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Reply Request: What Would YOU ask the Candidates?

We have a simple request. What questions would you like the candidates running for Austin City Council to answer? Send us your ideas (use the comment box below or send us email.)

Early voting begins on May 2. We want to get them our questionnaire next Monday. We will then publish the information shortly thereafter.

Linda Curtis & Brian Rodgers
ChangeAustin.org
PO Box 6718
Austin, TX 78762
512-535-0989 office
512-657-2089 cell (text us here too)
Contact@ChangeAustin.org

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Rescheduled w/Aleshire to Feb. 17th

Due to weather and power outages, we are canceling tomorrow night’s meeting and rescheduling it for Thursday, February 17th @ 6:30 pm @ the same location – Austin Energy, 721 Barton Springs Road, Assembly Room (downstairs). Please spread the word for us.

If you’re sitting at home, trying to stay warm, you might read the latest @ TheAustinBullDog.org — HOT off the press! Council Member Martinez spills more beans on the Austin City Council’s Open Meetings foibles. Compare what he says with the Attorney General’s video, a state required certification for all Council Members. Do Martinez’ admissions violate the Open Meetings Act? Decide for yourself.

Stay warm and be safe.

“We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Ben Franklin

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Comprehensive Plan-Imagine Austin

Thanks to those who were able to attend our meeting on the Comprehensive Plan-Imagine Austin.  Report below.

We “imagined”:

1.  An affordable city – the City should put on a summit and listen.
2.  Growth Pays for Itself – developers pay their fair share, imagine that!
3.  A bus rapid transit system!  (rather than paid for by regressive taxation)
4.  Accountable government – like the on-year November election date the Mayor touted during this campaign.
5.  Energy and water conservation – duh, this is Austin, remember?


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Don’t Miss This Thursday, 6 pm!

Does Austin need a new
$1 billion water plant?

Watch the Debate on Proposed Water Treatment Plant

Thursday, September 17th, 6pm
900 Barton Springs Rd. click here for map
Palmer Event Center

The City Council will host a Town Hall dialogue and debate featuring Austin’s environmental leaders, including our own Brian Rodgers, on whether Austin should commit a billion dollars to building “Water Treatment Plant No. 4.” Learn more about this issue by clicking here.

Please come!  The Chamber of Commerce will be out in force and they want your tax money to fund their agenda.

Continue reading →

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2009 Austin City Council Endorsements

Carole Keeton Strayhorn for Mayor
√Perla Cavazos, Place 1
√Mike Martinez, Place 2
√Bill Spelman, Place 5
√Sam Osemene, Place 6

Watch the Videos and pass them on…

Brian Rodgers on Why Carole!
Carole on Why ChangeAustin.org!
Brian on Place 1, 2, 5 & 6 Endorsements!

 

Early Voting Starts Monday, April 27th and end Tues. May 5th
Election Day, Saturday,  May 9th

For Travis Co. Early and Election Day Polls
or call 238-8683

For Williamson Co. Early and Election Day Polls click here
or call 943-1630

Watch the Mayoral & Council Candidate Videos upon which we held our endorsement vote – candidates had to get 60% support

********

Mayoral Candidate, David Buttross
David Opener & Q & A
David Q & A

Josiah Ingalls – Written Questionnaire Only (see bottom of this post)

Mayoral Candidate, Lee Leffingwell
Lee Opening & Q & A
Lee Q & A
Final Q & A – Open Government

Mayoral Candidate, Brewster McCracken
Brewster Opener
Brewster on Transparency
Brewster on SB 690 (Anti-Petition Bill)
Brewster on Buying Local
Brewster on Single Member Districts
Brewster on Forced Blood Withdrawals
Brewster Final Statement

Mayoral Candidate, Carole Keeton Strayhorn

Carole Opener
Carole on SB 690 (anti-petition bill)
Carole on Biomess (no bid contracts)
Carole on Impact Fees
Carole on Buying Local
Carole on Single Member District
Carole on  Forced Blood Withdrawals
Carole on Conflict of Interest & Final Statement

Place 1 – Perla Cavazos v. Chris Riley
Perla & Chris Openings & Q & A
Perla and Chris Q & A

Place 2 Mike Matinez v. Jose Quintero
Mike Opener & Q & A
Mike Q & A
Jose Opener Q &A

Place 5 Bill Spelman (unopposed)
Bill Opener & Q & A
Bill Q & A

Place 6 Sheryl Cole v. Sam Osemene
Sheryl & Sam Opener & Q & A
Sheryl & Sam Q & A
Sheryl & Sam Q & A

Josiah Ingalls Questionnaire

1.  RECA, the Real Estate Council of Austin – who fought against Proposition 2 last fall with $56,000 in contributions to Keep Austin’s Word – is now at the State Capitol pushing a bill with Senator Wentworth to double the signature requirement from 5% to 10% of the registered voters to put a proposition on the ballot to amend the city charter. If SB 690 passes, the new figure of raw signatures needed for Austin would be over 56,000.  Because petitioning is not allowed at grocery stores, malls, shopping centers, post offices, or anywhere else people gather – except dog parks – this RECA effort will effectively kill citizen sponsored initiatives in Austin and in ALL 346 Texas Home Rule cities – a right that has been in place for decades. Only big money and corporations will then be able to afford the greater hurdle.

a. Will you go on record opposing Senate Bill 690?  Yes

 

b. Will you also commit to lowering the Ordinance petition requirements for initiatives from 10% to 5% by placing a council sponsored charter amendment on the next permissible municipal election?   Yes

 

2.  Citizens feel that major financial decisions are finalized in the back rooms of city hall and trotted out to the public only as a formality with little transparency and no meaningful public input.  Particularly disturbing was Council’s hurried unanimous decision last August to pass a no bid, 20 year, $2.3 billion contract to purchase electricity from a bio mass generating plant in Nacogdoches.  City staff said we must hurry and sign because the equipment prices were good only through August. BUY NOW BEFORE PRICES GO UP!  (…of course, a week later prices plummeted as the economy began to collapse…)

a. Will you commit to STOP doing NO-Bid deals?  Yes

 

 

b. Will you commit to giving the public all of the information at least 60 days before making a decision, and give us two public hearings prior to a vote?  Yes

3.  Developers build their developments and new subdivisions, take their profits, and leave Austin taxpayers the bill to pay for new roads, schools, utilities, and municipal facilities. New growth and development in Austin should pay its own way instead of shifting that burden to Austin’s taxpayers. Texas law allows cities to collect road impact fees from developers.  Ft. Worth collects a $2,000 road impact fee per new home while Austin collects nothing, leaving those costs to the rest of us.

Will you support the adoption of a road impact fees that represent the “full and fair” cost?

Yes I would but I would also insist that the same fee apply to new business structures as well.

 

4. Dollar for dollar, locally owned business provide far more jobs, far more tax revenue, far more income and wealth effects, far more entrepreneurship and charitable contributions, a better boost for tourism and smart growth – and a whole mess of benefits that outside companies cannot begin to give.

Will you support an ordinance to require all bidders for city goods and services to quantify the locally owned or locally sourced material and labor components of their bids so that city staff can compare each bid’s true economic value to the community?

Yes I do support an ordinance to require all bidders for city goods and services to quantify the locally owned or locally sourced material and labor components of their bids so that city staff can compare each bid’s true economic value to the community.  In fact I have been trying to push for this my entire campaign for Mayor.

 

5.  Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo signed on to the Major Cities Legislative Agenda which allows forced blood withdrawal for DWI suspects who refuse a breathalyzer,  and for DNA collection from ALL suspects arrested for Class B misdemeanor or higher – including possession of one joint.

Do you agree with Chief Acevedo’s plans for Austin or will you put a stop to this invasion of our bodies by government?

I would fight to put a stop to this invasion of personal privacy because I believe that it is a further effort by the government to build a database on each and every citizen as a further attempt to track, monitor and control our citizens.

 

Additional Question

What is your point of view towards single member districts?

Single member districts do help squash out lobbyists within our government, but it denies citizens of our city the right to vote on all of our city council seats, so therefore I am against single member districts because it takes away from a person’s constitutional right to be able to vote on his or her government officials.

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The Unite to Fight City Hall Rock & Roll Hip Hop Extravaganza!

Featuring Hip Hop Master:  MC Overlord
Rock Up & Comer:  Kittinger

Saturday, April 25, 4 to 7:30 pm
The Historic Victory Grill on E. 11th Street.
For more info:  383-8484 or email us at
 

This event is 2 days before early voting starts and is to help the ChangeAustin.org candidate slate — Carole for Mayor, Perla – Pl. 2, Mike – Pl. 2, Bill – Pl. 5 and Sam – Pl. 6.

Volunteers are needed!

Why Fight City Hall? (just a few many reasons)
*  The Council passed a NO BID $2.3 billion (yes, billion) deal to purchase biomass electricity from East Texas, by-passing renewable companies right here in Austin.
*  Current Councilmembers running for Mayor have made no promises for a more open City Hall, and have stuck their heads in the sand to the problem.
*  The Austin police have begun forced blood withdrawals on DWI suspects, when the public does not support such expanded powers by the police. 

What Can You Do?
1.   some time to this event.
2.  Contribute some money to help us reach more voters.
3.  Watch our videos and pass ‘em on.

Volunteers Are Most Wanted to Make This Event a Huge Success!

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Endorsements! A Little Pandering please.

ChangeAustin.orgformerly Stop Domain Subsidies (Prop 2) in last November’s election, proudly endorses:

Carole Keeton Strayhorn for Mayor
Perla Cavazos, Place 1
Mike Martinez, Place 2
Bill Spelman, Place 5
Sam Osemene, Place 6

Watch the Videos on our front page:
Brian Rodgers video on why Carole.
Carole Acceptance video.
Brian on Places 1, 2, 5 & 6.

ChangeAustin.org is working to reach 30,000 voters before the election in May, just a portion of the 123,209 voters who supported Prop 2, to get them to the polls. 

Help us get the word out – contribute whatever you like!  Since CA.org is a registered PAC, we can accept as little or as much as you like — just no corporate or labor money.

To Pander = To cater to the lower tastes and desires of others or exploit their weaknesses.

We’ve been told that some opposing candidate camps are explaining our endorsements as for those “willing to pander” to us.  Is that because they see open government, fiscal prudence, and putting an end to the gravy train for special interests as “lower tastes and desires” of the people of this City?

Mark your calendars!  Pre-early voting day Party!!!  
Saturday, April 25, 6 to 10 pm, Victory Grill – E. 11th St.
Live music but of course!

Volunteer from home or our office!  Call us or  right away!

Pass this email on and get involved y’all.

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Vote, Vote, Vote!

VOTE VOTE VOTE!  Get your ballot here (members only) … to vote on our endorsements.
 
View videos of the candidates here!

Deadline is NEXT Tues., March 31st, midnight!

Rules:  IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF CHANGEAUSTIN.ORG and, for some reason, did not receive a ballot, please send a message to us at  or call us right away!

Watch the Candidates on video here before you vote. 

Got questions?  Just ask.

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Our Endorsement Process

ChangeAustin.org, formerly Stop Domain Subsidies (Prop 2) in last November’s election, just began a week long voting process for endorsements in the City Council and Mayoral election in May.  The process is being done online after members view videos of the candidates answering ChangeAustin.org questions crucial to the City moving forward during the economic downturn.  Those questions include transparency and open government concerns and the bill introduced by Senator Jeff Wentworth (SB 690) to help local developers to snuff out the citizen’s charter amendment process used to get Prop 2 on the ballot.

Watch the Candidates on video here and get ready for our endorsement on Thursday, April 2.

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City Council & Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire

Below is the questionnaire we used at our recent Mayoral and City Council candidate forum on March 14 and with virtually all the candidates running for Austin Mayor (Buttross, Ingalls, Leffingwell, McCracken, and Strayhorn) and City Council Candidates (Cavazos, Code, Martinez, Osemene, Quintero, Riley and Spelman).  Thanks to all the candidates who subjected themselves to our questions!  Be sure to watch the videos here, then come back and post a comment about any of the candidates.  Be nice and direct please.

ChangeAustin.org Candidate Questionnaire

1.  RECA, the Real Estate Council of Austin – who fought against Proposition 2 last fall with $56,000 in contributions to Keep Austin’s Word – is now at the State Capitol pushing a bill with Senator Wentworth to double the signature requirement from 5% to 10% of the registered voters to put a proposition on the ballot to amend the city charter.   If SB 690 passes, the new figure of raw signatures needed for Austin would be over 56,000.  Because petitioning is not allowed at grocery stores, malls, shopping centers, post offices, or anywhere else people gather – except dog parks – this RECA effort will effectively kill citizen sponsored initiatives in Austin and in ALL 346 Texas Home Rule cities – a right that has been in place for decades. Only big money and corporations will then be able to afford the greater hurdle. 

a. Will you go on record opposing Senate Bill 690?

b. Will you also commit to lowering the Ordinance petition requirements for initiatives from 10% to 5% by placing a council sponsored charter amendment on the next permissible municipal election? 

2.  Citizens feel that major financial decisions are finalized in the back rooms of city hall and trotted out to the public only as a formality with little transparency and no meaningful public input.  Particularly disturbing was Council’s hurried unanimous decision last August to pass a no bid, 20 year, $2.3 billion contract to purchase electricity from a bio mass generating plant in Nacogdoches.  City staff said we must hurry and sign because the equipment prices were good only through August. BUY NOW BEFORE PRICES GO UP!  (…of course, a week later prices plummeted as the economy began to collapse…)

a. Will you commit to STOP doing NO-Bid deals?

b. Will you commit to giving the public all of the information at least 60 days before making a decision, and give us two public hearings prior to a vote?

3.  Developers build their developments and new subdivisions, take their profits, and leave Austin taxpayers the bill to pay for new roads, schools, utilities, and municipal facilities. New growth and development in Austin should pay its own way instead of shifting that burden to Austin’s taxpayers. Texas law allows cities to collect road impact fees from developers.  Ft. Worth collects a $2,000 road impact fee per new home while Austin collects nothing, leaving those costs to the rest of us.

Will you support the adoption of a road impact fees that represent the “full and fair” cost?

4. Dollar for dollar, locally owned business provide far more jobs, far more tax revenue, far more income and wealth effects, far more entrepreneurship and charitable contributions, a better boost for tourism and smart growth – and a whole mess of benefits that outside companies cannot begin to give.

Will you support an ordinance to require all bidders for city goods and services to quantify the locally owned or locally sourced material and labor components of their bids so that city staff can compare each bid’s true economic value to the community? 

5.  Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo signed on to the Major Cities Legislative Agenda which allows forced blood withdrawal for DWI suspects who refuse a breathalyzer,  and for DNA collection from ALL suspects arrested for Class B misdemeanor or higher – including possession of one joint.  Do you agree with Chief Acevedo’s plans for Austin or will you put a stop to this invasion of our bodies by government?

Additional Question

What is your point of view towards single member districts?

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