Liveable City, a non-partisan non-profit tries to shed some light on the contentious Props 1&2 (well, as contentious a ballot initative can be among the 5% paying attention) which are up for a vote in Austin’s May elections.
On Prop 1, I find myself, in many cases for the first time, in non-agreement with some folks i like and respect. I love the idea of Prop 1, i hate that there are what seem to be secretive arrangements and developer giveaways ‘presented’ to the citizenry as essentially done deals, but i dont love that Prop1 has so many undefined terms, and isnt amendable. I cant help but think it is filled with opportunities for good people and broadly supported projects to be hamstrung by bad litigation brought by people who think city hall is their enemy and by hook or by crook will find ways to roadblock them.
read the actual Charter Amendents and answer me this, batmans and batwomans:
“all other instances where it is reasonably anticipated that there is significant public interest in the matter.” am i significant, is crazy cat lady significant? is that enough? does it have to be two, three, 30 people to meet the “significant public interest” metric?
Talking about what must be logged, the proposed amendment reads:
“Meetings” includes all informal and formal meetings including
but not limited to telephone conferences, videoconferences, happy
hours, and luncheons.”
As debated on BOR is ‘informal’ a measure of scheduled-ness or decor? That is, someone bumps into a top aide at a happyhour, they talk for 7 minutes, should this be reported? YES, but why say ‘real-time’ rather than ‘within 12 hours’ or? is someone going to jail over this lack of ‘real-time’ reporting? NO, of course not. so why are those words in there?? and many more instances abound.
Mostly i trust that the good people wont abuse it, but do i trust other well-known and sometimes well-meaning, sometimes just-being-obstructionist groups? no i dont.
So, will i support Prop1? i really dont know yet. Will you?
Full Text of their release:
Liveable City, an Austin based non-profit, today
released two studies examining the hotly contested Open Government
(Proposition 1) and Clean Water (Proposition 2) Charter Amendments in
the upcoming May 13 City of Austin Election. The ballot studies are
intended to help Austin voters sort out the critical issues,
including arguments by supporters and opponents, and possible impacts
of passage of the proposals.
Two separate teams of Board members worked on the ballot studies over
the last two months. The studies uncovered the fact that 122
developments had been grandfathered over the aquifer since 1999, and
that a more focused open government online plan could cost less than
1/10 of the City’s current estimate.
In releasing the studies, Mark Yznaga, Liveable City Board Chair
said, “In these polarized debates, it’s hard to find information
independent of the campaigns. We hope Austinites use these studies to
help make up there own minds about possible changes to our charter -
Austin’s Constitution.” Liveable City hopes to expand on these first
ballot studies and make them an ongoing service to the community. The
studies are available for download at www.liveablecity.org.
Liveable City is nonpartisan, nonprofit research, communications,
capacity building and advocacy organization working to advance public
policies that balance Austin’s growth with our community’s well
being. Liveable City’s mission is to support solutions that address
Austin’s long-term social, environmental, and economic needs by
focusing on the interconnections among issues while educating,
informing and empowering citizen advocacy to improve quality of life.