(woohoo — simpsons-style!)
moderated by Robin Rather! for “the best and most impossible job.” try to get to as many, so keep it short.
3 basic questions (get intouch with your inner strategist):
1. how is austin doing?
2. as a progressive community, how are we wrking together. assess and make better
3. ideas of new ways to mix it up better
what is going right these days?
- exciting because it is “live and juicy” compared to recent san fran transplant
- talking about hard issues which is good. like racism and chronic problems such as public schools resources, housing, eco dev.
- conversations are beginning, which is starting to work together
- travis county coordinated campaign is a good example because we lost globally, but celebrated locally.
- passed the hospital district! lots of applause.
- affordable housing is mixed, but the attempts are being made, with some specific successes. most postive thing: trust fund bond election — just potential now, but good plan
- neighborhood and mueller redevelopment coalition, dell children hospital, compact dev, etc
- intellectually and culturally stimulating. run of the mill folks are okay, but lots of creative energy.
- “desired development zones” need attention, but are close to working. they are a liveable city piece. “rails with trails” initiative capmetro has bought off on. lots of policy issues to get through tho.
some bad stuff:
- property taxes are too high! The Lege says no money for schools, tho. someone claims under-the-table real estate steals millions from school budgets. genrification also a huge problem from taxes. the Lege and “land dealers” apparently in some cahoots… not so sure what this means. i just reports it!
- repubs complain about prop taxes, maybe one trouble is raising taxes on all homes, maybe rather they should just be when sold, etc. such is a suggestion.
- need districts that repesent a LOCAL community. we need to take that as a focus of action. (anti-redistricting issue)
-segregation, gentrification, education especially in local school districts. we need to stop denying segregation legacy. must confront that before dealing with tax issues, gentrification, etc. partner all the progressive groups for the kids and grandkids. just do it for the kids! seriously, tho.
- bad: not enough courage to call for a state income tax — note: LFT SUPPORTS EDDIE RODRIGUEZ’s plan to swap state income and property tax
-williamson county dems stand and applaud each other, and say we are growing in strength.
- carl thrillkill says: we are skiming surface. 1st we need to recognize we are in a new country. stolen elections etc. torture. local level is important, but we need to see big process. and its about LOVE ultimately. maybe we need a revolution of the heart FIRST, then we make change. cooperation, truth, honesty, community. council of citizens.
IDEAS ABT MOVING FWD:
margot clarke: local level, as a progressive, want to see all politics is local. you HAVE to vote, if u really wnt the govt to take the right direction.
- solar vote initiative. fed govt has money if we vote for it.
- roy waley: easy to get blue, but walk into this room and feel better. but we need to let others know that we are all in different places. we need to “get on the same bus.”
- paper trail. demand it. otherwise no meaningful reform can be done. lets join up these coalitions.
-fidel acevedo: need to HOLD ACCOUNTABLE! the elected officials. no running from repubs. dont just say what is right and wrong. toll roads… and our reps need to step up and protect what is right for citizens. toll roads are not it. electoral reform needed too. delegates, etc.
- collectively our vision does not match our actions. one of many examples: several people mentioned green choice energy, but consider that maybe 3% of energy is green, consider that 7 nominal dems on city council, and we have a libertarian program (because it is opt in) and dont collectively buy renewable energy, and we should, to be progressive and express our “collective will.” we need to think bigger. so, we are the new “thin blue line” and we HAVE to stand in the way of chaos.
- an organizer from LA: i dont feel better in this room. because of the racial divide. we need to challenge authority on race and class. we need to use our privilege strategically to build organizatin, alliance, coalition. are we perpetuating the problem? are we building another white led progressive environmentally centric movement? if so, can we say that, or should we change that?
-we need progressive partnerships with communities of faith. first, there has been damage from and to religion. but we cannot concede teh texts and legacies to the right. they can be owned by progressives. communities of faith, regardless of bent, are bringing people together. that is most important, says reverend emily whitehurst. kevin says its only “some people” they are bringing together. Religion and Labor Network, is a good new example of creative partnership.
-pam caldraphon: williamson county dem, how to centralize different counties and cities, with synergy.
- Q: why is there a racial divide among progressives? A: from travis, think of the trial of the century. do you think of OJ simpson? or the mississippi burning case last week? justice, even long delayed, happens because blacks and whtes were standing together. every year, black folks told to get out and vote, but there is a legacy of how that came to pass. injustice still exists, recognize this progressives. even and especially because not your kid, but a fellow austinite! not a black kid. not a mexican kid. an austinite.
-lena walsh, says: finding common ground in never easy. now, abt danny rocha: did YOU attend THAT townhall meeting? or just this one… few hands went up — there you go. proof in the pudding, she says. we MUST deal with these if serious about unity.
— specific suggestions:
kurt: recent city elections with 9% turnout in austin. we should be ashamed, then come together. lets do somethng abt electronic voting in travis county. we all have issues, but what if we all united to protest the next police shooting, with 5000 people not 100. all the progressive groups should care. what if all progressive groups bombarded together for the same causes, at least one at a time to get things done.
-carol butler: what african-amer group should a white woman join: NAACP, says travis. we (all progressives and progressive grups) need a giant email list to ACT at the same time for the most important things.
- last time i voted: what abt a printout? i asked. county commissioner can pay for that, was response from election judge? is that true? glen maxey doesnt know. robin rather says she will find out.
- encourage voting among kids and minorities. register them.
-campaign finance reform, otherwise corporations/moneyed control the democracy, which isnt a democracy at that point.
- bond initiative. speak up. get housing trust fund. get economic impact statements from folks like walmart who alledgedly hand out food stamp apps with a new job.
- linda abbot: start in the room we are in. invite others in. dont go away after elections. need a home to bring issues to stay involved. she sees a failure of communication.
- andrew bucknall: we can and do make a difference. and its not just a white movement, but we have to expand into communities in which we do not live. involve yourselves in new grassroots outside your neighborhood.
- jim bevel: need to take more action, need coordination. cant do it thru dem party. lets form something akin to a political party, under banner of progressivism.
- nicole sterny: summit of progressive group leaders to get heads together. need groups that canvas in spanish.
- make change at the points with most leverage. repubs have changed so that people think the goals of govt are NOT to serve people, and things are short term. progressives need to center on people, their community (as defined by them) and for generations. DONT LET THEM DIViDE US.
lots of pent up conversation. we need to talk more. organizers wanted a more diverse room. effort didnt acheive the racial makeup. we all have emotions, we need to be better on approach to unify progressive communities. we are just starting the process.