A YES vote on City of Austin propositions 5 through 9 is a vote for good government. These five ballot propositions will provide transparency and accountability, and increase fairness and parity into our governing system. We encourage Burnt Orange Report readers to vote YES on all of them.
Proposition 5 will amend the charter to formally declare that council members hire and manage their own staffs. Technically, that power currently lies in the hands of the City Manager. This will formalize the actual council staff management process and increase transparency and accountability.
Proposition 6 moves the City Attorney from the control of the City Manager to the City Council. This is an important step for accountability here in Austin. Currently the City Attorney cannot be directly fired by Council even if the person disobeys a directive from our elected officials. Instead, the City Attorney reports to the City Manager. Given issues that have arisen with various City Attorneys over the last decade, it is important that council members — who are accountable to the voters — have an attorney representing the city who is accountable to them.
Proposition 7 brings citizen-initiated ordinances and referendums in line with the number needed for charter amendments. Currently, it is easier to gather enough signatures to amend the city charter — the most significant document in our municipal governance — than it is to gather enough to force a public vote on an ordinance or referendum. This is a boon to citizen engagement and will lower barriers to more citizen-driven reforms.
Proposition 8 allows city council members to continue to raise funds for 30 days after the election date. The practical effect will be to decrease the amount of campaign debt that council members carrying from cycle to cycle.
Proposition 9 will allow our city to help our public schools, by granting the city the ability to lease parkland to an independent school district for park purposes. This is wonky and procedural but given the tragic underfunding of our public schools by the Legislature, it is a critical move that will provide more mechanisms to help our cash-strapped ISD's.
Burnt Orange Report endorses a YES vote on City of Austin Propositions 5 through 9.
Early Voting: Monday October 22 – Friday November 2 — Election Day: Tuesday, November 6
Click here for a map of Travis County Early Voting Locations. For all other counties, please contact your County Clerk's office.
Endorsements are made based on a weighted consensus of the staff, which guides the type and tone of endorsement. Members of the Burnt Orange Report staff employed by campaigns abstain from voting on those races.