Recently posted quotes:

"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress." Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.” -Will Rogers (1879-1935)

"Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it." -James Madison (1751-1836)

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported." -John Adams (1735-1826)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Austin City Counsel Districts - Redistricting Commission Notes

Fixing the woes of the Austin City Counsel is a mountain of a task, but the work has begun. I’ve just returned from a lunch hosted by the Austinites for Geographical Representation (AGR), the League of Women Voters, and the Austin Area Research Organization to introduce prospective commission members to Angelo Ancheta, “a distinguished law professor who also serves on the Citizens Redistricting Commission for the State of California.”

Wait! Before you run off half cocked; I realize that those guys out there don’t always do things like the rest of the country. Maybe, we can learn from their struggle and try to it better here in Austin. After all, “Mr. Ancheta is coming to Austin to share his personal experience serving on the first citizens redistricting commission in California, a system upon which Austin's 10-1 was modeled.”

The luncheon was held at Threadgill’s today and the room was packed. Evidentially, there are some 400+ people signed up as volunteers to do the commission work. This number has to be whittled down to fourteen—a pretty big task in itself. A task force is at work currently doing just this.

Mr. Ancheta came to Austin, on his own dime we were lead to believe (no reason to think otherwise) to share his experiences as a member of the California state redistricting commission. Austin is merely redistricting some 850,000 citizens—California, some 38,000,000.

The Professor will also be speaking this evening at Bass Auditorium on the tu campus in an event sponsored by the University of Texas School of Law, LBJ School's Center for Politics and Governance and AGR.

Lots of good information came out of the noon luncheon—along with making the acquaintance of other commission candidates—and I look forward to getting even more info this evening at the lecture and Q&A session.

This has been a long time coming to Austin and still has an uphill battle to be successful. It is high time that the strings to the governance of our city be taken out of the hands of that small group that has strangled the city since the 1970s.

There’s a lot of work left, but still the major task to be overcome is the voter apathy and lack of participation. Let’s hope we turn that corner with this effort.