Thursday, August 6, 2020

#atxcouncil: Lying Lawless Liars do what Lying Lawless Liars do

"If a ruler pays attention to lies,
All his servants become wicked."

Proverbs 29:12

Not even a little surprising:
A petition to reinstate Austin's ban on public camping—abolished a year ago in a widely-debated move by Austin City Council to address homelessness—does not have enough signatures to make it on the November ballot, Austin City Clerk Jannette Goodall ruled Wednesday.

On July 21, the local nonprofit group "Save Austin Now" said they had collected 24,598 signatures—well over the 20,000 required to put their initiative on the ballot in November.

In reviewing the petition, however, the city clerk said she discovered a number of issues.

Nearly a hundred signatures were removed because of requests from signers. The clerk's office also discovered that the petition contained two versions of the language being proposed in the ordinance, which led to 397 signatures being removed. Of the remaining 24,201 signatures, the clerk's office used a random sample to verify the petition.
When Austin City Clerk Jannette Goodall ruled yesterday that a petition to reinstate the city's ban on public camping did not have enough signatures to make the November ballot, it was the first time since 2002 that the city invalidated a petition because of lack of signatures, she told Austonia on Thursday.

Goodall used a random sampling method that the city adopted in 2002 in her review, according to a city spokesperson. State law allows cities to use any reasonable sampling method in determining whether citizen-led petitions contain the required number of signatures.

Matt Mackowiak, a cofounder of Save Austin Now, the group behind the petition, said Thursday that the group has not yet decided what legal action it may take. In an email sent to Austonia, he wrote that their deadline is "as soon as possible."

Mackowiak, who is also the chairman of the Travis County Republican Party, said in a statement issued Wednesday evening that it is exploring legal action in response to the clerk's ruling.

Local attorney and activist Fred Lewis - who has spearheaded other citizen-initiated petitions, including one last year that opposed an expansion of the Austin Convention Center - said he would expect the group to file very soon, likely with the state district court.

This is because the last day for the city to order a referendum in the November election is Aug. 17, according to the state election schedule.

"You're talking two or three weeks this has got to be decided - at most," Lewis said. "The court may not be able to decide it in that time."
There's not really a lot to say.

There are two realistic possibilities:
  • The city is lying (almost certainly correct).
  • The city is interpreting state law in the friendliest way possible.
Honestly, that's a distinction without a difference.

Either way, this development was completely predictable.

We hope Save Austin Now has planned for this contingency.

Bottom Line: People and institutions with a track record for dishonesty behaving dishonestly shouldn't surprise anyone.

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