| In a stunning announcement this afternoon, the City of Austin revealed that the races for the new 10-1 City Council will no longer be decided by traditional voting, but instead by hand-to-hand combat between candidates.
"The decision came about because we just had too many candidates to feasibly organize an election," said a city spokesperson. "This way, the process of elimination will be much easier."
City officials were reportedly inspired by the "Hunger Games" novels, a series in which individuals from different districts are forced to fight to the death for supremacy in the near-dystopian future.
"They've got districts with candidates who fight, and so do we. It just seemed like the logical next step," the city spokesperson said.
City Council candidates' reactions have been mixed, with some excited about the change and others worried about the effect it will have on representation.
Read the reactions from candidates and council watchers after the jump.
|Sergio Fernandez, a graphic designer who recently declared his candidacy in District 4, was dubious about the idea. "I just worry that this change sends the wrong message about democracy to the people of Austin," Fernandez said. "People will think that only the physically strong can make policy decisions, and that should really be open to everyone. The 10-1 redesign was a good step because it meant literally anyone could run for City Council, but I'm not so sure about this one."
District 6 candidate Riya Joshi, a sales clerk and self-declared neighborhood activist, seemed optimistic about the changes. "I could totally win at the Hunger Games," she told BOR. "I may not look strong but I'm nimble. I once tricked my little brother into jumping off a swing and he sprained his ankle. Not only did he get in trouble, but my parents thought I took such good care of him that they raised my allowance. This shows that I've got the guts to win and the campaign experience to lobby for better things for the people of Austin."
Duane "Mac" Ryder, a barista at the Starbucks on 38th and North Lamar, said he's still "seriously considering" a run to represent District 9, and he's not yet sure how the new election structure will impact his decision. "On the one hand, I have gotten into a lot of bar fights, which means I could do pretty well in combat," said Ryder. "On the other hand, I still need to weigh my options and figure out if running is what's best for the people of Austin."
Longtime council watcher Zach Lockwood said he's altogether unsurprised by this latest development in the City Council race. "With all the disorganization around the Council redesign, it makes sense that they'd want to impose some order on the situation. Plus, the 'Hunger Games' are really popular right now, so this is a great way to spike interest in municipal politics."
Lockwood's position may still be wishful thinking, however. When asked about the changes to the election structure, Austin resident Judy Saunders was indifferent. Said Saunders, "What? Oh, that's cool I guess. But, yeah, I probably still won't show up."
This is an April Fools' Day post. Unfortunately, it is not true. But imagine if it were!