“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The first amendment, remember that? The expression of the first amendment at the local level is known as the initative and referendum process — the people’s right to petition for a vote. It is used when all else fails, when government refuses to listen. I&R is also guaranteed by our City Charter and state constitution. The City powers that be haven’t let that stop them in their predictable and obsessive commitment to undermining this basic right of the people to use I&R as a tool to check and balance the excesses of government. We at ChangeAustin.org believe I&R is fundamental to open government and fiscal responsibility.
Read more about the history in Austin at Mob Rule.