For Immediate Release: September 12, 2017
Grassroots Petitioners Support Councilmember Pool’s Call to End The Domain subsidies,
Members of the Council, media and residents of Austin are invited to a press conference and to pick up copies of petitions on Thursday at 2:30 pm outside and on the eastside of City Hall. Look for The Papoose Petition Wagon in the picture.->
Some of Austin’s finest grassroots activists have jumped on board to support Councilwoman Leslie Pool’s call yesterday to end The Domain subsidies. They are also calling for three petitions to be placed on the November 2018 ballot, rather than next May -- especially CodeNEXT. Both actions would amount to a savings for the the city of $3 million and petitioners the time and money to petition for a public vote.
Those petitions, laid out in The Austin Bulldog article released today are: for “Reasonable Petition Requirements for Voter Referendum”, a new Sign ordinance and a public vote on CodeNEXT, the massive 1000+ page overhaul of the city’s land development code. Petitioners point out that the only petition that currently requires a May election is CodeNEXT and is subject to the timing of the Austin City Council. The Mayor and his allies on Council seem determined to have an April vote on CodeNEXT. But, the Council can slow down CodeNEXT and even put the issue on the ballot for a public vote.
Julie Nitsch, who was a petitioner for the vote on The Domain in 2008, is now the Communications Director for the newly organized political action committee, IndyAustin. Nitsch said, “Right now, the Austin Chamber of Commerce is alerting its members to push to keep the money flowing for The Domain, a truly grotesque taxpayer giveaway especially given Austin’s continued affordability crisis. All IndyAustin is asking is that Councilmembers stop allowing the distortions in public policy demanded by the real estate lobby to continue. We are all – including those working in the real estate industry – in this crisis together and we need to act like it instead of constantly taking from the citizens like there is no tomorrow. I’m young enough to know that tomorrow means people my age who are largely in the dark about CodeNEXT.“
Northwest Austin resident and 10-1 petitioner, Ed English, said, “At the forum this Saturday held by Community Not Commodity (a local non-profit organization) about the potential for CodeNEXT to displace yet more Austinites, Councilman Flannigan did a little friendly sparring with me on how, as a fiscal conservative, I could support a public vote in May which could cost the city money, perhaps up to $1 million.“ Today, English added, “I would only remind the Council that putting these petitions on the ballot in November is basically free. Therefore, I ask everyone to join my Councilmember, Leslie Pool, to call for canceling The Domain subsidies AND to join me to ask all Council members and the Mayor to put CodeNEXT on the November 2018 ballot.”
David Jones, a founding board member of IndyAustin and a longtime healthcare advocate for people with HIV said, “Many people I know, including myself, are barely holding on here in Austin. We’re the only major city that has blacks fleeing a central city. The notion that Austin is such a cool place is just that – a notion—and we need to get real by canceling The Domain subsidies and letting Austin (its voters) decide.”
For more information, reach Linda Curtis at 512-657-2089