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:
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. 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.
Meanwhile, we will likely witness some on the Council continue digging a grave in the wee hours again 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.
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Independently yours, Austin!