drink and music by Bill Oliver. Admission is free. Wear black and tell the Austin City Council to protect our neighborhoods!
Speakers will include:
P.O.D.E.R., Community and Environmental Activist
Executive Director, Save Our Springs Alliance
President, Austin NAACP
CARMEN LLANES PULIDO
Executive Director, GO! Austin / VAMOS! Austin (GAVA)
ED WENDLER, JR.