Urgent Action Requests Before or by Thursday, May 24,2018!
Who Is Mark Yznaga?
- Tell the Mayor and 5 Council Members to stop playing games with your right to vote. Tell them to vote “YES” on Thursday to put the CodeNEXT petition on the November ballot. Mayor Pro Tem Tovo and Council Members Houston, Alter, and Pool have already pledged to do so, so you can thank them via email. Calls are best to Mayor Adler, and Council Members Kitchen, Renteria, Casar, Flannigan and Garza. Contact the Mayor and Council Members here.
- Reach out to Cap Metro and local officials by Thursday about proposed changes not good for many who depend on bus service. Details here.
- Watch for more news that we hope to release tomorrow and share it widely.
Who is Mark Yznaga and Why You Should Care
Mark Yznaga is a longtime Austin political consultant who was hired by San Francisco based Opticos Design Inc. to consult on CodeNEXT. The City of Austin hired Opticos to write the massive overhaul of the city’s land development code, otherwise known as CodeNEXT. The original bid was for $2 million. Now, Opticos has the city on the hook for $8.2 million. What’s more, by all accounts, the CodeNEXT draft is a mess.
Currently, two city commissions are going in two very different directions on CodeNEXT. The Zoning and Platting Commission is urging that CodeNEXT be scrapped. ZAP wants the city to focus on displacement/affordability solutions first. The Planning Commission is trying like heck to save CodeNEXT. The Planning Commission was saved by the Council majority vote at the last Council meeting. The Mayor and five Council Members voted to continue to allow the unethical — and possibly illegal — stacking of the commission. The tail — real estate related special interests — continues to wag the dog at City Hall, y’all.
Mark Yznaga is also married to Council Member Ann Kitchen
Attorney Ann Kitchen can be easily seen now as the legal attack dog on the City Council for Mayor Steve Adler. She has led the charge to claim that the CodeNEXT petition is “illegal.” Notice she does not use the word “allegedly.” No, Council member Kitchen has made herself the judge and jury. The Mayor and four other members of the Council let her get away with this at the April 26 Council meeting “In The Wee Hours At 2 am.” Last week, Kitchen also led the same members: Adler, Renteria, Casar, Flannigan, and Garza to keep the gamed Planning Commission Board in place.
The best set of details we’ve seen on the stacking of the Planning Commission is this memorandum by attorney Fred Lewis. This memo was shared with the City last year.
We hope to have more to say about these issues tomorrow in a media release. Please watch for it and share it with your friends across Austin.
Meanwhile, please heed our Urgent Action Requests at the top of this message. If you can, join us on Thursday at the City Council meeting, watch for details, or send a note to us at contact@IndyAustin.org.
Note: This photo of Mark Yznaga by professional photographer Alan Pogue was was printed in the Austin Chronicle in 1992. This was just after voters passed the SOS initiative placed on the ballot via the petition process. Back then, Yznaga and Kitchen supported Austin’s right to vote on a petition that was also deemed “illegal” by the City Council. SOS won that battle in court. But the SOS vote was delayed. Is that the same game plan now? Are these Council members up for reelection — Adler , Kitchen and Renteria — seeking to benefit from keeping the CodeNEXT petition off the ballot until after the November election?
Remember, the petition is solely about your right to vote on the CodeNEXT final product IF and WHEN the Council passes it. It’s your check on the Council’s work. It’s also a right fully guaranteed to you in the Austin City Charter. Guess who will pay the legal fees for the city's efforts to violate its own charter -- Austin's constitution? You, and your fellow Austin residents, that’s who.
Read SOS email message here for more details.
Read the CodeNEXT background and petition here.
Hot off the press just came this article by The Austin Bulldog, "Library Commission May Protect Petition Rights." In other words, that is still up for debate.
When will they ever learn, eh? Don't mess with the citizens right to petition.