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SXSW Forever 27: The Community Responds & The City Reviews


by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 02:18 PM CDT

The Events that took place during SXSW 2014 entered the festival into a dark but elite club known as "Forever 27." A group whose members saw untimely death come in their 27th year. For SXSW though, it is an opportunity to reflect on the events that transpired leaving at least 3 dead and how the iconic festival can continue to grow with the city without future incident.

Like the festival itself the news of the tragedy was international as well was the outpouring of community support for the victims and their families. Blood, money and fellowship were among the many ways Austin and the patrons of SXSW have shown their respects to the victims and their friends and families. City officials are also looking at public safety policies regarding large scale events of which Austin has many, and local music promoters and fans are organizing efforts that will keep the momentum of recovery going.

More below the jump...

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President Obama Lays Out His "Climate Action Plan", Austin City Council Members Step Up


by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 05:00 PM CDT

Texas will be a deep red state for a while, but it's not why you think. According to the White House, 2012 was the "warmest year on record for the U.S.", with 356 record high temperatures tied or broken. In 2011, Texas broke 327 heat records with over 100 days in a row of over 100 degrees fahrenheit. That's partly why the President has announced he will be working with localities to address the effects of climate change.

The heat is being felt and the message is being heard deep in the heart of Texas, where Austin city councilmen Mike Martinez and Chris Riley along with health professionals, environmentalists and concerned citizens will host a press conference Wednesday morning calling for "bold federal action on climate solutions."

Like immigration and marriage equality, climate change is becoming an issue that is too difficult reserve as red meat for primary voters while ignoring the general public's opinion and welfare. Rightwing corporatists and their elected counterparts, like Attorney General Greg Abbott like to cast environmentalists as "far-left eco-extremists" and job killers, but a new infographic by the White House shows how unsustainable our current energy policy actually is.

The cost of weather related disasters alone topped $100 Billion in 2012.

Click below the jump and see why this could be a wave Democrats could ride in 2014...

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Midyear 2013 Houston election update


by: kuff

Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:54 AM CDT

(Thanks to Kuff for this thorough preview of Houston's elections this November! - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Back in January, I took an early look at the 2013 elections in Houston. At the request of the folks at the Burnt Orange Report, who also printed my initial overview, here's an update on the races in the city of Houston in 2013. Join me beneath the fold for the goodies.
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Dallas Municipals: Where's the Money?


by: jvansickle

Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:26 PM CST

(Thanks to James van Sickle for this guest post! What are folks hearing about these races? Tell us in the comments! - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Now that January 15 has come and gone, the campaign finance reports are in for Dallas City Council candidates.  In this article we are going to be looking at some of the new faces that have announced their candidacy since our last blog post, plus review the reports filed with the Dallas City Secretary.  We will also briefly touch upon the Redistricting Trial that would affect the 2013 City Council maps.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am working with Delia Jasso (District 1) and Bobby Abtahi (District 14) as Data Manager and Technology Consultant.

Article Update (1/21/13): The original problem with Councilors Tennell Atkins and Carolyn Davis reports have been fixed so they are now visible online.  I have updated the table in this article to list their report totals.  City Hall Blog from the Dallas Morning News also published an article today stating that Ori Raphael is continuing his campaign.

Find out who's running and how much they have in the bank below the jump.

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A first look at Houston's 2013 elections


by: kuff

Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:57 AM CST

(Thanks to Charles Kuffner for this detailed first look into Houston's upcoming November elections.   - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Dist        Name     Cash on hand

 

=================================

Myr       Parker        1,281,657

Ctrl     R Green            9,983

AL 1    Costello           57,345

AL 2       Burks            3,160

AL 4    Bradford           20,590

AL 5    Christie           14,535

A          Brown           22,641

B          Davis           64,211

C          Cohen           45,597

F          Hoang            6,429

G     Pennington          119,951

H       Gonzalez           57,899

J         Laster           31,816

K        L Green            9,107

It is 2013, right? So while we have the SD06 special election and the new legislative session to worry about, it's not too early to start talking about the 2013 elections. Let's start with a peek at the campaign finance reports from last July of the Houston officeholders who will be on the ballot this November, at right.

I omitted the three Council members who are term-limited out (Melissa Noriega, Wanda Adams, and James Rodriguez), as well as newly-elected Dave Martin, since his July report would not be relevant. Normally there would have been five open seats this year, but with Mike Sullivan stepping down due to his successful candidacy for Tax Assessor and Jolanda Jones losing in 2011, there are only three vacancies, and as such there will likely be a stampede for those seats. But we'll get to that in a minute.

Below the jump, let's take a closer look at where the non-term limited incumbents are.

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Meanwhile back at the ranch: Dallas Municipals 2013


by: jvansickle

Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM CST

Now that the 2012 General Election is over (thank God!), the next big thing politically (at least for Dallas) are the upcoming 2013 May Municipal elections.  Just like my previous article from 2011, Dallas Municipal Elections Update, I wanted to take a moment to look at who is running and what the races look like right now.

Quick Dallas City Council Background

Dallas City Council is made up of 14 districted seats that run every 2 years. They are term-limited to 4 consecutive terms (8 years total) and earn $37,500 per year. Dallas Mayor, also known as Place 15, serves a 4 year term for a maximum 2 consecutive terms, and earns $60k per year. You can see a map of Dallas City Council Districts at Dallas County Elections website.

New Maps...err....maybe?

Thanks to redistricting in 2011, the City of Dallas now has new maps for its 14 City Council seats.  A fair amount of controversy was stirred up during redistricting about the number of Hispanic opportunity seats available.  Under the new maps, there are 4 Hispanic opportunity districts (Districts 1, 2, 5, & 6).  Some activists from the Hispanic community argued that the large Hispanic population growth justifies a fifth Hispanic opportunity district, but many African-American activists voiced concerns that such as district would be created at the expense of a one of their African-American opportunity districts and would result in retrogression.  The City of Dallas is currently being sued over the new map's hispanic districts.

Much like the State of Texas' redistricting battle, the arguments about maps with the City of Dallas can get complicated quickly.  Bill Betzen has written extensively about this fight on his blog, Dallas Redistricting 2011.  For this article, I will be focusing on upcoming City Council races based on the maps as they currently stand.  If the map lines change, then we will address how those adjustments affect the 2013 Municipal Elections at that time.

A Brief Review of Dallas City Councilors

The following table outlines the winners of Dallas City Council elections over the past 10 years.  Winners who also had a runoff election during a particular year are shaded in yellow; winners who ran unopposed during an election cycle are highlighted in blue.

Dallas
Incumbent
Past Election Winners
District
2013
2011
2009
2007
2005
2003
2001
1
Delia Jasso Delia Jasso Delia Jasso Elba Garcia Elba Garcia Elba Garcia Elba Garcia
2
*Open Seat* Pauline Medrano Pauline Medrano Pauline Medrano Pauline Medrano John Loza John Loza
3
Vonciel Hill** Scott Griggs David Neumann David Neumann Ed Oakley Ed Oakley Laura Miller
4
Dwaine Caraway Dwaine Caraway Dwaine Caraway Dwaine Caraway Maxine Reese Maxine Reese Maxine Reese
5
*Open Seat* Vonciel Hill Vonciel Hill Vonciel Hill Don Hill Don Hill Don Hill
6
Monica Alonzo Monica Alonzo Steve Salazar Steve Salazar Steve Salazar Steve Salazar Ed Oakley
7
Carolyn Davis Carolyn Davis Carolyn Davis Carolyn Davis Leo Chaney Leo Chaney Leo Chaney
8
Tennell Atkins Tennell Atkins Tennell Atkins Tennell Atkins James Fantroy James Fantroy James Fantroy
9
Sheffie Kadane Sheffie Kadane Sheffie Kadane Sheffie Kadane Gary Griffith Gary Griffith Mary Poss
10
Jerry Allen Jerry Allen Jerry Allen Jerry Allen Bill Blaydes Bill Blaydes Alan Walne
11
*Open Seat* Linda Koop Linda Koop Linda Koop Linda Koop Lois Finkelman Lois Finkelman
12
Sandy Greyson Sandy Greyson Ron Natinsky Ron Natinsky Ron Natinsky Sandy Greyson Sandy Greyson
13
*Open Seat* Ann Margolin Ann Margolin Mitch Rasansky Mitch Rasansky Mitch Rasansky Mitch Rasansky
14
*Open Seat* Angela Hunt Angela Hunt Angela Hunt Angela Hunt Veletta Lill Veletta Lill

** Vonciel Hill used to represent District 5, but redistricting will now have her in District 3.

Current Elections

Now that we have done a brief overview of City Council, redistricting, and past incumbents; let's take a look at the potential races that will be going on in the 2013 May Municipal Elections.

District 1 (Delia Jasso vs. Scott Griggs)

District 1 encompasses Oak Cliff and Kessler Park, and has the largest concentration of Hispanic voters (79%).  Under the new maps, current city council incumbents Delia Jasso (District 1) and Scott Griggs (District 3) both got drawn into the same district.  Neither has so far indicated that they are NOT running so we could have two sitting councilors fighting for the same seat.

Delia Jasso has represented District 1 since 2007, and succeeded County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia who was term-limited out.  Scott Griggs was elected in 2009, and has gained some popularity with his outspoken anti-fracking stance.  Both councilors have good backgrounds in helping their communities, and the fact they may now have to fight each other over a city council seat is a truly sad outcome of these new maps.

I should note for full disclosure that I worked with both candidates in their elections and re-elections.

District 2 (formerly Pauline Medrano, Open Seat)

For the past 8 years, District 2 has been represented by Pauline Medrano.  In the past two elections, Pauline's incumbency was challenged by William "Billy" MacLeod whom she handily defeated on both occasions.  It is unclear if Billy MacLeod will make a third attempt to run for District 2 now that Pauline is term-limited out of this election.  Adam Medrano, nephew to Pauline Medrano, has been rumored for years by local activists to be considering a run for the office as Pauline's successor.  Adam currently represents District 8 on the Dallas ISD Board, and was first elected in 2006.  So far Adam has not made any formal announcement of running so it remains to be seen what he will do.

Herschel Weisfeld, an openly gay real estate developer, has already announced his intention to run for District 2 in the upcoming election as mentioned by the Dallas Voice.  District 2 covers a large section of the LGBT community in Oak Lawn.  However, in 2006, Dallas' Stonewall Democrats endorsed Pauline Medrano over LGBT community member Monica Barros-Greene citing Pauline's support of the LGBT issues and community.

Ricky Gonzales filed a Treasurer Appointment with the Dallas City Secretary.  I do not have much information on Ricky at this time, but did find that he posted an online notice seeking a volunteer web developer for the campaign.

Open seat elections easily draw four or more candidates so it remains to be seen who else announces for this seat.

District 5 (former Vonciel Hill, Open Seat)

District 5 is an open seat election under the new map.  Scott Griggs of District 3 was drawn into District 1, and Vonciel Hill formerly of District 5 now resides in the new District 3.  District 5 has been drawn as a Hispanic opportunity district in the area of Dallas known as Pleasant Grove.  At this time, I have not heard of any candidates that have formerly announced to run for this new seat and no one has yet filed a Treasurer Appointment with the Dallas City Secretary.

District 10 (incumbent Jerry Allen, fourth term)

District 10 is represented by Jerry Allen who will be running for his fourth and final term.  Jerry has a distinction of being unopposed during his first election, and then opposed in every election since.  It more common for candidates to fight a contested race the first time and then run unopposed in subsequent elections.

District 10 resident Matthew Shuman has filed a Treasurer Appointment for District 10.  Matt is a 30 year old resident with sporadic voting history (2008 & 2004 General, no Primary or Municipal).

District 11 (formerly Linda Koop, Open Seat)

District 11 remains largely unchanged from its previous incarnation, and is the second most northern council district of Dallas.  District 11 covers the heavily Jewish areas of Preston Hollow represented by Jason Villalba (State House 114); plus neighborhoods surrounding the Galleria represented by Stefanie Carter (State House 102).  Some followers of Dallas Council politics have suggested that Lois Finkelman is considering a possible run to replace Linda Koop who is term-limited out.  Lois has previously served 8 years on the Dallas City Council, Park Board President, and was appointed to head the city's Gas Drilling Task Force.

District 13 (formerly Ann Margolin, Open Seat)

Current incumbent Ann Margolin was elected in 2009 in the most expensive city council race in the City of Dallas.  The Dallas Morning News reported on Sunday that Ann Margolin had announced she would not be seeking re-election in 2013.  It is unclear exactly who will run to replace her in this district, or whether Brint Ryan may take another stab at running.  Brint currently serves as Finance Chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party and CEO of Ryan LLC, a global tax services firm.  District 13 is composed almost entirely of the Preston Hollow, and its Councillor would represent such local celebrities as former President George W. Bush, Ross Perot, Mark Cuban, and Roger Staubach.

District 14 (formerly Angela Hunt, Open Seat)

In 2011, Angela Hunt was often mentioned as a possible contender for the open mayoral seat vacated by Tom Leppert so he could make his ill-fated bid of United State Senate.  Angela opted to run for her fourth and final term representing District 14, instead.  District 14 has a number of potential candidates that could potentially make this one of the more crowded races of 2013.  I should note for full disclosure that I worked as Angela Hunt's Data Manager for her re-election campaign in 2011.

Here is a breakdown of announced or potential candidates:

Jim Rogers: Jim gets listed first since he announced in 2011 before it became clear Angela was not going to run for Mayor.  Once Angela chose to run for District 14, Jim Rogers changed his plans to run in 2013 when Angela's term expired.  Jim is a lawyer by trade, and one of the founding members of the Byran Place Neighborhood Association.

Philip Kingston: Philip Kingston informed the Dallas Morning News on October 10 that he was running after filing a Treasurer appointment with the City of Dallas.  Philip is also a lawyer, and also served as Angela Hunt's campaign treasurer.  Paul Sims, Angela's husband, is acting as Philip's treasurer.

Judy Liimatainen: Judy Liimatainen has also filed a treasurer appointment with the City of Dallas.  She is a board member for the Greenland Hills Neighborhood Association.

Robert Abtahi: Rumors have been circulating that Robert Abtahi, who currently sits on the city's Plan Commission, is considering a possible run.  Robert is an attorney who graduated from Southern Methodist University, and also served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Dallas.

James Nowlin: James Nowlin ran against Angela Hunt in 2011, and was the second highest voter getting (27%) in a four person race.  James dissolved his campaign committee in 2010, but does still live in District 14 under the new maps.  It remains to be seen if James decides to try running again in this open seat election.

Looking ahead at 2015


The Municipal Elections for 2015 could be an interesting year as well assuming that many of the current incumbents seek and win re-election this cycle.  In 2015, 6 city councilors (Vonciel Hill, Dwaine Caraway, Carolyn Davis, Tennell Atkins, Sheffie Kadane, and Jerry Allen) will be term-limited out of office plus Mayor Mike Rawlings will be up for re-election.
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Dallas County 2012 Municipal Elections


by: jvansickle

Thu Mar 29, 2012 at 02:15 PM CDT

(Dallas County will be holding municipal and school board elections this May. Here with a preview of what's going on not just in Dallas but also the surrounding communities is reader and Vendor Page listee James Van Sickle!   - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

While everyone's attention seems to be focused on either the Presidential or Primary elections, Dallas County will have quite a few non-partisan elections on May 12th. Early voting will begin April 30th to May 8th. You can find a list of Early Voting Locations using this link to the Dallas County's Elections Department.

The majority of the mayoral and city council elections are for small towns and suburbs that form the outline of Dallas County. Cities with municipal elections on the 2011 ballot include Addison, Balch Springs, Carrollton, Cockrell Hill, Coppell, DeSoto, Duncanville, Farmer's Branch, Garland, Glenn Heights, Grand Prairie, Highland Park, Hutchins, Irving, Lancaster, Mesquite, Sachse, Seagoville, Sunnyvale, University Park, and Wilmer. These municipalities range in size from large cities such as Grand Prairie and Irving to towns that encompass little more than a single voting precinct like Cockrell Hill.

I won't be going into too much detail for each race in every town, and am focusing on two hot areas of contention.

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AISD Votes Unanimously to Move Trustee Elections to November


by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 04:50 PM CDT

In a widely expected move the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees has voted, unanimously, to move their elections to November. Board members cited the cost savings in holding an election jointly with ACC as well as taking advantage of increased turnout. The change would move not only the 2012 election date, but all future trustee elections to November of even numbered years. Terms for members in districts 2, 3, 5, & 8 will be extended by six months. Representing those districts are Sam Guzmán, Christine Brister, Mark Williams, and Annette LoVoi (at-large).

Board president Mark Williams stated the following in the Statesman.

"This will substantially increase voter turnout and significantly reduce cost for the district," Austin school board President Mark Williams said. "There's benefits in increasing access to voters, and part of a public school district is public involvement."

District 7 Trustee Robert Schneider said the following in an interview with KUT.

"If you look at the percentage of voters in May of even numbered years versus November of even numbered years, it's literally like ten percent or so on average for May versus fifty or sixty percent for November. I mean the more people you have involved and informed the better your process is going to be, so it was a very easy decision for me to make," Schneider told KUT News.

The move to November elections will save about $300,000 for the school district next year, while leaving the City of Austin as the sole entity holding and funding a May election to an estimated total of $1.25 million, not including another $500,000 for a June runoff. The current 2012 city budget only calls for spending $791,269 so additional funds are expected to be drawn from one of the city's emergency or reserve funds.

When asked about the increased cost to the City of Austin, councilmember Kathie Tovo, who voted to keep the May election date, stated the following in the Statesman.

"The city has held municipal elections without partners, for example this past spring," Council Member Kathie Tovo said in an interview.

Councilmember Tovo is referring to her own election this past spring, which included a runoff whose cost raised concerns by a number of her campaign's key supporters as well as herself in an interview with KXAN.

The cost of the runoff for taxpayers according to the city, $528,400, or $24 per expected vote.

"It certainly will cost the taxpayers a lot more than many of them would want to spend on a runoff election," Tovo said.

I had an opportunity to ask Councilmember Tovo about the costs during last week's council debate on the matter. She stated that she "never once raised a concern about the cost of having a runoff election." Our remarks begin at the 21:30 mark in the video below the fold.  

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75% of Austin Voters Prefer November for 2012 City Election


by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 11:52 PM CDT

The Austin City Council has made discussion of whether to move the 2012 municipal elections to November very short. Since we have not had a chance to gage the broader public's input on this issue, I'm excited to be able to bring you news that a poll has been conducted to find out.

In short, 75% of city voters prefer holding the 2012 municipal elections in November. Support runs broadly across partisan and local ideological lines. If you cannot see the press release below, click here. The margin of error is +/- 5.13%. The script is available here.  Crosstabs are available here.

Previously On Burnt Orange Report:

Elsewhere On the Web:

 
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Austin Democracy, the Machine, and the Future of our City


by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 10:23 AM CDT

Something extraordinary in Austin politics is unfolding before our eyes this week. What began as a slow simmer years ago and heated up in this spring's Place 3 election between Randi Shade and Kathie Tovo, has now reached a critical boiling point.

"Proponents of moving the election to November say putting the council on the general election ballot will be a guaranteed turnout booster. By implication, they say the council will better reflect the views of the community at large. Yeah, reply some of those who advocate the status quo, you'll get a bigger turnout - of uninformed voters.

"It's an elitist argument that betrays the entitlement mentality of the cadre of insiders who benefit politically from the city's notoriously low turnout. The argument neither needs subtitle nor translation, but here's one: "We know what's good for you."

"If that reasoning puts you off, let the council know about it."

~ Editorial Board, Austin American-Statesman, 10/3/11

Last week, in a 4-3 decision, Councilmembers Sheryl Cole, Bill Spelman, Laura Morrison, and Kathie Tovo voted (in the first of three readings) to hold the 2012 Austin municipal election in May, against the advice of the city's election administrator, the State of Texas, and a diverse array of community leaders. A number of rationales have been offered by these members defending their positions- from upholding their oath to the city charter, to not arbitrarily extending their terms by six months, to concern for uninformed November voters.

As someone who has been involved in the elections of a supermajority of this current city council, I am admittedly part of the Austin Political Machine as described by Phillip Martin over two years ago. I don't deny it; it is true that this city's politics has been guided for many years by small group of insiders with occasional, minimal, variation. But because of my position and my role in helping to elect members on each side last week's vote, I feel obligated to break my silence.

It's time to put the truth on the table. This debate is about the balance of power between different factions of Austin's political establishment and it is driven by political self interest.

The defeat of Randi Shade by Kathie Tovo this spring saw the rise of a new coalition on the Austin City Council who were ostensibly united by their opposition to Water Treatment Plant 4, F1 subsidies, downtown parking hours, and long term development in urban neighborhoods. Surprisingly, on all of these issues considered by the council since the election, this 4-vote coalition has yet to materialize as an effective block of votes on any of these issues. In particular, support for halting construction of Water Treatment Plant 4, widely seen as "the" defining issue this past election, evaporated in a 7-0 vote to continue the project not weeks after Tovo's election.  While Tovo, Morrison, and Spelman ideologically operate within the same spectrum, many saw the alliance with Cole as somewhat surprising. After all, she had historically been supported financially by the same business and development interests as Randi Shade.

So why is it on this issue of all issues- when to hold the 2012 election- that these four have finally come together to vote as a block? Political self-interest of the most disappointing kind.

It has been an open secret among city hall insiders that Sheryl Cole, Bill Spelman, and Laura Morrison have each expressed interest in becoming the next Mayor of Austin. It was expected that Mayor Leffingwell would retire after serving one term, having served his intended purpose in blocking former councilman Brewster McCracken's mayoral ambitions. But after seeing Austin successfully navigate the economic downturn, Leffingwell has decided to run for re-election. Additionally, Austin is set to vote in November of 2012 on a wide-ranging package of changes, including fundamental changes to how and when the council is elected. This package, pushed by Leffingwell, and ostensibly still supported by most councilmembers, is perceived as severely disrupting the influence of the traditional low-turnout electorate and the existing political machine.

Simply put, Cole, Spelman, Morrison, and Tovo advocate keeping next year's city election in May because they believe that it remains their last and best chance to defeat Mayor Leffingwell and his key ally Mike Martinez before the opportunity is lost forever. For all the rhetoric about the oaths to the charter (which both Cole and Spelman in particular have voted to break previously without issue) and concern for uninformed voters (who are regularly depended on to pass the council's preferred bond measures in high turnout November elections), this all boils down to defending a broken system for personal political gain.

How sad for Austin. How sad it is that liberal councilmembers are using their power to pick the smallest, most distorted electorate for themselves. How sad it is that we have to suffer through layers of rationalization and excuses to mask the naked political truth before us.

Today, the council will hold the 2nd reading on this issue in an nearly unprecedented rushing of the measure through the process to minimize public input or attention. This is because last Friday, at 5:37PM, well after city offices normally close, Councilmembers Spelman and Morrison placed this item on the agenda for this morning's Council Work Session, which is usually reserved for council discussion of items to be considered at their Thursday council meetings. There is no contemporary precedent for taking action on a contested, divisive issue at a work session; usually they are 7-0 votes involving last minute time sensitive permits for road races, like the October 8th NAMI Walk which is on today's agenda. (The last time a controversial item saw a 4-3 vote on reading in a work session was in the 1990's when a vote was held to issue RFPs seeking to privatize Austin Energy.) Work sessions are traditionally NOT for public input -- they are for council to work out agenda items before Thursday's vote. In fact, the top of the agenda even states as much.

In addition, an item has been added to authorize the city to spend up to $1.3 million (not including another half a million if there is a run-off) to purchase more voting machines in order to hold a single low-turnout May election on top of an already scheduled November election for the city. The council's own documents admit that "The County acknowledges that machines purchased under this Addendum will likely be sold or otherwise exchanged or returned to the current or other future voting equipment vendor" after the election. The city will have to cover most all of that cost because last night the ACC Board of Trustees voted to move their elections to November, a move which AISD is expected to follow. This leaves the City of Austin alone in paying for a special election in May against the provisions of SB 100, against the expert recommendations of the election administrator, in contradiction of our values, and wedged in between and overlapping with the party primaries and runoffs- all for the perceived political benefit to four people.

I urge the council to reconsider the path they are leading us down- it is not too late. I recognize, as do many others that are a part of it, that the current political establishment's influence must, and is, coming to an end. We must trust the people of Austin, as many as possible, in determining our city's future.

We must recognize that fighting over where and when to have one final battle in a war over the past is a victory for no one.

"A city that loves to think of itself as forever in blue jeans has grown up. The Comprehensive Plan is far from the final answer, but it is worth a good, hard look by a circle larger than the City Hall hangers-on this type of conversation tends to attract. It begs a serious conversation about how to manage the city's future."

~ Editorial Board, Austin American-Statesman, 10/2/11

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