"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7
[Author's Note: The video below covers three separate agenda items, the section on the 'dark money' ordinance begins at the 4:20 mark.]
Last Thursday's Austin City Council meeting saw a number of shenanigans. The disgraceful new anti-Uber/Lyft regulations have received plenty of coverage. We want to focus on a seperate 9-2 vote on another agenda item.
A couple months ago, Mayor Adler proposed an ordinance to restrict anonymous speech in City elections. This past Thursday, the full council considered the Mayor's idea. Predictably, Ellen Troxclair and Don Zimmerman were the only council members who voted to protect the first amendment:
- Zimmerman: "Concerned as to whether this can be done without transgressing freedom of speech."
- Troxclair echoes Zimmerman.
- Anonymous speech has a long history in our county.
- "To me, this sets a very scary precedent."
- The Federalist Papers and the Civil Rights movement were largely anonymous.
- Adler: This ordinance "is of far-reaching significance."
- DUH; that's the problem.
Bottom Line: We're still at the beginning of this unconstitutional process. Council's vote Thursday instructs the City Manager to draft an ordinance, which council would then have to adopt formally. If that happens, the city can then expect a lawsuit. This issue will take several years (and election cycles) to resolve. Still, kudos to Council members Troxclair and Zimmerman for being the lone voices Ausitnites first amendment rights.