"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
We attended this event Thursday evening following a "Providential encounter" (his words, not ours) with Caleb Pritchard; we'll defer to his reporting and add some of our own thoughts below:
On Wednesday night, a group of just over 30 people gathered at Austin Energy headquarters on Barton Springs Road to hear the details of a plan dubbed “Reboot 10-1.”Read the whole thing here.
The meeting was organized by Linda Curtis of Change Austin and featured Council Member Ora Houston and Peck Young, director of the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College. The prevailing sentiment in the room was frustration over perceived business-backed growth policies at City Hall made manifest in Mayor Steve Adler’s $720 million transportation bond.
“For those of you who think this city is a liberal city as it likes to bill itself, I have a bridge on Loop 360 that I could sell you for a very good price,” Young told the crowd in a saucy speech that decried the rising cost of housing in the city.
Curtis and Young introduced a draft petition that they said would be used to build interest in their latest reform movement. The petition includes seven demands that Curtis cheekily called a “manifesto.” They touched on affordability, gentrification, traffic and property taxes. Curtis attributed one to Houston that reads, “Stop allowing Austin to be just one big ‘real estate play.’ We’re not developers’ monopoly board.”
The ultimate aim of the effort, Curtis said, is to change the city code to ease the process by which residents can bring popular referendums to overturn ordinances enacted by Council.
The code currently allows those referendums if activists can collect enough signatures (the threshold is at least 5 percent of the population) before an ordinance takes effect.
However, according to the city clerk’s website: “Because most ordinances that are passed by the City Council have an immediate effective date, this requirement can generally not be met.”
A few thoughts:
- From a messaging standpoint, "Reboot 10-1" doesn't imply what the group is really about. Nobody is saying there's anything wrong with 10-1, just that further reforms need to occur. "10-1 (2.0)" would be much clearer.
- When Peck Young said that Austin's municipal government isn't particularly liberal (and, we would hasten to add, isn't remotely conservative) but instead exists to make real estate speculators money, that is the best explanation for everything Adler has done as mayor we've ever heard.
- And it certainly explains this "transportation" bond.
- Lengthening the period of time over which a petition campaign can be conducted might have led to a more productive discussion over Uber/Lyft before the Prop. 1 election in May.
- OUCH: Ora Houston personally had over $5k in property taxes last year.
- The "master plans" from which the bond was developed all come from the business as usual old guard.
- Houston: This bond "looks like how business was done before 10-1"
- No input from citizens.
- Barely any input from council.
- No one was willing to even discuss the amount.
- Real cost of the 'corridor plan' is going to be at least $1.7 BILLION.
- Adler claiming Feds will pony up money is...nonsense.
- Bond could ultimately cost 4 times what Adler claims.
- Based on the impact on foot traffic alone, this bond is a disaster for the small businesses along the corridors.