Making growth pay for itself!

Category Archives: Elections

Elections in Central Texas

What does Reboot 10-1 Mean? A full debate, for starters.

We’ve had some media inquiries about the Independent Texans’ event on Thursday, September 29 at 7 pm at Austin Energy. They want to know how we’re planning to “reboot 10-1”. We’re keeping that discussion close to our vest right now because we like surprises as much as the Mayor does. Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 12.06.55 PM

It was a real big ($81M) surprise when Adler misled his own council last December on the Pilot Knob fiasco, diverting the newly implemented water impact fees to what amounts to a slush fund to be used for anything under the guise of a fund for “affordable housing”. The Mayor’s message was clear — ‘you can forget about growth paying for itself.’

Now we have a rushed “Go Big” $720 million transportation bond that is really $1.5 billion, according to city management. What’s more, no one is talking about what these bonds mean for the third rail in Austin politics — the SOS initiative — mentioned on page 19 of this Memo to Marc Ott from Robert Goode, Assistant City Manager.

We will also hold one of the few debates on the “Go Big” $720 million transportation bonds in Austin with or without the bond proponents who are refusing to attend this debate with Roger Falk. You can contact the proponents at Move Austin Forward, though no phone is listed, to ask them to debate.

Who is Roger Falk? He’s a local business guy who grew up in Austin and is sick about what is happening to Austin — especially to musicians and small businesses. Falk knows his stuff, has done a deep dive into the documents for the bonds, and is willing to face off with anyone. 

If you know anyone from any of the groups that are supporting the bonds who’s willing to debate, have them contact Linda Curtis at 512-657-2089 or

After 6 failures of geographic representation plans put on the ballot by Council, Austin’s civic activists used the petition process that finally brought a great plan to the voters — for 10 geographic districts (with the Mayor elected at-large) — and first independent citizens redistricting commission in Texas to draw the lines.

The 10-1 system has brought substantial change to Austin, but it’s clear that we’re not done yet. At critical junctures, the City is still not following the Texas Open Meetings Act. The City continues with rush deals — like this massive transportation bond. And the City is still not moving to de-incentivize growth as the only genuine starting point to address affordability.

Councilwoman Ora Houston will be moderating the debate. Longtime Democratic former consultant, Peck Young, and longtime independent Linda Curtis, will share a proposal with you on how Austin can reboot 10-1.

Be there — 10-1 folks and many of you newbies to Austin wondering where’s the love in a city that some think is getting just a tad too big for its britches.


Independent Texans…it’s redundant!

A watershed moment today and tomorrow

gridzillaalonePardon the pun, but today and tomorrow’s Texas House votes present a watershed moment for all Texans. 

In an hour or two, House Bill 3298 (Gridzilla) will maraud the floor. Watch it online here. (We wrote you this about the bill).

Tomorrow (Friday), House Bill 2595, hits the House floor. HB 2595 will destroy the 110-year old rights of citizens to petition their city government for a vote of the people. (We wrote you this about it.)

Find your rep here.
(If you want to email them use their first name dot last name

If the business lobbies, hiding behind “conservatism” take our water and our very rights to have a check and balance on municipal government — the right to petition — there is no way out without somefef689c6-b4d8-4b7b-ad0c-a5b5b79aca96 new tools for organizing we do not yet have.

So, dear friends, it really is up to you to put a stop to the monkey business.

Let’s say your city council decides to…

Do you think Mark Twain writing about the Texas Legislature?
Do you think Mark Twain was talking about the Texas Legislature?

Let’s say your city council unwisely decides to subsidize a shopping mall and you try to overturn it by petition.  The mall developer can sue to stop your petition drive under House Bill 2595, now pending in the legislature, because it hurts the mall developers private property rights if you strip away the subsidies!

In fact, House Bill 2595 kills all petition drives if someone’s private property gain is affected. This foolish bill cuts both ways. It stops citizens from enacting their own legislation if their city government is unresponsive – as long as the city can trot out someone who claims “waaaah, I’m hurt!”

The problem is that every damned thing has that potential. This is just bad policy yet it was just unanimously passed the House Urban Affairs Committee. The bill is now in the House Calendars Committee and could go to the floor of the Texas House at any moment.

ACTION REQUEST: Click here and please call Calendars Committee NOW.

  • Tell them that you oppose HB 2595. If you live in Austin, please make sure to call Rep. Eddie Rodriguez. Let Eddie know that Austin City Attorney, John Steiner, spoke against this bill.
  • Then click on each member’s name and you’ll be taken to their website where you can see their district. See if you know folks who live in those districts. Reach them and ask them to call in their opposition to HB 2595.

We can also use your hard earned dollars to run a campaign
to stop this attack on citizens petition rights.
See the donate button on the right? ===>

MORE GORY DETAILS, IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW:  The only reason we can figure that HB 2595 was introduced is that it is — purely — a retribution bill by the oil and gas lobby. They are out to do great harm to the over 100 year legacy of citizens petition rights because they’re still upset about the Denton “frack ban” passed by Denton voters –who are, by the way, largely Republicans. Even despite the passage of HB 40 last week that may well undo Denton’s frack ban.

HB 2595 is a tricky little bill that says that no city can accept, certify or otherwise approve of any petition that, “would restrict the right of any person to use or access the person’s private property for economic gain.”

City of Austin Attorney, John Steiner (with whom we’ve been on opposite sides for years), to his credit, pointed out that because HB 2595 requires the city to stop petitions before a public vote, virtually guarantees that the city will be sued by someone — either the proponents or the opponents. Historically, and properly so, it is the courts that have dealt with these disputes if and when they happen after passage.

Two more examples of why HB 2595 is really bad for ALL citizens:

Example 1:

Your city council decides to use $100 million in tax dollars to support a sports stadium. Once you’ve spent enumerable hours and money getting your signatures, and then submit it to your city clerk’s office, your city council can keep it off the ballot if they believe that the property owner’s “right” to use his or her property for “economic gain” would be impeded. And, if they don’t keep it off the ballot, the property owner who feels harmed could sue the city!

Example 2: (the cake-taker)

Let’s say you want to reform eminent domain in your city to stop private entities (like a privatitized toll road vendor) from taking your property for their own economic gain. It’s a coin toss as to whose property rights trumps in this situation, eh?

Don’t let them get away with taking away our rights, as citizens, to petition and reign in our city government.

We never would have passed 10-1 without it!

Make your calls today

Local control in the crosshairs, come to Bastrop Saturday!

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 1.31.07 PMY’all come on out to Bastrop this Saturday — regardless of party or persuasion — for the “Building the Rural-Urban Coalition for Local Control” meeting put on by the non-profit League of Independent Voters of Texas.
Click here to view the agenda.
Click here to reserve a seat.

Besides….our own Brian Rodgers, is speaking on his alternative to the Chamber of Commerce’s model for economic development which stresses unbridled population growth with the costs passed on to you. 

This event is appropriately being held in Bastrop, home of the Texas water wars, as an unholy alliance of the real estate lobby, water marketers and some leading state politicians now in session want to move large quantities of water underlying Lee and Bastrop counties to the I-35 growth corridor.
With the legislature now in session, it’s likely to be a bumpy ride with the rights to local control clearly in the cross-hairs. So show up or forever hold your peace! 

PS Linda didn’t make the runoff for Texas House District 17, but ran a surprisingly strong race as an independent in 3 weeks, coming in third in a five-way race. She is currently locked in a battle with Bastrop County on alleged election misconduct to ensure a fair runoff…also a topic on Saturday that Fred Lewis will be speaking on. More here in today’s Statesman.  

Can you see Linda Curtis in the Texas House?

Do you know that early voting started today in a special election taking place to our east in House Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 12.31.29 AMDistrict 17 (Lee, Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales and Karnes counties)? Election day is Tuesday, January 6th.
Neither do the voters in HD 17. This is why our own Linda Curtis jumped into this race to run as an independent for the Texas House of Representatives. Linda says,
“This stunt was pulled to replace House Speaker Joe Straus’ water boy — Tim Kleinschmidt — with the Republican Party establishment’s choice to front for the real estate lobby. You all know by now that the intent of Republican insiders (and some key Democrats who are looking the other way) is to grab HD 17’s groundwater to fuel unfettered growth that is driving unaffordability in central Texas.”

Thanks to the antics of our outgoing Governor, who called an election with 3 weeks notice in the middle of the Christmas holidays, the door is open in a 5-way race (two Ds, two Rs and one independent) for Linda Curtis to make history being elected as an independent to the Texas House.

Can you envision Linda walking into the Capitol to take on the big corporate lobbies that are running roughshod over Texans of all persuasions?

You can help Linda by reaching folks who live in HD 17 and donating to her campaign.

Happy Holidays y’all. Don’t let them get away with it!
Brian Rodgers
PS So few people know that there is an election happening, Linda could win this with a few thousand votes. If that happens, maybe the next Governor won’t even consider pulling an election stunt like this.

Victory, now on to more victory!

We won the first round against the Decker Lake high-end golf courses on city parkland. The developer didn’t have the votes and so they will try their luck with the new Council in February. Stay tuned.
Now, we have an election to win — the WE — is YOU, Austin.
Watch this and share it with your Austin voting friends, especially those who live in SW Austin. proudly endorses the following candidates for Council:
District 1:  Ora Houston
District 3:  Susana Almanza
District 4:  You have two great choices — Casar or Pressley
District 7:  Leslie Pool
District 8:  Ed Scruggs