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(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
  • Push for November Elections Raises $52,250
  •  
  • RECA and Austin Board of Realtors PACs each
  • kick in $26,000 to move council election dates
  •  
  • by Ken Martin
  • © The Austin Bulldog 2012
  • Posted October 29, 2012 8:51pm
  •  

The Democracy Austin Political Action Committee reporting raising more than $52,000 in the latest reporting period and spent nearly all of it on television and ads in The Austin Chronicle to get voter approval for Propositions 1 and 2 on the November 6 ballot.

Both propositions would move the election of mayor and council members from May to be held during the November general elections. Prop 2 differs from Prop 1 by additionally lengthening terms from the current three years to four years; shortening the number of terms allowed from three terms to two terms; and requiring that staggered elections be held in even-numbered years.

Mike MartinezMike MartinezChris RileyChris RileyAustin City Council Members Mike Martinez and Chris Riley were appointed to serve as treasurer and assistant treasurer, respectively, September 5. They were appointed by Austin Strategies political consultant Mark Nathan, who in July 2011 left his job as chief of staff for Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

Nathan answered The Austin Bulldog’s questions about the campaign via e-mail this evening.

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(7 votes, average 3.86 out of 5)
  • Deferred Prosecution Ends Open Meetings Investigation
  •  
  • Mayor and five current council members sign agreements
  • waiving the statute of limitations and requiring major reforms
  •  
  • by Ken Martin
  • © The Austin Bulldog 2012
  • Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2012 11:54pm

The Austin City Council Members Subject to the County Attorney’s Investigation: Riley, Cole, Shade, Leffingwell, Morrison, Spelman, Martinez The Austin City Council Members Subject to the County Attorney’s Investigation: Riley, Cole, Shade, Leffingwell, Morrison, Spelman, Martinez

David EscamillaDavid EscamillaTravis County Attorney David Escamilla today issued a seven-page press release to announce the results of an investigation that began 21 months ago into the question of whether then-members of the Austin City Council violated the Texas Open Meetings Act.

 “This investigation was always about compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) and other legal standards requiring transparency at City Hall, which are crucial to ensuring a government that is accountable and responsive to its citizens,” Escamilla’s statement says.

The investigation found no evidence of corruption, but voluminous proof of communications among the mayor and council members by every means possible, the sum of which violate the criminal provisions of the Act.

The agreements signed by each elected official affirm long lists of detailed, specific communications among the council members that constitute probable cause. These include specific dates on which a quorum of the council communicated face-to-face, in phone calls, and via e-mail and text messages.

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(3 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)
Proposition 3 Campaign Relies on Grass Roots
 
Austinites for Geographic Representation going door-to-door,
running phone banks, and distributing info at polling places
 
by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Sunday October 21, 2012, 10:10pm

The proponents for Proposition 3’s 10-1 plan for electing council members met Saturday and laid out the campaign strategy they hope will bring victory November 6.

If so, the seventh time’s a charm, given that between 1973 and 2002 voters have shot down six previous attempts to have geographic representation on the Austin City Council.

Proposition 4 advocates of the 8-2-1 plan for electing council members have campaigned only by participating in speaking engagements and running full-page ads in The Austin Chronicle the past three weeks.

Using its coalition of 30 supporting organizations the AGR tactics will rely almost entirely on a ground game, neighbor to neighbor, house by house, phone by phone, in an effort to turn out people who will vote for Proposition 3.

Peck YoungPeck YoungVolunteer political advisor Peck Young said, “This election will be decided by people who don’t know what we’re talking about. ... The truth is, what will decide this election is what’s done in the next two weeks.”

 Although Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) had raised $90,000 by the first of this month, and says it raised another $18,000 through it’s recent e-mail campaign, the group has no plans to buy television spots because the cost is prohibitive.

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(3 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)
Prop 3 Proponents Question Prop 4 Legality

Civil rights attorney and two minority groups
say federal preclearance for 8-2-1 is unlikely


by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2012 4:38pm

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965President Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965A pointed legal question keeps cropping up in the debates between proponents of Proposition 3 (the 10-1 plan for electing council members) and Proposition 4 (the 8-2-1 plan).

Proposition 3 debaters have repeatedly stated that the Proposition 4 hybrid plan will not be able to win federal approval because it will not pass muster under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Prop 4 advocates insist the 8-2-1 plan would indeed be approved.

It would be good to get past this back-and-forth argument so that voters know whether or not the hybrid 8-2-1 plan has a good chance of being approved before casting ballots for a proposal whose implementation might be doomed. The election is November 6. Early voting starts tomorrow.

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(5 votes, average 4.20 out of 5)
Poll Triggers Backlash from 10-1 Proponents

Proposition 3 advocates say Prop 4 playing dirty
with a misleading poll, Prop 4 denies the charge

by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog
Posted Wednesday October 17, 2012 10:09pm

Proposition 3 backers of the 10-1 plan for electing council members issued a press release today claiming that Proposition 4 supporters of the 8-2-1 plan used “Karl Rove dirty tricks” with a “push poll” that mischaracterized the sources of the group’s funding.

Proposition 4 proponents say an automated poll was conducted but it was not a push poll.

“A push poll is an interactive marketing technique, most commonly employed during political campaigning, in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll,” according to Wikipedia. “In a push poll, large numbers of respondents are contacted, and little or no effort is made to collect and analyze response data. Instead, the push poll is a form of telemarketing-based propaganda and rumor mongering, masquerading as a poll.”

Bruce ToddBruce ToddThe Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) press release quoted Bruce Todd of Bruce Todd Public Affairs, who was mayor of Austin from 1991-1997,  saying, “Not only are the Prop 4 proponents engaging in dirty political tactics by using a push poll, they are funding it with money that came in after the 30 day out reporting period. Prop 3 is supported by the largest, most diverse grassroots coalition in Austin’s history. Prop 3’s support includes the NAACP, LULAC Districts 7 and 12, South Austin Democrats, Travis County Green Party, Austin Central Labor Council–Texas AFL-CIO, Austin Tejano Democrats, and, yes, Republicans. Our breadth proves all of Austin wants Prop 3.”

It should be noted there would be nothing improper about using funds raised by Austin Community for Change (AC4C) after the September 27 reporting deadline for any legitimate political purpose.

AC4C reported raising $2,685 in the three months ending September 27 and a total of $4,592 since it began fundraising June 1. AGR had raised nearly $90,000 with four weeks left till the November 6 election. AGR’s largest contributors were the Homebuilders Association of Greater Austin and environmentalist Kirk Mitchell.
(Disclosure: Mitchell is The Austin Bulldog’s largest donor.)

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(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)
Proposition 4 Campaign Reports Finances

Late report lists $2,685 raised in last three months
but fails to provide details about campaign expenses

by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 7:54pm
Corrected Thursday, October 11, 2012 1:34pm

Austin Community for Change (AC4C) submitted its latest campaign finance report after the 5pm deadline to reach the City Clerk’s office yesterday.

A copy obtained this morning indicates the political action committee (PAC) favoring the 8-2-1 plan for electing council members collected $2,685 in the past three months. Combined with the previous reported total of $1,907 brings the AC4C PAC’s total fundraising to $4,592.

The amount of campaign contributions netted by the Proposition 4 supporters is swamped by the competing Proposition 3 plan for geographic representation. Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) has raised nearly $90,000.

As reported yesterday, AGR raised $40,662 in the latest reporting period and nearly $70,000 to date. AGR also reported receiving an additional pledge of $20,000. That will bring the PAC’s total fundraising to almost $90,000, with nearly four weeks remaining before election day.

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(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)
Proposition 3 Campaign Reports Finances

10-1 campaign proponents raised more than $40,000,
Proposition 4’s 8-2-1 advocates’ report not submitted

by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2012 9:23pm
Corrected Thursday, October 11, 2012 9:57a

Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR), the proponent for Proposition 3 on the November 6 ballot, reported raising $40,662 from July 1 through September 27. However, The Austin Bulldog’s tally of the contributions totals $37,882. Campaign treasurer Stacy Suits was in Dallas today and not able to resolve the discrepancy. (The report was correct as submitted. The Austin Bulldog regrets the error.)

The AGR total does not include the $29,131 previously reported in the January and July campaign finance reports. The latest report brings total campaign contributions to nearly $70,000.

Austin Community For Change (AC4C) the proponent for Proposition 4, did not submit its PAC report by today’s 5pm deadline. AC4C’s only previous report showed the organization had raised $1,907.

AGR’s largest donation was the $15,000 received from “Home PAC Corporate,” a political action committee operated by the Homebuilders Association of Greater Austin. Home PAC gave two donations, one for $11,000 and another for $4,000. (Home PAC also donated $1,000 during the previous reporting period that ended June 30.)

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(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)
Proposition 3 Rally Draws 150-200 People

Crowd hears fiery speeches by proponents of
 the 10-1 system for electing council members


by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Monday, October 8, 2012 10:13am
Corrected Thursday, November 1, 2012 10:35am
 

The rain-delayed “Trust Austin” rally honoring civil rights leader Arthur DeWitty, originally scheduled for a week earlier, drew a Saturday audience that event organizers Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) estimated at 150-200 people to the Park Place Pavilion in East Austin.

It was the latest in a string of Proposition 3 campaign activities that included multiple in-house fundraisers and a garage sale, as well as numereous appearances at neighborhood association meetings. Funds raised so far have been used to print 100,000 door hangars, plus yard signs and fliers to be distributed by volunteers.

Representatives from numerous community organizations spoke in favor of the 10-1 plan, leaving no doubt of their passion for electing City Council members from geographic districts, instead of the all-at-large system that’s been in place since 1953.

Gonzalo BarrientosGonzalo BarrientosNoting that some form of geographic representation had been on the ballot six times before and failed, retired State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos said, “Politicians put it on the ballot and then sat on their hands. We want geographic representation.”

Barrientos said Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole asked him to sit on the 2012 Charter Revision Committee, which he chaired. “Hundreds of people said what they wanted, and we recommended the 10-1 plan” to the City Council. “Did they pay attention? No!

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(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Attorney Bickerstaff Addresses Critics’ Concerns

His September 24 article drew numerous comments about the
Proposition 3 Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission


by Steve Bickerstaff
Posted Friday, October 5, 2012, 3:30pm

Editor’s introduction: Proposition 3 is on the November 6 ballot. If it gains voter approval and garners more votes than Proposition 4, Proposition 3 would require 10 council members to be elected from geographic districts and the mayor to be elected at-large. Proposition 3 requires an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw council districts the City Council would have no choice but to adopt.

It is important that Austin voters have a thorough understanding of the Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission before casting ballots in this important election. To that end, on September 24, The Austin Bulldog published attorney Steve Bickerstaff’s scholarly study of the strengths and weaknesses of various systems used for redistricting throughout the nation, including 50 cities. (Bickerstaff’s extensive legal experience with redistricting was detailed in the introduction to that article and need not be repeated here.)

That article drew 20 comments, some of which needed a much fuller response than could be accommodated through posting replies in the comments section. Bickerstaff wrote this piece to address the concerns raised in those comments—specifically the points raised by Proposition 4 advocates Julio Gonzalez Altamirano and Richard Jung. Proposition 4 provides for electing eight council members from geographic districts and the mayor and two council members at-large. Districts would be drawn as determined by a later ordinance.

Steve BickerstaffSteve BickerstaffThank you for the opportunity to join the dialogue on the possibility that the voters of Austin will adopt an independent redistricting commission.

I am not a member of Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR). My clients in the past have utilized essentially every form of election system [e.g. single-member districts, at-large elections (Austin), and hybrid systems using a combination of at-large and single-member elections (Houston)]. Each of these election systems has advantages and disadvantages.

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(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Feisty Debate Over How to Elect Council

One panelist argues for no change to the
at-large system for City Council elections


by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2012 6:40pm

The University of Texas Law School provided the venue for a fourth public debate over the question of whether—or even if—the Austin City Charter should be amended to allow for some form of geographic representation on the Austin City Council.

Sherri GreenbergSherri GreenbergThe September 28 debate was emceed by Sherri Greenberg, a former state representative who is director of UT’s Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

All five panelists were members of the 2012 Charter Revision Committee that voted by a narrow 8-7 majority to recommend that 10 council members be elected from geographic districts and only the mayor continue to be elected at-large, that is by all voters.

Ken RigsbeeKen RigsbeeKen Rigsbee, an independent oil and energy professional, voted to recommend the 10-1 plan and explained why. “It looked to me like the Charter Revision Committee would have a tie vote, after six months of arguing and debating,” he said. “I voted for 10-1. That doesn’t mean I wanted it—I just wanted to stop the meetings.”

Rigsbee said he told Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who nominated him to serve on the Charter Revision Committee, “I said, ‘Lee, what is it about ‘no’ you don’t understand?’

He was referring to the fact that the voters of Austin had six opportunities between 1973 and 2002 to adopt geographic representation and the majority had always voted no.

“Is it worth spending $2 million for 11 council members vice seven, to force political horse-trading between council members?” Rigsbee asked. “Is it really imperative we do that? My answer is no.” (The city’s assessment of fiscal impact for the four additional council members and their staffs under Propositions 3 or 4 calls for $888,350 for construction and build-out for the additional offices, and an additional ongoing annual cost of $1,396,000 a year.)

The other panelists all agree that the at-large system in use since 1953 must be changed, but disagree on how to do that.

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(6 votes, average 4.67 out of 5)
Propositions 3 and 4 Proponents Rev Campaigns

Raising money, organizing troops, and pushing plans
for geographic representation on Austin City Council


by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Friday, September 28, 2012 2:39pm

The proponents of Proposition 3—Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR)—got a huge head start in a grassroots campaign to win voter approval for geographic representation on the Austin City Council. They started meeting in February last year, waged a successful petition drive to get on the ballot, and have built a broad coalition of supporters, including 29 organizations and numerous community leaders. (For a list of endorsements, click here.)

The advocates for Proposition 4—Austin Community for Change (AC4C)—are pushing a different plan for geographic representation. They are running from behind and hoping to raise enough money to convince voters they have the best plan. They have rapidly built a list of 19 community organizations supporting their plan as well as individual community supporters. (For a list of endorsements, click here.)

Both AGR and AC4C have websites loaded with information touting their respective plans but there's a striking visual difference.

The banner atop the AGR pages contains a montage of nine photos taken at various Austin events.

The AC4C page headers show a photo purchased from iStockphoto.com titled “Diverse group casually dressed people looking up.”

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(4 votes, average 4.75 out of 5)
Redistricting Need Not Be a
Quintessentially Political Process

Independent redistricting commissions for U.S. states and cities

by Steve Bickerstaff
Posted Monday, October September 24, 2012 6:05pm

Editor's introduction: Over the past 36 years attorney Steve Bickerstaff, adjunct professor at the University Of Texas School Of Law, has represented more than 100 jurisdictions on redistricting matters, including during the redistricting process, or before the U.S. Department of Justice, or in state or federal courts. These jurisdictions include the State of Texas (in three different decades) and various local governments (cities, counties, school districts, community colleges and special districts) in Texas and elsewhere. The electoral systems of these jurisdictions have included wholly at-large, wholly single-member, and hybrid or mixed (partially at-large) election structures.

He is author of Lines in the Sand (2007), a book about the controversial 2003 congressional redistricting in Texas; co-author of International Election Principles (2009); and author of 25 law journal articles dealing primarily with election law and telecommunications regulation.

Bickerstaff wrote the initial draft for the nonpartisan Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission. The Commission is an integral part of Proposition 3, which was put on the ballot through a petition drive conducted by Austinites for Geographic Representation. Bickerstaff’s draft was based on the Voters First Act, which through initiative and referendum established a system of independent redistricting in the State of California.

It is important that Austin voters have a thorough understanding of the Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission before casting ballots in the November 6 election. To that end, The Austin Bulldog is publishing Bickerstaff’s scholarly study of the strengths and weaknesses of various systems used for redistricting throughout the nation.

Steve BickestaffSteve Bickestaff  Much has been written about the use of redistricting commissions for redrawing state legislative and congressional district lines. Twenty- two states now have some form of commission. However, the nature, jurisdiction and importance of these commissions vary greatly. By contrast, virtually nothing has been written about the use of redistricting commissions at the local level of government. This is particularly surprising because virtually all large and middle-size U.S. cities use at least some election districts that must be redrawn every 10 years, and because most of these cities are home-rule jurisdictions that generally have broad legal authority to adopt their own process for drawing local election district boundaries.[1] A purpose of this article is to provide government officials, public interest activists, and attorneys with a means for assessing the value of a municipal redistricting commission and for designing such commission to take self-interest and bias out of a process in which they have no legitimate role.[2]  

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(5 votes, average 4.20 out of 5)
Barrientos Lampoons Prop 4 With a Fable
 
Other proponents of alternative plans for
geographic representation push their points
 
by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Friday, September 14, 2012 3:07pm

Gonzalo Barrientos at a previous rally for Proposition 3Gonzalo Barrientos at a previous rally for Proposition 3The passion and political experience of retired State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos (D-Austin) lifted the crowd of some 40 interested citizens who had come to hear a debate about what system should govern how Austin City Council members are elected.

Scene: A debate forum hosted by Southwest Key’s VOTA! Campaign at the organization’s headquarters in far East Austin.
 
Enter Barrientos: arriving 20 minutes after the program started and a bit flustered from being stuck in traffic.
 
When his turn to speak came, the former lawmaker drew on his storytelling ability to attack the council’s action to put the 8-2-1 plan (Proposition 4) on the same ballot with the citizens’ 10-1 initiative (Proposition 3).
 
“In the time of Christ,” he said, “there were two stores on the opposite side of a street. The owners didn’t like each other.
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(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Proposition 3 Advocates Falsely Accuse RECA

Group alleges ‘rumor’ of $100,000 pledge by Real Estate
Council to defeat Proposition 3, but RECA says not so


by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2012 10:25pm

An e-mail received early this morning from Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR), that was titled "A Very Stinky Rumor" turned out to be stinky indeed—as in false.

Or so says the Real Estate Council of Austin.

The AGR e-mail stated, "Rumors are flying that large real estate investors at the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) just pledged $100,000 to stop Prop 3—the people's plan for geographic representation—by running a confusion game with Prop 4."

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(4 votes, average 3.00 out of 5)
No-Change Option Surfaces in Ballot Debate

Former Council Member Bob Binder opposes both
options on the ballot for geographic representation


by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2012 2:41pm

Monday's lunchtime debate drew about 40 people to hear arguments for not just Propositions 3 and 4 on the November 6 ballot, but reasons why voters should once again turn thumbs down to both plans for geographic representation in City Council elections.

Chuck HerringChuck HerringThe program was hosted by the Central Texas Democratic Forum, emceed by attorney Chuck Herring of Herring & Irwin LLP.

Until this debate, virtually all discussions about how council members should be elected have focused on the problems with the current all-at-large system and advocated for one of two proposed plans for change.

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(4 votes, average 3.00 out of 5)
The Election Wars Have Begun
 
Interest in how council members elected
running high, as face-off debates abound
 
by Ken Martin
©The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2012 9:01pm

If you're concerned with how your local city government officials get elected—and how any change in the election system might affect your interests—you will have numerous opportunities to hear a thorough airing of the issues.

Two propositions on the city’s November 6 ballot offer choices for getting away from the all-at-large system we've had since 1953, when the council had five places and the elected council members chose the mayor from among their ranks. The council was expanded to seven places beginning with the 1969 election but it wasn’t until 1971 that citizens could directly elect their mayor.

Today, there are some who advocate keeping the election system we’ve got. However, the two major factions striving for change both advocate a new system of electing council members.

How to change is where they differ.

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(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Your Guide to Proposed City Charter Amendments
 
What’s on the ballot, how much it will cost taxpayers, and
details provided in the ordinances for each proposition
by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog
Posted Thursday August 30, 2012 8:20pm

The Austin City Council put 18 propositions before voters November 6The Austin City Council put 18 propositions before voters November 6When Austin voters go to the polls starting October 22 for the November 6 general election, they’ll be faced with a potentially bewildering 18 propositions on the City of Austin’s portion of the ballot.

And voters won’t see those propositions until they’ve finished wading through voting for federal, state and local candidates, and deciding whether to support Central Health’s proposed 5 cent tax hike to help fund a new medical school in Austin.

The Austin City Council and a number of citizens are really, really hoping voters don’t just vote a straight party ticket and go home. At stake are $385 million in seven bond propositions, 10 separate proposals to change the City Charter, and one proposition to allow emergency medical personnel to get the same civil service protections as police and firefighters.

Other down-ballot taxing jurisdictions on the ballot are also hoping to keep the voters attention long enough to mark the entire ballot, including Austin Independent School District, Austin Community College, and a bunch more.

In an effort to de-mystify the Austin portion of the ballot, The Austin Bulldog is providing the exact ballot language for each of the 10 propositions involving charter amendments and the emergency medical services proposition, and links to the ordinances that placed each of those on the ballot.

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(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
City Manager Gets Pay Raise If Employees Do
 
As will the city clerk and city auditor; the
municipal court clerk gets 5 percent bump

 
by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Friday August 24, 2012 3:57pm

Marc OttMarc OttAustin City Manager Marc Ott will get a pay raise after all—if the City Council gives the city’s non-civil service employees a raise when a 2012-2013 budget is adopted next month.

 The Austin Bulldog reported August 16 that the City Council reviewed Ott’s performance in executive session that day and dismissed the item in open session when Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole said, “... we look forward to his continued service.”

Resolutions passed at yesterday’s council meeting state that the city manager, city auditor, and city clerk all will get whatever percentage pay raise is granted to the city’s rank-and-file.

The city manager has proposed a 3 percent pay increase for non-civil service employees.

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(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Austin Board and Commissions Get E-mail Policy

Fifteen months after City Council ordered changes, board
and commission members to be assigned city e-mail accounts


by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 7:50pm

It took the City of Austin 15 months to establish a formal procedure but, finally, the 368 members of the city’s 51 boards and commissions are going to be brought into the city’s e-mail system.

The action is needed to bring the city into compliance with the Texas Public Information Act by enabling the city to collect, assemble, and maintain e-mails about city business that board and commission members send or receive. This will allow the city to search the city’s server to find information responsive to public information requests and produce those records for inspection.

For many years the city’s website for each board and commission listed each member’s personal e-mail address.

Joseph LarsenJoseph Larsen“This is easily the most well thought-out policy addressing this issue, both from the private device/account and city server side, that I have seen,” said Joseph Larsen, special counsel to Sedgwick LLP. Larsen is an expert on open government laws and a volunteer attorney for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. “... overall I think this could serve as a template for policies for other City officers and employees and for other governmental bodies.

This is the third and final phase of improving the city’s handling of electronic communications in response to our lawsuit, The Austin Bulldog v. Mayor Lee Leffingwell et al filed March 1, 2012, and the county attorney’s ongoing investigation of the City Council’s violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act that The Austin Bulldog exposed January 25, 2011.

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(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Some Council Members’ Finances Change Significantly

Mayor carries campaign debt, Riley adds domestic partner,
Martinez adds investments, Cole reports spouse separately,
and Tovo pays off $528,000 in real estate loans


by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012 10:05am

Chris RileyChris RileyCity Council Member Chris Riley, an attorney, initially failed to comply with the Austin City Code by not fully reporting the financial activity of his domestic partner in his latest Statement of Financial Information.

The Austin Bulldog’s June 2, 2011, report covered similar discrepancies in Riley’s annual financial statements for 2009 and 2010.

Riley’s mid-year Statement of Financial Information covering the first six months of 2012, filed July 27, indicates that his domestic partner, Denise Brady, is an “attorney/state employee.” The report contains no other information as to Brady's specific employer, her income, investments, real property interests, debts, or boards of directors on which she may be serving, as required by City Code Sections 2-2-72(A) and 2-7-2(10).

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